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The Witch's Epigraph Chapter 1: The Room of Six Locks


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#111 WitchOfDoubt

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:38 AM

The guests at the table had already begun to probe this illusion, but the boy only rubbed his temples in quiet thought. Finally, he looked at the Witch, looked at Dudeney, and back at the Witch, questioningly. The Witch seemed to guess his thoughts. "If you wonder how Dudeney can be here ten years after that tragedy, you underestimate my magic. I resurrected my loyal servant!"

"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!


(Music.)


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."


Rules:


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:

Posted Image

"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.

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#112 WitchOfDoubt

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:11 AM

(If it isn't clear from the above, the goal is to knock the rose off of the Witch using Blue Truth.)
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#113 SeaCalMaster

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:19 AM

I might as well take a crack at this.
Spoiler for

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#114 Morningstar

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:02 AM

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.

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.



I assume that means that a newcomer will automatically be seated on the opposite side to the side that most recently attacked.
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The cake is a lie.

#115 Morningstar

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:06 AM

Spoiler for guess

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The cake is a lie.

#116 WitchOfDoubt

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 04:20 AM

(

I assume that means that a newcomer will automatically be seated on the opposite side to the side that most recently attacked.



Yes, that's right.)

The Blue Truth that SeaCalMaster forged was elegant and clean, a classic weapon to break open locked rooms. It would be almost wasteful to destroy it with a single Red Truth. Instead, the Witch parried and locked blades with him, Blue against Red, using a weapon borrowed from an admired predecessor.

"Who do you think this mysterious "hidden killer" is, then? Some person who hasn't even been mentioned yet, an 'Unknown Person X?' Hah!"

No Unknown Person X is involved here!

The Witch pushed SeaCalMaster away temporarily, but his Blue Truth blade remained intact, only partially parried by the Witch's answer, and his rose was still in place. Should he continue to pursue the possibility of a hidden culprit, or was this merely a feint of the Witch? But just as SeaCalMaster was pushed back, Morningstar struck. However, this attack, while sly, was parried with a single slash:

The window in the door could not open or close.

Each of these attacks seemed to eliminate some possibilities and draw out others, yet the Witch appeared entirely unshaken and absolutely confident. A little annoyed at this arrogance, the boy, whose rose had regrown, made a calculated swing at the Witch:

The killer was the librarian. She just pretended to be shocked when she came back, but she had the opportunity to use the key earlier.

Blades met with a clash, and the boy's rose was gone again:

The librarian is not a culprit here! That includes being a murderer or an accomplice!

(Since the boy has just made a move, either side of the table can now strike.)

Edited by WitchOfDoubt, 15 January 2012 - 04:29 AM.

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#117 WitchOfDoubt

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 04:38 AM

(For the sake of additional clarity.)

The Witch made a second slash at SeaCalMaster, just to make sure that the language was absolutely clear:

When it is stated that the group saw "no other person" in the room, and "no other person" tried to leave, it means that they saw no other person besides each other, and no other person tried to leave up until the point where we halted our story. Dudeney's mangled remains do not count as a person.

Edited by WitchOfDoubt, 15 January 2012 - 04:39 AM.

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#118 Thalia

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 06:10 AM

Spoiler for Questions and clarification

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#119 WitchOfDoubt

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:40 AM

Thalia's move came from an unexpected direction. While the Witch was not required to reply to anything but Blue Truth, the questions raised touched deeply on the heart of this mystery. It would have not befitted the dignity of the Witch to let them go unanswered. If you are still confused by this narration, it would be wise to read what follows.

Spoiler for Clarifications


So to clarify:
Dudeney's death has nothing to do with windows, doors, or secret passages except possibly the door everyone came through
There are no other keys to the library that are relevant to Dudeney's death except possibly the librarian's key
The librarian is not involved in Dudeney's death



"The Red Truth is true."

It was then that a voice was heard from somewhere in the shadows, far from the table. It was the voice of a woman who had been watching this gathering for some time, waiting patiently to put a finger on the scale. She said, "If you want to confirm something in the narration, why don't you challenge the Witch to repeat it in Red? If the Witch is just making it all up..."

The Witch bristled in anger. Why did this interloper insist on meddling with the duel? "No challenge is needed from you," said the Witch, "I'll repeat Thalia's list in Red myself."

"Go on," said the voice, laughing cruelly. "Repeat it in Red!"

"Exactly eight people are represented by the guests at the Club. These so-called "pieces" are given these aliases:

Ocean Zweidler

Louis Vuitton Ford-Seaton
Kenichi Nakamura
Otto Rinaldi
Alicia Tressler
Walter Sexton
Batsheva Ellis
Nat Viers Foreman


Exactly eight people are represented by the staff of the Club. Their identities do not overlap with the list above in any way, and are given these alisases:


Lana Rodriguez, librarian
Bill Jackson, the club's resident tech wizard.
Samuel, the doorman
Margaret Ye, the proprietor’s attorney
Maria Brand, security guard

Sal Lucas, security guard

and the other two:

Jaime LaSalle, chef

Celia Marquez, occupation not yet given, but appears to work with the chef


In addition, (alias) Margaret Ye's son, (alias) Mark Ye, was present on the evening of December 31, 2011. Another person, who is not important for this locked room riddle, was present.


As promised in the Red Truth about 'Unknown Person X', a person not yet named cannot be involved in this locked-room mystery.



How do you define animate? I'm not quite clear about what exactly they are. Are they human? Alive or machines? Created by the Witch?



(The Witch will never fully confirm or deny the nature of Animates in Red. But if you truly have hope that this is a fair and solvable riddle, all Animates must be explicable in non-supernatural terms.")

The Witch grinned. "Animates, hmm? You learned of my first animate here: http://brainden.com/...post__p__313189

What is an Animate? An Animate is a living magic, a creature that I create from a 'vessel' in order to serve my needs. If you have any skeptical objections to such a claim, feel free to test them with the Blue Truth!"

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#120 Thalia

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 08:39 AM

Thanks! That helps clear things up a bit. Perhaps even the parts that aren't in red.Posted Image
I forgot to ask this earlier. You said there were still some previous riddles we hadn't solved. Can you list those?
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