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Barrowquest A multiple-choice quest adventure for use with Unit 6 of The National Literacy Strategy Year 6 Planning Exemplification 3 (Ref: DfES 0135/2002) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Barrowquest

  • A multiple-choice quest adventure
  •  for use with Unit 6 of
  • The National Literacy Strategy Year 6 Planning
    Exemplification 3 (Ref DfES 0135/2002)
  • Includes all chapters of The Awakening, as given
    in the above publication (accessed by selecting
    SOUTH, THORN, HARP and INDIGO during the
  • Additional chapters written by J Davies, J
    Duckworth, L Glasspoole, E Gowing, B Long, S
    Simpson, C White,
  • A Williams

1. The Barrow
  Lin pushed himself between the massive slabs.
The huge weight of stone pressed in on him, and a
greater weight of terror squeezed him more.
Without lubrication from the ancient growth of
moss that coated the stones he might never have
made it though the narrow gap at all. I cant do
this, he thought. Why me? If I were younger or
larger I wouldnt be here.
Lets call him Lin for short, a boy in the
tribe once mocked, for short is what he is. The
rest had laughed. Lin he had become, and short he
had stayed. Skinny too. And that was precisely
why the chieftain Magh had called him to the
tribefire, to the council where no boys
came. Your tribe has need of you, said Magh,
great need. Sit here and listen well. But
blurted Lin.
Sit, boy. Magh gave no choice, accepted no
hesitation. Then he spoke, slowly and solemnly,
in the deep, resonant voice that had awed Lin all
his life. Our tribe is in great peril. Even now
as we sit by our own tribefire, hordes of our
darkest ancient foes are encamped around our
borders. Vast hordes. Soon they will attack. And
when they do, great as we have been, great as we
are, we have not might enough to drive them off.
For all time remembered, and much forgotten, our
tribe have peopled this land, moulded its stories
but soon all this, all that we know and value
will end in loss, in darkness and in death. It
will end, that is, unless someone can find the
magician and wake him. Magh paused and looked
around slowly.
Our old ones say that under Barrow Hill there
sleeps a great magician. His magic saved our
people in the distant past. Now he waits, deep in
enchanted sleep, guarded by the warriors of a
ghostly king. But in our hour of need he will
awake and save us once again. That hour is now.
Another pause. They say too that there is a way
into the hill through the long barrow of our
ancestors which stands atop. A way for one who
can find it and take it. But the great stones
are immovable, the gap between them narrow, and
the way beyond that . . . Who knows?
Now Magh looked straight at Lin. Only you, Lin,
are old enough to understand this task, yet small
enough to squeeze between the stones. Will you go
for us? Will you take this quest? Will you find
the magician and wake him? Do I have a
choice? asked Lin. Yes, and no, said Magh. I
offer you a choice, but know that you have
none. Lin understood. And now here he was,
crawling into the ancient barrow, where no living
flesh should be. The stone was deathly cold.
Lins heart was colder still, and the chamber,
deep inside the barrow, where he fell with a dull
thud, was full of the darkest darkness he had
ever known.
He lay for a moment wheezing, gasping for the
breath the stones had squeezed from him. Then, as
his breathing eased, he pulled out the lamp and
flint he had been given and, shivering, lit the
flame. By its flickering light he could see four
stone passageways leading north, south, east and
west out of the chamber. Which should he take?
Terror almost froze him, but not quite. He did
the only thing he felt he could. He walked
straight ahead in the direction he was facing.
2. The Chamber of Lights
Brilliant light flared, blinding his eyes.
Startled, he stepped back, shielding his eyes
from the glare. Finding a hard wall behind him,
he whirled. The doorway through which he had come
was no longer there. There was no way back.
The light vanished and Lin looked around. A
circular cavern domed over his head. Facing him,
three torches blazed in brackets mounted on the
rock wall, each one beside an opening in the
rock. The first passage glowed red, licking its
shadows with tongues of reflected flame the
second, blue, whispering tones of rippling
streams and still lakes. The third was green,
pulsing with shades of fresh life. In front of
each was a step. One of these, he thought, must
be the way out. But which one? Nothing for it but
to try.
As the openings were of differing heights each
step was lower or higher. Grabbing a torch Lin
entered the red passage. The whole corridor
glowed eerily. After some time, seeing more light
ahead, he quickened his pace. Suddenly he was in
a chamber that looked similar to - no - it was
the same one he had left. He had walked in a
complete circle.
Next he tried the blue passage, but, after
swimming through the liquid blue light, he still
ended back where he had started. The third
passage must be the exit. Lin stepped up into its
cool, emerald light, moved rapidly along its
length and once more emerged into the same
chamber. He tested each passage again and again.
They all led him back to his starting point. In
some magical way they were all interconnected.
Whichever passage he entered, he returned through
Lin sat thoughtfully, facing the three passages.
There must be a way out. He idly traced patterns
in the dust-covered floor of the chamber. But
what was this? He could feel marks engraved
beneath the dust. He brushed the dust aside. Was
this a clue, etched into the ancient
floor?   Only see What light does show, Use
all three To onward go.
See what? Lin asked himself. Scrambling to his
feet he lifted the torch above his head. A bright
flash lit the whole chamber, causing Lin to drop
the torch. What was that? Slowly he raised the
torch again. The torch light shone deep into the
coloured passages. In an instant, the whole
chamber became flooded with reflection and from
its midst shone one strong beam of white. Lin
gasped, amazed. Turning slowly, he could see the
place on the wall where the polished rock acted
like a mirror, combining the red, green, and blue
light from each passage to create the beam. And
where it shone he could see a fourth passage,
higher up the wall. Lin knew this was the true
exit. His elation was short-lived. How could he
reach the entrance?
He repeated the second part of the clue   Use
all three To onward go   All three what? Three
torches? Three passages? Three . . . STEPS! Lin
rushed across the chamber. Each step was sloped
on one side. If I can move them . . . thought
Lin. He dragged the middle stone up the ramped
side of its larger brother. Then the smallest one
was hauled on top. Breathless but triumphant Lin
surveyed the stairway he had created. Trembling
with excitement he climbed to the topmost stone,
pulled himself into the new entrance, and into
the passage.
