On July 17, 2013 I hosted my first-ever You-Choose Interactive Fiction event on Facebook! I brought a story, and in a four hour period, people voted on where the main character should go next!
Things definitely got VERY silly! I’d love to do another one in the future. I’m not entirely sure that Facebook was the best medium to use–sometimes it’s a little slow to update. I’d probably also recruit some help in the future–it’s not easy writing engaging updates, responding to questions, and keeping track of votes all at once!
Here is the transcript. Choices that had the most votes are in bold.
Guess who is Fairyland’s newest sleuth? YOU! Not only are you the newest addition to Fairyland Detective Agency, but everyone thinks you’re a pretty great problem-solver, for a fairy.
Just one problem. Sometimes your magic is a bit…unstable. Okay, two problems. Your boss just dumped a doozy of a case on your lap: find a lost magic wand belonging to Baroness Isabella Marico, a rich but airy fairy whose reputation and fortune depends on you returning the wand discreetly.
Oh yeah. One more thing.
If you don’t find the wand in four hours, a hungry ogre will hunt you down, kill you, and sell your body parts to a restaurant that specializes in fairy cuisine.
So, no pressure…
Post #1 – The Beginning
“So what’s with the ogre?”
Your boss is trying to hurry you out of the Detective Agency, but you still have questions. Lots of questions. Such as, why does this ogre have to come after you specifically if you fail to find Baroness Isabella’s wand? And why in the land of fae do you only have four hours to find it? You don’t think you can even fly across all of Fairyland in that time.
“The ogre works for the baroness,” your boss–a clean-shaven dwarf–explains. “From what I heard, Baroness Isabella Marico doesn’t like scandals. If it gets out that her powerful wand is missing, she will lose face in fairy high-society. Doesn’t help that her hermit of a husband left her a few days ago.” He waves you outside, and you almost stumble over the steps. “If you don’t find it in the given amount of time, we don’t get paid, and it’s the ogre’s job to eradicate any loose ends. And I can’t have any more incidents. I’m tired of hiring people. Although…” He looks worried. “Keep your guard up. Isabella isn’t the brightest of fairies, and she’s desperate. The ogre might already be watching you.”
Great. Your very first case, and your life might already be over.
You’re standing in the middle of a bustling street. Elves, fairies, dwarves, and a sprinkling of human servants swarm around you, going about their daily lives, with no idea that a bloodthirsty ogre could be upon them at any second.
With you, you have the case file, which includes information about what the wand looks like and its particular powers, a profile of Baroness Isabella Marcio, and information about her social and professional life. You also have your wand, and a pouch of multi-purpose fairy dust (useful for treating wounds, spelling the weak-willed, and sometimes, muting the effects of iron). As a fairy, you have the ability to fly, and a limited range of offensive and defensive spells.
As you see it, you have two options. Question Isabella–or come up with an alternate plan to buy yourself some more time.
It takes about 15 minutes to get to Isabella’s manor, which is up a hill on the outskirts of Fairyland City. She might be your best bet in finding out more about how to defend yourself against the ogre, if it comes to that–not to mention actually finding her missing wand.
Every wand is unique and individually tuned to its wielder…but maybe if you went to the wand shop, you could get the craftsman to make a decoy wand. That way, if you don’t find the real wand within four hours, you could give Isabella the decoy, and switch it out for the real deal later.
What do you do? Remember, you only have so much time!
CHOICE ONE: Go to Isabella’s manor and question her about the last known whereabouts of her wand.
CHOICE TWO: Go to the wand shop and get a decoy wand crafted.
Post #2: YOU GO TO ISABELLA’S MANOR
It takes you 20 minutes to fly to Isabella’s manor. Between air traffic, and your wings aching from a strenuous workout from the night before, you are flustered and a little out of breath by the time you’re standing before the large gates–silver, of course, to keep out werewolves and shapeshifters.
There’s a guard by the gate. He looks as sleepy as you feel. When he sees you, he rouses, as if he wasn’t just about to fall asleep.
“What do you want?” he demands.
You tell him your name, and that you’re here from the detective agency to question the baroness.
“Detective Agency? Oh no, no, no,” the guard says emphatically. “The baroness is quite fed up with the media questioning her about her *former* husband. She will see no one today.”
Your heart sinks. You try to protest, to tell him that you’re not from the media, but the guard has his orders. You look up at the gate. It’s quite high, and stretches around the acres of pristine forest and greenery–you could try to fly over it. The guard would probably get mad, but you are on a time limit here.
