Quest for the Murderer pt. 1: introductory envelope

[A letter in Chiara’s hand:]

I leave this letter against the event that I be killed in the endeavour at hand, that my purpose may be known and that this knowledge might possibly save whatever shall remain of the fellowship.

In the sanctum last night, I discovered a box, hidden and enveloped with a thick miasma of diablerie. I conjured the box disclose its contents, but it resisted my efforts and returned only a quiet throb. An attempt to destroy the contents of the box was frustrated as soon as it was begun, for the case is ensorcelled with a power which will not yield.

The apparition of this artifact attests that some one of the fellowship has made alliance with a terrible and potent entity. If the descriptions in the Voynich manuscript may be relied upon, the owner of the box is safe from mortal threat so long as the entity’s spell holds the box shut.

I dare not reveal my discovery to the fellowship, for the creature whose power seals the box must then know that he is found out and would surely undo us all. The strength of its hold on the box leaves little doubt of its might. Better to move against it in secret while I may.

[In a ghostly hand:]

Seek the latticed battlefield where Itrek faced Andad.

The story: The box to which Chiara’s letter refers is the chest for this quest. It bears two locks. Reference to the Voynich manuscript is made in idle fun. It has no bearing on the story.

The riddle: Deft use of a search engine should lead the treasure hunters to the legend of Tyrfing or the Saga of Hervor and King  Heidrek.

Google will return pages upon pages of results for ‘iTrek Canada’. You’ll have to scroll down to the end of the first page of results and click the link that reads ‘Show results that include only “Andad.”‘ (This is actually different from the usual Google ‘suggested results’.) Alternatively, you might give Bing a chance.

In this tale, Odin in disguise puts a series of riddles to King Heidrek. One riddle speaks of two thanes who ride to a moot and join battle. The answer to this is the white king (Itrek) and the black king (Andad) of the chessboard (actually tafl).

Opening our usual chess set and unfolding the board, the treasure hunters will find their next clue.

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