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A Princess Of Zamarra
A Saint Beckons
A Day In The Life
Rise Of The Night Creatures
New Day Rising
Bloodsworth Bayou
Golem Gauntlet
Shrine Of The Salamander
A Flame In The North
A Shadow In The North
Escape Neuburg Keep
Any Port In A Storm
Below Zero Point
Tales From The Bird Islands
The Ravages Of Fate
Nye's Song
A Knight's Trial
Return To G15-275
Devil's Flight
Above The Waves
The Curse Of Drumer
The Word Fell Silent
A Strange Week For King Melchion The Despicable
Sharkbait's Revenge
Tomb Of The Ancients
A Midwinter Carol
The Dead World
Waiting For The Light
Contractual Obligation
Garden Of Bones
The Hypertrout
The Golden Crate
In The Footsteps Of A Hero
Soul Tracker
Planet Of The Spiders
Beggars Of Blacksand
The Diamond Key
Wrong Way Go Back
Hunger Of The Wolf
Isle Of The Cyclops
The Cold Heart Of Chaos
The Black Lobster
Impudent Peasant!
Curse Of The Yeti
Bad Moon Rising
Riders Of The Storm
Bodies In The Docks
House Of Horror
Rebels Of The Dark Chasms
Midnight Deep
Lair Of The Troglodytes
The Trial Of Allibor's Tomb

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A Flame In The North

by Richard Evans

This is a sequel to A Shadow In The North, though it works as a standalone gamebook in its own right.

Artwork © John Blanche
You stand in a circle of blinding light. The marble floor, worn by the movement of countless feet, decorated by arcane patterns of runes, is one you have seen many times before. It is that of the tower of the Grand-Mages, the highest point of Talras, the land of your birth. But Talras is not to be seen; outside the illuminated circle is only a swirling darkness, a void whose presence is absence. Ghostly figures appear in the corners of your vision, hands outstretched towards the darkness as if holding it back, but when you turn to look at them, they fade away. All, that is, but one. It steps forwards into the light, its spectral form gaining eerie solidity, its whispered voice rising. You recognise the Grand-Mage's robe and lined face of your mentor, Theodoros.

"Listen closely," he says, his face contorted by tremendous effort, "for there is but little time. You must reach Novgard soon and lead an army to the World-Flame. At first we thought that the death of the Northern World-Flame did not affect ours, but we were wrong. Everywhere the other World-Flames are fading, despite all our efforts". Your blood chills, the extinction of the World-Flames would plunge the Earth back into the chaos of its formation; an event that civilisation would be unlikely to survive.

"Theodoros," you reply, "it pains me to deliver this news, but my way north is barred. The Necromancer has besieged the city; I can neither reach it nor cross the Geirskon."

Theodoros' grimace deepens, but his expression is of resolve rather than despair. "We planned for this eventuality. It is said that there is a secret passage into Novgard, created by the first of the Innshelmin Kings so that if the city fell he could escape to safety. During Talras's war with Innshelm an agent of ours claimed he had discovered its entrance. He was executed before he could return to us, but he did send us this message: Look to the path of Wisdom, for it shall guide you into the city. I am afraid this is all I know."

You notice that the circle of light has contracted. The darkness outside it seems to move, probing for weaknesses, pressing inwards. Theodoros has seen it too; he clenches his hands into fists and furrows his brow in concentration. For the briefest of moments the darkness recedes, the tide crashing against the sea-wall. But then it rushes inwards, faster than before. Theodoros reaches out a tremulous hand towards you, and is ripped apart by the hungry void. You startle awake, banging your head against the overhanging roots of the small hollow you have been sleeping in. Your camp is bathed in the soft grey light of dawn - and by a blazing star on your chest, the Beacon-Stone. Perhaps thanks to its proximity to the World-Flame, perhaps thanks to the blessings of the Gods, the small shard of dull crystal thrums with heretofore hidden power, scorching your chest. Then the light dims, fading as quickly as it flared.