There’s another option…you could always explain to the guard that the baroness’ wand is missing. Baroness Isabella would not be pleased if she found out that you told her lowly guard that her powerful wand is missing, but it might be the only thing that will convince him.
What do you do?
CHOICE ONE: Fly over the gate.
CHOICE TWO: Tell the guard that Isabella’s wand is missing, and that’s why you have to see her right away.
POST #3 — YOU FLY OVER THE GATE
“Well…have a good day…” you say to the guard.
“Hmmph!” he replies, and crosses his arms.
You tiptoe a few steps to the left, and, when the guard averts his gaze, you take to the skies.
You’re almost to the top of the gate when you hear distant shouting from below. The guard is not quite so sleepy anymore! He totally sees you and is calling for help. You flap your wings harder, and you’re over the top and into Isabella’s property!
Unfortunately, Isabella–or her former husband, perhaps–is not stupid enough to only have one guard at the gate. Looking down, you see six more fairy guards running on the grounds, and then taking to the air! Some of them wear iron-resistant gloves, and carry iron handcuffs. If you get put in one of those, say goodbye to your powers.
You zip around the guards as they yell at you to set down, when you notice a female fairy in one of the many windows. She’s looking at you in absolute horror, and you recognize her from the case file–it’s Baroness Isabella Marico! You wave.
But these guards are almost upon you. And your wings are getting pretty tired! You’re going to have to set down soon…and risk getting put in irons.
What do you do?
CHOICE ONE: Fling some of your fairy dust on the guards to distract them, and then fly for Isabella’s window.
CHOICE TWO: Set down, try to explain things rationally and show them that you’re not a threat, and pray that you’re not put in irons.
POST #4 — YOU FLING FAIRY DUST AT THE GUARDS!
Dipping and diving all over the place, you dig into the pouch attached around your waist and fling precious black dust over the three nearest guards. It hits them in the face. They scream, but their screams fizzle out into a low groan as the effects of the dust hit them. Their eyes lose some spark as they begin to come under your control.
But there are still more guards behind you. You zip towards Isabella’s window. She’s watching with horrified interest as you fly towards her like a moth to the flame. You can almost hear her screams through the glass as she bolts the window shut.
“No, no, I’m here from the Detective Agency, about your–” You dig open the file and are about to flash the drawing of the wand inside when one of the guards grabs you from behind, and throws you towards the ground. You spiral out of control!
Well, at seeing their new master attacked, the guards under your control spring to action! They begin attacking the guards who aren’t in your control.
You hit the ground pretty hard. You see stars, and you’re pretty sure you’re going to be an ogre’s lunch when a female face appears before you. It’s the baroness!
“What in the land of fae! I didn’t order a new cleaning lady!” she says as you slowly recover your senses. “You have made an awful mess, Cleaning Lady. Controlling my guards! Flying in restricted zones! I should have my darling orge eat you RIGHT NOW!”
“No…detective agency…” You weakly hold up the file for her inspection.
It takes several minutes of convincing, but once her puny brain understands that you’re here about the wand, she mutters a few words, and all the guards fall asleep. Some of them tumble to the ground–it’s a rather silly and embarrassing display.
All in all, by the time you’re inside Isabella’s manor, dirty but alive, you’ve lost 35 minutes. She sits across from you, drinking jasmine tea (she didn’t even offer you any!), and finally it’s time to ask her some questions. What do you ask her first?
CHOICE ONE: Ask about the last known whereabouts of the wand..
CHOICE TWO: Ask about her divorce (very scandalous!)
CHOICE THREE: Ask about the ogre that will eat you if you don’t find the wand within the next 3.5 hours.
POST #5: YOU ASK ABOUT THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE WAND
“Baroness, if you could be so kind to tell me where you last had your wand–”
“Ugh! Cleaning Lady, if I were to spend all my time keeping track of things instead of doing my baroness duties, where would I be? I’ll tell you. I’d be a cleaning lady. Or, perhaps a dancer. I rather like dancing…” She stares past you, into some fantasy world where she is probably dancing.
You snap your fingers in front of her face, and she comes back to reality.
She sighs. “I was at a party last night. Stuella’s party. Did you KNOW that she was wearing the EXACT charm I was wearing? Pretty sapphire…I should show it to you!! No wait…” She rethinks this. “You’d probably just steal it from me.” She narrows her gaze.
