Snail's Trail

Road Trip

Standing in Alfred’s room, staring at the weird safe, the adrenaline from the fight started to wear off. As the party realized how exhausted they were Adam leaned against the safe, causing it to shift in its cubby hole. A tiny bit of wiggling freed the safe from the confines of the hole built into the wall. It looked as if the relatively new safe was made to fit into the much older cubby but someone had failed to make the necessary modifications to the cubby to secure it.

Adam, Uffe and Vivienne took the safe back to their room. They tucked it into Vivienne’s closet and returned to their beds, and their rudely interrupted sleep. After two and three hours of sleep respectively Vivienne and Adam fell asleep immediately. Worry about recent events keept Uffe tossing and turning in his bed. Eventually he gives up on sleeping there and went out into the sitting room with some blankets and pillows. With a small amount of effort he shoved one of the couches up against Vivienne’s door, then he lay down to sleep on it.

The ‘THUD’ of a door slamming closed and heavy footsteps woke him the next morning as Hank clomped into the room, chewing on one end of a cigar and beaming around. While he showered and changed into his regular clothes Uffe did the same. The two returned the sitting room furniture to it’s usual arrangement while Uffe struggled to convince Hank to take him on a road trip.

The two went to breakfast together and Uffe kept at it until Hank agreed to drive him to Mississinewa Lake. They went to get Ruth’s vehicle from the valet, who had filled it with gas while he had it, and follow the instructions Vivienne printed out back at Booker’s house. They pulled into the main parking area where they showed their map to one of the park employees. The woman gave them directions to the old cemetery and ‘Frances Slocum Information center’.

While they drove as close to the ‘X’ as they can get the car Uffe reviews the note Booker wrote on this map. “I often find myself wondering about the being who designed these hollows. Who were these dangerous puzzles supposed to keep out? Who were they supposed to let in? It seems like such a lot of effort to go to, A Hollow for each artifact, unique deterrents to random visitors… perhaps I will know soon. This is the last of the State Parks. The Chalice must be here.” This was the last place Booker had gone to look, but the first place that Jeffery Wagner had gone to hunt.

The cemetery had started out it’s existence as an Indian Burial ground. Frances Slocum was the last member of the tribe left to claim this place, and she and her children were the last ones buried there. Most of the tombstones were tipped, battered or broken in some way. Uffe closed his eyes and ‘tasted’ the magic of this place, focusing in on a location that had a familiar ‘flavor’. He opened his eyes to look around the spot that reminded him so much of the Flower, the mound and the thorn hounds and found himself standing in the center of a square with one grave site at each of it’s corners. Three of those sites still had legible tombstones and he studied each of them intently.

John Auten
1810- 1837
I am the first of my fellows
But can also stand alone
Initiate of Alpha
And Omega’s end I be
Herald to the Angels
While leading anarchy

Gerald Knox
1800- 1827
I am first born of God
The end of the beginning
Amidst the angels
But nowhere to be found
In the universe

Schuyler Colfax
1814- 1841
The beginning of eternity
The end of time and space
The beginning of every end
And the end of every place

Hank came over to study the tombstones along side Uffe, pointing out that each of the inhabitants of these graves had died at the age of 27, and each of their inscriptions were both odd and biblical. After some study of three of my all time favorite riddles (which I am nowhere near good enough to have written for myself) Uffe realized that each referenced something on the tombstones, and when those somethings were pressed the fourth gravesite opened up into a hole in the ground. Zelda music played in the heads of all the players, cause we’re nerds like that.

Hank was the first to jump down into the hole. He found himself dropping down the chimney of a one room building. The door had long since rotted away, as had the wooden shelves, and possibly some wooden furniture. Bits of broken pottery littered the dirt floor, but the stone walls were still standing solidly. Hank tried to get Uffe’s attention by throwing bits of pottery up the chimney, but that failed. He climbed back up the shaft to coax the scholar down into the strange world beneath the old burial ground.

