PRINCE OF PERSIA: The Sands of Time - PC/PS2/GC/XBOX

FAQ/Walkthrough by J Woodrow  <jonjon132002@yahoo.co.uk> 

Version 1.0 - 09/09/2004
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                      P R I N C E  O F  P E R S I A
                        --  The Sands of Time  --

                        Written by Jordan Mechner


-- Adaptation by J Woodrow ----------------------------------------------

A dark-haired young man stands on the terrace of an imposing palace set 
amid the lush vegetation of a monsoon rainforest. In the twilight damp, 
birds flock and wheel overhead. The young man is dressed in dark blue 
tunic and headdress, and carries a sword on his back. He seems to be 
waiting. Through gauze curtains behind him is a brightly lit room; he 
turns and goes in.

Storm clouds gather. A lightning flash, a rumble of thunder and a heavy 
raindrop falls. In a candlelit bedchamber a young woman sleeps, a 
translucent net her only cover in the humid night.

"Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one 
direction," the young man declares, "but I have seen the face of time, 
and I can tell you - they are wrong."

The raindrop splashes to the ground and at that moment the girl wakes 
with a start, her dark eyes wide. In the dense forest the young man, 
sword in hand, runs purposefully through the rain. 

"Time is an ocean in a storm!"

His feet splash through mud, he is heedless of the downpour, brushing 
aside branches, intent on his goal.

"You may wonder who I am and why I say this," he continued. "Sit down, 
and I will tell you a tale like none that you have ever heard."

On a hillside horses stamp impatiently, their riders watching, waiting. 
Soldiers are gathered before a mighty palace.

"Know first that I am the son of Shahraman, a mighty king of Persia," 
the young man looked to his father mounted beside him. "On our way to 
Azad with a small company of men, we passed through India, where the 
promise of honor and glory tempted my father into a grievous error."

Inside the gates of the palace a soldier raises its drawbridge. He 
turns as a gaunt figure looms behind him, dagger drawn. This man swiftly 
stabs the shocked sentry; with a grin of satisfaction, watches him fall. 
The drawbridge mechanism spins free.

From within the palace a flaming arrow arcs across the sky.

"Now, my son!"

The battle begins - soldiers charge, swords drawn, sweeping aside the 
first defenders as riders rush headlong for the open gates. King 
Shahraman and the Prince head the charge as they ride to a mighty clash 
of arms.

Shahraman is about to strike at a figure but the man raises his hands.

"Your majesty, I trust you will remember your promise?"

It is the Vizier who opened the palace gates, his tone obsequious as he 
gestures.

"The Maharajah's treasure vaults lie within."

At that the Prince spurs his horse.

"See how he rides!" King Shahraman laughs with pleasure, "Like a 
warrior's son!"

The Prince clatters across the stone floor at a gallop, the palace 
walls collapsing around him. His horse is brought down; he is thrown 
through a crumbling archway, lands hard with a gasp and is knocked cold.

He came to lying amongst rubble on the hard stone floor of a keep.

The battle still raged beyond the walls. All around was the clash of 
steel, the shiver of arrows, shouting and screams of desperate men, the 
whinny of horses and crash of flaming missiles, pounding the 
Maharajah's palace.

"Do you think I felt regret as I gazed upon the destruction we had 
wrought," wondered the Prince, "or at least humility at the speed at 
which a world can be transformed from a good world into a hell? If you 
think so you are mistaken. From that moment I thought of one thing only - 
the honor and glory I would bring my father by fighting like a warrior in 
my first battle!"

A party of his father's soldiers shared the courtyard with him, using a 
ram to batter a sturdy gate under orders of a captain, sweeping his 
scimitar as he urged every stroke. The Prince ran toward them, and as he 
approached a great ball of fire streaked over the palace walls and 
blasted the group with their ram. Smoke cleared and the Prince looked in 
horror at the twisted, burning bodies. He realized there was nothing to 
be done, and also that there was no way through that gate. He headed up 
over the rubble to the ramparts.

As he ran across the top another flaming ball blasted out the walkway 
in front, forcing him to jump across the gap. Past more grisly corpses 
he leaped across broken boards and ran inside a section of covered 
rampart. A hasty barricade of furniture blocked his way. He cleared this 
easily with his sword, and here now was his first taste of combat. A 
turbaned sentry stood ready, swinging his spear in a threatening stance. 
With sword in hand, the Prince charged in and began to slash. He was able 
to block or roll when his opponent tried to thrust with the spear, and it 
took only a few blows before the sentry was overwhelmed. The Prince 
sheathed his sword in satisfaction and climbed a nearby ladder to higher 
battlements.

He drew his sword again and ran towards two sentries there. Moving and 
slashing, he divided his attack between them. Each fell soon enough 
beneath the swiftness of his sword. The Prince took a moment then to 
savor his victory. He looked down in awe upon the clash of battle all 
around. On the ramparts and in the courtyard below he could see flames, 
and men engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand struggle. Fiery balls 
streaked through the air and showers of flaming arrows fizzed overhead. 
At his feet, a smoldering ball had become lodged in the solid stone of 
the ramparts.

With grim determination, he headed inside where he splashed through a 
footbath. He took this opportunity to drink a little water, which seemed 
miraculously to recover his strength.

"Many men that day sought to win honor and glory on the battlefield, 
that their king might say to them, as Khosrau said to Rustam: 'You are 
the noblest of my warriors'. From the moment my sword tasted blood I knew 
this would not be my way. I would win my father's praise not by killing 
but by being the first to find the Maharajah's Treasure Vault and the 
wonders within."

To that end, he smashed a wooden bench from his way and returned outside.

Arrows of fire rained down over the palace walls. Fireballs shook the 
sky. The battle raged on. Sentries paced ramparts below, awaiting any 
intruder. With the recklessness of youth and intent on glory, the Prince 
made his way down through the rubble of the shattered ramparts and rushed 
to join battle. He moved swiftly from one to the next, knocking each back 
and pinning them down until one by one they too fell beneath his sword. 
He sheathed his now blooded blade and turned inside once again. As 
missiles pounded all around, he felt himself safer there.

Through a twisting corridor he emerged, as another fireball whistled 
down and smashed away the wooden rampart in front. He continued his run 
but raised himself on the wall across the gap, and in this manner passed 
easily over it. Dropping down lightly on the other side, he gathered 
enough energy in a few steps to repeat the extraordinary feat over the 
next gap. He climbed a ladder to higher ramparts.

Beneath shaded canopies on ivy-covered walls, racks of spears waited 
their purpose. However, the Maharajah's troops were nowhere to be seen. 
The Prince moved inside once more. Refreshing himself at another shallow 
pool he emerged to find the absent soldiers. A short distance ahead, a 
fireball whistled down and blasted a hole clean through the thick stone 
walls of the palace. A way inside perhaps - but he had first to clear a 
path to it.

Despite their ferocious demeanor, the palace sentries proved not to have 
such skill as he. The Prince whirled expertly among them and finished all 
without taking any wound, yet knew there was always the pool of water 
just behind were he not so expert yet. With the way clear he scaled the 
palace walls. Reaching up, he was able to grab hold of a ledge and pull 
up onto it to move sideways towards a corner. Wherever necessary he 
dropped beneath obstructions to grab the ledge and shimmy along to 
clamber up once again. As he edged confidently along the ledge, another 
fireball whistled down and pounded the wall below, shaking his hold but 
failing to dislodge him. Undaunted, the Prince edged around the corner 
and made his way along a frieze of decoration, studded with the faces of 
exotic deities, in their sculpted serenity unseeing of the destruction 
all around. Presently he came to the hole in the wall, where he dropped 
swiftly to grab on and haul up. He was inside the Maharajah's Palace at 
last.

Here was the smoldering ball that had smashed its way through, and the 
Prince jumped down to the rubble beside it. Armed guards paced the room, 
and with his sudden entrance stood ready to challenge him. He dealt 
properly with them; his sword the only visa for passage beyond. This 
small room had heavy wooden doors and a barred gate, but plainly no way 
through either. The Prince looked up to a balcony high along one side. 
There appeared to be an exit off it. He refreshed himself at a basin 
underneath, and noticed one pillar more slender than the rest. He tested 
his athletic abilities in scaling it, thus gaining the height he needed 
to leap from tne pillar to the next across the room, and off the last to 
the balcony close beside.


-- 2%  THE MAHARAJAH'S TREASURE VAULTS  ---------------------------------

He found a dank stone passage, condensation dripping to its mould-covered 
floor. Thin shafts of light broke through from above, and dusty cobwebs 
blew among the rusted chains hanging from green-tinged walls; large areas 
of these were inscribed in a language he could not understand. The Prince 
made his way through a pair of tattered drapes.

His eye was drawn immediately to a weapon glowing brightly in an alcove 
opposite the balcony on which he stood.

"And there it lay, just out of reach," he observed: "the Dagger of Time.

There was a treasure I could carry with pride, as a trophy of our 
victory! If I could only get there..."

He overlooked a room of carved pillars and ornate arches. Statues of 
deities in alcoves to the sides; water flowed into pools at each corner. 
A carpet had been laid over the flagstones, leading to a raised platform 
under a stone canopy at one end. Glowing irresistibly within, a strange 
device. The Prince jumped down and stepped up to examine it. It was a 
sculpted glass tube in a decorative metal frame, taller even than he. A 
low hum emanated from it, becoming louder as he approached.

"The Hourglass drew me; fascinated me. But to move it would take a dozen 
of my father's soldiers," he conceded. "I wanted a prize I could fit into 
one hand."

Massive embossed wooden doors sealed the exit, leaving the Prince no 
alternative to using a column to ascend back to the balcony where he had 
entered. He saw now that he could nimbly run along the wall to another 
platform, and from their jump on top of the roof of the Hourglass canopy. 
Here, inside a recess too small for him to reach through, could be seen 
the Dagger of Time, tantalizingly close. He would have to work his way 
around the other side.

By a series of platforms, the agile Prince ran and jumped his way to 
another dank passage. Here, with a purposeful 'Thunk!' mechanical traps 
sprang into operation: spiked poles, spinning with lacerating intent, 
sliding back and forth along grooves in the floor over which he must 
pass. Taking up his courage, the Prince judged the moment to dive through 
and threaded his way past, dodging each blade to run to safety further 
along.

Dropping down here for a drink to restore such strength as he had lost, 
the Prince noticed upon the walls strange colorful murals and dense 
writing in the same impenetrable script he'd seen earlier. Doubtless 
these words told the story of the wall paintings, which were otherwise 
difficult for him to interpret. The first appeared to show a Blue god of 
some kind and his pregnant wife (the child appeared to be Red), she a 
winged goddess. In the next picture a Red god came and slew the Blue god, 
snatching the child from its mother and devouring it. The Blue god 
returned and wrought vengeance, tearing from the belly of the Red god the 
Sands of Time into an Hourglass. This seemed somehow to be held as the 
symbol of the four-armed Blue goddess thus worshipped by the people. In 
one hand she held the head of the Blue god, in another a sword - or was 
it the Dagger of Time? Perhaps he would resolve the story in due course 
thought the Prince as he made his way around narrow ledges above the 
mysterious wall paintings.

Though he unwittingly activated more spinning spiked poles here - 
grinding sparks in their relentless course back and forth across his path 
- he had scant difficulty working his way once more to the open air.

He was atop a ledge, high above the ground in what appeared to be a 
partly ruined temple. He worked his way methodically along crumbling 
ledges to a place where he could jump back to grab a thin column, still 
high above the ground. Through a series of leaps he was able to grab each 
tall column in a row to move to the centre of the room, where he ended on 
one that had its base sufficiently near to the ground to allow him to 
dismount safely.

So this was the Maharajah's Treasure Vault. Two huge flaming bowls lit 
the area, a basin of water near each at the top of a wide flight of 
stone steps. Broken steps lead away at the front. On decorative rugs lay 
scattered ornaments and wooden chests; alas, all empty.

Towering above him was an immense likeness of a figure, carved from the 
very rock. Its visage serene, one hand in offering, palm raised. Glowing 
irresistibly in a shaft of light atop the head the Prince knew his prize 
waited. Scrambling up to the lower hand of the statue, he ran up and 
jumped backwards to the second. From here he made his way up and across 
the shoulder, and had then to execute an arduous athletic maneuver where 
by a rhythmic series of jumps he ascended a narrow chimney formed by the 
head of the deity and the wall of the niche in which it was set. He 
arrived at last on top of the statue, and claimed his reward.

The Dagger rested on a metallic mount in a shaft of light from high 
above. As the Prince picked up the trophy, dust and rubble began to fall. 
He inspected the Dagger closely. It glowed.

"Sand..?"

He tapped lightly on a raised button in the Dagger's handle. At that 
moment, masonry crumbled from the ceiling above. With a gasp of shock, 
the Prince looked up to see certain death crashing down upon him!

His perspective became distorted, his vision blurred. Time itself seemed 
to stand still as the boulders slowed, were suspended above him, then 
reversed their course in a flash of white light. Again his finger was on 
the button and now, stepping back, time was allowed to flow once more and 
the masonry crashed down as before, yet this time safely beyond his 
footing. Though he could not fully comprehend it, the Prince had seen the 
Dagger's power.

"Hah!" he exclaimed, as he sheathed it in triumph.

Loose masonry and dust cascaded about him.

"I had what I came for," he declared. "It was time to get out -
now!"

As the building shook and crumbled, the Prince took flight through an 
open doorway. Though stone tiles crumbled before him (revealing savage 
spike pits below), a few agile wall runs and a jump over a gap brought 
him safely to solid ground. Here were more spinning spiky poles, nimbly 
dodged - the last phalanx of five by means of an alcove just off their 
deadly course. He dropped down to return to the first passage of 
sliding spiked poles, as easily dodged as before. The palace rumbled and 
shook, dust crumbling from the ceiling as he tumbled through an open 
doorway.

The Prince leaped from a balcony to the floor, rolling in one move to 
the feet of his father. Shahraman turned to his son. 

"Oh!" as he showed his delight.

The Prince was back in the room where he had seen the Hourglass. A dozen 
of his father's men were indeed moving it. The Prince presented the 
Dagger of Time.

"Father, I have brought us honor and glory."

The Vizier stepped forward, coughing as he spoke.

"Your Majesty," he rasped, "You promised me my choice of the Maharajah's

treasures..."

His eyes fell on the Prince's trophy.

"That dagger!"

"Surely you won't deny the lad a souvenir of his first battle?" replied 
the king. "You may have your choice of all the Maharajah's other 
treasures."

The Vizier turned eagerly to the Hourglass.

"...Except that Hourglass," continued Shahraman.

The thwarted Vizier turned away in veiled anger, stamping his curiously 
decorated Staff and now coughing blood.

"...That will make a fine gift for the Sultan of Azad when we pass 
through his city," decided the king.

He warmed to his theme, the Vizier continuing to cough furiously.

"...And some exotic animals for his menagerie. And a dozen slave girls. 
Yes," now thinking aloud, "that should be enough."

King Shahraman turned to his soldiers. "I want no animals or maidens 
harmed until I have chosen." 

From behind a pillar a dark-haired girl in a bright red sari looked 
down, fingering a pendant about her neck and listening to her enemies' 
words. 

"Let it be known," Shahraman announced expansively, raising his arms in 
a magnanimous gesture, "King Shahraman is merciful in victory!"

Suddenly the girl turned, and struggled in vain as a burly soldier 
grabbed her.

With the spoils of their victory in tow, the Persian army crossed burning 
desert sands whipped by stinging wind. The foot soldiers led on, trailed 
by cartloads of animals, of plunder and of maidens captured as slaves, 
including the dark beauty in the red sari, shackled under the blazing 
sun. She gazed impassively at the Prince as he rode to join his father, 
the Vizier close by.

"Trust not a man who has betrayed his master, nor take him into your 
own service, lest he betrays you too," was the Prince's warning thoughts. 
"I learned the truth of this, to my sorrow, the day that we arrived in 
Azad as the Sultan's honored guests."

"My friend!" announced Shahraman.

They were in the magnificent Reception Halls of the Sultan's Palace. 
Maidens prepared restoratives, as soldiers of both armies attended the 
ceremony.

"My friend," returned the Sultan. "Your visit brings joy and honor to 
my poor and humble dwelling. If only you had given me time to prepare a 
proper welcome."

They hugged expressively (as well as they were able allowing for the 
contrasting physique of the portly Sultan and the warrior Shahraman).

"The glories of Azad are famed throughout the world," declared the 
king.

They walked forward together.

"...And the best is yet to come," he continued.

The Sultan looked hopefully at the maidens, then apprehensively at the 
caged animals.

"I give you -- " Shahraman turned dramatically to the Hourglass as it 
was unveiled. "The Sands of Time!"

A silken cover slid to floor and the Hourglass was revealed. The dark 
girl looked on with disquiet.

"May the friendship between our kingdoms endure as long as Time itself," 
declared Shahraman.

The Sultan put a hand to the glass and stared wide-eyed at the Sands 
within.

"The sand -- " he marveled, "why does it glow?"

"I can tell you." The Vizier stepped forward.

"Inside the hourglass is a marvel that no living man has seen," the 
sycophant's words flowed like treacle. "Alas, only the Dagger can unlock 
the Sands of Time, and it belongs to a greater one than I -- a young 
prince, dearer to his father than all the wealth of India."

The Vizier turned solicitously to the Prince. "Perhaps he will oblige?"

The girl watched in horror as the young Prince looked around at the 
faces waiting expectantly. He approached the Hourglass.

"No," she cried.

The Prince unsheathed the Dagger. The girl broke free from her guards.

"No! -- Stop!" she insisted.

Too late. The Prince slid the Dagger into a slot in the glass, evidently 
made for the purpose. Perspective became distorted as the Hourglass 
pulsed.

Guards blocked the girl.

"NO-O-O!" her cry rang through the Hall.

Black clouds formed in the skies above the Palace of Azad. A shaft of 
light struck down, a thunderous shockwave hit, and the Sands were 
unleashed from the Hourglass, tumbling from its now open base. The walls 
of the palace trembled and shook. The assembled company stepped away from 
the fearful device.

"Is it meant to do this?" asked the Sultan.

At that moment the Vizier stepped forward. He raised his Staff and loudly 
intoned an incantation in an unknown tongue. The Sands whirled about the 
room, scattering all to terror and confusion. King Shahraman tried to 
fight off the Sand as it swirled about him.

"Father!" gasped the Prince.

Soldiers were gripped in the lash of the storm and horribly transformed 
into demon ogres as the Sands raged through their bodies, stripping their 
very sinews. Screams rent the air, guards and captives alike attempting 
to flee. Amid the noise and confusion, the walls of the palace began to 
collapse. The Vizier turned to the Prince, alone amid the chaos with his 
Dagger in hand, and advanced upon him ominously, bony fingers 
outstretched.

"Give me the Dagger!" he hissed.

The Prince shook his head, "No."

He backed away, masonry crumbling around. The thick choking Sand seemed 
not to affect him as it did the others. The Dagger was the key.

"You have unleashed the Sands of Time!" the Vizier warned, "I can undo 
what you have done." He snarled a command, "Give it to me!"

"No!"

Through collapsed rubble the Prince turned and ran. He dived through a 
doorway as its columns tumbled to the ground, holding back the Vizier 
and all the demons within.

Soldiers possessed by the Sands stalked the Reception Hall beyond, 
sending fleeing before them a few terrified survivors, not as yet scoured 
by the Sand. The girl in the red sari was among them. These few fled 
through a barred door, which collapsed shut behind them. The girl paused 
as the others ran on, she looking back to the enraged pursuers behind 
the bars of the door, snarling and growling at their prey, now beyond 
reach. These savage Sand Creatures turned instead to the only human 
occupant of the room. The Prince drew his sword.

He dealt a hard blow to one of the possessed soldiers, knocking him to 
the floor. An urgent voice came from the doorway.

"Prince!" called the girl. "Use the dagger!"

He had his hands full fighting off another. He managed to knock this one 
down too, only to see the first one revive in a swirl of glowing Sand and 
return to face him once more. It seemed that the demonic creatures drew 
their life force not from warm blood as any living thing, but cold Sand, 
which now coursed through their veins and glowed from their bodies. 
Though he subdued them with his sword, they did not die. 

"Strike with the dagger," the girl urged. "Take his Sand!"

The Prince stepped in close to the next stricken creature, and plunged 
the Dagger into it, right there on the ground. The vile creation shook 
and screamed, writhing as the Dagger sucked life from its mutated body. 
The Prince stood in awe as the creature disappeared in a fading swirl 
of dust.

There was not time to consider this miracle as another creature 
approached and slashed wildly. He turned and dealt several hard blows 
until that one fell too.

"Now," the girl cried out through the bars, "finish him!"

"Each time I struck them down, they soon rose to fight again," pondered 
the Prince. "I soon realized that only by taking into my own dagger the 
Sands that possessed them could I liberate them from their monstrous 
living death."

With the Dagger's power at his command, the Prince moved about the open 
space of the Reception Hall, singling out the nearest foe for attention 
but turning quickly to hold off another if it came close. He found that 
by dealing out blows in different directions he could hold off two or 
three at once. As soon as one went down, he dived in with the Dagger and 
knew that once its Sand was retrieved into the Dagger of Time it would 
not come again.

As the fight wore on, the Prince moved towards the top of the room 
where there was a shallow pool of water. He snatched a drink in a lull in 
the fighting. As they came again, he felt his skill improved. There must 
have been a dozen in all, the turbaned Hatchet Men more plentiful yet 
easier to deal with than the Red Guards, but non of them as agile or 
determined as he. Eventually they were gone and the Prince sheathed his 
sword in relief.

At the fight's end, a cloud of Sand formed in the middle of the room, 
extending upwards in a shimmering vortex, glowing golden yellow with a 
brilliant white core. From behind the barred door, the girl stared in 
wonder. The Prince squinted at her - something shone about her neck. At 
that moment an aftershock hit the palace and part of the doorway where 
the girl stood collapsed. She gasped and fled.

For reasons that he would not have been able to explain, the Prince found 
himself drawn towards the cloud. Slowly he stepped into its light. The 
cloud gripped him; he gasped, his back arched as his paralyzed body was 
drawn above the ground, then became bent double, the Prince clutching his 
head as a Vision unfolded. In flashes he saw himself swinging from poles 
and running along walls, dropping and climbing as strange whispering 
voices and half-human cries filled his senses.   


-- 5%  "YOU HAVE UNLEASHED THE SANDS OF TIME" ---------------------------

He came awake curled up on the floor, the Vision Cloud still glowing 
nearby. He appeared unharmed.

"You think me mad, I can see it by the look in your eyes. You think my 
story is impossible. Perhaps I am mad - who would not be driven mad by 
horror such as I have lived? But I assure you, every word is true."

Where he had seen the girl flee, the doorpost had now crumbled away. He 
slipped through the gap, and as he ran up a flight of steps caught 
sight of the girl again as she fled from his approach.

"Wait!" he called. "Stop - I won't hurt you."

She ran down the corridor ahead, unheeding. Masonry crumbled from the 
ceiling and blocked his path to her. Dust settled. She was gone.

The Prince turned inside a doorway behind a lush velvet drape. He was 
on a broken balcony, looking down on a bedchamber, richly decorated but 
utterly ruined. He made his way down the broken staircase before him, 
dust falling beneath his footsteps on the wall.

"The guest rooms where my father, all our entourage, and I should have 
passed the night lay cold and silent. The Sands of Time had swept 
through, stealing life and warmth from everything it touched. And I, who 
unleashed the cataclysm, had been spared. Were there others like me who 
yet clung to life, hiding in fear among the ruins? It did not seem so."

He heard a strange hollow ringing and a shimmering light beneath the 
stairs he had passed over caught his eye. As he approached he sensed that 
he must plunge his Dagger into the cloud of light, whereon it sucked 
the light - now seen to be Sand - into itself. These Sand Clouds were 
residual stores of the Sands unleashed by the Hourglass, which he could 
now use to his own purpose. He moved on with satisfaction.

"Hello?" his voice echoed in the empty room. "Is anyone there?"

He was answered only by the wind moaning through the desolate chamber.

In one corner beside some pillars the Prince found metal bars, which he 
felt able to use to swing upwards. He swooshed effortlessly through the 
air, one bar to the next, to grab a stone ledge at the far wall. With a 
sense of deja vu he recalled what he had seen just seen in that strange 
Vision. The feeling grew stronger as he made his way carefully along 
the narrow ledge to a platform, where with a wall run and back jump he 
was able to use a metal pole to swing to another platform and exit that 
unhappy place.

He paused here, aware of that same insistent ringing sound he heard from 
the Sand Cloud in the room below. He looked all about him and on glancing 
upward noticed a white glow emanating from somewhere atop a stack of 
rubble. He scrambled up and there was another Cloud. He plunged his 
Dagger into this one too, somehow certain of the need to charge its 
powers. As the light of the Sand Cloud swirled and vanished into the 
handle of the Dagger, he resolved to keep aware of the possibility of 
finding more of these mysterious stores of energy as he made his way 
through the ruined palace.

He jumped down and ran on up the corridor. From her hiding place, the 
girl in the red sari ran ahead and again disappeared behind more falling 
masonry.

"Come back!" he yelled, once more too late. 

"Had I really seen her," he wondered, "or had my senses given way under 
the burden of horrors too great to bear and conjured up a phantom? 
Either way I could not rest until I had found her again."

Turning to one side he noticed a series of horizontal flagpoles, which 
looked as if they would take his weight. He ran out to grab the first, 
then swung out confidently to the next, and then the third, which 
(obscured by hanging drapes) he had failed to notice was shorter than the 
last. His fingers clutched desperately but he was flung off towards the 
ground below. By some instinct that he could not explain, he reached for 
his Dagger as he fell, and tapped the button on its handle. Sound and 
vision were distorted once more as he halted in mid-air, then 
miraculously sailed upwards and back to the pole, where he found himself 
hanging safely as he had moments earlier before he made what seemed his 
fatal blunder.

"The miracle I had experienced by accident in the Maharajah's treasure 
room, I now discovered that I could trigger at will," he marveled. "By 
pressing a switch on the Dagger's handle, I could turn back time!"

Buoyed by this discovery, and with more care this time, he shuffled to 
one side to align with the other poles before swinging once more to land 
safely. Here was a fountain to steady his nerve - he knew by now that he 
could take water from whatever source he found.

Finding either end of the corridor in which he stood blocked by debris, 
the Prince headed into another bedchamber, similar to the last. Here too 
was a broken balcony, and he traced in his mind's eye a perilous route 
around the walls to the bottom. He noticed that there was movement on the 
floor below, and sensed that there would be no friendly welcome there.

Swinging expertly from a series of poles, the Prince landed on another 
broken balcony. He was able to run out and grab a bar beyond its edge, 
and judged he could drop down to other bars beneath. He heard once again 
the strange ringing sound that he now knew signified the near presence of 
a Sand Cloud, but he had other matters to attend, and made haste dropping 
down to the floor.

Here were the Sand Creatures he had seen from above. Inhabitants of the 
Palace of Azad, possessed now by the Sands which glowed from their eyes 
and from their bellies; uncomprehending, bent on destruction, defeated 
only by the power of the Dagger of Time.

"I soon discovered that when I had collected enough Sand the Dagger gave 
me the power to stop time - not for me, but for the enemy I struck."

The Prince was able to turn the creatures to stone, allowing time to fend 
off other attackers or finish them then by cleaving in two. Should he 
leave the frozen enemy a few moments, drifting helplessly to the ground, 
he might still leap to the fallen body and retrieve its Sand. This was 
the Power of Restraint.

He practiced facing the creatures and leaping towards them, jumping 
over and leaving them bent in confusion. As he came to land he slashed 
across their helpless bodies, knocking them to the ground, where he could 
move in and retrieve their Sand. This was his Vault Attack, and against 
it these types of Sand Creatures stood no chance. One by one they fell 
to his sword.

