Quest for the Murderer pt. 6: beneath the tide

[Fragment from an unnamed grimoire:]

… have dealings with specters who require servitude and return power. Magicians enthralled to such cannot be put to rest, no matter the mortal hurts inflicted upon them; either the Specter must be overcome or else the aegis which holds the thrall’s heart must be broken. The magician’s life ends when the heart is wrested and exposed to the light of day.

The seal can be broken with the number of the name of the Specter and three items of power belonging to the spellcaster. As to the name of the Specter, Mispar Hechrachi is the most reliable or most usual…

The treasure hunters will probably have to search for Mispar Hechrachi in a search engine, which will teach them that it is the most common variety of gematria, the numerology applied to Hebrew letters. This information will prove useful later.

It should be an easy guess that the three items of power are the three charms belonging to the murderer.

The foregoing fragment is also accompanied by this puzzle. This puzzle requires that the treasure hunters have found at least one charm for each of the fellowship because they must recognize the nine symbols (mascots) on the puzzle.

An earlier message in this quest indicated the haunts of each of the fellowship. The treasure hunters can search these locations for the charms, each of which bears the mascot of its owner.

Spellcaster insignia haunt mascot
Chiara the thaumaturge hand chapel unicorn
Adelmar the clairvoyant eye observatory owl
Erasmus the necromancer death ossuary oak
Aleister the mage staff library spider
Morrigan the shapeshifter wolf gallery mistletoe
Lorrcan the druid deer garden holly
Athanor the alchemist symbol solar/grotto bat
Helmold the conjurer hat salon adder
Freya the enchantress song chantry mouse

Knowing the association of mascot to spellcaster allows the treasure hunters to apply three keys from the Quest for the Altar to each line of encrypted text in the puzzle. (See also how to make keys to the altar chest.)

By overlaying the three correct keys atop the three lines of text, the entire message is revealed: ‘Reach beneath a blue blossom before the seat of the yellow-tongued beast.’ The yellow-tongued beast is the fire in the fireplace, and the blue blossom is one of many ornaments woven into the hearth rug. Underneath is the next clue.

Quest for the Murderer pt. 5: the mace

[A page from Adelmar’s diary, recovered from an abandoned asylum behind a barrier of thorns:]

Flown again. My pursuers shall discover my most recent refuge before the sennight is out, but they shall find it empty.

This makes thrice. Hunted day and night, night and day, and now depleted, enervated. Ever watchful for portents of pursuit, the mind and the eyes grow weary. Sleep, disturbed with visions, does not refresh, and waking vision grows blurry. I am sure that in time I must go mad or blind or both.

Already memory erodes, and this journal has been my salvation more than once.

Tonight I will act to preserve my sight against the day that the premonitions at last overcome my senses. One eye is plucked.

( 29.5 + 43.5 + 43.5 ) ( 94 + 22 + 10 ) ( 14.5 + 86.5 + 17.5 ) ( 48 + 49 + 66 ) ( 57.5 + 43.5 + 60.5 ) ( 18 + 83 + 14 ) ( 11 + 21 + 97 ) ( 57 + 48 + 51 ) ( 19 + 13 + 91 ) ( 47 + 54 + 57 ) ( 52.5 + 62.5 + 52.5 ) ( 84.5 + 15.5 + 16.5 ) ( 54 + 56 + 47 ) ( -25 + 57 + 57 ) ( 55.5 + 55.5 + 41.5 ) ( 11 + 98 + 21 ) ( 21.5 + 22.5 + 82.5 ) ( 10.5 + 89.5 + 21.5 ) ( 44.5 + 63.5 + -12.5 ) ( 8.5 + 23.5 + 92.5 ) ( 13 + 85 + 19 ) ( 59 + 55 + 46 ) ( 13.5 + 18.5 + 91.5 ) ( 82.5 + 16.5 + 15.5 ) ( 52.5 + 61.5 + 54.5 ) ( 54 + 61 + 43 ) ( 89.5 + 11.5 + 20.5 ) ( 14.5 + 84.5 + 17.5 ) ( 54.5 + 64.5 + 49.5 ) ( 57.5 + 53.5 + 43.5 ) ( 58 + 57 + 51 ) ( 54 + -22 + 54 ) ( 97.5 + 13.5 + 18.5 ) ( 52 + 52 + 50 ) ( 21 + 90 + 11 ) ( 99 + 15 + 17 ) ( 19 + 85 + 13 ) ( 53.5 + 57.5 + 47.5 ) ( 16 + 100 + 16 ) ( 60.5 + 55.5 + 54.5 ) ( 16 + 95 + 16 ) ( 59.5 + 49.5 + 54.5 ) ( 88.5 + 27.5 + 16.5 ) ( 86 + 18 + 14 ) ( 22.5 + 26.5 + 82.5 ) ( 83 + 27 + 28 ) ( 10 + 22 + 93 ) ( 23 + 9 + 93 ) ( 97 + 15 + 17 ) ( 56.5 + 51.5 + 59.5 ) ( 51 + 46 + 58 ) ( 22 + 89 + 10 ) ( 49.5 + 51.5 + 64.5 ) ( 20 + 84 + 26 ) ( 95 + 26 + 6 ) ( 16 + 16 + 16 ) ( 12 + 20 + 96 ) ( 91.5 + 9.5 + 22.5 ) ( 15.5 + 85.5 + 16.5 ) ( 92.5 + 8.5 + 23.5 ) ( 16 + 30 + 16 )

