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Library: Book With No Name, a Puzzle.

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Author: Yari
Date:Nov 2 1995

Preface:  This book is a riddle, pay attention to details, they will be
important later.

   Once again, my master was angry.  It's not difficult to tell when 
he is, even for someone who only knows him in passing, and for me, 
who has known him for quite some time, it's a simple matter.  He'll 
roll in like a thundercloud, not at all himself, and sink into a 
state of anger so deep it's as if there is nothing left to him other 
than his fury.  After a time, however, he will rise, like a phoenix 
from the ashes, to be himself again.  It never lasts long.
   "Where to on this night, driver?" he asks with such forced 
civility, it is difficult not to smirk.
   "The usual haunts, I believe, sir.  You seem out of sorts."
   "Yes... The usual haunts... That will be fine.  Stop by the 
graveyard first, I have respects I must pay first."  He sunk back 
into the carriage, almost disappearing into the shadows in the rear, 
a sure sign that I was correct, it had indeed been a bad day.
   We traveled for some time before I spoke again.  I have learned 
that when in a foul mood, it is often best to allow him to be alone 
with his thoughts.  Since we traveled to the graveyard, I thought it 
best to warn him of the days' events.  I cleared my throat, one of 
our signs.
   "Yes?  What is it?"  came from the shadows of the carriage.
   "Sir, I have heard of a celestial event, it seems that a group of 
asteroids or meteors have struck the land nearby, and it is causing 
a rise of undead."
   We rolled on for some time.  "Yes, thank you, that might be 
important at the yard."  From behind me, I heard a slight shifting, 
as he settled back, or perhaps turned to watch something pass by.
   We arrived at the graveyard presently.  I stopped, and he stepped 
out, wordlessly, knowing that I would await his return.  I waited, 
and used the time to contemplate what exactly had caused this state 
of near depression in my lord.  Perhaps the meeting with the 
warlords had not gone well.  Perhaps the result of his last joust 
were unanticipated.  Unpleasant surprises, that was what my master 
liked least in life.
   After roughly ten minutes, I heard the clash of steel on steel 
coming through the gates.  "Combat!"  I thought, and considered my 
options.  In the end, my decision was made for me, for out he came, 
barely sweating, with 3 corpses of zombies.  Only zombies, a simple 
matter, he would have chuckled if I had gone to help him.  Perhaps 
that would have been good after all, even if the humor was at my 
expense.
   He dropped the corpses, not even bothering to bury them and 
climbed aboard.  The carriage barely shifted, even as he brought his 
weight aboard.  Strongly built, walls of mithril reinforced oak, 
with only windows through which to communicate with me and see the 
landscape, it was quite defensible.  We resumed our travels.
   "Your decision," was all he said, as we began moving.
   The ant hill, I decided.  A visit to the giant centipede was in 
order, a task we performed frequently, a wise choice.  Perhaps 
afterward, we'd go to the crystal castle.  I informed him of the 
plan, and he agreed, as he always does.
   The ride was to be a long one, so I decided to try to engage him 
in conversation.  "Did you find a new pair of leggings, sir?  I know 
that you have been looking for some time now."
   A slight shift in the back seat indicated that I had perhaps 
disturbed a nap.  A pause.  "You want to know what's wrong, don't 
you?"  I started to demur, but he stopped me by chuckling and 
continuing.  "The pretender, he was taking advantage of my status 
again.  So I assassinated him."
   That explained much.  The pretender had been a thorn in my 
master's side for some time, having assumed a name so similar to his 
own, and even followed his footsteps to the Crimson Brigade, he 
sometimes abused his external similarities for self gain.  As 
always, when he was forced to use force, my master felt pangs of 
guilt afterward.
   "The strange thing is, I do not feel remorse."  I raised an 
eyebrow at this. "I fear that I am becoming too numbed to this sort 
of thing, and it worries me somewhat.  However, it is important that 
each of us has his or her own space.  Invaders onto our lands, we 
can slay them, and feel justified, it is even moreso the case then 
they are attempting to use your very identity.  I, often the 
defender of assassination targets, a vanguard in the fight against 
such things, have sunk so low as to not even feel when I am the 
offender.  But, when the issue is your own _space_--"
   "Blast!" I exclaimed, not meaning to interrupt, but I had stopped 
paying attention to the road and had nearly run over a downed tree.  
I yanked the reins, and stopped the steeds short of its girth.  "My 
apologies, I did not see the tree until we were almost upon it, 
sir."
   He opened the door and stepped out, and pushed the tree to the 
side of the road.  Cyclops strength was unimaginable and somewhat 
frightening to a gnoll such as myself, but ever since he had rescued 
me from the ghouls in my youth, I had always felt comfortable around 
him.  He climbed back aboard and closed the door.  I resumed our 
travels.  Nothing like a small adventure to lift our spirits.  
Little did I know what adventure was about to occur, more than we 
required.
   My master drew in a breath, as if to speak, when *KABOOM!* an 
enormous explosion rocked the rear of the cabin!  I could barely 
hold the reins even with their magical strength enhancers as the 
mounts stormed off, with the force of a stampede!
   "Hang on!"  I shouted over the roar of hooves and wheels on 
gravel.  We careened around a hard right and over the top of a hill 
only to be greeted by a party which had set up camp right in the 
middle of the road!  I veered hard to the left.  "Trying to dodge 
'em, sir!"  I shouted, as the carriage groaned under the strain!  We 
went off the road down a lucky break in the forest, fortunately wide 
enough to take the carriage as it hurtled down a slight hill.  I 
kept pulling the reins, and the mounts seemed to be responding when 
  **BOOM** 
  another blast, this one even closer, rocked the structure!  The 
mounts snorted in terror, and bolted off anew!  The trees began to 
loom closer, the track was getting thinner!  I cursed under my 
breath, hoping the forest would thin, a collision with a tree would 
not please my master and perhaps even kill us.  The hill began to 
get steeper, the mounts showed no sign of stopping.
   "JUMP! my master shouted from behind me, "JUMP, the carriage is 
lost!"  I heard him open the door, but a passing tree SLAMMED it 
shut.  I jumped at the nearest break in the ever closer trees, 
hoping that I would not crack my skull on a trunk.
   Falling..
       falling...
          falling...
            and then I was rolling, crashing into thick undergrowth, 
feeling something rip into my shoulder but not really feeling it 
because it was too fast, light, dark, light, dark as I rolled over 
and over for what seemed like forever, but must have only been a 
moment.  Then all was dark.

