Friday, September 2, 2016

The Carpathian Mountains ‘Hidden Harms’ -- between rocks and a hard place

By X
Mystery Writer to the JLP

If you’re in the Carpathian Mountains and inside Castle Dracula, the Count will bid you welcome. He’ll have you take a seat in the dining room, he’ll take your bags and he’ll leave you there so you can take in all the stupid paintings of his ancestry all over the walls.

Wait until he gets to the top of that ridiculous staircase and down the hall.

Then split for the west wall. Find the bottom right brick, count three bricks from the right, then six bricks from the bottom, and press that brick firmly. The wall will slide open. Slip through the opening.

Once you’re on the outside of the castle, say hallelujah, but not too loud or Drac will hear you. Cross through the Count’s backyard, a.k.a. Abominable Bend, home of the hairiest ape-like cryptids you’ll ever see (don’t stare -- they’re monsters, too), and head east toward the Valley of Rocks . . . where your real adventure will begin.

If you’ve made the trek all the way out to the Carpathian Mountains, the last thing you want to do is sit around Drac’s dingy castle the whole time. Believe me -- that’s all he’d have you do. Maybe you’d go to the Vampire Feast, which is a great festival down in Carpathian Circle . . . if you happen to be a vampire. But if you’re not a vampire like most of us monsters, it’s hard to enjoy all the vampire booths they have there and blood tasting and bat races. Plus, all the food there has no garlic. What good is that?

The Carpathian Mountains has much more to offer. To the east of Castle Dracula are some of the most amazing mountains you’ll ever see. And they’re filled with gems and jewels.

The path to get there, unfortunately, is a real drag. Once you get through the Valley of Rocks, you then have to go through Razor Rock Valley. FYI: That valley wasn’t named Razor Rock for nothing. The bodies impaled there are proof those things are as sharp as they look. And don’t be touching any of the rocks that move. These are the Blackrock Warders -- monsters. And they’re real nasty. If they ask to bat you around, it’s best to just let them. The situation only escalates if you don’t go with it.

You’ll soon discover that the weather in these parts is always overcast and cold. In other words it’s the perfect condition for learning some fun facts about rock monsters and mineral beasts. Soak it up because you’re in for a lot of that stuff.

Once you get past Razor Rock Valley, keep heading east up the giant mountains in front of you. This is Rock Monster Territory. You might bump into the Stone Protectors. Or rather they’ll bump into you. And they’ll be doing all the bumping. Just let them bump. The situation only escalates if you don’t go with it.

As you begin your climb, you’ll encounter all kinds of other rock creatures, like the Granite Watchmen, the Dolomite Behemoths, the Calcite Beholders, the Basalt Stalkers and the Boulderneers. Look at the beautiful rock formations as these beasts crash down upon you. Look quick. Then run . . . before they crash down upon you.

Go toward the Volcano in the Snow. There you’ll come across the deadly Lamproite Ladies. Don’t fall under their spell. And don’t tick ‘em off either. These ladies were formed from partially melted mantle, and forced to the surface in volcanic pipes. They’ve cooled off, to say the least. But, again, don’t get them heated.

If you make it past the Lamproites, you’re practically home free. Because just past the volcano are mountains filled with all those gems and jewels mentioned previously. See? Doesn’t this better than sitting around the Count’s castle, drinking blood shooters with him all day, hanging out (literally . . . with bats) in the cellar and trying to hold a conversation with his shallow Brides. Talk about dull. Of course, they think they know it all.

Anyway, back to the fun program I have laid out for you: Just past the Lamproite Ladies, you’ll see caves everywhere. Any of them have the goods. And the only reason they’re still filled with the goods is because no one or thing can usually get past all those rock monsters. So if you made it (and I have no secrets for you to make it), then lucky you.

However, don’t be throwing your hands up in celebration just yet. Around these parts, you have Colossus the Mighty to deal with. If you’ve ever been to the human world, you’ve probably heard of the San Andreas Fault. It’s a continental transform fault that extends about 800 miles through this horrible, really bright place called California. In the past -- when there’s been slippage between that fault -- it’s caused some of the nastiest earthquakes known to man (not to monster, though).  Well, through that fault is a portal to the home of Colossus the Mighty. And when Colossus gets upset, he shakes up that portal and, in turn, shakes up the San Andreas.

I’ll never forget that time in 1906 when the Mighty caught a group of jewel thieves going after the gems and jewels in the caves I was just telling you about. In that case, all anyone or anything can do is just go with it . . .

This is one in a series of TRAVEL STORIES from the 13 districts of Transyl-vein-ia. These stories run weekdays between August and September. Jack-o’-Lantern Press’s regular news and entertainment coverage will continue in October.

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