8
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Now that I have moved into my parent's house for a temporary stay, it was time for me to earn my keep. My father has become quite old, and time has not been kind. There is a lot of unused and forgotten "garbage" in the attic, and I took it upon myself to get the ladder and clean what's up there. I found many things- from old newspaper clippings to albums to clothing- and there was one notebook in particular that caught my eye. The writing on the front cover was in the style of my late grandfather, a boisterous man with stories as rich as his luscious beard. The notebook contained a story that had never been told to me- as I flipped through the pages, however, a small note fell out. It looked like a hastily written little thing, and came on a ripped corner of paper. The handwriting was barely legible- it seemed like my grandfather wrote this in a haste. When I actually read the words, I felt a bit uneasy...

>>>
Vicious scenes do I bring;
Tigers and dragons and goblins and more-
Fighting and tearing, ripping limb from limb;
Grinning demons and snarling wolves;
Dreams of sorrow, of misery;
Are you there?
Even heaven cannot save you here.
>>>

At first I didn't know what it was talking about, but another read-through gave me a good hint. I tried to find the page that the note fell from, but it was a fool's guess. Instead, I flipped through the pages of the story to try to find the spot that this note seemed to fit. It didn't seem to correlate with anything, but one of the pages contained a bunch of random letters. With nothing else to go off of, I decided that the note must pertain to this page. Take a look and tell me what you think:

EMGKMTEKSHZ
COTFDFCBCYLX
IHRXUIBLRAUCINZTLW
IHRXUIBLRAUVEEVKK

ERQZUARHJHY
MFGEUMATHUARHGRY
BFFWXZR
ZBBZSZV
JMSIQGDVLTI
WURGBUJGVISULF
BVFMQL
EUFHYMZHQRFFEQH
QQAJHVQRGMPFM
DRAG ME
ECALVTMCNOGNSGL
GQINWIVEWUS
OZXRHCCFRSSM
VTQGRJRHNOJ
HBBMGTAKACQIVAMEY
GMITGAYSENWXXS
KGSWSFMPKGENHWEM

YSYQXKTDGZYJHTFQ
CTENIGWWHXHQMNLKCSFFV
TGLQTNGVTAIOZVSGHEV
KVNAIVEQOPRIXAXOTSNYATET
CBQNLTOMJSYUIWUCKZQNX
BAIXSINWBMMFHUJQHHV
CTGJVBPIVQUJHBMNQFZ
FGKXIVCETJVHCPHENIL
TVFOYXSTWMUHETCXK
SPCJQIWZMDSSTVXFGVWZJ
JKHUCDBBIKUMUHBBIWMWOS
UTAVTVVVVXFX

This seemed to be some kind of encryption, and if there was one thing I knew about my grandfather it was that he'd make you work for what you wanted! I had both dread and a thrill inside as I set to work. Grandpa was quite the man... but for now, I want to solve this puzzle!



Any encryption keys that you find were originally inputted as all capital letters. The story is fluff- the riddle and the encryption are the core pieces of the puzzle.

Hint 1:

The ">" for the first riddle might find a new piece of information to help you forward with encryption.

Hint 2:

Don't overthink the first or last riddle!

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A chat room has been created. $\endgroup$ – iiiidk Jul 7 '18 at 14:32
5
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Disclaimer: I did not solve this puzzle in the order given. I used an online tool to crack the encryption, and then filled in the pieces in reverse. I suspect it would be almost impossible to infer the required keywords from the riddles provided, without this help.

The answer to the riddle given is

NIGHTMARE

Looking at the >>> symbols in the riddle, they can be interpreted to mean

"Look one letter further at each line". (Thanks to the OP for pointing this out)

This gives us

Vicious scenes do I bring;
Tigers and dragons and goblins and more-
Fighting and tearing, ripping limb from limb;
Grinning demons and snarling wolves;
Dreams of sorrow, of misery;
Are you there?
Even heaven cannot save you here.


Or VIGENERE

This can be verified by using that word as a

Vigenere key on the ciphertext provided, which gives:

Read the tour.
What do you see?
What have you learned?
What have you earned?

The rest of the ciphertext produces gibberish, and obviously requires another key.
The answer to the riddle above is

INFORMED

which can be used as a Vigenere key on the next segment of ciphertext to generate

Well done, but you are not done yet.
Not sure, unknown
Where can you find these words?
Who am I?
What have I earned?
Nineteen decay


Beneath this segment of text is a hidden image, with the alt text "DRAG ME". Dragging it over a dark area, or just clicking on it, will reveal the text "iiiidk", who is the setter of this puzzle.

