Part 27: Level Two: Multiplayer FeaturesLevel Two: Multiplayer Features
Plenty of people seem to have solved the puzzle already, through various approaches. The answers we're seeking appear to be as follows: Achmed is Wahoun, Bana and Dhuja are Famani, and Charoun is Tredu. Let's see how the game itself addresses its own solution. Note that I will be presenting the solution exactly as written so don't blame me if it's weird.
"I sssee that if Achmed is Tredu, then he is lying by sssaying he is not, and the Tredu never lie. If he is Famani, then he tellsss the truth when he sssays he is not Tredu, and the Famani never tell the truth. Hencsse, he mussst be Wahoun. But what isss Charoun?"
He's a Tredu, as mentioned.
"Explain," says the serpent.
"Gladly," you say. "At least one of the men is a Tredu. Achmed is not. Achmed says he is Wahoun, which we know to be true; his next statement, that Dhuja is Tredu, must be false. Ergo, Dhuja is not Tredu. Bana says he is Wahoun, so he cannot be Tredu either, because he would be lying if he were, and the Tredu cannot lie. That only leaves one possibility: Charoun must be Tredu."
"I think I sssee," says the serpent. "But what of Bana and Dhuja?"
"We know," you explain, "that Charoun is Tredu and always tells the truth. He says that there are two Famani. Achmed is Wahoun, so both Bana and Dhuja must be Famani."
"I thank you from the bottom of my left ventricle," says the serpent. "And here is what I have to tell you." It slithers closer. You feel a foul reptilian stench in your nostrils.
That sure was a lot of effort for that kind of hint. At least we did a good deed. Maybe? That was a house-sized snake we just allowed to breed. To the next PoP, and onward past this maze!
Here stands a jumbled pile of rocks, marking the rude grave of some traveller. Perhaps beneath these stones lies the body of an adventurer much like you; perhaps Persephone, or another from your village, is to be found here.
Except we already know she's alive, so no. Seems the game expected you to miss that hint, or to go toward the river first, even though that would be the least optimal path.
You approach the rocks, and see that several are carved with graffiti. There is an epitaph, for whom you know not: When vain desire at last, and vain regret / Go hand in hand to death, and all is vain / What shall assuage the unforgotten pain / And teach the unforgetful to forget? Another says: 2 and 6? I hate math. Another says: Don't walk on the meadow unless you're SURE! Would you like to carve a graffito of your own?
This is an interesting PoP, because the original idea was that people could write their own stuff and have it appear in this PoP. One can imagine the obvious abuses this could've led to, but unfortunately no aspect of this functionality remains (if it ever was implemented in the first place). The messages that remain are written by the developers. MadMaze-II does allow for carving your own, but nothing happens when you do. That's all there is to it.
This next maze has a curious feature: A PoP in the corner that doesn't go anywhere, not even to another point on the maze. You can enter it and leave it back the way you came and nothing else. It's clearly optional, so we'll check it out first.
Finally, some good news! I think. Probably.
This is almost certainly bad in some twisted manner, but to heck with it, the place is awesome. Let's explore.
Its song changes as you approach, and although it does not speak in words, you sense the bird's longing for liberty. "Free me," it sings. "I was not made for gilded cages."
We do have a bit of a flair for freeing birds from cages (unless we don't, and are still carrying around that goshawk), so why not?
You open the nightingale's cage and with a joyous song of freedom, it hops from the cage and flies to a pomegranate tree, where it perches. It sings again; again, it speaks no words, but its song says: "Eat of the pomegranate; thus I repay you." And it flies away into the desert.
I always do whatever a talking bird says, so let's do just that.
You take a pomegranate and sit under a banyan tree as you peel it and remove the tiny purple segments. You eat it and soon, made drowsy by the swaying of the huge tree's leaves, fall into a slumber, the pit of the fruit still about you. You dream of a battle on the desert, a battle between Atarri nomads and Tercelid soldiers; swords clashing, arrows flashing, the shaggy Tercelid ponies darting in the harsh desert wind.
