The Isle of Dread

The next day, the party awoke to find Viper gone. The fact that his equipment was missing seemed to indicate that he had left willingly. Greegan suggested that they should leave him behind; the temple natives could be on their trail and that they had to get back to the ship as soon as possible. Not forgetting how Viper had saved her life, Marina begged that the party split up and looks for him. Everett, now acting as leader, swayed by the need to repent for his actions against Viper or at least the need to appear to repent, ordered that they should spend 4 hours looking for him. After that time, he would build a fire to signal the party back and they would leave without him.

Despite Marina’s offer to accompany him, Gandalph insisted that he would be all right searching for Viper alone. As he searched the island, he came upon a small cave in the hillside. The boy tried to approach the cave quietly, but there was a carpet of limbs and branches before the opening and he winced at each the snaps and crackles he made with each step. Then, just as he was about to peer into the cave, his foot stepped through some branches and into emptiness. Gandalph tripped and fell through the carpet of branches and into a hidden pitfall. Wooden spears stuck up from the bottom of the pit and one of them grazed his size. Gandalph hit his head and everything went black.

Viper then stepped out of the cave. He shirtless body was covered with sweat and he held his sword out in front of him with a crazed look in his eye. The day before, he had found some berries while foraging and ate them without knowing that they contained a highly poisonous. As the day had gone on, he had felt himself getting increasingly ill, but said nothing, but that night he couldn’t sleep. The illness had finally seized his mind, and he became insanely paranoid, believing that the other companions would steal his gold. While they slept, he had taken his gold and ran off in a random direction. When he had come upon the empty cave, he took out a shovel and working the whole night without sleep, he dug a pit and stuck wooden spears he carved out of branches at the bottom, and then covered the whole track with brush. Gandalph’s cry had woken him from his light sleep and he walked slowly out of the cave still affected by his illness. Seeing Gandalph, he unsheathed his sword and slid down the pit with the intent to cut the boy’s head off.

But Gandalph was well protected. The boy mage had previously served a powerful cleric named Masterous and now wore a charm that would ward him from death. The very moment Viper took his sword to Gandalph’s throat, a great light flashed from the boy’s limp body and Viper was blinded. Viper fell back and scratched his back on one of his tree branch spears. Flying into a rage, the barbarian swung his sword at everything around him, cutting down most of the spears he had laid in the pit. When his vision returned, Gandalph was no longer there, and he shouted out in anger and frustration.

Gandalph woke up alone in the middle of nowhere. He looked into the sky and saw Everett’s smoke signal. Gandalph was late in returning to the camp and the other companions were relieved that he had not disappeared also. Gandalph explained what had happened. He knew he had been saved by Masterous’ charm, but he had not seen Viper and had a hard time remembering exactly where the cave was. Marina wanted to investigate, but Everett and Stalfor said they were in no condition to fight another battle, and everyone else agreed that they would have to leave the barbarian behind. Fearing the circumstances behind Viper’s disappearance and the spiked pit, Everett said that the party would have pick up the pace, marching longer hours with less rest stops.

The poison would eventually leave Viper, and he would come to realize what he had almost done. But by then it would be too late. He later returned to the kikipa village and secretly met up with the native woman who was given to him as a wife. He convinced her to move to another village with him, one that bore no malice against him. They lived there for some time, but it was not an all-together happy marriage, and he would often beat her and sleep with other women. She would eventually bear him a son named Arta, but that’s another story.

By on May 30, 2001
Last modified on June 9, 2016

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