Inside the Box

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A new challenge for the community presented itself on May 25, 2009. Right after the solution to two lines twine was found, the community began picking apart the reward of three illustrations they had received.

Decoding the device

First illustration

The three illustrations seem to be of some sort of device whose exact nature is unknown. The device appears to be a cylinder with a three sided pyramid on either end. The cylinder appears to have some sort of hatch which contains eight buttons. The last illustration contains some script written in the The Alphabet of Daggers, a typeface designed by Aleister Crowley. Shortly after receiving the pages, the community began much speculation as to the meaning of these pages. It is widely assumed that the first two pages contain explanations of the workings of a gate key, as described by Nicolas Belmont in the notes from Two Lines Twine, while the third page has been verified to be the encoded location of a key.

There is a thread regarding device speculation.

First illustration

The ends are three-sided pyramids, and there is some speculation that they rotate. Each face of each pyramid contains a Tibetan symbol, and all six of the symbols translate to the six-syllable mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion: "Om mani padme hum"

Second illustration

Second illustration

The cylinder contains a small hatch that when opened has eight buttons. On each button is one of eight possible symbols which are believed to equate to Ba Gua, eight diagrams used in Taoist cosmology.

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The symbols are listed below the device. The glyphs are read by turning the second illustration 90 degrees clockwise and reading from left-to-right, top-to-bottom. Under each symbol is given additional information regarding that symbol. The additional information is ELEMENT - DECIMAL NUMBER - "BINARY" NUMBER. (Note that this is not our modern computerized concept of binary.)


Wind - 5 - 011


Fire - 3 - 101


Lake/Swamp - 2 - 110


earth - 8 - 000


Thunder - 4 - 100


Water - 6 - 010


Mountain - 7 - 001


Heaven - 1 - 111

Third illustration

Third illustration

The script at the bottom of the page is written in The Alphabet of Daggers, which may be easily translated back into regular English letters in the following manner.

Crowley's Alphabet of Daggers

This revealed the following message. Also, it must be noted, that according to organiclockwork, the 'h' character in the text is actually different from the 'h' character actually represented in the original Alphabet of Daggers. The script on the this page has two daggers facing downwards for the letter 'h' in the word 'Ghost' instead of one dagger facing down and one facing up.

This is a cXIAO DAO HUI Jade Garden Ghost Marketode
organiclockwork, thread

Within this message, there are four distinct parts:

  • This is a code
    The Xiao Dao Hui, or the Society of Small Swords (e.g., perhaps, the Alphabet of Daggers script), was a rebel group during China's Taiping Rebellion and operated out of the Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai.
  • Jade Garden
    It is assumed that Jade Garden is a reference to the Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai. This is possibly a reference to one of the buildings within the gardens, the Jade Magnificence Hall.
  • Ghost Market
    This is a reference to the Fuyou Market, commonly referred to as a Ghost Market in Shanghai. It may also be noted that Fuyou Market and the Yvuyuan Gardens are quite close to one another. This can be seen via this map.

Aveline's response to solution

Shortly after the third page was solved, a member of the community e-mailed the translated dagger text to Aveline. She responded with:

Way ahead of you all - thanks anyway. And thanks for disclosing to everybody who's looking for me exactly where to go, but I'm getting used to that. It's the risk I took by sharing what I know. I don't blame you. You think you're playing a game...and I guess it's better you believe that. The truth isn't quite as comfortable.

So now I know where to find the key - if there are any more, who knows, maybe the one Nicolas and Amundsen used was the last one? - but I don't know how the key works or how to get it to work, but I'll figure that out once I get my hands on it. I'll probably need your help one more time before this thing's played out. Before I go away into... Yeah. Away. Far, far away.

Stay alert. Or, you know, play your silly games and live in your little bubbles. There's far too much darkness out there. You're better off not knowing.

I'll be in touch.

Aveline Belmont, email
Picture attached to the email received

Also, on June 1, 2009, community member Coren posted that he received a photo from Aveline as a reply to a request of his. Several other community members also received the same email.

About a week ago, after a conversation with Aythem on IRC about the nature of our relationship with Aveline, I decided to send her (Aveline) a long, frank e-mail. The exact contents of my mail to her don't matter. Let's just say I was pleading for mutual cooperation.

Her reply contains nothing we didn't all see coming, and she didn't specify that I had to keep it secret, so I guess there's no harm in sharing it with you. If I don't release it, someone else will anyway. So here goes.

Her reply was short. Very much so. It simply said 'Soon now.', and it contained a picture.
Coren, email
Alternate Reality Games
Dark Days Are Coming - The Photo - They Are Coming Back - Code Name: Wagtail - Two Lines Twine - Inside the Box - At the Door - Something in the Static - The Dark Places (disambiguation) - The Fool's Journey - Gather the Pieces - Council of Venice Systems Malfunction - The Fool's Journey, Act 2 - A New Mission Begins