The Wizard and the Princess, Part 7: The Feasts

Animation based on images from the Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess (1980).  It shows a castle gate dropping over a moat.

The horn blares, permeating the open landscape.  For a moment, it seems as if nothing is going to happen, but in an instant, the drawbridge is down and the mysterious castle is open to me.

Warily, I step across the drawbridge and into the castle foyer.  There are no signs of who might have opened the gate; indeed, there are no signs of life at all.  The foyer is empty, and I hear only silence.

Image from the Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess (1980).  It shows a castle foyer, with stairs going up and two doorways.

The castle appears to be abandoned.  On the ground floor, I find several rooms adorned with banners and furniture gathering dust.  In one room, there's a table so large that its surface nearly reaches the top of the doorways.

Image from the Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess (1980).  It shows a table surrounded by chairs, with banners hanging from the ceiling.

Perhaps a great feast was once served here, but I cannot imagine what beings would be proportioned so as to fit comfortably at the table and through the doorways.  Did their legs make up three quarters of their height?

Never mind, I should keep exploring.  I crawl under the table and through the western door, where I find the king's throne.

Image from the Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess (1980).  It shows a small throne room.

Woe to the sorry king who was forced to greet his subjects in a throne room barely larger than a lavatory.  If more than two subjects were lined up to greet him, the line would have backed into the next room, and if there were three more, one would have been forced to duck under the dining room table.

Still, I can't resist the urge to try it out.

Animation based on images from the Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess (1980).  It shows a throne room fading into an arena, facing a boar.

That was a mistake.  The moment my butt hits the seat, the room begins to blur and distort, as if my head is being forced into a vat of water.  When my vision returns, I am squatting on the ground in a dirt-filled arena, face-to-face with a large boar.

The arena rumbles, as if a giant crowd were looking on and chanting, but I see no evidence of anything living other than the boar.  My suid foe, despite the imposing tusks jutting from his lower jaw, seems disinterested and largely unconcerned with my presence.  My hopes of a hasty exit are quickly dashed, however, as he moves to block me whenever I venture toward the door.

At first, it's unclear why he's so concerned with me leaving the arena, but then I notice him sniffing my pocket.  Reaching into it, I pull out the apple I recovered from the house by the ravine.  So that's what he wants.  Well, he's welcome to it.

I toss the apple to the boar and continue on to the door.  As I'm exiting the arena, I hear shrill squeal as the poisoned apple starts eating away at his internal organs.  The invisible crowd roars.  I don't relish offing Serenians, but the people wanted blood, and I wasn't about to donate mine.

The door passes through another dining area, with another oddly proportioned table, and then into a sort of... kitchen?  The room is adorned with a collection of furniture and appliances -- there's an oven, a water trough, a cabinet, and a chest of drawers -- but it's not clear what they have in common.  The water trough suggests they might have been feeding the boar here, but were they heating his food for him?  And were they dressing him from the drawers?

Image from the Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess (1980).  It shows an eclectic mix of furniture and appliances in a room.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to examine the room further, because the moment I take a step into the room, there's a bright flash and I'm magically transported to yet another room, this one completely bare.

Image from the Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess (1980).  It shows an empty room with a door on the right.

This castle feels less like a real place than a crude projection of one; like a series of vague ideas interpolated into physical reality by some magical force.  Something tells me I'm approaching a goal of some kind, but I still have no idea what that goal is.

The door to my right is locked, but there is an exit behind me.  It leads into a maze of corridors that, again, seems to serve no purpose.  I wander around in it for what seems like hours, but eventually find my way back to the foyer at the castle entrance.

Determined to finish my survey of the ground floor, I return to the great dining table and squeeze my way through the partially blocked door to the north

Image from the Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess (1980).  It shows two rows of chairs up against the side walls of a room.

Is this... a waiting room?  I'm pretty sure that even a vague idea of a castle wouldn't have one of those.  With plastic chairs in front of an arched doorway, it looks like something out of a David Lynch film.  I know I should be more cautious in a place where I've twice been magically transported, but the doorway is too tempting to resist.  I step under the arch...

Animation based on images from the Sierra game, The Wizard and the Princess (1980).  It shows the interior of a prison cell fading out.

...and into a locked prison cell.

Dammit.

The story continues...

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