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“‘Chariots of Fire’ starts to play as the racers enter Turn 6 and everything slows down . . . beads of sweat are gracefully flung from Tmuwo’s brow, and you can just catch a string of goo trailing from Taran’s fang before it flies free . . . “

– Verdius. February 3, 2007 AD.

Middleclaw flapped through the doorway, brandishing his new sword in Rrraff’s direction. Rrraff dodged out of the way and back into the room with the sword. Middleclaw pumped his wings and rose into the air. He immediately noticed that this was perhaps the biggest cavern he had ever seen, and it was comparatively well lighted. Actual sunlight came in through several cracks in the roof.

Gimor came into the cave behind him and noticed that there were a lot of stalagmites rising up from the floor, and stalactites above them. They made the walking difficult, and though the cavern was obviously large, he couldn’t see very far into it. Still, he made his way toward the center of the cave. As he walked, he began to hear a strange sort of clicking-clacking noise.

Middleclaw flew toward the center of the cavern. Every once in a while, he would circle to see what else he could see about this place. On one circle, he saw Tmuwo, carrying a bone club and his kalimba, entering the cavern, perhaps 500 feet from where he and Gimor had entered. On his second circle, he saw a giant insect of some sort making its way toward an unsuspecting Gimor. On his third circle, he saw a similar creature making its way toward Tmuwo who still seemed to be unaware of it. On his fourth circle, his wings began to tire, and he looked for a good place to land.

As he fluttered down Middleclaw wondered if either Gimor, who was unarmed, or Tmuwo, who seemed to have a club, would be a match for a bug that was bigger than they were. He wondered if he should help one of them . . .

Tmuwo’s tunnel opened wider and wider and he found himself inside a huge cavern, lit by sunlight coming in through cracks in the ceiling. There seemed to be a sort of path that he was on leading toward the center of the cave. As he followed it, he began to hear a kind of clicking-clacking noise. Then he came around a corner and saw a creature from his worst nightmare. It was a giant cockroach – about 7 feet high, and rushing toward him with mandibles clacking . . .

At about the same time, Gimor rounded a stalagmite and saw a similar sight. A huge cockroach was waiting on the wall a little ahead of him. When it saw him, it pounced . . .

 

Meanwhile, back in the sword room, Rrraff made an attempt to pull the large sword out of the stone. A voice in his head asked, “Do you think you are a hero?” He felt the tingle of magic run up his arms. The voice began to chant, “Strength: unworthy! Constitution: unworthy! Intelligence: unworthy! Wizardry: unworthy! Luck: unworthy! Dexterity: just barely worthy! Charisma: unworthy! Speed: unworthy!”

Rraff felt a shiver of magic course through his body, and he knew that he had magically gained something.[1]

“Definitely not a hero,” laughed the voice. “I warn you not to try again.” As the voice quit speaking the wall blocking the passage back toward the entrance began to slide out of the way, and the entrance to the big cavern began to close. Rrraff would have to run as quickly as he could to get into the cavern before the entrance vanished . . .

SilverHorn saw that a Troll was stalking him, and he turned and ran. He dashed blindly ahead, ironically thinking that up until this had happened, he had thought Trolls were his friends. SilverHorn was not slow, but his pursuer was faster. Moving around a corner, the Shadowjack noticed some loose boulders and a small hole going down into the bedrock. He could possibly dive behind the boulders and hide in the hole. Or he could keep running and probably be caught within seconds. Or he could snatch up the heaviest loose rock he could find, and fight for his life.

Meanwhile, in the room full of fountains Mahrundl found the exit that Tmuwo had found not far from the third pool with the three skulls in front of it. A few seconds later Taran came up and saw Mahrundl and the pool.

“Looks like you found the way out,” said Taran, and you took SilverHorn’s cape. “But I have this handy club and you don’t.”

“Something else you should know,” said Mahrundl. “You know, I’ve practiced alchemy in the past, and it taught me a little about magic. I can sense magical things.”

“So?” said Taran.

“These pools are magical. I’m pretty sure the water would do something magical to anyone who drank of it.”

“So, why aren’t you drinking some of it?” asked Taran.

“I’m thinking about it,” said Mahrundl. “Frankly, I was waiting to see if you would drink first.”

“The pools could be poison,” Taran pointed out. “Skulls generally mean something bad. Three skulls – this could be the worst of them all.”

“Or it could be a simple counting device,” Mahrundl offered. “Or maybe, just indications of power.”

Taran stopped to think about it. Mahrundl slipped into the exit, and began to blindly make his way through the tunnel as fast as he could go. Taran had a choice to make. Drink from the third pool and take a chance that the magic wouldn’t kill him, or hurry after Mahrundl . . .


[1] Dexterity increased by 10.

Racer Profile Number 7

Mahrundl – “?”

Variously known through Trollhalla as: Mahrundly, Mahrundle, Meowrundle, Maorundle, Marumble, Mooruncle, Markedunderwear . . . Not much is known about this Troll of mysterious, secretive character, although he has been heard saying: ” . . . if there’s one thing I’m any good at, it’s breaking things! ‘Never underestimate the power of brute force and ignorance’ is my motto . . . ”

Official talent: Alchemy

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