Muddled Times
Issue:Issue 23, August 2003
Section:Game Information

The Alpine Cottage

Positioned near the very apex of the north mountain, the alpine cottage is a haven of peace in the strife torn Land. First of all you have to find it. It's easy enough to get to the general vicinity, but due to a strange micro-climate the immediate access to it seems perpetually shrouded by a blizzard, that is all too easy to become disorientated, even lost in. Once you burst out of the blizzard however, you are safely sheltered by tall snowdrifts leading northwards to this strange edifice.

Apart from the security offered by its relative inaccessibility, (I say relative as there are rumours amongst some travel agents that there is a short cut here from time to time) my personal favourite feature is the long Alpine horn that rests here. Whatever other uses it may have - playing traditional Tyrolean tunes to the mountains for example - there is no denying the efficacy of a well timed toot on it when a mage has just fled. Apparently it sounds exactly like another sort of horn. How amusing.

The dining room here is the epitome of traditional cheer, with log fire, snow-covered windows, and it exudes charm. And for the peckish, there's often a snack or two to be found in the nearby cupboard, more of a small larder than a clothes hanging space.

The bedroom is small, but again homely, with a fitted wardrobe in one corner. Unfortunately during our visit one of the windows had been blown in, and from the looks of it has been this way for some time. Make sure if you are on holiday here and notice this to complain immediately, as complaints not registered whilst on holiday are likely to be ignored once you reach the safety of the tearoom.

Please bear in mind that the area is famous for its native crafts, in particular leather clothing and carved timepieces of a whimsical nature, so be prepared to bring souvenirs home with you. Being a rough guide we naturally explored the crevice so invitingly revealed by this blown-in casement. In all honesty the area looked very dangerous, with deadly precipices, and the prospect of avalanches. We tip toed it out of there post haste, after the briefest of pauses to admire the glittering ice-shelf on the far side of the crevice. Oh, if only we could have reached it, it looked like a treasure trove of beauty.

Inspired, we decided to explore the surrounding mountain briefly. Once we stumbled back out of the blizzard, the general direction was fairly easy to work out. If in doubt, keep going up. The pinnacle is indescribable, you literally feel on top of the world when you reach here. On the way down, a small temple offers you an opportunity to give thanks for the natural beauty around you, and to meditate on all you have seen in perfect tranquility.

Don't let yourself be fooled into lazing around though. The frozen remains of a mighty mammoth, its tusks in place despite the still high value of ivory, especially so antique an ivory as this, give evidence of the treacherous nature of the surroundings. If you are lucky, during your descent, you may observe such arctic fauna as a snow leopard, a snowbird, or maybe even one of the local ponies, said to be bred specially to aid travellers on their way in spite of obstacles.

We hope you enjoy your experience in this corner of The Land as much as we did, and look forward to welcoming you to another rough guide next issue.

Next Issue: A short trip around the dwarfen mines.

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