Outside the door was a formerly manicured lawn, a space about the width of a football field separated the building they had emerged into from a much larger rather grecco-roman structure. As they walked away from the doorway back into the real world they glanced back at what was probably some sort of ground’s keeper’s cottage… or perhaps a shed.

The Greco-roman building and the smaller structure shared the peaceful square space, a tiny Arcadian realm carved out of the hedge but with no apparent access to it. The larger building sat in the exact center of the space, it’s large double doors carved with images of strange animals and partially ajar. Hank knocked loudly, more than hard enough to open the doors.

Inside the building were torch sconces and an old fashioned candelabra, but nothing was lit. All the light in the place spilled in through the high windows. A sign at the top of the back wall read “Museum of Unnatural History”. On the floor four taxidermied creatures surrounded a roped off depression in the floor with a star shaped deeper depression at the center. One point faced the door. Each of the animals stood at one of the other points facing the star and with a placard in front of them.

Eagle Eyed Lycanthrope
The Eagle Eyed Lycanthrope can be found in the dark forests of the north. Their acute vision allows them to see prey at great distances, even in poor lighting. The are obligate carnivores and will happily eat mammals, fish or foul. As lycanthropes the species does not propagate through normal reproduction, but instead through biting unfortunate victims. The lycanthropic saliva forms an alchemical reaction with the blood of the victim, afflicting the victim with lycanthropy. Eagle Eyed Lycanthropes can only convert victims with exceptional vision.

Rare Aquatic Tiger
This large hunting cat can be found in tropical jungles, swamps and near large lakes. A vicious hunter on land, this cat has an advantage over other hunters during lean times. The Rare Aquatic Tiger has a membrane in its nasal passages that can absorb oxygen from fresh water. When under water, the Tiger takes water in through it’s nose then pushes it out through its mouth. Because of this the Rare Aquatic Tiger can gather food from both land and water.

Balerian Articulated Tarantula
This fierce arachnid is found exclusively in the sands of the deep desert. Its legs have numerous extra joints allowing the creature to burrow through sand and change direction at any angle. The creature typically spend its days under the sand, listening for the passage of creatures above. When something passes by overhead, the Balerian Articulated Tarantula can forcefully eject itself from the sand, landing on the hapless prey and devouring it. The tarantula can eat animals as large as a camel in one serving.

Giant Nocturnal Unthbeast
The Giant Nocturnal Unthbeast can be found in ruins near seacoasts. The Unthbeast prefers cool, moist places to keep its body slimy and supple. During the day and Unthbeast can blend in with a pile of boulders. At night it hunts, using its eyestalks to see in all directions at once. The Giant Nocturnal Unthbeast cannot move quickly, but typically seizes its prey using surprise.

On the back wall a smaller sign hung at about head level for Hank. It read “Please don’t attempt to feed the animals. They are very picky.” Below the sign was a row of bins. Each bin was full of pellets. From right to left they were labeled: Ant, Bat, Cat, Dog, Eel, Fox, Gnu, Hen, Man, Owl, Rat, Yak, Salt and Pepper.

After some thought Hank clambered up on top of the Unthbeast while Uffe shoved pellets into its octopus like beak. They were worried that if they had chosen wrong the animal would come to life and attack them (they were right btw). They needn’t have worried however, the Unthbeast merely lifted it’s tail and shat out a round coin with a triangular hole in the center.

The coin matched a depression in the floor at the tip of the star and the base of the Unthbeast’s placard. Properly feeding the other creatures produced similar coins with different geometric shapes cut out of them that fit into other similar depressions. When Hank placed the final coin in front of the tarantula the floor opened up beneath him. He grab frantically for the Tarantula’s podium, suddenly suspended over what was at least a sixty foot drop. From his angle he could easily see the rope ladder tied up beneath the part of the star that faced the door and a monster that haunted his nightmares.

