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

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Inspired by When the Seagulls Cry (Umineko no Naku Koro ni)

The difficulty of this chapter is Slightly Taxing. Would you care to guess?

The story so far...

The proprietor of a museum of riddles and mysteries intends to bequeath his entire collection to whoever can best his final challenge. Tonight, the members of this exclusive club have gathered to compete for this prize.

Upon arrival, these guests received sheets of paper giving a set of rules for fair riddling, The Sphinx's Decalogue. On these pages were clues to open a safe and prove their worthiness to enter the Club. The first to solve this safe was...

* Ocean Zweidler, an author of mysteries, who guessed similarly to some of the cleverer posters in the thread. The line below this one is a lie.

* L. V. Ford-Seaton, a child of wealth. Nobody in the thread could have anticipated his answers. The line above this one is a lie.

Regardless of who solved it first, both were admitted entry, as both sets of answers were reasonably derived from the information available to them as individuals.

Now, a new page begins. What will our guests find written in the foyer?

Without hope, the truth cannot be found.

(Note: It’s not necessary to read the first thread to catch up, but these three posts contain relevant information and puzzles:

Introduction:

Suspect #1, Ocean:

Suspect #2, L.V.: )

=============================================================================================================

Chapter 1: The Room of Six Locks

or, The Courtship of the Sapphire Witch

Young Matthew Ford - no relation to the car-maker - was a Wall Street alchemist. He could turn lead into gold, and not only that, he could turn tin into silver, iron into copper, and, judging by the fortune he made in semiconductor commodities trading, silicon into gallium. But he was reckless and wild, winning and losing fortunes on a throw of the dice, until the evening he met the Sapphire Witch.

At the time, she bore a different name. No matter; her magic remained unchanged. Although she was a geneticist in her human life, she knew powerful conjurations and transfigurations, which she taught to Ford in their years of marriage.

Nowadays, it is generally considered impolite to remind Mr. Ford that his wife has passed away. As far as he is concerned, she is alive and well, and wanders the secret passages of his museum every night.

---

The guests found this page - the very page you are reading - in the foyer. Though normally spacious, boasting tall windows and a grand 39-step staircase, the foyer was cluttered tonight with trunks, tables, and shelves. Amid this paraphernalia, many of the Club’s staff had gathered to present themselves and play their assigned roles.

"Ladies, gentlemen, I don’t mean to alarm you, but there was supposed to have been a signet ring in that first safe," said Lana Rodriguez, the Club librarian, stepping away from a set of bookshelves that held the proprietor’s favorite novels. "It had a big sapphire in it… not easy to miss. I'm afraid that either whoever opened it just now palmed the ring, or somebody broke in early. Bill, anything on the safe's records?"

"Sorry ‘bout the bad news, but I just checked. Looks like someone got in five minutes before we opened." said Bill Jackson, the club's resident tech wizard. He slouched back against a table that carried a model train set.

"My God," said Samuel, the doorman, raising his eyes from a box of vintage 45 records. "I stepped away to shut off the fire alarm! Anyone could've arrived early and opened it!"

Margaret Ye, the proprietor’s attorney, pushed aside the trunk of toys she was assigned to watch over. “Our security guards just locked down the building. Nobody will enter, nobody will leave. Not before we find our culprit.”

The guests protested, but all of the staff had solid alibis. And if they eliminated the eight staff members as suspects... well, there wasn't nearly enough information to figure out who had done it just yet, but perhaps, as the evening wore on, the culprit would slip up. "Maybe it was the Witch!" joked L. V., only to receive angry glares from several of the staff, and, in particular, from a young boy at Mrs. Ye's side.

"You'll regret saying that," said the boy. "The Witch is real. She's gonna take us all to El Dorado."

"Cut it out, Mark." hissed Margaret. "Do I have to send you home?" Then, noticing that the others were staring, she said, "What? Mr. Jackson! Give them the damn riddle!"

