IFComp 2016: More about the Traitor Saint

Extreme spoilers for Quest for the Traitor Saint follow the break.

I’ve just learned that Quest for the Traitor Saint is sneakier than I had supposed. On the game’s splash page and optional intro sequence, there is a link in the sidebar labeled “Code”. I don’t think I had even noticed this before — the sidebar of a Twine game is usually pretty ignorable. If I did notice it, I probably assumed it was a link to the game’s source code or something, although that doesn’t really make sense for Twine. What it really links to is a page full of weird symbols.

Copy-and-pasting the symbols into a text editor, I discover that it’s just an obfuscatory font applied to a bunch of hex digit pairs, mostly in the right range for letters of the alphabet in ASCII. So this was pretty easy to decode. The result:

Boris speaking. Have to say I am impressed by the degree by which you have earned the trust of the Horses. They are notoriously isolationist, something that makes espionage difficult. The others fear that you have “gone native,” but I urged them not to be too hasty.

What we need to know is: What happened to the scorched embassy? Who are the Crovids? What’s the “Mystery of the Two Oceans?” And do the Horses even have an army? I look forward to a speedy reply.

This puts the entire rest of the piece in a new light. The player character and narrator has been keeping secrets, and not just from the Horses, but from the player as well. Maybe the Horses have a good reason to distrust humans. Maybe the whole premise of the game is a ruse.

Of the questions posed here, the only one that I recognize from my initial playthrough two and a half weeks ago is the “scorched embassy”. It’s mentioned early on in the story that some Horses burned down a human embassy and no one knows why, and this has caused some tensions between humans and Horses of late. If Crovids or the Two Oceans showed up, I’ve forgotten. And I’ve seen no sign of an army, but I’d be quite wary of launching an invasion of Horse territory all the same, because Horses have access to powers we don’t understand at all.

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