Despite his precarious position hanging from a pedestal Hank flashed back to an arena battle in Yahuli. He, and all the gladiator’s in his cellblock were lead blinking out into the blazing desert sunlight. They stood there, unsure what they were supposed to fight, then the announcer’s voice echoed around them “AAAAANNNNDDDD NOW THE King’s gladiators will face his FNAGGLE!” Slowly and entire section of the bleachers shifted upwards as the sand poured downwards into a massive and growing tunnel. The orange and black figure of the King’s champion backed slowly into the arena, holding a bag of something above his head and shaking it enticingly. An enormous creature followed behind him, serpentine neck reaching out for the bag, snaggle toothed maw slightly open, piggy bloodshot eyes focused on its prize as six stout legs drug it up the tunnel’s steep incline. Only as it got close enough to smell did the gladiator’s realize how big the thing was. Hank himself was about the size of a toe. It wheezed a happy sigh when it reached flat ground. Then reached out for the bag with a long, slimy, prehensile tongue. At that moment the champion vanished. The thing, Fnaggle, gave a keening wail of disappointment. Suddenly its head snapped around, its tongue lashed out, and it swallowed a gladiator whole. The twenty of them fought hard to survive that day, and three of them succeeded. They didn’t truly defeat the Fnaggle, however. It simply got tired of eating them, laid down, and went to sleep.

Hank shook off the flashback and pulled himself up onto the floor of the museum. The Fnaggle below the museum’s door lifted it’s ugly head thoughtfully, gazing up at the first intruders it had seen in a very long time. Behind the Fnaggle was another set of double doors, much too small for the Fnaggle to fit through. Directly below the door was a series of large lettered tiles arranged thusly:


After a few moments of study Uffe managed a successful enough roll that I highlighted a section of the puzzle for him, both a starting place and an instruction. From there he and Hank deciphered it the rest of the way, and they realized what they probably needed to get past the Fnaggle.

Uffe threw a handful of the stuff down onto the tiles below, and the Fnaggle licked it up, then looked up, eager for more. After a moment of discussion they decided to use what they had to lure the Fnaggle away from the door. Uffe stripped his shirt off so that they could use it for a bag. They packed it full and tied it up. As they clambered down the rope ladder the Fnaggle reared upon on it’s hind leg’s, head swaying dangerously around them as it tried to grab Uffe’s bundled shirt. They went back up into the museum for a moment of discussion, then Uffe took off his shoes and socks. He put his shoes back on, filled one sock from his shirt and stuffed it into the other sock, packing pepper around it to hide the scent of his treasure. They threw the shirt down into a corner far from the door and started climbing down again.

The Fnaggle grabbed the shirt, tearing it in its eagerness. It licked and slobbered, eyes glazing over. It swayed a little drunkenly, staggered around in a circle, and fell asleep. Uffe and Hank gained the hallway safely. I was going to fill this hallway with traps and monsters, and give the party a picture of the hallway, making them identify the dangers from the clues in the picture, however, my arts skills failed me, so you guys got a nice, clear, safe hallway. I should at least have put a giant tarantula down here or something, but whatever. I’m nice sometimes.

At the end of the hallway was a wall. On the wall was a shield, trimmed in metal and riveted. Inside the shield was a spiral of little squares each with an image and a number on it. Each of the squares wiggled a bit, like buttons. Neither of the characters recognized the nature of the scene on the shield (Their rolls worse than sucked) but after a few moments of staring at it Hank noticed letters on the rivets. The riddle seemed almost too simple, as did the solution they tried, but the wall swung open when they pressed the last button to reveal a very simple, rather old fashioned door.

Beyond the door was the home of Magrathea Donita Morrow. A plaque over the door of the main rooms told you so. The area was a caldera, an almost circular valley surrounded by forested mountain sides. The cottage was carved into the side of the mountain. A stable attached to it, also carved into the stone. The farm and gardens that the animals those stalls had housed was thickly overgrown and wild, but Hank managed to find himself a large, ripe tomato. It took the edge off the saltiness of the rat pellets he’d been nibbling on since the Museum. A large flower garden, as overgrown as the farm area, occupied one side of the caldera. It was once a perfect circle surrounding a large stone one side of which had been planed smooth and inscribed with runes. Doors to smaller dwellings dotted the cliff side and an outhouse was tucked discreetly between some stones. A small stone with the initials MDM inscribed on it was in the overgrowth next to the door of the main dwelling.