The passage was short and led directly to
another chamber. Four doors faced him. One was
made of oak, one of ash, one of elm and one of
thorn wood. He opened the nearest and walked
Did Lin choose the OAK, ASH, ELM or THORN door?
2. The Amazing Roots
For some way the passage to the south ran level,
but then it began to drop and curve back upon
itself. As Lin walked he spiralled down and down
and down, until he felt he had reached the heart
of the earth itself.
He found himself in a vast underground chamber.
Its huge space was filled with what he took at
first to be pillars, arches, twisted beams. These
in turn seemed to be slung about with ropes,
ropes looped and dangling, ropes twisted and
entwined, many with frayed ends that lost
themselves in mists of fibre. But as he explored,
as he looked and felt and smelled, he found that
they were all roots. He was in standing in an
enormous cavern, grown through by the tangled
roots of a great tree a tree that must be
almost half the size of the world.
Intrigued, Lin began to wander amongst the
roots. He swung past them and ducked under them.
He climbed over them and pushed through their
fantastic forms. Soon he lost all sense of where
he had come from, and had no idea which way he
was going. Then he realised that, worst of all,
he had no idea which way he should go. He was
lost in a vast knot of roots, which soared above
him and surrounded him on all sides. He set off
with a will in the direction he was already
facing. But he soon found the line impossible to
hold. He had to duck and twist and veer until his
mind was more tangled than the roots. He wandered
on through the maze of turns and dead ends until
he began to think his own dead end would be there
Then he began to see faces in the twisted forms
of gnarled wood that surrounded him. He saw heads
without bodies leering at him from every
direction, laughing at his desperation. He saw
contorted, woody faces everywhere, all the same,
all laughing. Their noses were twists of root.
Their hair and eyebrows were tangles of frond.
Their laughing mouths were puckered knots. Faces.
Faces. All laughing. All mocking him. All the
same. No, not all the same. That one had a
hooked nose. That one had a stubby ear. That one
had much larger eyes. That one looked old and
Lin began to see the difference, the uniqueness,
in each face. And as he did so the mockery on
the faces seemed to change to friendlier
laughter. Twisted mouths warmed into smiles.
Once he felt he knew each one, Lin gave each
face a name. You look like a Crab to me, he
thought, because you are old and crabby. You
look like a Hog because your hair sticks out
like spines. You look like a Merry. There are
laughter lines around your eyes.
Thank you, Lin, said Hog. Ive never had a
name before. If you turn right here and duck
under that big root youll come to Burr. Hell
tell you where to go next. No problem, said
Burr, when Lin reached him. And, one by one, the
faces with names directed Lin through the maze of
roots, until he came to the far end of the
chamber. There he found four doors. One was made
of oak, one of ash, one of elm and one of thorn
wood. He opened the nearest and walked
Did Lin choose the OAK, ASH, ELM or THORN door?
2. Green Light
The passage to the east dropped suddenly and
steeply. Taken by surprise, Lin slid down,
tumbling and falling, unable to halt his flight.
Down and down he fell, deeper and deeper into the
barrow, until with a crash and a thump, he
reached the bottom. Bruised and sore, Lin stood,
slowly. He found himself in utter darkness.
Where was he? How could he tell? No light pierced
the smothering black that surrounded him. The air
was stale and still. The only sound to be heard
was the quickening beat of Lins own heartbeat as
it thumped, thumped in his ears faster and
Taking a deep breath, Lin stretched his fingers
to the front and to the side. Nothing. He took a
tentative step forward. The ground was hard and
uneven, but held his weight. Step by careful
step, Lin walked on into the darkness. Suddenly
his breath caught in his throat. Floating in
front of him was the palest of green spiders. Its
legs wiggled and tensed, flitting away as Lin
reached towards it. He paused. The spider paused.
Lin reached again. The spider retreated.
Slowly but surely, the truth began to dawn on
him. The spider was his own hand! Without
realising it, a subtle change was taking place. A
pale, almost sickly, green light was beginning to
seep into the gloom, outlining his whole body.
Able to see his surroundings for the first
time, Lin realised that he was standing in a
tunnel. Far away in the distance, shimmering and
pulsating, was a green, luminescent glow,
streaming out of a gaping hole in the tunnel
floor. Lin hesitated, horrified. The light bulged
and squirmed as if it were a living, breathing
entity. He knew he should walk away, but felt an
awful compulsion to become part of that light and
lose himself forever.
Stumbling over rocks and rubble, Lin was drawn
further and further towards the light. Brighter
and brighter it blazed until Lin had to shield
his eyes. Almost blinded, he fell screaming -
into the hole. Lin landed on a cushion of moist,
springy moss that glowed with an emerald fire.
Sprouting from the moss, swaying sluggishly, were
enormous slime-covered pods. Lin realised that
the air was still. No breeze disturbed this
lonely place. Yet still, the pods moved back
and forth, back and forth.
Sleep. Sleep forever. A hushed voice came from
nowhere and everywhere. Lay down and close your
eyes. Forget your quest, my little one.
Sleep. Hypnotised by the voice and the swaying
pods, Lins eyes drooped. The quest, murmured
Lin, drowsily, . . . not important . . . must
sleep. However, deep inside his head, Lin was
screaming, WAKE UP, LIN! Fight it now or youll
never wake again!
Forcing his heavy eyes open, Lin reached out in
desperation. Grasping hold of a nearby pod, he
pulled pulled with all his strength without
really knowing why. With a sickening, wrenching
sound, the pod came apart in his hand sending out
a foul, yellow gas. Immediately, the green
glare dimmed. Wide awake at last, Lin darted to
his feet. He watched in amazement as the gas
covered the moss like a thick blanket, dissolving
it, destroying it. Screaming filled his ears. Was
it the voice? Was it the moss? Lin didnt know.
As the last remnants of the moss disappeared,
Lin gazed around him with a new determination.
There in front of him were four doors. One was
made of oak, one of ash, one of elm and one of
thorn wood. He opened the nearest and walked
Did Lin choose the OAK, ASH, ELM or THORN door?
2. The Well of Othene
Instantly, the floor dissolved beneath Lins
feet. His screams filled the air, and echoed back
at him as a menacing cacophony, bouncing from the
walls that encased him. If only Lin had taken
greater care over the path he had chosen, he
would never have been facing this dilemma. Over
and over he tumbled, further and further he fell.
