The Let's Play Archive

The Chzo Mythos

by Quovak

Part 26: Countdown: Part 1

You know what's the problem with text adventures? Transcripts of them are fucking enormous. God only knows how much paper was wasted on Adventure back in the day before CRTs became standard.

So now that Quovak's done with Trilby's Notes, I'm gonna post the Countdown Trilogy since he's said he doesn't feel like it. I've got them all ready to post, but being as they're fucking huge walls of text, I'll put a few hours between them to make them a bit less wall-of-texty.

Formatting notes: I put room names in italics and the title, the game info, and player commands in bold.

So here's The Body:

The Body

August 18th, 1779.

Just over a year ago, your greatest friend, Wilbur, was murdered.

By you.

His brain was utterly destroyed by a cloud of shot fired from a flintlock pistol. You can still close your eyes and see the flash of powder that changed your life forever, the gun kicking in your hand as its deadly payload was ejected. His body you then butchered.

Every day since then you have laid your hand on the banister as you made your way up the stairs, and every single time the texture of the wood and grain has reminded you of the axe handle as you held it and brought it down again and again on Wilbur's form, reducing his beautiful, hairless body to sweating gobbets of shapeless meat.

The figure in black, like an elongated shadow at sunset stretching across a grave. You remember him, too. You remember falling to your knees and spouting every plea that came to your mind, desperate to be spared his wrath. Satisfied, he vanished, and you gradually began to convince yourself that he had never appeared at all. You disposed of Wilbur, told his friends and relatives that he had moved permanently to France, and allowed yourself to forget.

Until he came back.

July 28th, 1779, a year to the day. He came back, peering eyelessly at you from across your bedclothes. The Prince. The Tall Man. Never speaking, rarely moving, but somehow getting his message across with ease. In return for your life, you, Jack Frehorn, owed him and his foetid master an obligation. All you had to do was follow their instructions.

That was twenty-one days ago. Tonight, you will complete the task you were given. Perhaps then, you will be free. Perhaps after tonight, you will sleep easy once more.

Countdown 1 - the Body
An Interactive Fiction by Yahtzee
Release 1 / Serial number 061219 / Inform 7 build 4B91 (I6/v6.31 lib 6/11N)

Harpsichord Room
This is the Harpsichord Room. You persist in calling it that, even though the titular instrument has long since been smashed to bits, it and its dreadful curse. You must admit that the room is quite devoid of life without it; you even tore the curtains from the windows after that terrible night, lest the slightest stain of Wilbur's blood incriminate you. Now the only features are a decorative end table in the corner, a set of stairs leading to the room above, a trapdoor in the floor and a door in the east wall that leads outside.

On the end table is a bottle of rum.

>take rum


The bedroom was never well-maintained, even when Wilbur was alive. Now it hasn't been cleaned for some time, and thick films of dust and filth cover everything. You're almost certain rats are getting in, but you cannot bring yourself to care. Only the ancient bed and your old writing desk show any sign of recent use.

On the bed is a blank page.

>take page

>examine desk
Once, the desk was covered in papers, correspondence and texts, as recently as a year ago when you were still excited by the supernatural. Now the surface is practically bare, your files all thrown into a fire long ago. There is a single drawer built into the desk.

>open desk
You open the drawer, revealing a quill pen.

>take pen


Harpsichord Room


You have been spending an increasingly large amount of time in the basement. The once intimidating rock walls and ancient foundations of previous buildings now seem familiar and comforting. The only way out is a well-trodden set of stone steps leading upwards.

Dominating the large space of the basement is an unusually oversized coal brazier, to which Number 12 is securely chained.

The Pillar stands ominously in a corner of the room.

You can also see an instruction scroll and a blade here.

Number 12 fights uselessly with its restraints.

>examine scroll
It was given to you by the Prince, and you spent an entire night translating it from what you think was ancient Gaelic.

"Find ye twelve of impure Mind.
Teach they the pain of fire and flay.
When broken they, take up thy Blade.
Then cut they Mind and Soul away.

Place thy Blade into the Pillar.
Their Mind and Soul within shall stay.
When twelve are dead, take up thy pen.
Write what ye hear "till ends the day."

>examine blade
You found it lying on Wilbur's pillow the morning after the Tall Man appeared to you. It is a long, decorative blade with two absurd points on the end, like the teeth of a key. You are certain that the strange metal from which it is forged cannot be found anywhere in the Universe of Technology.

Number 12 is sobbing miserably to itself.

