This is a darkness zone on Level 1 of the "Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord". It is indicated by a sign at 9E/12N. The sign implies that the characters are not allowed to enter the zone, but adventurers usually take a sign like this as an incentive. Moreover, entering the zone is absolutely necessary to proceed with the game.
There are three things worth noting about the zone:
- After being teleported to the southeastern area of the level, where the characters can find the Key of Bronze and may fight Murphy's Ghost, their only way back from there is via a corridor of darkness that leads through a one-way door into the Area out of Bounds.
- Most importantly, there is an elevator at the other end of the area's entrance (10E/8N). This elevator leads to levels 2-4 and is the only way (besides teleportation) to reach the Testing Ground Control Center and the Private Express Elevator, which ultimately leads to the lower levels.
- Moreover, there is a room at 9E/19N which can only be entered from the east:
- A strange glow seems to emanate from this room. In the center, a smallish man in a long robe turns towards the party and shouts “Begone, strangers!” He slowly waves his hands and chants “Mapiro Mahama Diromat!!”
This incident effectively transports the party back to the castle. This happens every time. Perhaps this magician is the training grounds overseer, maybe he is Trebor himself. The spell "Mapiro Mahama Diromat" has no effect when cast by a party member.
The teleport at 9E/19N might be annoying when a party stumbles in for the first time. However, it can be used as a very helpful tool. Sometimes, when one or more party members are poisoned and no cure is available, the party has to leave the maze as quickly as possible to avoid death. This shortcut to the castle saves valuable time (and therefore hit points), when the party returns from the lower levels via the elevator.