Looking at

iiiidk's profile, we see that there are the words "Not sure?" and "Unknown" as in the riddle, along with more encrypted text.

This time, the text uses

a simple Caesar cipher, simply shifting the letters by 8 values in the alphabet. The decrypted text reads:

Why have you come?
Do you seek the next step?
I will give you but one thing:
I go by one name,
But appear in many places.
Here on this page
Where can you see my many faces?

My first thought was that this referred to the

network profile of iiiidk.

When I clicked on that link, I found the following:

Fvb hyl jsvzl, iba uv jpnhy.
Aol aopurpun pz ypnoa,
iba fvb ohcl shuklk pu aol dyvun zwva.

This decodes like the last message,

using an 8-letter Caesar shift, to give

You are close, but no cigar. The thinking is right, but you have landed in the wrong spot.

So I guess that is a red herring.

Searching further, I started examining

iiiidk's individual profiles on other SE sites. Most matched the network profile (with the red herring text), but the Gardening.SE profile has a different message:

P't mllspun zv hspcl ypnoa uvd-
P mlls sprl P jvbsk msf;
Sprl P jvbsk avbjo aol zrf ypnoa uvd!
P nblzz P nva tf olhk pu aol jsvbkz.

This provides the following,

once again using the 8-letter Caesar shift:

I'm feeling so alive right now-
I feel like I could fly;
Like I could touch the sky right now!
I guess I got my head in the clouds.

This refers to

CONFETTI.

Using that as the final keyword for the last two blocks of text, we get

Congratulations!
You are close but you are not close enough.
To win a simple check, the answer I seek is from this riddle:

Well-travelled am I,
A friend of Julius Caesar and of Abraham Lincoln.
I have climbed the Great Wall and I have helped build it.
I have visited the moon after I watched it form.
A creator of countries and also a destroyer.
Knowledge before my time from a power bestowed to me.
How can this be?

At this point, I am confounded. I welcome any suggestions as to the solution of this final riddle.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Very far along! It's been a while since I last even looked at this one. I will say that the final riddle you have decrypted refers to the grandfather and the title- Hint 2 applies here as well. As for the way it was decrypted- rot13(Gur svefg evqqyr vf vaqrrq AVTUGZNER. Gur > ersref gb gur yrggref, v.r. "I" "gV" "svT" "tevA" "qeR" "nE" "R", tvivat "IVTARER", juvpu gryyf lbh jung glcr bs rapelcgvba gur svefg fgnamn jnf. Gung jbhyq yrnq lbh gb gur gbhe cntr, juvpu tnir lbh gur onqtr "VASBEZRQ", naq rgp. nf lbh sbhaq vg. ). $\endgroup$ – iiiidk Aug 2 '18 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, right- "Nineteenth Decay". rot13(V jebgr vg va ebg7 naq gur qrpbqre vf ebg19- guhf "avargrragu qrpnl"). $\endgroup$ – iiiidk Aug 2 '18 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ The final bit says to me rot13(orgenlny), but I'm not sure how that answers anything. $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Aug 2 '18 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ Not quite, @IanMacDonald "a power bestowed to me" is literal here. $\endgroup$ – iiiidk Aug 2 '18 at 20:27
0
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This guess was only made possible by GentlePurpleRain's work on the ciphers.

Is the answer to the final two blocks of text:

War?

Rationale:

"Well traveled am I" - wars often involve one group of people going abroad and killing people elsewhere; we have had 2 world wars
"A friend of Julius Caesar and Abraham Lincoln" -Julius Caesar was a Roman proconsul in the Gallic Wars. Lincoln was the president during the U.S. Civil War
"I have climbed the great wall and I have helped build it" - The Great Wall was built to defend against such invaders, but there were times that it was scaled or breached, most notably in 1644 by the Manchus.
"I have visited the moon after I watched it form" -The Space Race was a major event in the Cold War. I'm not entirely sure about the "watching it form" clause. It could be in reference to moon phases or maybe a movie.
"A creator of countries and also a destroyer" -Yugoslavia was destroyed, but its components became new countries in their own right
"Knowledge from before my time from a power bestowed to me" -I think this is in reference to the adage that "the winners [of war] write the history books"

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