Okay. Mission accomplished.
This is gonna be a long one. Hidden on the Basecamp Forum is a near-1,000 post thread with all the details but it’s gonna take some time to break it down into chunks,
If not, here’s the gist(ish):
We’d been working with a group known as The Devoted to try and follow the trail Brandon Lachmann left behind before his disappearance. We thought it might also lead us to the fourth fragment.
A week ago, a user on the forum calling themselves “Reader”, a turncoat Devoted, invited several active forum users to a private post with the title The Devoted Are Lying To You:
We used to be all about the missing memories and Brandon as the cure for breaking open this lie of a world. But I think there’s another group that has spread through us like a virus. And I think I’m the only one who knows. They’re using us to get to Brandon, to get to you… to get to the Book. Sacha doesn’t see it. She’s blind. She was our leader and now it feels like she’s being led by someone else.
You have to keep The Timeline, it is important, aligning with Brandon is our best chance to reach him. I still believe that. But I think the Devoted are going to leave you with nothing at the last hour to take this for themselves. They’re not telling you everything. At the park, under the bridge, there was a note with the coin that led them to a buried package That’s where this latest trial came from. The audio from a cassette, and the mazes.
But they’re not giving you all the information Brandon left behind. Why? Why would they only dole out help at the last minute if they really wanted all of us to make it to the end together? Because they’re stringing you along, and planning to leave you stranded. They plan on connecting with Brandon by themselves. And now they want your Book of Briars too.
This isn’t the family I joined ten years ago. I don’t know what The Devoted are anymore. So I’m going to help you if I can, tell you everything I know, but you have to pretend on the forum like you discovered it on your own. Please. I’ve seen people disappear for less than this.
Here’s what I know from notes I’ve seen: Begin at the animals. The frog is in the fountain, the mouse is on the mushroom, the lion’s at the library.
I don’t know where the owl is (neither do they, but they’re close) but they know it’s hidden unlike the others and they know it has something to do with knowledge.
Please keep me safe and I’ll do what I can to help you beat them. I wanted to reach Brandon, that’s why we all signed on, but I don’t think Sacha is going to let us. So now I just want out. I’ll send more if I find more.
I have to go. For now. We can beat them together.
Yeah. So we had to go to ground (always wanted to say that, shoulda used it during the KR debacle), solving the Lachmann Trials in secret.
Using clues in Reader’s message, recruits continued trying to solve the “audio maze” that Brandon Lachmann left behind for Trial 2.
Reader follows up a couple days later with:
I went to see Sacha this morning and had a couple minutes alone with a Brandon document that they kept from you. It was with the rest of the stuff under the bridge. They’re planning to send you the information once you solve the four mazes. I can’t forward the email that she drafted because they have a couple savvy IT people who watch everything. So I wrote down what I could on my phone.
Lady – Pontault, 1126
Saint – Lleida, 1330
Angel – Tours, 1175
Kings – Reugny, 1150
There was a phone number too but it was handwritten. I don’t know if Brandon did it or Sacha. 347-815-0330
Hopefully this gives you a leg up. I think they’re close though. They found the owl. They know that the endpoints plus these details lead to a location. Probably where the next disc is.
I never thought I’d call the Devoted “they” instead of “we.”
Reader’s message helped recruits figure out that the second Traveler Disc was located at The Cloisters.
Last Saturday Reader messaged again, letting us know that The Devoted had also figured it out:
Sorry I didn’t email sooner. I can’t use my phone for this so I have to use library computers. They figured out it’s the Cloisters and it has something to do with The Seven Tributes, but they won’t make it to the museum before it closes today.
But they will be there tomorrow.
I know because Sacha is sending me.
I should get there by noon. I’ll have to give them the disc, no question, but if you send someone from the Mountaineers I can show them the number before I leave to take it back to them. It’s not much of a headstart but it’s something. I wish I could just email you from inside but I can’t run the risk of them reading my messages. And waiting until I can get to a safe line (which could be hours) is putting them ahead of you again.
She still trusts me. I don’t know what would happen if she stopped now that someone else has her ear. Sorry, but this is how it has to be.
I can wait half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, but then they’re going to get suspicious if I don’t come out with the disc and whatever might be with it.
Noon tomorrow. The Cloisters. I’ll send more info if and when I can.
Recruits H3RM3S and CCon volunteered to not only go to the Cloisters but also to livestream the meeting so recruits all over the world could watch.
The archived video is here (Thanks @Bash)
Along with the second disc, we had a new puzzle, Trial 3, a poem about clocks:
I went to town to find The Crafter,
he who knows what lies thereafter.
He thought he’d buried himself so well,
a treasured pearl within his shell.
But subtle hints lay round about
from those who call themselves devout.
Crack this riddle and then you’ll find
the number’s up, his plan unwinds.
Penguin, Hippo, Bear, The ‘Roo,
and Goat play songs from thirty-two.
The first’s at eight, a morn delight.
But when’s the last that falls at night?
Nath’l Fisher, chemist by trade,
a clumsy man who offers aid
he dropped a cent between his feet,
and left this number on his street
A woman with an opal face,
under stars (which are misplaced)
told the pianist he’d be late,
if the keys don’t make it to the gate.
