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Passages that go No Where!
We have all seen these passages, blink and you may miss the most obvious ones. I've roamed around the Castle watching light play through the shadows, however when I turn back the light is gone. Where does this light come from? Are there spirits in the Castle? Maybe, just maybe there are hidden passages.
I started my search in the Castle Vicinity, soaking in the last rays of sunlight, and noticed an odd path. This path lead to an arch under two connecting turrents. I tried following the path but it only lead me to the Castle Gates. I turned around and watched the dying light play off of the towers. I knew there was something there but how could I get to it? Was there something there or was the light and shadows playing tricks on my aging eyes? I tried countless times to make it to the turrents but each time I landed at the Castle Gates. I had to give up my search for the day, at least outside the Castle. I am determined to find all of the hidden passages.
I crept my way through the Castle using a torch I had found in the Crypt. I made my way to Ice Rock and once again I noticed light weaving in and out of the shadows. There seems to be a passage just beyond the Summer Garden. I ran and ran down the passage but it just seemed to stretch before me. It seems the Castle wants to protect its secrets as much as I want to uncover them. I had to give up on that passage as exhaustion set in. I figured there had to be a place I could rest my weary head for awhile so I turned away from Ice Rock and the never ending passage.
I stumbled, nearly crawled, into the Forbidden Tower and noticed a staircase. I thought to myself that surely there would be a bed chamber up those stairs. Unfortunately, after coming face to face with the snake in the Mosaic Panel I had to give up my search. It hissed one good time and I fled in terror down to the Dungeon of the Cursed! I saw torch light playing off of the statue to the right and knew there was another room there.
I tried for hours to make it around that corner but much to my dismay, I ended up right back in the Dungeon. I swear I can still hear Lord Chamberlain laughing from the Throne Hall. You can never get that nasally pitch out of your head! I was beyond exhausted at this point, making my way to the Underground Grotto on shaky legs. Imagine my surprise when I saw a hut! Finally, a place to rest before the next leg of my journey! I tried to enter and was thrown into the Crocodile Bush. Is there a magic force that surrounds these passages? I shook myself and had to give up a Silver Embrace just to get free of the Crocodile.
I admit I was a bit afraid to go any further but I was determined! I made my way to Mirror Lake and took a brief rest in the Tent. I watched the moonlight pour in through the opening in the rock ceiling. I had hoped that I would find some rope and a grappling hook in the tent or even in the Pirate Ship but all I got was a Throne Base and a Wizard's Ball. Really?!?! That's where those are kept! I wasn't quiet enough because I woke the Kraken when searching the Bow Figure. I was only a little scorched so I decided to make my way to the Town area. I know there are more passages to find! There has to be and maybe one will lead me to a market or at least something edible!
The City Square was nicely lit when I got there but there was no one to be found. I called out, hoping for some help but only got the whispers of the wind in response. I decided to try Kaley's Fancy Goods first. There are two doors, one above the stairs and one below. I couldn't get either to budge, not with a Forged Key, Tower Key or the Opener of Doors. What good is a Opener of Doors if it doesn't open doors? Luckily I had an Ace of Old Leader in my backpack and hacked away at the doors. There wasn't a scratch on them! It must be magic! I next tried to make my up the stairs to the landing, however this landed my in the Hat Box! I'm surprised I could fit to be perfectly honest. I had to admit defeat and continue searching.
I made my way to the Chapel, where Valeria likes to stay. I did notice a door but before I got halfway across the room Valeria stood in my way. She kept shouting that no one could pass. Well, I figure she can't stand there forever so I'll circle back later. I slowly backed out of the Chapel and turned towards the City Cemetery. I saw lone tree upon a hill and thought to explore it. However, the closer I got the the suspended rope bridge the more I realized I had set myself a hopeless task. I was losing heart in ever finding a new passage! I decided to double back and head for Metro Station. Once there I noticed some arches on the other side of the tracks. Eureka! However, that was short lived as I found myself in the Warden's Office explaining why I was crossing the tracks with an oncoming cart in my way. Hey, I never said I was smart, just curious.