You are a Sorcerer, one of the finest to have ever been trained at the Mages' College in Talras. As a result you are able to perform a wide range of spells; each spell has different effects and different strengths and weaknesses that come with it. Although these are often easily deduced from the spells name, it may be worth becoming acquainted with them below:

INFERNO - creates two fireballs, one in each hand. Once the fire leaves your hands it may spread and damage you in the process (requires 4 STAMINA).

FORCE - summons a powerful wind which you may direct at your enemies. This is perhaps your most powerful spell, but its usefulness against groups of enemies means that it may also be dangerous to allies (requires 5 STAMINA).

ENERGY - enables you to shoot a bolt of lightning at an opponent. This bolt will be conducted through water in a similar way to electricity (requires 4 STAMINA).

SHIELD - creates a magical shield around your arm, protecting you from your opponents' attacks (requires 2 STAMINA).

UNLOCK - will unlock any non-enchanted devices (requires 1 STAMINA).

REVEAL - allows you to perceive the mental states of those around you, it is analogous to telepathy (requires 2 STAMINA).

LEVITATE - will make small objects move or hover for long periods of time and large objects for much shorter periods of time (requires 2 STAMINA).

LEXICON - translates languages and writing which you cannot understand (requires 1 STAMINA).

SECLUSION - forms an invisible barrier (which may be small or large) through which sounds and smells cannot penetrate (requires 2 STAMINA).

DISSONANCE - causes its subject(s) to become dismayed and depressed, it works best on one target and diminishes in its effects based on how many you do target (requires 3 STAMINA).

CAPTIVATE - creates an illusion based on what it is that the subject wants to appear, for example casting it on a merchant may produce the illusion of gold coins. Be aware that this illusion is strictly mental, and will not be apparent to those who are not under the influence of the spell (requires 3 STAMINA).

IMPASSION - inflames the subject's violent and energetic tendencies, for example it may be used to start a fight. It is more effective the smaller the number of creatures targeted, and the less intelligent those creatures are (requires 3 STAMINA).

More Magic
In addition to the above spells, which readers of A Shadow In The North will have already encountered, your exposure to the magical energy of the Beacon-Stone has unlocked magic previously dormant within you; including a number of powerful spells...

SHIFT - teleports you short distances (costs 3 STAMINA).

DISPEL - removes enchantments. The weaker the enchantment, the better this spell will work against it (costs 3 STAMINA).

ENSNARE - causes vines and roots to attack an enemy of your choice. This spell only works when the enemy in question is standing on dirt (or something else which plants may grow from) (costs 3 STAMINA).

EMPOWER - gives you incredible strength for short periods of time (costs 5 STAMINA)

WITHER - rots and destroys the flesh of an opponent. It is ineffective against the undead (costs 4 STAMINA).

REFLEX - endows you with prodigious speed for short periods of time (costs 3 STAMINA).

IRONHIDE - makes your skin as hard as iron for several minutes, giving you a natural layer of armour. Note that although this is especially effective against bladed weapons, impact-based weapons (such as hammers) will be just as effective as before (costs 3 STAMINA).

FARSIGHT - gives you the ability to dislocate your perception of sight from your body (e.g. enabling you to see as though you were above the treetops when you are actually on the forest floor). This spell doesn't enable you to see through objects (costs 3 STAMINA).

NIGHTSIGHT - enables you to see in the dark for a prolonged period of time. Bright light will blind you until the spell ends (Costs 2 STAMINA).

WILD-CALL - summons unintelligent creatures to do your bidding. Beware that this spell will not affect intelligent animals, or those that are already ill-disposed towards you. (Costs 4 STAMINA).

Additional Information
You start armed with a sword, but you may acquire other weapons later. As usual, you can choose the one that you will use in battle by selecting in the list of possessions and clicking on USE.
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