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Aelfgar

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Spoiler Warning!!!: Plot and/or ending details of a Fighting Fantasy publication follow. Please DO NOT read this article if you do not want foreknowledge of this publication. Although the article below is based on canon, some of its content is considered extrapolation because it assumes a certain course of events through an adventure that has many possible routes.

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Aelfgar is a magical Elven spear that has twice been used to slay the Chaos Lord, Belgaroth.[1]

The weapon was used by Sir Rhyaddan in Ruddlestone's crusade against Chaos to put an end to Belgaroth, and again used a century later by a Knight of Telak to destroy Belgaroth when he returned to the physical plane.

Appearing in the gamebook, Knights of Doom,[2] Aelfgar is described as a finely crafted weapon, about a metre in length. Its tip is fashioned from pure silver, and its shaft is carved from the wood of the trees in Lein forest. The weapon carries powerful magic, with eleven bands of Elven runes upon the shaft, glowing with energy when the weapon is wielded.[3]

The Location of AelfgarEdit

Aelfgar rests in a Templar Shrine, located on an eastern edge of the Forest of Lein, where the great forest meets the Banarask hills.[4]

In the gamebook, Knights of Doom, the player is tasked with defeating the ascending Chaos Lord, Belgaroth. In the course of his adventure, the player can gain 3 stanzas from the Ballad of Sir Rhyaddan, giving him the opportunity of finding Aelfgar. This is in fact a necessity, as without Aelfgar it is impossible to defeat Belgaroth.

Discovering the Location of AelfgarEdit

Before finding Aelfgar, the player must acquire the three stanzas of the Ballad of Sir Rhyaddan. The stanzas must be arranged in the order the player found them, at which point they will give a reference number, enabling the player to progress towards the Templar Shrine where Aelfgar rests.

First StanzaEdit

This one is the most easily acquired. It is gained simply by listening to the minstrels performing at Cleeve Manor. It runs thusly:

Then firm was his resolve,

His will strong, his spirit true
Riding towards the sunrise
Ever onward through the land,
Ever onward, sword in hand [5]

Second StanzaEdit

This stanza is acquired from Pyritees, an alchemist based in Havalok. The player must first solve a puzzle before hearing the stanza from Pyritees. It runs thusly:

Still riding through the forest old

Elven Spear there to behold
Valiant against the foe,
Ever onward through the land
Never fearing death's cold hand [6]

The Alchemist's PuzzleEdit

To gain this second stanza from Pyritees, the player must help the alchemist with a problem. During a laboratory accident, Pyritees accidentally effaced part of the formula for a life-extending elixir from a sheet of parchment. The player must use the still existing numbers of the parchment to determine what the missing ingredient and weights are. An illustration is provided in the book.[7]

The puzzle takes the form of a grid, with each square containing one of four different alchemical ingredients. The weight of each row and and each column is provided. The player must work out the weight of each ingredient to eventually deduce what the missing ingredient and the two missing weights are.

In exchange for this service, Pyritees generously gives a refund on any potions bought and also provides the second stanza of the Ballad of Sir Ryaddan.[6]

Solution to the PuzzleEdit

In this explanation each row and column's weight will also be used to label them (i.e. row 16, column 22 etc.).

The approach to take is by making reasonable assumptions and then trying to falsify them.

The place to begin is row 16, as we can split the 16 weight units between just two ingredients here, isolating these two from the rest and thereby making their weight easier to determine.

We could decide intuitively that the rock weighs more than the mist, but a good way to start is an equal division of 16 among the ingredients, increasing or decreasing the share as becomes necessary. Thus, in this case we decide that the mist and the rock must both weigh 4, giving an equal spread of weight among the ingredients.

The best place to begin to verify this is a row/column with a lot of mist or a lot of rock.

Column 22 is 3 rock and 1 sulphur - a good place test our assumption. The column's total weight of 22 suggests that if rock weighs 4, Sulphur must weigh 10.

Looking at row 19, a row with two sulphur, we see that this is impossible. Two Sulphur at weight 10 would push the amount way above 19. The rock must weigh more, and the sulphur less, than what we thought.

We return to row 16 to revise our assumptions. We could increase rock to 5 and lower mist to 3, but looking at column 22, then row 19, then column 16 would disprove this.

Therefore we adjust our initial assumptions again, this time increasing the rock from 5 to 6, and correspondingly lowering the mist's weight from 3 to 2 to keep the sum of the row at 16.

Column 22 suggests that if the rock is 6, Sulphur must be 4.

Row 19 indicates this is plausible. The sulplur and the rock account for 14 units of this rows weight, leaving only the dew, which, if we are correct, must then weigh 5.

Column 16, composed of Mist, dew and sulphur is a good place to test this. We see that under our conjectured weights the ingredients would indeed sum to 16.

We take our assumption of Rock = 6, Mist = 2 Dew = 5 and Sulphur = 4 to the other rows and columns, all of which add up correctly.

Therefore, the missing ingedient is Dew, and the missing numbers are 14 and 20. Combined together these give 34. Turning to this reference proves us correct.[6]

Third StanzaEdit

This stanza is gained from the lid of a knight's sarcophagus, which is located in a crypt in Myrton cemetery. The verse is written in runic script, and appears in the illustration of (214), rather than the passage itself.[8] The stanza runs thusly:

Ever onward through the land

In the shrine, the spear to find
Great was his hope when he espie,
High up on a barren peak,
The Templar Shrine that he

Did seek
Translating the RunesEdit

To translate these runes, the player must have hunted the Great Boar in the forest near Cleeve Manor. While in the forest he has the opportunity to stumble upon a commemorative monument inscribed with a passage written in the Common Tongue, with the Runic Alphabet written below it. Each English letter corresponds to the rune beneath it. The passage contains every letter of the English Alphabet,[9] and so the player can construct the entire Runic Alphabet from it, subsequently using these notes to translate the passage written on the illustration of the tomb.

The Hidden NumbersEdit

The three stanzas the player requires are arranged as follows, in the order they are obtained:

Then firm was his resolve,

His will strong, his spirit true
Riding towards the sunrise
Ever onward through the land,
Ever onward, sword in hand

Still riding through the forest old
Elven Spear there to behold
Valiant against the foe,
Ever onward through the land
Never fearing death's cold hand

Ever onward through the land
In the shrine, the spear to find
Great was his hope when he espie,
High up on a barren peak,
The Templar Shrine that he

Did seek

The numbers hidden in the verses emerge from the first letter of each line. Reading the first letters vertically reveals THREE, SEVEN and EIGHT, giving the reference (378). Turing to this reference reveals this to be the correct solution.[4]

See AlsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Keep of the Lich-Lord - ???
  2. Knights of Doom - 11, 17, 34, 136, 144, 168, 200, 206, 214*, 218, 262, 280, 286, 308
  3. Knights of Doom - 286
  4. 4.0 4.1 Knights of Doom - 378
  5. Knights of Doom - 281
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Knights of Doom - 34
  7. Knights of Doom - 227
  8. Knights of Doom - 214
  9. Knights of Doom - 112

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