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Snow Witch

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Shareella, best known as the Snow Witch is the main villain of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Caverns of the Snow Witch. She is a highly powerful vampire witch who made a pact with an Ice Demon to bring a new Ice Age over the continent of Allansia. Shareella is with little doubt the most famous among the - few - notable villainesses of the series. She is noted for the two confrontations against her and for being defeated around the middle of the story, while breaking her Death Spell is the final task of the game.

Background

In Caverns of the Snow Witch, the villainess is never referred to by her name, only by her title. Like several other villains of the series, her name and her background were revealed in the additional sources such as Out of the Pit or Titan-The Fighting Fantasy World.

Shareella was born in the city of Zengis in Allansia, the most featured continent of the world of Titan. Zengis is famous for having the biggest religious activity in the entire Allansia, and like everyone else here, she was raised to assume a spiritual role. In Shareella's case, she was chosen to become a mage. Shareella was a particularly talented student and at first a wise young woman, until the fated day when she was ordered to travel in the snowy heights of the Icefinger Mountains for her training.

There, she ventured in a valley where she found a huge statue of ice representing a demon, or so it seemed. In fact, there was no statue but an actual Ice Demon, who corrupted her and turned her into an evil witch. In the following years, the demon taught Shareella the ways of Dark Magic and Necromancy, completing her corruption until redemption was no longer possible.

Then, Shareella took command of the tribes of orcs, goblins and other evil creatures who worshipped the Ice Demon and had them dig the Crystal Caverns, her base of operations. She later began sending them to kidnap people from the nearby towns to be her slaves, binding them to her will with bewitched collars. At some point, Shareella relinquished her humanity and became a vampire, becoming immortal and further increasing her already great magical powers.

She spent many years gathering her forces and honing her skills, with the ultimate goal to cast a new Ice Age over Allansia, (and possibly the entire world of Titan) where she would rule as an empress and where the Ice Demons would dwell freely. To that end, she recruited many powerful followers, including a morally dubious mercenary named Jamut Manhunter, an Illusionist mage and a tamed White Dragon that guards her inner sanctum.

About the Snow Witch

Shareella (vampire)

a close up on the Snow Witch's face

The Snow Witch is unsurprisingly a fearsome witch, with incredible powers and mastery of Ice Magic, much mightier than the Ice Demon who corrupted her. She controls ice, snow and winter, she can cause hailstorms and blizzards at will, and almost every cold-dwelling creature (found in great numbers in the Icefinger Mountains) such as the ice-breathing White Dragon or the dangerous Yeti obey her.

She is also vastly proficient in regular Dark Magic, as evidenced by her mastery of the dreadful Death Spell, the magical creatures she created and the collars of enslavement she crafted. (She can to kill any of her slaves through the collar.) She can summon supernatural beings and spirits, and fire energy blasts potent enough to kill a well-built man in one shot or lightning bolts, among others. Shareella is also skilled in Necromancy, being able to raise undeads and to create zombie clones of her slaves.

Being a vampire, the Snow Witch has to rest all day in her coffin, to feed on blood and all the advantages that comes with her state, such as the enhanced strength and the hypnotizing gaze. Should her body be destroyed, she bewitched a crystal orb which would house her spirit, which can only be destroyed through a magical mean.

The Snow Witch was once a wise and lawful young woman, whose curiosity proved her undoing, but she is now a malevolent, ambitious and sadistic villainess who enjoys to torture her slaves, either physically or through foul mind games. She is also very (too much) confident in her abilities and she likes to play life-threatening games against her foes. This liking for games would ultimately lead to her downfall.

The Snow Witch is still associated with the Ice Demon who corrupted her, who rules her armies alongside her, being worshipped as an idol, and watches over her domains while she rests. It is not known who obeys whom between the two but it is fair to assume that they simply work together toward a common goal. The Snow Witch being interested in ruling the continent and the demon being interested in taking a territory away from the Gods' influence for his kind to dwell.

In Caverns of the Snow Witch

The playable character works for the rich merchant Big Jim Sun, being tasked to escort and protect Big Jim's horse-drawn carts. The story begins when Big Jim offers you 50 gold coins for killing a Yeti that frequently attacks his carts. You start your journey in the Icefinger Mountains, following the tracks of the monster.

After killing the powerful Yeti, who has 10 in skill (power level) and 12 in stamina (life-points), you meet a dying man named Harlak Erlisson, who in his last breathes tells you about the Crystal Caves he just escaped, the dreadful Snow Witch, and the immense treasure she has ransacked. Motivated by both your greed and your sense of duty, you resolve to end to the threat of the Snow Witch.