   I woke after a time, how long, I had no idea, it was still light 
out.  I started to move, but a pain in my shoulder stopped me.  I 
heard a voice, and turned my head toward it.  I could not see 
anything, the undergrowth was too full.  "...perhaps you should not 
have been so hasty..." I heard over the pounding in my head.  The 
voice... I felt a fear in my stomach.  It was the pretender, he was 
here!  I crept closer, as quietly as I could manage with the various 
pains that were racking my body.  
   "Hah, you didn't think I could get back at you, did you?"  I 
heard him say, and another, strange noise.  Schick, thump.  Shick, 
thump.  "Well, I did, you should be more careful who you kill!"  He 
cackled, like a man who has lost all reason.  I heard my master's 
voice, but it sounded too far away, I decided to get closer, and 
crept to the end of the undergrowth.
   I got my first look at him.  He was standing with a shovel in 
hand, in a pit up to his waist.  A long, deep pit.  I saw the tracks 
of the carriage, and realized with a disgusted shock that this was 
an enormous pitfall!  He was burying my master in the carriage!  I 
gasped in horror!
   The pretender glared toward me, but couldn't see me from his 
vantage point.  He took a step in my direction, then stopped, to 
listen.  Hearing nothing, he turned around and resumed his task.
   I let out a breath of relief.  The pretender stopped again and 
strode directly over to me!  A trick, he knew I was here and was 
paying more attention than I had thought!  He spotted me quickly, I 
was barely able to move, let alone flee.
   "So, there you are.  I had begun to wonder where you were hiding, 
little one.  I cannot have you interfering, you know.  Good luck," 
he said without sarcasm or maliciousness.  He began to concentrate 
on a spell.  "Havia kauhistus pois!"
   And I was gone.  It is now two days later, and I still search for 
my master, hoping that somehow he is still alive in his living 
grave.  I am not sure where our wild flight led us, but I am hopeful 
that I can find it.  As for the pretender, he can be sure that he 
has not heard the last of my master.  If I cannot save him, then I 
shall avenge him myself, this is certain.  Until I am sure, though. 
I shall continue my search, and if he truly is dead, I will bury him 
in the graveyard, as he always said he would want.  
   Either way, the pretender... he will beg for death.

***

This book, believe it or not, is a riddle.  I rather like the story, 
and for the astute reader of Stephen King, you will recognize strong 
parallels with a story in "Nightmares and Dreamscapes", called 
_Dolan's Caddliac_.  Apologies and thanks to Mr. King, the concept 
is really quite excellent.  Your task, as an eager riddle solver, is 
to tell me the title of this book.  Simple.  Do it first, within 2 
weeks of the original publishing of this book, and receive 100,000 
gold coins as a reward.  Good luck.

The puzzlemaster.

(As with the Grand Mystery, it is instant disqualification to ask me questions
about the book.  I do, however, enjoy hearing your ideas, so please let me
know what you are thinking.  Use bat email to send me your progress reports. 
Thank you for playing, I hope you enjoy it ;)

EET time is Thu Sep 28 08:11:18 1995


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