You know a thing or two about Stuella: she’s in your case files too. Stuella De Sanco. She’s Isabella’s chief social rival. They’re constantly having parties, trying to upstage one another. Quite exhausting, you feel, and perhaps a waste of money, but it keeps the fairy noble class quite entertained. It’s a pretty good bet that if the wand is anywhere, it could be in Stuella’s hands. Stuella isn’t as powerful a fairy as Isabella, but you’re pretty sure she’s got deeper pockets.
“Thank you for your time,” you say, and you stand to leave.
“Wait, wait! Where are you going?” Isabella demands. “I didn’t dismiss you! There’s still 100 rooms left for you to clean, so you better hurry up if you hope to earn your supper tonight.”
“I have to find your wand, before your ogre EATS ME!” you exclaim. You’re really getting quite frustrated with her.
She seems a little surprised at your outburst. “Oh…right. Well, I’m coming with you. You seem to have things in order, but why I’m trusting a cleaning lady to find my precious wand, I do not know. I must have had a good reason. Oh well! Are we going to Stuella’s place now? I must take a shower first. No, wait. You must clean my 10 bathrooms! No, wait…”
Great, Isabella wants to come with you? On one hand, she may be useful on getting into places you cannot. On the other hand, she is completely frustrating and may slow you down. What do you do?
CHOICE ONE: Allow Isabella to come with you.
CHOICE TWO: Use your magic or an item or your wits to convince her/force her to stay.
(We had a tie)
POST #6: YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT TAKING HER WITH YOU, BUT SHE IS PRETTY ANNOYING….
((I really liked Tony’s suggestion about telling Isabella to clean up, but the majority voted to take Isabella with you…so I’m compromising for hilarity’s sake!))
“Um…why don’t you clean yourself up, Baroness?”
Her violet eyes widen. “DO YOU THINK I SMELL???”
“Oh, um no…” There is a stain on her dress, from where she dripped a bit of jasmine tea, and her hair is a little frizzled from being outside. “But don’t you want to look your best for when we go to Stuella’s palace?”
She seems to see the logic in this. “You are right! I’m so glad I hired you. Let me take a shower. And then, ANOTHER shower for my wings. And then, a bath.”
Uh oh. You’ve created a monster. Or contributed to one. In any case, she might be gone for a while. And you’ve got maybe 3 hours left.
Five minutes. You’ll wait five minutes, then you’ll tell her you’re leaving. You can make your way to Stuella’s alone…right? Right. You totally know the way there. Can’t miss it, it’s on the opposite side of the city, the giant gold palace. She definitely has more guards, though. And she’d LOVE to know that Isabella’s wand is missing…she’d even leak it to the press if she had the chance. Oh boy. This is not going to be easy…
There’s suddenly a fearsome pounding coming from the front door. It makes the china in the cabinet rattle. And there’s a lot of china in this room. Like, 6 cabinets full.
You leap to your feet. There are only a few creatures in the realm that could have the strength to make all those cabinets tremble. In the distance, you hear water running, but the sound is eclipsed by the door breaking down, and something loud and thundering tearing down the many halls.
The ogre is here. And he has your scent.
Isabella’s shower stops running. “Cleaning Lady, will you get the door, please?”
“ISABELLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” the ogre cries in its deep roaring voice. “ME WANT ME FOOD. GIVE ME FOOD. FOOD IS HERE!!!”
Food is YOU. He’s going to find you! What do you do??
CHOICE ONE: Isabella’s manor is big, but not unnavigable. Find a way out of here fast!!
CHOICE TWO: Face the ogre and try to reason with it/use an item or magic.
POST #7 — RUN AWAYYYYYYY!
It’s time to get out of here. You are NOT going to be fairy stew!
You take off down the nearest hallway, with the ogre close behind. Fun fact about ogres: their eyesight is generally terrible, but they make up for it with a great sense of smell. So getting out of the house as fast as possible would be ideal.
The hallway turns into a pantry, and there are a number of drawers and cabinets. You think about looking through them for some sort of snack, but even this one second of hesitation allows the ogre to catch up to you. When he sees you, he roars!
You dash through the pantry into another hallway, and you see a giant window to your right. Pulling it up, you thank the fairy goddesses that it’s not locked, and you throw yourself out into the open sky. You tumble towards the earth but you gain control of your flight, and manage to avoid hitting the ground.
Sneaking a glance around your shoulder, you see the ogre shaking its fist at you. Its roars echo over the courtyard, but they’re not loud enough to rouse the still-sleeping guards. Isabella rushes to the ogre’s side, dripping wet from her bathing, and you’re not sure, but you think you see her scolding the beast…and the ogre looking extremely embarrassed.