And you know that this is no dream: Somewhere, far away across the desert, this is happening now. The Atarri banner says, in script you cannot awake read: the Sons of the Desert. And you know that this is the name of the Atarri resistance, the tattered remnants of the Atarri kingdom, resisting the rule of Osmet Khan. The Tercelidae are getting the worst of it. The Atarri prepare for their final charge, and shout their battle cry: "The dawn shall wash the sands in red."
Across the sands charge the Atarri rebels. The Tercelid lines fold before them... And then, from among the Tercelidae, rises a giant hawk, a god hawk, a monstrous bird that blots out the sun. It is a goshawk, far larger than its natural size; it squawks in rage. Its beak darts down, stabs the Atarri general, and tosses his body aside. You see that this bird, this apparition, emanates from one man: A wizard, a bitter-faced turbanned man. It is the Vizier Aboud.
And he summons it with the Talisman of Chugotai. He holds the talisman over his head, and chants in a tongue you do not know. So long as he retains the Talisman, you somehow understand, the Atarri will remain in thrall to the Tercelidae. And the Mad One's rule of this domain will remain unchallenged.
Uhhhhhhhhh, I think we better get out of here. Next PoP!
You come across an oasis, a patch of lush beauty amidst the sere desert.
It is as the houri said. You travel across a sea of sand, struggling up one dune and down the next. You travel for what seems like days, though the stars wheel excruciatingly slowly in the sky, far more slowly than they do in Weith. You wonder how this can be, but it is so. It is dark, and the desert air is cool, almost chilly. You give thanks for this, for traversing the desert takes so long that you know the sun would surely have killed your horse if it were shining. At last, you come to the desert's edge.
I feel like maybe this was a puzzle at some point? But no, you just arrive here, get told by a pretty lady that it's cool, and it is indeed cool. Go figure.
Alternate Solutions & Deaths
We could, of course, just kill the serpent.
You spur your charger toward the monstrous snake and swing Valterre about your head. The reptile strikes, faster than the eye can follow -- but Valterre is faster, and opens a gash along the creature's neck. It hisses painfully and bleeds a sluggish ichor. It is a battle royal, for this is no easily defeated foe. But at last, panting and covered with greenish blood, you stand over the corpse of your enemy. That night, you discover that snake does indeed taste like chicken. The following morning, you mount up and continue your long journey.
If you fail the puzzle, the serpent just slithers off, no deaths or interesting bits there.
Now the garden, that has some fun stuff. Let's suppose we didn't free the nightingale and explored further.
Well hell, there can't possibly be anything wrong with the option "Stay Here Forever!"
You stay here for many days, living off the abundance of the garden and enjoying the nightingale's song. One day, a whirlwind spins across the desert toward the garden, and when it reaches you it stops whirling. In its place appears:
Note that the following would also have happened if we hadn't gotten out of here after our dream.
At this point we're screwed, as no option will work; Aboud is bad news.
Babble Apology: "I haven't... I mean I didn't," you say. "Silence!" roars Aboud. With a wave of his hand, cyan magic plays about you and you are rendered dumb.
Kill Him: Who is this fool to treat so a champion of Carlon King? you think as you draw your magic blade and hurl yourself at this discourteous wight. You find out. He waves a hand and cyan magic plays about you. You tumble to the garden's green sward, helpless and unable to move. Obviously, this is a wizard of tremendous power.
Flee: You hurtle atop your mount and make to flee into the desert -- But before your horse's hooves may touch the desert soil, Aboud waves a hand and cyan magic plays about you. Your horse trips and you tumble, helpless, to the garden floor. You find that you are unable to move.
All roads lead to the same result:
And in a sense, at least, you gain your wish; for all eternity, you remain within the Garden of Earthly Delights -- weeding, digging, and landscaping at the behest of the Evil Vizier Aboud.
And yes, "Evil Vizier" is capitalized. I presume that's his official job title.