Put The Candle Back
Eiryk was quite excited about this little outing, he'd never done anything like this; not deliberately planned out with clues and for fun anyway. The opportunity had just sprung up.
He'd gotten the brewing co-op up and running and even had a few classes, his mead classes had been sparsely attended but we're growing a little as word or mouth spread. Eiryk didn't mind too much, it let him give the folks who did come more attention. Besides the beer classes and just the kitchen rentals had been very popular, as Rue had predicted, they were practically overrun with hipsters so he wasn't disappointed.
At any rate it turned out, a very nice woman who'd been part of his first mead class also ran some escape rooms down on the strip. She'd given him some passes by way of a thank you for helping her cross something off her bucket list. Eiryk had put the passes on the table for their group just to see who would/could come. It wasn't exactly the group he'd been expecting but had no doubt it would be fun, they were all clever, practical and creative he had high hopes they'd be able to solve this.
Granted he'd also not expected the first step to be for them to be handcuffed together in pairs, and even made a riballed comment to Alex, but he wasn't too worried. Not for himself anyway, he did rather worry about anyone tethered to him, terribly dangerous really, at least his husband had some experience. Ah well, they'd just have to find the keys quickly.
The door locked behind them and the sand in a giant hourglass started to fall. The room looked like an English Lord's library, something out of Downton Abbey or close enough. To those that had seen the real thing it was a reasonable replica, to those that had seen good period damas it wasn't bad. There was a wall of bookshelves full of books and curios, a gallery wall full of 'oil paintings' (inexpensive but capably done acrylics to his eye but they were only set dressing) in elaborate frames and an ornate desk littered with the trappings of a scholarly explorer (according to the movies any way, Eiryk knew he had a different opinion and suspected Rue would have a different take on it as well, but there was a sextant and a few maps among other things including what looked like a lock box or possibly a small treasure chest). There were also two high backed sofas facing each other, elegant and refined but hard to stretch out on and take a nap, some tastefully scattered faux Turkish rugs, an impressive model ship, a tea set and what looked like the dishes from a light dinner, a bar apparently well stocked with both beverages and glassware, a number of potted plants, the obligatory taxidermied animals and birds, including a fox which rather made Eiryk sad, but mostly game animals some exotic, and oddly enough an aquarium.
The door locked and Eiryk moved a bit to make sure everyone was in and comfortable. He meant to open the envelope with the first clue and the story and read it. What he did was trip over the corner of one of the reproduction carpets, stumble violently threatening to fall over and take Alex with him as his handcuffed arm trailed behind him and spun him at an odd angle.
There was a group cheer which Rowan joined in on when they freed the rope from its twist around the combination lock. He and Alex untangled themselves from the plent, and they navigated around a little series of loops which took a few minutes because it wasn't just a straightforward move. This was a blacksmith's puzzle. There was always a switchback or two.
It couldn't be exceptionally tricky, if they were to make it out of the room in an hour, but there was a speed bump or two. By the time he and Alex reached another point where they couldn't move any further, they were only two feet from the doorway out. Rowan Found that they were caught at a small lockbox, which was cut around the rope and, presumably, more rope was coiled up in it. In order to get more rope and eventually reach the final lock to undo the rest of the rope around the cage, thus freeing the final key, they'd have to navigate this box as well.
"How much time do we have? Are we running close? Here's the next box."
Holding it so everyone could see it, Rowan showed them the lockbox with the rope running into it and back out.
Eiryk confirmed somehow managing to sound both cheerful and concerned at the same time.
"How many locks are left?"
He placed a quick peck on Alex's cheek while his husband had his hands too full to object to any form of PDA.
Then he decided to help Pak and Blaise, Eiryk really was happiest bouncing from project to project and that apparently applied to escape rooms as well.
Pak had.a decent idea about the glass ball. He threw a companionable arm over his diminutive friend's shoulders and got an elbow in the side for his trouble.
"Ow. Do you sharpen those things?"
He grumbled, rubbing his side a bit.
"Sorry." She muttered under her breath while avoiding eye contact.
Eiryk grinned at her and just barely managed not to ruffle her hair.
"Now what are we going to do with this?"
He asked, indicating the glass ball that had been liberated from the aquarium.
"Anything we do needs a light source. And.."
Pak waved her hand at the room in general indicating multiple sources and rather succinctly summing up the problem.
"They wouldn't have us just guess... it must go somewhere."
