Choose Your Own Adventure 108: Playing The Hero Some More
Your choice, from last time, was to attempt to rescue Lehhev at the earliest opportunity.
It’s a simple enough matter to determine where Lehhev is being held. Unfortunately, it’s not the prison where you were kept earlier, reserved primarily for the drunk and disorderly. (Whoever put you there is probably going to get fired, at best.)
This is the Baryeva Dungeon. Baryeva is legendary for its prisoners — dangerous or political — and its complete lack of daring escapes. There are also suitably ominous rumors about what happens on the inside to those who are never seen again. Whisked away at the whim of the Emperor.
You know those rumors well. You started some of them, years ago, to discourage certain political elements from destabilizing the Empire. Baryeva is run by the Black Hands, with a large number of less elite guards staffing it, although it was never your particular posting. The place is built from a dark gray-green stone, and laced with defensive spells.
This is not going to be easy.
The next night finds you in the cool, fall air, waiting for the rotation at Baryeva to change.
You spent a good chunk of yesterday finding a suitably circumspect inn to stay at — the Black Hands are out in force, looking for you, no doubt. You’re better than most of them, particularly where magic is concerned, but it is only going to be a matter of time before someone catches you.
Time to move quickly.
Of course, you are expecting a trap, so you have planned accordingly.
Under cover of darkness, of invisibility, and a second magical working to hide the signs of magic about your person, you slip through the guards around the prison. The watch change happens roughly four hours before dawn, and you sneak through the door behind the main group. To enter the interior of the prison, you nab a straggling guard, knock her out with a whispered word, and stuff her into a closet. Then you use her as a model for your own spell of illusion. It’s not as good as one of Lehhev’s spells of greater duration, but it is enough to get you past the scrutiny of the Black Hand standing in front of the inner entrance. He still gives you an odd look, but you manage with the aid of a spell that let you overhear the password of the day.
Once you are in the prison complex, you know you are running on borrowed time. But you know this place, and there has not been enough time to entirely change it. You know where the list of prisoner’s is, and deftly peruse it. As you expected, Lehhev is being kept in the wing intended for those whose knowledge of magic makes them difficult to contain.
You stride there in a calm, businesslike manner, down the stairs, into the deeper dungeon level. Looking like you know what you’re doing is the key to avoiding suspicion. That, and showing the image of someone else’s face.
More seriously, you don’t have time to dawdle. You planted a slow-burning torch in the tannery that is the closest building to the prison. There is enough magic on the walls to prevent the unfortunate smells from reaching the rest of the city, but the chemicals it contains are still quite volatile. It should burn beautifully, a few minutes from now, providing an excellent distraction.
The corridors are not lined by flickering torches, but are instead well-lit by mage globes, some in green, some in blue. The colors indicate whether or not each cell contains a prisoner. At the far end of one such corridor, past a long series of blue globes, you find one casting an eerie green luminescence.
You slide open the small window, so that only your illusory eyes are visible to the occupant. Someone who looks like Thedane Lehhev is sitting in the dimness on the spare cot, still awake.
“Hello?” he says.
Your only reply is a murmured spell, followed by a second, and gestures that the man inside cannot see.
It’s not Lehhev.
The illusion is good — as good as your own, in fact. But not good enough to survive deeper scrutiny. The man wears Lehhev’s clothes, to lend further credence to the disguise, but there the similarity ends. He is young, wears no spectacles, and beneath the robes, his lean form shows the signs of extensive physical training.
You anticipated this possibility, but several choices remain open to you. You could simply knock him out and leave; so far as you can tell, there are no other spells around him that unconsciousness will trigger. You could knock him out, and haul him away with you to interrogate him later. Or you could go back to the guards’ main room, to look over their records again or try to get some information from the people coming off the midnight shift.
Option 111: Knock out the impostor and get out of here. You’ll have better odds of finding Lehhev — and not getting caught — later.
Option 112: Knock out the impostor, and nab him. You can probably get some good intel out of him.
Option 113: Go back to the guard room, and see if you can find information about Lehhev’s whereabouts there.