With the room cleared, the Prince made exploration and noticed metal 
bars suspended between pillar and wall in one corner. He could grab the 
lower one by running up the wall opposite and springing back to hang 
off, turn and rebound off the wall again to catch the higher one. Turning 
to face the wall once more, he could swing to a stone ledge, and from 
there climb up out of the bedchamber.

In the corridor beyond was another Vision Cloud. The Prince was drawn 
to it, and experienced the same unsettling trance-like grip of the 
Vision. He saw himself again, leaping from poles and pillars, battling 
strange inhuman creatures.


-- 7%  "HAD I REALLY SEEN HER?" -----------------------------------------

"Whence came these visions that assaulted me thus like fever dreams? 
Each time I awoke feeling drained and beaten. And each time what I had 
seen came to pass, as if the Sands of Time were giving me a glimpse into 
my own future."

He better understood the concept now, and resolved to return to a 
Vision Cloud whenever he was unsure of his path.

Clearing impediments from the doorway ahead, the Prince turned to an 
adjoining corridor. A bright light and faint ringing tone at one end 
alerted him to the presence of another Sand Cloud, and a glance at the 
rubble behind it told him that this was the very one he had heard earlier 
from the other side of the blocked wall. He gratefully took up the Sand 
and headed down to the other end of the corridor.

He used a flat wall to run up on and jump back to a bar, from which he 
turned and swung back to pull himself on top of a rocky ledge of broken 
masonry blocks. There appeared to be two ways to go on the other side: 
a deep drop down more blocks, or through a large hole in the wall 
beside him. He chose this easier route.

Climbing through the hole, the Prince fancied he heard the harmony of 
angelic music. He was in a lighted corridor hung with gossamer drapes, 
which fluttered gently as he slipped beneath. The way ahead became dark, 
yet he pressed on and in a few steps emerged in a stone passage 
suffused with blue light.

"What the--?" he gasped in surprise as he hesitantly ran onto a 
suspended wooden footbridge. It swayed under his feet but he felt no 
danger.

"Hello?" he called hopefully, as he ran on. "Is anyone there?"

There was no reply and the only movement was the upward drift of motes 
from the misty depths below, caught in brilliant blue light of 
illuminations along the undulating footbridge. He saw now other rope 
bridges, all leading from the murky distance to a pillar of rock in the 
middle, on which stood a platform framed with columns of arches around a 
strange sparkling fountain.

"I have a feeling that I'm not in Azad anymore," he remarked.

The Prince stepped forward to examine the fountain.

"Water?"

As he took a draught, his body became wracked with a spasm of blue light, 
holding him in its grip. His eyes appeared to be aglow, he heard urgent 
formless voices whispering unintelligibly, and in a sudden flash of 
light...he was back on the rocky ledge where he had discovered the hole. 
Yet now there was no trace of it. The Prince looked slowly behind him and 
all around.

"What happened?" he wondered.

In a flash his health visibly improved.

"That's strange," he declared. "I feel...wonderful!"

Rejuvenated, he headed downwards. Here beyond a gap in the floor was 
another Sand Cloud, and after retrieval, the Prince dropped down into the 
gap.

"Hello?" he called out, more in hope than expectation.

A hand reached out and grabbed his arm, pulling him through a gate, 
which clanged down behind him. The girl.

"Give me the dagger!" she said firmly.

About her neck was a pendant. It shone with the same intense glow as 
the Dagger at the Prince's side. He thrust her back against a wall.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

"I am Farah, the daughter of the Maharajah from whom you stole it," she 
replied sharply. "This is your doing!"

He looked at her with anguished eyes. "I saw my father turned to sand!"

She fired back, "And we will share his fate if you do not give me the 
Dagger to undo what you have done!" 

Unseen danger approached.

"Your traitorous Vizier used the same words!" the Prince hissed. "From 
now on I trust no-one but myself."

At that moment they heard the crackle of wings as they were menaced by 
fluttering Scarabs - giant horned beetles very obviously possessed by 
the Sands of Time.

"Run!" Shouted the Prince, knocking the first attacker on its shell. 
Another pinged off his blade. He thrust Farah towards a small crack at 
the bottom of the wall.

"Go back to the Reception Hall," he commanded, "wait for me there.
Go!"

Alone with space to maneuver, the Prince whirled about, slashing and 
kicking back each Scarab before it could dart in with its pointed horns. 
As he struck, each one evaporated into a cloud of fading dust, and with 
the fury of his attack they were soon gone. He refreshed himself from a 
small pool at the end of the corridor and reflected on his encounter 
with the girl.

"Now I remembered her. Since we left India she had been there. In the 
desert I had felt her dark eyes upon me. Now, here she was again; she 
and I the only two survivors."

He remembered the one who had tricked him.

"Did I say two? Excuse me - we were three."

The other end of the corridor branched through doorways left and right. 
At a glance he saw that the floor through the right side had crumbled 
away, so the Prince headed left. Traces of Sand swirled and eddied about 
his feet as he ran up a twisting corridor. Around a last corner a Sand 
Cloud had formed. Here also was a door, but there was no way through, 
so the Prince turned back to go into the doorway at the right.

This overlooked a bedchamber, much larger than the previous ones, which 
he guessed to belong to the Sultan himself. That unfortunate man would 
not sleep here again. All around were broken balconies, columns and 
arches. The Prince's eye was drawn to a heavy piece of furniture against 
a wall down on the floor below. He sensed that there his path lay.

He jumped the gap in front of him and planned to work his way around by 
going outside onto a terrace. Here he caught a chilling spectacle: 
enormous black birds winged through the air, carrying between them a 
substantial burden.

"The Hourglass!" the Prince realized. "What--?"

The demon birds carried it off into the highest tower of the palace 
somewhere above.

"I did not understand the meaning of what I had just seen, but I knew 
with a certainty I could not explain that those winged creatures had a 
master. The man who had tricked me into opening the Hourglass now had 
his prize, and for some unknown purpose coveted the Dagger as well; would 
stop at nothing to possess it. Well, I would give him what he sought - 
I would plunge it into his foul and treacherous heart!"

The palace still shook with the effects of the devastation wrought upon 
it, and as the Prince ran forward a section of the terrace gave way. He 
skillfully ran along the wall to safety on the other side. From here he 
re-entered the Sultan's bedchamber. He could see the white glow of a 
Sand Cloud on the balcony in the corner opposite, and others on the tiers 
below. He thought he saw a way to work around the room.

The balcony had crumbled away at this place also, but ahead was a column, 
which he used to leap to another broken one beside it. With a change in 
direction, he leapt from one broken column to another across the room, 
before being able to turn again at a column in the middle to jump off and 
drop down the wall onto a ledge. Here, the Prince took the bold decision 
to run out on the wall ahead and jump just as he hit the shadow of a 
slender column, at which action he sprang out from the wall to grab onto 
it. Sliding quickly down, the Prince saw off a couple of Scarabs to 
claim a Sand Cloud into his Dagger.

Another bold run out on a wall here and a leap at a similar point had the 
Prince clutching another stone column, from which he worked his way 
across other broken columns to yet another part of the balcony. Climbing 
up blocks in the corner brought him to a higher balcony, reached by 
swinging across two bars. He turned on this and jumped over to where 
another insistently ringing Sand Cloud had formed.

Using a broken column beside it, the Prince jumped via two more hanging 
fragments of column to a remnant of balcony. He was temporarily stuck in 
his progress, until he observed cracks in the wall just alongside. 
Dropping down and holding on to the edge of the balcony allowed him to 
shimmy round to that wall and drop again, shuffling across to drop and 
hold a lower crack before dropping to land safely on a wider area of 
shattered balcony below. Safe that is but for the presence of rattling 
Scarabs, nevertheless easily despatched. He made use of pendant light 
poles to swing across to an opposite balcony, where he dealt with yet 
more scuttling Scarabs before considering his next move. There seemed 
nothing for it but to hang off this last balcony and leap back to a tall 
column beside, by means of which he descended to the floor.

In moments Sand Creatures materialized, and the mindless assassins, 
wanting only to cause harm, stalked him around the room. Well, he would 
give it to them back in kind, and more besides. He employed his deadly 
Vault Attack and when he had enough Sand, used the Dagger to unleash the 
Power of Restraint. This turned each victim to as much as a statue of 
stone, unable to move until the Prince leapt in with his blade to cleave 
them asunder. 

"It was indeed the 'Dagger of Time'," mused the Prince. "I began to 
realize why the Vizier wanted it so badly."


-- 10%  A SECRET PASSAGE  -----------------------------------------------

On collecting a Sand Cloud in one corner, the Prince's next thought was 
to examine the piece of furniture against the wall that he had noticed 
from above. He put his shoulder to it and heaved. It slid away, revealing 
a secret passage.

The stairs here were broken, but he nimbly ran along a wall to back-jump 
to safety at the bottom. He was grateful for the easy retrieval of a Sand 
Cloud, and now turned his attention to a closed door. This bore a 
prominent white symbol - it seemed almost to be illuminated - which 
matched another on the floor just beside. This was evidently a pressure 
pad, which activated a hidden switch, since the door slid upwards the 
moment he trod on it. Easier than carrying keys at least. He headed 
eagerly through.

Collapsing masonry blocked his way. A spot of exercise along one wall 
allowed him to jump off to a broken balcony opposite. Here was another 
door displaying the same white symbol, and here too the requisite floor 
switch close beside. Yet even as the Prince activated it, this door slid 
shut before he could get through. He could stand on the switch to open 
the door, but the moment he stepped off it closed firmly. Try as he may, 
he was never quick enough to get through. Presumably this door required 
two people to operate it, one doing the standing on the switch and the 
other doing the walking through the door. The Prince was conspicuously 
alone.

He stood for a moment with only the sound of dripping water to jar his 
concentration. There was some kind of crate on the balcony, marked with 
the symbol of the Palace of Azad. It looked pretty heavy. An idea formed 
in his mind... It was so crazy it just might work! He pushed the crate 
over the floor switch and the door shot open, and stayed open as he 
strolled through. He surprised himself sometimes.

He was in a large room displaying curious circular symbols, part of the 
design of some sort of machinery. At its centre was a large round 
platform raised on stone pillars, this bearing the same symbol as on all 
the switches he had seen so far. Brilliant white light glowed somewhere 
beneath it. There was a small jetty protruding from his balcony, but the 
gap to the platform was too great for the Prince to jump. The probable 
exit door (marked with an orange symbol) was on the other side of the 
central platform, so he knew he must get across to it somehow. On a wall 
near his door was another prominent white symbol, and a different kind of 
mechanism next to it to be activated. This seemed to be a pull switch.

On full extension of this switch, the small jetty pointing towards the 
central platform rapidly extended outwards to form a bridge to it - but 
then just as rapidly began to retract! The Prince judged that he could 
make the gap if he ran quickly enough, and activated the pull switch 
again. He ran hard against the moving bridge and leaped at the end, to 
grab and pull up safely.

"Oh, thank god!" came a rough voice, "I was afraid you were one of 
'them'. Can you help me activate the Azad defense system?"

It was a palace guard. Locked alone in this room, he had escaped the 
ravages of the Sands as they swept through the Palace of Azad. Yet he was 
aware of the danger.

"It'll take both of us to do it," he continued. "I'll reset the axles 
for you. The man who's normally in charge of this got -- "

Machinery clanked into life. The platform began to lower.

"Never mind," the guard broke off. "Ride the platform down to the bottom,

then use those two cranks to bring it back up."

The axles were tubes of iridescent white light. Those that had previously 
been slotted into the platform were disengaged one at a time as the 
platform clanked around to each recess in the wall.

"D'you see those four axles?" explained the guard. "You'll need to pick 
them up one by one until you've got all four. Then bring them up to the 
top together."

The platform sank to the bottom and stopped.

"Make sure you pick them up in the right order!" bellowed the guard.

The Prince saw that one of four circular symbols at the corners of his 
platform was illuminated. He ran over to look. As he stood on the 
symbol a glowing axle slid out from the wall and engaged in a slot in the 
platform.

"That's it! You've got the first axle - now pick up the other three," 
yelled the guard. "Remember: pay attention to the grooves!"

The Prince noticed a large diagram set into one wall. This showed four 
moons in various phases: Crescent, Half, Full and Eclipsed. Below these 
were grooves, and in four places along these could be seen four smaller 
moons showing the same phases. He quickly grasped that this was a scale 
plan of the grooves on the wall; the smaller moon symbols showing the 
present position of the axles waiting collection into their 
corresponding slot in the platform.

He examined the two circular cranks. He heaved against first one then 
the other, and discovered that only one would turn, in only one 
direction.

"That's it!" called the guard again. "One crank turns the platform, the 
other one raises and lowers it."

Of course! The cranks wouldn't turn fully because the axle in the slot 
was restricting movement of the platform. He tried to picture the 
entire structure turning with each axle further limiting the direction in 
which it could travel along the grooves. This was going to take some hard 
thinking...

He was still at the bottom, so the only way was up. If that last crank 
revolved the platform, the other one must raise and lower it. (Which 
would explain the brass helix on top). He found it took a clockwise turn 
to set the platform clanking into motion, causing a sparking and grinding 
of stone. Once raised, the Prince heaved the second crank, at which 
another moon symbol lit up. He eagerly went over to stand on the matching 
symbol.

"Careful!" yelled the guard from above. "Think ahead!"

The man must have done this a thousand times - why couldn't he just 
tell which one to do next? The Prince stepped on the symbol once more to 
disengage the axle, and returned to the cranks to try again. 

Looking carefully at the wall diagram, he reasoned that it would be 
best to go down and pick up the Eclipsed moon axle. What would the guard 
think of that?

"That's two..."

Success! There was now only one way to go, and that was back up. Fingers 
crossed that his logic was correct. The Prince brought the platform up 
once, then rotated fully again. With both axles free to move upwards in 
vertical grooves, he brought the platform all the way up to the top 
horizontal groove. Now the Half moon symbol was illuminated and he ran 
over to it. He must say he felt pretty pleased when the guard called down 
encouragement.

"Just one more."

A single rotation and a single lowering of the platform and there was 
the final symbol illuminated. The Prince ran to stand on the Crescent 
moon.

"That's four!" the guard almost screamed with delight. "Now - bring 
them up to the top, and line them up with their gears."

Perhaps a tad over-confident, or just because he hadn't fully got the 
hang of turning the cranks the right way, the Prince brought the platform 
up too far. The guard was prepared to be a little more patient with him 
this time.

"You've almost got it," he suggested. "Just line up the axles with 
their gears."

The Prince duly tried again. When the symbols on the platform matched 
the larger ones in the recesses, he brought the platform clanking up.

"That's it!" the guard cried, "I knew you could do it."

The four axles engaged into large cogged discs set into cylindrical 
recesses in the walls of the room. As each locked into place the symbol 
on the surface of the platform lit up.

"Now, there's one last step," instructed the guard. "Do you see that 
platform?"

The Prince couldn't, until he turned around. Ah, that platform, right. 
A flat stone bridge now extended from the other side to allow him to 
reach it.

"Throw your lever," continued the guard, "and I'll throw mine."

The symbol on the central platform glowed brilliant yellow. The Prince 
couldn't guess how it was powered.

"What manner of machine is this?" he asked.

"I told you, it's the palace's defense system," snapped the guard. 
"Stop wasting time - throw your lever!"

The Prince began to have reservations. Could he trust this man?

"For the love of god, what are you waiting for?" cried the guard. 
"Those demons might come back at any moment."

There seemed nothing else to be done. The Prince scaled a short ladder, 
and at the end of the platform above found another symbol set into the 
floor. Clearly another switch, and for this one he needed to jump up to 
pull on a metal bar suspended from the ceiling like a trapeze.

"Hah!" cried the guard, as power flowed. "We did it!

The bridge retracted from the central platform. An iris closed on the 
domed ceiling, focusing light on a prism and mirrors set below. Four 
dazzling beams of white light shone down onto the moon symbols, which lit 
simultaneously. A resonant hum filled the chamber. The axles turned.

"Serve those accursed demons right," crowed the guard. "Oh, by god 
they'll rue the day they ever dared attack the Palace of Azad!"

The door with the orange symbol opened, and in a corridor beyond it 
scything poles clunked into operation. No mortal could easily pass.

The air was rent by a blood-curdling cry. The Prince swung down off his 
lever to descend the ladder to the doorway below, and saw the guard on 
the platform opposite, now transformed into one of those very accursed 
demons he was expecting. Without such as the power of the Dagger to 
protect him, the poor soul had become possessed by the Sands of Time, 
against which no mechanical trap could defend. A second possessed guard 
waited to greet the Prince down below.

Combat was brief. The Prince used his Vault Attack, which left the 
guards clumsily bent double as he slashed them from behind. The Sultan's 
Red Guards were clearly inexperienced soldiers.


-- 12%  THE PALACE'S DEFENSE SYSTEM  ------------------------------------

At the top of the stone stairs he heard the scything of the spinning 
spiky poles, grinding relentlessly along grooves in the floor, ready to 
slice any person foolish enough to brush close. Vicious spike traps 
flanked each. 

"What have I done?" groaned the Prince. "Why did I listen to that 
madman?"

He knew at a glance that he had not to tread on tiles with slits, or 
he'd be skewered in an instant. He had to wait as each pole went spinning 
by, and then carefully nudge his way along its path to wait on a safe 
tile area before the pole returned.

Having dodged the two spinning poles, the Prince noticed that the ground 
ahead was blocked by a row of spike trap tiles. He used his special run 
along the wall and scurried over as the trap beneath him spat out its 
steely surprise.

On the other side of the doorway was an illuminated symbol, much like 
those he had just seen, only yellow instead of white. The lever was of 
the pull variety.

"The palace's defenses had a twisted logic of their own," he decided. 
"They could be circumvented by using the strategically placed switches 
which I soon learned to recognize. Yet it was hard to escape the feeling 
that I had made a terrible mistake, by setting in motion such a deadly 
system of traps which seemed in truth more likely to claim my life than 
that of an invader that was not flesh and blood."

All along the corridor ahead of him a series of mechanical traps had 
sprung into operation.

A loud steady ticking was his clue that the lever had set off a timed 
response mechanism. He headed up a flight of steps at a run, and swiftly 
dodged through the spinning spiky poles at the top. A short hop over a 
gap to a ledge on a wall and now came rasping saw blades passing along 
slots in the very direction he wanted to go. Timing it carefully, the 
Prince was able to leap backwards to a ledge on the opposite side only 
when the blade there had passed. He shuffled ahead of it and leapt back 
again as it returned. Once around a corner he had to repeat the trick 
off more ledges, and at last found the gate through which he must pass, 
now descending slowly before him. A quick diving roll underneath and he 
found himself in a darkened outdoor area. It was a courtyard overlooked 
by a series of balconies.

Before he could get his bearings a Red Guard confronted the Prince. 
This creature was soon joined by a gang of mutant Trolls, each armed - of 
all things - with a plank of wood with nails in it. These slow-witted 
creatures were easily confounded by an overhead Vault Attack. As they 
pressed him inside the enclosed space by the door, he was able to use the 
walls to launch a devastating Rebound Attack, which knocked everybody 
flat for him to retrieve Sand at leisure. This move seemed a little 
tricky at first, but the Prince knew practice made perfect.

When he had cleared the area, the Prince investigated the courtyard. In 
one corner was a water fountain, and in an alcove diagonally opposite 
that a Sand Cloud, partly hidden behind broken masonry. He heard its 
ring well enough to guide him. In another corner out in the open was his 
next Vision Cloud.


-- 14%  A BOOBY-TRAPPED COURTYARD  --------------------------------------

The Prince began to look for a way to leave the courtyard. It seemed 
clear he would have to get up to the balconies.

On a central dais was a partly ruined structure of pillars and arches, 
from which stuck out a metal bar. Although the Prince recalled something 
of that nature featured in the Vision, there seemed no way to reach it. 
Searching the courtyard area once again, he noticed one of the recesses 
facing it had a lit torch inside, and instead of a window like the 
others, had what he now recognized as an illuminated switch. It looked 
like another pressure pad, activated by stepping on it, yet flush on the 
wall. A run up and over set it off well enough.

It triggered a stone block rising from the dais behind him. After a few 
moments it slid back down again, flush with the ground. Another run 
over the pad brought it back up, and this time the Prince wasted no time 
in running to it, scrambling on top and jumping for the bar now within 
reach overhead. The block slid back down, but the Prince had already 
swung forwards to land on top of the ruined arches. A leap off this and a 
grab brought him up on the lowest balcony. The Prince was greeted by 
yet another vicious booby-trap device, this a rotating sword blade 
swishing in a circular motion directly across his path. Time to try a new 
move, he decided. Reasoning that there was little to lose (but his life) 
he dashed forward and rolled straight under the slashing blade: 
tumble-tumble-tumble without pause, emerging safely on the other side. 
Not bad!

After a running leap off a wall ahead a similar device confronted him, 
this time flanked by sliding spiky poles. Could he time a roll just 
right to do the same again? There was the alternative in a quick dash to 
the balcony wall, hanging off the side safely out of reach of the blade 
and shimmying along the balustrade to pull up and dive through again. 
He'd see how he felt.

An illuminated switch on the stone floor beyond indicated another 
suspended lever to swing on. This opened a gate, and a swing inside found 
a floor covered in hidden spike traps. The Prince used his wall run to 
leap to a hanging ladder safely out of reach of the traps, then with only 
the small inconvenience of swinging around it, climbed up through an 
opening to the balcony above.

On gathering a Sand Cloud across the next little jump, the Prince 
couldn't help noticing a tempting gap in the corner nearby. Another 
hidden spike trap would prevent him jumping straight up to it, but a 
handy block allowed for an upward wall run and a backwards leap. He 
landed into a niche by the hole, pulled up and was thus able to drop 
through safely.

He heard tranquil music he'd already heard elsewhere.

"Strange," he said to himself. "I feel as if I've been here before."

He weaved through gossamer drapes, his footsteps echoing in the 
darkness. He emerged on blue-lit wooden walkways.

"I HAVE been here before."

The Magic Fountain. This time he ran eagerly to receive the restorative 
powers of its waters. After the shock of its effect wore off, he found 
himself outside once more.

"I feel stronger than ever!" he declared.

Looking back, he saw that the hole he had climbed through moments 
before no longer existed.

The Prince ran out over a gap in the stone platform, to grab and swing 
off a pair of pendant light poles. They swayed a little under his 
weight but did not break. He swung off and caught onto a ledge, where a 
monkey-shuffle through a corner allowed him to jump back to another stone 
platform. Here was an inviting gap to run across, yet the sudden rasp of 
a buzzing saw blade brought him up short. Bigger than the horizontal 
wall blades he had encountered, this one rose and fell along a vertical 
slot likewise directly across his path. Watching its descent carefully, 
the Prince waited until the blade reached the very bottom of its travel 
and had begun to rise, before screwing up his courage to rush across 
beneath its metal teeth. Something told him these could bite.

He reached a broken section of balcony and pulled up carefully to a 
ledge, from which he swung via a pendant light pole, out and then back to 
a higher fragment of balcony. A solid wooden gate stood here, but with no 
switch and no way through. He turned around and found yet more blades 
behind him, each to be avoided the same way as the first - he would start 
the run just on the blade's rise. Not to get too confident though; a nip 
is all it would take to send him plunging to the ground in agony.

He came eventually to a large solid gate, bearing an orange switch 
symbol. Beside this stood a fountain basin, but there was no switch to be 
seen. He continued by running under another saw blade to reach a last 
stone platform, and here was an illuminated orange pressure pad. This had 
all the makings of a timed switch. Sure enough, as he stepped on it, 
the gate opposite snapped open, but in all too short a time slid shut 
again. With the spinning blade in his way back, the Prince would have to 
time the run just right. With a quick dash and a leap and a sprint for 
the door he tumbled under just as it slid down with an ominous finality.

Now what?

"Farah!" he called. "Can you hear me?"

Evidently she could not.

Before him in this corridor was another timed lever to pull from the 
wall, which opened a door at the end of it. It also triggered traps all 
along the way.

The first obstacles were spinning wall blades either side of a deep pit, 
too wide to jump. This time he decided to dash across over the top of the 
saw blade, and gave necessary pause so to do. A running tumble took care 
of a rotating blade trap further along (although he did consider using a 
tap on the Dagger to use Power of Delay to slow time enough to allow him 
to pass safely through on the right moment). Beyond was another wall 
pressure-switch, and this time he ran up and leapt straight back off it 
to catch a platform that slid out from the wall close behind in response. 
He pulled up onto a ledge just in time as the platform slid back under 
his feet. A few simple ledges and a last dash over two more spinning wall 
blades brought the Prince to a rapidly closing door, which he just 
managed to dive and roll under.

He was back in the Reception Hall. He looked out over a balcony, where 
Farah was desperately loosing off arrows to hold back a horde of 
advancing Sand Creatures.

"FARAH!" the Prince yelled.

She looked up in surprise, then rapidly increased her rate of fire. The 
Prince leaped off the balcony, sliding down the wall and tumbling 
across the floor to run to her side. He waved her away from danger.

"Farah," he urged, "get back!"

The Sand Creatures growled like wild beasts as they turned their 
attention to the new arrival. At their head was a hulking brute with 
white beard and yellow eyes and teeth glowing from the infection of the 
Sand that gripped him. Despite the hideous appearance of the monster, its 
uniform was unmistakable.

"Father!" cried the Prince in disbelief.

The only response an unfeeling attack. The Prince set aside his emotions 
and made the painful decision to defer combat with this possessed 
travesty of his father. He would finish its minions first.

He soon learned the difference between the Red and Blue Guards: whilst he 
could easily use his devastating Vault Attack on the Reds, if he tried it 
on the Blues they blocked him every time and put him on his backside. He 
found it easier to roll sideways and attack them from behind. At times he 
was in danger of becoming surrounded, and then he was very glad to have 
practiced the Rebound Attack off a pillar or wall, at which it became his 
turn to send them flying like skittles.

He worked back toward the fountain at the end of the room, drawing the 
enraged creatures away from Farah. When he could, he scooped up a 
handful of water to keep up his strength.

"Why did you put your sword away?" demanded the Princess.

One job at a time. Using all his skill and energy, the Prince took the 
Guards out one by one, spreading his attacks to hold them off and then 
diving in as each fell. Keeping an eye out for Farah and stepping swiftly 
in when she called for help. he kept the pressure on and eventually 
prevailed. When all the Guards had vanished at last, he was faced only by 
the abomination that had been his father.

There was to be no reasoning with the creature, and he summoned all his 
resolve to put aside tender thoughts. Avoiding its sudden lunges and 
constant sweeping slashes, the Prince moved in close and applied the 
Vaulting Attack, again and again. The creature gasped and stumbled at 
each blow, bent double trying to keep up with the agile Prince. Soon 
enough, and though he caught a few blows between, the Prince brought the 
Titan down. Without remorse he lunged in with the Dagger and the creature 
was no more.

With this last Sand Creature vanquished, a Sand vortex began to form in 
the centre of the room. Farah looked in astonishment. The Prince knelt, 
head bowed. She put a hand to his shoulder.

"I'm sorry," said Farah.

"Why?" he asked curtly, tending his wounds.

"I know what it is to lose a father," she replied.

Turning to her, his eyes narrowed and the Prince stressed each word: 
"That was not my father."

He jumped to his feet and ran headlong toward the Vision Cloud.

"What are you doing?" cried the Princess. "Stop!"

The anguished Prince dived into the glowing column of Sand, receiving 
there as before a glimpse of the near future. He saw Farah and himself, 
running along ramparts, battling foes together. He saw too the 
Hourglass, attended by Sand Creatures under sinister supervision of the 
Vizier.


-- 17%  DEATH OF A SAND KING  -------------------------------------------

The Prince awoke to see Farah reaching down for the Dagger of Time 
where it lay beside him! He jumped to his feet and snatched it up.

"So," he growled, "this is the thanks I get for saving your life?"

