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2016 Artwork Acolyte! Illustration High Priestess Lachard

Even though you really should know better, your curiosity gets the better of you and you walk over to the fridge door and grip the latch. The banging sounds get louder and the groaning gets more frantic.

Taking a deep breath and steeling yourself for the worst, you pull the latch. Before you can so much as exhale, the door flies open and sends you reeling into a row of pots and pans. As you get to your feet, you see a blonde woman dressed in the ornate robes of a high priestess standing by the fridge door. She is holding a large frozen iguana in her hands.

Shivering, she points the iguana at you accusingly and says: ‘Apprentice! You were supposed to repair the inner latch on that fridge last… Sorry acolyte, I mistook you for my no-good apprentice. I’d fire the bastard, but the paperwork is quite simply hellish. Anyway, it is clear that Zuccax’s eternal wisdom guided you to this place and, once again, I have been saved from a bizarre and ironic death. But, where are my manners? I am High Priestess Lachard.

You greet her in the glorious name of the Elder Goddess Zuccax and introduce yourself, before asking: ‘A bizarre and ironic death? Does that happen a lot around here?

High Priestess Lachard lets out a loud laugh, before saying: ‘Oh yes. I’ll never forget the time when Brother Crabfoller choked to death on a wafer-thin mint at the end of our last ceremonial feast. Or the time that Archmage Grentawes mistook the manor’s lightning rod for his broomstick. In fact, it was only the other week when one of your fellow acolytes made the fool’s mistake of knocking on the initiation hall door three times instead of two. Good times, good times acolyte.

By now, she is almost rolling around on the floor with laughter. After she has composed herself again she glances at a clock on a nearby wall before saying: ‘Talking of initiations, you’re going to be late for yours if you don’t hurry. The initation hall is just through that door and down the corridor to your right. You can’t miss it, unless your name happens to be Throckmorton, of course.

Once again, she dissolves into a fit of laughter. ‘Throckmorton… Oh, the look on his face…‘. Thanking her nervously and saying your goodbyes, you leave the kitchens.

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