After some work they deciphered the runes to receive the following message:

Or Dead as can
A Nearby throw
Or the pits in
Place Me Against myself

They obeyed and this letter shimmered into existence.

My friend, If you find this letter here and myself missing then I have failed. I know the risk I take remaining, but I cannot flee before I ensure the safety of the Chalice. I do not blame it for preferring a beautiful young girl with flowers in her hair to a wrinkled old hag like myself, but the timing of it’s little crush could not have been worse as I know that Tonatiuh has set hunters on my trail.

I have hidden the other artifacts quite thoroughly, so please plant the Chalice here in the place I have prepared for it. I am certain that only something that still remembers its humanity will be able to pierce my defense, and no such creature would want the Hunters of Yahuli to have free access to the human world. I know that my actions will not prevent them from continuing their horrible rituals, but without these artifacts they should be reduced to simply trading with Goblins for slaves rather than bending Arcadia and the hedge in such a way that they have free access to as many humans as they desire. We have already seen what they choose to do with such power.

You will need to be wary of the mirror. It has already comprehended my plan and started to turn the hedge around it and the pacts that I bound it with to its own advantage. We are fortunate in that it does not desire to return to Yahuli, but its depredations could be as bad for humanity as those of its masters. Remember that self sacrifice is the key to dealing with it, never sacrifice another to it or you will make yourself a slave to its machinations.

I fear the Crown is lost to us for ever and I merely hope that it will never fall into hands that know how to use it. I should have made the hallows I created more complicated from the get-go, but I had too much trust in my fellows and now the Crown has been stolen. I have tied the warding I created around its Hallow to the opening of hedge that give access to Yahuli. Hopefully this will keep humans from wandering into their tunnels and deserts on accident.

Hank and Uffe discussed their discoveries in the comfort of the little home and its garden before returning to the SUV. As they were clambering into the vehicle a large, gleaming, brand new truck pulled in beside them. Debbie, Charles’ personal assistant, hopped out of the driver’s side while Adam made his way around the truck from the other side. Debbie had arrived at the suite the party was occupying shortly after Hank and Uffe left, bearing Hank and Adam’s boons. Her knock upon the door woke Adam who gladly took possession of his new identity and discussed Hank’s possible whereabouts with her. The two had spent the morning driving around the state parks in search of the missing giant.

Debbie was eager to hand over the keys to the truck, she planned to have a friend pick her up at the park. The group convinced her to take Ruth’s SUV back to Warsaw for them. They cleared their stuff out of it, and tucked their belongings under the protective cab covering the bed of Hank’s new truck. They left her to refuel the SUV while they took off in their freshly refueled truck heading for Oubache State Park. It was only a bit past noon, and they figured they could get a second mystery cleared up before heading back to Fort Wayne to pick up Vivienne.

They had to walk quite a ways through the park to get to the location of the X. Eventually they found themselves standing in a formerly marshy area. Reeds and cattails usually grew in the mucky soil here, but only their corpsesremained on the now dry plot. Grass was already starting to claim the place for its own. They read the riddle on the map again, then kicked around looking for the stump of a tree, since no actual trees were anywhere near the place where they could sense an opening. They didn’t find one, and Uffe studied the riddle harder, trying to see what he might have missed.

I die in flames of gold and red.
In cold white ash I stand there dead.
‘Till life again flows through my veins,
And youth recloaks my bare remains.
A solemn phoenix I exist,
‘Till different flames I can’t resist,
Consume me to the very core,
And dead I lie forever more.

Hank grew bored with waiting and decide to show off, racing toward the nearest tree, a small ash, and tackling it. He ripped it from the ground roots and all, then trotted back to the group to shove it into the soil beside Uffe. “You want a tree? Well here’s a tree.” He started to pose next to it, one arm wrapped proprietarily around it, but jerked back in surprise when it stated to shudder and twist. In the space of seconds it grew, quadrupling in size and splitting down the middle so that its two trunks formed a doorway.