Once the polite Officer let me go, I continued on my search walking down to the Residential District. I knew by now that all those keys I had been collecting were good for nothing. I also knew that all the weapons in my backpack meant nothing against an iron gate. It was at this point that I decided to make a map of all of the passages I stumbled across. I figure eventually they will go some where, right? I drew the passage on the map quickly and went down into the Limb Entrance. There was only wood covering this passage but once again I remembered the doors I tried to break through. I scribbled on my map and hoped Cloud City would give me answers than questions.
Cloud Pier was bustling by the time I got to it in the early morning hours. The Gnomes/Drawves were milling about but activity seemed to cease when I set foot off of the airship. They glared at me but I hardly paid them any attention. I grew curious about the alleyway between the Griffin Stall and the Potion Shop. I wanted to search that alley but one gnome/drawf sat atop a wagon wheel in my way. He refused to move even after I shot him with a Silver Arrow dipped in Bemusing Potion. He just grimaced and told me to move along. Perhaps there is a black market down that alley that sells items I need. Perhaps it is diamond stash! I guess for today, I have to forego that alley and continue onward.
I move towards the Rune Garden, still feeling those eyes watching me, and notice what could be a portal covered in Runes. There seems to be a Castle off in the distance. Is it the main Castle or the Castle of the Gnomes/Dwarves. I try pressing every rune but nothing happens. This search is turning out to be fruitless but I draw them on my map. I hop over the stones and find myself at the Source Gate. I pound on it and the only answer I get is a sore hand. I notice a small arch under the Rock Tree and try to crawl through but again I am pushed back some unseen force. Is there perhaps some lever or button I am missing? Perhaps I am just seeing passages where there are none.
I give up my search of Could City and head to the Elven Forest. Hopefully, I can find a new passage there to explore or write down on my ever growing map!
Ah, the Elven Forest with its clean air and peaceful solitude. I sink to my knees at the Pond of Life and take a few sips of the calming water. It's rather refreshing but tastes a bit funny. I notice a hollow in the tree and a few yellow eyes staring back at me. I decide to leave that passage alone for now. I have since used up all my Torches from the Crypt. I head next to the Forest Palace and notice a vine covered door and another hollow at the top of the tree. I try to pull the vines, chop the vines and lastly a bit of acid but nothing beats those pesky vines. They are on there tight and just won't budge. They are really strong for normal plants. I draw all of this on my map and continue on to the Tree Top. The only thing I notice here are a bunch of trees in the distance. I've learned my lesson about going forward.. I either get thrown back and run for miles without actually running for miles.
My last stop is the Dark Tower. It is just as Dark as it's name but it does have a Fireplace on the third floor. I warm myself by it and fall asleep in the chair next to it. You know for a Dark Tower it is oddly well lit. After a quick nap, I wake up and make my way to the Library and start pulling books from the shelves. I know one of them has to open a secret passage somewhere. I do hear a faint click but nothing opens. Perhaps the mechanism is stuck and needs to be oiled. I draw on my map where I heard the click come from. Sadly, I have to give up for the day. I only got more questions but I know one day some of these hidden passages will open up to me. Is one of them a black market where I can buy needed items to explore the Castle? Will I ever get behind the Source Gate to find the Dragon? I really miss that Dragon!
Ah well, the one thing I did learn today is that weapons crafted and keys earned do not open doors in the Castle or the surrounding areas. Hopefully, I have saved someone else from being thrown into the Crocodile Bush or a brush with the Kraken.
The Kraken and The Bow Figurine
After my long search for hidden passages I made my way over to the Tavern. I figured that the Innkeeper would have some stories to tell. Plus I was hungry and the water from the Pond of Life had me even more thirsty than I already was. I was surprised to find the Witch at dice table talking to Santa Claus. Yes, even I had to do a double take. I know the Castle likes to play tricks on us but come on! Santa at the dice table. I'll go with it because it is the Castle and I've seen a Kraken who can spew fire.
