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The Saving Throw
Contest Entry Oct. 4, 2006
Gaming moments with multiple endings, but only one is the real ending.

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The Circling Muse
featured on Oct. 4, 2006 contributed by Macstorm

My adventure took place over a decade ago. We were playing a freestyle campaign; there were no rulebooks or real setting. Our group included my human illusionist, a dwarf berserker, and an elven fighter. This was after I had lost my pet spider monkey, Bongo. It was a tragic, but stupid mistake on my part, but I had to move on.

This session started with just the elven fighter and me, as our dwarf was running late. As usual, we had been in search of treasure, as this seemed to be what our DM enjoyed doing. After all, we never fought anything exciting. Little did we know that our DM was leading us along a path that would take us up against some very powerful foes, and we were gathering artifacts to fight these foes. This day we were to meet the first of these foes.

Far beneath the tree town of Anknar was a deep swamp fortress called the Circling Muse. This underground lair was not something we were searching for, but in our trek through the swamp, I had fallen into a pit which ended up being a hidden entrance to the Muse. My fighter friend came down to check and see if I was fine, which thankfully, I was. Much like a video game RPG where you venture into an area that you are not quite high enough level to fight in, we could tell right away that we were outclassed. I was able to conjure a shadow of myself that would allow me to explore a place without actually being in danger and I sent the shadow in to look around. I was able to see bats, skeletons, ghosts, and a mummy. Normally, any monsters would attack my shadow upon sight, but for some reason these were leaving it alone. It was almost too easy. My shadow finally rounded a corner into a large chamber filled with books and I caught sight of a withered old man reading at a desk. The bats and skeletons were in this room as well and seemed to be ignoring him completely as he read intently by the light of a small lamp. He was not facing my direction and since my shadow made no noise, I continued to scan the room. I spied some old maps, a couple of fragile chests, and some dried staffs, all of which seemed to be uninteresting at the time. I looked back to where the old man was only to see that he was no longer in sight, but the lamp was still at the desk. I figured I had been looking around long enough and recalled the shadow, returning to my normal body. The second I returned to myself, the old man was there and he powerfully grabbed me by the throat. The fighter was paralyzed with fear and could not move.


 Which ending is the real one?

A.

He didn't say a word. He just was just staring at me like he was looking through me. With a wave of his free hand he threw the two of us through an open door and into a cage inside the Muse. The cage then began to drop like an elevator for what seemed like forever. We were flying so fast that we knew that if the cage ever hit the ground that we would both be killed. All of a sudden, it was light and the cage was gone. We were just on the ground back in Anknar with a note pinned on the ground beside us. Once we got our heads together, my friend reached down and looked at the note. "Never again," was all it said. We knew that we were lucky that was all that had happened to us and were swore never to venture near that swamp again. We had learned our lesson.


B.

The old man just looked at us both and laughed. He dropped me and walked back into the Muse, slowly vanishing as he did. It was then that the swamp began to fill in the area around the gate we had been near. We started climbing and kicking in an effort to escape the rising muck. Finally, we made it to safety and the swamp stopped moving. A small crystal oozed up from the muck and I picked it up right away without thinking. I felt a brief jolt and heard a voice in my mind. "Thanks for the new home," was all I heard and then the crystal vanished. My companion had not even noticed the crystal, so I made sure not to tell him anything. He would find out what had happened soon enough.


Results for this Contest Entry
This contest entry is still in play.
Which ending is the real one? Send me your guesses. Make sure to include the titles of all stories you are guessing the ending of for this week as well as your name and alias so that points can be attributed to you properly.


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