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WitchOfSecrets

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  1. (We need new investigation requests! People left to investigate: King, Ten, Queen, Strength Places left to investigate: Most bedrooms, security room (for passages, etc), hallways, roof, banquet hall, grand hall, kitchen, bathrooms)
  2. Saturday, 3:04 PM "Knight was... interesting to talk to," said Judgment. "Laconic." WHAT KNIGHT OF SWORDS HAD TO SAY ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS On the phone lines: "Broken. Gonna go up with Nine and fix 'em. We don't get a lotta calls, anyway." On roof access: "Big trapdoor at the top of the northwest staircase. It's pretty obvious if you look." On the electrical systems in the castle: "The alarms are on their own generator, and only the security company's got a key to that. Nobody's gonna mess with their power. But everything else is on main power, and power surges play hell with my PC here. Had to get a power strip with a backup battery to keep it from gettin' shut off." On the theft from the kitchen: "Scissors? No idea." On the other staff: "I get along okay with Nine, King, and Temperance. Don't know the others very well. King's definitely harmless - no way he's involved in any funny business. If anything happened, he wouldn't be a culprit." On the security room keypad: "Nah, I haven't shared the combo with anyone else." On secret passages: "I know this place like the back of my hand, and I've looked. No secret passages in this Castle." On the guests: "Hmmm... I know Seven of Cups pretty well. She loves astrology and astronomy and stuff. Meteor shower tonight; we're gonna watch from her room." "I heard High Priestess has some kind of puzzle for us at dinner. She weirds me out." "Magician's got a great head for electronics. Sometimes we talk about that stuff; he's made all kinds of little gadgets. Actually, he probably knows more about microelectronics than I do, and that's saying a lot."
  3. (My major? Biology!) Saturday, 2:32 PM Nodding at the latest pieces of interview data, I walked out to the courtyard to investigate. Meanwhile, Judgment made his way up to the Driftwood Room to question Knight about the phone lines, the electronics, and the staff and guests. The courtyard lay between the outer walls and gatehouse and the inside of the Castle. Paved in gray cobblestones, it was sparse, decorated only with solemn statues and grotesque gargoyles. Some held books; others held staves or swords. One wore in a mask and a witch's cap, and had the following piece of doggerel set in stone tiles on its pedestal: ACT WHEN IN DOUBT - HUNT THE PROOF OUT. I puzzled over this a little, then turned my attention to the walls. I could hear the pounding on the ocean cliffs just beyond the west wall, which was far too high to scale, and looked rather treacherous. The gatehouse was likewise well-fortified; the sign by the great metal gates stated that Castle was open from 10 AM to 6 PM - plenty of time for all the guests to arrive, but nobody could entering or leaving this keep while those gates were closed - the walls were sheer, the cliffs were uninviting, and the metal was sturdy and topped with formidable spikes. Overhead, the windows of the Castle glinted in the afternoon sun. The tape I had laid on the Electricity Closet window was not at all visible from this side, and I walked around the house checking all of the other ground floor windows one by one. Apparently, the Castle had met its quota of broken locks and latches, as every one that I could reach was locked. Of course, there was no way to check the ones that faced the cliffs from the outside, or the ones on the upper stories, but the walls seemed impossible to scale, at least without a ladder. Which also raised to mind the question of how anyone got up to the roof to raise and lower the castle's flag and maintain the power and phone lines - I didn't see any passage to the rooftop on the map I was given, but perhaps there was an error and one of the tower stairs went up further. I glanced into the garden and saw a man - King, presumably - at work cutting roses at the entrance to the hedge maze. Searching in there would be more trouble than it was worth, so I stuck to the courtyard and walls when probing for secret passages. And after a thorough sweep, I finally found something worthwhile. The statue of the witch had a small, nearly undetectable keyhole set into its robes at chest height. I couldn't do anything with it at the moment, I knew, but someone was hiding something there. Satisfied that I'd gleaned everything I could from the courtyard, I returned to meet up with Judgment once more.
