The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 21: Trilby's Notes, Part 4: Equal Opportunity

Trilby's Notes, Part 4: Equal Opportunity

Oh, it's you, Terry. I thought you might have been the serving staff, at last.
Do you know anything about Siobhan's family tree, Abed? Specifically, whether or not they ran a shipping company in the late 18th century?
What on earth makes you think I would know that? Why don't you ask Siobhan instead of wasting my time and yours with questions she could easily answer herself?

Yahtzee realized that, while Abed was an exaggerated absent-minded professor stereotype, he was still a bit too three-dimensional for this series. Now he's basically just Phil again.

Has the hotel changed at all?
I can't seem to find any staff.
But has the building changed physically? Become... older, dirtier?
Terry, I am becoming very concerned about you now. Have you been drinking?

I'm afraid not.
Perhaps they go to bed early in these parts.
Siobhan, I suspect there may be something... dangerous in the hotel.

Let's connect some dots.

1. The hotel staff is gradually disappearing.
2. People who are nervous and jittery shift over to a much more evil hotel.
3. This evil hotel is being patrolled by a murderous figure who likes killing people for minor infractions or because he's bored.
4. There are recently-flayed corpses all throughout the dark hotel.

Now, drawing the logical conclusion from these clues is marginally easier than remembering to breathe, and it's a pretty effective thematic element that establishes a credible threat and immediate sense of danger. You may be thinking that a logical and effective explanation seems out of place for the Chzo games, and apparently so did Yahtzee, since he specifically goes out of his way to make this way more complicated than it needs to be. The commentary talks a lot about how the world of magic isn't really evil and instead it's just a normal place where happy people live slightly differently and The Prince is just a serial killer hurting this one area but the corpses are of people who originate from that world where-

Yeah, forget it. All of the dark world corpses being hotel staff is getting added to my reworked canon alongside everybody in 7 Days impersonating someone qualified so they could go into space.

Do you know anything about the history of your family?
I'm researching my family tree as part of my diploma.
That's ideal. I appreciate this may sound like an odd question, but trust me when I say it's important. Did your family once own a shipping company?
That is an odd question, but I do remember reading something about "Omalley Shipping". I'd have to check my notes, I left them in my book bag. Could you meet me in my room in about five minutes? I'm in 2A, next to Abed.

I love how this game specifically gives Siobhan the most generic Irish name imaginable, then specifically comments on this fact, but still has the use of this name be a vital clue in proving a connection.

Come and sit down. Let's talk. How are you feeling? We were a little worried about you.
I have these... moments of illness. What do you want to talk about?
DeFoe Manor.
It kind of interests me. I was really into media coverage of the incident at the time. This client of yours, the one who wants the figurine, what does he know about it?

Arbitrary personality changes for everyone! Keep in mind that, in game, Trilby has walked up and down some stairs a bit and stared at objects, probably not taking more than about an hour at most. Over the course of an hour, Siobhan went from a disdainful:

Oh really? Him and half the other people we meet. What is it about that place?

to a fascinated:

It kind of interests me. I was really into media coverage of the incident at the time.

This scene was a late addition. Originally Siobhan was just going to seduce him, but having this game's female characters fulfill the roles of slut, service industry worker, raped trophy wife, and victim of childbirth wasn't being progressive enough. He compromised by turning "slut" into "raging idiot", possibly in a misguided attempt to make people think he was John Steinbeck.

W-well, he has an interest in the occult, and there's some nonsense story going around about it.
Really? I don't remember hearing about that in any of the reports.
No, you wouldn't have, it wasn't widely...
I could feel cold sweat dripping down my spine. Every fiber of my being was concentrating on not giving any outward signs of alarm as Siobhan spoke of my secret name with wide-eyed enthusiasm.

In other words, Lenkmann was completely right about all of his concerns and Trilby is cocky without being able to back it up by anything. I would say that Lenkmann is actually somewhat competent, but this will be proven spectacularly incorrect a few updates from now.

[Words about if Trilby was at the mansion] Have you... have you always been an antique dealer?
Siobhan... please... I came here to talk about...
Have you EVER been an antique dealer? The outfit, the hat, Terry Railby... you're HIM! You were in DeFoe Manor, and now you've come here to finish off the ghost!

So not only was Trilby's "disguise" entirely nonexistent, it still managed to somehow fool Siobhan, who as of five minutes ago had a huge fascination with the character. She's like a two-year-old who just figured out the trick behind Peek-A-Boo, and this was the more female-friendly version.

I always knew there was something... else. Will you take me with you?
[Stereotypical "I'm no hero" speech with warnings about things being dangerous that makes me want to slap Yahtzee for being boringly cliche.]

The blood wallpaper relates once again to the arc date that keeps showing up: 28/7, or July 28. The Prince is a simple man whose hobbies include murder, hanging around blocks of wood, and making absolutely sure he doesn't forget what day it is.

Trilby manages to trip over the hole in the floor and decides that getting back up is for wimps and sensible people. Instead, he reverts to the popular "Back self against wall for protection" strategy.

Meanwhile, Yahtzee continues to move the feminist movement forward by having her seduce Trilby anyway, disguising it as an entirely heterosexual lapdance with a being of pure evil, and ending the event with some good old domestic violence.

Siobhan was out cold, but uninjured. She would probably be safe on her bed while I continued my investigation.

...Which he immediately uses to justify rifling through her possessions. Keep in mind that this is supposed to be our protagonist. We're supposed to like him.

