"No," said the boy. "I'm wondering when you're going to stop lying to me. Fake names, crazy challenges..."
Cox and Rathvon both thought the boy's choice of words too provocative. "Not lies," he said, "Retellings. Interpretations. Exaggerations. Metaphors. Riddles."
"Do you understand, boy?" asked Ms. Cox, testily. To one such as her, a narrator that was not "literally reliable" was no mere gimmick, but the very soul of existence.
But the Witch was far from offended and clapped delightedly. "I see my magic has confused you! Do you wish to see the undistorted truth from me? A truth without metaphors or exaggerations? Very well!"
The Red Truth tells only the truth.
This truth may be contextual. Were I telling a story about Sherlock Holmes, I could say in Red, "Dr. Watson was Holmes's partner." Were I discussing English history, I could say, "Sherlock Holmes never existed."
It occurred to the boy that he could challenge that first Red statement, but what good would that do? Either he accepted this rule, or they would be trapped in a stalemate. "Fine. Okay, I have an idea about the crime. It was - "
"Not so fast," said the Witch. "This is a game of Witch's Chess. If you wish to capture a Witch's piece, you must duel for it!" With a sound between a hiss and a buzz, a translucent red saber appeared in the Witch's left hand. The ghostly blade passed harmlessly through the table with the Witch's first swing:
The Red Truth will not physically harm you.
Then, slowly, delicately, a ghostly blue rose appeared on the boy's left shoulder and opened into bloom. Around the table, each guest found a similar blue rose in the same place. The Witch, in contrast, wore a red rose.
"Don't have a sword," said the boy, masking his wonder with sarcasm. "Must've left it at home."
"Focus your thoughts. Focus them into a guess, a hypothesis... a Blue Truth." Another swing at the air:
The Blue Truth represents a guess.
"Huh," said the boy. He stood up, as did the Witch. Both bowed. Then he focused, borrowing a theory he heard from the other guests, and a blade of blue materialized in his hand as he charged forward for the first strike!
The killer and ribbon thief had a key to the door; maybe this key was on the ribbon!
But the Witch deftly parried this expected Blue Truth with the Red, knocking the blade aside and cutting the rose from the boy's shoulder in a single move:
There were other keys to that room besides the one the librarian used, but none of them were involved in this mystery!
The room echoed with the reverberations of this clash of truth, and the boy looked down at his now-bare shoulder. "Wow," he said, "that didn't last long."
But in this game, the Human side could not lose unless they stopped thinking. "The rose will grow back," said the Witch, "after an ally makes an attack."
Every guest may strike with the Blue Truth, including newcomers. New arrivals will be seated quickly, but are free to use Blue Truth in their first post.
Guests do not need to wait for confirmation of prior exchanges in order to strike. Thus, multiple guests may strike before the Witch has had a chance to reply.
However, the same guest may not strike twice until another guest has had a chance to attack. Of course, a Blue Truth theory may contain multiple ideas.
It is greatly preferable that Blue Truth be written in blue. If this is technically impossible, it may be denoted thus: (BLUE)The librarian visited the room earlier, stole Dudeney's ribbon, and killed him.(BLUE)
In addition, two guests from the same side of the table may not strike consecutively. If they do, all strikes but the first will be ignored.
The table as it is now:
"Come now," cried the Witch, cackling. "Rise from your places! Strike with the Blue Truth, if you dare! Every attack you make, I shall counter with the Red!"
Edited by WitchOfDoubt, 15 January 2012 - 12:47 AM.