Panic consumed him. Free-falling, Lin scrabbled
and fought hopelessly with the air surrounding
him, desperately attempting to grab hold of
something, anything that might halt this
seemingly endless fall. Failing at the first
hurdle was unthinkable - Lin felt sure that Magh
would not have predicted that his task would end
so soon, so finally
Down and further down he descended. Emptiness
encircled him. He glanced upwards, vainly hoping
to see - to see what he really didnt know, but
anything would be better than this bleak void.
What was happening to him? When would all of this
stop? This must be the end. Lins screams
encapsulated his fears his mind darted through
all of the things hed done, hed never get to
do, the task hed never complete, the village
hed never save.
Suddenly and without warning, Lins body
appeared to jolt upwards slightly, and his fall
seemed to take on a more moderate and bearable
speed, as if some unseen force had opened a
parachute for him. Looking downwards, Lin noticed
an unearthly light begin to pierce the
surrounding darkness. From this, he could begin
to see he was surrounded by chalky walls from
which hung portraits of what appeared to be
people of generations and times past, faces he
felt he should know. Lins fear began to subside.

In an attempt to touch one of the faces, Lin
stretched out his arms but, with nothing to grab
hold of, he was soon sucked back into the centre,
as though catapulted inwards by an invisible
piece of elastic.
A sudden shock, firstly that he was still alive
and, secondly, that ice-cold water had sent
agonising shooting pains up his body. He was
alive and that was all that mattered. What he had
mistaken for light coming towards him, had turned
out to be the reflection from a pool of icy
water. Gasping for breath, Lin hoisted himself up
over the edge of the pool, relief and
bewilderment overcoming him. Water dripped from
his clothes and turned into ice before it reached
the floor.
Lin found himself standing in a circular
chamber other than a slight reflection from the
pool, there was no source of natural light.
However, against the walls, a series of naphtha
lamps slowly burned. The closer Lin looked, the
more he could make out a silhouette - but of
Approaching gingerly, Lin edged towards the dark
shape. The closer he came, the clearer he could
make out that this was, in fact, a statue, now
covered in verdigris the result of aeons of
time. As Lin traced his hands over the base of
the statue his body stopped shivering from the
cold, his clothes became dry and Lin felt warm
and safe once more. To the side of the statue
stood a small plaque and, engraved in
in gold lettering, the simple name of Othene.
Something compelled Lin to touch each letter and,
as he traced his finger over the final e, a
great breeze swept across the chamber. With a
huge grating sound the statue edged backwards and
revealed four trapdoors, each hewn from a
different type of wood. Excitement filling his
veins, Lin knelt down and heaved open the closest
Did Lin choose the OAK, ASH, ELM or THORN door?
3. Land of the Young
As the dark oak door swung open, flames of sun
engulfed Lin. Instantly, a strong magnetic force
took hold of him. He was pulled down and down
and down through a sea of grass emerald
blades whipped his cheeks he instinctively
clenched his lips and tried to shield his eyes
with his arms ... but the butchery continued. He
was travelling faster and faster, his heart
thudding against the bones of his rib cage. Now
hands were rolling him over and over and
over. His head felt light he was drifting
His breath halted.
The next Lin knew he was sitting near a clump of
primroses on the bank of a shallow stream. A
hazy little figure was hoisting herself onto his
left foot. Holding on tightly to a pair of taut
laces, she skillfully positioned herself on the
round, shiny toecap of Lins leather walking
boot. As he bent closer, Lin was amazed by what
he saw for, although she was no bigger than a
bumblebee, she was perfectly formed. She wore a
black dress with three gold harps embroidered
solidly on her chest. Long yellow ringlets fell
beneath her shoulders and a feathered fringe
framed the greenest eyes that Lin had ever seen.
Spacing his finger and thumb gently beneath her
shoulders, Lin lifted her onto the palm of his
hand. He spoke in the gentlest of voices. Barely
audible, it was the loudest voice he dared
use. And who are you? he whispered. I am
little and I am light for I am joy, she
said. And with that she plucked one of the gold
harps from her tunic and flew to the nearest
primrose. She dangled her legs from its yellow
petals, strummed the strings of her harp and sang
the sweetest melody that Lins ears had ever
Amber sunrays danced here and there on copper
mounds jutting above the water. At length the
music stopped and a lilting voice spoke I can
see you have suffered on your journey here as
indeed many before you have done. Tell me, Lin
... have you found the wise, old magician you are
looking for? Lin was startled how could she
know his name? How could she know his
quest? How do you know me? Who are you? he
enquired. I already told you I am joy Shóna
of Tír Ná Nóg and as she spoke, she pointed to
the distant hills. My land empty of death
full of young, young hearts mirth and magic.
But before Lin could question her further, she
plucked the second harp from her heart and
skipped onto a moss-covered boulder and danced a
reel. Once again she sang ... and her
mellifluous voice rang out along the banks of the
stream. She sang of Tír Ná Nóg where special
travellers find what they are searching for
At first Lin heard only one voice then a choir
of voices was echoing all around him ... A
pocket full of laughter ... A pocket full of
tears A heart full of magic. A heart full of
fears Which spurs you forward? Which weighs
you down? A face wrapped in a smile A face
tied in a frown Breathe the air of Tír Ná
NógBreathe in deep and sigh Swords may pierce
Lins hopeful heart But he will never die
Much later, as the orange sun rested her chin on
the far banks of the stream, a gentle whisper
brushed Lins ear, Awake now from your slumber,
Lin. And find your courage ... within within
Lins heart fluttered and he slipped a hand
into his breast pocket there he found four tiny
musical instruments a harp, a flute, a tambour
and a lute.
Did he play the HARP, FLUTE, TAMBOUR or LUTE?
3. Old Father Time
Lin eased his way through the door, tentatively,
feeling jagged splinters pierce the skin on his
hands. In an attempt to keep up his spirits, he
thought that these would be his battle scars, the
marks of his courage. He found himself at the
far end of a long, thin corridor - but this was
no ordinary corridor. Black and white tiles lined
the ceiling and floor, whilst the walls were made
of a million prisms, each turning the daylight
outside into a shower of rainbows. It was like
walking through a kaleidoscope, set between two
gigantic chessboards.
