Welcome to a whole new adventure. Read on and vote for how you’d like to proceed. Pick carefully, for you never know what you’ll find high in mountains where the trees don’t grow.
Curiosity’s a dangerous thing. You should just move on, keep heading toward town and ignore what sits high and forgotten in the mountains. Leave it, well, forgotten.
But you can’t. The not knowing will always haunt you. So instead of passing by the heavy, metal door, you head down into the mountain bowl to investigate.
Wind howls through the jagged peaks above your head and snow crunches beneath your boots. You’re well above tree line in the most dangerous part of the pass where the sides slant downward so sharply that a single miss step will launch you hundreds of feet below.
You only spotted the door because the wind died down as you passed. The blowing snow would have otherwise hidden it from view. And there’s a narrow trail leading down to it.
Reaching the bowl after several heart clenching slips, you stop to gaze at the door. Unlike most structures you’ve seen, this one’s a browned metal with deep engravings. You don’t recognize the language but the picture, great, feathered wings spanning one corner to the other, are intricate enough to make out each piece of the feathers.
You hope the doors don’t depict true to size. A creature with wings that big would be daunting indeed.
Touching the door, you pull back. It’s warm. Snow whips by your face as you hesitate but again your curiosity won’t let you walk away.
You push the door and it swings inward. A blast of warm air hits your face. It smells of copper and something floral. As you step through, the door closes of its own volition. Just like walking into the inn at home, the place is pleasantly warm. Pushing back your hood, you find yourself in a long hallway with the walls lined with pipes. Light filters in high above where the roof is cut away to let in the sun.
Walking down the hall, your heels crunch on dirt. The place might be warm, but no one’s swept the hall in a while.
A clanking sounds in one of the pipes as you reach a T in the hall. A small door opens in a pipe to your right and a ball the size of your fist comes rolling out. It bounces and skitters across the floor and comes to rest at your toes.
You take a step back as the ball flattens, splitting its sides open and light shoots out. Then an image appears in the air above the ball.
A person with wings. Very large wings.
“Welcome to the Eyrie,” the image says. “If you are seeing me, there is no one here to greet you and the Eyrie has deemed you not a threat. Proceed with caution, for the Eyrie was never left without greeters unless we had no choice but to abandon the doors. To your right leads to our rooms above. To your left leads down to the general meeting hall. If you continue straight, the wall will open to a bridge across the top of the hall. If you take the bridge, it will take you to the kitchens.”
The image flashes in and out of focus and then disappears, leaving a flattened, metal ball to let you know you’re not seeing things.
So do you…
A. Go to the Rooms?
B. Go to the Meeting Hall?
C. Go to the Kitchens?
The Eyrie Option C: Across the Bridge to the Kitchens
You’ve been on the road for a while, so the kitchens appeal to you for the hope of food. Stepping over the flattened metal ball, you approach the wall.
Sure enough, it slides open to reveal a bridge spanning the ceiling of a very large hall. It’s easily five or six stories above the floor. You glance over the side of the bridge and then retreat to the center to walk across.
You’re about half way across when you hear something. You pause, not sure exactly what you’re hearing. It sounds like a pig grunting and it’s coming from below you.
Lowering yourself onto your belly, you peek over the side of the bridge to see the hall below. There are long benches for eating but everything appears to be empty.
Then you hear the grunting again and a shadow detaches from the wall. A very large shadow.
You blink, not sure your eyes are seeing right. It looks like a troll but with features you’ve never seen on a troll. Three eyes and a nose so large you can’t make out the mouth below kind of features.
“Hilda, let’s play for a bit.”
Another shadow detaches from the other wall. This one’s got teeth sticking out over fat lips. Ogresses. They have to be.
“All right,” the one called Hilda agrees and disappears down a hallway. She returns soon with something tucked under her arm. When she sets it down on a bench, you can see it’s a man with feathers trailing down his back. Wings. They’re tied tightly together in the middle between his shoulder blades.
You can tell this because Hilda unties his wings and pitches him into the air. He tries to fly but he must have been tied for a while, because the spread of his wings is obviously painful. He falls back to the bench.
“Fly, birdie!” Three Eyes yells and launches at him.
Spurred on by her ugly charge, he spreads his wings and deals with the pain. He heads straight for a window but comes up short on a very thin net strung across the hall under the bridge you’re on.
The ogresses laugh as the bird man falls back.
“Time to play catch!” Three Eyes produces two large nets like butterfly nets and hands one to Hilda. They chase the bird man around, laughing in glee.
Rolling onto your back, you listen for a moment before crawling your way into the kitchen. No longer interested in food, you consider your options. You can’t exactly help the bird man from the bridge but Hilda brought him from a room located below the kitchens. You might be able to find your way down to him.
