When I awakened, I was still being dragged between the two guards, though
whether they were the same two as before, I couldn't say. I had no idea how
long I had been unconscious, but we were now in a dark, gloomy dungeon full
of acrid smoke from the numerous torches lining the walls. In the flickering
light, I could see that the place was built of sandstone, slate, and granite.
It was a solid, hard, and uninviting place. Dampness seeped through the
cracks in the walls, and pale moss grew wherever the water dripped in slow
"It seems our fair Prince is awake," spoke one of the guards.
"And just in time," answered the other. "We've just about reached our journey's end."
"It's time to walk on his own then."
Suddenly they shoved me forward, and one planted his boot in my back. I stumbled through the doorway and fell to my hands and knees as a barred gate closed behind me with a clank. I heard the guards' laughter echoing off into the distance. When it faded away, I was completely alone. I had no idea where I was. The grimy stone was smooth beneath my hands, as if polished by the passage of many feet. Slowly I stood up and began to explore my surroundings.
The Long Version
I was in a small room with no apparent exit. The ground was littered here and there with broken stones and other rubble, but there was nothing else. Nothing to use as a tool or weapon.
1. I began to pace the lower floor, I was thinking what a fool I had been. Worse than a fool! I had endangered myself, but that was of no account. To meet the Princess, I would have died a thousand times. But what had I done to her? If only I could find a way out of here...
Just then, the floor began to give way beneath my feet. I just had time to grab onto the ledge before falling into a pit of unknown depth.
2. Looking below me, I saw a dimly lit floor perhaps two body lengths below me, I let myself drop then, and found myself in a passageway, I could only see a short distance in either direction. Carefully, I edged to the east, but spied a guard in that direction. I had no weapon, and did not dare confront him. So I retreated quickly and ran in the opposite direction. I climbed a wall just taller than me, and headed west.
3. As I jumped over a small gap, dimly below me I saw deadly spikes spring out of the ground as I passed over. A loose stone triggered a gate mechanism, and as I stood there, the gate opened. This was easy, so far. Perhaps there was hope.
4. Next, I encountered another chasm and another loose stone pressure plate that opened yet another gate. When I jumped the chasm, a loose floor tile fell beneath me, and I almost fell with it, I resolved to be more careful in the future.
5. Sure enough, as I continued to the west, I ran across two more falling floor tiles. This place was either very old and falling apart, or it was just one trap after another. Or both!
6. I kept going in the only direction I could and entered a cavern with a high ceiling. Another gate closed off the far end, but a pressure plate in the middle of the room opened it. I soon discovered, however, that a better-hidden plate closed it again. I had to jump over the second plate to avoid closing my egress. Still, I had no trouble with this trap and continued onward.
7. In the next area, I made a fortuitous discovery. I came to a gap somewhat wider than any I had crossed so far, and, though it was not too long for me, I tested the spring in my legs, worried that my last, over-indulgent meal might weigh me down. In the course of my exercises I discovered a loose ceiling tile, which dropped to reveal a gap above. I just dodged out of the way of the heavy stone before it dropped on me. I have no doubt it would have hurt!
I was to remember this loose tile later, but for the moment decided to push on westward I jumped easily across the gap, landing on yet another loose floor plate. I heard the sounds of a gate lifting on its ratchet behind me, but I ran onward. Two floor tiles fell as I ran across them, but I forgot all else as I entered the next area.
8. There below me lay a gleaming sword. By all appearances, it was a good and noble blade. Salvation! With sword in hand, I would be ready to take on all the Sultan's guards to free the Princess! I lowered myself carefully until I stood by the sword, and knelt to retrieve it. As I felt the grip of this weapon in my hand, a strange exaltation passed through me, and though I suspected this to be an ordinary sword, I felt an increased vitality and sense of purpose. To my mind, this was a sword of destiny. And I now held it in my hand. I did not question how it got there.
I knew that I had little time to spare, so I hurriedly explored the area, but found no other way out. I decided to head back the way I had come. I ran as quickly as I could until I reached the guard I had seen before. This time I was ready for him. 9. The guard was a poor swordsman. I had only to await his foolish charge and spit him like a kabob as he blundered into my blade. No doubt he had met few challenges here in the Sultan's dungeons.
"Let me go," I told him. "I have no quarrel with you.'
"Am I a man? Or am I a slinking weasel to stand aside whenever a boy with a knife should threaten me?"
"I have no wish to kill you, but I will," I said quietly "Please, stand aside."
But he would not. Silently, then, he attacked me and silently, in three swift strokes, I vanquished him and ran on to the east, I had done what I must.
10. I came to a great door, but it was firmly closed. I could find no latch, keyhole, or other opening. There was a ledge in the western end of the room, and I jumped upon it to see could find any clues above the door. No sooner had I grabbed onto the ledge, however, than the door began to slide open with a rough scraping of stone on stone. Behind the now-open door, a staircase led upward. My heart in my throat, I ran upward, hopefully to rescue my Princess.
The Short Version
It could hardly be called a cell. The guards had left me in a barren room that looked as if it had once been a storage room. There was no furniture, no bed. Not even a pile of straw. But I had no intention of sleeping here, anyway.
I examined every inch of my surroundings, searching through the rubble on the floor in the hopes of finding something I could use as a weapon, but there was nothing.
1. I climbed down to the lower landing and began to pace. I was angry. I had been a fool. It was nothing that I was sentenced to death here in this choking, oppressive place, but what had I done to the Princess? I must find a way out...
Just then the floor began to give way beneath my feet. I just had time to grab onto the ledge before falling into a pit of unknown depth.
2. Looking down, I saw the dimly lit floor perhaps two body lengths below me. I let myself drop then, and found myself in a passageway I could only see a short distance in either direction.
To the east, I spotted flickering torchlight and could vaguely make out the shape of a man.
9. Thinking at first that he might be a fellow prisoner, I cautiously stepped forward. As soon as I appeared, he started toward me with a shout. He was a guard!
I waited until he was almost upon me. I don't know what I was thinking, but when his sword point was just past the last torch, I ran.
2. The guard followed me as I ran toward the western wall. Again, I waited until my pursuer was well into the room, and nearly within striking distance, before I climbed the western wall and ran away.
3. He did not continue the pursuit, and I took a moment to explore my surroundings. There was a small gap ahead - nothing to trouble me, but I noticed a pile of dry mortar on the ground near the edge. Looking up, I discovered that one of the ceiling stones was loose. So I stood with my back to the gap, facing east, and jumped up. I just managed to dodge to the side as the great stone fell! I climbed up the gap thus created, thinking to find a secret escape route.
11. Hidden in a closet-like alcove was a small jar, but I did not stop to examine it. Instead, I climbed up two landings until I came to a gate that would not open, leading east. But a gate to the west did open as I climbed up the last ledge, I ran back to the west again.
1. My heart sank. I was back in my original cell. It seemed I had accomplished nothing. I ran back to the hole in the Boor that I had used previously and dropped carefully down again holding onto the eastern edge.
2. That stupid guard! He still stood where I had last seen him. He turned and cursed me as I dropped behind him, but he was too late. I ran as fast as I could to the east, and he could not catch me. I could hear the swish of his blade biting air.
9. I passed the guard's station without stopping and continued to the east.
10. I came to a great door, but it was firmly closed. I could find no latch, keyhole, or other opening. There was a ledge in the western end of the room, and I jumped upon it to see if I could find any clues above the door. No sooner had I grabbed onto the ledge, however, than the door began to slide open with a rough scraping of stone on stone. Behind the now open door, a staircase led upward. My heart in my throat, I ran upstairs, hopefully to rescue my Princess.