On the adventure stories, I always promise I’ll re-run them so readers can find out where a different set of choices will lead. That’s half the fun of the Choose Your Own Adventure books, right? Well, since I’m on vacation, it seemed like the perfect time to post a second run to an adventure story.
So, today starts your adventure. Since this one’s already been run once, if you’re interested in seeing the first set of choices, check out Temple of Night and Wind under the categories, then come back and make today’s choice. Choose wisely, you never know what you’ll find deep in the earth where the sun doesn’t shine.
(For those of you who are nerds like me, this is a nod to the Elder Scrolls Skyrim.)
Temple of Night and Wind
Tucked way back in a mass of twisting rocks that sprout like moles from the forest floor sits a mouth to a cave. It’s low to the ground and hard to see but you know what it is as soon as you see it. It’s the Howling Maw.
People say it eats people. Those who go in rarely come back. But they also say the few who make it back to daylight come back stronger and richer.
You’ve been out hunting but haven’t found anything. No one’s been finding game lately. You and the others are starving but you’re from a poor village, so it’s not like you can buy the food you need, you have to shoot it or grow it and it’s a lean year.
- Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.
You’d never consider going into the Howling Maw otherwise, but if you make it back, you can buy the food everyone needs. And you have your hunting bow and knife. You’re better armed than most in the village.
So you venture down. The Maw surrounds you and then darkness takes over and you can’t see a thing. Trailing a hand along the right wall, your left rests on the bow over your shoulder. The floor slopes downward sharply and gravel crunches on stone at every step. Your breath echoes in your ears. It’s the only other sound besides your stride.
A cool wind picks up, fluttering against your face. You blink but your eyes aren’t playing tricks. There’s a wavering light ahead.
You round a corner and come to a stop. Before you a torch sits burning in a wall bracket. It illuminates two possible ways.
To the left slants down even more with stairs cut deep into the floor. Stairs? In a cave? But there’s no mistaking it. The wind’s howling up those stairs and blowing your hair with its strength. On the wind you think you hear whispered words.
To the right is a heavy wooden door with iron bands. Below it flickers light from the other side.
You swallow. Both ways indicate you might encounter someone.
A.Go left down the stairs?
B. Go right through the door?
Temple of Night and Wind Option B: Go Right Through the Door
Ghosts creep you out and the whispering on the wind sound way too much like a ghost. So you place your hand on the latch of the door and move slowly so as not to make any noise.
Once you have the door open far enough, you peek your head into the room and find it empty despite the large fire dancing in the pit in the middle of the room.
Half the room’s caved in in a jumble of jagged rocks but the part still standing has two small tables against he wall.
Stepping fully into the room, you move to the two tables and find a single book on each.
One’s titled Below the Cavern and the other’s Through the Darkness.
Opening Below the Cavern, you twitch because the picture on the page looks like the room you’re in and standing at one table looks like someone with the same build and hair as yourself. You swing around but there’s nothing behind you.
Looking back at the book, the figure moves as you go to turn a page and you pause.
The picture’s exactly like the room, cave in and all, except for a tunnel on the far wall. A thin chain glows beside it that tunnel. You look up. Sure enough, there’s a chain on the far wall.
Shivering, you thump the book closed.
Then you move to investigate Through the Darkness.
The first page is the same room, figure, fire and all except for a door barely revealed by the figure’s left shoulder. A lever in the floor glows under the table.
This time you realize there’re words under the picture.
Through the darkness you may find a friend and gold but only if you are bold beyond the dragon’s breath.
Checking Below the Cavern, there are words there too.
Take a breath before you descend, there may be treasure on the other end but only if you pass the wizard’s bend.
Do you go…
Bb. Below the Cavern?
Bc. Through the Darkness?
Temple of Night and Wind Option Bc: Through the Darkness
-Through the darkness you may find friend and gold but only if you are bold beyond the dragon’s breath.-
Something about Below the Cavern makes your skin crawl and darkness doesn’t really bother you, so you pocket Through the Darkness and pull the lever under the table.
As the picture depicted, a door opens, letting out a gust of chilly air.
You pull a torch from the wall and enter through the door. It slams behind you and the torch goes out with a puff.
Great! Guess they were serious about the darkness thing. You drop the useless torch and place your hand on the wall.
The floor slopes drunkenly left and right but seems to be moving straight forward for all its unevenness.
The wind that puffed out of the tunnel continues to blow past you, chilling your face and making your fingers where they hold your bow numb.
You grip the bow tighter and keep moving. There’s a puff of warm air. Very warm air.
You pause but it doesn’t come again so you start forward again…and feel a puff of hot air in your face.
It’s filled with the stench of rotten meat. You freeze and, on instinct, look above you.
Two slitted eyes glow back.
You scramble for your knife because the creature’s too close for you to draw your bow and get a shot off.
“No, no,” whispers a voice, “keep walking. The knife’ll do you no good.”
“Be bold beyond the dragon’s breath, not under it! Keep walking.”
Bc1: Keep walking?
Bc2: Attack the creature?
Temple of Night and Wind Option Bc1: Keep Walking
The voice was quoting the book and it hasn’t lied to you yet. So you sheath the knife, pull an arrow, ready it and start walking again.
Those slitted yellow eyes follow you with great puffs of hot air across your face.
“Smart one,” says the voice, “when I tell you, shoot right between the eyes.”
Your hands shake but you keep moving across the uneven floor.
“Almost,” the voice says.
The eyes blink and there’s a great wave of foul, hot breath but they stop moving as you continue.
You bring the bow up and shoot. There’s a thunk. The eyes blink and dim and then disappear altogether.
The hall floods with light and you find yourself next to a hunched green man who, despite his hunch, does not look old.
“Spectacular!” He exclaims. “No one’s trusted me like that before.” He points up.
You loot at where you last saw the eyes and see a glass cage with small, round holes. The great serpent couldn’t get to you but you couldn’t see it in the dark.
It’s blood drips from where you shot it, flaring and sizzling on the glass. It’s what’s filling the hall with light.
Your shot, you realize as you continue to look, went through a perfect, tiny circle in the glass.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” you ask.
“I’ve told others. They all didn’t listen.” He shrugs. “Name’s Rodderick.” He sticks out his hand and you shake, telling him your name.
“Let me show you your reward.”
He ambles down the hall and opens the door to a small closet.
Inside is a chest full of gold. Enough to feed the village for years to come.
“I can’t carry that,” you mumble.
“Then don’t.” Rodderick holds out a small satchel, “take some and come back. I’d love the company from time to time. Just don’t tell people. They tend to die when they venture into the temple.”
You accept the satchel and agree to his terms. After the bag’s full, you sling it across your shoulder and groan. It’s almost too heavy to carry but Roddderick leads your out, slowing his pace for you, and shows you where you can get back in later.
Then he waves you off and you return to the village triumphant.
You keep your secret by telling people a distant uncle died, leaving you a small fortune.
Even still, you’re careful when you return for more gold. Rodderick gives you a big, blue-toothed grin every time you return and you’re glad you trusted him. He turns out to be a friend you can rely on for life.
Congratulations. You not only survived but found gold and made a new friend!