Or maybe you can cut part of the net loose for the next time the ogresses play their game. Or maybe you can find some weapons to attack the ogresses although you hear they’re fierce and hard to fight.
Cc: Try to find the Bird Man?
Cd: Cut the net?
Ce: Find Weapons?
The Eyrie Option Cc: Try to Find the Bird Man
You’ve encountered trolls before but these monsters seem to have more wits than trolls. Plus there’re two of them. So the plan with the least possibility of having to confront them seems the best. You’ll find the bird man after they put him back and see if you can free him.
You cringe as you lay on the bridge and listen to the ogresses laugh at their game. It doesn’t take long for the poor bird man to tire and one of the ogresses catches him in her net. You peek to make sure he’s okay.
It’s Three Eyes that’s caught him. She laughs uproariously and points a bulbous finger at her companion.
“I win!” she says.
Hilda scowls. “Play again. You won’t win twice.”
Three Eyes snorts. It sounds wet and you’re glad you’re not close enough to see the snot.
“I bet I will win.” She pulls the bird man from her net and throws him into the air. He attempts to fly but his chest’s already heaving from the effort. He looks half starved for, although he boasts the heavy chest muscles required to fly, his arms and legs are bony thin.
He drops back toward the ogresses with hopelessness pinching in around his eyes and lips but then he spots you as he spins in one last attempt to flap his wings.
Afraid he’ll give you away, you place a finger across you lips. He slumps and lets Hilda catch him without a fight.
“All right,” Three Eyes concedes, “you win. We’ll rematch tomorrow.”
As you watch them shuffle away with him, you hear something on the far end of the bridge. Swiveling your head, you spot a figure standing in the doorway gaping at you. He’s got feathers.
You shoot a glance back down into the hall and see Three Eyes still standing below. Her head’s cocked to the side, listening. Sinking tight to the bridge, you again put a finger against your lips in hopes this new bird man will remain quiet and where he is. If he steps onto the bridge, Three Eyes will see him.
The bird man takes a single step back. Relief washes a warm flush through you.
Finally, Three Eyes shrugs and follows Hilda. When you’re sure she’s truly gone, you hurry across the bridge to join the bird man. He’s younger than the one the ogresses were playing with and doesn’t look nearly as starved.
“What’re you doing up here?” you whisper.
“Exploring… kind of.” You tell him your plan to find the bird man the ogresses were abusing.
“That’s Zander,” he says. “If we can free him, we might be able to free everyone.”
He nods. “There are about twenty of us left.”
“Twenty against two. That’s better odds.”
“We need to move fast though. The ogresses’ll be coming up for dinner soon,” he points at a pot over the hearth. “And there’s only the one way down to where they keep the cages.”
Following him, he leads you through the door at the back of the kitchen and down the stairs to the level below. He slows at the bottom and peeks out in the room.
You can hear Hilda and Three Eyes bickering. They’re close.
The bird man darts into the room to duck behind a stack of wooden crates. He waves for you to follow.
Peeking into the room, you see the ogresses huddled over a pile of rocks. Their backs are turned. Darting across, you join the bird man where he’s huddled. He pulls a large burlap sack from inside a crate beside him and gestures for your to pull it over yourself.
You do so as he pulls a second bag for himself.
Then you sit and wait. The ogresses bicker about who’s turn it is to cook and then they complain back and forth about a lack of meat and who should go out to hunt that night.
You hold yourself very still as their voices grow closer. Through the sack you see their shadows as they head up the stairs. Then their heavy steps fade and the room grows quiet.
You pull the sack off and follow the bird man to the pile of rocks the ogresses were so fascinated with. Upon closer inspection you see it’s a make shift cage.
“Soar!” exclaims the bird man inside. “You’re supposed to be escaping. Go.”
“I’ve help, Zander. We can lift the top stone,” replies the younger bird man who must be Soar.
Zander peers out and spots you. He rolls his lips inward and then gives a single nod. “Do it.”
You and Soar climb the rocks and lift the top one. It’s hefty. You almost drop it down the side of the pile but at the last moment, you catch yourself and lower the large stone to the ground as Zander climbs free.
Zander leads you into another room where more bird man and women are held in various types of cages. Some are rocks like Zander’s but more of them are simply pieces of furniture nailed together to form enclosures. Working together, you finally free them all while Soar watches at the door for the ogresses.
Leading the charge, Zander leads his people from the room, up the stairs and into the kitchens. By shear force of numbers, they force the ogresses onto the bridge and then off of it.
Come to find out later, the only reason the ogresses were able to capture so many people in the first place was because they caught the Eyrie by surprise during the night.
Soar was caught later and, since he hadn’t been starved for as long, the Eyrie people did everything possible to help him escape to find help. You ended up being that help.
Congratulations, you helped save the Eyrie. Have a wonderful weekend knowing you’re a hero=)