Alabaster — 109 of 123

John Cater, Rob Dubbin, Eric Eve, Elizabeth Heller, Jayzee, Kazuki Mishima, Sarah Morayati, Mark Musante, Emily Short, Adam Thornton, and Ziv Wities

Release 1

Chapter 3 - Using the Box

[ Using the box. ]

[

Burning:

— the hart's heart

undoes Happy's possession of the hart and sets him free

— something of your own

undoes *your* blood-sundering and restores you to full knowledge of the situation

]

After inserting the hart's heart into the heart-sized box:

say "[one of]You tuck [if the prior named noun is the heart-sized box]in the heart[otherwise if the prior named noun is the heart]it into its fitted box[otherwise]the heart into its box, where it fits exactly[end if][if Snow White is the current interlocutor][queue pleased-watching as immediate optional][otherwise if the corpse is the current interlocutor]. He watches with a definite gleam of satisfaction[end if][or]You return the heart to the box, where it belongs[stopping]."

Igniting it with is an action applying to two things.

Understand "burn [something] with [something]" as igniting it with.

Understand "set fire to [something]" as burning. Understand "set fire to [something] with [something]" as igniting it with.

Understand "light [something] on fire" as burning. Understand "light [something] on fire with [something]" as igniting it with.

Understand the command "ignite" as "burn".

Before igniting something with the lantern when the lantern is not carried:

carry out the implicitly taking activity with the lantern;

if the lantern is not carried then stop the action.

Check igniting something with something:

if the second noun is not the lantern then

say "You can't burn anything with [the second noun]." instead;

otherwise say "[The noun] won't burn." instead.

Check igniting the lantern with the lantern:

say "The lantern is already lit." instead.

Instead of igniting Snow White with the lantern (this is the Snow White ignition rule):

if the player recollects no-burning-again:

say "As you approach with the lantern, Snow White speaks a strange word. The flame in the lantern leaps up in response — as though in joy — and then it vanishes entirely. [paragraph break]'Goodbye, [vocative huntsman],' she says. 'Explain to the Queen as well as you can!' And from the nimble footsteps, you guess that her earlier trouble walking was all performed for your benefit. Soon you cannot even hear her moving."; [1]

record "Trying to burn Snow White, and being left in the dark" as an ending;

end the game saying "You are alone in the dark";

otherwise:

say "As Snow White shies away from the lantern, the glare she gives you seems almost enough to extinguish it[queue no-burning-again]."

Instead of igniting the dress with the lantern:

try igniting Snow White with the lantern.

Instead of igniting the embroidery with the lantern:

try igniting Snow White with the lantern.

Instead of igniting something that is part of Snow White with the lantern:

try igniting Snow White with the lantern.

Instead of igniting hair with the lantern:

say "Have you ever smelled what happens when you do that? Disgusting."

Instead of burning the lantern:

say "The lantern is already lit." instead.

Instead of igniting the hart's heart with the lantern:

say "It would take a stronger fire to get the raw meat to burn unaided."

Instead of igniting the trees with the lantern:

say "You don't want to start a forest fire; it would be certain to attract the Queen's attention, and you might perish in the flames."

Instead of igniting the undergrowth with the lantern:

try igniting the trees with the lantern.

Instead of igniting the corpse with the lantern:

say "You could roast the creature, but it would be better to clean it properly first, and you would need better-laid tinder to cook it. In the cold and dark, with the meager flame of the lantern, you won't be able to do more than singe its fur."

Instead of igniting something which is part of the corpse with the lantern:

try igniting the corpse with the lantern instead.

Instead of burning something:

say "(with the lantern)[command clarification break]";

try igniting the noun with the lantern.

Instead of igniting the heart-sized box with the lantern:

if the dripped blood is in the heart-sized box:

end the sundering instead;

if the hart's heart is not in the heart-sized box:

say "You need to keep the box for the heart.";

otherwise if Stopped-Time is happening:

say "You seem unable to burn the box in this time between times.";

otherwise if the player knows snow-white-possessed or the player knows will-burn-box:

delete all queued conversation for the current interlocutor;

move ashes to the location;

say "The box begins to smoulder, and then to burn. [if the heart-sized box is carried]You hastily drop it, before it singes your fingers. [end if]

As the heart within catches fire, it emits clouds of foul-smelling fumes, causing you to choke. But their effect on Snow White is even more dramatic: she tries to back away, but seemingly loses control of her limbs, flailing around like one demented.

