Syovar seems pleased by their decision, and leads them to his private study, a cozy room filled with books and ancient curios. A fire roars in the hearth.

As they munch on delicious cakes and sip a strange herbal tea, Syovar reminisces about his childhood days during the height of the Great Underground Empire. He recalls how he learned magic from an aged sorcerer named Hermacedus. Bivotar and Juranda are surprised to learn that Syovar was married once, during the last days before the fall of the Empire. His wife, Lorena, was killed by an enemy of Syovar, an evil warlock named Grawl. Grawl also cast a powerful spell on Syovar's only son, Logrumethar, and exiled him to a distand land. Syovar was never able to locate his son again, and has finally forced himself to admit that Logrumethar is dead.

As the fire grows dimmer, Syovar tells them of the rise and fall of the Great Underground Empire-a mighty kingdom carved right into the bedrock of the earth, a kindgom of wondrous sights, tremendous wealth, and powerful magic. But, because of the decadence of its ruler, Lord Dimwit Flathead, the empire finally fell.

Following the fall, evil times came to the Land of Frobozz, as every warlock in the kindom attempted to gain control. Finally, Syovar helped recreate the Knights of Zork, an ancient royal army, to help bring order to the land. With the defeat of Krill, the most powerful of the warlocks, peace returned.

Now the Great Underground Empire is rising once more. Each week, new areas of the old underground caverns are rediscovered, explored, and settled. Flood Control Dam Number Three is once again the famous tourist spot it was at the height of the empire, and the Mines of Zork are once again producing coal and diamonds. Syovar speaks softly of his dream of uniting all the neighboring lands into a peaceful, happy kindom.

A troubled look comes over Syobar's face. "Recently," Syovar says, "explorers have discovered a new section of the Great Underground Empire, and adventurers and treasure hunters have flocked into the vast new area. None have returned.

"Several knights have gone in to search for the missing explorers, but they have not returned either. With utmost reluctance, I have been forced to seal up that section of the Underground Empire forever, to prevent more disappearances." Syobar pauses, and looks sadly towards Bivotar and Juranda. "Unfortunately, Max and Fred, the two elves who joined your quest to resque me from the wizard Malifestro, are among the missing."

Syovar absentmindedly strokes his beard. "I attempted to use my magical powers to explore this Cavern of Doom, but they were unable to penetrate it. It is as though the entire region were guarded by some powerful enchantment. All I could glean was a vague feeling that only someone completely innocent, only someone pure of heart, could enter that enchanted cavern and return."

Syovar pauses, lost in thought. The room has grown dark; the fire has turned into a bed of glowing embers. Syovar shakes himself out of his reverie. "Well, look how late it is! You two had best be off to your chambers." He summons a servant to escort them.

Later that night, Juranda quietly enters Bivotar's chamber. She wakes him gently. "Hey, Biv..."

"Hurglumph? Oh, it's you. What's up?"

"We've got to go to the Cavern of Doom."

"Sure," Bivotar says, rolling over. "First thing in the morning."

"I'm serious," insists Juranda.

Bivotar stares at her. "You must be wacko! You heard what Syovar said-no one has ever gone in there and returned!"

"But he also said that someone who was young and innocent could enter and return. We probably fit that bill as much as anyone around." Before Bivotar can object, Juranda hurriedly continues. "And we've got to find Max and Fred-they're our friends!"

Would you dare to enter the Cavern of Doom?


Activision and Zork are registered trademarks of Activision, Inc.
© 1983, 1996 Activision, Inc. Used with permission.
Chris Boraski