Hank stepped through the passage into the hedge without a second thought, but Uffe and Adam squabbled in front of it for a while first. Uffe tried to shove Adam through, but Adam grabbed Uffe as he fell and the two passed through the portal together. Because of this Hank had plenty of time to tread water on the other side of the narrow stone hoop and ledge, gazing around at rocky cliffed islands and white sand beaches while waiting for the others to join him.

The argument in the real world made the other two a bit less capable of adjusting to the sudden change in their environment. Neither managed to get any purchase on the stone ledge, despite being small enough to fit upon it. Adam struggled to the surface of the salty water, sputtering and treading water with some difficulty, but Uffe hit his head on the ledge while falling and sank like a stone. Hank dove down after him, finding him easily in the crystal clear water despite the salt burning his eyes. Even dragging the scholar’s limp form he beat Adam to the nearest beach. He paused for a moment, uncertain what to do about the unbreathing archivist, then shoved down on the other man’s stomach to make him spit up the water he had swallowed. When that worked he flipped the other changeling over and patted his back roughly to try and get him breathing.

Uffe woke with a headache and a mouth full of sand. He glanced up the Cliffside, eyes following a trail along the rocks then looked over at the waterfall which carved a divot out of the beach, a thin veil of water trickling down the stone above the entrance to a half submerged cave. They decided to see what was on top of the island before exploring it’s innards and clambered up the cliff trail. At the top of the trail they found a barren plateau and a square concrete building with a single door. Hank opens the door easily despite the protesting squeak of long unoiled hinges. Inside they find food and ship supplies. While Uffe studied the single door Adam took some hatchets and a length of rope and Hank studied the barrels of salted pork.

The door was closed and locked. On the left side of it was a box holding four balls: white, red, blue and green. On right side of the door is a ledge with four concave depressions in it. Above the ledge was a lever. On the door the following message was carved.

If on a plate you are placing white, If green an red together be,
Ne’er can the blue be at its right. Then red and blue to right must be,
Green must never abut the red, If ye place green on a pan,
Unless you’re seeking to be dead. Place the blue at its right hand.
At either end, place no white, When blue in pan ye have placed
If ye would live out the night. On either side white must grace.
Place no blue at the right side, When placing red upon the scene,
Unless the red far left abides. Then to the left must be the green.
When placing blue it must be said, A white ball placed into the pan
To either side you must place red. Requires red on either hand


Uffe read over the instructions multiple times, then decided that there was absolutely no way to follow them. Too many of the carved statements were mutually contradictory. He choose to ignore most of the instructions, but did try to avoid the wire strung across the hallway beyond the door at head height. Hank failed to do the same, impeded by the mass of his bulk, and fells though the floor to slide down into a pit trap. In the pit he found a wooden frame decorated by a spread eagled skeleton in rotting clothes. On the skeleton he found a satchel containing a map. Adam and Uffe lowered him some rope, tying it off on a door for Hank to climb up. The group then proceeded warily down the hallway by the light Hank produced from invoking his mantle.

They came to another room full of supplies, these were the sorts of things one would use to repair a ship. Against one wall was a safe. It was big enough for most of the characters to walk inside of. As tall as Hank, metal outside, wood paneled inside, open and empty, the 5 alphabet dials were set to Gromm. They found the following note torn in half on the floor.

I’m the bet that you can’t lose.
For good join me to fail.
I am the harbor you should choose
When waters rough you sail.
And when the markets turn awry,
And when your holdings start to dry,
And high-risk ventures make you cry;
Hear what the bank espouses.
A simile will save the day
As I’m compared to houses.
No need to look beyond the gate,
For inside the treasure waits.


Uffe is certain that the riddle refers to the empty safe and plays with the lock to confirm that Gromm is the combination. Adam takes one of his hatchets and pries the paneling off the inside of the safe finding an eye patch in the door. He wears it and says ‘ARRRR’. Hank stares blankly, more than a little bemused by this place.