He advanced on her purposefully. She retreated backwards, trying to 
still his suspicion.

"You don't understand," she insisted. "I need that Dagger, to undo --
"

"'To undo what I have done.'" Words he'd heard before. "Truly you must 
think I'm a fool!"

"You are right to be cautious," she went on, "but fight as bravely as 
you may, you cannot defeat this enemy! The Sands will spread - they will 
consume..."

She placed a hand on his shoulder.

"...everything."

He looked unimpressed.

"I have heard it said that you are kind as well as brave," she said 
sincerely. "Please believe me!"

She looked into his eyes and pleaded, "Help me find the Hourglass."

He spoke suddenly, "It is in the Sultan's treasure vault at the top of 
the Tower of Dawn."

"How do you know that?" she asked.

"I just -- know," he replied.

He collected himself.

"Come with me then if you insist, but I warn you I move pretty fast. 
You'd better keep up."

He turned for the window at the end of the room. Farah ran ahead and 
jumped lightly through a gap in a broken screen. The Prince followed.

They landed on a narrow walkway leading around the walls outside. The 
Prince paused, hands on knees. He needed a drink and greedily drank from 
a basin right under the window. Seeing Farah run ahead he cried out, 
"Wait!" then set off after her.

She had hopped off the walkway and across the wooden roofs of bays set 
into the palace walls. He ran to join her there.

"And you were worried about me keeping up?" she chided.

They were overlooking a small terrace garden with a few trees and a 
small covered structure, a moon-viewing belvedere set off the terrace. At 
the centre of this formal space was a scenic pond, its moonlit surface 
strewn with lotus plants. Around it paced Sand Creatures.

The Prince ran across and drew his sword.

"I'll cover you," offered the Princess.

"Please don't," he replied. "You're liable to hit me."

He laid into the first of the mutant creatures: fat Trolls that stumbled 
blankly, trying to keep him in sight as he leaped around slashing each 
one. These were soon joined by creatures in female form, perhaps the 
possessed bodies of maidens brought to Azad as offerings for the Sultan, 
or members of his own harem, but anyway utterly without feminine 
instincts. They held sharp blades in front of them as they stalked the 
Prince's every move, waiting to bound at him and slash with great speed 
and devastating force. He treated them as the others, without mercy.

When he had cleared the first group of Sand Creatures, there came a 
moment of calm where he could drink the sweet waters of the lotus pond. 
Too soon, the attackers came again. As he resumed the fight, Farah leapt 
nimbly from her vantage point and joined the Prince among the creatures 
on the terrace.

"Get out of here!" he cried urgently.

"Seems to me you could use the help," she muttered.

He wasn't so sure about that. The cheek! With a few savage blows he 
finished off the last of the Sand Creatures.

Well," asked Farah. "Now what?"

A Vision Cloud had formed nearby; he moved toward it. Farah begged him 
to stop.

"Oh no," her voice trembled, "please, not again!"

She did not yet understand, and nor did he fully, but he felt compelled 
to enter the Vision Cloud and see what it might foretell.


-- 19%  "I'LL TRY TO FIND A WAY IN"  ------------------------------------

The Prince groaned, lying on the hard ground as he came out of the 
trance.

"Are you all right?" asked Farah, anxiously.

The Prince answered wearily. "How long was I out?"

"Long enough," she admonished. "What if the Sand Creatures came
back?"

"They won't," he sighed. "Not here, anyway."

Recovering his health with the fragrant waters of the pool, the Prince 
headed up a short flight of steps. He heard the resonant ringing of a 
Sand Cloud close by.

"Careful," warned Farah as he moved to it.

She followed him up the steps as he plunged the Dagger into the cloud.

"What are you -- ?"

"Sand," he replied. "I'll take it where I can get it."

They made their way around another walkway. The Prince came to a barred 
wooden gate, a yellow symbol upon it. Farah looked through.

"The switch to open it is on the other side," she said sadly.

As they looked for a way around, the walkway ahead crumbled and fell. 
Now they were stuck. The Prince thought he might be able to make the 
gap. As he ran for the next part of the walkway, it broke loose, sending 
him falling heavily onto the green copper roof of a turret just beneath.

Now at a distance, the Princess called down with concern, "Are you all 
right?"

"Stay there!" the Prince called back, "I'll try to find a way in."

From the small roof he made his way to a matching one further along the 
outside wall. He looked down on moonlit clouds, stars twinkling above, 
night birds cawing nearby. Through his mistake the Sands of Time had 
sullied this peaceful place, and he knew he must work hard to put matters 
to rights if only he could. It took a little more effort now, but the 
Prince struck out now for a series of banner poles, from which, by 
swinging one after the other, he fell safely on another small copper 
roof. The Prince had pause for reflection on recent events.

"She tried to steal my Dagger, after I saved her life! She would have 
left me there to die, but here I am risking my life for her again. And 
why? Good question!"

While he pondered the answer the Prince made his way down by running 
over a short tiled roof section, and then to a roof terrace, dropping off 
the wall between two lit brands guarding a very solid gate. He would 
not enter there.

"Here I am!" came a distant voice. Well, he certainly hadn't forgotten 
her.

At the centre of the terrace was a wooden capstan with a crank handle. 
Upon it was a symbol, which by now he recognized as the key to a door. 
While he hoped it was to the door by which Farah waited, he found on 
turning the handle (one full revolution) that it opened a door below him. 
He took out his sword to clear two small kegs blocking his way to drop 
down. He would need that sword for more important matters, as Sand 
Creatures began to assemble.

He was on a bridge, broken in the middle. A Sand Cloud twinkled at the 
end of this side, but he had no need for it just yet. He'd check around 
first. The gate he had opened led into a small round chamber, thick 
pillars on the inside, ornate trellis screen around its outside wall. The 
trellis also closed off the exit. With Red Guards, Trolls and Maidens now 
closing in around him, the Prince suddenly realized there was no water to 
be found. He took care then to keep each opponent on the back foot by 
spreading his moves between them, and in this way he escaped major 
damage.

By now the Dagger of Time had drawn sufficient power to unleash special 
properties in combat. By trial, the Prince found that he could not only 
freeze time for a single opponent, but for all, and in those few 
seconds he was able to dash from one to the next, vanquishing each in a 
single blow. However, this drained all power from the Dagger, so he was 
grateful for the Sand Cloud on the bridge outside to refill it. By now he 
felt more comfortable in his abilities against enemies such as these, 
and resolved to save this miracle of combat for stiffer opposition.


-- 21%  CLIMBING THE TOWER  ---------------------------------------------

The next Vision told of many traps ahead. He would need Farah's help.

Looking up, he saw bars suspended between the pillars of the room. He 
thought it possible to use them to make his way up inside. He mounted a 
block at the rear of the room and ran upwards to grab a ledge. As he 
worked his way along this it crumbled, leaving him no alternative to a 
backwards jump to the first metal bar. Gathering momentum with each 
swing, the Prince took off across the room from bar to bar, higher with 
each, taking care to rebound off the wall at one end, continuing upwards 
to grab eventually onto a high walkway.

Here was a ladder up to a second walkway above, but the Prince's eye was 
caught by another open doorway to his left - with the slight 
inconvenience of a scything saw blade in his path to it. The Prince 
waited until the blade had reached the bottom of its travel and had begun 
to rise before scurrying out and passing safely underneath.

Not actually a doorway, this now appeared to be simply a hole broken 
through the wall. The tingling sound of celestial music hinted at a 
familiar place beyond, and diaphanous drapes and ethereal blue light 
confirmed it. He ran forward along the wooden rope bridge, once again 
eager to receive the life-enhancing power of the waters of the fountain 
at the end. As before he came out of his trance where he had entered the 
portal, with now not a trace that it had ever been there.

A quick dash back past the scything blade allowed him to climb the ladder 
on the other side. Here was another door marked with a switch symbol, and 
it seemed to be of the yellow timed variety. With a slightly sinking 
heart the Prince realized that the only way around the ledge to the 
switch on the opposite side was past yet more buzzing saw blades, in two 
sets of two. He screwed up his strength and waited for the first set to 
rise slightly before beginning his dash. Without pause he continued to 
the second - and on over the switch - and then it was a clear dash around 
to arrive at the now open door, where a diving roll found him inside 
before it closed. With confidence, this was becoming easier!

Now was heard a new and undeniably threatening sound of steel, clashing 
decisively at regular intervals. Whatever it was it couldn't be good. A 
barred gate by the entrance was marked with another timed switch symbol, 
but there was no such switch in evidence. The Prince looked through the 
bars at the passage behind this gate and made out various traps and pits, 
which led him to the inclination that he would rather not open it. The 
only other option was a wall run over a spiked pit to a second gate away 
down the passage. About to check this, he heard a familiar voice.

"I'm down here," called the Princess.

He ran down some steps to find her waiting behind the closed gate at 
which they parted earlier. She seemed a little impatient.

"There you are," she said finally. 

She needed to learn some manners. He stood looking at her through the 
bars for a long moment.

"Come on," she insisted. "Open the gate!"

He relented and stepped on a nearby pressure pad.

"Let's try not to get separated again, shall we?" she suggested.

They ran up the steps together and Farah observed wistfully, "It's so 
quiet out there. It's terrible, but also...beautiful."

The Prince didn't care to agree. "Maybe to you."

They were at the second locked gate.

"Look!" cried Farah, running ahead. She had found a crack beside it, 
and squeezed through to the other side. The Prince was impressed.

"You're a skinny little thing."

With a short pant of effort, Farah hopped up and pulled a lever to let 
the Prince in. She skipped ahead, to a platform high above what looked 
to be a warehouse. The sound of chopping steel was now louder.

"What is this place?" she wondered.

"We'll need to find a way down to the bottom," he replied.

Ahead was a wooden ramp suspended from their platform, running tight 
against one wall. Looking across the warehouse the Prince saw other ramps 
arranged in tiers down to various platforms. All were out of reach. He 
ran down the ramp and noticed a wall switch, just at the right height 
for him to run out upon. Leaping back at just that spot, he grabbed onto 
a hanging lever. 

Farah called over, "I can't do that."
 
"Stay there," he ordered.

Unseen machinery cranked into life and the platforms around the room 
began to swing into changed positions. Farah could now run down to a 
lever over a platform opposite.

"I can reach this one," she offered.

The Prince dangled precariously above the source of the clashing steel 
- vicious rusted blades slashing out from the wall over the surface of 
the platform below, at short snapping intervals. He carefully timed his 
drop to land between clashes and ran safely up a ramp on the other 
side. A sarcastic voice called from behind.

"I'll just wait here then, shall I?"

She should complain. On activating another timed pull-switch, the 
Prince saw a cascade of sliding spiky poles and traps in a corridor close 
by. Sizing it all up and taking his moment, he ran through, zigzagging 
first to a wall, then back to the centre and on - right/left/right/left, 
to dive through the closing gate beyond without pause. Phew! Now he was 
back at the entrance - so that was where the switch to this door had 
been! He had rightly guessed those traps were no picnic. He ran again 
over the spike pit and rejoined Farah in the warehouse.

"Are you all right?" she asked. "I heard strange noises..."

The Prince answered briskly, "No permanent damage, thank you."

"There's another lever in that corner," she suggested. "Do you think 
you can reach it?"

Only one way to find out. Another pair of snapping steely jaws, which 
the Prince avoided by jumping to the left edge of the wooden platform 
they guarded. He timed his dash as soon as the blades retracted, running 
along a wall to cling to the edge of the nearby ramp. Pulling up, he 
ran to activate the hanging lever over it. On Farah's side the ramps 
swung back into their original position. She could now run down to the 
lever on the next lowest flight. 

"I've got it," she called back. "Your turn now."

He dropped off his lever and ran down the next ramp, dropping off the 
wall to hang from the lever in that corner. As the ramps clanked back 
into position Farah ran down her side once again.

"Over here!" she said, jumping up. "Now pull the lever."

Another wall run allowed him to drop onto yet another lever, and once 
again came the sound of grinding machinery as the ramps swung back and 
clanged into place.

"I can reach this one," said Farah, as she jumped up to a lever with 
another pant of effort. "Your turn, now."

The Prince had an easy run down the last ramp on his side, and 
gratefully tugged down the last lever. He saw Farah run across to a large 
central wooden platform. He dropped off the lever to go down his side and 
join her. There was no time to congratulate each other - Farah gasped at 
the sudden appearance of Sand Creatures, and drew her Bow.

"Stay there!" called the Prince as he jumped down to tackle them.

Muscle-bound brutes hoisting heavy hammers, like circus strongmen, joined 
Red Guards. With so much space to move around, the fight was easier than 
it might have been. The Prince stayed close to the main door, where there 
were basins on either side to snatch a drink as needed. He used Vaulting 
Attacks when he could, and was able to use the barrels scattered about to 
launch devastating Rebound Attacks as the creatures ganged up on him. 
Though there were perhaps a dozen in all, they came not more than three 
at a time and he was thus well able to cope.

Once the room was cleared, he collected the Sand Cloud on top of a stack 
of crates and considered the possibilities for opening what was obviously 
the exit gate. In front of it he could see not one but two white pressure 
plates on the floor. The symbol on the door however was orange. He soon 
discovered that each white floor switch triggered metal risers, one on 
top of the central platform behind Farah, where he noticed, high on the 
wall the requisite orange wall switch. The other riser gave means of 
access back up to it. The plan simply had to be to use the risers to 
reach the orange switch; the problem was that the risers stayed risen for 
only as long as he remained on the switch! He had once more to look for 
something to substitute for body weight. The warehouse had no shortage of 
crates anyway.

Trial and error (and careful observation) revealed two candidates - one 
having to be pitched off the top of a stack against the back wall near 
the platform switch, the other, smaller than the rest of the crates, at 
the back of the room on the opposite side. Hefting these to cover each 
switch did the trick. A quick hop up and he was ready to enter the 
Vision Cloud beside Farah.

"Oh, no," she worried. "Please be careful."


-- 24%  THE WAREHOUSE  --------------------------------------------------

"I'm all right," the Prince assured her as he regained consciousness.

"Stop doing that," she admonished.

He made no comment and climbed up the second riser.

"Try that lever," suggested Farah. 

Good idea. The Prince ran over the switch. Of course, it would have to 
be on a timer...

He jumped down to run as hard as he could for the rapidly closing gate. 
Farah raced ahead and he dived through to join her just in time. They 
made their way along a corridor with a couple of spike pits, which they 
easily negotiated. Running ahead of the Princess, the Prince emerged 
into an eerie quiet. Cages and bars.

"Where are we?" wondered the Princess.

The Prince was awed. "This was the Sultan's Zoo."

A light glowed ahead, and as he went to investigate, four Sand Creatures 
barred his way. He was not prepared to take any nonsense from this crowd, 
and set them all in stone to finish at his leisure. (He thought it much 
better to protect Farah from the unwelcome attentions of a brutal hammer-
wielding Strongman wandering over to attack her while he was otherwise 
engaged. In this way he finished them all before they even thought to 
approach her).

With the way clear, the Prince went over to the Vision Cloud. It seemed 
to be guarded by a statue in the likeness of a big cat, possibly a 
panther, its mighty paws raised rampant. The Prince stepped anyway into 
the stream of light.

"Be careful," Farah said with concern, "last time you were out for more 
than a minute."


-- 28%  THE SULTAN'S ZOO  -----------------------------------------------

"Are you all right?" asked Farah once more.

"Yes." He couldn't explain; she wouldn't understand.

He checked the area thoroughly, but there did not seem to be any source 
of water. Perhaps inside the gate?

"Do you think you could climb that wall?" asked the Princess.

The Prince looked up at the barred wall and the iron gate set into it. 
"It's too high."

Yet the switch for the gate could be seen inside. He would need another 
way over. A large tree overlooked this gate, with a convenient branch 
just about right for a swing across. He remembered something like that 
from a previous Vision. But how to get up the tree?

"Wait here," he said. "I'll see if I can find a way over the wall."

There wasn't much to find apart from a climbable rock, and right there 
on top was a slender palm tree. About as narrow as a stone pillar 
anyway... A nimble shimmy and a back flip brought the Prince to a higher 
ledge with another tree, this too thick to climb. He hopped down instead 
and took a good run and jump over to the branch he'd spotted earlier. A 
swing and a hop off the wall and he was in at last.

"You did it!" cried Farah excitedly as he stepped on a pressure plate 
to open the gate for her. As she joined him, Farah looked up.

"Birds," she observed quietly. "I wonder how they survived the
Sand?"

The Prince spoke levelly, "I don't think they did survive."

The Sands could infect any living thing and it was clear that there was 
something sinister about the monstrous black birds, which now circled 
towards them. Farah gasped and drew her Bow.

The Prince had to admit that he was not the best at everything, and a 
close fight with demonic vultures didn't appeal. He drew his sword and 
stood close to one side of Farah, ready to block as she took careful aim 
at each bird in turn. A single hit from an arrow brought each possessed 
creature down in a ball of feathers and flame, one after another. As 
one tried to stab forward, the Prince took his opportunity to slash it to 
pieces on the ground. With these combined actions the birds posed 
little threat - the pair made a good team at last.

The Prince ran down a slope to investigate this part of the zoo. Here was 
a cage with a locked gate and the corresponding switch clearly visible in 
an adjacent cage. Yet that second cage had no gate at all, locked or 
otherwise. Nearby was a storage area of some kind, cut into the rock, 
where kegs and straw lay scattered about. There was also a movable crate.

"Look, a crack," said Farah.

She flattened herself on the ground and slithered in. The Prince returned 
to the cage with the lever, in time to see her squeeze out through 
another crack inside.

"Here I am!" she called. "I'll pull the lever."

This opened the cage with the locked gate.

"There's another crack," called Farah from inside her cage. "I'll see 
where it goes."

As she disappeared once more, the Prince entered the now open cage. 
This was a lattice of ironwork and glass, several stories high.

"The fabled menagerie of Azad, the Sultan's pride and joy. It had been 
one of the wonders of the world; as a child I had dreamed of it and 
longed to see it with my own eyes. Now it was a place of terror, an 
abandoned ruin laid waste by the Sands of Time."

"Here I am!" Farah appeared through a crack in one wall.

Birds need water and the Prince did too. He was not too proud to drink 
from a trough on one side of the cage.

Set low off a pillar by the entrance, the Prince found a pole he could 
jump up and grab onto. Through a series of swings and jumps, he made his 
way carefully up the levels of the cage, running between the wooden 
platforms when he could and swinging from the many bird perches between. 
Feathers drifted lazily through the stifling air. Always in the 
background, the cries of unknown creatures somewhere near but 
unthreatening and anyway out of sight. With effort, the Prince made it 
all the way to the top of the cage, to a last wooden roost, where the 
iron bars behind had been twisted away. Every creature had flown from 
this sinister place.

Just opposite was a rock ledge, where the Prince was able to run and 
jump up to a hanging branch, using that to swing back over to clamber on 
top of the menagerie cage. Here, under a domed gazebo was a capstan. 
With no pause for breath, the Prince rotated it fully.

Farah called up, "I just saw a door open!"

The Prince could see it too, above her and below him. He ran and jumped 
across to a rock ledge where a Vision Cloud glimmered.


-- 28%  ATOP A BIRDCAGE  ------------------------------------------------

With a few drops and swings, the Prince found himself outside the door 
he had opened. Heading in to investigate, he heard an indignant cry.

"Hey!"

He skidded to a halt and checked back down the slope outside first. 
Here was a hanging lever to operate, which brought a ladder sliding up 
from the ground below. Farah clambered up.

"I thought I'd make sure it was safe first," he said as he followed 
her, "before I brought you up."

"I'll bet," she replied.

He noticed her as if for the first time. As she waited for him in the 
doorway he stood close and considered her. She really was quite 
attractive, in an impudent sort of way. She casually dusted off her sari 
and ran a hand over her hair, a little self-consciously.

"What are you looking at?" she said indignantly. "Stop staring at
me."

He answered hastily, "I wasn't looking at you."

They continued into the passage. It had been hewn out of the rock, like 
mine workings, and appeared to be used to store supplies for the zoo. 
The Prince mulled things over.

"If you have believed the rest of my tale until now, perhaps you will 
also believe me when I tell you that as we made our way through the 
moonlit ruins, I began to feel strangely drawn to the girl at my side. My 
reason told me to distrust her, for she had good cause to hate me. Yet 
she had proven herself a loyal companion. And I confess I was grateful 
for company of someone who, like me, was flesh and blood."

His thoughts came to life as Scarabs appeared, ready to taste that very 
same flesh and blood. He slashed and kicked them aside, protecting 
Farah as best he could, until the last was split asunder by his sword.

Farah stood under a hanging lever.

"I can't reach it."

The Prince could. He mounted a rocky platform and cleared some barrels 
to give himself room. Then he ran out on the wall and jumped back from 
it, to lend his weight to the hanging lever. A cage door in the room 
slid open, and he dropped to the ground, a little heavily.

"Are you all right?" asked Farah with concern.

"I'm fine," he replied. "Thanks."

In the caged room was only a single crate. As he pulled it from the 
wall, the Prince was not too surprised to find it concealed a crack. He 
didn't have to ask Farah to perform her usual service.

"So you 'wanted to make sure it was safe' then?" she said as she went. 
"Very heroic."

He climbed on a ledge to retrieve a Sand Cloud and heard her announce 
an unknown discovery in some distaste.

"Hey," she added sharply, "there's no door."

"Stand on that pressure plate will you?" he suggested.

This opened a door at the foot of the passage. The Prince hurried down 
before it closed behind him.

"How do I get through?" asked Farah petulantly.

"I don't know," he called back, "can't you crawl through a crack or 
something?"

Amused at his little joke, the Prince made his way along the passage. 
He was wary of some traps there, but they appeared inactive. With a 
straight jump across a spike pit - there were pilasters either side to 
block his run - and the usual wall run over another, he reached the exit.

"Here I am!" exclaimed Farah. She had beaten him down there after all.

"All right," he sighed. "Now open the door."

"What do you mean?" she asked. "Open it, how?"

It had been too easy. If there was no switch outside, it had to be 
inside. The Prince returned to the gate at the top. Here he found a pull 
switch partly concealed behind loose barrels. He must be more careful. 
Clearing them away, he activated the switch. His heart sank a little as 
the traps below sprang into life, and he heard also the mechanical 
ticking that signified a timed switch. This would take speed and 
precision.

He ran to the first rotating sword at the bottom of the slope and hugged 
the outside wall, choosing his moment to dash past the steadily swiping 
blade. He rolled expertly under the right side of the second blade and 
switched to the left side to tumble under the third, thereby avoiding a 
spiked tile beside each. A short hop over the first spike pit left him a 
moment to judge when to run over the two scything sword blades guarding 
the next one ahead.

"The gate's closing," urged Farah. "Hurry!"

To avoid taking a hit across the spiked tile, the Prince stopped short 
and edged very slowly forward, his light tread not springing the trap, 
and finally he rolled only just beneath the closing gate.

"You did it!" cried Farah.

They were outside the palace walls, in an area of rocky ledges, with 
buildings built high in the cliffs above and only mist down below. A 
rickety wooden rope bridge stretched ahead, a locked gate at its end. A 
Vision Cloud beckoned him across.


-- 33%  CLIFFS AND WATERFALL  -------------------------------------------

He returned to Farah at the gate and decided to strike out to a ledge 
on the other side of a sheer cliff face.

She folded her arms and pursed her lips, feigning indifference. "I'll 
wait here."

On the ledge grew a lone palm tree. Very tall and very climbable. He 
used it to spring to another, and climbed higher still. As he clung on 
among the gently swaying fronds, he noticed a grassy ledge behind him, to 
which he sprang back. This appeared to be a roost for Sand Birds, which 
now screeched down to attempt to knock him off. He held his ground and, 
with Farah helpfully firing her Bow from below, soon consigned them to 
ashes.

He ran out along the cliff face to grab a narrow crack, which he used 
to shuffle around to a point where he could spring back and grab another 
palm tree. Sliding down this, he claimed another Sand Cloud to refill 
his Dagger. Back up the tree, he sprang to another one conveniently 
near, and yet another, to scale it and jump back towards a waterfall on a 
very high ledge. Here he was threatened by a whole flock of Sand Birds. 
He had barely enough time to snatch a drink from the pool behind him 
before they swooped down one after another. Once again he held his ground 
and dealt with each one as they came at him.

When he had peace the Prince dared a look over the edge and spotted 
Farah, a distant speck by the Vision Cloud far below. His feet kicked up 
feathers and grass as he ran to a narrow grassy ledge away from the 
waterfall. He edged along and dropped down by a wooden rope bridge, as 
dilapidated as the last yet a good deal more elevated. As he leaped a gap 
to the middle, the bridge bucked and swayed but the creaky planks held. 
He jumped to safety on the other side with relief. Here was a capstan 
bearing an orange symbol. By now he recognized this orange symbols 
denoted a main door whenever he passed through a particular area. He had 
already observed that the gate by the Vision Cloud now far below him bore 
this same orange symbol, so as he rotated the crank handle, he held the 
certain belief that it would open that very gate. Which it did.

"Come on," called the Princess.

Did she appreciate the effort? He ran out on this higher cliff and leaped 
out to another tree. Shinning down it he was able to jump to another and 
then finally backwards to a grassy ledge. A minor matter of a wall run 
later he joined the Princess through the now open gate. She had her Bow 
drawn.

"Look out for Scarabs!" she warned.

The few that came out of hiding proved little trouble, and the pair 
pressed on into a steamy corridor. The Prince moved ahead.

"Wait for me!" Farah cried after him.

More Scarabs scuttled out of the mist but together the Prince and 
Princess saw them off. They moved on down the steamy corridor. At the end 
were very solid iron doors. One part of the wall nearby had been broken 
through, and the Prince looked inside.

"The baths," he breathed quietly.

Heaven knows what used to go on at this place, but it was filled with 
gimps and tarts. He jumped down and set about them.

"Behind you!" warned Farah.

He had met the Sand Maidens before, and knew their aim was to stalk him 
around the room, then make a sudden lunge to stab him with their steely 
knives. This dealt a lot of damage in one go. He therefore knew not to 
remain still too long, and kept an eye out for any likely assault as he 
singled out the male creatures first. These were armed with short 
weighted chains (just what DID go on here?) which they swished 
constantly, always waiting for the chance to lash out. Vaulting Attacks 
took care of each of these, and he made liberal use of the Power of 
Restraint to freeze any that seemed too close to Farah, still perched up 
in the entrance hole. Her arrows occasionally stunned a creature nicely 
to wait for the attention of his blade. All in all it didn't take long to 
see the bath occupants off. With the room clear, Farah jumped down from 
the entrance and ran to his side.

The Prince moved up a stone staircase to the next level of the baths. 
More Sand Creatures attacked here. Farah held back by the doorway, and 
even as the Prince fought off three Sand Creatures, a cry came from her,

"Help me!"

At which he broke off to assist, knowing her slow rate of fire could 
not long hold off a savage onslaught from the likes of a Sand Maiden. The 
Prince shrugged off the demonic scream: "Die! Die!" and hacked the 
being down without pity.

When he was faced with the last Maiden, the Prince threw up his block and 
challenged her directly. They paced around the bath, the Maiden's knives 
raised to block his own jumps, until she launched her attack with her 
usual shrill cry. The Prince chose that exact moment to counter-strike, 
which parried the blow giving an opportunity to kick her in the face. As 
she attempted an over arm somersault, he leapt over her and dealt a 
counter-retrieve, holding the writhing body on the end of his Dagger and 
sucking up Sand as the perverted creature dissipated with a high-pitched 
wail.

Having cleared the baths once and for all, the Prince looked around. 
High up to the ceiling were ledges and wooden platforms, yet he could 
find no way to them. A ladder in one corner looked promising, and a Sand 
Cloud glimmered somewhere above it, but he couldn't reach up.

"What's the matter?" asked Farah.