Lin began to inch his way along the corridor.
Curiosity overcoming his fear, he stepped up to
one of the sidewalls to peer through. The prisms
distorted his view, but he could just make out
that beyond the walls lay a world of ice.
Snowflakes fell and danced, ice clung to the
trees like sugar frosting and hung from the
ledges like crystal stalactites. And it seemed
like something was moving through the snow. He
could not see it move but he could see a series
of paw prints appearing in the fine powder.
Straining his eyes, Lin could just make out a
tiny creature scuttling busily through the snow,
a brown paper parcel resting in its paws and a
pocket watch swinging frantically from its
Lin walked on and approached a large clock face
that hung from the ceiling like a giant pendulum,
swinging metronomically backwards and forwards in
time with its tick and tock. But, as he passed
the clock, he found himself stepping out into a
field of daffodils blooming and swaying in time
with a gentle spring breeze. Turning around, Lin
stared back at where he had come from - the clock
face, back to front now, was still swinging but
the corridor had gone. Welcome, my friend.
Lin shot around to see the voice belonged to an
old, white-bearded man, who was carrying a silver
scythe. Whowho are you? Where am I?
questioned Lin. The old man laid down the scythe
and smiled. You will soon see, in time As
he spoke, Lin noticed a heavy, wooden hourglass
dangling from the old mans cloak. Instead of
grains of sand, this hourglass held multicoloured
digits, each helping to calculate the passing of
Here, catch! motioned the old man, as he threw
the hourglass into Lins already outstretched
hands. And, as Lin cupped his hands to cushion
its fall, a blast of bright white light blazed
across the sky, breaking up into minute fragments
of colour as it fell to the ground. Lins feet
were swept from beneath him and his body
spiralled through time. Fireworks of colour
exploded and swirled all around him. What was
happening to him?
Half opening his left eye, Lin looked around him
and realised he was back in the corridor, facing
the still swinging clock face. Lin scratched his
head in disbelief, unsure about the last few
seconds . . . or was it minutes, or hours ? The
corridor appeared unchanged, yet Lin felt things
had changed He looked down into his hands and
realised he was holding a parcel, wrapped up in
brown paper. Carefully, untying the string, Lin
revealed a heavy, wooden box fastened by a broken
clasp. Lifting the lid, Lin saw four beautiful
musical instruments. A hastily scribbled note
read as follows
To the Keeper   Choose an instrument Play it
well Face the clock And time will tell in
time to the tick in time to the tock You must
play a tune And unlock this lock
Did he play the HARP, FLUTE, TAMBOUR or LUTE?
3. The Banquet
The ancient elm door closed silently behind him
and a vast banqueting hall unfolded ahead. When
Lin's eyes grew accustomed to the murkiness, he
saw the walls were swathed in moss and
crisscrossed with ivy. In the centre stood a
hexagonal table spread with six silver platters,
five laden with fruit and one upturned. Four
squat lifeless trees stood sentinel at the
furthermost edges. Four enormous birds glowered
at him, one from each tree.
Tiny beads of sweat dampened Lin's palms. His
heartbeat deafened him. His tribe's destiny was a
vice around his soul. Believe in yourself, his
grandfather had admonished when the other boys
had taunted him now was surely a time to heed
that counsel. He took a long slow breath, puffed
out his chest and stretched to his fullest
height. One step. Another. He edged forward.
A screech pierced the gloom, like lightning
splits an ebony sky. The eagle spread its
majestic wings and soared towards the cavernous
ceiling, before plunging towards Lin at such
speed that he was flung to the ground by the
force of the wind. The eagle circled and landed.
Lin hauled himself to his knees, in time to watch
both tree and eagle transform. Now seated on a
gnarled chair at the table was an aged man, his
nose hooked, his scrawny neck bent towards his
feathered tunic. He began eating fruit, his
talons piercing and tearing their skins.
The owl and the crane took off together and
dived and swooped, keeping Lin pinned to the
floor. At last, as they climbed, Lin spun onto
his back, raised himself onto one elbow and held
his other arm rigid, towards them, to fend them
off. They careered towards him, then, without any
explanation, they slowed, hovered momentarily,
and they too settled at the table. The owl, as
short as the crane was tall, was wide with a
rounded face and a snub nose. The crane was
slender with a long pointed nose crowning her
angular features.
Before the raven could take its turn in the
onslaught, Lin was on his feet, his courage
pulsing in torrents around his body, his arms
across his face, willing himself to complete his
task. The raven simply fluttered from branch to
table like a whisper on the breeze. She too
transformed. Her hair, glistening like a seam of
wet coal, tumbled down her back as she turned and
fixed her mesmerising eyes on the boy. Join us,
your journey is long. You must be hungry, she
They sat in twos at the table - man and woman,
cock and hen - between them were empty seats. The
creatures that had attacked him moments before
now sought his company. This seat is yours,
she continued. Lin perched on the seat in front
of the fifth platter. Who sat there? Lin
asked, motioning towards the last upturned plate
opposite him. The magician, who came before
you, she croaked in reply.
Lin felt his body soften. He must be on the
right track at last a magician had already
passed this way. He looked from one strange
creature to another as they nodded towards his
plate. He chose an apple full of rosy promise. As
he rubbed it, all the beauty and hopes in the
world appeared, lying like a burden upon him.
Wiping the trickling juice from his chin, he
noticed the creatures had vanished and in their
place lay a harp, a flute, a tambour, and a lute.
He leaned forward, took one and began softly to
Did he play the HARP, FLUTE, TAMBOUR or LUTE?
3. The Great Bear
The heavy thorn door slammed shut again behind
him. It had no handle on Lins side and there was
no way back. He leaned against it to gather
himself, take stock. It felt solid and safe
behind him. But there was nothing safe in what
Lin saw before him - nothing safe at all. His
heart jumped and then raced. He took in a sharp
breath. The urge to flee surged through him, and
in panic he turned again to scrabble at the door.
No handle. No escape. He knew that. Was there
another way out? Somewhere to hide? There was
He was in a sort of dungeon, a large square
space without windows or doors, except for the
door behind him. Floor, walls, ceiling seemed to
be of solid rock. There was a dim half-light, but
where it came from Lin could not tell. More than
anything there was a smell. A strong, rank,
animal smell that made him almost gag. Near the
centre of the room was a wooden chest and, near
that, the source of the smell, the source of
Lins terror, the nightmare he wished to flee,
but couldnt.
