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Riders Of The Storm

by Philip Sadler


Author's Introduction
Hey there! It's your old pal Phil Sadler here again! The book you are now reading is the first and only sequel to my only previous Fighting Fantasy adventure - Hellfire. If you have read that you will at least have an idea of what to expect during this book. If you haven't read it you may want to rush off and do so now because, although it's not essential for this new adventure, it will certainly make certain things a little clearer).

The author interviews himself
Contact the author


Background
Night Demon
Artwork © Julek Heller
In your previous - now legendary - quest, you had traversed a truly deadly dungeon, where you had beaten its traps, bested its guardians and then finally overcome that most loathsome Demon they called The Trinitour, he who watched over the unholy place. You were one of only a handful of lone warriors who had attempted to find and slay the once mythical creature. You had to at least try for, if you had failed, as they had failed, the entire country would have become his and he would have had it plunged deep into the festering heart of chaos. However ... you were double-crossed. It seems the Trinitour was a mere puppet, played by far more sinister hands, or claws, for that which had controlled him was a Night Demon - a Prince of Hell. So, when you struck your final deathblow and the Trinitour fell, the Night Demon then revealed its presence and consigned you to oblivion, where it thought you would remain until the end of time. It was wrong. As you could feel the endless void begin to take you, you took a final desperate oath of defiance, "I swear vengeance on you Demon!" But all you heard as you disappeared from the earthly plain was a mocking laughter...

You screamed and screamed, but no one heard you - a point of colour in a sea of nothing, endless nothing. So you floated around in the void and prayed to your God, but no help came; perhaps even a God couldn't hear the cries of the damned? You cried and cried, for days and weeks on end: nothing. After a few months of this hellish torture you went insane and could only babble incessantly for the next few years: insanity being your only escape from the inescapable. Or was it?

They had searched for you for a long time, since you beat the Trinitour; they didn't even know where you were: Heaven or Hell. After a year of searching the three powerful Wizards decided you must be in the worst place of all; the void, the nothing - oblivion. They looked into this place with the power of their old minds, and they looked and looked, and almost gave up, but they still found you. You were floating around in endless nothing as usual, dribbling and muttering nonsense to yourself, when two huge eyes spotted you and a great hand - as big as a whale - reached in and grabbed you...

You awake from your madness several weeks later and suddenly realised you were somewhere different, somewhere where colour existed, where sound existed, where smell existed. You sit up on the soft bed and gaze in wonder at the warm, brightly-lit room about you, at first you think it must be a dream, you had many of those in the void, only to wake up and find yourself utterly alone. The room seems real enough though, small and cosy, with sunlight seeping in through the windows and birds singing in the leafy trees outside. You got up and prayed to God that this was real, you walk over to a window and open it, letting in a wonderful mixture of odours.

"I see you're back with us then," says a friendly voice from behind you.

You look back and find an old man standing there smiling at you. He has a long white beard and wears a multicoloured cloak and a conical hat. "I didn't think Wizards dressed like that anymore," you say.

"Like what?" asks the Wizard.

"Oh, er, nothing. Where's am I?" you reply.

"I'm afraid I could not tell you, suffice to say you are somewhere safe."

You look bemused and ask, "Where's all my gear?"

The bearded man says, "I'm afraid that it has all been lost for some time."

You look somewhat dismayed.

"But don't worry - we shall kit you out." Says the Wizard quickly, doing his best to sound upbeat.

Then you say, "I thought you were a dream, I thought I'd wake up any moment."

The old man's face becomes concerned as he puts a frail hand on your shoulder and says with a voice full of pity, "You, Warrior, have endured that which no one should and have every right to feel the way you do."

You feel like crying but just manage to stem the tears, although your voice breaks a little when you ask, "What am I doing here? I mean ... how did I get here? Why did you help me?"

The old Wizard grips your shoulder tightly and says, "First meet my two friends, then you shall learn all my friend."

So you met with all three Wizards and talked with them of your quest, of the Trinitour, of the Night Demon, of oblivion and of countless other subjects, and you did learn all...

"So let me get this straight," you say with a look of befuddlement, "you rescued me from the void because you think I might be the ... er ... 'Chosen One'?" The three old Wizards, all looking, sounding and acting almost exactly the same, smile and nod at you. "I might be the one 'Spoke of in prophecy?' the one 'Destined to slay the Night Demon?' and 'Free the lost souls of Hell?'"

The first Wizard you met says with a grin, "Oh yes my friend, you may well be the one."

You pause for a moment, before laughing for the first time in years and saying, "Give me a break!"

The three old men laugh with you, before the second one you met says, "Glad to see you haven't lost your sense of humour Warrior!"

You stop laughing for a moment and say, "I have a name you know, only I seem to have forgotten it for now."

The Wizards smirk at this, then the third one you met says, "But that is your name my friend, that is what you are now known as throughout the world."

You look astonished and blurt out, "I'm known as 'Warrior'? Now that's what I like to hear!" So you carry on talking with your three friends for quite some time...

"You what?" you say with a gasp.

"Yes," says the second Wizard, "He is here too."

You look shocked, to say the very least, and shout, "The Trinitour is here with us? He's here with us because you rescued him?"

The third Wizard speaks in answer, "Of course we rescued him, how are you going to complete your test without him?"