The Prince sounded annoyed. "It's wet."

It seemed they would need to find something to climb up on in order to 
reach the ladder. He moved to the Vision Cloud, turning to Farah as he 
entered.

"You understand," he said quietly, "don't you?"

"Yes."


-- 33%  THE BATHS  ------------------------------------------------------

Farah was attending close by as he recovered.

"I'm all right," he reassured her.

She seemed more relaxed about the strange ritual. "I know."

The Vision gave the suggestion he look for a sculpture that could be 
moved, and on climbing the last staircase there seemed a likely object, 
with a yellow pressure plate nearby. The Prince was becoming used to 
this by now, and easily slid the stone object over the plate. Somewhere 
doors opened. The sculpture had apparently been used to hide a nasty 
crack. Farah did what she does.

"Look!" as she squeezed through, "I'll see where it leads."

Perhaps a little too hastily, the Prince ran through the open arch beside 
the floor switch. A wooden trap groaned into action and its spiked beam 
swung heavily down! The Prince made a quick exit and a more cautious 
return. Timing his run as the pendulum trap swung away, the Prince 
followed it forward to a ledge dead ahead and dropped to hang off the 
edge. He dropped further to the floor, taking only a little damage on 
landing, and it was then a simple matter to swing across a spike-trap gap 
to another identical space. There was no way to climb its smooth surface, 
so the Prince employed his athletic maneuver for a chimney ascent: 'Hut!-
-nnn! Hut!--nnn!' At the top was an also identical spiked  pendulum trap, 
where careful timing allowed him to dash beneath the heavy swinging log 
to reach an open door.

This led into other baths, far more luxurious than those they just 
left. Mounted on a raised platform reached on three sides by steps was a 
blue-tiled pool of water. Doubtless the Sultan's personal bath.

"I'm up here," called the Princess.

His adventurous companion had found a safe vantage point from which to 
look down on another room filled with underdressed playmates. The 
Prince set about disturbingly distorted Maidens and Eunuchs once again.

He chose as his battleground a shallow pool to the left of the entrance. 
This left Farah a clear view for a close shot, and he found that where 
she hit one of the creatures he had ample time to finish it off as it 
hunched over, temporarily stunned. Of course it meant too that he had to 
be careful not to get in the way of a wayward arrow. Up to his knees in 
water, he at least had no worry about health. Between the two of them, 
they soon managed to clear the room of harlots and tattooed love boys.

Farah jumped down from her alcove.

"There's something glowing up there," she said, gesturing to a high 
balcony. "I saw it from the ledge."

Up the steps in the middle of the room, the Prince found a shallow tiled 
pool with a switch plate on the bottom. As he stepped on it a nearby door 
slid open.

"Look," Farah exclaimed. "At the end of those three doors, there's some 
kind of lever."

She helpfully held the first switch down as the Prince went to 
investigate two switches visible on the wall beyond the next small pool.


-- 33%  "THERE'S SOMETHING GLOWING UP THERE"  ---------------------------

The Vision Cloud showed the Prince how to activate the second switch.

"That's two doors open," Farah confirmed.

With no statue to prop against the third switch, the Prince tried the 
trusted upward wall run. It took two goes because of his wet feet.

"You did it!" said Farah. "Hurry - before it closes."

Being careful to skirt the Vision Cloud, the Prince hurried into the 
open chamber. At the back he found a capstan and this proved to drain the 
larger pools outside.

"The water -- !" called Farah. "It's going down!"

Now that his feet would be dry, the Prince knew that he could climb 
walls as usual. Paying heed to the Vision, he looked around to find the 
ledges on which to climb. It was a simple matter to swing along on the 
thin pipes thus easily reached, using nearby columns to move along to the 
next set of pipes before the Prince was able to swing onto a hanging 
lever.

"I wonder what those levers do?" said Farah.

A wooden gate slid partly upward. 

"That gate," she confirmed. "It's moving." 

The Prince dropped down by an oddly textured section of wall. Light 
seemed to come from behind, and he struck it hopefully with his sword. He 
had to admit defeat.

"A broken section of wall caught my eye. Perhaps a warrior with the 
strength of Rustam might have smashed through it, but alas I had not 
strength enough in my arm...nor in my sword."

Diagonally across the room was another climbable ledge and more pipes 
and columns on which the Prince could swing. As he made his way over 
there, the Prince examined a large, broken-down wooden door with some 
interest.

"That door doesn't look so strong," remarked Farah. "Do you think you 
could smash it with your sword?"

"Who do you think I am," he responded, "Rustam?"

He performed his agile task across the second set of pipes and pillars, 
and was rewarded by a sluice gate opening conspicuously over by the 
entrance.

"Look!" Farah cried.

She waited by the drained pool to draw attention to a marble block beside 
scratches on the dried-out surface of the bath. It was a simple matter 
for the Prince to heave it in the direction of the scratches, and on into 
the gap opened by the sluice gate. The block tumbled down the other side 
to land with a splash.

"Stay there!" ordered the Prince.

He now backtracked a little, heading to the door with the spiked 
swinging logs.

"Don't worry about me," said Farah. "I'll be fine here."

Negotiating once more the pendulum traps and the chimneys, the Prince 
eventually found himself back in the first baths. Waiting in the water 
at the top level was the marble block, which he hauled to a gap where 
the water flowed down. He pushed the block through and followed it over. 
Now he could use it to reach the ladder, which he promptly scaled. At 
the top he drew off the Sand Cloud into his Dagger. He climbed nimbly 
over the wall and dropped down to a wooden platform. He was above the 
room where he had first entered the baths. Through a broken screen he 
found a narrow ledge on the other side.

From this he jumped to a thin post, then on to a narrow ledge on another 
wall. He was able to hang off a higher ledge to shimmy along through 
broken bars to the room beyond, and although the ledge beneath him broke 
away as he approached, the Prince trusted its integrity when his own 
ledge likewise crumbled. He reached a corner, where he grabbed the higher 
ledge once more to negotiate the turn, feet kicking up plaster dust as he 
went. A swing from a pole and he landed on a high wooden platform. He ran 
across the wall to another, then across the back wall of the room to 
another wooden platform in the far corner. He ducked through a low 
doorway to the room beyond.

Here was a sturdy wooden balcony and an easy run up the wall to back 
flip to a wooden rail, then on through a series of rails to slap hard 
against the far wall, barely landing on a narrow ledge. He edged sideways 
and arrived at a broad wooden corridor. His footsteps thudded on the 
planking as he ran to the end, where barrels hindered his progress. He 
smashed through to find a timed floor switch. On activating this he had 
just a few seconds to negotiate two rotating sword traps in the passage 
beyond and roll through a closing door at the end.

Within was another pack of bathhouse habitues. The party was over.


-- 33%  ABOVE THE BATHS  ------------------------------------------------

When he was able, the Prince headed up a stone staircase to a wide 
balcony changing room, discreetly set behind screens. At the end was an 
armoire, which he pushed and pulled to face the baths below. Climbing on 
this, the Prince was able to jump up and grab a metal pole and thereby 
swing over to pillars set around the Sultan's bath.

"I think I see that glow you were talking about," he called down.

"Be careful," answered Farah.

He jumped to each pillar in turn around the bath, until he could jump 
to another metal pole and land on the balcony opposite. The 'glow' was 
simply a Sand Cloud. He collected it and then headed to the other end of 
the screened room to claim his true reward. A short wall run brought 
him to a private balcony and here, on a plinth, lay a sword. Bigger, 
heavier, stronger. He sheathed it in satisfaction.

Back over the gap he noticed his first chance to test the new sword's 
abilities. The once sturdy wooden doors facing him looked now quite 
decrepit. Three blows of his sword reduced them to matchwood.

He hurried down a stone staircase, heedless of the patched look of the 
walls. At the foot of the stairs was the wooden door Farah thought he 
could break open from the other side. With his new sword it was the work 
of moments. 

"You do have the strength of Rustam," she remarked, joining him there.

The joke wasn't getting funnier (or easier to understand). It gave him 
an idea though. The Prince hurried across the room to the stone wall he 
had tried to break down earlier. As hoped, it gave his new sword little 
trouble.

Farah was curious. "That's not the same sword you had before..."

A woman notices these things. He led the way down darkened stone steps.

"Where are we?" asked Farah in hushed tones.

"It's said this palace was built on the ruins of an even more ancient 
one," replied the Prince, "but I thought that was just a story..."

They emerged in an underground cavern of massive stone columns, the 
foundation of the Palace of Azad above. Mist rose from the depths. Water 
dripped and the wind moaned around rocks and pillars. There was a 
constant noise, a low eerie screech of unseen animals.

"Now what do we do?" asked Farah.

They were on a stone balcony with broken steps leading down in front. In 
that direction lay the exit. The Prince thought he could start to find a 
way down if he could somehow reach up to a metal bar just above the 
broken steps. At one end of the balcony was a stone plinth, perhaps the 
base for a sculpture. It was of just the right height for his purpose. As 
the Prince pulled it toward the steps, a crack was revealed.

"I'll go!" offered Farah.

He must make a point of looking behind crates and plinths.

The block was dragged to the centre of the balcony and pushed against the 
wall (it looked very much as if it belonged there). The Prince was now 
able to run up the wall and leap off to snatch the metal bar behind. He 
swung to another bar and then took the risk of a heavy drop by leaping 
off onto a stone platform, evidently once part of the steps leading back 
to the balcony. From here he could run and jump to a ledge further down, 
and not for the first time he wondered who had the job of lighting all 
the torches around here. At least he could see clearly to shuffle 
around the corner on a ledge.

Dropping down to grab hold, each movement brought a thin shower of dust 
but the rock held as he made his way around and dropped to ledges further 
below. It was cold and clammy in the mist of the depths. He was faced 
with a chimney to climb but he was by now well used to the effort and 
made short work of it. Clambering up ledges on the other side brought him 
in sight of a Sand Cloud, glimmering on a stone platform below. He 
climbed to the highest available ledge to give himself the necessary 
elevation and launched himself across the chasm to reach it or die 
trying. 

He reached it, just.

"Here I am!" called Farah from a doorway some distance below. "I can't 
open the gate..."

"Stay there," he said. "I'll come down to you."

But how? He collected the Sand then searched for a place to jump down 
off the pillar. It all looked impossibly risky.

Farah called across, "There's a ledge, right below you."

It looked precarious but the Prince risked the drop off the sheer edge 
of the pillar of rock. He fell hard but held on, to shimmy around the 
corner where with a backward leap he felt himself on firmer ground. He 
made his way around some ledges to pull up and join Farah.

"There you are!" she said, relieved.

It was a small room with thick fluted columns. On one side was a door, 
marked with a white symbol. At the centre of the room was a capstan 
with a crank handle showing the same symbol. He was surprised that Farah 
hadn't worked it out but allowed that she may not have had the strength 
to turn it.

As he put his shoulder to the crank, the Prince felt a strange sense of 
deja vu, almost as if he had been in this place in a past life.


-- 40%  A LONG BURIED SECRET  -------------------------------------------

With the crank pointed at the door it slid open. At once Scarabs moved 
towards them through the gap. The Prince dashed forward to see them 
off.

"Careful!" warned Farah.

He could be impulsive and daring, maybe even a little reckless but he 
was not foolish. He was aware that the beetles carried a sting and who 
knew how long it would be until the next water was available? He was 
careful.

Soon enough the corridor was silent. At the far end was a very long pit 
- impossible to run over - and in one corner a stone plinth. A plinth? 
I wonder...

"Look," exclaimed Farah, "a crack!"

She left through it, and the Prince busied himself hauling the plinth 
to the edge of the pit, tight against the wall. He sensed that he would 
find it useful.

"Here I am!" called Farah.

She had somehow found her way to the other end of the pit. He could 
barely make her out in the murkiness of this underground passage. 
Activating a switch over there triggered stone ledges sliding from the 
walls out over the pit. Not a perfect path, but he felt he could use the 
ledges as stepping-stones.

"Can you make it?" asked Farah.

"Don't step off that switch," he said sternly.

Starting his run off the plinth he had placed against the wall allowed 
the necessary height to fall just onto the first platform. Now he 
executed a wall run and backward jump to reach the second, and repeated 
the trick back to the other side for the third. He landed on the ledge at 
the end beside Farah.

"You made it!" she said admiringly.

Behind her was a ladder, and she turned to climb up. The Prince lagged 
back since he was, after all, a gentleman.

They were in a tall darkened corridor, decorated with friezes. As they 
moved towards daylight, Farah sensed trouble and drew her Bow. Sand 
Creatures patrolled the room at the end.

The Prince ran in among the pillars at the sides of the high-ceilinged 
yet rather bare room, using them to launch himself at the savage Blue 
Guards as they appeared. Other slow-witted goons with hooks were not so 
much trouble, these being susceptible to his Vault Attack. He added a 
refinement that he had learned: how to snatch their sand on his descent 
in one fluid move that left them screaming in helpless rage on the point 
of his raised Dagger. Patiently the Prince worked the room, doing his 
best to keep any attacker off Farah. She in turn supported him, stunning 
strays where she could draw a bead.

At last the enemies were gone and the Prince received his next Vision.


-- 43%  DAYBREAK  -------------------------------------------------------

He found the Visions helpful in learning the art of combat. He saw that 
he would shortly face many enemies in a close struggle, trading blow 
for blow. He would relish it.

He felt himself in desperate need of water, yet there was nothing in the 
room of any description that could refresh him. It gave the appearance of 
a place of worship, empty though it was. In one corner an archway had 
been hastily walled up: the cracks were apparent. It may not have taken 
much longer to put up than the Prince took to bring it down, at which the 
pair made their way into a much brighter, though quite shabby corridor. 
Here at last was a fountain, at which the Prince drank gratefully.

Through an arch down some steps the corridor looked better kept, and 
here was a solid wooden door bearing a yellow symbol. 

"We'll need to open this door," said the Prince. "Look for a
switch."

It didn't take much looking, just a few feet away on the floor behind 
some barrels. The Prince cleared them aside then stepped on the switch.

"The door's open," said Farah, decisively, "I'm going in!"

"Don't!" he warned. "Wait for me!"

He ran to join her.

"Hurry," she called out. "It's closing!"

The door clanged irreversibly shut behind him. The room was occupied by 
Blue Guards and hulking Captains. These brutes were such as the man at 
the gate he had seen so long ago in charge of his father's soldiers and 
their battering ram. This is what had become of them. Looking around, 
the Prince's thoughts were momentarily elsewhere.

"A soldier's mess hall. The smell of food still wafted from the kitchen. 
Scant hours ago these tables had been filled with men, joking in 
camaraderie over their evening meal, just as my father's men do back home 
in Seraph, at ease because they think themselves safe within the castle 
walls with no enemy to fight. How could they know the enemy was already 
among them? 

He set to, knowing that he faced a desperate hand-to-hand fight, no 
quarter to be asked or given. He kept his guard up as they circled, 
looking for an opening, and as one took a lunge the Prince bounded 
forward to assail them as they were open. He watched for the Captains to 
prepare their devastating swipes - whirling their swords about their 
heads - and hit them hard then. More often than not they instantly 
blocked, but he was at least able to limit their attack on him. He moved 
around wooden tables, looking for a moment to Rebound and send two or 
three to the ground, at which he could spring over and take their Sand.

The Blue Guards looked most likely to threaten the Princess, and he 
stayed as close as he dared, ready to set one in stone if it looked ready 
to slash with its pike. Should one catch him and knock him back, he was 
sure to get back on his feet before others gathered round. As he began 
to lose health the Prince made his way down the steps where he found a 
fountain to one side. By using one or two as a stone shield, he could 
buy time to recover lost health and still turn to retrieve before they 
revived.

By these means and much patience, the Prince won through in his 
toughest battle yet.


-- 46%  A SOLDIERS' MESS HALL  ------------------------------------------

The Prince investigated his surroundings. There was nothing to be done 
in the dining area upstairs, but on the lower level was a promising 
pile of rubble. Noticing a metal pole that might be used to swing up to 
higher ledges, the Prince clambered on the rocky debris.

"What are you doing?" demanded the Princess.

"Just wait," he assured her.

Running out on the wall, he caught hold of the pole and swung ahead.

Farah called up disconsolately, "You know I can't climb like you can."

She gasped sharply as the Prince swung high onto a ledge. With the use of 
a convenient pole from the wall, he swung across to more ledges, where he 
climbed high to a raised platform. Here was more Sand to collect before 
turning back to strike out in the other direction. Through a gap in some 
trellis he found a stone walkway that, although broken in parts, he 
managed to traverse to find a simple floor switch at its end. This raised 
a door nearby and he found himself outside, looking over the palace 
grounds far below. Mighty cataracts arched gracefully from the palace 
walls and spilled to the depths below, too far to be heard.

The rampart on which he found himself led in one direction to some wooden 
scaffold left by absent workers. The opposite direction led to a drop. 
The way ahead was barred by a raised drawbridge, just as he had seen in 
the Vision. He must find the switch that lowered it.

Returning to the branch of the rampart that led to a drop, he noticed 
flagpoles sticking from the wall at just a convenient angle... Here we 
go again. He leaped to the first pole, which bent and bounced under his 
weight but mercifully did not break, then swung to the next and released, 
to rebound acrobatically to the pole above. From this he turned and swung 
to the safety of a nearby low roof. As he prepared to heave himself up 
onto another section of ramparts, spiked poles swished into action upon 
it.

Choosing his moment, the Prince pulled up and ran to another section 
with other spiked poles, and similarly dived through at just the right 
moment, then past yet more. At the corner he found two others, sliding in 
opposition, and again he ducked and dived between them, careful to avoid 
what very obviously were spiked tile traps flanking their path. He 
stopped at the next set of spikes, noticing yet more spiked tile traps 
right across the rampart here. In order to run along the wall passing 
over them, he needed to chose his moment carefully - just as the final 
set of spiky poles moved away from the wall. The blades within the tiles 
sprang up wickedly beneath his scampering feet but he managed to miss 
them all to drop safely on the other side. Rounding the corner of the 
ramparts, the Prince caught the first rays of light of a day that, now 
and many times before, he thought he might never see.

In front of him was a switch symbol on a wall, from which he jumped 
back to pull a hanging lever. This opened a door alongside, and he ran 
gratefully inside.

"I'm down here," came a familiar voice.

He was indeed back in the Soldier's Mess Hall, now high above. He ran 
down a flight of stairs to find another symbol beneath a hanging lever. 
As he activated this a ladder slid from the wall below, billowing 
clouds of dust. Farah eagerly climbed up, Bow in hand.

"Thanks!" she said cheerfully.

"Don't mention it," the casual response.

The pair ran back up the stone staircase. The Prince paused at the 
still open door to the ramparts.

"We're above the Zoo," he told her. "We'll need to cross that
bridge."

At the end of the corridor was a gate, very much shut and the 
corresponding switch in an ornate caged room the other side of it.

"Now what?" wondered the Prince.

Without a word, the Princess flattened herself to the ground and slid 
beneath the gate.

"Yes," said the Prince. "I was just going to suggest that."

Here was another Sand Cloud, and once he had refilled the Dagger, the 
Prince ran upwards and back off the wall to a hanging lever. This 
activated the drawbridge outside.

"You did it!" cried Farah as she ran out to see.

The Prince dropped down off the lever and used the generously timed 
pressure pad on the floor to follow Farah to the ramparts outside. He 
found a spot to jump down nearby, where the wooden scaffold had been 
left. It seemed a little late to repair the palace walls.

With the drawbridge now lowered, the way ahead was clear. The Prince 
made use of a fountain at the bridgehead before racing across.

Straight into materializing Sand Creatures!

These were another mix of Blue Guards and Captains, his toughest 
opponents. On the narrow confines of the bridge, fighting was harder. He 
put up his block, but was caught repeatedly by swinging attacks. Farah 
was vulnerable here too - though she stayed back by the fountain, too 
often a Sand Creature focused his attentions on her. The Prince found 
that he could distract the creature with a reminder from his sword, but 
conversely an arrow from Farah would send them angrily in search of the 
culprit.

With the lack of space, the counter-blocking, his ineffective Vault 
Attack and their tendency to knock him over the edge at any opportunity, 
the Prince began to find the battle against the Blue creatures hard 
going. Checking that his Dagger was fully charged, he decided to unleash 
the extent of its awesome power. He executed the Power of Haste. This 
froze time for everyone but himself! With his enemies now confounded, the 
Prince moved amongst them at will, striking each down at tremendous 
speed in a single blow. The time over which this power could be sustained 
was short, but the devastating attack cleared everything in his path; 
those few that survived were more easily dealt with now that their 
number was diminished. At length he sheathed his sword.


-- 46%  THE DRAWBRIDGE  -------------------------------------------------

Returning to the fountain - this time with more humility - the Prince 
recovered his health and set off to the tower once more.

The barred gate in the reception chamber was a mere trifle with the 
corresponding capstan and its crank close beside. Farah and the Prince 
entered in moments.

They were in a cavernous room. A huge central column, which appeared to 
be part of some sort of machine (it bore a grooved thread) supported a 
wooden platform, which jutted out on top. Their objective could be seen 
as a platform with a ladder by a door with an orange symbol, right at 
the top of the room. The only means to attempt access was a flight of 
stone steps. 

"I'll just wait for you here then, shall I?" said the Princess as the 
Prince made his way up. He still couldn't tell if she was simply ribbing 
him.

At the top of the steps was a lever of the kind with which he was now 
quite familiar, but on hanging from this it appeared useless; the 
platform in the centre remained motionless and out of reach. There seemed 
little else to do but go down again, whereon he noticed lamp poles 
sticking out from the wall. They looked about the right height to jump to 
from the landing where Farah now waited. They might help him reach a 
second hanging lever, which he could just make out on another balcony 
opposite.

"That's strange," said Farah, "I almost feel as if I've lived this 
moment before."

The things he could tell. He ran and caught the lowest pole, and turned 
to swing up to the next. Another turn and he was able to use the series 
of poles to swing all the way over to the balcony on the far side of 
the room. Here was another switch, perhaps more useful? He tried it.

A-ha!

The central platform ground and clanked with mechanical precision, 
rising and swinging through a quarter turn to lock into position, midway 
between the Prince and Farah.

"It's stopped," she called. "Pull it again."

On jumping up once more, the Prince found that now this switch appeared 
useless! What was wrong? A thought occurred as he hopped down.

"I think I see how this works," he called over. "Try pulling yours 
now."

Farah jumped up with a short exhalation and pulled her lever. The 
platform clanked and swung into life once more, turning and rising to 
lock into place. Now it was facing Farah and she ran on to it, calling to 
the Prince.

"Now pull the lever."

Sure enough, the central platform rotated another ninety degrees.

"Good!" she exclaimed, as she ran from the platform to climb up on 
stone blocks to another platform above.

"Here I am," she called. "I'll pull the lever."

The central platform rotated once more and had now been raised high 
above.

"There's another lever up there," said Farah. "Can you reach it?"

Could he reach it! He'd show her. Climbing on a rock shelf nearby, he 
was about to jump up to grab a ledge when he noticed sparks from a saw 
blade just above. He'd better slow down and hoist up more carefully. He 
just managed to scramble to a ledge above before the blade scythed its 
way back.

Now he had to cling to the wall to sidle beneath a large hole that had 
been smashed into the palace wall during the destruction wrought by the 
Sands as they were unleashed. He was unable to jump to grab it from 
where he stood, but Farah's efforts had swung the platform to a position 
close behind. A leap into hope and he was able to grab by his fingertips 
and hoist up onto it.

He turned and leapt back across the gap to stand in the hole in the wall, 
morning light streaming through. The Prince looked down at his tattered 
sleeve and tore the remnant from his tunic. He felt less restricted and 
looked a bit manlier too.

The wind whistled about the rooftops and walls, and from this height he 
could see far to distant misted hills with sun bursting through above. 
There was not time to admire the breathtaking view. Jumping down, the 
Prince landed on a balcony. He saw far below the drawbridge where he had 
just fought the desperate battle. There was only one way to go: across 
the broken balcony, where a blow from his sword cleared two wooden casks 
that impeded him. With a swing off a handy pole he easily crossed the 
broken gap and found another entrance, to arrive at a balcony inside once 
again.

"There you are!" Farah said as he reappeared and got his bearings. 
"There's a lever above you. Try pulling it."

Very helpful. He ran up a wall by a white symbol there and jumped back 
to a hanging lever near it. The platform ground its way around once 
more, stopping at his balcony. He dropped off the lever to run onto it.

"Hang on," called Farah. "I'm pulling mine."

The platform rotated yet again and the Prince ran to the end to leap 
out and grab a ledge directly in front. He jumped up to grab another, 
then pulled up once more to leap backwards, onto a ladder suspended from 
what was, at last, the highest balcony.

Another door, another switch to be found. The Prince followed the balcony 
around the room and almost fell from its edge. "Who-oa-oh!" He used the 
wall to run out and grab a hanging lever, which released a ladder for the 
eager Farah to climb.

"I'm coming!"

Farah quickly scaled the ladder to join the Prince up on the balcony. 
She ran ahead as he dangled from the lever. Not even a thank you! He 
swung down to join her at the door.

"Think you can fit under this gate?" he murmured. "I'll really be 
impressed."

Farah soon found a small hole just beside.

He responded airily, "I knew that hole was there; I just wanted to see 
if you knew."

After a moment the door slid upward. Farah stood, without comment, on 
the switch outside. Yes, she was proving her worth just a little.

They were on a flat stone bridge now very high above the ground. All 
strangely quiet. A Vision Cloud could be seen beckoning just across the 
bridge. As Farah ran ahead, Sand Birds loomed on either side, flapping 
menacingly into life at their approach.

"Keep running!" yelled the Prince.

He followed his own advice and ran as hard as he could across the bridge. 
As the birds swooped down he dodged and rolled, and made it safely to 
Farah's side. She had already hit one target with the Bow.

"Look out!" she cried.

As a Sand Bird crashed in flames to the bridge, it gave way, the sections 
cracking and rumbling as great pieces of masonry tumbled downwards. In 
one heave the whole bridge collapsed, bringing with it mighty pillars and 
stone debris, the entirety crashing and thundering to the ground.

That would take some clearing up.

The Prince turned to Farah, she having slipped inside through a hole in 
the gate. He waited to follow her in.

"The switch is broken!" she exclaimed.

"Very funny," he said without humor. "Come on, open the gate."

"No, I mean it," she insisted. "It's really broken."

He could see the damage to the gate.

"All right," he sighed. "You go on down; I'll find another way in."

"Try not to take too long," she offered. 

Now she was being funny. The Vision Cloud helped show him the way 
ahead, inevitably via a series of very precarious-looking jumps.


-- 50%  A BROKEN BRIDGE  ------------------------------------------------

Farah watched with some concern through the bars of the gate, as the 
Prince dropped off the balcony to hang from a ledge. The ground was now 
very far below. For a moment he wondered if he could drop to another 
ledge, which seemed only just beneath, but soon noticed a stone column 
rising off a ledge nearby. He shuffled across and leapt backwards to 
clutch it tightly. With another broken column in reach, he slid down a 
little and was able to use that one to leap back to the castle walls, 
where now he could grab the narrow ledge he'd seen shortly before. He was 
careful not to lose his grip, having noticed a nasty collection of spikes 
just underneath.

Using the narrow ledge and continuing to a gap in the wall, the Prince 
hopped nimbly around to a wide chimney formed by the castle walls. For a 
moment he was stuck. With nowhere to jump to, getting down might prove 
tricky, but get down he must. Well, he reasoned, if he could climb a 
narrow gap like this by springing side-to-side, perhaps he could descend 
just as easily? Easily! What was he thinking?