Mr. Jackson shook his head and pointed to a tall mahogany cabinet leaning against the wall and bearing an ostentatious lockplate in the shape of a winged man. “Safe’s in here,” said Jackson. “But the key’s somewhere else in this room. Here’s your clue.”

He showed the guests what looked like a crude handicraft made in summer camp, a string of little ornaments. “Some of these are rusted, but you should ignore any oxidation. In fact, you’d better ignore any minor ingredients in these things!” Jackson added, making sure each guest saw it fully. "Start from the end with the sinker. Be careful; it's got sentimental value."

The ornaments were made from glass beads, old fishing sinkers, loops of lead-free solder, and steel rings, and were arranged as follows:

Sinker, Glass, Glass, Solder, Steel, Sinker, Glass, Sinker, Glass

Racing to make sense of this clue, the guests rummaged through the room for the hidden key. Some dug through the bookshelves for reference materials, while others used their smartphones to access the Internet..

At last, a clever guest found the key hidden inside a small object, which I shall leave for you to guess. But when they opened the cabinet, the safe confronted them with yet another challenge - a combination lock that bore a compass rose around its dial, rather than numbers, and a sheet of paper bearing the following maze of arrows.

arrowmaze.png

And this is far from the last of this room's riddles.

Give up! If you give up, surely someone else will guess it for you!

Stop thinking! Go find a game where there is one "answer" to every problem!

STOP! Leave this place, and my secrets will be safe.

Signed,

The Witch of Doubt

Edited by WitchOfDoubt
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so far the sample riddles from the "Pieces" are seperate from the answers to the keys, I think. but wouldn't put it past our Witch.

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so far the sample riddles from the "Pieces" are seperate from the answers to the keys, I think. but wouldn't put it past our Witch.

Yeah...my vampire musing wasn't in relation to the backward part. =/ Sorry.

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The other sample riddles didn't seem to be tricky, but were rather straightforward.

Assuming this one is the same, you are given the answer of:

127

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Are the singles still in their sleeves.

Whitesnake, Here I go again...red and blue picture?

Probably much too simple. :)

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I think we're on the right track.

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Both Aziraphael and the boy cracked Ms. Ellis's riddle almost instantly. While vampires could spread by exponential growth, Batsheva's character suggested a different sort of answer altogether. Noticing that TheChad had offered the exponential answer, however, the Witch beckoned him to the table to sit two seats away from Thalia. (That is to say, five seats away from the boy and one seat from the end of the table with the Witch.)

As plainglazed commented on the solution of the safe, he, too, was invited to the table to sit opposite TheChad.

"Annabel," said Dudeney, as Aziraphael took the last step, "Now that they've discovered how to open the safe, perhaps we should resume?"

Wilson's guess was clever, if a little too dependent on the condition of the records and sleeves. And as for Molly Mae's thought on playing the records backwards...

"A fine thought, but no need to play the records backwards. The reversal was not a red herring, but a deliberate complication," said the Witch. "It was conjured by the word 'turnabout', and meant to deter those who guessed at keys without close inspection."

Two spaces remained at the table, though more could be made as needed. Perhaps newcomers would arrive to fill them by the time of the Witch's Banquet for this chapter. For now, the Intermission was over. The solutions to the last of Sexton's clues would have to wait.

End Chapter 1 Intermission

When L. V. saw how closely Nat Foreman and Batsheva Ellis were cooperating on the tutorial clues, an unusual expression passed across his face. For a brief moment, his mellow smile gave way to a frown of suspicion. But the pop of the phonograph coming to life distracted him, and he turned to listen as the first record began to play:

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday.

Who could hang a name on you,

When you change with every new day?

Still, I'm gonna miss you.

So fixated was L.V. upon on the safe when "Rhapsody in Blue" began that he didn't see Batsheva wipe a tear from Nat's eye. Ocean saw, but said nothing, mentally counting the number of locks they had gotten past. Then, as soon as the safe clicked, Batsheva hurried over and craned her neck to see what was going on. "Well," said L.V., his voice a little shaky, all exaggerated Malibu mannerisms banished for the moment, "let's see what's inside."

"Maybe the ring ended up in there!" said Batsheva. But there was no ring in the safe, only a note and a tiny key. The note read:

A great ship of steam hides the lock to this key.

(It rides on a ladder, instead of the sea.)

"That's... surprisingly easy," said Foreman. He joined the group in investigating the most logical place, certain that a new puzzle would await them there..

Meet the Pieces (Part 8 of Many)

Nat Viers Foreman

Age: 59

Occupation: Consultant, Poet

Born Matthijs van Viers of Amsterdam to a doting mother and a now-estranged father, the man we now know as Nat Foreman came to America to pursue a career in business. Aided by a remarkable gift for languages, he ably traded with speculators around the world in their own tongue. After making a fortune at a young age, he married, became a part-time financial consultant, and devoted his greater efforts to the writing of poetry and the preservation of rare books. Even given these elevated tastes, however, he was not above composing doggerel riddles for the entertainment of the Club.

Sample Riddle:

There were two riddles on the page:

"Held by one, I bring frustration.

Shared by two, I bring elation.

Shared by three, I bring confusion

When not shared, I am illusion."

---

"Small mirrors it makes;

Big mirrors it shakes."

Edited by WitchOfDoubt
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A ship of steam on a ladder, rather than the sea, would be a train.

According to the WoD's earlier text, during the 'quake "A toy boxcar fell off of the table with the model railroad set, crashing violently on the ground, but was miraculously undamaged,"

I pick it up and examine it......

And as for Nat's riddle 1:

I believe this to be 'Love'

Giving love buit not receiving is frustrating, sharing it with another is elating, sharing it with more than one person confuses, having a loveless relationship is an illusion of happiness.

Riddle 2 may need coming back to, but here's a stab in the dark:

Earthquake? Would shake the large mirror, causing it to fall to the floor, making many smaller mirrors when it smashes...

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A ship of steam on a ladder, rather than the sea, would be a train.

According to the WoD's earlier text, during the 'quake "A toy boxcar fell off of the table with the model railroad set, crashing violently on the ground, but was miraculously undamaged,"

I pick it up and examine it......

And as for Nat's riddle 1:

I believe this to be 'Love'

Giving love buit not receiving is frustrating, sharing it with another is elating, sharing it with more than one person confuses, having a loveless relationship is an illusion of happiness.

Riddle 2 may need coming back to, but here's a stab in the dark:

Earthquake? Would shake the large mirror, causing it to fall to the floor, making many smaller mirrors when it smashes...

I agree with 1, but I don't know if 2 would be that obvious. It's definitely plausible, though. How many locks have we gotten through?

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I agree with all of them but riddle 2.

if it was "Earthquake": it should be the other way around: Big mirrors it shakes, Small mirrors it makes;

PS: I missed the full Chapter as I did not realise a new thread was started. Need to keep a eye on new threads for start of Chapter 2.

WoD, when do you think, chapter 2 will be online? Keep up the great work, I'm struggling a bit with some of the riddles as English is my 2nd language.

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I agree with 1, but I don't know if 2 would be that obvious. It's definitely plausible, though. How many locks have we gotten through?

As far as I remember it, without a lot of trawling,

The Globe was the first lock, the microphone was the second, hopefully my idea for the latest riddle should lead us to the 3rd? i find it difficult to follow, there's a lot of back and forth, and a LOT of spoilerised answers to our enquiries.

I agree with all of them but riddle 2.

if it was "Earthquake": it should be the other way around: Big mirrors it shakes, Small mirrors it makes;

PS: I missed the full Chapter as I did not realise a new thread was started. Need to keep a eye on new threads for start of Chapter 2.

WoD, when do you think, chapter 2 will be online? Keep up the great work, I'm struggling a bit with some of the riddles as English is my 2nd language.

At the bottom of each WoD section, there is a link to each chapter. I expect WoD will update these links as and when the next is available...

Edited by Aziraphael
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It appears the stage is nearly set. I almost wonder how bored that stage is...

The train is pretty obvious, but just to be sure: Is there one of those handicap chairs attached to the stairs in this room?

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It appears the stage is nearly set. I almost wonder how bored that stage is...

The train is pretty obvious, but just to be sure: Is there one of those handicap chairs attached to the stairs in this room?

Don't think they run on steam..... ;)

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Can I join?

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Don't think they run on steam..... ;)

And trains don't run on ladders. =P

Can I join?

This game/mystery/puzzle series is open (similar to Brian Dennis). All are welcome!

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And trains don't run on ladders. =P

Ahhh, yeeesss, but...

...the ladder in this case refers to the formation of the tracks. While that may be sort of applicable to stairs, only the train fits the condition of running on steam as well

:)

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Ahhh, yeeesss, but...

...the ladder in this case refers to the formation of the tracks. While that may be sort of applicable to stairs, only the train fits the condition of running on steam as well

:)

...the ladder in this case might refer to a type of ranking system and the ship of steam might be a painting of a steamboat that took first place in an art competition.

Perhaps the ladder was meant to be literal while the ship and steam were meant to be metaphorical. There are many ways to see a problem, and with WoD's knack for multiple answers, I wouldn't be so surprised. =P

I feel like I'm in that WKYK skit--

"Yes, but my leg was here first.."

"And still I pee."

"And still I stand.."

Edited by Molly Mae
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Maybe something that allows people to climb said social ladder quickly? Like a hierarchical thing? Perhaps some sort of conspiracy involved with a painting?

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"Sounds like Mark turned white about the temples (6)". Chapels?

"I speak of a barrier brief, unknown, and weighty. (6, 6)" Bikini Attols?

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I speak of a barrier brief, unknown, and weighty. (6, 6) - Walter Sexton

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(rvc113: This is easily the longest chapter planned because of the nature of this story, but this group is going through it at lightning speed. There's nothing wrong with jumping right in late, anyway!)

Two more people arrived to the table, Cavenglok and rvc113, and they were at once seated in the remaining spaces. If more guests arrived, more places could be made.

---

The answer to the last of Sexton's tutorial clues finally occurred to Foreman and Ellis, though one of the more difficult early ones, involving "turning white about the temples" and some sort of homophone, remained unsolved.

It's a composite clue:

I / speak of a barrier brief, unknown, and weighty (6, 6)

I = WALTER SEXTON

"speak of..." (spoken aloud).

"a barrier" : WALL

"brief": TERSE

"unknown": X

"weighty": TON

WALL + TERSE + X + TON.

The earlier one relies on what may be a Britishism. "Mark" is not meant here as a name, but as a mark on, say, an exam.

As for the riddles on Foreman's sheet, the guests found reasonable answers for both, though some debate remained about the second. However, if anyone was unsure of the riddle in the safe - and a few highly original theories were devised - the matter was settled as soon as they took a second look at the model railroad.

The tracks were glued down to the table, forming a loop that circled a green pyramid, which glittered and flashed with multicolored lights. At several locations, the track abruptly stopped and restarted, leaving a total of eight gaps. If the set were turned on as it was, the train would certainly go off the rails. However, eight boxes sat on the table, and inside of each was a hand-painted diorama of a train station, perfectly sized to fit in one of the gaps.

"Wait a sec," said Bill Jackson, picking up an envelope from the table and looking sincerely perplexed. "Where the hell'd this come from? I could've sworn this wasn't there before."

Stamped upon it was a seal, a mark of the Sapphire Witch:

dnathing2.png

The paper inside read:

Impossible journeys by railway train

Shall rattle your reason and baffle your brain.

The fourth of the eight hides a secret today;

Your traveling companions will show you the way.

But how did the letter get there at all? Of the staff, Mrs. Ye was still at the toybox, Lana was near the bookcase, and Samuel had left the room. Another two staff members, Jaime LaSalle and Celia Marquez, had arrived late, but each vouched that the other had nothing to do with the envelope. And none of the guests had gone near the train. Ocean Zweidler considered this carefully, but didn't voice her hunch, instead directing her attention first to the train, and then to the dioramas that would fill the gaps in the track.

Each car of the train was labeled in some way. The first showed a single tally mark, the second a pair of tally marks, and the third a triangle. The fourth was decorated with four-leaf clovers, and the fifth with hands. The sixth bore the image on an ant, the seventh a heptagon, and the last a spider. In other words, the cars were numbered, but no amount of searching found any keyhole.

The stations seemed more promising. The dioramas depicted, in no particular order:

* The Rijksmuseum and, rather stereotypically, windmills.

* A charming German town whose coat of arms shows two keys, a lobster, and a bear.

* A venerable university town, full of centuries-old libraries and Latin inscriptions.

* A bustling city center covered in Japanese signage.

* Skyscrapers, including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

* Michelangelo's David and the Uffizi Gallery.

* Sunbathers and surfers on a beach, with the Santa Monica mountains in the background.

* A grand royal palace and the Museo del Prado.

"Guess we'd better just put those stations in order," said L. V., "and turn it on!"

Edited by WitchOfDoubt
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Alright, so

The dioramas indicate specific cities; in order, they are

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bernkastel-Kues, Germany (Wikipedia claims it's well-known)

Oxford, England (maybe? This could be a lot of things)

Tokyo, Japan (this could be a different Japanese city)

New York City, USA

Florence, Italy

Los Angeles, USA

Madrid, Spain

We need to order them, somehow, although it's not clear how we should do so. The obvious choice is alphabetizing, which would make Los Angeles the 4th; however, I suspect there's something else we're supposed to see. Longitude, maybe?

Now that I think about it, longitude seems more likely given the seal. Where do we start, though? "(A) green pyramid, which glittered and flashed with multicolored lights" makes me think of the Luxor pyramid, but that's definitely blue.

As for the last cryptic clue,

Grayed (sounds like grade). I'm glad WoD nudged me on that one; I'm usually not very good at these.

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While the group was debating the answer, Professor Rinaldi, quick to tinker as always, simply guessed a few possible orders - to no avail. Neither alphabetical order, latitude, nor longitude play a role in this solution.

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The answer to the last of Sexton's tutorial clues finally occurred to Foreman and Ellis, though one of the more difficult early ones, involving "turning white about the temples" and some sort of homophone, remained unsolved

Grayed (Grade)

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here my take on this, probably wrong though.

" impossible journey by railway train" is probably important too. i.e you can travel by train from New York to LA but not Amsterdam to Tokyo.

venerable university could also be Cambridge, or maybe Rome.

Finally, I knew of all the town but Bernkastel-Kues, this is a very small town without a train station. Probably important then.

In Europe, you could start or finish from/to any of these city except Bernkastel-kues.

Only place you can not start or finish by Train are Bernkastel-kues and Tokyo.

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Alright, so

Grayed (sounds like grade). I'm glad WoD nudged me on that one; I'm usually not very good at these.

The dioramas indicate specific cities; in order, they are Amsterdam, Netherlands Bernkastel-Kues, Germany (Wikipedia claims it's well-known) Oxford, England (maybe? This could be a lot of things) Tokyo, Japan (this could be a different Japanese city) New York City, USA Florence, Italy Los Angeles, USA Madrid, Spain We need to order them, somehow, although it's not clear how we should do so. The obvious choice is alphabetizing, which would make Los Angeles the 4th; however, I suspect there's something else we're supposed to see. Longitude, maybe? Now that I think about it, longitude seems more likely given the seal. Where do we start, though? "(A) green pyramid, which glittered and flashed with multicolored lights" makes me think of the Luxor pyramid, but that's definitely blue.
As for the last cryptic clue,

Yeh, I got similar again, but:

I think the UK one will be Cambridge, as it is widely considered to be the most comprehensive library outside of the US.

Bernkastel-Kues (I'm reliably informed) is famous for being very nice, and for wine.

I agree that Tokyo is an obvious choice, but maybe the other answers will help confirm one way or the other?

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