I wandered over and pulled up a chair. Their conversation was rather strange as it was about the Kraken or rather how to get rid of the Kraken. This perplexed me as I thought the Kraken had always been there. The Witch, is her name Arabelle, just sneered at me. Of course, she also said something along the lines of tourists know nothing. How can I be tourist? I've been here for a year! I haven't found the exit yet! Where is the exit? I guess that is question for another time. I was more concerned about the Kraken! Why was it put in Mirror Lake and more importantly why was is put on the Bow Figurine? I had my work cut out for me! I knew I couldn't ask the Kraken, it would just singe my hair again. I decided to start with the Innkeeper. I walked up to the Bar Counter and requested a pint. The Innkeeper just smiled and continued to wipe out a mug! Shouldn't that mug be gleaming by now? I asked about the Kraken but once again he just smiled and continued to wipe that blasted mug. Seriously, you are going to continue to wipe that mug when The Gaming Table has a Skeleton on it? Okay not just one Skeleton but several. Well keep on wiping that mug! I'm sure some one will answer my questions!
I decide to run over to the Dark Tower and ask Anabel. She was absolutely no help! She just kept going on and on about the Iron Knight. I knew the only thing for it was to search through every single book in the Castle. I started in the Library but that yielded no information. I made the long journey back to the Castle and the Forbidden Tower. Finally, in the Scroll Storage I found a passage in one of the scrolls. It referred to a chapter in the Healer's Folio. Yes, off I went gathering the materials to craft the blasted thing since I gave my last one to Lord Chamberlain (don't ask!).
Once I had all the materials in hand, I slowly put the pieces of the puzzle together.
I read the crafted verse front to back and was astounded. It sounded like a tale of some great myth or love story. I made my way down to Mirror Lake and visited the Bow Figurine. Sure, enough like the book said his eyes followed you where ever you went. It was creepy and slightly sad. Someone was actually trapped behind the wood!
It seems that long ago there were two people who were madly in love, Diarmuid the Leprechaun and Grainne of the Selkies. Of course, their love could not be because one was a land creature and the other water. Grainne prayed to the Keeper every night to make her love last forever and so the Keeper took pity on them. The Keeper turned Diarmuid into the Bow Figurine and Grainne into the Kraken. Now, they are bound together by the Banner of Loyalty (which keeps them together), Bear's Fury (which gives Grainne her fire) and the Seed of Life (which keeps both of their hearts beating). This was the only way the Keeper saw to be able to let them both be together in this life. Is this the Keeper of the Castle or is it another Keeper?
It is a sad tale that the only way the two could be together is for one to become wood and the other a monster. I know I will never look at either the same way! I will no longer grudgingly give up those items, knowing that it is what keeps them going. Are there more such myths sprinkled through out the Castle? Do all of them have such sad endings? Why do I always have more questions than answers? Does anyone have a tissue?
The Key Master's Shop
I cried my eyes out over The Stone Bowl after reading the Legend of Diarmuid and Grainne. I figured no one would hear me and it's not like that statue was going to talk. Was it? I guess any thing is possible in this Castle. I dried my eyes and used an Ice Key to relieve the puffiness. Hey, explorers don't have red rimmed eyes nor do they puff. I was still curious as to the passages that lead no where so I decided to go ask Trina. I knew it was a mistake when I entered the Key Master's Shop! I knew it.
"I can tell you anything for a price," she purred. Her eyes gleaming at the sight of the shards sticking out of my backpack. It took me two weeks to collect those two thousand some odd shards but her appetite was never satisfied. I yelled, I screamed, I pleaded with her to take anything else from my inventory. I offered a Pegasus egg, an Owl egg, I even offered a hard to find Snowman's egg (sorry, consortium) but she wouldn't bite. She just wanted those shards, those ever hard to find shards. I decided to take her quest in exchange for the master key she always holds in her hand.
