Summer was just about to leave Mount Maelstrom when she happened to notice there was something happening nearby. The Keepers of the Earth, whoever they were, needed defeating and who better than an Elementalist for a job like that? Also if she failed it would be a fine excuse to waypoint back and save a long walk.
It was a tough fight. Summer called up two Earth Elementals of her own to keep the Keepers back while she scorched them with fire, sleeted them with ice and sent flickers of lightning skittering across their earthen hides. She rolled about in the dirt an awful lot, too. When at last she brushed the dust from her eyes and looked around to see the shattered fragments of her Elementals beside the fast-dissolving bodies of the Keepers she was surprised to find herself the only one left standing.
Not half as surprised as she was to see a Mystical Portal hanging in the air right where the Keepers had been crouching. Keepers. Clue is in the name. No adventurer worthy of the calling can ignore a Portal, even one that asks you "Are you sure?" and then warns you "It might be dangerous..." Especially not one of those.
Stepping out of the blue, Summer found herself in perhaps the most lovely place she'd ever seen; a hidden valley, surrounded on all sides by high cliffs reaching up to a haze of sunlit cloud. Plants grew rich and dark above deep, cold pools of clear mountain snowmelt. In the center a jumbled pile of rocks topped by a giant tree almost begged to be climbed.
It was around then that Summer noticed the mosquitos. Bigger than her head? They were bigger than her! And what was rumbling down there beneath her feet in those great fissures? Earth elementals, of course. Suddenly the climb looked less like an invitation, more like an imperative. Summer scrambled.
High above the floor of the valley a Sylvari sat, comfortably reclined under the ancient tree. She introduced herself as Dierdre. These were her Steps. "And what are you doing here, my dear?"
"Searching for treasure", Summer heard herself answer. For heaven's sake! That really doesn't sound good. Alright, it's true but you could at least dress it up a little! Maybe there's something in the clear air that compels honesty or perhaps even a white lie looks too black against such beauty. Either way, it's out now.
"You might want to look in that chest over there, then", said Dierdre. "Only it's locked. You need four Cantles. I'm sure you can manage that, strapping big Norn like you". Summer looked around. There were mushrooms, those big, flat ones that grow out of trees, growing out of the tree. They looked unnervingly like stepping stones.
"Oh I get it", Summer said. "It's one of those."
I'd never heard of Dierdre's Steps. Some research after the fact told me that it was added with the Halloween patch. The full details, together with a video, are here at the invaluable Dulfy site. If you asked me I'd tell you I'm useless at jumping puzzles and hate doing them. That's not entirely true. I'm actually not that bad, probably no worse than average and I do enjoy having done a jumping puzzle. It's the actual doing of them I don't like. It's stressful and I prefer to avoid anything that raises my heart-rate.
Still, you can't not, can you? Not when you're there. And there was a chest. Who knows what might be in there? So up the magic mushroom trail I hopped. It was fairly tricky and very scary. These things are not for acrophobics. Fortunately I'm not scared of heights. Just don't look down. And definitely don't twitch.
Jumping Puzzles in GW2 go a lot better since I learned how to disable double-tap to dodge. That would have got me killed in short order here. I made it to the top without mishap and picked up the Cantle of Sun. Cantle is a word with which I was previously unfamiliar but there was plenty of opportunity to get to know it better because I still had three of them to get.
As I was pondering how to get down, by sheer chance I happened to spot something at my feet. Diving goggles. Slipped them on and all Summer's clothes fell off, leaving her in an acceptably modest bikini. Over the side, a forward-somersault, splash into the ice-cold water and pop an achievement. Exhillarating.
Next up, Cantle of Earth. Easy one. It's just a quick hop down a hole, dodge the purple-con Veteran Earth Elemental, grab the Cantle and scarper. That left the Cantles of Sea and Sky and I was almost at the top of the climb for the Sky when a spider jumped out and I did that thing I said not to do. Twitched. At least I had the presence of mind to twist as I fell and land in the water, fully dressed this time.
It was at this point that I went and watched Dulfy's video. The thing I really hate about jumping puzzles is having to redo them because I fell. If I can't do it first time I tend not to want another go. It was my suspicion, though, that this valley might not be so easy to find a second time so I thought that if I was going to do it at all I probably ought to get it done while I had the opportunity.
Skipping through the video it certainly seemed the hardest climb was the one I'd already done. Encouraged, I set off again, bounding like a mountain goat up the familiar trail, all the while telling myself not to get overconfident. I got overconfident. Summer slipped on a perfectly straightforward step, clawed desperately at the rock-face and plummeted. This time she did not land in a pool.
There's no waypoint in Dierdre's Steps. Yak's Bend were struggling on the Frontier and I needed my tea. She recalled to Wayfarer Foothills and that was that. I'm still two Cantles short of a Treasure Chest.
To get back in she'll need to do one of the events, assuming she can find one that's up. At least now she has waypoints. She won't have to walk all the way next time. And there will be a next time. Dierdre's treasure shall be mine.