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2015 Artwork Acolyte! Illustration Brother Throckmorton

Finally, you see a dim rectangle of orange light outlining the edges of what looks like an old iron door. Common sense tells you to turn away, but you can’t quite remember the way back. Silently you curse yourself for forgetting to bring the candle which was literally right there next to the stairs.

Hearing strange clanking noises and something that sounds suspiciously like anguished screaming, you decide that it’s best to approach the door sneakily. After all, if you can’t sneak around old houses in the dark, then why would you bother applying to join the Order in the first place? I mean, it’s one of the perks of the job.

Furtively, you creep forward until CLANG! You stub your toe on an empty paint can, or was it a jar of lizard entrails? In the gloom, you can’t quite be sure.

Before you can find a good hiding place, the metal door swings open and you can see a hooded figure in dark robes silhouetted against the amber firelight. In a shrill voice, he shouts: ‘Who goes there? Ah, an acolyte! Splendid!

Emerging from your terrible hiding place, you walk over to the man. As you get closer, you see that he is completely bald and, thanks to his gaunt features, he looks almost skeletal. Still, not wanting to be rude, you nervously introduce yourself.

A fiendish grin crosses his face and he says: ‘Ah, I wasn’t expecting you for another few weeks. I’m Brother Throckmorton, the Manor’s dungeonkeeper.

D…Dungeonkeeper?‘ You stutter.

Oh yes‘ He chuckles ‘I look after the manor’s historic dungeons and make sure that everything is in good working order. Anyway, where are my manners? Come inside. I insist.

He gestures towards the door with a bony finger. It would, of course, be rude to refuse such a kind offer. So, you follow Brother Throckmorton into the dungeons.

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