"Can Someone Please Find Richard?"
Inside the house, we were shown Richard Garriott's private study. NCsoft's head PR flak called it "mini-Smithsonian." There were ancient mathematical texts, scientific instruments dating back to the dark ages, first editions of The Lord of the Rings and The Wizard of Oz and more, and a curious assortment of curios acquired from all over the world, including a piece of The Great Wall of China and an antique stained glass window.
The tour led us to a balcony overlooking the first floor of the study. There seemed to be no way down. Our tour guide picked up a piece of art, placed it in a new location, there was an audible click and a part of the wall gave way, exposing a secret passageway and a spiral staircase - and the dungeon.
Unfortunately, we couldn't get in.
"Can someone please get Richard," screamed the PR flak. There was a note of panic in his voice. I couldn't tell from where I was standing if someone had gotten trapped in an iron maiden or if there was simply something wrong with the door, stranding all of us in a room with no way out.
Richard arrived promptly and remedied the problem. I'm not sure if secret words were whispered or if he performed some arcane feat of magic with a wand and a pair of pliers, but the door swung open and we all clambered inside.
The worst part about the dungeon tour was being crammed into a space smaller than my bathroom with 20 other people. The best part was all of it.
A quick list of the curios found in Garriott's dungeon: a human skeleton, a human fetus, severed hands, shrunken heads, an ancient mummified falcon, a bat, numerous dead animals and a collection of tombstones. On the whole, it was one of the most awesome spectacles I've ever beheld. Another secret door led us back outside.
Next Page: "The Bus is Dead"