Runaway Leinster turned the pages
in science fiction’s early stages.
Inside there’s more than single stories,
but how tall are its shining glories?
Above the L’s a sanctuary,
a copper shrine to industry
How many workers upon the face,
plus all the ways into this place?
The harbinger at quarter to,
calls out for eight and sometimes two
for curtain rises and closed doors
its vital that you count the floors.
It matters not where they may stand,
their names are not part of the plan.
They simply push you to a corner.
The numbers’ key, you’re getting warmer.
With these digits properly placed,
its time to find the jeweller’s face
where fifty thousand shadows fall,
now find a way to make your call.
Hidden inside the poem was a phone number (don’t ask) but when we called it, it said we were calling from the wrong number.
The only other clues we had were the times 2pm, 7pm, and 10pm.
Recruits eventually figured out that they had to call the number from pay phones that were positioned at 2pm, 7pm, and 10pm around the Barthman Clock. (aka The Crafter.)
CRSumner volunteered to go (the same recruit who crawled under a Central Park bridge for the first disc.) When the number was called from all three phones, CRSumner heard a message from Brandon himself. As an adult!
You found the last disc. You don’t know me but my name is Brandon. I’m sending this message now which for you will be then, before all this started. I know that’s strange. Look if can hear this it means I got through. It means you found the fraylily, you learned the truth about those who didn’t die, you even repaired the minnying. I was like you once. I was told all the same lies. But I found a way out. I found what was hidden in the spaces between. And that’s where I am now. I can’t force you to trust me, but you can trust the book. It’s the only way… the only way to fix everything. I’ve buried the fragment at the end of the trail I left thirty years ago. Mind the times. They’ll show you the final path you have to walk. The path that leads to the day I got free. Follow me there. Find the glass report.
Here’s the archived video:
So we had to “mind the times” and find the glass report.
We were finally ahead of The Devoted. Or so we thought. We received a message from them, promising help, but when we followed the link, we found these:
The Devoted had followed Reader. They knew we were working against us all along. They completely cut off contact with us and Reader went into hiding.
We were on our own. But it turns out, calling the same number on the next three days (Wednesday at 2pm, Thursday at 7pm, and Friday at 10pm) gave us more clues and messages from adult Brandon.
We figured out we had to go to the 42nd Public Library in Midtown and find four books (there’s SO MUCH that went into figuring out these puzzles, and once the topic is broken down into parts next week I’ll update this update with links.)
Principles of Phonology – Trubetzkoy
The Encyclopedia of the Unexplained: Magic, Occultism, and Parapsychology – Cavendish
Classical Myths in English Literature – Norton
The Bookman’s Glossary – Peters
So this morning H3RM3S and CCon volunteered to go to the library when it opened and they found all four books.
Hidden inside were pages from a report Brandon had written about his favorite book The Forest of Darkening Glass, as well as a letter which read:
October 29, 1986
If you’re reading this letter, I’m already gone. I wrote myself a way out of this world. I hope I can come back. But I might not be able to. Maybe give this to my mom and dad?
To whoever finds this, if you’re different, if you imagine things that people don’t understand, believe things people don’t believe, it’s okay. It’s good. It means you see this place as it should be, not as someone wants you to. If you’re reading this it means you’ve followed my crazy trail all the way to my favorite place in the city.
I spent my last morning here, talking with my favorite librarians, sitting in my favorite chairs. Watching all the people, wondering if some of them can see into the empty spaces. Those spaces aren’t empty. They’re full of doors. And light. And magic. And now I have proof. How do you think the Crafter puzzle worked? I wrote the riddle, hid the numbers inside, connected unconnected things with ideas and imagination, and then the pay phones started working. Just like I’d designed. Just like magic.
Anyway, I spent the morning here at the library, then I went downtown. And I waited for an impossible train to pick me up.
Whatever happens next… well, we’ll see. But don’t worry about me. Don’t be scared. If I could survive this dark world and bring magic to it, then I think I’ll be okay, wherever I find myself.
Here’s the archived video:
At 3:33pm today there was a new message from Brandon at the phone number:
You found my final message. 3:33 pm [is when] I crossed over. Don’t believe what they found in the subway station. That’s the lie at work. I caught that train. I escaped the forest. As far I know I’m the only one who broke through after everything changed. That’s why they call me The Traveler. I’ve seen others pass through, familar faces, even recently.
If the minnying and my voice get through to you then there probably isn’t much left of me at this point. We used a lot of power to do this, and I always knew what the cost would be. I accepted that cost because I knew you would continue to fight when I was gone.
Darker storms are coming for the books. Depend on each other. Build your army. Learn what magic you can. I have no doubt you’ll be ready when the rain falls.
The book report helped us solve this quiz and find the pieces of the fourth fragment.
Then we received a message from The Book:
A key fragment has been discovered.
Twelve fragments remain.
Prepare yourself for your first magimystic assessment on All Hallow’s Eve.
So come Monday we might be making a little magic.
I’ll send an update when this has links to all the posts used to solve everything.
This was an unbelievable experience, and a massive amount of work.
A huge thanks to all the recruits who helped see this through to the end.
And most of all, thanks Brandon.
We almost have the first key! Magic!