Eiryk mused as he looked around the room. There had been talk about a painting with fish in it, at least Eiryk thought he overheard some talk like that. Without really thinking about it he wandered over to the art wall and started looking. After a few moments he gave a pleased exclamation, it wasn't fish or even a seascape but a garden print, there was a hole in it, if they put the glass ball there it would look just like a gazing ball.
"This has got to be it. Pak let's have it."
He held his hands up clearly indicating she should toss him the glass ball. Her expression indicated fairly clearly she thought he was crazy and wordlessly Pak brought the ball over to the wall in places it in the painting herself.
"Everyone's a critic."
He said shaking his head.
Alex shrugged in agreement when Rowan looked at him. "Your guess is as good as mine. Probably better."
He was enjoying himself, even in his limited capacity as 'assistant rope handler'. He wouldn't be opposed to doing this again at some point. Maybe even next weekend.
There was sort of a collective pause and gasp when Eiryk held his hands up for the prism, and Alex got ready to jump into action should chaos ensue. Pak, fortunately, was wiser than to throw the ball. Alex gave a little sigh of relief and laughed at Eiryk's comment, and the game continued.
No way in hell was Pak tossing home anything fragile. As she'd swear she'd seen him break bubble wrap there was very little chance Pak would count on Eiryk to catch much of anything. She just snorted at this complaint and placed the ball in the painting herself. It took a little stretching but not much.
Honestly, she probably would have overlooked the odd little niche, but the glass ball fit it just perfectly. There must have been a switch because as soon as it was settled it began to glow. It was actually quite pretty. Before she could get too wrapped up in the charm Pak started looking for the results.
Sure enough a little rainbow was cheerfully hovering on the wall across from the painting. Pak went to the spot of light and started running her fingers along the wall.
"There must be a key or a switch or something."
She muttered although she was starting to think she'd read one too many mystery novels or possibly watched Clue just once too often. But sure enough just at the edge of the light there was a fine crack. Pak pressed it and a small panel popped open revealing another key.
She announced proudly. Although she was thin on ideas where to look for another key.
"Well, we may as well try them," she said. She headed over to Rue and handed him her handful of keys, indicating that Pak should bring over the little blue one as well.
She handed them to Rowan one at a time, and they met with success when he used the little green one, opening the lockbox and looking into it with a little hum of dismay.
"What is it?" She asked, standing on her toes. Rowan tilted the box toward her and she could see that the rope was coiled into it, then hooked into another smaller box.
Aishe held out her handful of keys. "Well, we have more."
With Alex wrangling the cage and rope, she and Rowan began to fidget with the remaining keys.
Okay where had they found clues? Well pretty much everywhere and honestly it was possible they had missed something. Wait a second they hadn't really looked at the taxidermy wall. Not that he blamed anyone, taxidermy rather made him uneasy all those eyes just staring at you... yuck so he figured others might have the same aversion. But he suppressed the feeling and went to the wall unconsciously avoiding both the fox and the racoon and started poking around a really angry looking boar.
"Do we even need another key?"
He thought someone had talked about rainbows and seven colors but he'd lost count of the number of keys and colors they'd found.
"Hey none of those keys need to be blended or anything? Red and blue to make purple or something like that?'
It was just a random idea but it seemed like the kind of tricky thing a place like this might pull.
But they did open. Blaise asked something about mixing them, like Aishe had previously done with the colors on her piece of paper. Rowan shook his head. "No, I don't think so. They're working. We've just got to get the little bastard free and escape."
The lockboxes were small ranging to tiny, but he was careful and precise, and was able to get his fingers into the right places with only one minor fumble. After another minute or two he gave a little whoop of triumph as the last box opened and the rope slid free. Alex scrambled to gather it up before the cage dropped, and together they unwound the last bit of rope keeping the cage shut.
Finally, Rowan was able to use the antique key Eiryk had found, sliding it into the little cage, twisting, and letting the door swing open. He removed the final key and tossed it to Blaise.
"See if that'll let us out of here."
Blaise was a little surprised and flustered when the key was tossed at him. In fact, he fumbled it a bit, but managed not to drop it.
"Right then. Hell of a red herring if it doesn't work."
Of course given the rather messed up lot he'd spent time before finding Evenhet Blaise also had no problem believing it was entirely possible the room would have let them go this far down the wrong path. Still he slid the key in the lock it turned easily gave a satisfying click and the door opened.
"Is that it then? We win?"
For some reason he'd been expecting a bit of a spectacle, some confetti or flashing lights or a horn or something. But fanfare or no, it looked like they were out.