Beyond the room was another tunnel like hallway. This one lead to a sheltered cove, a rough stone jetty and a two-masted ship. She was coal black and anchored fore and aft with her stern dug into the sand. She was about a hundred feet long and twenty feet wide. The gangplank was down.

Lying on the deck next to the gunwhale was a skeleton. It spoke to them when they boarded “Do one o ye Be the new captain?” Adam told the skeleton that he was the new captain. “Well, captain I be the first mate. The crew and I be enough to sails this here vessel, the Midnight Runner, just as soon as we have all o the pieces of eight.” the skeleton said. “We be needin the Spyglass, the Parrot, the Eyepatch, the Captain’s Hat, Cutlass, the Jolly Roger, the Bosun’s Whistle and the Treasure Map. Six Pieces be on the Runner, the other two be’s on the island somewheres.,, Oh, wait, it look like ye have the Eyepatch and the map.”

The party could see the Captain’s quarters from where they were standing, and all three of them headed there. Beyond the door they found a room richly adorned with fading opulence. Maritime paintings hung on the walls. Quills, papers, and crumbling bits of maps scattered the desk. Shelves covered in knicknacks framed the bed : empty perfume bottles, coral pieces, and old books being consumed by black mold. A large chest labeled captain’s hat sat against the back wall. It had a small circular hole instead of a keyhole and the inscription:

Twisting, turning, ever boring
As I delve toward the core.
Then at last my arms are squeezed
When I can spin no more.
My single fang holds to its prey
Though I shall never eat.
Instead the path is newly cleared
So you can have a treat.

Uffe was certain he knew what was needed, and he headed for the Galley where he thought he could find it.
Nothing fit for human consumption waited for him there, but he did find, pots, utensils, whisks, spoons, spatulas, corkscrews, potato peelers, brass spoons, forks and knives. He grabbed what he needed and headed back to get the Hat.

On his way into the Captain’s quarters for the second time he encountered Adam coming back from thee foredeck with Hank. There they had met a sad looking skeletal sailor. He explained that he used to be the lookout, but ever since his eyes rotted away he can’t see a thing without the Spyglass. He offered to give them the key to the store room if they brought the Spyglass to him, when they found it.

Hank climbed up into the rigging to head to the Crow’s nest. In the rigging he talked to a skeleton who was chasing and cursing at a parrot. The first mate knew how to catch it, but only told him a riddle:
A net to catch a fisherman
With no need to reel it in.
A net that when on land you see
Lets you swing from tree to tree
A net that’s used up in the air
Many finding solace there.

Hank called down to Uffe and Adam as they emerged from the Captain’s quarter’s, telling them what they needed to catch the parrot, then continued up to the Crow’s nest. There he found a skeletal watchman, some crows and their leavings. He engaged the skeleton in conversation, pointing out that the other skeleton was supposed to be a lookout. The irritated, bird feces covered skeleton responded “He can’t be the lookout now that his eyes have rotted away, now can he?” Hank shrugged in agreement then clambered down to meet the other two coming back from their hunt empty handed.

In their exploration they had come across the storeroom. It was locked and barred but inside they could see: candles, bars of soap, fishing rods with line and hook attached, needles, thread, leather, canvas, rope, buckets, mops… really all the sorts of things you’d expect from a storeroom. They also found the crew quarters, but instead of finding what they were looking for they found a completely cleared space where the crew was engaging in a bowling competition. They said everyone was invited to play, winner gets a big cup of grog, but you have to bring your own ball. They had found what they were looking for later, guarded by a very gloomy skeleton. “ Did you know, I haven’t laughed in fifty years? I used to laugh all the time, now I’m as stern as a stove.” “My name is Roger, but I haven’t been Jolly in forever. We can’t go anywhere till I’m jolly again, but I can’t figure out what it is that I need.” ‘Tell you what, if you can make me laugh I’ll give you my hammock here. I’ll be too Jolly for sleeping anymore.” “The first mate knows, but all I could get from him was this riddle.”
Sightless sends an arrow straight.
Akin to nothing is its weight.
Like fur it grows on hairless head.
Never sleeps yet stays in bed. The one ye need is midnight black,
When vitality is what ye lack.