[In a ghostly hand:]

A CLUE LIES BENEATH THE TIDE.

In addition to this message, a tiny bottle of aqua vitae is held within the bottle of mace. This time the fluid burns green, so the colour cipher reads: ‘I have chosen a hole in the wall for its hiding place.’

This particular colour cipher does not need to be used to complete this quest. However, it must be followed in order to complete the Quest for the Castle Treasure. In order to interpret the colour cipher, the Quest for the Altar must be completed.

Adelmar’s eye

The treasure hunters should guess that the barrier of thorns refers to our impenetrable lemon tree. What they have probably not noticed is that there has always been a small hole in the wall behind the tree, behind a thin tangle of vines. By happy coincidence, it is exactly the right size for Adelmar’s eye.

See also how to make Adelmar’s eye.

The riddle: We don’t live by the sea. The only tide in our house is our laundry detergent; that’s right, we use Tide brand. The next clue lies beneath the box of detergent.

Quest for the Murderer pt. 4: the writ behind the song

The haunts of the nine: for Morrigan, the gallery; for Aleister, the library; for Chiara, the chapel; for Erasmus, the ossuary; for Freya, the chantry; for Adelmar, the observatory; for Helmold, the salon; for Lorrcan, the garden; for Athanor, the solar.

Seek the mace which does no harm.

This message provides insight as to where to seek the charms of the fellowship. The red-bound spell book instructed the treasure hunters that the charms would be in the dens of their owners. The castle map indicates the locations of the gallery, the library, the chapel, etc. This is a good time for the treasure hunters to earnestly seek the charms; however, there is more assistance to come, so I will again postpone discussing them.

The riddle: Any treasure hunter handy with a spice rack or worthy dictionary can tell you that mace is not just a weapon: it is a spice obtained from the nutmeg tree. For about five dollars, I got a tall bottle of mace from the grocery store. That’s where the next clue lies.

Quest for the Murderer pt. 3: the cool draft

[An excerpt from Athanor’s diary:]

I have discovered — and not infrequently — Helmold skulking about my quarters and still more often discovered him poking about the abandoned quarters of the fled habitants of the castle. Freya persists that he is merely pinching clothes and sundries (which he later wears in his romps about the castle, pretending to be one or another of his cohorts).

I nevertheless suppose that he is looking for something more. As a precautionary measure, I have begun moving my workshop from the solar to the grotto and have secreted my charmed emblems in this place.

I am considering undertaking a hunt of my own for the others’ magical emblems. I wonder how Helmold would like the shoe on the other foot, to find me poking about his things for a change?

[In a ghostly hand:]

Seek thou the writ behind the hymn whose tune is Forsaken.

In addition to the foregoing text, this location holds Athanor’s three charms. This is the start of the hunt for the charmed items, but finding them becomes much easier when more information is given later in this quest, so I will postpone discussing the hunt for charms until that point.

The riddle: This is without doubt the most enigmatic of the puzzles in any of the three quests. Among the appendices in the hymnals at church[1] is one for titles, tunes, and meters. Yes, the tunes for the hymns have their own names. An examination of this appendix reveals a tune named ‘Forsaken’, and the only hymn which makes use of it is ‘The Lord Is My Shepherd’.

The text behind this hymn comes from Psalm 23. A Bible was included in the initial materials granted to the treasure hunters. It has been stuffed with over a dozen red herrings (which are readily mistaken for placeholders), but if the treasure hunters turn to Psalm 23, they’ll find the next clue.

The red herring placeholders contain misinformation about the story as well as faulty, cryptic instructions for the next location. They should be disregarded.