Filling half the middle of the room was a huge
pile of shaggy, matted fur, soaked in patches
with something black and noxious sweat or
blood? From near one end, black eyes glared at
Lin with a fierce hate. As the boy stood,
transfixed, the vast mound heaved onto enormous
feet, feet with claws like filed daggers,
scraping and gouging the floor. It lurched
towards him. It opened monstrous jaws. A dark red
chasm of mouth gaped. A black tongue lolled.
Vicious, yellowed teeth parted and saliva
dribbled like pus. Then a noise from the end of
the earth hit Lin like a blow and he gagged again
at a blast of sweet and foetid breath.
It was the most enormous, the most terrible
bear, a creature of pure nightmare. The bear
lurched at Lin again, and the dark hatred of its
eyes burned into him. Its jaws crunched. Its
great paws slashed, inches from Lins face. He
flattened himself against the door. Then he saw
that the bear was chained to an iron ring in the
floor. The chain stopped the creature from
reaching Lin just. It left only inches of space
against the door as any sort of refuge. But it
gave him a chance to find his breath, to find
himself again.
Then Lin looked back into the fierce eyes of the
bear. He looked with a gaze that was straight and
strong. He looked into the greatest hatred and
anger he had ever seen. But he looked beyond that
too. And beyond the bears rage he saw a
landscape of snow. He saw men with spears. He saw
the body of a bear cub, slung by its feet from
wooden poles and carried off in triumph. He saw
another cub, its body gashed open, its fur ripped
away. He saw bear blood on snow. And then he
understood the bears rage. He understood its
sorrow, its despair.
So Lin spoke to the bear, in a voice that was
full of grief, and understanding. He spoke of
loss and death and snow. He shared the bears
pain and, as he spoke, the great bear calmed,
settled, lay down. And when the boy and bear had
wept inside together, the bear slept. Lin went
over to the chest and opened it. Inside were
musical instruments, a harp, a flute, a tambour
and a lute. He picked one up and played it,
gently, to the sleeping bear.
Did he play the HARP, FLUTE, TAMBOUR or LUTE?
4. The Island of Glass
As Lin played the harp he felt himself
transported on a wave of magical sound. Light
spiralled and flamed around him. A river of
patterns swirled. Time and the world turned, and
Lin melted through them until he found himself on
a stony shore at the edge of a vast, dark lake.
Behind him cliffs soared, solid and sheer as far
as he could see, and further, into a great
darkness where the sky should have been. That is
why the water looks so black, he thought. There
is no sky here to reflect in it.
Yet there was light of a kind - a pale, hard
light that skimmed the dark surface like a thrown
stone, without sinking in. The light came from an
island far out in the middle of the lake. The
island itself was beaming out the cold, sharp
rays. It was made entirely of glass.
Lin turned to the cliff. It held one small rocky
shelf where he placed the instrument. It seemed
to belong there and began to play itself, almost
inaudibly. But Lin did not belong. There was
water in front of him, rock behind, and only a
small space of shingle between the two. He did
the only thing he thought he could. He turned and
walked with the cliff on his right hand, the
water on his left, along the narrow shore. He
walked for what seemed hours, days, always the
cliff to his right, the lake to his left,
unchanging. At last he heard the faintest hint of
music ahead. He hastened towards it and found the
instrument on its rocky shelf, exactly as he had
left it. He was back where he had started.
He sat on the shore exhausted, gazing towards
the island of glass. The island! That was the way
to go. Could he swim so far? He rose and stepped
towards the waters edge, then into its icy
darkness. No sooner had he broken the surface
than the water foamed and churned. The slimy
tentacles of some unspeakable thing snaked out
towards him, reached for him, grabbed at him,
drove him, stumbling, back against the cliff.
He stood and stared at the island, close to
despair. Was there no way off this shore? He
needed a boat, but there was no boat only cliff
and shore and terrible water. He imagined the
boat he needed. He could picture it in his mind.
He could see its grooved planking. He could see
its curving prow. He could smell the good wood,
and feel its roughness. He could hear the water
lapping against its sides. He could feel the
gravel scrunch as he edged the boat away from the
He stepped into it and pushed off. The boat was
floating now out into the lake. Again the water
stirred and bubbled, but this time no tentacles
appeared, only a human arm rising from the
depths. Its hand held a long, plain staff of
wood. It offered up the staff and Lin reached out
to take it. He stood then in the middle of the
boat holding the staff high and horizontal in
front of him. He imagined himself a mast. He
imagined a sail. He imagined a wind that drove
him steadily to the shore of the glass island.
Lin stepped from the boat onto the island still
carrying the staff. As he stepped, the staff
struck the glass. It struck with a crack that
echoed around the island, and a spectrum of light
shot from the glass, splitting into intense
beams. Rainbow bridges of light vaulted out from
the island across the dark water. Bridges of
blue, green, indigo and violet light solidified
in front of Lin, and he stepped resolutely onto
one of them.
Did he use the BLUE, GREEN, INDIGO or VIOLET
4. The Theatre of Colours
Holding the flute to his lips, Lin began to
play. Instinctively, his hands knew which keys to
press and the music flowed, filling the air with
the clearest, most beautiful sounds he had ever
heard. He felt his eyelids drooping as the music
enveloped his body. You are completely safe,
spoke a voice, as soft arms caught him. I am
Minerva, goddess of the flute.
He awoke to find himself sitting in front of a
tall, thin building naphtha torches illuminating
a sign advertising the next show. The town was
deserted. Lin felt, that having ventured this
far, not much more could faze him, so he bypassed
the entrance gate, and went in All was silent.
Litter was strewn across the floor. It was as
though time had frozen and someone had taken a
photograph of the moment. A hundred or more
seats lay empty and a deep red velvet curtain
hung from ceiling to floor.
Please take a seat, Lin, a gentle voice
beckoned. Lin could see no one. The voice
continued. Do not fear, my friend, you are
completely safe Completely safe? Those words
echoed back from his memory, but Minervas hidden
voice still did not take on an image. As Lin sat
down, flutes played sweet music, the curtain rose
and the show began.