No one was sure what the riddle meant, but Hank was excited by the thought of bowling. He charged off to the cannons, looking for something he could use as a ball. He found an entire rack with a triangle of holes in them. He grabbed one in each hand and headed for the crew quarters. He won his first round easily and downed his grog with great gusto. It made him tipsy enough to loose his second game, but he won the third time. After that he decided he’d been playing around for long enough and went to find the others. On his way he encountered a skeleton sitting by himself, in one hand he held a glass, in the other a bottle that had likely been empty since before Hank was born. “I’m drinking to forget… to forget what I used to be…I used to be a master spy… There was nothing that I didn’t know…now look at me, a worthless pile of bones trapped on this rotting ship.” “NO you can’t have my glass, I need it…I might trade it for a real cup of grog though.” Hank didn’t want to part with his grog, but decided that the Spy’s glass was more important. (This is when DC started playing the Zelda music for us whenever the group gained possession of a quest item) Hank stopped at the anchor while looking for the others. There a gang of skeletons sat around the anchor capstan. “Sorry sir- we ain’t going anywhere till we can raise the anchor. Over the years we’ve waited here the handspikes have rotted away and without the we can’t turn the capstan” “sure there‘s something that‘ll do it, but none o us can figure out the riddle”
Toothpick fit for giant’s maw,
One end flat and one end dull,
No eyes are found, nor teeth are seen,
In this odd shaped scull.
Pull it if you need a push;
Don’t keep it up if in a rush.

Hank thinks of something he saw in the life boats while he was in the crow’s nest and races off to get it, stopping to get the store room key on his way. While Hank was fooling around Uffe and Adam went to the armory looking for a cutlass. Old cutlasses and broken muskets lay scattered on the floor. The only whole cutlass in the room was the one inside the large crystal bolted to the wall. Carved into the crystal was the following riddle:

A graveyard where no coffins lie
Where thousands live and millions die.
The tombstone made by those no more
A home for many in their core.
A colony of poison threads
Rising up from the death bed.
Uncounted blades to flay your skin
Or sink the ship you’re riding in.

Like a knife to butter it is the key,
To open me up, scratch it on me

Uffe immediately knew what he needed and headed back up towards the captain’s cabin. The entire group met again at the mainmast where something glittering and fast moving was being chased by a skeletal sailor. To catch the Bosun’s whistle they needed:
A wand that casts no spells
Aligns lines, flies flies
Feeds prey then pulls them away
Wet threat, angle dangle

They solved the problem quickly, making use of that storeroom key Hank had gotten from the lookout. Then they stood on the deck trying to figure out how to make Roger Jolly again and catch the parrot. Eventually Hank just started listing everything he could think of that was bed related, eventually stopping when he named something that worked. He’d seen one earlier and remembered where to get it.

Once they had everything needed to make Adam the captain the first mate gave him a pirate coin, telling him that the midnight Runner would be at his service should he need her. No more dips in the drink for HIM. Next time he came through the doorway they’d be waiting with the gunwhale resting on the ledge so he could have a fine dry walk to his ship. The ship set sail after that taking them to another smaller island marked on the treasure map (Jaguar Island). They followed a long spiral trail up the island’s central mountain and came to an old Mayan looking temple. Inside they found a statue of an ancient warrior wearing a jaguar skin. Hank took the skin and put it on, completely vanishing from perception. None of Uffe or Adam’s senses registered Hank while he was wearing the skin.

For Hank the wearing of the cloak was a mind bending, experience… rather like a trip booked with magic mushrooms. Arcadia spread out around him, realms floating like bubbles in a mass of seething chaos. The hedge twisted around them, writhing and shifting like a chain of worms. Eternity was visible to his eyes, perspective a thing of the past. With focus he could have seen past immeasurable distances. He took the skin off slightly shaken, but with no damage to his clarity.



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