>examine 12
You picked it up from a notorious inn just off the Liverpool docks. It has already been here for the required fifteen hours, and is looking rather scarred and blackened from the coals.

Number 12 fights uselessly with its restraints.

>ask 12 about pain
You can only do that to something animate.

Number 12 whimpers in agony.

>pick up blade

Number 12 fights uselessly with its restraints.

>kill 12
You're not sure you can do it. Number 12 is staring up at you in terror. Perhaps there is some shred of restraint left in you... and if so, you must be free of it to complete your task.

>examine rum
A cheap rum favoured by sailors. Wilbur would have been horrified by how much of it you have been drinking lately, but it's the only thing that keeps you going.

>drink rum
You take a large swig of rum and feel a little better. You could use another of those.

Number 12 is sobbing miserably to itself.

>drink rum
You take a large swig of rum. Suddenly you feel distanced from the world, and have fewer cares.

>drink rum
You take another pull of rum. It doesn't get you any drunker.

Number 12 begs pathetically for its release.

>kill 12
You thrust your blade downwards, expertly guiding it between Number 12"s ribs and into its heart. You hold it in place for several seconds, although the heat burns your hands, while blood geysers up along the blade. Number 12 shudders, as if in the throes of orgasm, before its scream dies in a wretched gurgle and its eyes turn inward. For a moment, the blade appears to glow a ghostly blue.

>put blade in pillar
You slide the blade into the slot at the Pillar's base, and it glides in smoothly. Almost immediately, arcane symbols appear and disappear on the Pillar's surface, each one glowing brightly for a moment before fading away. You find yourself unable to remove your hand from the hilt of the blade as the slot glows white hot, spits sparks, and a searing pain runs up your arm.

After a minute that feels like ten, the lights fade and you are able to wrench your hand away. You clutch your wrist and fall to your knees as smoke rises from the black pictogram that is now permanently scorched into the flesh of your palm. A circle containing four triangles arranged around a square.

As you stare at it, you fancy you can hear voices. A dozen agonised souls, screaming in unison, faint and quavering as if trapped at the bottom of a steel well. At first, you think they are coming from the Pillar, but it quickly becomes clear that they are everywhere, all around you, filling the air and choking you. The voices sing of strange events that have yet to come. A ship. A cursed house. A man in a hat, lying dead on a tree stump. A man wrapped head to foot in bandages, floating a foot off the ground...

Words and images fill your mind. Like a pregnant mother, you feel you must let them out.

>write on page
The prophecy of Chzo bursts from your mind to the pen. Even as the nib scribbles across the page, you realise the enormous weight of importance carried by the words that you imprison in ink.

You write. For a day and a night, you fill page after page with the prophecy of Chzo. By the end of it, tears are streaming down your face, because you know that your obligation is far from fulfilled, and that when you pledged yourself for eternity to the Prince, he very much intended to make the most of the offer.

The Book of the Bridge, chapter 1

1. After ten score years, all was in readiness for the construction of the Bridge, and the Prince watched as the Bridgekeeper stood on both sides of the dark ocean, awaiting the time when the great undertaking could begin.

2. To the house of the Bridgekeeper, which was the Mind of the Bridgekeeper, had come many thieves, and the Bridgekeeper had borrowed from the power of the Prince and thrown down these thieves, and truly did they know the name of the King.

3. But then there came a family of thieves to the house of the Bridgekeeper, which was the Mind of the Bridgekeeper, and the family of thieves numbered five.

4. There was the Spying Thief, who came to the house of the Bridgekeeper to learn the secrets of the Prince and of the Order, a pawn of masters who would pervert the glorious scheme of the King.

5. There was the Covetous Thief, who came to the house of the Bridgekeeper for wealth, and who cared little for the blackness of his Soul.

6. There was the Thief-Wife, who came to the house of the Bridgekeeper to corrupt the Bridgekeeper with her whorish ways and to travel the land of Technology spreading stories and lies of what she found.

7. There was the Thief-Son, who came to the house of the Bridgekeeper in innocence, but the Bridgekeeper would not spare him, for the children of thieves will live to corrupt the children of the righteous.

8. Lastly there was the Cunning Thief, who would not tell of his purpose or his name, but the Prince gazed upon him, and the Prince said

9. "This Cunning Thief, who sups with most unworthy company, is the one who will guide the Bridgekeeper to his destiny, and so I will have him be spared the wrath of this house."

10. And the family of thieves sat together to dine in the house of the Bridgekeeper that was the Mind of the Bridgekeeper, and the wrath of the house fell upon them.

*** You have written the prophecy ***