It told the tale of an ancient tribe and their
epic battle against the forces of darkness. Two
great armies faced each other on either side of
the stage. Slowly, they advanced, setting about
each other with a fury so terrible that it could
be no theatre show. Lin was witnessing grim
reality. Faintly visible through the mass of
people, Lin noticed a young boy dressed all in
red. Everything else seemed to be in black and
white, so the boy stood out in sharp
contrast. The boy looked very familiar indeed,
very like Lin himself. It was as though Lin were
being shown his inner self, his alter ego.
Without warning, an invisible energy seemed to
draw him towards the stage. He stood up and,
unable to resist the pull, walked towards the boy
in red. Nearer and nearer he was drawn, until
they could almost shake hands. The two boys were
standing directly opposite each other, maybe only
centimetres away. Lin was on the stage. No longer
a spectator but a living, breathing character in
the midst of a real battle. The boy held out his
hand to Lin and offered him a sword. It was
fantastically light, and cut through the air with
the swiftness of a bird. Lin felt as if it had
belonged to him all his life.
Lin turned to thank the boy, only to find that
he had vanished. Looking down at himself, Lin
realised he himself was now dressed in red, just
as the boy had been. He realised that this was
the sword he had always been destined to have,
and that with it he could move closer to
fulfilling his task to find the sleeping
magician and wake him.
Without warning, the armies disappeared and Lin
was left alone. Lin forced the sword into the
earth beneath him. As he removed it, the sky lit
up with a dazzling spectrum of colour. As it
calmed, the colour spilt downwards, and fell to
Earth, forming four beautiful bridges around him.
Each bridge pointed in one direction of the
compass N, S, E and W - and each was a
different colour. Sword in hand, Lin stood in the
centre and contemplated which bridge to take.
Did he use the BLUE, GREEN, INDIGO or VIOLET
4. The Open Sea
Lin beat the tambour softly and steadily. Its
note was low. The rhythm, muffled and softly
pounding, half-reminded him of something, but he
could not think what. The memory was too
deep. He walked on, without knowing where.
Lin was walking down a passage more slimy even
than the entrance in the barrow. He could hear
the hiss and slither of his feet in water on a
hard, stony floor. It seemed he had gone for
hours when he began to notice a change. The
water beneath him was getting deeper so that, as
he walked, he was kicking up great splashes. He
wondered if he might be reaching the banks of a
river or the edge of a great lake.
Then he became aware of another rhythm. At
first he thought it was the sound of the blood
rushing through his ears, his own breath surging
in his chest, but soon it was unmistakable - the
sound of the sea. As the pounding got nearer, the
water level rose. Then came a new fear if the
level rose any more it would become impossible to
continue walking. He would have to swim. And Lin
had never learned to swim.
The water had reached his thighs and he tried
edging across the passage to see if it was
shallower at either side. But the narrow passage
gave him little option a few steps either way
and he came up against the cold damp stones of
the walls. The water was on his chest and soon
he knew it would be over his head. His only real
choices were to go on or to go back. Lin
thought of the tribe waiting around the fire,
hours behind him on the other side of the barrow.
All their hope was on him. To go back would be
deep shame or perhaps worse. No, he would
continue. He would trust to his own strong will,
his commitment to saving his people.
He took a breath and allowed the water to lift
him off his feet. He gasped as the water pulled
him, pushed him and then, amazingly, held him up.
He moved his feet, partly in panic, partly in a
desperate attempt to move forward, and felt a
sudden exhilaration. He couldnt feel the floor
beneath him, but he wasnt sinking.
Extraordinary! This was swimming! He kept his
head high, gulping more air in, and moved his
arms around. He grew more confident and moved
faster and then, looking up, he saw above him a
single star. He was out of the passage. He was in
the open sea. And if he was in the sea there
must, somewhere, be a shore. He continued
thrashing around in the water, becoming
increasingly frantic.
Just then, the moon came out from behind a
cloud. The eerie silvery light showed Lin the
seascape in front of him. Off to the left he saw
a beach. He hurried towards it, swimming
furiously, and hauled himself up on the shore. By
the light of the moon he saw a wooden staff
planted in the sand. As his hand reach out and
took it four bridges of pure light appeared,
arching off into the distance across the pounding
sea, like single-coloured rainbows.
Did he use the BLUE, GREEN, INDIGO or VIOLET
4. A Grandmothers Gift
Lin knelt, fingering the strings of the lute.
The gentle notes began to swirl around him,
folding him inside a cloud of sound. In his
minds eye, he was transported back to his
grandmothers cottage. He could see her wise,
wrinkled face. He could feel the roughness of her
work-worn hands. But those hands! They had the
power to play a lute as no one else in the
village, in the whole of the valley, ever could.
Learn to play, boy encouraged his grandmother.
Learn to play and freedom will be yours. A
hard task, but Lin had learned to play. His
knowing grandmother had sat, smiling at all his
efforts, and then one day had declared Ah - now
you have learned! Mark my words, lovely boy, the
spirits themselves are quietened by your
skill. Waking from his daydream, Lin stood up.
Moving cautiously across the gloomy room, he
headed towards a dimly lit archway. Now that he
had stopped playing, the stillness settled to the
floor like dust. No danger was apparent, so he
stepped more confidently towards the
light. Suddenly, Lin sensed a presence.
Friend or foe? His voice echoed to the
vaulted roof. No answer came. Lins skin felt
cold. Clammy sweat formed on his brow and palms.
He held tightly to the neck of the lute. It was
his talisman, perhaps the salvation for his
tribe, and, whatever happened, he would not let
it from his grasp!
The air before him began suddenly to crackle and
spark. Flashes of iridescent light filled the
space, and shadowy forms began to sweep and swirl
around the room. As he watched, the forms grew in
size their frenzied movements sent fear rippling
through Lins bones. Swooping, closer and closer.
Brushing his skin. Their evil reached into his
very soul, grasping his thoughts, sucking at his
will. Lin could feel his strength seeping away,
an aching tiredness threatening to overcome him.
Visions played in his head Magh, magicians,
ghostly warriors, ghostly kings and ...
