Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Puzzle for 'd'

Clue 1: 

The Emissaries

Many centuries ago the sovereign of the world inside the Earth, her kingdom on the verge of being overrun by bloodthirsty hordes of lizard-men, decided to enlist the help of the surface dwellers, those who lived on the skin of the Earth. ‘Send emissaries!’ she commanded, ‘to all the foremost rulers above and bid them send aid at once. Tell them where to find the entrance to our domain but only if they agree to help us.’

Emissaries were sent out. They left through a cave mouth in what is now called Antarctica. Two flying vehicles – the last of a great squadron of such - had been altered to accommodate 10 emissaries. Soon these flying vehicles landed upon a continent and the emissaries, by means of one-man wheel machines, sped each on a different course to find the cities of men.

Time passed. The emissaries were worried they were taking too long to find help. Eventually, some found cities and settlements. One emissary stumbled upon some short human beings. ‘Take me to your ruler; I have a message for that personage from my queen.’ The emissary was brought before the ruler of the short people, whom he addressed as follows, ‘My queen who resides in the central hollow of Earth has need of your aid, for our cities are in danger of being conquered by the savage lizard-men, who have been our enemies from time immemorial.’

The king listened attentively but replied that he could not spare his army for he had to guard his mountain stronghold and valley from the predations of taller humans. The emissary was much disappointed and since his further entreaties met with no success, he took his leave. He left hurriedly for the king began to enquire as to the whereabouts of this strange inner kingdom of which he had just spoken.

Another emissary came to the region of Siam and its king who had no less than 86 children. His entreaties too fell upon deaf ears. Yet another emissary found a thriving civilization in the fertile area between two great rivers and asked its king for help. First though there were the formalities of introduction and the emissary was acquainted with the king’s 18 wives and 36 concubines. At last, he could go on to weightier matters but his appeal was answered thusly by the king, ‘I am sorry but our armies are already at pains against a formidable foe from the East – I cannot spare them. I wish you well on your mission. Take all the provisions you may need. My salutations to your queen.’

Thus it happened to all the emissaries who 54 days later reunited once more at their flying machines and the 2 guards who had been left behind. All 10 were downcast. They dreaded what they might find once they returned home. ‘By the powers of the elements may we not find ruin and slaughter!’

They  flew south on the first leg of their journey home and when they flew over the forests and lands of the inner world they did not sight one lizard-man but of course they might have been well-hidden in the forests or in the mountains. Soon within the marble walls of the palace, they were all standing before the queen and their elected spokesman was about to address her highness when she held up her hand. ‘There is no need for your report; I can plainly see you have returned without the company of armies or soldiers. The lizard-men attacked a while after you had left but thanks to our ingenuity, planning and courage, we prevailed against the hordes and drove their remnants back to their lairs, far beyond our borders. We are safe for now. Go, take your rest and rejoin your families.’

‘I am sorry, my queen,’ said the spokesman for the emissaries.

‘As am I but a valuable lesson has been learnt – we must be ever self-reliant. Never again will I appeal to the royal houses of the surface dwellers for help. I will have the remaining delicacies, viands and wines from the victory festivities sent to your homes,’ she said and smiled, which made her face even more beautiful than it already was.

Clue 2:

Pay attention only to the 19 fragments of the 4th circle. If you decipher their significance you will have the key to the entire puzzle.

O noble reader, let not your spirits sag, life’s a gas, the answer stares you in the face!

Potential spoiler alert below:

Clue 3: spelling it out (or have I gone mad!)

In the land of Ig travel by zeppelin is a most hazardous undertaking. Far superior and safer airships can be found in the land of Nowb.

Clue 4: Go on other gigantic looking expedition!

The answer is given in a July 2014 post: Answer to puzzle for 'd'

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