You look positively stunned, not to mention utterly furious, but you just manage to say through clenched teeth, "Why ... in ... the ... name ... of ... all ... that's ... holy ... would I want his help? And what 'Test'?"

The first Wizard looks stern when answering your questions, "He's part of the legend too you know and, you must remember, his every action was directly controlled by the Night Demon - he was just another pawn in the game. As for the test, we shall discuss that later."

You look bewildered and state angrily, "How the hell did you get him here anyway? I thought I killed him!"

To which the second Wizard answers, "You killed his body, not his soul, and we found his soul floating in the void, just like you."

The anger suddenly fades from your face to be replaced by a look that could almost be understanding, "You mean, the Night Demon damned him as well - its own creation?"

"Indeed we do," they say as one, "but now you must rest, and soon you can meet him." Then, before you can say anything else, you find yourself teleported back into your room, feeling very tired...

The Trinitour greets you courteously, getting up from his great stone chair to tower several feet above you and offering you one of his four clawed red hands, you refuse. The Demon doesn't seem remotely fazed or offended and merely points to another smaller wooden chair in the middle of his bare room. You eye the chair with suspicion and say with a frown, "Another of your pathetic traps Demon?"

Which brings a toothy smile to all three of his horned heads, "Not at all!" says the middle one, "And even if I wanted it to be I doubt it could be."

You sit down in the chair and ask, "What do you mean?" To which he replies, "I have lost most of my powers now old foe, in fact, all I really am now is just a tall mutant."

You raise an eyebrow at the Trinitour's admittance and inquire, "And just, may I ask, where are your powers now?"

The Demon looks briefly angry, but checks himself and answers, "The Night Demon stripped me of them before it sent me into the Nothing..." The Demon looks sad.

"How long were you in the Nothing for?" you ask. "As long as you." He replies, then all three of his heads drop and he seems to go into some sort of trance.

The three Wizards suddenly teleport in between you two old enemies and the second states, "He is wounded my friend, not physically but [holds his heart] in other ways. Come, you shall visit him again later..."

You suddenly realise that the Demon really doesn't seem wounded physically - he seems in perfect health! "Now just wait a moment..." you say in confusion, "didn't I cut his head off? Or at least one of them...?"

The Wizards look uncomfortable and the third one answers nervously, "Your reputation for violence is, if anything, understated."

Then the second Wizard speaks, "His soul was sent into the abyss, just as yours was. We built him a new body, just as we built you a new one."

You look startled and shout, "New body? What the hell happened to my old one?"

"You don't want to know."

"I don't want to know?"

"No you don't. Now please stop arguing."

Time passes and you busy yourself with sword practise until, "I suppose you've heard all about this have you?" you say angrily as you kick open the door to the Trinitour's room after having not seen him for a few days.

He looks up at you and says with a tinge of sadness, "You mean the 'Test of Courage'?"

"Of course I do!" you shout in reply.

"I'll do my very best to help you," says the Demon.

You fold your arms and say mockingly, "And who says I want your help?"

The Trinitour's three heads stare sadly at you and the middle one says, "Without my help you may not be able to complete the test."

"And supposing I take my chances?" you state.

"Then you may well fail and miss out on your opportunity to deal with the Night Demon and consign it to the Nothing."

Your face, stance and tone of voice change completely, "Let's get some more training done then Triny..."

Yes, it seems the three Wizards want to make absolutely sure you are the 'Chosen One', just in case they're wasting their time. After all, they are talking about giving you the power to destroy a Demon Prince - something that has never been done before. You must prove to them that you are worthy of their help by completing the 'Test of Courage': a deadly journey through a giant forest comprising of trickery, chaos and worse. This test takes place on this very island, indeed it encompasses the whole of the southern half of the sizeable land mass, miles and miles. The first Wizard had led you up to 'The Gate': a shimmering mystic portal set between two great old trees. He had then told you of the many choices of paths that the gate led to, but warned you, 'Stepping off the path means naught but slow death, and perhaps worse,' you shudder at the memory. However, that was many weeks ago and you and your former enemy the Demon renegade Trinitour are almost ready...

Late one night the first Wizard visits you in your room and says, "You may call upon the Trinitour but four times and no more."

You look at him and inquire, "When?"

"That is up to you," answers the Wizard.

"How do I call him?" you inquire again.

"Just say 'Help' and, if he can, he will appear and do your bidding."

The three Wizards find you both in the centre of the island right by 'The Gate'; you practising your sword play, the Trinitour lifting great rocks. "It is time," says the third Wizard, "you are both ready."

You and the Ex-Demon both look at each other and say as one, "As we'll ever be."

The Wizards smile and the second one says, "Then it is time to open the gate."

But just as he begins to chant the dispel magic spell, you say, "You never did tell me - just what is the object of this 'Test'?"

To which the first Wizard answers with a smile, "Why, to survive it of course..."


Additional Information
During your previous adventure you fought many courageous battles and had learned much in the art of powerful swordplay, you now have the power of Instant death. If, during the course of a battle, you roll a double six when calculating your Attack Strength, you will have killed your opponent outright. However, this skill will not work on every opponent.

You may call upon the Trinitour up to four times. Whenever you want to try this, select Trinitour in the Possessions list and click on USE.
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