In the armor shop of Paws, we attended a demonstration of the new ablative pseudo-chitin depleted uranium plate, "for those moments when you just have to survive." The cheery salesman had his hapless, scrawny assistant put on a breastplate made of the stuff, which took several minutes of heaving and stumbling since it was so heavy. Then, with his assistant nearly doubled over from the weight of the thing, the salesman asked Geoffrey to hit the assistant as hard as he could to demonstrate the material's impregnability. Our brawny basher obliged, giving the assistant a haymaker right in the face. The poor little guy shot backwards through the wall, leaving hole in it big enough to walk through.
To our surprise, a magic shop was on the other side; I could have prevented a lot of my earlier poisoning deaths had I known about it. "Finally, some customers!" said the magic shop clerk. The tiny store really was just a hole in the wall, but garlic was in season at only 2 gold per bulb, allowing us to buy enough to make the body butter that Tubbs liked to rub in his armpits.
We went to Skara Brae to take advantage of their lower prices for other reagents, then redeemed some coupons at the Taste of Moonglow to buy a lot of food (authentic New York nixie chowder and frozen cyclopsicles). Ready for more adventuring, we entered the Dungeon of Covetous, not far from Minoc, the town of sacrifice. Toughened by our previous dungeon quests, we didn't footle about this time. We went in, got the orange stone, and got out. Not that there weren't challenges. On Level 4, we had to escape the hungry wrath of cannibal skeletons.
We also had to contend with a copse of reapers. These trees played dirty: they pelted us with unfairly diagonal fireballs, cast mass sleep about every other turn, and attacked us even while we were unconscious. But we mulched them in the end. On Level 7, we'd stumbled into a turf war between the Joints and the Spines, the two undead gangs fighting for control of this west side dungeon.
We tried to run right between the gangs without getting caught in the melee, but, in all the fighting and dancing confusion, Shamino got stuck in the ribs with a switchblade and fell backward into Jaana's arms. "Jaana," he gasped, "go on... complete quest... remember me... must... drag... out... last... words... with... ellipses..." Jaana wept as he expired. Ever since Shamino found the Bell of Courage, he hadn't needed Jaana's friendly flirtation to keep him brave and in high spirits. Still, it was apparent that there was some attachment between them. Even I had to choke back a tear.
The skull of Mondain, affixed to Mariah's magic staff as an ornament, said, "Wow, it looks you fools can't complete a simple dungeon romp without screwing up somewhere. If I still had a body, I'd be wearing my 'I'm With Knave' T-shirt right now. Actually, I'd be wearing it all the time. It shouldn't take the average person this long to complete a 20-year old game with maps and hints, but I suppose you guys aren't average. Mee hee hee!"
Mariah opened a jar of flaming oil and poured it on the skull. "Nooo!" Mondain shrieked from within the blazing fireball. "You'll harden my calcites! I worked so hard so keep my enamel baby-soft!" We ditched our torches since Mondain turned out to be a good lantern.
When we reached the orange stone pedestal, we were disheartened to see that two other adventurers had reached it first.
But the young squires didn't seem to mind us taking the orange stone, more interested instead in laughing at Dupre's "pole" weapon.
With seven rocks in our collection, we tried to cleverly use the altar rooms to reach the dungeon Destard where we could get the eighth. Along the way, we crossed a two-room bridge that spanned an underground lake from which tentacled beasts tried to pull us down.
We kept ending up in dungeons other than Destard, and eventually gave up and warped back to the surface. We'll just have to enter Destard through the boring old front door.