Bronze — 32 of 46

Emily Short

Release 12

Chapter 3 - Items Reserved For Later

[Items that aren't inside the map are usually said to be "out of play", but we start out with these things in "storage". This way, we can easily check later whether they have ever been brought into play, even if (like the edible "feast") they can then leave the game map again.

There are other ways we could track this information, but I chose storage as straight-forward and easily remembered.]

Storage is a container.

The Beast is a man in Storage. "And here [Beast] lies, sprawled on the ground as if he'd fallen." The description of the Beast is "[if the Beast is fed]Though he has eaten, he looks deeply exhausted, as though something preys on his spirit[otherwise]He looks starved, unwell, near death, in fact. He will need to be given food before he will properly revive -- and who knows what else...

It baffles you to find him in this condition, when he could easily have gotten whatever he needed in the kitchen[end if]." A person can be hungry or fed. The beast is hungry. The scent of the beast is "night woods and decadent spices".

Instead of asking the beast to try doing something:

say "'Anything in my power to grant, you may have,' he told you once. 'Only I recommend, for your own safety, that you do not request any poetry recitations or any songs, especially those taken from Italian opera.'

Unfortunately at the moment it does not look as though he can grant much of anything."

Instead of doing something other than finding or hunting or smelling or kissing or hinting about or waking or examining to the Beast: say "He sleeps[if the beast is hungry], or inhabits some state deeper than sleep[end if]."

Instead of waking the Beast: say "Though you shake him vigorously, he does not stir."

Instead of kissing the Beast: say "You press your mouth to his cold one, and catch the strange scent of night woods, cinnamon, and blood copper.

He does not stir."

Instead of kissing the fed Beast when the player wears the girdle:

say "As you do, you can't help remembering -- because of the girdle -- how many women before you this king imprisoned against their will. And why should he deserve to be forgiven, merely because he has been less cruel to you than to the others?

When you lift your head, he is his proper self: a man, about forty-five. Handsome, perhaps, but in the style of the lord mayor, not someone you would have aspired to wed[if the royal portrait is seen]. His face has perhaps softened a little since his youth, but he is still recognizably the same person[end if].";

if the contract book is in storage


say "[line break]His fingers stretch in experiment. 'Dear virgin mother. You did it. The servants are free?'

You nod.

'Good girl.' He touches your cheek affectionately; then freezes. 'And you're wearing Yvette's girdle. I suppose you heard her story, in that case.' He sticks out his jaw. 'You can go now. It won't kill me, this time.'

You draw a breath and give him your answer.";

end the game saying "You have restored the King and freed his servants";


say "[line break]He looks ruefully at his restored hands. 'I failed to free them,' he says. 'And now I've dragged you into the trouble with me.'

You shake your head, and try to calm him.";

end the game saying "You have restored the King, but not his servants";

end if.

Instead of kissing the hungry Beast when the player wears the girdle:

say "You try to kiss him, but he does not stir. Still hungry, apparently."

Instead of kissing the fed Beast: say "You press your mouth to his cold one, and catch the strange scent of night woods, cinnamon, and -- incongruously -- fish.

He murmurs in his sleep but does not change or wake."

Instead of showing something to the Beast:

say "He is in no condition to appreciate displays of things."

Instead of showing the feast to the Beast:

say "Feeling hopeful, you hold the platter of food where the Beast can smell it, but this does not seem to have the desired effect. You will have to feed it to him more directly. (And didn't he do the same for you, that time when you were deathly ill and could barely move? Even though he could easily have made a servant do it.)"

Instead of giving something to the Beast:

say "He does not move or wake up enough to take any interest."

Instead of giving the feast to the Beast:

remove the feast from play;

move the iron key to the player;

say "With great care, you feed the soup to the Beast. So much spills that you doubt whether you are making any progress; then he swallows.

'You are ornery,' he says. 'I guaranteed your return -- you know what that means?'

'That if I had not come back, you would have died,' you reply.

'That is only a small part of what would have happened. The other contracts would have unraveled, the servant souls freed.'

You frown at him. 'I've been trying to use you to this purpose for years,' he says, touching your cheek. 'But you wouldn't [italic type]go[roman type]. I'm touched that you came back for me -- really, I can't tell you how much -- but you've ruined the plan.'

'Is there a way to set them free that doesn't kill you?' you ask.

He looks startled. 'Not for me,' he says. 'There's a room in the basement below the rose garden I can't get into. Lucrezia's room. You'll need to get in, search the crypt, find a way to destroy the contracts book... there are places in the castle I cannot enter, because she sealed them against all her descendants. But you are not one of her descendants, so--' He chuckles weakly at some joke, but he hands you [an iron key]. 'You'll need the shoes.'

'Would that lift the curse on you, too, do you think?' you ask.

'Unlikely. That is another matter. Less happy.' After a moment he begins to sleep again.";

now the beast is fed;

repurpose the player. [1]

The iron key is a passkey. It is in Storage. The iron key unlocks the iron cage. The description of the iron key is "The head of the key bears the image of a treasure chest."

The feast is in Storage. The feast is edible. Understand "food" or "platter" or "considerable" as the feast. "A considerable [feast] is set out on a platter as big as a shield." The description of the feast is "A platter heaped with -- why, you must this time have woken the chefs of King Yggdram the Piscine: it is pickled whitefish and wilted greens, hot soup made from leviathan's bones, and other dishes you do not recognize, made of things that have not grown in this vicinity for many a year." Understand "whitefish" and "pickled" and "wilted" and "Greens" and "soup" and "dishes" and "dish" and "leviathan's" and "bones" as the feast. The scent of the feast is "troutlike aroma".

Understand "feed [edible thing] to [someone]" as giving it to. Understand "feed [someone] [something edible]" as giving it to (with nouns reversed).

Instead of eating the feast, say "You restrain yourself with difficulty." Instead of tasting the feast: say "You allow yourself a sip of the soup, which goes down warm and bracing. Jonah must not have had things as bad as he always let on."

The candle is in Storage. The candle is lit. "The single [candle] blazes with many times more light than one light source ought to produce." The description of the candle is "Only apparently a single candle, but giving off a great deal of illumination." Understand "light" or "lighting" or "lamp" or "illumination" or "lights" or "candles" or "lamps" as the candle. Instead of burning the candle, say "Already taken care of." Instead of blowing the candle, say "After the trouble you took?"

Instead of burning something when the player is not carrying the candle:

say "You don't even have a source of flame."

The magic girdle is a grail. It is wearable. It is in storage. The description of the magic girdle is "It is the green girdle familiar to you from paintings here; a possession of Lucrezia's." After wearing the girdle: say "You put on the girdle, securing it around you. It fits unexpectedly well."


[1]. This horribly bureaucratic phrase is for the hint system: we have assigned the player some new goals, so it is necessary to change a few terms of the system in order to direct him more fruitfully.