So the doomed adventurers decided to make their way to the throne room. The corridor leading there was also full of fate strands, although these were gently moving back and forth... much easier to walk past if you could see them, at least.
They wanted to know if the strands were really sticky, though, so they charmed a rat and... huh, the rat already had a fate strand attached to it. BLOOP, it twinned itself and attached to Kit when he picked it up. Then when Cho asked him to toss the rat over, BLOOP again. Rats!
Experiment 1: Throw the rat at the fate strands.
Result: The rat was able to catch hold of the fate strands and do a weird acrobatic (acro-rat-ic?) maneuver to cling to Kit again, since it was very very charmed.
Conclusion: Somehow these threads are physical? Better not touch them.
Experiment 2: Cut one of the fate strands in the hallway using Cho's anti-fate technique.
Result: Yep, it's cut. And it stopped moving.
Conclusion: Wasn't it moving because it was attached to a fish in the pond overhead? Did that kill the fish or something?
Experiment 3: Cut the rat's doom-thread using Cho's anti-fate technique.
Result: Rat is driven insane, tries to murder Kit.
Conclusion: Maaaybe we don't want to just cut these.
Experiment 4: Cure the rat's insanity using Kit's sorrow-absorbtion technique.
Result: Rat is still insane. Kit is now also... not *quite* insane. But very very angry and hungry and scared and by the GODS how could a rat possibly be that insane?
Conclusion: Yeah, let's not cut these.
So the dodged the threads, and entered the throne room, where a giant crystal spider sat on top of the throne, in front of a massive cauldron full of soup. The little fate threads that they could just barely see were attached to the soup. Kit peered into the soup, but it wasn't Sentient Creature Stew, it looked more like tea.
The Giant Crystal Spider informed them that it wasn't Krttk, or the one that had doomed them, which was probably Krttk, but that it was sure they were doomed, and if they wanted to live and see Krttk they had to give up their fate. ALL their fate, not just the dooms.
Cho: "And how do we do that?"
GCS: "Breathe on the soup."
Kit: *leaps back from the soup*
Cho and Bobbi (she decided to go by a female name as long as she had a female body) did so, and didn't immediately die or turn into mindless slaves, like Kit had half expected. Still, he wasn't about to give up his destiny, even if he didn't know if he had one or if it was good. And certainly not without understanding what that *meant*.
Luckily, he had a book on alchemy stolen from Ankh Morpork accidentally along with the more useful magic books, and they were able to scavenge an alchemy lab from the former hobgoblin encampment. And the Giant Crystal Spider didn't seem to care that he was taking a sample of the soup and deconstructing it. Unfortunately, Kit kind of sucked at alchemy, so it took him all day to figure out how it worked well enough to look up the sort of magic needed to duplicate the effects in his other magical books.
So while he was doing that the rest of the party explored the rest of the top level of the dungeon, but there wasn't much to see -- some piranhha birds, a 'thoul', more dead hobgoblins, some lame treasure compared to what they'd gathered already, let alone the cash they'd gotten from the fountain of youth water.
Eventually, he was able to... well, to move all the fates that he *couldn't* see on himself and Mira and Leen onto inanimate objects. They still had to breathe on the soup to get rid of the doom threads, which were too strong for Kit to affect. But this way, they could eventually move their mundane fates back onto themselves after they were done with Krttk... although, really, the research revealed that it wasn't that big a deal -- destiny and fate was always in flux, so 'giving up your fate' just meant that you'd have to start from scratch, not that you'd never ever be able to do anything important.
Then they were given obsidian spears -- charms to repel fate threads, although the GCS didn't tell them that and they had to see for themselves -- and allowed to return to the trapdoor to level 2, which opened this time.
And dumped them right on top of a manticore. The manticore was not amused. He was, shortly, frozen, set on fire, electrocuted, and stabbed, though. The Bobbi slit his throat, because she does that sort of thing.
The maze had several sources of water in it, but it was a maze... they had a map, but it was hard to follow, because some enchantment on the place kept trying to mess with their sense of direction, or with their confidence in their sense of direction. Like, the directions to get to a pool might be 'follow the right hand wall', and until they arrived at the pool it was hard to be sure they'd remembered them correctly. They didn't meet anything (else) really dangerous in the maze, although they did see some strange things.
Like a pond where multicolored crystal spiders drank, who tried to attach more fate strands to the party when disturbed, but weren't able thanks to the spears.
Or a cave where giant shrews dug crystals out of the walls to assemble into spiders.
Or a statue with a magic mouth spell demanding their submission and threatening them with death.
Or a column of shadow that dispelled all magic that passed through it.
What they didn't find was any sufficiently magical water, so they had to move on to level 3, which involved going down some rapids, according to the map. They tried going *up* the rapids instead, in case the fountain was the source of the river, like in Kintar, but the ceiling quickly descended to the waterline, so it wasn't a good choice.
On level 3, they found kobolds, who were the servants of Krttk -- the ones who'd agreed to be his slaves in return for not being doomed like the hobgoblins had been. The party reluctantly allowed them to take them to their leader, but before they could get there, a lich appeared and killed all the kobolds -- it was the priest from the temple on level 1, who'd been cryptic and had apparently doomed them (although from the thing with the rat that might just have been the contagious nature of the doom, and not an intentional act on his part).
As a lich, he was (a) immune to fate -- fate strands didn't seem to attach to the undead; the thoul for example had been fate-free, and (b) less cryptic, since he wasn't still concentrating on the lichdom spell.
Lich: "You gave up all your fate?"
Kit: "No, we attached them to this rock."
Lich: "I'm not so happy about being dead, but maybe after I kill Krttk I can change back."
Kit: "I bet the Church of the Eternal Void could help you."
Lich: "Assuming they'd talk to me. So, are you here to kill Krttk too?"
Kit: "Well, the other fountain guardians tend to kick our butts, but killing him seems warranted. He's awfully bloodthirsty."
So, for the moment, it looked like they were going to join forces with the lich.
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