Part 20: A Ninny at ChessXX - A Ninny at Chess
Castle Secret Passage
Hello everyone and welcome back. As always, there's so much to get done. Alex is now inside the castle walls and that looks like a peephole so...
Alexander hears the sound of voices coming from nearby. He decides to look through the hole in the nearby wall to see if he can find them.
Cap'n, I've been hearin' rumors from the guards who've been watchin' the princess. They say lately she's been poundin' on her door and beggin' to be let out.
Ain't none of my business, sir, but news like that is upsettin' the other dogs. Ain't no guard in the castle who would willingly keep the princess anywhere she don't want to be.
<Growl>. Alhazred claims that a foreign intruder is here to assassinate her. That's why she's got to be kept under lock and key, right up until the wedding.
Call me an old dog that can't learn new tricks, but I say the princess should be the one givin' orders!
Alhazred has been in charge for months what with the king's death and Cassima's mourning. Tonight the wedding will seal it, and there's nothing we can do about it. Like him or not, he's our liege. Need I remind you of your oath to the Crown?
Aye, we've an oath. For the sake of the princess we'll not be forgettin' it. He'd just better treat her well!
With all due respect, sir, he ain't our liege yet. Cassima's still our princess and is rightfully supposed to be in charge. Until the marriage is sealed, he's only the self-appointed regent and it sounds like the rightful ruler wants to take back over.
<growl> Watch your tongue before I cut it from your treasonous mouth.
You seem to be awfully quick to declare him our liege, cap'n. Maybe I should be the one remindin' you about your oaths. I sure as sun didn't swear mine to the vizier.
Speakin' of the vizier; What do ya reckon he's keepin' in that magical room of his?
It's not a magic ROOM, it's just the door he's enchanted somehow. I say he's still got the royal treasury in there--along with whatever else he's so eager to protect. Not even the court treasurer is allowed in there, anymore. I heard him in the hall the other day. He was speakin' to that door--black magic, is what I say! I heard him say 'Ali', but then Bay came up and started yapping at me.
Enough! It is not our place to question the practices of our liege--no matter how strange. The wedding will be starting soon. Report to the throne room when you hear the music start.
Saladin angrily storms out of the guard chambers.
Fun fact: is just Josh Mandel doing his King Graham voice.
Also this text pops up to inform us that we heard something useful! While we didn't investigate it, one of the doors in the west hallway where we entered the castle is sealed and nothing will open it. It sounds like it's password protected.
Up we go!
Phew! That was a climb. Alexander hears the faint sound of a woman crying nearby.
Another hole in the wall, so...
Cassima's Theme (Reprise)
Alexander's palms begin to sweat and his heart to race. It's Cassima! He's found her!
Psst! Princess Cassima!
What? Who's there?
It is I, Alexander! I'm here--behind this wall!
My, how suave THAT sounds!
It really IS you! I knew you were close by, but how did you get inside the castle WALLS?
It's a long story and not important now. You did get my ring?
Oh, yes! It has brought me such comfort, Alexander, to know you were close by and had not forgotten... But you shouldn't be here! You're only endangering yourself!
I don't care about the danger! I would brave anything to learn....
What is it?
Alhazred. Do you WANT to wed him, Cassima?
Oh, please believe me when I say that I never agreed to marry that man! Even when my father trusted Abdul absolutely, I never liked him. But with Mother and Father gone, I'm afraid there's no stopping him.
If you do not wish to marry him, Cassima, you SHALL not. I promise you.
The kingdom! Tell me what's going on out there, Alexander! I've been so afraid, not knowing what Alhazred plans! Have the islands stopped fighting?
I'm afraid not. The ferry has shut down, and I gather things are worse than ever. While the villagers on this island have been kind, the other islands were not exactly... welcoming, in all truth.
Ah! How could things have gone so awry?
Only come with me now, and we shall escape.
How? I cannot fit through this wall. Besides, do you think I could leave my kingdom, my PEOPLE, in Abdul's hands? Abdul would tear the castle apart if I were to disappear from my room! You shall have to do what you can to delay his plans from your end.
I can't just leave you here!
Alexander, do not despair for me. I have been safe in this room for nearly six months now. Abdul can be in no hurry, whatever he plans. After all, I'm to be his bride, am I not? I have been planning too, you see. I believe I can escape if I only get a chance to lay my hands on a weapon. There might be an opportunity in the hustle of the wedding.
Shhh. Just a moment more, and then you MUST go. Let us not waste this time with words. Please, let me just look at you, dear Alexander.
Here, take this dagger. It's not much, but it might come in handy.
Why, it's perfect! This is just the sort of thing I've been looking for! Thank you, Alexander. I'll keep it close and use it if I must.