This case is getting odder and odder by the moment. The sooner you find Isabella’s wand, the sooner you can get back to your fairy life.
It takes you another half hour to get to Stuella’s place. To avoid a skirmish with her guards, you tell her that you are here on business, and would like to ask her information about the Baroness Isabella. After her guards consult with her handmaids, and the handmaids consult with Stuella herself, they finally agree to let you in–this whole ordeal takes another twenty minutes. You’re getting jumpier–the ogre and/or Isabella could arrive at any moment and unleash hell upon you!
You’re standing in the foyer of Stuella’s palace. She won’t let you in any farther. She has long, flowing dark hair, and deeply arched eyebrows. Her wings are smaller compared to the average fairy. You’re not sure she’s a great flyer.
How do you handle Stuella? Will you be diplomatic and not reveal Isabella’s secret about her missing wand, but make up some excuse to search her house? Or have you had enough of Isabella, and reveal everything to Stuella in the hope that she is more sane, and will actually be of more help?
CHOICE ONE: Make up an excuse to search Stuella’s property for the wand.
CHOICE TWO: Tell Stuella about the missing wand.
POST #8 — ASK TO QUESTION STUELLA’S HANDMAIDENS & SEARCH THE PREMISES
“Miss De Sanco, if I could have a minute with your handmaidens, I must question them on behalf of my organization.”
Stuella looks annoyed. “You called me away from my duties just so you could question my handmaidens? I thought you were here on business regarding the baroness!”
“Yes, I am, Miss De Sanco, but I must be thorough–”
“Do not bother me again.” She swirls around. “If you are not off my property within five minutes, I will report you to the authorities.”
You’re fine with that. Hopefully it won’t take more than five minutes to find the wand. Isabella and the ogre will know where you have gone, probably, so you have to be quick.
You use your magical ability to sweep the premises for sources of power, and Stuella’s handmaidens. You believe they might be weak-willed enough to fall under the influence of your fairy dust…maybe. Your mental search of the premises confirms that the place is very powerful, but you don’t pick up on any particular trace of a powerful wand. Though, it could be masked by the power of the place.
It takes less than five minutes to find the head handmaiden. She’s in the kitchen, ordering some other handmaidens about. When she’s alone, you sneak up on her and fling dust in her face. After an initial struggle, she falls under your control–though it takes a few minutes for the dust to kick in.
“What do you know about Baroness Isabella Marico’s wand? Did she have it at last night’s party?” you ask.
“Oh she had a LOT of nectar. Was flashing her wand about, talking about how she didn’t need her husband to be happy. She was angry,” the handmaiden replies. Her pupils are dilated, and her voice is rather monotone–but it seems some undercurrent of her personality wants to shine through. The dust will not last long on her.
“So when did you see her last, with the wand?”
The head handmaiden looks thoughtful in her drugged state. “She was headed for Stuella’s room. Wand at the ready. Like she was going to…attack…”
“Attack Stuella? Was Stuella in the room?”
“She…retired…early from the party, with a gentleman friend.”
Isabella’s recent divorce…her apparent rage at the party…Stuella retiring early. Could that mean that Stuella was having an affair with Isabella’s husband?
The dishes in the cupboards shake. The ogre has found you!
The handmaiden shakes her head, and rubs her eyes. She looks confused. “Where am I…who…?” Things become clear. “GUARDS! Intruder! Help! I’ve been dusted!”
You hear Isabella’s screeches from the foyer: “My cleaning fairy escaped, and I KNOW she’s here! STUELLA WHERE ARE YOU HIDING MY CLEANING FAIRY?? My ogre will EAT you BOTH!”
Yikes! Now that you know that Isabella has a huge grudge against Stuella, and that she may have intended to use the wand as a murder weapon, this changes things. You’re certain that the handmaiden was telling the truth–it’s hard to lie under fairy dust. But it doesn’t explain why she would have reported the wand missing…
What do you do?
CHOICE ONE: Head for Stuella’s room to see if the wand is hidden there.
CHOICE TWO: Confront Isabella about her potential plans to murder Stuella.
POST #9 –YOU HEAD FOR STUELLA’S ROOM!
You’re not 100% sure where Stuella’s bedroom is, so you use your limited magical ability to search the premises once more. It’s in the west wing of the palace–fortunately, far away from the ogre, stampeding all over the place, and Isabella, and her frantic screaming. There’s a scurry of guards rushing for the kitchen, and the foyer–Isabella and the ogre are enough of a distraction that hopefully, you shouldn’t have much trouble.
