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


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231 replies to this topic

#51 plainglazed

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 10:40 PM

Spoiler for some thoughts

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#52 Morningstar

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:25 PM

Spoiler for just a thought

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The cake is a lie.

#53 WitchOfDoubt

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:03 AM

(Note: An early post has been edited for accuracy and clarity. Thank you to plainglazed for the corrections; the Witch regrets these misstatements. Oops.)


Though new to cryptic crosswords, Nat Foreman and Batsheva Ellis trounced the tutorial puzzle with ease. Batsheva penciled in and erased answers repeatedly, making all manner of wild connections, while Nat only spoke when certain that his answer checked with both halves of the clue. Ocean glanced over at them with amusement. Nat, the urbane poet, never seemed quite as sure of his words around Batsheva.

"ALTARS and ALTERS?" asked Foreman. Batsheva nodded, explaining, "You can ALTER something my marking it, and temples have ALTARS."

Nat was chivalrous, but pretending not to see the flaw there would have been an insult, not deference. "A cryptic clue's got to follow Sphinx's Second and Fourth. The answer's got to explain all the key words in the clue. What if we break it up this way?: 'Sounds like Mark / Turned white about the temples (6)'."

Batsheva agreed, but shifted her attention to the SPECTRE clue. "Hey! Look, I see it! The spectre really is 'concealed' in there!"

The last clue took all of their effort, but Otto gave them a critical insight by suggesting that perhaps the "unknown" was an "algebra unknown."

----

Meanwhile, the cipher solvers were making slow progress.

"Fair play?" wondered Ocean aloud. "Like a fair-play whodunnit?"

"More likely a cipher," said Walter, though Ocean hadn't meant that as a serious speculation. "The Observer crossword makes good use of these. I haven't the foggiest what Turnabout tells us, but I doubt it's a red herring. Hmm... let's try this key."

U.S. state abbreviations? "A-ha!" said Alicia, "I saw a globe in the toy chest. Let's look!"

Indeed, three of the U. S. states were concealed buttons, and pushing them in series caused the globe to split open like an orange. In the place of a molten core, it held a smooth stone of amber, which glinted beautifully and would surely be useful later. But this was not the way to open the safe, for there was another key.


"It could be the chemistry again," said Ocean. "Or the record collection. Are they only there to hide the correct answers, or is there more to them?" How many of the records were just red herrings, useless for solving any puzzle? Or were they all important somehow?

"I'm saying the records. And look, I don't think the key's gonna just be some random word," said L.V., idly rubbing his fingers together. "I bet when we solve the clues, it'll be totally obvious."

---

Chapter 1 Intermission


(As the night goes on, the Witch's waxes in power. Will you accept a gift of background music for this scene?)


"You didn't really mean for that to happen, did you?"

It was Miss Cox who spoke, a truly rigid and inflexible servant of the Witch. But she definitely had a point. "You never expected that answer! You couldn't have... could you?"

"Who knows? After all, many of these riddles were forged with two or more answers in mind!" The Witch laughed, then airily waved at Miss Cox's garishly colored attire, "You ought to loosen your collar a little."

"I'm sorry, but letting a wrong answer pass is wrong. Let's just strike that out and -- "

Before the argument could escalate, another Animate stepped in. "It'll be fine," said Rathvon. Short and rubicund, and as flexible as Miss Cox was rigid, Rathvon frequently had to clean up after his sister's mistakes when she spoke a little too quickly, which was often. "Try to see things from our Witch's position, sis. It's not a wrong answer. It fits the clues and decodes neatly. It was an unexpected move, that's all."

The Witch nodded, and by illustration, made a chessboard diagram appear, with the pieces
arranged in a pattern that couldn't possibly have been achieved in any real chess game. As they watched, black moved a pawn out of the way, revealing an unexpected attack from a bishop. The white king was being threatened.


The Witch tapped on the figure to emphasize the threat. "You see? The Witch side must respond. We are in check. We cannot afford to ignore this. What if they invoke the Sphinx's Tenth? If any player's answer neatly fits every single clue of a riddle without breaking these rules, it is a correct answer. No, we must acknowledge the answer, yet preserve our position."

