– 00:15:32:63 –
I didn’t have to travel far before Gary made his next move. The next room looked to be a burial chamber, with dozens of alcoves filled with the honoured dead from a previous era. As soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs, strings of code flew past my face and attached itself to a few of the embalmed figures, with a series of unnatural groans, the dead didn’t seem so dead after all.
– OH, SO THAT’S WHAT THAT DOES, INTERESTING –
“Pfft!” I snorted, “As if you didn’t know how to do that before!”
Fighting these… Draugr was quite different to a giant spider, they retained their fighting prowess from when they were alive, and it was formidable, but again, I was able to find an opening and strike these creatures down.
Continuing on, I was able to evade a couple of Gary’s traps and found myself standing at the end of a narrow corridor, a pungent smell was thick in the air, oil perhaps. I thought it best to survey my surroundings and found a dark liquid coating the floor of the corridor, and above, tied to a rope hanging from the ceiling was a clay lantern.
At the far end of the corridor, another Draugr stepped out from its alcove and shambled towards me. On instinct alone, I took aim at the clay lantern with my bow and fired.
My aim was true, and the lantern shattered, raining fire down onto the oil below, a conflagration erupted around the advancing Draugr and reduced it to ash.
– NOT BAD, SAGE. HOWEVER, I FEAR ALL THAT NOISE HAS ATTRACTED SOME… COMPANY –
Sure enough, another Draugr stormed forward with a massive two-handed sword in its arms. I was barely able to raise my shield in time to block its attack and the devastating blow left my shield arm numb.
I was able to dodge its follow up attack and position myself behind it to deliver a blow to the creature’s spine, dropping it to the floor where I could easily finish it off.
– NICELY DONE, SAGE –
“Thanks, Gary, now kindly stop sending the dead after me, please,” I replied as I pulled my sword out of dead flesh.
– BUT IT’S THEMATIC, I CAN’T EXACTLY SEND SHARKS WITH FRICKEN LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS AFTER YOU NOW, CAN I? –
“Okay, Dr Evil,” I laughed as I carried on, “Thematic it is.”
I delved deeper into the dungeon, fighting my way through more of the dead until I found myself in front of a solid oak door with intricate designs carved into the metal supports.
– AND WHAT’S BEHIND DOOR NUMBER ONE? WILL IT BE THE GRAND PRIZE OR CERTAIN DEATH! –
“There’s only one door, Gary!” I stated, as I stepped forward and opened the door, descending further into the barrow.
– HEY, I WAS JUST BEING DRAMATIC –
I just smiled, as dangerous as this was, I was enjoying the banter. This level was much the same as the previous one, more Draugr, more traps, even another oil spill which I used to roast another Draugr or two. Gary just watched as I eliminated each of the obstacles he sent my way.
After some time, I found myself in front of a beautifully carved door. It seemed to be another puzzle, with three separate, sliding parts to it, each one holding three carved figures – a moth, an owl, and a bear. Taking in my surrounding, I noticed small holes positioned all around the door, crossbow bolts, there were no second chances, I just had to get it right the first time around. I looked at the Golden Claw I had in my inventory and apart from some intricate carvings along the fingers of the claw, the ornament was smooth and provided no clues.
– SHOULD’VE BROUGHT THE JOURNAL WITH YOU –
Damn, was there something in there that told me what to do? It all just seemed like nonsense. I paced back and forth trying to think about what to do. I tried searching the code, but it seems as though Gary was expecting that and was blocking my attempts.
– NEED A CLUE? –
“Ha! At what cost?” I snapped, knowing full well that a clue wouldn’t come for free.
– HMM… I’M FEELING GENEROUS TODAY, SO WHY DON’T I JUST TAKE THAT BOW OF YOURS AWAY FROM YOU? –
I arched my eyebrows, “My bow?”
It was just a simple hunting bow, nothing like the magical sword that Gary gave me when he sent me into this world, why would he want that?
– YES, YOUR BOW. YOU WON’T NEED IT IN THE NEXT ROOM, THAT I CAN PROMISE YOU –
But I may need it when I leave. I don’t think he’s leaving me much choice. “Fine, take it!”
The bow disintegrated into fragments of code, and I felt the Golden Claw’s code change slightly, I looked at it again and where it was once smooth, it now had three symbols that matched the ones on the door.
“Gary, that’s not nice, hiding things from me.” I chided the A.I.
– CALL IT PAYBACK FOR SKIPPING PART OF THE QUEST –
Ha, fair enough.
I matched the sliding parts to the symbols on the claw and inserted it into the hole in the door, turning the claw and hoping that Gary hadn’t pulled a swift one on me. A solid thunk and the grinding of ancient gears led me to believe that my answer was correct, in response, the door slid open and revealed the final chamber.
I climbed the stairs and made my way towards my goal, a chest where no doubt the Dragonstone would be. As I approached, something caught my eye.
I saw it for a fraction of a second, illuminated on the carved wall before it disappeared, but it was long enough to pique my interest, I walked slowly towards the wall, but before I could get close enough to inspect it, a mighty Draugr burst out of a stone coffin behind me.
– YOU WON’T BE NEEDING THOSE –
The chamber shook as I felt all the health potions I’d collected vanish like my bow did. I growled as I saw the code snake upwards and evaporate into smoke. Before I could voice my anger, the Draugr charged me with murderous intent in its glowing, dead eyes.
This one was different to the others, it somehow had the ability to use its voice as a weapon, causing me to stagger when it shouted in my direction. This fight was not easy, the creature would attack with its sword, and follow up with either a brutal shield bash or a shout, either one leaving me stumbling away and leaving me wide open.
I got caught on a few occasions, the sword biting deep into my armour and one blow managing to penetrate the protection and give me a nasty cut on the forearm of my shield arm. I could feel the blood dripping out from the hole in my armour, I was losing strength rapidly, before long, I wouldn’t even be able to hold the shield, I needed to finish this fight quickly.
The Draugr appeared smarter than the others I’d faced too, it seemed to know that I was badly wounded and that soon, I wouldn’t be able to use my shield, so it just circled me in a defensive stance, throwing the odd shout at me whenever I tried to bridge the gap. I was running out of time.
I desperately searched the coding for anything that I could use, all the while avoiding the Draugr’s ruthless attacks. Just when I thought that it was over, as the Draugr charged forward once more, ready to deliver the fatal blow, I latched onto some code.
Within a fraction of a second, I learnt a new skill, and rolled away from the attack, dropping my sword and shield where I landed and raising my sword arm above the wound, I used a Fast Healing spell that closed the wound and provided me with some much-needed adrenaline. I grabbed my sword and shield just in time to block the Draugr’s next attack and with as much force as I could muster, I slammed my shield into the creature’s head, it stumbled back, and I charged forward, relentlessly hacking away at it until it lay on the floor broken, unmoving.
With an audible sigh, I fell to the floor, exhausted. Gary was content to just watch as I lay there, wondering just how I managed to escape that one. After a few minutes, when my mana had replenished, I healed myself once more and got up, ready to finish this quest. I grabbed the Dragonstone from the corpse of the Draugr, guess I was wrong about it being in the chest, and slowly stumbled up the stairs, more than ready to leave this awful place.
Wait a minute, I thought to myself as I got to the landing at the top of the stairs. That Draugr only appeared while I was investigating that wall!
I rushed back down the stairs and approached the wall once more. As I got closer, the thing that I’d seen before became clearer, it was a fragment of code, but it wasn’t just any code… it was the first part of the abort codes to the nukes.
“Gary, you sneaky bastard!”