Party deaths: 9
On our way to the Dungeon of Destard to find the eighth and final stone, I overheard our law firm partners, Jaana and Tubbs, discussing the possibility of selling the rights to our story to a film studio in Trollywood. Imagine, my life on the big screen, in a 3-hour docudrama by award-winning actors. Or maybe a cheesy Indian musical...
We stopped in Moonglow to fill our bellies with food. Andrea Mario, the friendly old deli proprietor, stood outside his establishment as if he'd been waiting for us. With outstretched arms and a big smile, he said, "'ey, Sausalito, why you no a-come to see me no more? You no a-love your Uncle Andrea?"
"You know I'd visit you three times a day if I could, Andrea," I answered, embracing him. "Say, could you give us a vat of your antispaghetti?"
"For you, I a-make my best."
He hauled out the vat of pasta, which, despite his promise, was really no better than what he served everyone else. Still, you could tell that he'd prepared it with lots of love.
"You should talk to my brothers," he said, referring to his two brothers that had made quite a name for themselves in the plumbing industry. "They give you good, steady job. You can a-jump high?"
"I do have a pretty mean vertical, yeah."
"You a-talk to them, then. They set you up very nice-ah."
"Oh, I'd much rather work for you, Uncle Andrea!"
"Oh, no, Mio bambino, you no want to work in a ristorante. It's a-bad news for young boy like you. Lord British, he a-force me out with his snack company. He ruin everything, everybody! You give him a punch in the face for me!"
"Will do, uncle. Arrivederci." We rode away on horse, except for Geoffrey who ran on foot so that he could carry the heavy vat of antispaghetti.
At the mouth of the dungeon cave, we brought Shamino and Dupre back from the dead (we'd held off on resurrecting them in order to save on food), holed up to regain some health, and then plunged back into subterranea. Despite its unpleasant name, the Dungeon of Destard was fairly tame. Although we did run into some unfrozen caveman lawyers who'd gone cannibal crazy...
Apparently, these guys wanted to kill, dry, and process us into Frosted Sugar Avatar-Ohs™. (Stays virtuous in milk!) Still, the release document seemed legitimate to our well-trained legal eyes, so we signed it. Then we chopped the hungry men into Manbeef.
On level 7, we pried the red stone from the forehead of some drooling, incoherent twerp who'd been wandering the dungeons for too long. Who knows what the devil possessed him to come down here? We didn't really care, because finally, our rock collection was complete! We cheered as loudly as we could without attracting beasts. Even the skull of Mondain did a somersault with a skillful flip of its jawbone. "Congratulations!" it said. "You now have all eight stones needed to get the three-part key, your one-way ticket to doom! I tricked many people to their deaths in my time, but I never had it as easy as Lord British, who just sits on his throne while his seven lackeys dig their own graves. I think the Darwin Award committee will stop taking nominations now."
"Mondain," asked an annoyed Tubbs, "did you talk this much in your living years?"
"No. I preferred writing letters. Can't do that without hands, now can I, you spoony bard? Mar har ha—"
Before Mondain could finish his evil laugh, Tubbs, in one swift motion, tore off the skull's jawbone and jammed it into an eye socket. "Come on," he said to us in a businesslike fashion as he walked on, "let's head to the altars." We were all shocked to see the usually laid-back bard lash out like that. Even the rearranged skull managed to look stunned, and said not a word more for the rest of the day.
We took the ladder down to level 8 so that we could begin using the stones immediately. In the Truth, Love, and Courage altar rooms, we placed the stones representing the corresponding virtues into each altar. And thusly we obtained the three parts of the three-part key. Boom-boom-boom, done and done.
We warped back to the surface. Since our altar visits had placed us in the Dungeon of Hythloth, we were now on the island of the Abyss, far from the mainland. Not a problem, because whichever demon did groundskeeping there had thoughtfully replaced the balloon we had taken on our last visit to the island. As we floated west, I felt happy that I wouldn't have to spelunk any more dungeons until it was time to descend into the Abyss.
After getting healed at Lord Lunchmeat's castle, we went to Buccaneer's Den to buy the Magic Wand or Magic Bow from the arms shop there. I thought our 1500 gold would surely be enough to buy one of these treasures. When the arms dealer crossed his arms and shook his head no, I was a mite peeved: