Bronze — 24 of 46

Emily Short

Release 12

Section 6 - Lucrezia's Study

Lucrezia's Study is west of the sinister door. "Little survives here, enough to suggest that a number of books were burned and glass tools smashed. You can only guess at why, or by whom.

But the dominant item is the vast [image] of Lucrezia at a wardrobe fitting of some kind."

The sinister door is west of the Tight Passage. It is a door. It is locked and lockable and closed. The description of the sinister door is "The work of the hinges and handle, the color of the wood, the point of the arch: all malevolent. It does not have a keyhole at all, however, and looks far too sturdy to succumb to battering. In fact, by the looks of it, someone has had a try before." Instead of attacking a locked sinister door: say "It is just as resistant to attack as it looks." The initial appearance of the sinister door is "There is also a sinister door, leading [if the location is the Tight Passage]west[otherwise]east[end if][if the sinister door is open] -- and currently open[end if]."

The pile of notes is in the study. "A single [pile of notes] remains." The description of the pile of notes is "Spiky, erratic handwriting on a variety of mystical and magical topics pertaining to the castle and the spiritual status of the inhabitants." Understand "paper" or "papers" or "note" or "paperwork" or "single" as the papers.

Instead of consulting the notes about a topic listed in the Table of Notes:

say "[reply entry][paragraph break]".

Table of Notes

"rose/roses/garden" or "rose garden""The roses are of Lucrezia's own breeding, and you have the impression she regarded them in the nature of a practical joke."
"mirrors/scrying/scry/mirror/mirror-scrying""There are various records of the conferences Lucrezia had with various friends, family members, and servants, by ringing bells in the presence of her magical mirrors."
"lucrezia""Though the notes are of her writing, they are for the most part not about her: she was not a diarist, but an experimenter."
"me/myself""There's nothing about you here, which is no surprise, considering that the author of these pages was dead centuries before your arrival."
"beast""You can discover no specific references to the Beast; though your hazy impression from his conversation is that he never knew Lucrezia, she having been generations before him."
"father" or "my father""Your father is not mentioned, which should not surprise, since he did not arrive at the castle until a few years ago, and the papers look to be centuries old."
"elzibad""Lucrezia seems to have been quite interested in Elzibad, or rather, in what happened to the castle after Elzibad's death, when contracts were made binding upon all who entered. But there is nothing in her notes to suggest that she had access to sources beyond the papers in the records room, and therefore you are likely to be able to find out all the same yourself, if you wish."
"girdle" or "green girdle""You sift through the papers until you find a pertinent entry: that the girdle is to be in some way a device for the punishment or forgiveness of those who abuse the castle's power, 'being in the possession of the weakest of its victims'. Accompanying this are a bundle of astrological diagrams, so who knows how reliable that may be thought to be."
"inkpot""About the inkpot, the notes are their most cryptic, and the quality of the handwriting has also declined so that you suspect the author of having been either elderly or sick. 'Of this article, which my father gave me, I believe I have finally uncovered some use. For though it will not hold ink of the ordinary kind, it perfectly contains that which flows beneath the burial ground, consisting of the regret of all inhabitants...' Etc., etc."
"press room" or "fountain" or "ink""There are references to an ink of regret -- this sounds romantic, except that the notes go on at tedious length speculating on the precise combination of humors involved, and whether melancholy or blood has the greater part in it, and so on. In any case, Lucrezia seemed quite pleased to have found a source of this valuable, if rather nauseating, liquid."
"helmet""The helmet turns out to be written up at great length: an object of Lucrezia's own creation though produced with her father's assistance, it apparently it draws upon the daemons of air and sound to produce the rather mundane effect of heightened hearing, and poses no threat to the wearer, even if that wearer is merely an ordinary human. (This is underlined several times, leading you to suspect that most of Lucrezia's test subjects did not fall into that unexciting category.)"
"shoe/shoes/cloven" or "cloven shoes" or "pair of shoes" or "pair of cloven shoes""The shoes, according to these pages, symbolize their wearer's right to tread in and be master of the territory of the dead.

'For which reason I wear them always to funerals and in graveyards', remark the notes conversationally, 'the which habit has greatly offended some of the noble ladies through the cause of the shoes not being a suitable color for such occasions.' Before you can build up much sympathy, Lucrezia continues: 'Therefore in recompense I enslaved two of these ladies to my personal service and gave a third to my son to be his concubine until better manners and humility attend them all.'

Some additional function for the shoes is suggested by the papers -- something about the preservation of memory or a connection to those who wore them previously -- but it seems that even Lucrezia did not understand this very well. ('And for this reason I am determined never to let them fall into the hands of another, but to have them burnt on my pyre at the moment of my death, lest those that follow after learn my secrets.') That scheme didn't work out for her, evidently."
"leather tambourine" or "tambourine/shoemaker/cobbler""The shoemaker so busily fitting Lucrezia in the portrait does not seem to have been sufficiently interesting to warrant a record in these notes, though perhaps the terms of his engagement will be found in the contract book."
"devil/mephistopheles/lucifer/satan/compact/curse""References to the devil are scattered throughout the pages, with no one portion devoted to him entirely. Somewhat to your surprise, Lucrezia does not seem to have been an ardent fan of the Old Gentleman, neither a professed witch nor a worshipper at his court; she was merely interested in a pragmatic, legalistic way in the question of whether his compact with the ruling family of this castle could ever be dissolved, with or without the damnation of all parties."
"quill/pen""About the pen there is a considerable raving: 'Many tests of fire, water, pressure, torsion, acid, and poison have failed; even gunpowder and holy water have not sufficed to ruin it; nor do I now believe that it can be destroyed, but suppose that, being plucked from the wing of the old man my father, it partakes of his same eternal nature. Therefore the arrangement must be dissolved in some other way.'"
"lie library""The Lie Library features in her writings at several points: as an ongoing project of which she sometimes has great hopes, sometimes despair; there are assorted references to experiments in bringing various books and ensconcing them there in order to see what will become of them. There are towards the end some excited speculations about the use of the inkpot in combination with the Lie Library, but it is not clear that she lived long enough to make the experiment."
"contracts/contract/crypt/binding" or "book of contracts" or "contract/contracts book" or "ivory door""Mostly some speculative notes about the possibility of voiding contracts through some loophole of demonic legalism. You don't entirely follow it. At any rate, to judge by this, she had obtained a kind of mastery over the crypt-spirits by use of her magic shoes. And there is also a reference to a room upstairs, behind the ivory door."
"castle" or "royal family" or "husband" or "king""Whenever she writes about her family or her husband, it is with a kind of weary exasperation. You have the sense that none of them were-- or seemed to be-- nearly as intelligent as Lucrezia herself, and she therefore protected and despised them."
"hourglass/dayglass/sand""From the notes you have the impression that Lucrezia understood the function of the hourglass and expected that everyone else did also; therefore, maddeningly, she did not record it. But it seems merely to be a measure of something, not a source of power or control."
"sign/warning""According to the notes, Lucrezia insisted that the sign be made more prominent, in order that no one break their contract by accident."

The image is a display in the Study. Understand "lucrezia" or "tambourine" as the image. The description of the image is "Lucrezia stands, imperiously, in what is now the empty bedroom, while a gnome-like shoemaker at her feet customizes pair after pair of shoes to her misshapen--

You look away, unnerved, towards a less disturbing element, [the leather tambourine] in Lucrezia's hand." Lucrezia's Study is dark.

Rooted Room is northeast of Tight Passage. "Cut as an afterthought through earth and the underside of the garden, and therefore muddy and soil-scented." Rooted Room is dark. Rooted Room is below Rose Garden. The mud is a floor in Rooted Room. Understand "floor" or "roots" or "root" as the mud when the player is in Rooted Room. The scent of the mud is "compost and soil smells".

Instead of going to the Haunted Area when the player is not wearing the cloven shoes and the player encloses the candle:

say "You start into the crypt, but an icy unnatural wind blows against you, as though the spirits resent the intrusion of someone with a light. And yet you have seen the Beast come down here, from time to time, bearing lanterns, torches, whatever he found handy.

There must be some preliminary, a matter of spiritual etiquette perhaps, to establish yourself as the master of those below[if the player carries the feast]. The Beast would know[end if]."

Instead of going to the Haunted Area with something (called pushed article): say "[The pushed article] refuses to move smoothly over the unstable flooring of the crypt." [1]


[1]. This to prevent a bug where the player could not carry the candle into the crypt, but could put it on the stool and push it in.