Play, boy! Play! Lin struggled to rouse
himself. Use your skill, little one. Use your
skill, my shining lad! His grandmothers face
flickered before him, and, with the last remnants
of his strength, Lin lifted the lute and began to
play. Notes floated into the air, whirling
upwards, buffeted by the shadows. Thin at first,
the music seemed to have little effect. Then, Lin
felt freedom in his soul. The spectres grasp
slowly loosened. Renewed, he played on, faster
now. He watched as the forms began to shy away.
Penetrated by the swelling music, their substance
evaporated. A space appeared between Lin and the
Without hesitation, Lin leaped towards the arch,
and passed through. The vapour-trail forms
suddenly found their voices. They screeched
behind him, but could not follow. A cloaked
figure, its head shrouded by a hood, stood
blocking the passage. Lins heart lurched, as he
peered into the gloom, and spied a smooth, ash
staff raised against him. Beyond that, a deep
chasm. Was there no escape? What threat faced him
now? The figure pushed back its hood, and
offered the staff to Lin. He took a deep breath,
as he clasped the warm wood.
How did you get here? he stammered. Im
always with you, child, his grandmother replied
softly. Now, you must choose. She stretched
out her arm. Hanging like a screen, instead of
the coarse woollen fabric that Lin remembered,
the cloak shimmered in bands of blue, green,
indigo and violet. His grandmother beckoned. Lin
touched the cloak with the staff, and saw the
colours spring into bridges across the chasm. He
met his grandmothers reassuring gaze, then
stepped forward onto a bridge.
Did he use the BLUE, GREEN, INDIGO or VIOLET
5.The Lens of Truth
Lin awoke from a deep slumber. Where was he? Who
was he? Lin searched his brain frantically for
fragments of memory, anything that might help him
piece together his past. He could remember
nothing, not even his name. He was in a small
cave. Lin eased himself up, his body aching. He
took one step forward before stopping in his
tracks. A tiny bear-like creature scuttled
towards him.
Good evening, Lin, spoke the creature. I hope
you feel recovered and rested, ready for the
final part of your quest. Lin stuttered in
confusion. My name is Lin? What is my quest? Who
are you? Do not fear, your memory will return.
I am Tarik. Sit down and I shall help you to
recall your memories. Tarik told Lin of his
past, of Barrow Hill, his tribe, his quest.
Lastly, he spoke to him of his journey to the
As I saw you crossing the bridge of blue light,
I heard the attack cries of the Eagle of Doom.
Once in its eyrie, death is certain. I knew you
were in mortal danger. The Eagle swooped down and
caught you in its talons. I fired my arrows at it
but, even as they pierced its side and it
released you, I realised you would fall into the
waters beneath, the Waters of Lethe, the River of
Forgetfulness. That is why your memory is now
lost, but not lost forever
You, Lin, are of immense importance to your
village, to us all. You are nearing the end of a
quest that has required great bravery. You must
find the magician, who sleeps on a hill not far
from this cave. To complete your quest and for
your memory to return, you must follow the Lens
of Truth. It lies within the Magicians Maze
which guards the hill. Lin hugged Tarik,
thanked him for his hospitality and promised to
At the foot of the hill stood hundreds of trees,
their dense green foliage forming an impenetrable
wall. To his right, a small object glistened. As
Lin went to touch it, it vanished, a door
appearing in its place. Cautiously, Lin pushed
open the door and went through. The same object
appeared in front of him. Again, as he reached
for it, it vanished - this time reappearing ten
metres to his left. The object was leading the
way. As Lin moved to touch it, each time it would
reappear here or there, guiding Lin through the
twists and turns of foliage. Turning a corner,
Lin realised he had reached the centre of the
maze. The object fell to rest on a stone table.
Lin saw that it was circular, and made of glass.
Was this the Lens of Truth of which Tarik had
spoken? Taking it from the table, Lin held it up
to the sky. Looking through, he began to
remember. Barrow Hill, his quest, the lands hed
visited all flooded into view. He saw Magh
smiling, his people cheering, his village saved.
How could that be? Looking closer still, he saw
himself standing guard over his tribe. He had
discovered the truth. He had awakened the
magician in himself, and with his newly found
powers would lead his people to safety.
He replaced the Lens on the table. As he did so
a magnificent golden bird descended from the
heavens. It did not speak, but Lin recognised it
as the Phoenix of the Barrow the sign that hope
was returning to his village. The bird rose into
the air once more, and Lin followed it to meet
his destiny.
5. The Ascent of Truth
Gossamer threads of green light spun from the
bridge and cascaded through Lin's body, dizzying
him. Needles of trepidation quivered across his
skin, as he struggled to keep his balance. He
watched in awe, as the emerald skeins gushed from
his staff and stealthily wove themselves into
warrior after warrior. The bridge was soon
consumed by the legion before him.
The phantom army stretched to the horizon and
beyond, each champion carrying a staff identical
to his own. Transfixed, Lin knew the magician was
stirring. The soft downy hair on Lin's neck
prickled his skin became clammy as he sensed a
presence at his back. Turning, he saw a majestic
apparition in form and the ghostly king
solidified before his eyes. It stood cloaked in
knowledge, a halo of wisdom for its crown. Lin
cast his command, I've come to wake the
The phantom king stood at the bottom of a stone
staircase that curled up into the heavens. Lin
wondered at the stairway, as both end and
beginning appeared together. It went neither up
nor down, yet he could clearly see each step was
higher than the last. The ascent of truth lies
before you. Where left becomes right, And
right becomes left. Where seeing is
disbelieving You will find that which you seek.
The king's words were resolute. Lin did not yet
understand, but he did the only thing he could.
Placing his staff on the stone, he climbed onto
the first step. At that moment, the king and his
warriors crumbled, scattering like memories in a
dream. Lin was alone. Step after step, hour
after hour, age after age Lin climbed. He didn't
understand. The staircase led nowhere. Anger and
frustration exploded in his veins.
MAGICIAN, I can't find you, he roared, hurling
his staff into the timeless void.
The staff landed softly at the edge of a pool,
its waters swirling wildly. Lin, his anger spent,
stepped up to the waters edge, leant forward and
collected his staff. As he bent, scooping one
hand to drink, the waters calmed. Realisation
pierced like an arrow. He gazed into the crystal
waters, cupping his left hand, clasping the staff
in the right. There, peering back at him was
another Lin cupping his right hand, clasping the
staff in his left. Lin stared, disbelieving.
