CURSE OF THE GOD KINGS
Because your journeying has brought you, without any particular plan on your part, to the city where your friend Aramanthis the wizard lives, you decide to pay him a visit. However, on arriving at his home you are shocked to discover him lying on his bed surrounded by worried servants. When he sees you, he tells them all to leave. His voice is very weak, and it looks to you that Aramanthis is not long for this world. Once you are alone together, he struggles to hold off death long enough to tell you something of great importance.And our accompanying notes to the Puffin editors:
"I have been beyond the world's edge," he says. "To the unknown land beyond Marpesia. You do not know Chargan the Golden, I think, but he is a sorcerer who has studied occult matters for as long as I. Together we undertook a voyage to the uncharted land, for Chargan had found ancient scrolls that told of a great empire that ruled there a hundred centuries ago. This empire was called Kamada Varrentis, and its rulers learned the Language of the Gods, whose nouns are worlds and whose grammar speaks with the force of natural law. Any wish or whim of the Emperors of Kamada Varrentis would instantly be gratified, as long as they phrased it in the Language of the Gods."
You can see that your old friend is fading fast. "Save your strength," you tell him soothingly.
"For what? I will be dead before the sands have run through yon hourglass. Listen to what I say, my friend. Chargan and I struggled through terrible hardships - ice jungles the like of which I have never seen in any part of the known world, three eyed savages who chased us with weapons of living liquid, pinnacles that rose a thousand feet sheer out of bleached salt marsh... But we found it. We found the ruins of Kamada Varrentis. And we found the books containing the Language of the Gods. Overcome with a lust for power, Chargan read three pages, and whatever it was he learnt has driven him mad. He no longer knew who I was, and as he turned from the book he spoke a syllable that made the sky shake! I fled from him in terror, and by some miracle I managed to get back here to tell the tale. But I am an old man, and the arduous voyage has proved too much for me. I must leave matters in your hands. You must stop Chargan before he tampers with the very fabric of our world. The mountains, the seasons of the year, the course of rivers even the motion of the stars - all of these can be altered as easily as a child builds a sandcastle, by someone who knows the Language of the Gods."
Probably this has the scope to be the toughest Fighting Fantasy book ever! The dangers of the uncharted continent are, as Aramanthis said, unlike anything in any other part of Titan. For the protagonist it is a case of sink or swim. He or she will have to quickly find out how to survive while trying to locate Chargan.
The protagonist will not recognize Chargan when they do find him. He has lost his memory and will attach himself to the protagonist's expedition in the belief that he is a travelling priest. Only as they penetrate further inland towards the ruins of Kamada Varrentis will Chargan begin to remember who he is and what has happened to him. His power to alter reality manifests itself in short bursts, and the protagonist will have to be alert to such clues in order to find out the truth.
Obviously Chargan is much too powerful a foe to overcome in a straight fight once his amnesia has gone. The protagonist will have to try and outwit him. There are several ways that this can be achieved, but none of them are easy. One alternative allows the protagonist to learn the Language of the Gods himself and engage Chargan in what must surely be the gamebook battle to end them all. The best way to win is to use the Language of the Gods to neutralize itself - thus depriving both Chargan and the protagonist of this "ultimate power" - but there are other ways.