With a grunt of effort and a brave leap backwards, he sprang against the 
wall behind, and then in a slow confident rhythm, back again the moment 
he touched, moving in this manner smoothly down the chimney, a little at 
a time: A-Hut!... Mmm!... A-Hut!... Mmm!... A-Hut!... Mmm! all the way to 
the bottom. Yet there was to be not even a pause for breath; at his first 
touch the floor began to give way! 
Stone flags crumbled and cracked, sailing to the depths far below. Lest 
he join them, the Prince ran desperately ahead of each falling section, 
where without hesitation he ran up a wooden tower wall dead ahead and 
leapt back, to hang by his fingertips from a pole sticking out. Nothing 
now below him but a very sheer drop.

He turned and swung to the top of the wooden tower, landing with a gasp 
of effort. He hauled on top to finally catch his breath. Farah appeared 
on a balcony just above.

"I'm up here!"

A little too far out of reach.

"Down below," she said, "there's a great open balcony. Come on, I'll 
show you!"

"That's easy for you to say," muttered the Prince. 

He dropped down off the other side of the tower to a walkway beneath, 
thankfully more solid than the last. A short hop up to a crack and he 
was able to clamber around to leap to a column on a balcony opposite.

"Here I am," called Farah brightly, now the other side of a wide gap 
and a rather long drop.

"Stay there," he suggested. "I'll come down to you."

Refilling his Dagger at a nearby Sand Cloud, he heard Farah call over.

"Come on!"

"It's too far," he replied. "I can't jump it."

"You can do it!" she urged.

Well, there was one way to find out.

Then again...

"If I fall to my death," he suggested, "will that convince you?"

"There's no need to get nasty."

Luckily there was another pillar at the far edge of his balcony and 
another crack in the wall on Farah's side. Using the pillar to gain the 
necessary height, he was back over on her side in no time. Still he was 
unable to get inside where Farah stood.

"I know where I am," she announced. "This gate leads to the baths. Do 
you think you could you find your way there?"

"Of course, finding my way to the baths from here should be easy."

"Good," was the pert response. "I'll meet you there."

At which, the Princess disappeared into the palace. The Prince made his 
way around to where a gigantic collapsed pillar stopped up a gap he 
might otherwise have used to join her. He dropped down to shimmy along 
under it.

The situation struck him as faintly ridiculous.

"I'll just ask the first Sand Creature I run into: Could you direct me 
to the baths, please? Well, thank you. 'Don't mention it, I used to be 
a bath attendant back when I was alive...'"

He was still indignant at the Princess's manner towards him. He 
mimicked:

"'I'll meet you at the baths!' She orders me around as if I were a 
servant!"

He reflected on the cause.

"It's my own fault. With women you need to show them you're in charge 
right from 
the start or they'll walk all over you. I've been too indulgent - 
probably because 
I felt sorry for her." He made a firm decision, "Well, it stops now! From 
now on, 
she'll have to toe the line."

"That is..." (a sobering thought), "assuming that I can find her."

He had reached a narrow wall connecting two parts of the Palace of 
Azad. With the grace of a tightrope walker, he edged cautiously along it, 
trying not to look down. A narrow ledge on the other side brought him 
safely to a balcony, where he was grateful to find a small fountain. He 
took a long drink, and made his way through an open doorway.

Here was a terrace balcony. A table laid with food and drink stood upon 
it; the diners had evidently departed in haste. The balcony overlooked 
a courtyard, somewhat ruined. Large black birds flapped indolently. He 
had seen enough of these to know that they would not leave of their own 
accord. Down below he observed a Sand Cloud, and on a low rooftop 
opposite, a Vision Cloud. That seemed a good place to head.

By running off the edge of the walkway ahead - his footsteps cracking 
the crumbling stone as he went - the Prince was able to jump to a series 
of flag posts. He swung effortlessly from each, swooshing through the 
air to leap and drop down directly into the Vision Cloud.


-- 52%  "I'LL MEET YOU AT THE BATHS"  -----------------------------------

According to the Vision his task was to involve plenty of levers and 
switches, running around walls and inevitably a good amount of creature 
combat. He took heart from the certainty that Farah awaited at the end 
of it all.

Dropping down from the roof, he set off along the thin edges of the 
walls ahead, once more balanced precariously. He leapt a small gap, and 
then faced a larger one across a pair of iron gates opened wide in the 
wall under his feet. This leap he made easily enough by lining up with 
care. The birds flapped overhead, seemingly disinterested. The Prince was 
thankful for that, but would that situation last?

Working his way along the top of each wall, he came to a wider gap, and 
guessed he would have to jump to the partially collapsed wall in the 
centre of the yard. He made the jump at an awkward angle, but grabbed as 
he fell and hauled up. At this, the first bird attacked!

He had discovered it was hard enough to keep his balance, let alone with 
sword in hand. The birds seemed determined to knock him off. He found 
that it was a simple matter to let them lunge, then if he were hit he 
could quickly scramble back up, draw his sword and slash them as they 
flapped still near at a blade's length. One after another, they screeched 
and collapsed in flame at the touch of his sword, falling one by one 
until all were gone. It even seemed peaceful then, yet somewhere in the 
distance could be heard strange animals noises. Was this once part of the 
Sultan's zoo? It would explain the cell-like rooms, and the bars 
everywhere.

The Prince made his way carefully around the tops of the walls. He could 
see a Sand Cloud glowing behind a low wall very nearby, but he judged the 
gap too far to jump. There had to be another way to it. He carefully 
balanced down a slight incline and continued around the wall's edge to 
the very tip of a narrow wooden jetty, from which he could leap across to 
a rusted metal beam. He slipped cautiously along it to arrive gratefully 
on the solid floor of a small room hosting a familiar hanging lever. This 
lowered a gate to the cage underneath, and raised also a ladder to the 
room, allowing him to slide to the very ground of the abandoned zoo.

An insistent ringing nearby alerted him to the presence of a Sand Cloud. 
With the one he saw earlier still out of reach but surely awaiting 
collection, the Prince had more Sand than he needed, and realized he need 
not have held back on the Dagger's powers when those birds proved so 
troublesome!

He decided to thoroughly investigate the ruins. It seemed a little 
confusing at first, but he explored each area, and soon found a narrow 
gap beside a barred portcullis into a small yard, where he stood before a 
large door marked with an orange switch symbol. The switch itself was 
nowhere to be seen. Surely this was the way out of this fearful place?

In the cage next to this could be seen a white symbol over a pull-switch 
lever, as yet sealed behind bars he knew he must somehow open. Eventually 
the Prince found the cage he had opened with the hanging lever, and here 
was another lever within. Eagerly he jumped up to pull it. All around the 
courtyard, such iron gates as were still operational ground open. One of 
the cages released a swarm of crawling Scarabs.

The Prince dropped down off the lever and rushed out to see them off. It 
was the work of minutes, and good practice for his sword. Having a little 
peace then, he found again the room with the pull switch, now open. On 
activation of this switch, an insistent: 'Tock-tock-tock-tock!' told him 
he had no time to lose in finding the door thereby released. To his 
dismay, it was not the large door just next to the switch, but he could 
see that at least the portcullis in front of it had been raised. He 
remembered then that the latest Vision contained a hint of a dash across 
just such a device, this being now possible from the point directly below 
the Vision Cloud. He guessed too that this was also the way to reach the 
other Sand Cloud. The portcullis across which he must dash seemed to be 
slowly descending, although doubtless not slowly enough. He had to get up 
there fast!

Being now quite familiar with the layout of the cages, he quickly made 
his way to the ladder, and back up and out onto the beams and wall tops 
once again. With as much haste as he dared, the Prince jumped and edged 
back across the gate to the centre of the yard. With quick yet careful 
alignment, he risked a leap over to the large iron gates (now closed), 
and back across to the place where he had first edged onto these walls. 
On safe arrival here there were only seconds to use as he saw the 
portcullis nearly closed. He ran only just on the raised edge as it fell, 
to grab and haul up beside the elusive Sand Cloud.

Claiming his reward, the Prince entered the small room behind it. Here 
was another hanging lever. This raised a ladder opposite just outside. 
With a dash across the wall above the main gate, he reached a platform 
where the ladder awaited, and noticed a switch symbol in the room 
adjoining. At last he'd found the one that matched the orange of the main 
gate. He went in and scarcely noticed the makeshift condition of one wall 
behind barrels, so eager was he to release the floor switch and leave 
the zoo.

The switch proved to be on a very short timer; just barely enough for 
him to slide down the ladder and roll under the gate before it slid 
shut. Quite tricky when in a way he wasn't sure if he were coming or 
going!

He was now in an area of neatly kept grass, with nothing to see or do 
other than go through a stone portal ahead. The end of the short tunnel 
within had, at first sight, been solidly walled up. Yet light shone 
through cracks... He took out his sword and struck out with all his 
might. Several blows later the wall collapsed. Here was plenty of water 
but not the baths he was looking for. He wondered how Farah was faring.

"Oh, have you been waiting here all this time? I didn't realize you 
meant these baths! I went to the other baths clear across the other side 
of the city. I had a lovely wash and a rub with fragrant oils. Too bad 
you weren't there..."

What was he doing, he wondered?

"Stop talking to yourself!"

He balanced carefully across a wooden beam to a platform ahead and took 
stock.

He was in a huge cavern, lit icy blue with light pouring from high 
above. Far below was a river and rocky pools, with the sound of plunging 
waterfalls all around. The platform on which he stood had signs of being 
used for storage of some provisions or other, and he could see far 
below another wooden beam. With no better option, he decided to make his 
way down and see where it led.

He moved along crumbling ledges, which restricted his passage to a single 
path. He dropped down where he could and presently saw a number of 
Scarabs hovering in the waters below. Dropping eventually into the wide 
river over the cavern's basin, he set about the undead pests with his 
sword, and very nearly didn't notice that the powerful current was 
sending him drifting to the rushing edge of a waterfall! He fought his 
way off to safer ground. With every demon insect despatched, the Prince 
had for certainty a plentiful supply of water to restore him for the 
surely perilous journey ahead. He first looked out over the fast flowing 
waters and spotted a Sand Cloud nearly lost amid the rainbow-haloed sheen 
of a waterfall close behind the rock on which it stood. After collection, 
he made his way over on to the wooden beam he'd spotted from above.

Here now he saw the full extent of the cavern, with its treacherous 
waterfalls crashing to the icy depths, ledges and beams winding all the 
way down among them. There was nothing for it but to make a start. He 
negotiating once again crumbling ledges that forced him on a fixed path, 
but as before, one way down suited as well as another. Through a series 
of ledges he dropped to a platform by a waterfall. A running jump 
across the face of this brought him - a little wetter - to another wooden 
beam. He started across.

From the depths of the cavern rose a dozen fluttering bats, possessed 
by the Sands and intent on his blood! There seemed no choice other than 
to swipe as best he could as they gathered close about him, and with 
each successful slash a flurry and scattering of the creatures, which 
then regrouped to close in once more. Again and again they came, and he 
slashed with a satisfying spatter of yellow Sand and a screech at each 
hit. Even on the occasion that he was caught off guard and slipped from 
the beam, he managed to scramble up and resume as they attacked again. 
When he had thinned the demonic flock to two or three alone, they 
scuttled away, yellow eyes blazing. He guessed they would make further 
attempts at his flesh, and made greater haste.

Sure enough, as the Prince dropped down to a smaller waterfall, the 
possessed creatures returned, still intent on nipping at his body, 
perhaps sending him plunging to his doom in the process. He stood his 
ground and slashed in a timely manner, reducing their number such that 
they retired defeated a second time.

Over a series of beams and with a few running leaps, the Prince made it 
to the sanctuary of another Vision Cloud, which by now he was eager to 
use to find the way in difficult situations. He saw that he should 
prepare for more beam walking and running over collapsing wooden 
platforms, clinging to and jumping from fragile icicles along the way. 
There was, too, a further Vision of Farah, this time more troubling: the 
Dagger and great pain somehow between them.


-- 55%  WATERFALL  ------------------------------------------------------

Another beam and another tunnel ending in a stone wall. Another job for 
his sword.

Here were the wooden platforms he'd seen in the Vision - he lingered 
not, and still barely made it over one and another, each plank creaking 
and collapsing behind him as he ran to the safety of a rock pool ledge. 
More casks stood about, and here was another stone wall to be broken 
down. More collapsing wooden platforms in the cavern beyond.

The Prince made it swiftly to a mossy ledge in a corner, and unsheathed 
his sword as yet more bats attacked. It seemed best to remain still and 
slash when he could; trying to slip away on the narrow ledge seemed only 
to invite them on, and he could too easily fall. He waited patiently and 
dealt with each flurried attack, and in no time they retired as before. 
He made his way now onto a crumbling ledge, where it seemed he could go 
no further. Yet here were thick icicles suspended from the cavern roof. 
(Either stalagmites or stalactites. What was it he learned at school: 
"'tites come down"? No, no - 'g' from the ground, 'c' from the ceiling, 
that was it. Stalactites, definitely.) He followed the Vision and took a 
leap of faith, landing safely, clinging for a bare moment before spinning 
quickly and jumping once more, even as the ice gave a hollow crack and 
fell away.

He scrambled onto a wooden platform, which inevitably began to give way 
under his weight. He ran as hard as he could to another, and then took a 
running leap off the wall at the hint of a shadow cast by another 
dangling shard of ice. A quick revolution off this and he launched 
himself to a rock ledge, where he pulled safely up. He shuffled around 
the ledge and gathering his strength jumped out once more to another 
stalactite, and on to another, and another without pause. As each cracked 
and fell he leaped just in time, clinging barely to every tip, before 
spinning and leaping for the next. Eventually he landed on a rock 
platform, where he fell gratefully into a fresh Vision Cloud.


-- 57%  A CAVERN OF LADDERS  --------------------------------------------

The final series of dangling stalactites seemed less daunting to him 
now, although the leaps came fast with barely a second to line up for the 
next. He made it across the cavern safely and collected a Sand Cloud to 
refill such of his tanks as had been expended thus far.

He came now on a cavern lit brightly from above where daylight poured 
in. Wooden platforms were scattered about the cylindrical walls, giving 
all the appearance of use by some primitive peoples. These platforms 
looked more robust than those he had recently passed over. This place 
seemed calmer too; perhaps the effect of birdsong from somewhere nearby. 
He hoped such peace would last. Of course, no sooner had he crossed to 
the first platform than the bats returned, more determined than ever to 
shorten his life. Yet there was ample room to maneuver on the sturdy 
platforms, and the Prince whirled about, scattering the flying creatures 
easily, and suffering in that no more than a scratch.

There seemed a number of routes to follow to the ground, by running to 
the different platforms and sliding down ladders, but the effect was 
surely the same. In no time the Prince was on the pool floor, quite 
refreshed. He made his way into the mouth of a cave there. The wall at 
the end of it was as easily smashed as the rest, and he waded down the 
last tunnel to emerge through broken bars into a vast man-made chamber, 
tinged eerily green. Knee-deep in water, the Prince looked around. Stone 
pillars connected by beams and ledges, some broken. Around the room were 
alcoves and arches, all seemingly beyond reach. Buckets dangled from 
ropes; this chamber was evidently the cistern for the palace above, where 
fresh water could be drawn from its reservoir. Water dripped everywhere 
upon the surface.

The vast cistern had but one means of escaping its flooded basin. The 
Prince found a small pile of rock against one wall, where a Vision Cloud 
shimmered close by. He had long since realized that he should head 
towards one of these when he was able.

From the alcove, he tested a new skill by leaping to a rope. The bucket 
it held splashed to the ground, but the Prince clung on and aligned 
himself with the alcove containing the Vision Cloud, before swinging (a 
little awkwardly) towards it. When he judged he had enough momentum, he 
released his grip and sprang from the rope to land safely. The Vision 
confirmed to him a suspicion that he would have a lot more swinging from 
ropes to achieve before climbing up into the light.


-- 60%  AN UNDERGROUND RESERVOIR  ---------------------------------------

By now he felt himself quite expert at balancing along beams, and 
although he may occasionally have overbalanced and toppled, he managed to 
scramble back up without harm. On one of the longer beams he was assailed 
yet again by bats, but fought them off with the same patient 
determination. They seemed more of an irritant than a danger. When they 
had screeched and flapped away once more, he continued along the beam, 
noticing a Sand Cloud glinting somewhere above, yet out of reach behind 
bars.

At length he worked his way around the stone beams and climbed up on a 
pillar, from where a short distance sliding out on another beam allowed 
him to align for a leap at another rope. He swung from this to hang 
from a beam in the centre of the room. He shuffled along and around the 
next column to walk out on a further stone beam. When he was able, he 
leapt for a rope in the corner of the room, and once again the bucket it 
held fell noisily into the water. He eased around to face the next rope 
along, and creaked his way towards it before crossing his fingers and 
flying off towards it. Despite his doubts, the Prince caught the rope 
effortlessly and now saw an opportunity to swing into an open alcove.

Here were vicious razor and saw traps, which he had quite forgot existed. 
By timing his jump up the wall carefully, he grabbed a ledge above one 
blade and pulled up when the blade above that had passed safely. Now he 
simply shuffled along the ledge after it, ready to drop and grab as soon 
as it returned (the one beneath that having similarly passed safely by). 
A quick shimmy and a climb and a shuffle and a drop, and just there in an 
alcove was a Sand Cloud to be gathered. A climb up a ledge between snaps 
of some razor cutters seemed effortless by comparison.

In the next room was a hanging lever, and this opened a wooden hatch in 
the centre of the room. It also released more bats. The Prince seemed 
hardly concerned about these, and lowered himself into the hatch. Great 
swiping blades rotated beneath him. Taking a deep breath, the Prince 
dropped down, trusting to luck whether one or other of the blades would 
catch him. He had little concern over recovering his health as he was 
now in an alcove back in the reservoir.

Here was a block to be tumbled into the water, and as he followed it 
down the Prince was attacked yet again by squealing bats. Did they never 
learn? He twirled and slashed and saw them off once and for all. He 
surely deserved a drink after all that.

The stone block had an obvious use with a Sand Cloud twinkling close 
above. (He had to take a couple of goes to scrabble up because of his wet 
booties). Once more the Prince clambered up on the stone ledges and made 
his way around one corner of the room onto a stone beam, out over the 
water. When he reached the middle of the beam he flung himself on a rope, 
the bucket hanging from it plunging to the water as he hit the rope hard. 
Now he needed to line up with the next rope along and set himself 
swinging as before, to leap off one rope and grab the next. He continued 
on from one rope to the next, working his way around the vast cistern. 
Each rope was lit by a shaft of light from its well mouth high above, and 
as he reached a rope in the centre of one side, he could see from below 
that this had no bars like the rest - here was a way up and out of the 
reservoir. The Prince did not care to explore any more alcoves at this 
point, so he moved on up.

The rope was suspended on wooden slats, which collapsed into the well 
even as the Prince vaulted out. Blinking in the sunlight, he barely had 
time to take in the surroundings of the roof garden in which he found 
himself before he became menaced by mutant Trolls. Weary as he was, he 
defeated them easily, whereon they were replaced by far sterner 
opposition in the shape of Captains and Blue Guards. He knew from 
experience that neither of these could be foxed by his favorite vaulting 
maneuver; they blocked him every time and simply knocked him flat. Worse, 
the Captains were able to negate even his own block, by the simple 
expedient of whirling their swords and whipping his legs from under him. 
His best defense was to roll rapidly sideways and rush in when they left 
themselves open. If they came at him in a pack then he felt it fair to 
turn them to stone, giving himself time to fight back. When the Dagger 
was exhausted, he launched himself off walls in devastating Rebound 
Attacks.

He fought his way from the garden into the Palace of Azad once more. At 
least here was a pool of water. He scooped up refreshment in the seconds 
he could manage. The fighting was tough but he stuck to it. Too much 
would be the shame in simply running to the room beyond and leaving his 
enemies confounded.

When he finally managed to fend off the attackers, the Prince was able to 
receive another Vision, although strangely this seemed not to involve 
him, but showed Farah alone but tantalizingly close.


-- 62%  OUT OF THE WELL  ------------------------------------------------

He guessed that the roof garden was used for laundering. Bolts of 
material were suspended from arches all around the balcony. He returned 
inside. Through a seating area he reached a small circular room. At its 
centre was a rope suspended over a pool of water containing a doubtless 
deadly pit of spikes. The Prince jumped and grabbed tight hold of the 
rope, then considered which direction to swing. There were two wall 
switches, and he had already decided that he generally preferred the 
white ones. He worked out a method where he set himself swinging towards 
it then leapt just after the rope reached the top of its arc and was set 
to swing back. This left him able to slip off onto the wall to trigger 
the switch, and immediately leap back to catch the rope on its return. 
Any sooner and he would simply flop lifeless into the watery pit of 
spikes below.

He made the first switch, and was suitably gratified when a drawbridge 
swung down in response at one side of the room. That would give him 
something to swing over onto, and indeed the door it revealed had on it a 
symbol to match the one on the other wall switch. Experience led him to 
expect that it was probably on a short timer.

He judged the moment, then leapt and triggered the second switch, 
jumped back and swung and leapt off in one go - landing right in front of 
the other door, now open for the briefest moment. He rolled expertly 
under as it slid shut.

Now he was alone at the top of a small flight of steps down to a peaceful 
covered garden. Leaves drifted in shafts of sunlight. Inevitably, he'd 
had to use some of the Sand from the Dagger of Time to work out how to 
open the door, so the Prince made use of a nearby Sand Cloud to replenish 
it. More switches. A pull switch was beneath a yellow symbol, which he 
suspected would give him little time to get to whichever door it opened. 
When he activated it, the Prince saw he had set in motion a deadly 
combination of traps, which he had to negotiate even to get there. The 
destination was a door beyond rotating blades up a flight of steps, and 
at the sight of statues of water maidens here, it occurred to the Prince 
that this was the quarters for the Sultan's Harem. No wonder it was so 
well protected. He must 
find the way in!

The first step (literally) was a pressure plate that triggered a stone 
platform the other side of a spiked swinging log. This called for pause 
as it came towards him. Having ducked ahead of it, the Prince carried on 
running to jump over to the platform before the spiked log's return. Now 
he needed to time his run over a spike pit while avoiding a scything saw 
blade, combined with a leap off the wall once across - this to avoid 
hidden spike trap tiles along the wall edge. He landed at the foot of a 
stone staircase with the exit door at the head of it. The first of two 
rotating sword traps on the stairs was bypassed by the cunning expedient 
of clambering over the corner of the stair. The Prince ran up to the last 
trap and tumbled under without pause. He carried on the roll through the 
slowly dropping door and found himself coming down carpeted stairs on the 
other side. This is where he had last seen the Princess in the Vision.

"Farah?" he called. "Farah, are you there?"

"Hello?" she returned anxiously. "Is that you?"

"Here I am!" he assured her.

As he raced down the stairs towards the distant voice, Sand Creatures 
materialized in his way. Despite their relentless number, they gave him 
scant hindrance; the urgency of his search for the Princess giving edge 
to his sword.


-- 65%  THE SULTAN'S HAREM  ---------------------------------------------

He was in a private area. All around a central bath were bedchambers, 
discreetly masked behind heavy drapes. The occupants and their guards 
and attendants - at least, the remains of their Earthly flesh possessed 
by the Sands of Time - he had just encountered. Yet the Prince knew well 
that there were others, and that these now surely threatened the 
Princess. He must get to her!

"Farah?" he cried out.

"I'm here," she called back. "Where are you?"

"Stay there," he said. "I'll come to you."

In one of the curtained alcoves beside the Vision Cloud he discovered a 
closed gate bearing a yellow symbol. He needed to find the switch that 
opened it. The other alcoves seemed blocked or walled off. A Sand Cloud 
twinkled nearby, tantalizingly out of reach beyond trellis bars. Behind 
the drapes nearest to that the Prince at last found an open passage. 
This led to a small bedchamber, where one wall appeared ready to crumble. 
He smashed it with his sword, breaking through to a small courtyard 
featuring classical bas-relief. Another damaged wall was apparent 
directly ahead.

The next room through it was richly carpeted and scattered with cushions 
for lounging or other fancies. He had no time to take his rest, but ran 
on through heavy drapes. Here at last he found the hanging lever that 
operated the door beside the bath, which he could see even now through 
the bars. Adjoining the lever room was an alcove containing the Sand 
Cloud he had seen earlier, and after collecting it the Prince made haste 
back the way he had come. As he passed through the little courtyard he 
saw the Princess through a screen, beset by Blue Guards and other Sand 
Creatures.

"Farah!"

He ran desperately for the entrance he'd opened. In his haste to run 
through, the Prince almost pitched himself into a deep pit where the 
floor had collapsed. "Wo-oa-oh!" He recognized this passage from the 
Vision, and executed a swift wall run and back-jump, with a Sand Cloud 
his reward at the end. There was not much time to refill the Dagger, as 
again through a screen at the end of the corridor he saw Farah, still 
desperately holding off the attackers with her Bow.

"Farah!" he yelled, "I'm coming!"

Here was another wall to smash through, and still another after that. 
At last he joined the Princess, gasping from her efforts.

"What took you so long?" She had breath enough for impudence!

"Oh, just frolicking about the Palace," the Prince replied, mock 
casual. He fought and talked. "Have you been waiting long?"

Keeping healthy distance from her sometimes wayward arrows, the Prince 
set about the assortment of Sand Creatures that threatened the Princess. 
His frustrations were thus released and he almost took pleasure in the 
relentless combat, striking down each savage blow on a wretched target 
before drawing their Sand.

At last all were gone, and he fell exhausted into the Vision Cloud.


-- 65%  "WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?"  ----------------------------------------

As he came out of his Vision-induced trance state, the Prince heard a 
distant voice, tender and familiar.

"Don't leave me... My love, please don't leave me."

He awoke with a start to find his head cradled in Farah's arms.

"What did you call me?" he asked.

Farah gave an impatient snort and stood up sharply.

"It doesn't matter," she said. "The important thing is, I know how we 
can reach the Tower of Dawn."

"Of course, the Hourglass. All right," he relented, "but this time stay 
with me and pay attention. Can't spend all day chasing after you."

According to the Vision before last, after battle around the baths he 
had seen himself moving some kind of statue, for what purpose he could 
not tell. Here now was just such a statue, and perhaps he would find 
out. Entirely unexpectedly, a crack was revealed.

Well?" he asked. "What are you waiting for?"

"I'm afraid," she replied coyly. "What if I get into trouble and you 
have to come chasing after me?"

"Please," he said candidly.

"Do you mean to say you actually need my help?" she responded.

He seemed reluctant to admit it. "Yes."

"Oh well," she said brightly, "in that case..."

The Princess slid into the small gap and squeezed out the other side. 
The Prince watched as she scampered to a hanging lever.

"The gate is open!" she called.

As he exited the now open gate, the Prince mimicked her under his 
breath. "I'm afraid... What if I get into trouble?"
     
He was in a small yard, and here was a capstan. It opened a gate 
nearby. It was evidently easier to leave the Harem than gain entrance.

"Over here!" called Farah. The Prince ran to the now open gate.

"There you are," said the Princess playfully. "Are you sure I'm not 
slowing you down?"

The Prince wasn't playing. "All right, all right."

He stood for a moment considering her. Had he heard her correctly 
before?

"What?" she asked irritably. "Please don't look at me like that."

"Like what?" he replied innocently. Well, perhaps he had imagined it.

He shook himself together and headed along the corridor. Around the 
corner was a curious device that reflected light from the ceiling back 
along the corridor. It gave off a resonant harmonic hum, but served no 
obvious purpose. Of more concern was the movement that could be seen in 
the room beyond.

"The Hall of Learning," said the Princess solemnly. It was a vast 
space, lined with bookshelves. And filled with Red and Blue Guards.

"We must have come out the wrong side of the baths," she continued. 
"We'll need to go back through the Royal Palace."

"All right then," he agreed. "Let's find a way out."

Farah shot an arrow into the room. Battle was joined.

The Prince made the most of the space in the Hall, circling around the 
Blues and using his Vault Attack on the Reds. He kept one eye on Farah 
but she showed she could cope if they did not press too close. He need 
only break off combat for a second to freeze any that caused her to 
gasp for help. He spread his own strikes among two or three at once, and 
in this manner kept all at bay.