Please, dearest Alexander, be careful and don't do anything rash.
Fear not, Cassima. I have not been idle in my time on the islands. Allies are coming to help us. We just need to delay the wedding for as long as we possibly can.
Oh no! Someone's coming!
The lock on Cassima's door rattles rather abruptly.
Alexander, hurry! Step away before they see you!
Alexander looks through the hole in the wall, anxious to see what the commotion was about.
Ambassador Udina, what, precisely, could I have done to stop it? I'm inside the walls. A fine rescuer I'M turning out to be, though.
More spying to be done down this hallway.
A third and final conversation.
Alhazred's Theme (Reprise)
Dear Shadrack. Salutations from the Society of the Black Cloak, etc., etc. My long preparations are about to come to fruition. In a matter of minutes, I will wed the lovely <hah-hah> Cassima. Once I've established my power and my crown, I can stage another 'accident.' The princess has proven infuriatingly stubborn, as you know. She's becoming quite a dangerous little thorn in my side.
In a way, it's a shame I have to kill her--she is lovely and would be amusing to keep around, but I can't risk her talking treason to one of the guards. So far, I've managed to keep her locked away, but I can't continue that forever. Well, on to it now. I'd send her to you but, as you know, I had no luck in doing so with Mordack. I close in triumph--KING Abdul Alhazred.
I think it's about time to see if Shamir has taken care of the wench as I asked. It's almost time for the wedding.
The vizier's words fill Alexander with blazing anger--and fear for Cassima's life.
That blackguard! That murderous swine! He'll not have his way if I have anything to say about it!
The hallway continues down past this, so...
While I'd be tempted to say this is a dead end, that rectangle at the far end of the hallway looks interesting.
Alexander sees... lots of black cloaks?
The trunk stands out obviously, so...
A storage trunk sits at the foot of the bed. The trunk bears a large brass lock.
Alexander inserts the skeleton key in the trunk's lock and turns it. He hears a click.
Yes we're using a skeleton key from the Realm of the Dead to spy on Abdul.
Let's see these papers. We'll start with the one on the top.
Greetings to a brother of the Black Cloak. I was sorry to hear of great Mordack's death, though he was a bit of a ninny at chess. It seems the plans for that little kingdom of yours are coming along. I must congratulate you on your handling of the king and queen. Isolating the islands so that no protest could develop was another brilliant stroke. It looks like there's not much left to stand in your way. Do as I recommended with the girl, and you shall have your crown.
We can also open the green box.
Inside the ebony box is a piece of paper with the word ZEBU printed on it.
Enlightening. But that little four letter word is just what we need to put the last piece of the puzzle into place.
Alexander is carrying a letter taken from the vizier's trunk.
The wedding is starting INCREDIBLY SOON. We are actually working against a fairly tight timer here. So let's book it back down to the basement.
The door on the left is the one with the magical lock. So we need to
Since the door on the west wall has no visible knob or handle, Alexander decides to try to open it with his voice. He composes his words carefully...
We need to type in A L I Z E B U
Listen, Door! I would have you open! ALI ZEBU!
Vizier's Treasure Room
A small table graces the middle of the room. The table is covered by a velvet drapery. The initials A.A. are embroidered on the drapery. Alexander pulls it aside, curious as to what might lie underneath.
Lying on the table are four very particular items...
A fleece made of gold.
That fleece belongs to the Winged Ones. And they thought the Isle of Wonder had taken it!
A strange-looking stone giving off an odd, high-pitched noise.
That must be the Isle of Wonder's singing stone. The queens thought that the Beast had stolen it.
A miniature oak tree that looks very old.
The druids thought that the Winged Ones had stolen that sacred miniature oak tree.
And finally a coat of arms with the head of a beast on the crest.
Beast said that his coat of arms was stolen by the Druids. This must be it.
As Alexander looks at the objects on the table, he realizes the depth of the vizier's cunning. It must have been the vizier (or an accomplice) who stole that one thing most precious to each island, and then leaked rumors that one of the other islands was responsible!
No WONDER the stories never added up! And by separating the islands... none could stand against his rise to power!
Finding the stolen treasures is optional, but required for the best ending. But there's nothing we can do with any of them, and they're safe enough behind a password protected door. So let's leave. We're running out of time!
Alexander hears the sound of music coming from the top of the stairs. It sounds somewhat classical, but..
List of Points
+2 - A clue from the dogs!
+1 - A face to wall conversation with Cassima
+3 - Armed the princess
+1 - Learned the evil vizier is evil
+2 - Proof the evil vizier is evil
+1 - ZEBU
+2 - ALI ZEBU
+2 - "Stolen property or some such"
Total Points: 210/231
Register of Deaths