Someone stirred at the head of the table. "Yeah. Great move," said the guest, a boy of eighteen. "But if I give a wrong answer, I want to know. Don't talk down to me."

The Witch spoke slowly. "Is that really all you care about? A single right answer?" Even though a mask hid the Witch's face, sadness pervaded these words.


"I care about the truth," said the boy, firmly.

"Well, then," said the Witch. "I shall duly consider your questions, though I reserve the right not to reveal any answers that could threaten my existence. And some truths may need to wait until this chapter's Banquet, of course..."

Was this an offer in good faith, or a taunt? There was only one way to tell.

"Go ahead. Ask your questions. And not just you, young man."

Silence, and more silence. The Witch paused as if in deliberation, but more likely for dramatic effect, and then turned...

    very,


       very,

        slowly...

               ...and faced you.

Edited by WitchOfDoubt, 09 January 2012 - 11:06 AM.

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#54 Wilson

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:07 AM

Spoiler for Could it be anything to do with...

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#55 WitchOfDoubt

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:26 AM

The Witch nodded appreciatively at Wilson's use of spoiler space. "Please, do take a seat," said the Witch, and offered Wilson a seat on what, from the perspective of the boy at the head of the table, was the left side.

Spoiler for Clues to the record puzzle

Edited by WitchOfDoubt, 09 January 2012 - 11:28 AM.

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#56 Molly Mae

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:44 PM

Um...

Spoiler for I think I've got something to say to you

Spoiler for Right

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A recipe for honey-pickled apples


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Spoiler for Molly's Rules to Live By

#57 Thalia

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:09 PM

In the place of a molten core, it held a smooth stone of amber, which glinted beautifully and would surely be useful later. But this was not the way to open the safe, for there was another key.

Spoiler for Another key


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Come check out Mafia in the Games Forum
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#58 WitchOfDoubt

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:52 PM

The Witch noticed Molly Mae standing by the table, bowed, and gestured to the seat opposite Wilson. "Please, sit down. This is the Intermission; you may relax for a moment."

Spoiler for Clue for safe


Another sound question. The Witch faced Thalia and offered her a seat on the left side of the table, two places away from Wilson's.

Spoiler for On Opal and Amber


The boy bit his lip for a moment, then said, "I don't really know what to ask first, but why did you give us fake names? Did someone commit a crime?"

(Music.)


The Witch's sigh was audible even through the gauze of the Venetian mask. "I gave you false names to complete my spell and to protect the innocent. Yes, a great crime was committed. It is part of the reason why you never saw her again. It is part of the reason for the scandal, and your mother's disgrace. It all has to to do with the disappearances."

The boy frowned. "What about the ring with the sapphire? Was that really so important?" He took a deep breath, and finally asked the question that had been on his mind for ten years. "Was all of this my fault?"

A pang of sorrow pierced the Witch to the core, but there was nothing to do but to continue. If he was simply told, he wouldn't truly understand. "It mattered, but whose fault it was, if anyone's, you shall have to decide for yourself."

"And if I ask you where you took them, you're just going to say that they went with you to El Dorado, aren't you?"

"The ones I could save, yes." The Witch hated to think of what happened to the others.

"Why won't you just tell me?"

"I will not tell you," said the Witch, "until you understand. Come. Let us continue."




This is truly a game of Witch's Chess.


In Witch's Chess, the Witch side loses when it is trapped beyond all escape.


The Human side wins when they have solved all of the mysteries, and can only be placed in checkmate if they stop thinking.


Will you ever stop thinking? Will you never give up hope of finding an answer?


Edited by WitchOfDoubt, 09 January 2012 - 11:01 PM.

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#59 Molly Mae

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:49 PM

Spoiler for Second Key

Edited by Molly Mae, 09 January 2012 - 11:50 PM.

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A recipe for honey-pickled apples


Awards:

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Spoiler for Molly's Rules to Live By

#60 Morningstar

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:14 AM

Found something!

Spoiler for


Spoiler for Second Key


Spoiler for hmmm...

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The cake is a lie.




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