He did not have to stray far from a fountain against the base of a 
plinth at the centre of the Hall. From here he had room to move among the 
study tables that could usefully block creatures moving towards him. In 
the intervals between massed assaults, he topped up his health with a 
quick drink from the fountain.

The attacks seemed relentless; no sooner had he cleared them away than 
they came again. He lost count of how many he had slain but their 
thirst for his blood was undiminished.

"Where are they coming from?" cried Farah desperately.

That he could not answer, but the Prince did not rest until he had sent 
every last one to a place they belonged.


-- 69%  THE HALL OF LEARNING  -------------------------------------------

The Prince explored the room thoroughly. There were two gates marked 
with switch symbols. A large one with an orange symbol he assumed was 
their exit, the other with a yellow symbol appeared to be an ante room 
containing the relevant switch. Therefore he would need to find and 
activate a yellow switch first. There was something else in there too.

"Look." exclaimed Farah, "a sword."

"It would have to be quite a sword to be worth trading in this one," 
the Prince remarked.

As he peered closely into the ante room, he tried to make out a curious 
symbol set into its floor. He had seen that somewhere before.

He scaled the large plinth to take stock of the Hall. The Sands of Time 
had swept through here. There were broken pillars and books lay scattered 
with odd pages blowing lazily and drifting in the air. He could see 
balconies and ledges higher up, but he could not climb on any of the 
bookcases, and it was not possible to jump to any higher point from the 
plinth, though the top of a nearby arch looked promising, yet just out of 
reach. There had to be a way to get up there. He jumped down.

"That's an odd symbol on that pillar," remarked Farah. "I wonder what 
it means?"

The Prince recalled the Vision in the Harem, and knew that his task 
involved directing beams of light in this very room, to what end he could 
not guess. He made his way to the curious device they passed on the way 
in. This proved to be a mirror on a pedestal, and had a handle very 
like the ones on the capstans he'd been turning. He pointed the beam of 
light into the Hall, then went to see where it shone.

The beam focused on another pedestal mirror, but this directed it nowhere 
useful. The Prince observed that this pedestal had handles. Keeping the 
beam focused on the mirror, he slid the pedestal away from the wall.

"There's a crack," noted Farah. "I'll go!"

She slipped easily through and left him with his thoughts.

"She said 'My love' - I know she did! I didn't dream it; at least I 
think I didn't. It's quite natural really. Her kingdom's conquered, she 
has nothing, no-one to protect her... She needs me, I can see it in the 
way she looks at me. All I'd have to do is reach out and take her hand, 
and she'd be mine! ...Why am I talking to myself?"

"I'm up here!" the object of his fascination called from the balcony 
overhead.

Back to the matter in hand. The Prince saw that the beam of light 
deflected at an angle, into the bay next to it. Here was another mirror 
pedestal. The Prince dragged this so that the light beam struck onto it, 
then noticed a darker area upon the floor, about the size of the pedestal 
base, which seemed likely to be its accustomed spot. He moved the 
pedestal over it and fancied the humming noise increased.

The light beam now shone all the way back towards the door where they 
entered. He ran back to see. In this corner stood another mirror 
pedestal, and again there was a dark spot on the floor where it seemed 
most obviously to go. As he dragged the mirror over it, the beam struck 
out once more, and again there was the resonant sound. Yet now there was 
a problem - the beam crossed over itself and then struck a wall, with no 
pedestal to deflect it anywhere!

The Prince examined the spot where the light struck the wall. It showed 
every sign of crumbling. A few blows of his sword and he was through. 
Here now was another pedestal, and another dark spot on the floor where 
it seemed to belong. As he heaved the pedestal over it, the light shone 
directly onto the symbol Farah had noticed mounted on the side of the 
central plinth. As the beam of light struck it, the symbol lit up with a 
golden glow.

The Princess cried out from her balcony, "You did it!"

From the top of the plinth a column ground out and extended upwards. An 
iris focused in the domed roof and a thin beam of light struck down, 
its purpose as yet unknown. This action had an unexpected benefit, for 
now in the raising of the pillar from the plinth could be seen a way of 
jumping up to the higher ledges. The Prince wasted no time in climbing 
up on the plinth again, and this time he was able to climb on the taller 
pillar, and from there leap over to the arch. A quick balanced walk and 
he could leap to a platform directly over the locked gate.

From here he ran to one side and found a small platform on top of a 
pillar, with a ledge leading from it, at the end of which he leapt back 
and off two flag poles, easily flipping off them to land on a balcony 
lined with books on shelves.

Farah called across. "There's something odd about this bookcase."

She jumped upwards to a hanging lever, and the odd bookcase slid open, 
revealing a symbol set into the wall.

"Look!" she exclaimed. "It's the same symbol that was on the
pillar."

"Stay there!" he told her. "I'll come to you."

But how? The Prince looked around his balcony. Here was another mirror 
pedestal, this with a handle. He turned it hopefully.

"It's no use moving the mirror," insisted the Princess, "there's no 
light beam."

The Prince seemed irritated. "I can see that."

He moved it back. It was no use climbing the ladders either; he had no 
time to read any of the books. On the pillar at the middle of the balcony 
was a wall switch. He activated it, and a bookcase slid out into the 
room. This was much too tall to reach onto, even from the ladder beside 
it. As he examined the possibilities, the bookcase slid back in. 
Evidently on a timer. The only chance was to use the protruding pillar 
alongside it as a chimney to jump up to the top. Had he seen that in one 
of the Visions? Sometimes they were unclear.

He activated the switch again, then tried to keep a clear head to run up 
the pillar and start his rebound jumps, back and forth against the 
extended bookcase to the top. He gathered himself there, knowing he had 
just seconds in this elevated position before the bookcase would retract, 
sending him plunging back down. He quickly spotted another flat pillar 
top further along, and ran as fast as he could along the wall towards it. 
Even as he heard the bookcase slide back behind him, he managed to grab 
onto the pillar and pull himself on top.

Now he saw a ladder hanging from a small platform above. They never made 
these ladders long enough. He ran out along the wall once again and leapt 
out towards the ladder and clung on. Moving himself around so that he 
could climb up, the Prince heard a familiar but unwelcome slow, regular, 
snapping sound. Sure enough, as he climbed up, there was a pair of 
rasping metallic blades waiting to greet him 
on the platform.

The scissor blades were just out of his way as he bent to collect a 
Sand Cloud in the corner of this platform, and they did not prevent him 
running up the wall there, off which he sprang back to grab a beam up 
above. He balanced along this and even as a section crumbled away, leapt 
over to another. He and Farah were not alone in the Hall it seemed, for 
now a fluttering horde of bats attacked. A few patient slashes did the 
trick once more, and he dropped down to another wooden platform.

From this new platform he looked across two pairs of scything saw blades 
to a third platform, where stood what seemed to be a glowing lamp. He 
timed his run past the blades to inspect it. The object showed similarity 
with the mirror pedestals but he was unable to move it. His best guess 
was that it was a lens of some kind. About to return, he noticed that the 
far wall appeared to be crumbling. A moment's work brought its familiar, 
though mysterious reward. By now he did not question the process, but was 
grateful for the restorative power it gave him.

Back on the middle platform, the Prince balance walked out on a masonry 
beam. Though it collapsed across the middle he was able to jump to 
reach the central platform. Here was another rotating pedestal. A light 
beam entered from the centre of a dome high above, straight down to the 
pedestal, where it deflected uselessly against a wall.

"Where is that glow coming from?" he wondered.

More importantly, where could it be directed? Looking carefully around 
the room, the Prince spotted what appeared to be a mirror pedestal in 
one corner. Guessing that this should play some part in the purpose of 
this beam's power, he rotated the pedestal so that the light beam shone 
to that side. Now to work his way over there.

Another narrow masonry beam led out from the side of the central 
platform. As he edged along it, one branch crumbled to the floor. 
Careful! He turned onto the remaining branch and from there jumped over 
to the safety of a recessed platform. Above his head was a set of wall 
bars. He jumped and grabbed the lower one and easily rebounded off the 
wall to catch the one above, from where he swung to a higher beam. As he 
slapped against it, one end broke off, crumbling and falling to the floor 
of the Hall, now very far below.

With care, the Prince balanced out to the end of that beam and jumped 
forward to another. Again, part of it crumbled at the impact of the jump, 
but the rest stayed firm. As he slid along it towards the safety of a 
platform, the bats returned, thirsty as ever! He slashed as best he 
could, and as before, when their number was sufficiently reduced they 
retired to lick their wounds. The Prince dropped down to a wooden 
platform.

Here were two more pedestals, already approximately in position. He 
adjusted the first to catch the beam of light.

"Listen to this," came Farah's voice. "'Of what use is reason against 
the power of love? Love is life; so if you want to live, die in love. 
Die in love if you want to stay alive.'"

"What's that supposed to mean?" he said mockingly.

"I thought you'd like it," she snapped back.

"If you want to be useful," he replied, "try finding a book that'll 
tell us how to get out of here."

"This isn't that kind of game."

"Game?" he thought to himself. "She thinks this is a game..."

He moved the second pedestal to its mark on the floor and once again 
adjusted slightly to direct the beam of light.

"Try to hit the symbol on the wall!" Farah explained.

"What do you think I'm trying to do?" he returned. Women!

He hit the right spot and looked across the room, where the light was 
being angled downwards through the lens he had examined. Directly 
underneath was the revolving pedestal he had tried earlier, now with the 
necessary beam of light, ready to be directed to the symbol on the 
opposite wall. The Prince eagerly ran out along the wall to drop and 
traverse some ledges, finally dropping down beside the mirror. He turned 
the pedestal to shine the beam of light on the symbol where Farah waited. 
At this, stone platforms slid out from the wall between them.

"Stay there!" he repeated. "I'll come to you."

He hopped over the balcony rail and jumped backwards to the first 
platform, then on to the second and across to the last.

"Be careful!" Farah called.

He joined her on the balcony.

"Now what?" she asked.

What indeed. There was nothing to do that she couldn't already have done 
on that balcony - except that he heard the faint ringing that signified 
the close presence of a Sand Cloud. He hopped down off the far side of 
the balcony to retrieve it.

"There was one more symbol, do you remember?" Farah suggested. "It was 
in the main Hall."

That was right, behind the closed gate. But how to open it? Looking 
around, the Prince spotted a rope suspended from the ceiling. He leapt 
back to the last platform to jump out and grab it. 

"Fine, take all the time you need," said Farah pointedly. "I'll read a 
book."

Building momentum, he leapt for another rope hanging alongside. From 
this, another leap flung him against some crumbling ledges on the far 
wall. Losing no time, but showing probably unjustified faith in the 
solidity of the ledges he was now negotiating, the Prince made his way 
around a pillar to where he could jump back and grab a suspended ladder. 
Scaling this, he emerged through a hatch onto a wooden platform, where a 
glance revealed a crumbling wall...

In a small room beyond was another mirror pedestal. Checking outside on 
the platform, the Prince noticed a darker area upon the wooden 
floorboards, identical to the ones he had already found. There was no 
doubt that this pedestal belonged there. He returned inside, and was 
about to drag the mirror out when he noticed another crumbling wall 
beyond it. Sure enough, as he broke this down he uncovered a hanging 
lever. It didn't escape him that there appeared to be yet another 
crumbling wall in this room as well.

The last room contained a lens, which he had already seen was the method 
for redirecting the beam of light downwards. Things were taking shape. He 
operated the hanging lever and was gratified to hear stone ledges rumble 
from the wall just outside. Now he could get across to where the first 
mirror pedestal was and redirect the beam of light. On his way out, he 
hauled the secret mirror pedestal to its proper place.

The stone ledges made a platform he could cross to where the light beam 
struck the first mirror. He needed now to direct it back to the new 
pedestal, and a simple way seemed to be to rearrange the two here that 
had already done their job. He moved the first one out of the way against 
the back wall and dragged the second one to replace it. The humming 
increased as the light struck this mirror and he guided it so that the 
beam just caught the secret one. In this way the light now entered from 
the ceiling, deflected off two mirrors and struck the lens hidden inside. 
This directed the beam of light to the floor below, and the light was 
enough to activate the final symbol.

"You opened the gate!" declared Farah with undoubted respect.

The Prince could hardly contain anticipation as he followed the course 
of the beam through to the final chamber with the illuminated lens. He 
clambered over the ledge here and dropped swiftly down the ledges on 
the outside.

"Be careful!" cried Farah.

Finally he dropped down to the now open chamber. Here the light beam 
shone brilliantly on the last of the three symbols, thereby opening this 
gate. On the back wall under the orange symbol was a pull switch, which 
surely opened the main door from the Hall of Learning. As he approached, 
the Prince claimed from a carved plinth the magnificent sculpted sword 
Farah had spotted. He tested its balance, felt its power, and sheathed it 
in triumph. Quite a sword indeed. With renewed confidence, he activated 
the pull switch.

"Come on!" urged the Princess from the Hall.

As fast as he could, the Prince made for the main door. A familiar and 
unloved mechanical ticking told him there would be only seconds to 
reach it before it closed, and he dived underneath just in time. The pair 
caught their breath on the other side as the heavy door dropped firmly 
shut behind them.

They ran down steps along a tiled corridor, suspended lamps swaying 
high overhead. At the foot of more steps at the end could be seen a room 
patrolled by Red and Blue Guards. The Prince made his way cautiously 
forward.

From the doorway he caught a glimpse of the room beyond. Strange glowing 
orbs hung 
from the ceiling very high above, where a platform held the key to 
opening a door down near where he stood, on a platform in the middle of 
the room. It seemed a long way up and, should he fall from this platform, 
a very long way down. Closing on him now were the angry Sand Creatures.

Standing aside from the door to leave Farah a clear shot with her Bow, 
the Prince struck out at his nearest attacker. Space on the platform 
was limited, and he realized that a careless leap could too easily send 
him over the edge, so he stayed close to the entrance, knowing that the 
possessed creatures would not leave through it, in order that he might 
have a moment's respite should he need it. 

The Power of Restraint the Dagger gave him proved most useful here, and 
he reserved it for any Blue that he could not vault past when he became 
otherwise cornered. Methodically he dealt with each one and with 
Farah's help managed to prevail.

They headed out onto the platform, and to a walkway leading off it. 
There did not seem to be a fountain or water of any kind, although after 
his exertions against the Guards the Prince felt he could sorely use 
one. He considered the platform they were on.

"There should be a way to make this thing go up," he said to Farah. 
"See if you can find a switch."

"What makes you think--?" she replied indignantly. "Never mind..."

She ran ahead down the other side of the platform. As the Prince made 
his way to the Vision Cloud over there, she slipped through a crack. 
Shortly afterward the Princess called out.

"I found one!" she said. "Shall I pull it?"

"Not yet!" he called back. "Wait till I'm on the platform."


-- 71%  OBSERVATORY  ----------------------------------------------------

The Prince ran up the steps to the top.

"Are you on the platform yet?" Farah enquired.

He hurried up a flight of steps to a flat area on top.

"Now!" he yelled.

With a grinding of stone, the platform began to rise, taking the Prince 
with it. On a level with the upper balcony ledge, it stopped. The Prince 
easily jumped the gap between and was rewarded with a Sand Cloud. Rather 
worryingly, there still did not appear to be any water to drink. He made 
the best of it and headed around to where banners swayed lazily on poles 
protruding from the wall. Above these were lamps, conveniently hung also 
from poles off the wall. He must remember to thank the palace's interior 
decorator.

In no time he had used the poles to swing up and turn onto a raised 
platform. Here was a capstan, on which was a curious globe of bright 
light, glowing a brilliant blue. As he looked out over the room, the 
Prince could see the larger globes suspended from the ceiling, which he'd 
noticed from below. Each also glowed green, amber or blue. The mechanism 
of which they were a part seemed to represent planets or a constellation. 
With the evidence of the Hall of Learning he Sultan showed he was a man 
of culture, and this place was evidently a scientific Observatory.

On a hunch, the Prince turned the capstan behind him. The pair of blue 
globes under the ceiling duly cranked and turned, clanking into a 
changed position in relation to the others. He saw now that the larger of 
the two globes had a metal rod attached, extending a good distance out. 
Looking carefully around the room, the Prince noticed that the four 
sides each appeared to contain a switch or device of some kind, and also 
that there were four pairs of globes suspended from the ceiling before 
him. The elements of an idea began to form.

Turning the capstan so that its handle faced into the room, the Prince 
managed to align the rod on the blue globe towards the centre of the 
constellation arrangement. Between two broken pillars at the edge of his 
platform was a bar from which the Prince swung out into the room, using a 
rod off one of the other globes as an intermediate aid to reach a column 
that extended downwards at the centre of the room. The Prince certainly 
felt as if he were an insignificant presence in the planetary cosmos as 
he looked around at the huge space in the centre of which he now clung. 
At least, he couldn't help contemplating the vast distance to the ground 
below. He trusted his abilities and jumped backwards to the rod he had 
aligned with the blue capstan, and sprang off that to grab another. 
Vaulting down, he landed, with a muffled grunt, on another platform. He 
should learn to roll as he landed.

Here was another capstan, marked by an amber globe this time, and it 
duly rotated the pair of amber globes out over the Observatory. A little 
trial and error showed the Prince that moving the handle to face away 
from the room left its corresponding globes with their rod pointing 
towards the central column. He swung out towards that column again.

Now he was able to use the rod off the amber globe to swing via another 
to grab onto a hanging lever. His weight on this caused activation, and 
the entire constellation began to rotate and align with noisy clanking of 
gears. The whole locked into place, and now the Prince leaped forward to 
the wall, striking as he did a prominent wall switch. Stone platforms 
below rumbled out from the wall, just in time for him to land on. The 
Prince sensed they would shortly retract, and wasted little time using 
them to run and land beside the capstan he had first turned.

The globes were in their proper position now, so he had no need to touch 
the capstan again, but turned once more to the bar to swing out among the 
planets yet again. This time he struck out in a different direction from 
the central column, arriving on the fourth platform via a hanging lever. 
This activated the exit below.

"The gate's open!" called Farah from beside it.

There seemed only one way down for the Prince from here. He looked into 
an opening where thick cables extended. He jumped forward with alacrity 
and slid expertly down.

"Here I come!" he cried in exhilaration. "Hah-ha-aaaah!"

At the bottom was the lever Farah had used to raise the platform, and 
he ran to join her now beside the open gate.

"Come on!" she beckoned.

He went through the doorway.

"Look," she exclaimed, "a crack."

"Wait!" he warned her. "Let's see where this corridor goes..."

At the corner close by, spiky poles and slashing blades hissed into 
action.

"All right," he decided. "You can take the crack."

She slipped through with an airy: "See you soon."

In a moment she appeared on a short bridge over a closed gate at the 
end of the corridor where the Prince now waited, apprehensively pondering 
the array of vicious traps before him.

"I'm up here!" she called.

"Try pulling that lever," he shouted.

Farah jumped up to a hanging lever and the gate just beneath her slid 
open. For the Prince to reach it would be a challenge. He turned first to 
the twin spiky poles behind him and spotted the fountain beyond. Was 
nothing ever simple? He risked a dash across between the spinning blades 
to fortify himself, before returning with renewed energy for the dash 
down the corridor. In one fluid move, he ran forward and rolled under 
slashing blades, again and again and again and again, to pause just short 
of a swinging spiked log. Judging the moment, he ducked underneath as it 
swooped toward him, and dashed and jumped to grab the edge of a wide and 
doubtless deadly spike pit. Just ahead of the spiked beam's return he 
pulled up and ran for the open gate.

Here was another corridor, and more sweeping blades. The Princess 
appeared on a ledge high above.

"Do you think I can jump it?" she asked.

"Go on, try." he urged. "What's the worst that can happen?"

Though he appreciated that she had not his acrobatic ability, the Prince 
couldn't 
help feeling that the Princess had an easier time of things. Even so he 
called out 
encouragement as she landed.

"There you go."

He noted before him a row of spiked tile traps. As he ran over the wall 
above them, their vicious blades sprouted out. Up ahead was a closed 
gate showing a symbol that matched one on the floor just beside him - 
with the added complication that this lay directly in the path of the 
still sweeping blades. Again with expert timing, the Prince ran over the 
floor switch and up the wall at the very moment the blades had swept 
past, jumping back over them as they returned, to dash straight for the 
gate that was now open. It slid shut just behind him.

Yet another ornate corridor, suspended oil lamps slowly swaying, slots 
in the walls where blades would surely be, a closed gate at the far end 
with a corresponding pull switch at this. A tock-tock-tocking was all 
the warning he needed that the switch was on a short timer.

The Princess appeared overhead once again. She hopped over a gap in a 
little bridge.

He called out to her, "I'll meet you on the other side of that gate." 

"Careful!" she cautioned.

"You be careful!" he shot back.

Once more he dived under the blades - tumble, tumble, tumble - keeping 
close to the floor so that the slicing sword blades passed just overhead. 
It meant sticking to the wall on one side to avoid a pile of rubble as he 
went but that hardly hindered him. In moments he rolled gratefully 
through the gate.

Here was a courtyard filled with angry Blue Captains swishing their 
swords and growling aggressively. Overhead flapped large black Sand 
Birds... Out of the frying pan into the fire! Was the Princess safe?

"Here I am!" called Farah nearby, "I can't open the gate."

She would be out of danger there at least. Sword in hand, the Prince 
entered the courtyard arena to do battle. Here was a small stone bridge 
across pools of water. Broken arches and a low wall surrounded it. He 
had barely time to snatch a drink at the pool before the Sand Creatures 
came to investigate.

The Captains, even in their horribly mutated state, were expert 
swordsmen. Something inside him granted that respect. As much as he 
reviled them and was wary of their terrible strength, there was too an 
obligation that for his own sense of worth as a soldier he should fight 
with honor, not simply brute force. As the demons advanced, the Prince 
put up his guard and matched them step for step and blow for blow.

He soon found the weakness in their attack. While he could parry 
individual blows with his sword indefinitely, the Captains needed power 
for their sweeping attacks. As each paused to wind up their blade, the 
Prince dashed forward and slashed as they left themselves open. Though he 
may catch the occasional blow, should he keep up the pressure they would 
fall back and fold. It seemed to work best if he turned suddenly to face 
in and catch them unawares, since despite their size they were remarkably 
quick to block.

As much he showed patience, they seemed in haste and began to impede 
each other in the blind rage to destroy him. Ground strokes could knock 
him temporarily off his feet, but also on occasion each other, and as 
each fell to the ground he leapt in to snatch away their Sand. These 
would not materialize again.

In the manner of a samurai the Prince stalked each target bravely, 
matching them on each strike and taking advantage of his athleticism to 
evade the swinging attacks. If he kept his guard as they moved to strike, 
then made his own stoke, the result was a mighty clang of steel as he 
blocked and unleashed his counter-strike. By these methods, one by one 
this group of Sand Creatures was vanquished. He couldn't help thinking 
that it might have been simpler to run past the lot of them, climb up 
the ladder in the corner and just leave them to it.


-- 75%  HALL OF LEARNING COURTYARDS  ------------------------------------

The courtyard contained three gates; that which he had entered, one 
through which he expected to leave, and another behind which Farah waited 
patiently. He could appreciate now in a moment of calm how tranquil this 
place must once have been. He noticed statues of water maidens pouring 
their life-giving fluid from vases into the pool. Perhaps symbolically, 
one had been shattered by the violence so recently visited on this place.

Collecting his thoughts he climbed the ladder in the corner. From the 
top he could jump back to a fragment of archway and balance on top.

"Be careful," urged the Princess.

An apt moment to warn him, for here were the Sand Birds he had quite 
forgot, now preparing their attack. He jumped to a wider section of arch 
and drew his sword. His earlier experience with the Sand Birds allowed 
him to judge the moment to strike as just after hearing their squawk of 
attack. They swooped in only to meet the length of his sword, and each 
collapsed in a shrieking ball of feathers and flame.

With peace to move onward, he jumped to grab a rope, suspended from a 
thick wooden beam uncomfortably like a gibbet.

"What are you doing?" called the Princess irritably. He seemed to be 
wasting time.

"I don't know," he replied, "I'm working it out as I go."

Using the rope to swing up, the Prince managed to haul on top of another 
sturdy wooden beam. Between these on the wall was the proud symbol of the 
Palace of Azad. From the wooden beam the Prince swung across a pole to 
land on a covered bridge nearby. Two Sand Birds flapped and waited above.

Here was a barred gate showing a yellow symbol, and a corridor beyond, 
but no sign of a switch anywhere near. He could see a flag pole sticking 
out from the wall on the other side of the bridge, and judged that he 
could swing up to it if he ran out to a further wooden beam and turned to 
face it from there. In one fluid movement, the Prince duly swung to the 
upper part of the bridge and immediately drew his sword to attack the 
Sand Birds perched on top. Caught unawares, it took just a stroke of his 
blade to send the creatures, like the others before, collapsing in 
flames.

Looking ahead, the Prince saw yet another wooden beam jutting from the 
wall over the courtyard. He was quite high above the ground now, and 
chose not to look down as he ran to it before leaping out to another 
hanging rope. Aligning himself carefully, he swung to another rope and 
thence to a flat stone roof on a projecting section of the palace. From 
here it was a simple matter to run along the wall and drop down to a 
platform, then drop again to a rampart. Before him in an otherwise empty 
turret room was a capstan. This took but a moment to rotate, whereon he 
heard a familiar cry.

"I'm out!" as Farah emerged from the opened gateway and skipped across 
the courtyard.

The capstan opened every door marked with a yellow symbol in the area. 
It seemed also to have activated traps nearby, as rotating blades began 
to swish viciously. The Prince could see one open door ahead along the 
ramparts, yet between them was a nasty looking pit of spikes. A little 
too wide to jump with comfort, he judged. Instead he hopped over the 
low retaining wall and shimmied past the pit on the other side, musing as 
he went.

"I could marry her!" he reasoned. "After all, she is a Maharajah's 
daughter - a conquered one, but still, her blood is royal. Besides, what 
better way to tame her insolence? It's not so bad for a woman to have a 
little spirit. It's a challenge!"

He hopped back over and entered the doorway. This was the corridor he'd 
noticed shortly before, and that other gate had opened along with this. 
There was nothing out there, of course, so he turned the other way and 
observed there the swishing blades he'd activated with the capstan. No 
doubt he would have to jump across to where they guarded the only steps 
down. Somewhere below he heard the scuttling of scarabs. With a jump 
and grab, the Prince hung off that part of the staircase just out of the 
topmost blade's reach. From here it was a simple matter to drop to the 
stone floor and set about the demonic winged beetles. From a darkened 
corner he gratefully scooped up a Sand Cloud.

Just outside the room the Princess joined him with a relieved cry. 
"There you are!"

"Come on," he replied. "It can't be much further."

He ran ahead up stone steps, to be greeted by yet more Scarabs. The 
Prince drew his sword wearily. "Not again!"

He whirled through the possessed insects, cracking their shells with 
one blow from his sword then consigning them to dust with another. He 
soon cleared the corridor. Thin light glowed through loopholes in the 
walls.

"Watch out for spikes!" he called over his shoulder as he ran above a 
treacherous pit to clear more scarabs.

He waited as Farah hopped gracefully across another spike pit to join 
him and together they went up more steps until they were outside once 
more. Here were ramparts partly wrecked by the dark forces unleashed on 
the Palace of Azad. A walkway below contained a terrace garden. This 
part of the palace featured many domes and minarets. The highest of these 
seemed to reach to the clouds.

"Look," said Farah. "That's the bridge to the Tower of Dawn."

She seemed to know a lot about the place. The Prince ran to descend the 
broken rampart to the gardens below, leaving Farah by the gate.

"Wait for me," she called, but he thought he'd better scout ahead. 
Everything seemed too quiet.

Sure enough, as he ran on to a small pond, Sand Creatures suddenly 
appeared.