I wandered down to the airship to see if I could get three hundred steering wheels but the offer on the table was two hundred sixty. I cursed my luck! I packed it full of Genie Lamps, Clay Tablets and Bronze Amphora sending it on its way. It paid me nicely and even dropped 3 Rare Stamps and a bag of Unique pet food. I collected my pay out and decided to wait the four hours for the next one. It is a long wait so I decided to give the Tavern another go. We all have vices and mine is dice. I sat down opposite of Santa (well his evil twin Canta Blaus) and tried my chances against the Iron Knight. He has been boosting that he was feeling lucky. Pfft, lucky! How long exactly was he in those in the Dark Tower? Iron Knight, my Aunt Patty!
We get to rolling and saw my first 150 go down the drain. I roll a 3, he rolls a four. Canta Blaus is helping him cheat, I'm sure of it. The next roll I get a 7 and he rolls a 10. My luck! He laughs and winks to Canta. I've had it by this time so I throw my dice and boom, just like a double sixes. (I've been waiting for that double six since the beginning of the event!) I gather up my 300 coins and walk away because all he could muster was snake eyes. This time I give Canta a wink as I decide to go try my luck on the Wheel of Fortune.
I get to the Wheel and to my dismay, there aren't any eggs to be had. My luck has run it's course with one throw of the dice. Look, wheel, I've only won 8 eggs off of you. It's time to put out a little! I need those eggs! Oh, my other vice is collecting pets! You'll learn as we go! I spin the blasted thing any way since it's free and STAR! So I spin again and STAR!! I spin again and yup, STAR! Three lovely stars in a row, jackpot! I'm over the moon until I spin again and it lands on the Chain of Blood Rubies! Seriously, wheel?!?! I hear Lord Chamberlain laughing his nasally laugh again. His voice either booms throughout the Castle or he is seriously using some Vampire mind control! It could even be that Mind Binds I gave him ages ago! He really is a piece of work, taking pleasure in some one elses pain. I glare at the Wheel of Torture, er Fortune, one last time, pick up my back pack and set out to visit the butterflies in Forest Palace. They do really beautiful dances when it gets close to dusk. I have time to kill so might as well do it somewhere serene.
I settle down onto a rock and pull a Forgotten Relic from my backpack. It's just something to study while I pass the time. As the time passes I forget about Trina's quest for all the shards I collect and relax. However, you can never relax for too long in or near the Castle. I hear a rustling in the trees and out swoops Owlsly, my pet owl. He gives one little hoot before dropping a silver chest... right on my foot. Great! He vanishes off into the night sky with another hoot and I swear I hear that nasally laughter again! It has to be the Mind Binds! I decide enough time has passed and make my way back to the airship. Wait! It's a sleigh now. Oh, this Castle! I try talking to the reindeer pulling the sleigh but they make an angry huff, drop 210 steering wheels and vanish! Yes, they just vanish! "Hey, you didn't give me all of my steering wheels," I scream after the sleigh but it was too late. I only got credit for the other 40 I needed. Great!
It wasn't a bad deal, I got what I needed and extra so I head back to Trina.
I enter Trina's lair and hand over 300 steering wheels but my hands tightened over the 200 shards. She just plucked them out of my hand like a I was a small child holding a lolly!
"Greedy woman," I muttered.
"I may be greedy but you need my keys, yes?"
"You only give ONE key," I yelled, "ONE tiny key for all those shards!"
"One key to rule them all," she snapped! She pointed her finger at me and her wolf pups came running.
I ran through the shop and up into the Belfry. I felt much safer with the crows and skeleton up there then with her. I poked around a bit and came up with a Polestar, I figured it would come in handy later. I had my newly minted key, it was still a bit hot actually, so I set out to try it on the doors of the Castle and the surrounding areas. Do you know what I found out? It opens, nothing! NOTHING! I had been had not by the Key Master but by the Shard Shark. My shards, my beautifully blue shards! If only I had a Drop of Time in my backpack, I would go back and undo it all. I headed back to the Key Master's Shop only to find the door locked. There was a sign on the door, "Rahia, thanks for the Shards! We open again at 7am, bring more shards!"
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I feel to my knees! I needed another box of tissues! I finally came to realize that it was not the Key Master's Shop but something more sinister. In that moment of clarity, I vowed never to do another quest for Trina...