Yahtzee, never marry.

There were a few textbooks, a half-empty water bottle, and a large folder marked "Omalley Family History". This, I decided, was my quarry. I flipped through the pages until I reached the information relevant to the 18th century and read my discoveries out loud.
The owner at that time, Jacob Omalley, placed the blame somewhat irrationally on a shipping crate which family alleged to be haunted and that had been on the ship at the time.

Yahtzee's love of lineage always conveniently allows names to stay the same over long stretches of time, like the 400-year stretch in which Abed's descendants continue to have the name Chahal. There are all sorts of reasons this "research" shouldn't work, like Siobhan not taking her family history to a hotel or more than one Omalley having written his name on a box, but coincidences are easy to write.

It goes that a strange young man came to a carpenter's at the Liverpool dockyards with a very expensive-looking harpsichord, which he insisted be smashed up and the wood used for whatever purpose the carpenter desired. He refused to leave until the instrument had been utterly broken into its component parts in front of his eyes, and the wood sent to be made into crates for Omalley shipping. When pressed for his name, the man identified himself as one Jack Frehorn.

I'm pretty sure this harpsichord is haunted and evil. I want you to take steps to ensure it gets split up and spread around as many different parts of the world by as many different handlers as possible. To protect them.

So, what trifle have you been wasting your father's money on now, Jack? It looks like a virginal.
A harpsichord, actually, in the Flemish style.
Well, I suppose I should be grateful that something is distracting you from the occult for once.
[Words about the occult]
Oh, god. I should have known. So, what devilry inhabits this magnificent instrument?
[Words about how the keys are made from oak that was once the wall of the Unicorn Inn, which was associated with "mysterious happenings"]

I'm sorry I'm increasingly condensing the script, but this is where Yahtzee goes completely overboard with reiterating things that we've already heard a dozen times. The harpsichord is made of evil Prince soul wood and someone is about to die. Let's foreshadow that in a novella.

I'm going to get a better (looping) version of this up when I get around to doing things I say I will. Probably never.

That night, Jack was stirred from his bed by the sound of music emanating from his new instrument. His first thought was anger, because the harpsichord was an antique, never intended to be played. But then he listened to the haunting melancholy tune, and felt his stomach roll inexplicably with fear.
Wilbur, is that you?

Wilbur, in case you haven't noticed, is Jack's entirely heterosexual friend who happens to platonically share a bed with him. This sort of relationship shows up throughout the series.

The sparsely-furnished room below Jack's bedroom was dominated now by his new harpsichord. The same instrument was now being tormented at the spindly hands of the emaciated intruder. The tall man was playing a haunting melody on the harpsichord. Except for his hands, his body was completely still. Jack could not take a step further, because he realized with a lurch that he recognized the dark figure that sat at the keys. He had read of this strange entity that recurred frequently in stories surrounding the Unicorn Inn and the objects that were later constructed from its wood, and he knew with absolute certainty that the Tall Man would destroy him were he not destroyed first.

Just felt I'd give you an idea of the kind of text I've been cutting out, lest you think I'm not doing you all a favor.

Jack took the gun with him, to confront the intruder.

As opposed to providing moral support.

Wilbur... But... I could have sworn...

I know you! You have... oh, god!

I am a worthless, craven fool, not worth a second of your precious time! I beg you, spare me! I will redeem myself for my offense. I will be yours forever, my body, mind, and soul.

Thank you, my lord. Thank you.

In the commentary, Yahtzee feebly tries to explain why this happens, besides "I needed a plot", of course. His justification is that the Prince felt he had already caused Jack enough pain, which is somewhat like Bernie Madoff deciding he's made enough money and investing in a local credit union. [/incredibly topical reference].

Notice that Siobhan is gone. This is definitively intentional this time.

This may well have been the same Jack Frehorn who went on to form a bizarre religious cult: A depraved group of paganistic worshippers who were spoken of with much derision by conventional society.

We get to see this cult in 6 Days. It's basically just a thin Scientology joke.

With my latest flashback, my knowledge of the history of the cursed wood gained another step. Before the crate, it had been a harpsichord. And some time before the harpsichord, it had been part of some kind of hostelry in Wales. An inn called the unicorn... why did that ring a bell somewhere in my recent memory? I had definitely seen something in the Clanbronwyn hotel that was linked to the place. But where?

Victim 3: Frehorn

1. The third Man who desired judgment was Frehorn, who had bought from those who made luxuries with the wood that was the Prince's Soul, and against whom the Prince brought down the pain of the Soul. The Prince came and struck down the lover of Frehorn, and Frehorn knew the name of the King.
2. And Frehorn said, "I know you now, O Prince who was the Arrogant Man, and I anticipate your wish, and I will devote myself to spreading the teachings you have brought me and the love of our King."
3. And the Prince was satisfied, and Frehorn called all those who would listen and they formed an Order of Blessed Agonies that would work to redeem the follies of the Men of Technology.

Seriously, it actually says "the lover of Frehorn". Some day, Yahtzee should try giving a talk about this series at Sarah Lawrence.

Next time, we collect limbs.

Creator Commentary
So I did some reflecting prior to starting Notes and realised that 5 Days was about a group of strangers having to unite against an unknown evil, while 7 Days was about a group of friends being separated and picked off by the same evil. So I tried to come up with a different overall theme to the characters in Notes. The theme ended up being 'you're the only one who's seeing horrible things while surrounded by people who aren't seeing anything'. That kind of goes away after a while, though.