These were quite easily dealt with, being armed only with short chopping 
blades, but he had to move quickly between them to be sure he did not 
become subject to assault from behind while his attention was elsewhere. 
Their commander, a Blue Captain, appeared presently, joined shortly by 
others, but by now the Prince was well experienced and able to block 
their lunging blows. Indeed, each Captain appeared content to leave the 
attack to the dim-witted minions with their slow chopping blades, and 
seemed only to cause trouble for each other as they swung their swords 
wildly. Even two were easy to defend against, and if he only kept himself 
beside a tree they could not even knock him off his feet, being as liable 
to send each other to the ground should they try. He always had the 
Dagger to freeze any particularly troublesome foe.

By these means in no time it was over, and he used the waters of the 
pool to refresh himself. At either end of the terrace garden were Sand 
Clouds to retrieve, then the Prince made his way back up to Farah, still 
safely out of harm's way on the rampart above. Here he received his 
next disturbing Vision, of a place of terror, of cages and bars, of 
himself at the mercy of inhuman hands.


-- 75%  ON THE RAMPARTS  ------------------------------------------------

The Prince and Princess made their way over the shattered ramparts. A 
heavy gate barred their way. Farah crawled beneath. "I'll see if I can 
find a way down."

The Prince heard her call from somewhere inside.

"I can't open the gate," she said, "but there's another one on the 
other side."

"Stay there," he replied. "I'll climb around."

To one side of the gate was a metal pole and a jetty beyond. He swung 
out and pulled up onto it. He used a ledge to move carefully around the 
corner, trying not to look at the drop below, and sprang off another 
jetty to land beside the gate on the other side. Farah looked out, unable 
to open this one either. Who designed this palace?

"There's a staircase," she shouted as she ran off inside. "I'll meet 
you in the courtyard down below."

"Be careful on the stairs," he warned.

Advice he could heed. On the ramparts before him was another Sand 
Cloud. As he made his way gladly toward it, the ramparts began to crumble 
under his feet! He desperately tried to turn back and grab for safety, 
but it was too late. The stone ran away like sand through the fingers, 
and he plunged into the depths below, masonry cracking and tumbling all 
around.

He fell heavily, and lay prone, battered by falling rubble. As he 
recovered, he looked around and beheld a ghastly place of terror: bars, 
spikes, stone walls and iron cages, bloodstains and flaming brands; and 
low animal noises from the Sand Creatures pacing far below.

"A prison! In my father's palace was a prison much like this," he 
thought ruefully. "I had never set foot inside. Now, here I was, myself a 
prisoner seeking an escape."

He tore the last ragged remnants of his tunic from his scratched and 
bloody chest, a strip binding one wounded arm.

He was on a stone walkway high above the prison floor. A ladder behind 
him led down to a metal platform. Prominent on the wall was a switch - a 
sheer drop beneath! Taking up his courage, the Prince ran out and 
activated it, to his relief finding at once that it triggered a grill 
sliding from beneath one of the prison cages to land on. This he used as 
a platform to run to the switch on the wall beyond, and onto another 
beyond that, working his way swiftly around the room in this manner. He 
heard each grill retract barely as he passed, so without pause he 
continued over each switch, until another metal platform appeared from 
below, clanking up to meet him just as he ran down off the last one.

This platform cranked down a flight. Another wall switch, more cages. The 
Prince had an easy rhythm now, and made his way back around the room to 
another clanking platform, this dropping him down one more flight. The 
room at this level was wider, and the angle necessitated that as he ran 
over each wall switch, the Prince had to leap out to run across each 
metal grill now revealed. Once more without pause - and with this little 
extra effort - the Prince made his way all around the room to leap, then 
swing off an alarming caged device (which broke away from the wall even 
as he leapt off it) to a ladder on the wall.

Descending this, the Prince made his way back around the room, now 
making use of each hanging pole to swing to the grills as they appeared. 
Finally he landed on another ladder, to slide gratefully to the dungeon 
floor.

At once Sand Creatures, sharp hooks in hand, menaced him - ready to treat 
this unwise intruder as they had no doubt treated many poor souls in this 
place in life. He felt no remorse as he set about each one, consigning 
them to their own eternal damnation. Among these were giant brutes, 
swinging heavy hammers like grotesque circus strongmen. They were as easy 
to despatch using vaulted attacks as the rest.


-- 79%  A PRISONER SEEKING ESCAPE  --------------------------------------

Now that the dungeon had been cleared of demons, the Prince searched 
about. His thoughts were still on the Princess.

"All right, I've decided - I will marry her. I'll tell her the first 
chance I get," he mused. "It's time to put an end to all this fencing 
about and not saying what one really means. We've made it this far; it's 
foolish to deny what we both feel!"

The walls of the room were lined with prison cells, bars blasted away. 
On the wall of one empty cell the Prince found a graffito of a hanged 
man, together with days marked off, precursor perhaps to the miserable 
fate of the wretch who had once occupied it. A deep pit was open at the 
centre of the room. He could not see the bottom; last resting place 
perhaps for some who had passed through here. Bones and ghastly blood 
stains were evident around sluices on the cold stone floor. He noted a 
prominent yellow symbol on a large door, which he could only hope, would 
lead him from this dreadful place. In the guard's alcove beyond the very 
last cell he was relieved to find the corresponding floor switch.

Clearing the surrounding impediments with his sword, the Prince stepped 
onto the switch. Indeed the door slid open, but as he ran to make his 
exit, it slid as firmly shut. He needed a weighted object to hold down 
the switch.

Against one wall was a metal cage containing the last remains of 
another forgotten soul. This man could be of use in death as he may never 
have been in life. The Prince dragged the cage all the way over to the 
switch. At last the way was clear.

Beyond the door a brick-lined corridor, and the Prince noticed one wall 
appeared ready to collapse... Disturbingly, he observed that beneath the 
grill under his feet was a river of blood. On rounding the corner he 
wondered if his own would not soon mingle with it - slicing with deadly, 
metronomic precision, a pair of sword blades cycled from the wall, 
preventing access to the barred gate beyond.

Opposite these remorseless blades was a wall switch with a symbol 
matching the one on the gate. He knew what he must do. Timing his moment 
exactly, the Prince waited for the blades to nearly touch him as they 
swept forward, and in the split second they retracted to start their 
cycle again, he ran forward and up the wall to activate the switch. Even 
as he did this, the blades scythed beneath him, but he was able to jump 
back off the switch and run for the open door just a fraction before they 
returned.

Now he found himself in a place even more horrific than the last.

"A torture chamber. It was the first time I had seen such devices at 
close range. Close enough to touch. Where were the men whose trade it had 
been to apply the question; to extract the answer their king sought - 
if indeed there was one. In the end they had met the same fate as their 
victims. Guards and prisoners made equal by the Sands of Time."

Scattered about the room were the instruments of torture: iron maidens - 
mercifully unoccupied - racks, chains, and a brazier of fiery coals. Here 
too was a pair of pull switches. As he tried these, the Prince found each 
activated a sliding section to the wall, which too swiftly moved back as 
the seconds ticked away. It seemed to the Prince that he could operate 
these switches one after the other to bring the corresponding section of 
wall towards the other at the same time. Perhaps if he were then swift 
enough he could ascend the gap as a chimney before they moved back into 
place and left him plunging to his death. Perhaps.

With as much concentration as he could gather, the Prince activated the 
first pull switch and then ran to the other, allowing himself no margin 
of error in alignment as each precious second ticked by. He sprinted to 
the gap he'd created and ran upwards, hopping back and forth to reach 
the top, whereon he pulled up and ran upwards once more, and back off 
the wall to grab safely on a wooden beam. Pulling up on this, he found 
that he had somehow released bats from the depths below, and readied 
himself with his sword. He had fought hard to get to this point, and was 
ill-inclined to cede it to flying rats!

Having scattered the persistent pests, the Prince edged forward along 
the beam. He could see no alternative to a heart-stopping leap across to 
another beam, a little further down in front of him. He made it - just 
- and looked about. Ahead two wall sections formed a wide chimney. It 
was clearly too wide for him to ascend. Either side of the beam were 
prominent wall switches. In the expectation that one was as good as the 
other, the Prince leapt sideways and triggered one switch, leaping at 
once to land back on the beam.

One section of wall ahead had slid forward, and as with the switches on 
the floor below, the Prince knew that the other would most likely slide 
to meet it once activated by the switch on the corresponding side. He 
leapt quickly to this, then sprang back to grab and pull onto the beam 
once again. Now the gap in front was sufficiently narrow for him to dash 
forward and ascend between the sections, certain as he did so that time 
would be short before they slid back.

With effort, he hauled himself on top of one section, then ran up the 
wall there and jumped back to find himself, as so often before, swinging 
from a pole. It was a matter of routine to swing up to the next and 
finally to a broad wooden beam, where he hauled up. Perhaps it was not so 
very broad. He edged out once more. He could barely see the torture 
chamber floor far below. Up here also were rows of torture devices lining 
the walls either side. Slung across the centre of the room was a metal 
bar, from which dangled chains and iron cages. Using this pole, the 
Prince swung out and across to the other side, where he landed beside a 
Sand Cloud.

He was in an alcove, light streaming through barred windows in tiers 
above, precious little of it reaching to that desperate place below. A 
curious row of spikes was aligned on the wall above his head, and others 
at intervals up the wall either side. Opposite each was a wall switch, 
all but the lowest out of reach. The Prince ran up to activate this first 
switch, and the row of spikes proved to be the leading edge of a metal 
grill, which slid from the wall then all too swiftly returned. He ran up 
over the switch again, then as the grill slid forward, jumped back, using 
the grill to run up over the next highest switch. This activated a grill 
in the opposite wall, and he could thus leap back onto that to run up 
over the switch above that section, even as the one beneath shot back 
into place. In this manner, the Prince negotiated each section of metal 
grill and each switch until he landed, a half-dozen later, on a wooden 
beam. Thankfully, bats did not assail him up here.

Working his way slowly to the end, he leapt now to a ladder, suspended 
from a domed section very high in the ceiling of the chamber. He climbed 
swiftly to the top, cobwebs billowed slowly in the moaning wind from the 
opening above. The ladder reached only halfway to the top, and as the 
Prince jumped backwards from it to grab a metal pole, the ladder broke 
away and crashed to the depths below. He swung from the pole to another 
section of ladder, and was similarly able to use this to ascend further 
to a second pole. As before, the ladder broke away the moment he leapt 
from it. He swung to grab a third section, thankfully more secure, and 
clambered up. He emerged into daylight he thought he might never see 
again.

"Over here!" A familiar voice beckoned.

The opening from which he had emerged was at the centre of a large 
courtyard, like the rest of the Palace of Azad, now somewhat ruined. 
Farah was under imminent attack by a hammer-wielding Sand Creature, and 
as the Prince ran to help, others materialized.

He set about them in the same old style, and soon came under attack 
from Blue Captains as well. Whilst Farah tried her best to stun them with 
arrows, the Prince soon found that his presence close by was liable to 
put her at too much risk of collateral damage. While he was able to 
withstand the occasional misdirected arrow from her ("Sorry!") he knew 
that she was not up to a sustained attack by one or more of the Sand 
Creatures. He moved the fight away from the lower level and ascended the 
stone staircase behind them.

Here, to his relief, was a basin of water, and he snatched a drink when 
he could. As the battle raged back and forth across this area, the 
Prince accidentally triggered a floor switch set into decorative tiles 
there. He had no time to investigate its effect but marked the spot for 
later. Drawing the last of the Sand Creatures even further up another 
flight of steps, the Prince discovered a Sand Cloud. With the Dagger of 
Time full of Sand he did not hold back on its power.

He listened for any plea for assistance from Farah, but felt happier 
that he was bearing the brunt of the attack. In this struggle there was 
no time for the subtlety he had displayed against the Blue Captains in 
the Hall of Learning courtyard; he hacked them down as they came. Soon 
enough he was able to sheath his sword and head to the Vision Cloud.


-- 81%  AT LAST WE'RE HERE  ---------------------------------------------

The Vision was troubling. He had become grateful for the manner they 
unerringly revealed to him the way ahead, and in this one came a hint 
that he might soon call on the Power of Haste. Yet here too, 
unmistakably: Farah stealing from him the Dagger of Time!

The Prince came awake with a start. He lay on a stone bench, Farah 
cradling his head. He seemed not to know where he was, and jumped up and 
reached instinctively for the Dagger. Finding it safe, he held it close 
behind him as Farah spoke.

"It's all right, it's me," she assured him as she caressed his face. 
"It's me."

Her words seemed to settle him but still he held the Dagger away. Farah 
turned and pointed.

"Look," she said. "At last we're here: The Tower of Dawn."

A large gate bearing an orange symbol barred the way to it. Putting his 
troubled thoughts aside, the Prince noted the corresponding switch high 
on the wall between the steps, clearly out of reach. He would need 
something to climb up on, although the courtyard seemed completely bare. 
He thought he could see a crate on one of two high platforms at opposite 
corners, but it was impossible to reach either.

The Prince headed back up to the raised level with the water basin. He 
ran on to the floor switch and heard a rumble down in the courtyard. A 
stone block had raised up, and the Prince lost no time getting on top. 
He could see one wooden platform just ahead, and ran quickly along the 
wall to grab onto it. The block rumbled back into the ground behind 
him.

Above this wooden platform was a wall switch. Running up over this 
activated another stone block on the opposite side of the courtyard. The 
Prince dropped down and quickly ran over. From the top of that block he 
made it across to the second wooden platform, where he could now bundle 
the wooden crate to the ground. He hauled it across the courtyard and 
pushed it under the orange switch. It proved just the right height to 
allow him to reach it.

"The Tower of Dawn!" said Farah as she ran ahead through the newly 
raised gate. The Prince jumped down to join her.

They were on a wide stone bridge leading to the invitingly open door of 
the tower. As they approached, Sand Birds took languid flight then 
circled dangerously near. Although he knew Farah was useful against them 
with her Bow, and he himself well able to block their swooping attacks, 
the Prince saw no advantage to fighting the Sand Birds again, and simply 
ran hard for the open door. Farah came close behind.

Here was another Sand Cloud to be retrieved; the Dagger of Time was now 
fully charged. The Prince led the way into the tower. They twisted 
along a corridor, ornately decorated though in need of repair. He noticed 
one section of wall that seemed already patched. It looked about the 
right size to conceal a doorway, so he struck it a mighty blow with his 
sword. He broke through with ease.

"I love it when you do that," said Farah softly.

"Come with me," he urged. "Please."

"No," she replied gently. "You go."

As before, the effect of the restorative left him drained and 
temporarily disorientated.

"Farah," he asked, as if surprised at his return to her side. "How long 
have I been gone?"

"Gone?" She was puzzled. "What are you talking about?"

"Never mind."

The wall behind him appeared unbroken. Were the trips to the Magic 
Fountain merely an hallucination? Yet he certainly felt their benefit. 
With renewed energy he pressed on. Farah raced past him into the room at 
the end of the corridor.

"Be careful!" The Prince cautioned.

"Of what?" her voice echoed. "Not everything is a trap, you know."

The room was a tall cylinder of pillars and arches. The Princess ran 
eagerly forward to a lighted platform, spread with exquisite rugs and 
exotic furnishings, fine trellis-work all around. On either side were 
basins of water, and the Prince noticed a wall switch close behind where 
Farah stood. There didn't appear to be a corresponding door. He ran 
forward to join Farah on the platform.

At this, a lever clunked somewhere close by and machinery ground into 
life. The platform was part of a gigantic elevator, which now began to 
rise smoothly.

"That was easy!" commented the Princess.

"Too easy," he grimly replied.

Something was wrong, he could sense it. He drew his sword and ran 
forward to check the area below, expressing doubt in her assurance, "You 
know, not everything is a trap."

The irony was apparent as at that moment a Sand Creature appeared with 
them on the platform - and another, and another! All 'Strongmen' and as 
at least as easily countered as before. Less so the Blue Captain who 
appeared soon after, with Blue Guards as reinforcements.

On the enclosed space of the elevator, the Prince made use of his Rebound 
Attack to free up some room. He had to keep one eye on Farah, valiantly 
firing arrows as best she could from her position on the platform, as 
well as trying to keep up his guard and avoid the sweeping attacks of the 
Captains, and the vicious hooked strokes of Blue Guards. Should one or 
other seem determined to force their attentions on the Princess, he moved 
up to lure the attacker away, or broke off temporarily to turn that one 
to stone to give Farah a moment's respite.

"Where are they coming from?" she cried desperately.

They seemed inexhaustible. It was as much as the Prince could do simply 
to fend each group off between snatches of water from either fountain 
when he could.

"Behind you!" she warned as another monster loomed.

As fast as he knocked one down and drew its Sand, another appeared. This 
battle was proving hard for them both. When he had fully gathered the 
capacity of the Dagger, and at a moment when it seemed the creatures had 
the Princess at their mercy and he engaged too heavily, the Prince drew 
on the Power of Haste once more. With time frozen, he whirled among the 
Sand Creatures, clearing every one at a stroke. For the short time the 
effect lasted he was invincible, and when it wore off theattackers had 
been all but annihilated. At last he retrieved Sand from the final demon 
and all was calm again.

He ran to Farah, mercifully unscathed on the platform. He looked upward, 
and 
observed the curious effect of the architecture as the platform rose. It 
seemed that every time the elevator approached the top tier, another 
level appeared, and another, and another, seemingly never-ending. It was 
impossible to say how far they had risen. Eventually the elevator ground 
to a halt.

"It's stopped," Farah observed.

They had reached the upper limit of the room. Light shone through leaded 
arched windows. Suspended from the domed ceiling under which they now 
rested was a hanging lever, most likely reached from the wall switch he 
had noted earlier.

"Try that lever," urged Farah. Her voice echoed under the dome.

As he swung from the lever a section of wall revealed a small alcove. 
The Princess ran over to investigate.

"Come on," she called. "Hurry!"

The Prince dropped down from the lever and ran to join her in the alcove. 
This soon proved to be a miniature elevator, enough for the two of them. 
They ascended rapidly amid the grinding of stone machinery.

"The Hourglass is nearby," said the Prince. "I can feel it."

"Feel it?" Farah wondered. "How?"

He was unsure himself. "I can't explain it."

Yet it proved to be true as they arrived at their destination. They 
were atop the Tower of Dawn, which held the fabulous wealth of the Sultan 
of Azad. Richly decorated, and now partly ruined, the circular room was 
littered with piles of coins and trinkets, treasure chests, precious 
objects of tableware and ornament, all of shining gold.

Yet the Prince found himself staring at something more precious than 
these.

"Your eyes," Farah murmured, "they're green."

"Are they?" That she should notice! He felt... "I'm sorry, was I 
staring?"

This time she spoke gently.

"It's all right."

At the centre of the tower stood an octagonal platform, a pillar at 
each point. The Hourglass had been set on top in between, a brilliant 
golden glow emanating from within.

The Prince entered the nearby Vision Cloud. The vortex drew him upwards. 
The hallucinatory vision told how he could climb on to the Hourglass; and 
it showed that same troubling image of Farah laying claim to his Dagger!


-- 83%  THE HOURGLASS  --------------------------------------------------

Putting such thoughts from his mind, the Prince ran up to the top of 
the tower, the way lined in scattered piles of gold coins flowing from 
open chests. Faint swirls of Sand blew about his feet in sudden gusts.

"There's no-one here," he said quietly.

He reached the platform and inspected the strange troublesome object at 
its centre. The light within was intense, and it had about it a low, 
threatening resonance.

"Now get on top of the Hourglass," said Farah.

He could not climb directly up. There was a ledge running around the 
top of the room that according to the Vision might serve as a 
springboard.

"Hurry!" urged the Princess.

The ledge ran only part of the way around the room. It would have been 
impossible for any man not so agile as the Prince but he found it little 
effort to run out along the walls to a series of pillar tops, where at 
the last he ran across an arched window and jumped out towards the 
Hourglass. Silhouetted against shafts of light through the stained glass 
behind him, the Prince seemed to hang in the air for an eternity, though 
it was but a moment until he reached his goal.

The Prince climbed onto the wide flat top of the Hourglass, his face 
lit by its golden glow.

"You did it!" said Farah. "Take the Dagger - strike it into the centre 
of the dome!

A small glass dome covered the top of the Hourglass. The Prince ran the 
Dagger against it, was about to plunge it in... Then narrowed his eyes 
and snatched it back.

"My father's army sacked your palace; captured you as a slave!"

"What?"

"You have every reason to hate me," he announced.

"What are you talking about?"

"Now you want me to trust you?" Doubt showed in his eyes.

"Go on!" Farah insisted, hands wide. "There's no time!"

She gave a start as the dark figure of the Vizier appeared behind her.

He recited a sinister incantation, and with a wave of his hand the head 
of his Staff glowed. The Vizier directed it towards the Hourglass.

"Farhee," he roared:"FAAAA-HEE!"

A mighty wind rose in an instant and blew the Prince from the top of 
the Hourglass, flinging him hard against a pillar, where he struggled to 
hold on. Farah wailed as she was blown off her feet, and clung 
desperately to a column as the wind raged against her.

The Vizier approached undisturbed by the maelstrom. His tone was low and 
menacing.

"Give-me-the-Dagger!"

Farah held on by her fingertips, clutching a crack in a fluted column. 
As the wind tore her free she was blown past the Prince, who gave up 
his hold on the Dagger to grab her hand. The Dagger lodged in stone. The 
Vizier grinned evilly as he reached for it

"The Dagger!" cried Farah. "He must not get the Dagger!"

The Prince released his grasp on the pillar, and was immediately blown 
away by the wind. He snatched the Dagger as he flew past, a moment 
before the Vizier got a hand to it. Still struggling to keep hold of each 
other, the pair were whirled into darkness.

"I had faced my enemy," the Prince said grimly. "I had looked into his 
eyes and I had lost...everything."

The two plunged through a hole rent in the floor of the Sultan's treasure 
vault. 
The Prince landed hard, yet rose to catch the falling Princess in his 
arms. She 
jumped off, annoyed.

"A tomb," said the Prince solemnly, looking around.

He jumped down from the stone sarcophagus on which he stood to join 
Farah, her arms folded in displeasure.

"You were there! The Dagger was in your hand," she scolded. "Why did 
you hesitate?

The Prince could give no answer. He absently dusted his trousers. Farah 
turned away, arms folded once more. 

"You think you're cleverer than everybody but you're just like the rest 
of them," she said in disgust. "Those soldiers! All they can do is 
fight, destroy."

She unfolded her arms again and went to him. Aware of the cost of his 
doubt, he sat with head in hands.

"Why did I trust you?" she wondered, then spoke quietly as she lifted 
his chin to look into his eyes. "Why didn't you trust me?"

There was sudden darkness. They moved in alarm.

"Ow!" said the Princess.

"Sorry," the quick reply.

Farah spoke with sudden fear, "Where are you?"

"I'm right here," he reassured her.

"Hold my hand," she begged. "Don't let go."

There was a long silence but for their breathing.

"I didn't mean what I said," Farah offered.

"No," the Prince replied, "you're right. All that's happened is my 
doing. I wanted honor and glory... I brought this on us."

Dust swirled in the faint traces of light. Farah spoke quietly.

"You are brave and good. If this tomb is to be ours, at least the 
Dagger will be buried with us. And..." she wanted to say it, "we are 
together."

The Prince breathed heavily.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Nothing."

"You're trembling."

"I just don't like closed spaces." He changed the subject, "There must 
be some way out of here."

In the darkness he continued looking.

"When I was small my mother taught me a secret word," said Farah. "She 
said that when I was afraid, all I had to do was speak that word and a 
magic door would open. I've never told that to anybody."

"I can see why. It's the most childish thing I've ever heard of."

Off-handedly he asked, "What was the word?"

"Kakolukia."

He intoned it roundly: "Ka-ko-lu-kia."

There was the clink of stone grinding against stone.

"You did that -- didn't you? ...Farah?"

Sudden light broke the gloom. The Prince looked around. Farah was gone! 
Beside him was a tomb with its stone lid cracked open. Without 
hesitation the Prince hopped over and dropped down.

He was in a rough underground passage of flagstones and wooden rafters 
set in dirt walls. He looked above and saw daylight through the open 
tomb. There was no means to climb back out. He was at the top of a 
passage and there was only one way to go. Down.

As he ran forward, the dirt passage gave way to richly decorated stone 
lit by a trail of golden lamps. Gossamer drapes caressed his face as he 
ran over shallow steps which began to spiral, as if he were descending a 
tower. He ran and ran, down and down, further with each step but no 
deviation in the soon dizzying spiral, round and around with no end in 
sight, the stone steps and the silken drapes and the softly glowing 
lights always the same, repeating over and over, down and around, down 
and around, sending his head into a spin. The passage seemed never 
ending: on and on it went, down, down, a hundred steps, two hundred, he 
ran, and ran, and ran. Even as he thought he had descended to madness, 
the passage straightened at last and the Prince saw faint light through a 
doorway ahead.

"Hello? Farah, hello?"

He emerged into a strange circular room of doorways and arches, arranged 
in two tiers of lavish decoration. Shafts of light streamed down from 
tiny holes in the domed ceiling. Motes drifted, sheer silk drapes caught 
each breath of wind.

"Where are you?" he called.

"Oh, isn't it beautiful?" Farah's voice came dreamlike, yet she was 
nowhere to be seen.

At the middle of the room was a shallow pool, with a statue of a 
delicate dancing maiden on a low plinth at its centre.

"Isn't what beautiful?" asked the Prince. "Where are you?"

He ran all around the gallery of doorways, with nothing to indicate 
which might contain his errant companion. She seemed unconcerned at his 
frantic, fruitless search.

"If only we could stay here..." Then a sharp accusation, "What are you 
doing?"

"I'm looking for you!" he insisted.

Farah called back cryptically, "I'm right here."

The Prince decided to try one of the doorways. In a few short steps, he 
found himself emerging from the very same doorway at which he just 
arrived.

"What the--?" he gasped.

He tried another passage. Once again he emerged straight back on the 
balcony at the door he first entered.

"How in the--?" he exclaimed. What was happening? "Farah, where are 
you? Farah..?"

She seemed unconcerned, murmuring: "If only we could stay here."

He might have to, if he couldn't find a way to leave. She simply must 
be through one of these doors... The Prince tried another and emerged 
back onto the room but this time at least from a door other than where he 
began. Yet still it made no sense.

"OK," he decided, "there must be a reason for this."

"Shall we take a bath?" purred Farah seductively.

"What are you talking about? Where are you?"

After mention of a bath, this time as he passed a door he noticed the 
sound of lightly splashed water. Perhaps she really was taking a bath, 
and perhaps through this very door? It seemed no worse than any of the 
others.

It was no better; she was not there and he had returned yet again to 
the infernal room. Again, through a different door.

"Where are you?" he tried.

The dreamy reply: "Take me in your arms."

Why was she tormenting him? "I don't see you! Where are you?"

"Here I am!"

Yet she was not. The Prince continued around the room, passing door 
after open door until he heard once again the trickle of water. He duly 
entered that doorway.

"Farah, where are you?"

In a few steps he emerged somehow at the level of the balcony above!

"What the--? All right, this is getting ridiculous."

Here was a succession of doorways identical to the ones in the tier 
below. He set off around this balcony too, calling out as he went, 
"Farah?"

"Just take me in your arms..." she sighed.

"Who are you talking to?" he asked, utterly perplexed.

As he passed another doorway the sound of splashed water came again. He 
took the hint and ran in, where just as on the floor below he somehow 
emerged after only a step or two back onto that same balcony. It seemed 
impossible yet here he was. He must simply keep trying doors where he 
heard the dripping of water and hope one or other led from this room and 
not straight back to it.

"I've been waiting so long." Her voice echoed the longing.

"Can you hear me?" he wondered.

"Why do you act so distant?"

She was surely mocking him. Why did SHE act so strange? Was this all a 
dream?