When sneaking into the Crystal Caves, you witness the Witch's army and the countless slaves who are compelled to work for her. You must by no mean get caught, or the monsters would place a collar of enslavement on you. There are also many monsters that you will have to fight, including mighty Warriors made of carved crystal, a powerful, demonic Night Stalker, and none other than the Ice Demon who corrupted Shareella in the first place.

  • Surprisingly enough, the Ice Demon is weaker that the other monsters mentioned above, but he remains a dangerous enemy with 9 in skill, 11 in stamina, and a icy breath that can cause additional damages.
Dragon Blanc

the White Dragon

Then, you must defeat the Illusionist, whose power source is the prism he is holding. Upon reaching the Snow Witch's vault, you will have to face the fearsome White Dragon who guards it.
  • The White Dragon has 12 in skill (the maximum available) 14 in stamina and in addition to its claws, it attacks by breathing ice, which can cost 3 stamina points, making it the most dangerous enemy faced in the game.

Confronting the Snow Witch

Like Zanbar Bone before her, the Snow Witch is one of the few Fighting Fantasy villains not defeated in an actual fight. She rises from her tomb and tries to hypnotize you, and you must overcome it, lest she turns you into her vampire slave. Then you need an ornate stake and to have at least 10 in skill to pierce the Witch in the heart and destroy her, otherwise everything is doomed.

Second Confrontation

Shareella Orbe

Shareella's crystal orb

Having slain the witch, you must escape the Crystal Caves, tracked down by all her angry minions. You will then befriend two former slaves still wearing the magical collar, an elf named Redswift and a dwarf named Stubb, who will go with you. In your escape, the three of you come across a crystal orb that houses Shareella's spirit. Even with her undead body destroyed, the Snow Witch is still alive and as dangerous as ever.

The witch creates two zombie clones of Redswift and Stubb to fight you, before challenging you to a game of discs. If you have no disc or tries to attack her, she kills you with an energy blast. The same fate awaits you if you lose the game.

There is a figure on each disc (star, triangle, and circle), and one beats another in a Rock-Paper-Scissors-like fashion. You hide a disc and the Witch names a figure. If you hide the corresponding figure or the one that can beat it, you go to the next stage, in which you need to hide the figure that can beat the one named by the Witch to win. If you succeed in both rounds of this difficult game, the orb shatters alongside the witch's evil spirit, destroying her once and for all.

The Death Spell

With the Snow Witch dead and gone, you store an immense fortune in gold coins before returning to the warmer regions of central Allansia with your two friends. When you come near Stubb's dwarven village of Stonebridge, you discover that King Gillibran's magical hammer has been stolen, and that without it the village is threatened by the nearby tribes of trolls. Stubb then bids farewell to you and Redswift to take part in the search.

Unfortunately, you and Redswift discover shortly after that they are victims of a Death Spell cast by the Snow Witch. Your strength and life itself are gradually fading away and you will both die very soon if the curse is not quickly dispelled. The only one who can help you is the legendary Healer who lives secluded. (The Healer was later revealed to be Pen Ty Kora, one of the most powerful and benevolent mages of Titan, alongside Arakor Nicodemus and Gereth Yaztromo with whom he learnt magic.)

The more the story progresses the more your stamina decreases, and if you do not drink the life potion owned by a dark elf you had to fight, the game is lost. Alas, Redswift could not drink the potion and nothing can save him.

Upon encountering the Healer you must accomplish a long ritual to undo the curse, including many trials such as an encounter with a Banshee who predicts your death. (She is a very powerful undead with 12 in skill and 12 in stamina, whom you must avoid.) Then, you have to climb your way towards the summit of Firetop Mountain (the infamous hideout of the dreaded dark wizard Oldoran Zagor, who was slain some time ago by an adventurer), in order to complete the ritual.

After being relieved of the curse by the Healer and his powerful Phoenix, the player decides to venture towards Stonebridge to see Stubb again and help his people.

Trivia

  • The fact that the magical hammer of the king of Stonebridge is lost and must be retrieved is the plotline of the gamebook Forest of Doom, which was continued by the gamebook Temple of Terror. In spite of having been written later, this gamebook is thus the first part of a trilogy of the author Ian Livingstone, consisting of Caverns of the Snow Witch, Forest of Doom and Temple of Terror.

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