Suddenly, she lets out a loud scream that pierces the night like a screech of a thousand owls. A moment later a small cloud of black, oily smoke boils out of her mouth, and then dissipates into the fumes of the burning heart.

For a moment Snow White looks on the point of fainting, then she recovers herself, swaying on her feet and staring around her like someone just woken from a long sleep. She staggers towards you and then falls sobbing into your arms, a lost, frightened girl. Instinctively, you wrap your arms protectively around her. 'It's all right, now,' you assure her.";

swap new-Snow-White for Snow White;

start talking to new-Snow-White;

queue what-next as immediate obligatory;

queue shall-we-go-now as postponed obligatory; [2]

stop the action;

otherwise:

say "You were planning to keep the hart's heart to show the Queen, and right now you see no reason to change that plan."

[ This method of chasing off a demon is suggested by Tobit 8.1-4, where the innards of a fish are burnt to drive off the demon Asmodeus, and Numbers Rabbah 19.8, which suggests the employment of the smoke from roots. ]

To end the sundering:

follow the sundering-ended collage rule;

now the current graphics drawing rule is the sundering-ended collage rule;

say "The box begins to smoulder, and then to burn. [if the heart-sized box is carried]You hastily drop it, before it singes your fingers. [end if]

As the heart within catches fire, it emits clouds of foul-smelling fumes. You start to choke and cough, and your eyes are full of bleary tears, and you remember —

how the Queen begged you not to sunder yourself

Snow White sitting on her lap

sunlight in the castle towers

...and before that, spooling back, years of pleasure, peace, and even grace; fine feasts at the great table; the beasts you took from the forest, and the revelry; the dwarrows always at the edge of things. Doing well enough, you thought, and if people were sometimes a little cruel at their expense, well, humans are high-spirited — they meant no real harm...

Until, of course, the dwarrows['] patience snapped, and the war came on; a war which the dwarrows would not win, but which they would not give up fighting; a war harsh on humans but likely to mean the total destruction of the dwarrow kind, simply because their pride would not brook any more of being kicked because they were about foot-height, of being sold the worst wine and used as jokers in festivals, of having their daughters snatched away by human males with idiosyncratic tastes.

When you saw them dying, because you had not been able to control your stupid dear bumbling awful people, you made a certain choice.

And now you have unmade that choice.";

pause the game;

say "You wake. It is light. Snow White is bent over you — rose-cheeked, innocent, a girl properly again. Your daughter.

'Daddy.' She throws herself against your chest before you can even properly sit up, and sobs as though she were five years old, though she is nearly fifteen.

'There was a demoness,' she says. 'In my head. She's gone now. I'm so sorry. I killed your hounds, I think. We drank their blood. It was disgusting. Afterward I made us throw up. I'm sorry.'

You hold her tightly and try to think: but you, the King, sitting on the ground alone in the woods, have no more powers than you had as huntsman, and your problems are considerably more numerous.

To prevent the outbreak of war again, and to keep the dwarrows safe, now that your sacrifice-magic is no longer holding everything in check.

To retrieve the Queen from her magic — your wife, Snow White's true mother — and make her again as she was before the sundering. It is a relief, at least, to understand why you have lusted after and longed for her, and helplessly watched her. That was the ghost of love, dry and joyless, and, being already dead, impossible to kill. But now instead you are the husband of a mad witch, and it was your desertion that made her so, and sundered her from her family. Guilt piles on guilt and you can mend nothing without breaking something else.

The sun rises in the sky and the air grows warmer. You sit like that for a long time, you and your daughter, and think on what to do.";

record "Freeing yourself from the blood-sundering" as an ending;

end the game saying "Now you are yourself again"

Instead of dropping the ashes when the player carries the ashes:

if the player knows will-burn-box:

say "You toss the ashes to the four ordinal directions[ashes-scattered] — northwest to southeast, southwest to northeast in a cross. It comes naturally to do it this way.

There is no immediate or visible change in your environment, but something has altered. You can feel the chill lessening in the air.";

otherwise:

say "For no reason other than a feeling of sentiment, you distribute the ashes to the four cardinal directions, north, east, south, west in turn. Nothing visible results, but visible results are not always the purpose of such gestures.";

remove the ashes from play.

Notes

[1]. Supposedly Adam was made of earth but Lilith of flame. If wikipedia isn't lying to me, anyway.

[2]. This is the quip that will end the game when you get around to it, but as long as you keep talking she'll keep answering instead