"Farah?" he repeated. "Can you hear me?"

"Don't you want to touch me?" Her words tormented him.

As he entered yet another doorway, even on the sound of water, the 
Prince had almost given up hope. But here at last, he came upon the 
baths.

"Farah?"

It was an underground cavern suffused in a deep pinkish glow. From a 
wide sunken bath, Farah came to the surface, naked and unashamed. 
Lanterns of warm candlelight floated upon the water beside her.

"It's beautiful," her voice echoed softly.

He knelt at the side. "Come on," she beckoned. 

His senses overwhelmed, the Prince removed his weapons and left them to 
one side. She smiled to herself as he slipped in beside her, then brushed 
wet hair seductively from her face, before turning away to swim through 
golden light, which glittered over her naked body. The Prince swam 
eagerly after her as she emerged at one side among soft cushions and 
velvet drapes.

He came to her, murmuring, "Kakolukia..."

Their fingers touched, tentatively at first. The Prince caressed her. 
Their faces close, Farah's dark eyes closed as he leaned to kiss her 
willing lips.

-- 

He was alone. Cold hard stone beneath him. The Prince raised himself 
upright and stretched as he tried to collect his thoughts.

"Was it real, that magical cavern? If it was a dream, then it was a 
dream we both shared," he declared. "I know it was!"

He reached for his weapons. The Dagger and his sword were gone! His 
face hardened. On a shelf beneath a statue he saw a pendant...

"Farah?"

She had left it for him. Which meant -- ?

"Oh no!"

He pocketed the pendant, now his only protection against the Sands. He 
was in some kind of crypt or mausoleum, his resting place a carved stone 
tomb. Faint daylight came from above and lit candles glowed in stone 
alcoves either side of the room. Everywhere was dust and cobwebs. Through 
a doorway, flanked by statues of kneeling bulls, he could see a brilliant 
beam of light. Here too appeared Blue Guards - and he defenseless!

The Prince ran for the door and managed to duck past the growling Sand 
Creatures. He continued along the corridor where the light beam was 
directed. There seemed no other way out. Mercifully, the Sand Creatures 
did not follow.

Through open doors, the Prince came into a circular room of pillars set 
with lanterns. The light beam was presently directed through two of 
these by a familiar mirror on a pedestal. The room was open on two sides 
where it looked out high above cliffs. Flaming bowls hung from every 
pillar to light it. On one side were heavy wooden doors, very much shut 
and without any kind of a symbol to indicate that they might somehow be 
opened. At the centre of the room was a raised stone platform, giving 
the appearance of an altar. On a plinth upon it rested a sword, which he 
sorely needed now. Yet it was surrounded by pulsating rings of light.

"Oh, no," moaned the Prince.

As he suspected, if he tried to approach, he was repelled by powerful 
energy that radiated from the rings.

Prominently engraved on one side of this altar was the familiar symbol 
of the Palace of Azad. Perhaps the light beam could be directed onto 
it, in the manner of those in the Hall of Learning?

The Prince examined the floor very carefully. Yes, here again were darker 
areas on the patterned tiles where a pedestal might habitually stand. 
There were only four pedestals in the room, and their movement over the 
floor was restricted to two on either side. This would take only a moment 
to work out. 

He first dragged one nearest the entrance, and positioned it where he 
could see a dark stain on the floor. With a little adjustment he directed 
the beam onto it and over to the far end of the room, where it struck one 
of the lanterns. This sent the beam across to another lantern and from 
there back into the room. The Prince was sure he was on the right track. 
Now he swapped the other two pedestals over and placed them on their 
respective darkened tiles. With a little more adjustment the light beam 
finally struck the symbol on the altar. It glowed bright yellow.

The pulsing rings of the force field atop the stone plinth began to fade, 
and at last the Prince could step up to claim his prize. The sword was 
heavy and strong, with a massive hooked blade bearing an Arabic 
inscription. The Prince took the weight of it and struck the ground in 
some satisfaction. He turned back to the crypt to teach those Blue Guards 
some manners.


-- 90%  THE TOMB  -------------------------------------------------------

The Vision gave him the direction he needed. The way ahead lay through 
the wooden door back in the altar room. There was too a sobering reminder 
that he must now proceed with care - without the Dagger of Time, any 
mistake would be terminal.

One blow from his new sword and the heavy wooden door shattered into 
pieces. The Prince emerged on a balcony high on the palace walls. Wind 
whistled through the battlements. On a platform above him, the Prince 
could see many Sand Creatures pacing, waiting - and on a ledge above them 
he saw a fast fleeing figure.

"FA-RAH!"

It was too late. She had gone. The Prince hurriedly ran forward to a 
series of 
poles, which he used to swing up onto the platform, where he set about 
the many Sand Creatures barring his way. In a fury, he whirled among 
them, moving swiftly to each and not letting any catch him in sight. A 
single blow from his new sword was enough to snuff out each Sand Creature 
one after the other!

He was standing on top of a small stone building built out from the 
sheer face of a cliff. The platform was its roof, with a low balustrade 
around, open at either side. On the floor where he stood was a wooden 
trapdoor, but no way to open it from above. A Vision Cloud had formed.


-- 90%  "FARAH, COME BACK!"  --------------------------------------------

The Prince climbed the wall in front of him in the direction he had seen 
Farah heading. Plaster dust fell at every handhold as he made his way up. 
Here was a column that he shimmied up, thus able to jump back to another, 
then off that to a narrow beam. He looked around carefully and spotted a 
metal bar protruding nearby, and leaped out to grab it. He hung over an 
abyss. Shuffling sideways as far as he could, he aligned with a narrow 
beam, which he could just make out jutting towards him. He swung out to 
land on it, and in so doing his flying feet dislodged a dozen angry bats, 
which gathered to descend quickly on him. Trying to keep his balance, the 
Prince slashed with patience when they flew close around. He had already 
learned how much he had come to depend on the Dagger of Time, and a 
reckless approach would not do here.

Gaining peace, he edged forward along the beam until his toe struck a 
wooden strut. With great daring, the Prince jumped out for a tall pillar 
beside him. He grabbed thankfully and slid to solid ground. At least, 
even though he was on a narrow platform still high above the ground, 
comparatively so! Through a doorway he became momentarily stumped; there 
seemed nowhere to go on the other side. He could see a ledge just above 
to his right, but it proved out of reach. The wall opposite formed a 
convenient chimney however, and it needed only a small display of 
acrobatics after as much as he had already performed. Once on the ledge, 
he ran up the wall and jumped back to the next. Mere child's play; 
perhaps this was a game after all.

He felt things become serious as he pulled up onto the remnants of a 
bridge. In evidence were many Sand Creatures - and there among them was 
the Princess!

"Farah, come back!" he yelled.

He watched as she fled into a narrow crack in the palace walls. At 
least the Sand Creatures could not follow her through. How had she fought 
them off?

"She must be using the Dagger!" he realized. "Farah, be careful," he

called after her. "Don't use up all the Sand!"

He ran forward to join battle with the demons. The bridge crumbled behind 
him; there was no going back. He whirled and leapt among the possessed 
creatures, not resting for a moment and dividing his attacks among them. 
As they left themselves open, one touch from his sword turned each to 
dust, and in a short time the area was clear.


-- 93%  CLIMBING THE TOWER OF DAWN  -------------------------------------

He was standing on the remnants of the entrance to the Tower of Dawn. 
Massive gates, which even his mighty sword could not dent, barred easy 
access. According to the Vision, he would have to work hard to get 
within. Get within he must.

He began with a run up to a bar, then a few jumps up using stone jetties 
to a ledge, and from there, using broken pillars, the Prince sprang up 
through a blasted hole to the ramparts. As he made his way around a 
narrow ledge, he was assailed yet again by bats, with the same weary 
outcome. He had to keep concentration though, as a slip could send him 
plunging with no second chance.

He made his way around the outside of a turret, to find a narrow chimney 
that lent him the opportunity for more athletic upward leaping. On a 
higher ledge the bats resumed their troublesome attack, and the Prince 
took care to judge the moment to strike so that his blade claimed two or 
three at once, a few slashes after which the bats broke off as before. He 
now edged his way very carefully along one of a pair of extremely 
precarious stone jetties, Azad banners fluttering gently beneath. Taking 
his courage, the Prince leapt for the other, and barely clung on as he 
landed with a grunt. Miraculously, the jetty held and he edged his way 
back to a ledge on the other side of the turret.

He balanced along an iron trellis, to drop down to a bar beneath. 
Shimmying along, he saw that he was now high above the entrance where he 
had started. He swung out to rebound off the palace wall onto another 
trellis above. He hastened to the wall alongside, where he clung for 
support as the bats assailed him once more.

There followed another bold leap over the gap between two more stone 
jetties. His feet caught in one of the enormous banners of Azad green and 
gold, causing it to billow and flutter but it did not hinder him unduly 
as he hauled himself up. Thick cloud flowed like a river below and the 
Prince edged cautiously around another narrow ledge to another narrow 
chimney. He was much higher this time of course, but he trusted his 
rhythm on each jump to ascend safely and grab on to a ledge. From here 
the way was clear, if perilous. By a series of crumbling ledges the 
Prince worked his way back around the turret. At length he found a series 
of flag poles, which he used acrobatically to fly, one after the other, 
to the ruined turret opposite, where he held on to a crack and shimmied 
along, dislodged dust and the threat of crumbling stonework at every 
move. With this effort he worked his way around and found he could go no 
further.

Unable to climb up, the only option was a bold leap backwards, to use 
the wall opposite as a chimney, this time not to ascend but go down! For 
the first leap he aligned himself back to the wall, thereafter relying 
on his momentum alone to rebound each time, dropping a little at each 
effort. He knew not to rush the jumps, since this would cause him to 
fumble and fall, but adopted a slow steady rhythm, and with a dozen leaps 
he was safely down. Here was the entrance to the turret, and a floor 
switch within. Of the timed variety, naturally.

It opened the gate in a turret opposite, and the Prince lost no time in 
running over the crumbling rampart to get there. Inside was a ladder. 
He climbed up, but found that it reached only a short height. Ominously 
there were broken sections of the ladder upon the floor below. He heard 
then the flutter of tiny wings, and drew his sword ready for what would 
surely be more bats, possessed of the Sands and still intent on his 
blood. As he waited, poised to strike, the door below slid firmly shut, 
leaving him for better or worse in the company of the miniature winged 
demons. As usual, a few brief slashes and he was left alone once again.

He was now able to spring backwards off the ladder to grab hold of 
another on the opposite wall. This soon proved to suffer the same 
deficiency in height, forcing him to jump back to the first, yet at least 
now higher up. In this manner he ascended to the top of the tower.

Here on a trellised rampart was a reception committee of assorted Sand 
Creatures. As before his powerful new Sword made short work of them, if 
he only kept moving, turning from one to the other with no time for them 
to square up to him. He sheathed his weapon with a look of grim 
satisfaction. Restoring such health as he had lost at a fountain 
conveniently close to where he mounted the rampart, the Prince found his 
way blocked by rubble. Returning towards the entrance and climbing where 
he could, he scaled the broken ramparts and sighted a Vision Cloud 
just beneath.


-- 95%  THE SETTING SUN  ------------------------------------------------

The way forward ended in a sheer drop. Returning to mount the blocks of 
the rampart once again, the Prince noticed a pillar on top, from which he 
was certain he could jump to a series of metal poles nearby. He made the 
first jump off the pillar, then swung to the second pole. As he flew from 
that to a bar further along, the pole cracked and crumbled, then broke 
away, leaving a jagged gap in the tower wall. The Prince shimmied around 
the bar to come to face this, then swung over to grab hold. It held firm 
and he pulled up, to walk along a ledge that had been formed in the gap. 
Behind him was an iron frame that he felt confident in jumping to, but he 
needed a little more height. He jumped up to grab another ledge above.

Unable to pull himself any further up on this, the Prince released his 
tentative hold and sprang back to grab hold of the iron structure, 
which he now saw was an ornate frame for a canopy, the underside of which 
he had just used as a climbing frame. Cloud swirled and eddied around 
the palace walls below. He tried to keep a clear head as he balanced 
along the metal beam to the comparative safety of the remnants of a 
balcony.

From this balcony, he ran along the wall to another, then another, and so 
on around the outside of the tower to which he was trying to gain 
entrance. He reached another fragment of balcony and could go no further. 
He turned to an ornate gable strung between the tower and a turret built 
off of it. On the edge of this gable, the Prince balanced to the base of 
the turret. This had been badly damaged by the ravaging Sands, and part 
of the wall had collapsed. The rest of the turret above formed a chimney.

With a little effort, the Prince scaled the turret walls, jumping side 
to side up the inside. He emerged higher than he had yet been, wind 
whistling and clouds still scudding by. The top of the turret was open to 
the elements, its domed roof presumably blasted away. An adjoining 
turret seemed undamaged, and here in a decorative basin the Prince found 
water to restore such energies as he had lost.

Another run along a wall brought him to a similar pair of turrets, 
where at the first he was attacked by bats. He whirled and slashed and 
easily scattered them. A careful walk along a slender beam brought him to 
the second turret, similarly fractured but showing the rich decoration 
that must once have made it the work of craftsmen. He did not deign to 
fight the bats when they resumed their annoying infestation here, but 
ran instead towards the tower walls and out to another broken balcony 
whereon they departed for good.

This balcony was rather more severely damaged, and led nowhere. The 
Prince noticed the shattered remnant of a column hanging within jumping 
distance off one wall further along. It would be his boldest run yet. He 
ran to the very edge of the tower wall and then leapt out to grab hold 
of the column. Clinging for life he shimmied up before jumping back to 
land on the verdigris dome of a turret roof. He could see the Vision 
Cloud he had just left, very far below. He saw then that he had worked 
his way all around the tower. Up here was another pillar to climb, and 
another canopy rail to jump back to. A simple swing and he pulled up to 
solid ground. A solid platform, anyway. He found himself now very high 
indeed. Clouds swirled beneath him and he looked out over the misty 
towers of the palace below.

From the edge of the balcony he ran out and leapt back off the wall to 
grasp a fragment of hanging ladder. He was almost there, he could feel 
it! Finding himself now inside a narrow tower, the Prince was able to 
spring back to grab a central column. Behind him a gap, through which he 
could see at last inside the Tower of Dawn.

As he leapt into the gap, the Prince heard a clash of steel...

This between a Sand Creature's scimitar and the Prince's own sword, in 
the keen but untutored hands of the Princess. She had the blade raised in 
desperation as the brute pressed down towards her throat. The creature 
knocked her back, then slashed down on her as she narrowly rolled aside.

"Farah!" the Prince yelled.

The growling creature advanced on her, helpless on the floor. The Prince 
pulled up into the room and ran fast to launch his furious attack, 
consigning first one, then another hellish creation to dust with a single 
blow and a thrust from his sword. Farah received a swipe from the 
mindless hulk that assailed her, the blow sweeping her into a hole in the 
floor. She clung to an edge.

"Farah!"

She looked up, lost her grip, screamed as she struck down with the 
Dagger, making a purchase in the stone at the edge of the hole. She 
dangled above the floor of the Hourglass chamber. The Prince slashed her 
assailant to a flash of dust, saw the Dagger lose its hold in the stone. 
He leaped to grab it, holding the shocked Farah at arm's length, teeth 
gritted as blood from his tightened fist ran down the Dagger's blade.

"Aghhh!" the cry of anger and frustration as the strength drained from 
his body.

Farah looked up and saw the hopeless desperation. She made a decision. 
The Princess looked up at the Prince with her dark eyes shining.

"Kakolukia," she whispered.

With sudden dread, he looked at her. "Farah, no!"

She let go of the Dagger and drifted to the floor far below.

All was black.

Farah lay on the floor of the treasure vault. Peaceful, still beautiful. 
Dead.

The anguished Prince reached in hope for the Dagger of Time. He could 
still prevent this! It was empty. Behind him the Sand Creatures returned 
and made their advance. The Prince clenched his fist, eyes narrowed as he 
turned to meet them. 

With force born out of rage the Prince took revenge. He moved swiftly, 
turning to strike suddenly as each creature lumbered after him. He used 
everything he had learned: slashing and moving quickly; keeping his 
guard and making opportune counters; rolling aside under their crashing 
swords; launching Rebound Attacks off walls; using pillars to spring over 
their heads and make a devastating slash as he landed. He moved slowly 
backwards, tempting them into a pack, where one would surely make a 
furious slashing attack, sending his fellows to the ground, at which the 
Prince could leap in to retrieve their Sand.

His Dagger had not enough energy to apply all its special powers, but 
such Sand as he collected served well enough for the Power of Revival 
when he became overwhelmed. He was able to snatch water at either of two 
basins around the room as he went, circling around and dealing with each 
creature as patience would allow. He blocked their challenge and made 
swift reply, destroying each on a single blow and slowly and surely 
turning the tide against their number.

When he snuffed out the last demon a Vision Cloud formed. He sank 
wearily into it.

Here now was the Palace of Azad, desolate, devastated. No living person 
in the Reception Hall where he had last seen his father, nor the 
Menagerie, or on the ruined bridges; no sign of life, and scarcely any 
movement but the pale morning sun now glittering on the lotus pond, and 
the laundered cloth blowing gently on an empty terrace beside the well.


-- 98%  HONOR AND GLORY  ------------------------------------------------

The Prince came to and looked around. He put a hand to his aching head, 
his heart heavy.

"Bravely I have fought and slain my enemies. Honor and glory are mine. 
But though I fight until the desert sands themselves were red with 
blood, I could not bring back the dead."

He was alone in the Tower of Dawn.

Farah lay in a pool of golden light. The Prince fell to his knees 
beside her and wept.

"No, no!"

He held her face in his hands, gently placed her pendant at her side. 
Tenderly he stroked her face as he sank his head to hers. 

"The girl," hissed a voice, "is unimportant."

The Vizier, cause of all. The Prince leapt to his feet and flew at him 
with a furious cry, clutching the Vizier's Staff and forcing it to the 
old man's throat.

"Give me the Dagger," urged the gasping traitor, "and I will give you 
power!"

The Prince gave a growl of indifference and stumbled to his feet, 
slumping against a wall.

The Vizier continued his entreaty: "Eternal life will be yours."

"Live forever, when those I loved are dead and I to blame?" said the 
Prince in emptiness.

He held up the Dagger of Time.

"No," with sudden ferocity: "I choose death!"

He leapt for the Hourglass. The gasping Vizier screamed a threat but 
the Prince cared not, and with an anguished cry of rage plunged the 
Dagger into it.

"No-o-oo!" The Vizier shied and covered his head as a storm of light 
burst forth.

The Sands raged about the chamber, flowing swiftly back into the 
Hourglass. Time was a blur as all that had happened became undone: the 
Prince's struggle with the Vizier, Farah's death, their time in the bath, 
his battles with the Sand Creatures, presenting to his father the Dagger 
of Time, the siege on the Maharajah's palace... Images confused and 
overlapping, flashing ever faster as the Sands swept back into the 
Hourglass, which suddenly sealed at once.

--

Storm clouds gather, thunder rolls. A heavy raindrop splashes to the 
ground. A Princess wakes with a start. Somewhere a Prince wakes too, the 
Dagger of Time in his hand. He is in his tent, sentries guarding the 
encampment, alert for the coming attack. The Prince rises and goes out 
into the night, aware of the gathering storm.

The first raindrop falls; he wipes it dismissively from his eye. (Or the 
trace of a tear?) Running now through monsoon forest, the urgency of his 
mission drives him on through the rain. He arrives breathless outside the 
palace of the Maharajah.

Within, the Princess steps from her bed, cold marble beneath her feet. 
She searches apprehensively around, her anxious breath short. She 
senses another's presence. A hand falls on her shoulder - she gasps!

"Do not be afraid."

The Prince takes the Dagger from his side and offers it to her.

"This belongs to you."

"The Dagger of Time!" she gasps. "But it is locked away within my 
father's treasure vault. How--?"

"Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in 
one direction," the young man raises his finger as he moves towards her. 
"But I have seen the face of time and I can tell you - they are wrong!"

He speaks intensely: "Time is an ocean in a storm."

The Princess stands uncertain but unafraid.

"You may wonder who I am and why I say this," the young man continues. 
"Sit down, and I will tell you a tale like none that you have ever 
heard..."

The night passed as he tells all. in thin light and to the sound of 
morning birds 
he explains his intent.

"...and that is why I have come: to warn you and your father to arrest 
this treacherous Vizier before he betrays you and brings ruin on us 
all."

Farah kneels with rapt attention.

"His signal is a flaming arrow shot into the air. Prevent him, and my 
father's army will know the traitor has been unmasked. They will turn 
back!"

"A wild tale indeed," comes a voice.

The Vizier appears as if from nowhere.

"I have a simpler version," with oiled menace. "A Persian soldier lusting

for glory entered the chambers of the Maharajah's daughter, and was slain 
- by me!"

He turns to his master's charge.

"Princess, for your own safety I suggest you flee."

The Prince draws his sword and comes on guard, ready to meet the 
challenge. The Vizier takes up his Staff and twirls it about his body. To 
the Prince's surprise, the Vizier does not offer combat, but withdraws in 
an unearthly movement, gliding rapidly away from the Prince to a position 
by the terrace windows.

He makes a bold promise: "I will handle this intruder!"

The Vizier brandishes his Staff and imperiously voices a loud incantation 
in an unknown tongue. The Prince tries to silence him but the Vizier 
plants the Staff firmly before him and is protected by a powerful force, 
which the Prince cannot penetrate. The Vizier becomes immersed in a 
bright light as he recites more strange words, at which an Avatar appears 
- an exact but ungodly replica of the Vizier himself.

Finding his attack on the Vizier fruitless, the Prince turns to face 
the menace of the new arrival. Farah takes refuge behind a large vase, 
powerless to intervene.

"What sorcery is this?" she cries. "Stop this at once!"

"My lady, he came here to abduct you. Surely you do not believe him?"

The Prince rolls and tumbles out of reach of the Avatar's swinging 
Staff.

"He will betray you!" he insists. "All will happen as I have
foretold."

He takes an opportunity to dive in and strike the Avatar.

"How inventive!" the Vizier sneers. "Do not forget, he is a Persian 
soldier."

The Prince continues his explanation as he circles the room, wary of 
the Avatar's strikes.

"What I have told you is no story," he says firmly. "It happened -- I 
mean, it WILL happen!

The Dagger of Time proves useless against this enemy. The Prince must 
rely on his own abilities. He notices that as he strikes the Avatar it 
gives off a charge of red light, obviously sustaining damage. The Prince 
keeps on the move, tumbling out of reach of sudden swipes and strikes, 
sure to regain his feet quickly as he is knocked down (an overhead smash 
from the Avatar being certain to follow). He blocks but the Avatar is 
quick indeed. Better to keep moving, charging in at every chance when the 
fiendish creation leaves itself open. The Prince is gratified to see red 
flashes each time his sword hits home. Eventually the Summoned One reels 
back, and the Prince moves in then to slash hard, delivering a succession 
of blows that cause it to shrivel suddenly and disappear without any 
trace.

"Your exertions are most amusing," mocks the Vizier.

He raises his Staff again and repeats the incantation, with the same 
ball of light engulfing him and the same ungodly apparition gliding 
toward the Prince.

"Let him be brought before my father," warns the Princess. "He will 
judge."

It brings no response. The Prince tumbles and blocks as before, trying 
to find weakness in the Avatar's attack.

"Vizier," repeats Farah, "I have commanded you to stop! Do you 
disobey?"

"I have taken orders long enough from a senile old fool and a sniveling 
brat!" he snaps, then addresses the Prince.

"Your father was a great warrior in his youth, or so he would have the 
world believe. A pity his son does not take after him," his voice a 
sneer. "Then again, perhaps father and son are alike? It would appear 
that both share a taste for easy plunder."

"You waste your breath," retorts the Prince, "What little you
possess."

The Vizier breathes with difficulty.

"You perceive my malady," he gasps painfully. "Consumption has robbed 
me of the youth that you so heedlessly squander."

The Prince uses his youthful agility to circle around, still dodging 
the constant swipes from the Avatar's Staff. When he sees an opening, he 
dashes in to strike, then rolls aside as the counter strike from the 
Avatar follows. He applies Vault Attacks, finding his agility confounds 
his enemy. This proves the right technique at last, and he applies it 
again and again, slashing each time and knowing he is hitting home when 
the Avatar gives off flashes of red light. With each hit he can see the 
Avatar slow. He delivers the final blow and this demon, as the first, 
shrivels in a flash and is gone.

"Did you really think you could defeat me?" seethes the Vizier. He 
bends forward, coughing furiously. 

"Careful," taunts the Prince, "don't tire yourself."

The Vizier bangs his Staff once more, loudly uttering his evil spell. A 
third Avatar materializes.

Though his health had become somewhat affected and no water is to hand in 
the Princess's bedchamber, the Prince shows he has the measure of the 
apparitions. He wastes no time in getting close and using the Vault 
Attack, just as he had on his transformed father so long ago. With every 
leap he strikes home, and a dozen blows later this Avatar also is 
defeated and similarly vanishes. It proves the last the fading powers of 
the ailing Vizier can summon.

The Prince moves to the sick old man. He has no pity for the wretch now 
coughing and gasping, clutching his precious Staff as support. One 
downward slash and an uppercut from the Prince sends the Vizier flying 
through the screen doors, crashing out onto the verandah. His Staff is 
knocked from his grasp.

The Vizier gropes on hands and knees, reaching for the Staff. As the 
Prince comes through the doors, he uses it to swipe the young warrior off 
his feet.

"And so it ends," the Vizier pants breathlessly. "How will the 
Maharajah feel if he finds his only daughter slain by the son of his 
enemy?"

The Prince springs to his feet. The voice of the Vizier oozes venom.

"Do you have any last words you wish me to communicate to the Princess, 
before I kill her? Words of love perhaps?"

This mocking insult is too much. The Prince leaps in and serves on the 
Vizier what he had promised from the start: he plunges the Dagger into 
his foul and treacherous heart.

The Vizier collapses to the ground, wheezing, "I could have 
been...immortal."

He coughs his last.

The Prince sheathes his sword for good. Farah emerges from the safety 
of her room.

"Then it's true," she says quietly, "he was a traitor!"

"Take this." The Prince hands her the Dagger. "Return it to your 
father's treasure vault. Guard it well."

"I owe you thanks," the Princess replies. Then with furrowed brow, "But 
why did you invent such a fantastic story! Do you think me a child, 
that I would believe such nonsense?"

The Prince takes her suddenly about her waist and kisses her. The 
Princess shrinks back, throwing him off.

"I said I owe you thanks," with pursed lips. "You presume too much!"

The Prince looks at her, wide-eyed in confusion. He takes up the Dagger 
and taps it. In a blur, he is holding her again, they kiss, and are 
apart.

"...such a fantastic story!" the Princess says. "Do you think me a 
child, that I would believe such nonsense?"

The Prince thumbs the dagger thoughtfully.

"You're right. It was just a story."

He gives her the Dagger, holding it for a long moment. A last look and 
he turns away. With a nimble step he vaults over the balcony and grabs 
hold of a palm.

"Wait!" calls the Princess. "I don't even know your name?"

The Prince pauses to consider. He looks up with the trace of a smile.

"Just call me... Kakolukia."

The Princess gasps. She turns to look over the balcony, but the Prince 
has gone.


-- THE END --------------------------------------------------------------






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(c) 2004 J Woodrow 

This document includes an unofficial transcript and storyline from PRINCE 
OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (c) 2003 Ubi Soft Entertainment. Copyright 
is claimed for original material herein and no declaration of ownership of 
previously copyrighted material is intended or should be inferred. 
Transcript may contain errors or omission and is not representative work 
of the acknowledged copyright owner. All contents are for personal and 
private use and no part of this document may be altered or amended or 
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means for profit 
without the express written permission of the copyright owner.
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