The Captives of the Lost City of Alhassar
By Dwayne MacInnes
"I am Ozymandias," Mobius replied in an echoing high-pitched voice.
I almost started to run for I did not immediately recognize Mobius's disguised voice.
"I do not recall your name. What is the purpose of you business?" the guard continued to challenge.
"You do not know of me? I am Ozymandias, lich-lord of the Lost Continent. It matters not. I am here because you are going to raise the mighty Zormandus the lich-mage," Mobius countered.
By now, a group of liches was now gathering around us. There were also a few vampires and necromancers, but they held themselves back. It appeared that the liches were in control here.
"I do not know of you," one of the liches approached.
"I do not know of you," replied Mobius.
"I am Cadwey, lich-mage. I know the legends of the Lost Continent and none mentions an Ozymandias," the lich-mage said with contempt.
"Of course you know all the great lich-lords. I am one of the minor lords and the only survivor of the Lost Continent. I have been slumbering for the day when the gates between the planes would open. That time is now and I am here," Mobius continued undeterred.
"You are unwelcome, and it would be best if you left," Cadwey commanded.
"Bah! Fool!" spat Mobius his high-pitched voice hitting another octave higher. "Even as a minor lich-lord of the Lost Continent I am more powerful that you."
This was not going well. Mobius had really gotten into character ,and I really did not want to have to face an army of undead and dark mages by myself. All I could do was pray that the growing crowd of evil beings did not call his bluff.
"Very well we shall test you. First we will begin with the riddles," Cadwey commanded to all in the cavern. Now everyone that occupied the city of Alhassar gathered around. Fortunately, there were only a hundred or so liches, vampires, necromancers, dark mages and mortal servants. Unfortunately, there was only me, Mobius and a party of five inexperienced adventurers to oppose them.
Cadwey began, "A box without hinges, key, or lid. Yet golden..."
"Egg!" cried Mobius before Cadwey could finish.
"I view the world in a little space," began Mobius. "Am always changing place; No food I eat, but, by my power, procure what millions do devour."
Now, we should note that the game of riddles is an ancient and honored practice of testing each other for those who are of good or evil bent. The rules are simple: best your opponent by posing a riddle he or she cannot answer. There is power in the game of riddles so cheating seldom occurs.
I had to admire Mobius tactics. His choice of riddle was not one the undead were likely to guess very easily. Being of the formerly living and evil, they tended to stay indoors in such forbidding places as say a lost city near a sewer system. If they did go outdoors, it was in the dead of night.
Cadwey stood there thinking. I am sure if Mobius were not already in a permanent grin, he would be after watching the lich-mage ponder his poser.
"A-ha! The sun!" crowed Cadwey victoriously. "That was sneaky I haven't spied the sun in centuries. However, that did not quite do it. Here's another one.
"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a..."
"Egg!" cried Mobius. "What is it with you and eggs? Did you miss breakfast?"
The exchange went back and forth for some time. Cadwey posed riddles that Mobius easily guessed, mainly because they were about eggs, or other foods. Mobius would rack his brain trying to trip up the lich-mage with something that the undead may have forgotten in the normal world. No matter how good Mobius put a riddle to Cadwey, the lich-mage would eventually find the answer.
It was Mobius's turn and he sat above me in thought for a while. Finally, after a few minutes of intense silence Mobius began to speak lowly.
"You are in a room without door or window. All you have is a mirror and a table. How do you get out?"
"Easy," the lich-mage began.
"You are mortal and cannot use spells," Mobius quickly added.
"Well...I, um...would..."Cadwey began. The lich-mage thought for a few minutes and then he finally bowed his head in defeat.
"Very well, I give. If this is truly a riddle you must supply the answer or you are forfeit," Cadwey said smugly.
"It is easy as you first thought," Mobius stated. "You look in the mirror to see what you saw. Take the saw and cut the table in half. Two halves make a whole. Just climb out the hole."
The crowd murmured and applauded. A good riddle game is always fun to watch. That probably goes double for the undead and their evil companions. I get the feeling they rarely get much in the way of entertainment living in such dank dark abodes.
As the crowd applauded and gave cheer, I managed to whisper to Mobius. "Where did you get that one?"
The skull turned his head down a bit and in a low voice replied, "I read it once on a box of confections. Being dead I am sure they haven't eaten a box of sweets in a long time."
"I concede your triumph in the riddle game," Cadwey finally said as the crowd quieted down.
"I guess you could say I have a head for riddles," Mobius replied. However before he could start laughing, I reached up and grabbed the clasp of the cloak. A quick tug brought Mobius in contact with my own skull. The pain was fleeting, but Mobius got the hint.
"Are you alright?" Cadwey said.
"Oh yeah, ‘tis nothing," Mobius replied.
"Good, the second test will begin," Cadwey said. I am sure he would have smiled if there were any skin left on his own skull. "Now the test of magic shall commence."
This was not good. The only spell I could cast was a few low level healing spells and my dark sight. The staff could only send off fireballs.
"You may begin," Cadwey offered
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