  4. (Wow. It's getting hard to keep writing steadily with all this thesis work/teaching! I hope I haven't lost everyone.) Saturday, 2:32 PM I met up with Judgment once more, who had gleaned some interesting tidbits from the Page of Swords. WHAT THE PAGE HAD TO SAY ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS: On the Queen: "She's a secretive lady, but very nice!" On her mother: "Oh, you heard about that? Yes, my mother's very ill... yes, money would help her get better treatment - but we manage somehow." On Temperance: "She's like a second mother to us here, I think! Aside from keeping the books, she manages a lot of the little personal problems we have... when I caught fever, she took care of me, you know." On King: "King's a nice guy, but he... um... sleeps too much on the job." On Strength: "He can be very brusque sometimes, but don't let that put you off at all! He's a good person deep down. But he works too hard." On Nine: "I barely know him, but he and Ten are like siblings. They definitely wouldn't hide anything from each other. Whatever one does, the other knows about." On Knight: "He's very into his electronics and things, but I wish he'd fix the phones. They haven't worked for a week!" On Ten: "Ah... she and Strength had a bad argument. The kitchen door lock's been broken for a few days, and Strength thinks she and Nine are holding up on getting it fixed because - because of some kind of grudge! This one time, you see, Strength forgot about Ten's peanut allergy... But I don't think that either of them are stalling, I think they're just she has against him because of that ONE time he forgot about her peanut allergy... but I don't think that's what's going on. And it's probably just that Knight and Nine haven't gotten around to getting a new lock and key. These locks are very fancy, you know, pretty much impossible to pick, Nine says." On the theft: "I don't know how it happened! A nice pair of scissors that Strength uses for cutting meat got stolen, and I have no idea who did it. Or why..." On the guests: "Some of them have visited before, but some are new to me! I've never met the Emperor, and it's been years since Eight of Coins has managed the trip here, with his bad health... but Five of Wands was here last year, and the High Priestess was with him."
  5. I wondered about that, but if it really was a trap, we have our culprit.
  6. There's a bigger issue here, tooo, about people being generally suspicious.
  7. And - and I apologize for triple posting due to the inability to edit - but doesn't it seem a little damning that...
  8. And if that was just a narrative omission for dramatic effect...
  9. (Will post more sometime Thursday or Friday evening, I think - RL delays have hit.)
  10. (Current suggestion queue: Suspects to question: Page, Knight Places to visit: Electrical closet, courtyard, queen's room, security room (takes 15 min due to prior familiarity). Hallways also take 15 minutes only to check. Am I missing anything?) Saturday, 2:05 PM Judgment and I split up again. Judgment left to interview the Page about the kitchen staff and the dispute between Ten and Strength, and I went to visit the electrical closet. The door was unlocked, but I knocked before entering for politeness's sake. The door opened, and a tall, thin man in overalls beckoned me in. It was Knight of Swords. "You must be one of the security people," he said, his voice gruff. "Well, go ahead and look around. Please don't mess with the fusebox; I hate it when people do that." I nodded and took stock of my surroundings. As it happens, "closet" wasn't quite the right word for the room, except by convention. It was small, but only in comparison to the grand hall next door, and the roof was high. Metal shelves stacked with lightbulbs, plumbing equipment, and assorted supplies were mounted on the walls, filled with outdated detritus. I'm pretty sure I saw a vacuum tube there, along with a number of other useful trinkets - razorblades, a roll of duct tape, permanent markers... A tall metal ladder lay on the floor against the west wall, underneath an open fuse box filled with circuit breaker switches. Each switch was labeled with the name of a room, and none appeared to be tripped off; as far as I could tell, every room on the map had a circuit breaker, and in addition there was one labeled "EXTER. LIGHTS". None of them were tagged as controlling the alarm system, which ran on its own more secure power supply. I turned my attention to the window. "Do you usually keep that open?" I asked. "Only when I'm working in here," replied Knight. "I close it up every night. Latch is broken, though. I'll be getting around to fixing it later. I'm about to head back to my room, actually, so I guess we can close it up." He shut the window, and I saw that he'd been telling the truth about the latch; it was completely busted. But I had a few tricks up my sleeve, honed by years of dealing with mysterious thefts. I cut off a strip of duct tape, then grabbed a razorblade and a marker off the shelf as well. "Anyone who gets in here at night could do real mischief," I said. "You aren't going to give that key to anybody, are you?" "Nope. I don't let anybody borrow it, even." "Okay," I said. I then put the strip of duct tape just over the join between the panes of the window, where it would be invisible from the outside. I then signed my name across the tape in marker and scored it several times with the razor. Anybody who opened the window would break this seal. It wouldn't stop anybody from breaking in, but I'd know it if someone did. After replacing the tape, marker, and razor, I did my usual thorough search for secret passages; there were none. "I'm heading back to my room," said Knight. I followed him out, and he shut and locked the electrical closet door behind us using his key.
  11. Whoops. I did [x]^4, not [x^4]. I think SP is right.
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