He plunged his face into the cool waters,
drinking its secrets. He felt its sweetness slide
across his tongue and trickle down his throat to
refresh him its purity washed the mist from his
eyes. His fears and doubts settled into courage
and hope. The time had come. His time had come.
Voices in his head echoed, Are you ready? We're
waiting. Lin, are you ready? questioned Magh.
We're waiting. The borders. Lin, lifting his
head, pressing his fist to his heart, nodded to
the council gathered around the village drinking
pool. He paused, I'm ready. He raised his
staff and watched the magic begin to flow.
5.The Magician
As Lin stepped off the indigo bridge it faded
into darkness behind him. He found himself in a
vast, pillared hall, lit by flickering torches.
In the shadows lurked warriors in full battle
gear, chain coats, iron helmets, iron shields.
Lin stood transfixed. More and more warriors
appeared. They advanced on him with a menacing,
rhythmic clank. Rank upon rank they rolled
towards him, like the waves of metal sea. And as
they came they drew weapons and held them aloft
to threaten him, swords, axes, maces. Clank.
Clank. Bearing down. Encroaching. Enclosing.
Clank. Clank. Clank.
In panic Lin lifted the staff he was carrying to
try to defend himself, a futile weapon against
armour and swords. Yet, suddenly, the warriors
gave way, parted ranks. Between them strode
forward a king, crowned and with one hand of
shining silver. Who is it that you seek? asked
the king. The magician, said Lin, the one who
The warriors parted further and the king pointed
with his silver hand to a curtain covering what
must be a doorway. The curtain was woven with a
strange spiral pattern. Lin approached and
cautiously pulled it aside. Beyond was a small
chamber completely walled with mirrors. But
inside the chamber there was nothing, nothing at
all. Theres no-one in there, said Lin
despairingly. Ive come all this way, and the
sleeping magician has gone. But still the king
pointed beyond the curtain, into the chamber.
Enter, boy. You will find the magician.
Unsure, Lin looked at him. He looked deep into
the kings eyes and found there truth, and a
promise. He followed the unwavering arm, the
resolutely pointing hand. He walked slowly past
the spiralled curtain and into the chamber. Then
he stopped. He stared. He saw himself, himself
from every side. Multiple mirrored images of Lin
stared back at him. In every hand of every Lin he
saw the staff he still held. And every staff in
every hand glowed with the light of magical power.
He turned then, and left the chamber. He found
himself no longer in the hall of the warriors,
but back at the centre of the barrow. Great slabs
of ancient stone surrounded him again on every
side. A voice from the tribe outside found its
echoing way through some unseen gap. Are you
there, Lin? Did you find the magician? Did you
wake him? Yes, said Lin. I think I did.
He raised the staff, his staff. The stone around
him dissolved away. He stood on a rounded
hilltop, all the folk of his own tribe clustered
before him. Then he lifted his staff higher still
and magic burst from its tip like light streaming
from a star. Lins magic streamed to the eastern
horizon, where it danced with the fire of a
flaming dawn. It streamed to the far, far north
where it kissed the misty air of mountains. It
streamed to the south where it enfolded the
resinous dark of a wild forest. It streamed to
the west where it glinted off the dancing waves
of the distant sea.
5. Lin Alone
With the hollow echoing of his own footsteps
ringing in his ears, Lin reached the end of the
violet bridge and stared mortified into an abyss
of emptiness. His eyes strained in an attempt to
make out shapes and patterns around him, but he
found that only a pale white light reflected back
at him. All around him was a dense white fog, as
though the gods had taken away the earth and the
sky and left nothing in their place.
Cautiously, he slipped one foot out in front of
him and watched the white clouds swirl around it,
as if they were waiting to engulf it. Gathering
his staff in his hand and his courage in his
heart, he stood at the edge of the bridge, eyes
fixed downwards, and stepped off the bridge with
his heart pounding.
Suddenly Lin felt unfamiliar ground beneath his
feet. The white mist began to clear and Lin could
see a dark shape moving slowly towards him from
the distance. Slowly, two menacing red eyes
appeared from the fog, which was now clearing,
and he could see that he was in some kind of
underground cave. Lin's heart beat faster, as if
it was struggling to break free of his small
chest. As the eyes grew larger and larger, Lin
could see that they belonged to a dragon - a
vast, scaly, dark dragon, whose smoky breath
filled the cave as it moved steadily towards him
with great lumbering footsteps.
Lin's fingers gripped the wooden staff tightly
and he crouched down low to the cave floor. The
dragon was now staring straight into his eyes, as
if to mesmerise him with fear. Suddenly, the
dragon raised its scaly head and fire thundered
from its nostrils at the exact moment that Lin
threw himself across the floor and out of its
range. The dragon didn't wait before turning on
Lin again, who was now backed tightly into a dark
corner of the cave.
Lin noticed a small crevice higher up in the
cave wall and managed to secure one foot into it
before the dragon took a mighty breath in and
opened its great mouth to reveal his black teeth
like great shards of stone. With one great leap,
Lin threw himself towards the dragon's mouth his
staff raised aloft and rammed it with all his
might into the dragons mouth, so that its jaw
was locked. Landing heavily on his side, Lin
hauled himself to his feet with a sense of
amazement that his plan had worked and ran back
to the crevice in the wall, which he managed to
drag himself up and into.
At first there was only darkness, until Lin
appeared on the other side of the cavern. An old
man lay silently on a ledge formed from the
cavern wall. "Are you the magician who sleeps?"
asked Lin nervously. "A magician is what I once
was, before those around me lost faith in me" he
replied, and I lost my powers and was condemned
here to the edge of the world, until one true of
spirit and soul believed in me again. That person
is you my boy, you have released me. "I need
your help" Lin pleaded. My tribe faces terrible
danger. You saved us once, but will you help us
It is you that has saved me, and although you
don't yet know it, saved your people, The
magician replied. But I have something, which
may help you. He produced a small silver pouch.
Whenever you feel your fear approaching,
whether it comes from the clatter of enemy
hooves, or from inside your very own heart, hold
tight onto this necklace and trust in yourself,
and the magic of a thousand wizards will be
released. Lin opened the silver bag and pulled
out a magic necklace, which he immediately put
on. He felt its power, felt the ground beneath
him sway and the mist roll back. Whe