After about five minutes of sneaking around, you finally have found Stuella’s room. And, to your surprise, you hear noises. Giggling. And you’re fairly certain Stuella is in there, you can feel her presence. She did say she was busy working.
You burst open the door, and almost leap back in surprise. Stuella is busy, all right. Busy being in bed with…a clean-shaven dwarf.
Wait…that’s your boss! Mr. Gaviff! Your boss is Stuella’s lover. But…wait, why would that make Isabella angry?
Unless your boss is Isabella’s husband. It’s possible, the husband is rarely seen in public, always kept to himself, and there was wild rumours about him being a dwarf or a gremlin or some uncommon race in Fairyland.
But it’s almost too unbelievable to be true! Why would Isabella hire her husband’s detective firm to find her wand, especially if she knew that he was sleeping with Stuella?
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?” Mr. Gaviff shouts, pulling the covers to hide himself.
“Get OUT!” Stuella screams.
“I’m…I’m sorry…” You’re at a loss for words. And it’s this precious bit of surprise that allows Isabella and the ogre to catch up with you.
“STUELLA!” Isabella screams at the top of her lungs. “You have my wand. You have MY HUSBAND!”
“What? I’m not your husband,” Mr. Gaviff says. He leaps out of bed and pulls his pants back on.
“ME HUSBAND!” the ogre roars.
“OUT, OUT, OUT!” Stuella keeps screaming.
And that’s when you notice–in the pocket of a bathrobe hanging over the bed, there’s something sparkly, and wand-shaped. Could it be…?
“All of you, settle down!” you shout. And to your surprise, everyone does stop their jabbering.
Now that you have everyone’s attention, you have an opportunity to clear up the confusion about who exactly is Isabella’s husband, or you can grab Isabella’s wand to either give back to her, or use against any one of the occupants of the room.
((This is a pivotal decision!! What you choose to do here will dramatically affect the ending. CHOOSE WISELY!))
CHOICE ONE: Ask Isabella just who in the land of fae IS her husband.
CHOICE TWO: Grab the wand and give it back to Isabella
CHOICE THREE: Grab the wand and use it against someone (please comment to say who you’d like to use it against!)
FINAL POST — YOU GRAB THE WAND AND USE IT AGAINST THE OGRE!
The wand isn’t yours, and when you use a wand that isn’t tuned to your personal energy, unexpected results occur.
A blast of flame shoots from the tip of the wand–a sparkly star, by the way–and hits the ogre square in the chest. He falls to the floor with a thunderous thump, and it doesn’t look like he’s breathing.
Isabella screams. Her wings beat so rapidly that she lifts into the air, before crashing back to the ground…laughing. “My husband…”
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??” Stuella exclaims. “My love…”
“Your love? You were with HIM?” Mr. Gaviff looks in disgust at the unconscious, possibly-dead ogre. “No, no, I am out of here!” And he hurries from the room.
“Now neither of us can have him!” Isabella says. “AND the cleaning fairy found my wand. And his fortune is mine! I WIN!”
Stuella is horrified. “Get out, Isabella. You are finished. There’s no way you will get away with this.”
“I’ll tell EVERYONE about your multiple lovers, AND I’ll tell them you’ve stolen my wand and wanted to steal EVERYTHING that’s mine!”
She’s got a point–Isabella’s husband being an ogre is scandalous, but nowhere near as scandalous as Stuella stealing Isabella’s wand.
ENDING: THE CLEANING FAIRY
You did, in fact, kill the ogre. The fairy authorities, seeing ogres as a menace, don’t charge you with any crime. However, it does make the news. The ogre was quite rich–apparently he made his fortune from blasting iron mountains so that fairy building companies could expand and create new housing and businesses. These businesses are quite angry with you for destroying a resource, but there are other ogres in the world.
Mr. Gaviff wishes to avoid scandal, so he fires you. After some negotiation and some apologies, Stuella becomes an investor in his detective agency and now he’s richer than ever.
Even though she’s crazy, Isabella is apparently very grateful for the “service” you’ve provided her. She employs you as a cleaning fairy for real. And since you’ve got no job, you figure you might as well take it. She pays you like, 200 gold pieces a day, and that’s way more than you make as a detective anyway. Plus, you can still use your detective skills as a cleaning fairy, since Isabella is ALWAYS losing things.