Claire’s character begins to study about the world in classes at the school. She studies about the monetary system, local geography, how to prepare for an excursion, some weapons training, basics on some monsters and denizens of the fringes of the civilized lands of her country, and some background on the surrounding lands. She also is given a textbook with lots of information that serves as game mechanics veiled in various topical examples. She decides to pursue training to become a rogue.
Claire’s character makes good friends with her two room-mates and finds a lot out about the school. There is a boy’s school adjoining the girls’ – with a fence, a forest, and a stream separating the two. Both are enclosed in the same high wall extending from the base of a cliff.
One day an old man visits the school claiming to be an emissary of the king bearing a key and a scroll to one lucky girl. The girl is to be chosen by contest and lottery from among the winners. By roll of dice, Claire’s character wins the prize and is asked to carry the key to a mystical city in the far reaches of the country.
The day before the award ceremony, Claire and her friends hear a racket out in the school yard in the middle of the night. They open their window to see the old man being chased by what appears to be a manticore. The old man heads over to the well and flaps around with his cloak some. The manticore-like beast attacks him as the evening watch-guards come out to fight it off. The old man appears severely wounded, perhaps dead, and the beast flies off.
The next day, Claire is summoned to go down in the well in search of the key. The old man whispered that he tossed it down when the beast attacked him. He is in critical condition and might not survive. Claire and two older children go down into the well.
The bottom of the well is more like a room than a well. The floor is muddy, but there are three arches set into the walls and a pale blue light springs up from the floor area. While they are examining the arches, someone up top unties the rope and lets it fall in the well and then closes the opening up with something. Something is definitely wrong here! Further examination turns up a silvered sword in the mucj at the bottom of the well.
One arch appears to be filled with a mirror. Another has a passageway and stairs leading down. A strong sewer stench emanates from it. The third ends in a portcullis with a passage continuing beyond.
Tiff (the older girl accompanying Claire’s character) and Claire decide to go down the stairs as their only option the boy decides to stay at the bottom of the well and wait.
Claire’s character and Tiff discover an underground river set with glowing patches of moss scattered throughout. The river is bordered on both sides by a walkway or sidewalk. They head in the direction of the water flow and come across a doorway on their left.
A baby troll (or something like it) finds them and seems to like Claire’s character. He is bearing a small dragonfly – the key which they were looking for!
They go in and find a magical mirror that ‘looks’ in to the bottom of the well – only the boy is nowhere to be found. Suddenly the room floods with darkness and they are attacked by a ghost-like creature. They eventually defeat it with the silvered sword they found at the bottom of the well.
They then experiment with the mirror to find that it is a one-way gate of sorts. You can push a stick into the mirror, but if you pull back, it cuts off at the mirror surface and the other end drops into the image of the well-bottom.
They then make a raft out of the door and attempt to float downstream. The current is stronger than they expect and they are swept along at a faster and faster rate. For a time the entire tunnel is in darkness. Tiff estimates they travel almost 20 miles before they burst out of the darkness as the water cascades out of a high cleft in the side of a cliff. Below them they see a lake surrounded by the cliff wall. Claire notices stairs cut into the cliff, maybe leading back up to the cleft they were thrust out of. Claire’s character was injured in the battle with the ghost-like creature and when she hits the water, her combined injuries render her unconscious.