3
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When we last saw our heroes, they were resting after a long week in the Sea of Fire. They battled the great King of Serpents who despite his rage against the human race, assisted our heroes with a riddle. Let's take a peek at where they are now!

The temperature's dropping, get ready to move; these mountains can kill us, put on your shoes!

Tis winter here, much danger known; let's head to the caverns, and down to the throne.

The mountain shifted, it's face surely changed; aware of their presence, it senses the flame.

It sends down a wall, of ice and snow; RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! DON'T LET YOUR SKIN SHOW!

The mountains are dangerous, they live on their own; solitary places, where unwise men atone.

They ascend the mountain, they head towards the peak; their journey it seems, will take a week.

As each hour passes, the danger grows greater; finally the peak, they crawl in the crater.

They enter the caverns, safe so they think; descending to darkness, they must form a link.

The child ignites, his hand of fire; he holds it up high, to see what transpires.

They walk through the caverns, strange symbols of light; like craters on towers, a file with eyes.

Off in the distance, the shimmer of gold; this is the throne room, unguarded, untold.

They enter the throne room, unaware of the danger; out of the darkness, appears an old stranger.

He claims to be Loki, a devious man; he spits out a riddle, just cause he can.

The answer you'll need, which I cannot give; answer correctly and I'll let you live.

Contained in a place, but not in a play; do take your time, I've got all day.

You may find it easy, just remember, it's me; so many options, no wait, just three.

They thought for a moment, they collected their heads; if the answer is wrong, they will surely be dead.

They give him the answer, their hands on their swords; ready for battle, they'll fight off his hordes.

A flash of light, and Loki was gone; their answer correct, three letters now known.

I hope you're all enjoying the story and good luck with this one!

Hint: Loki has stated that the letter you seek is contained in a place but not in a play. This is where you have to be careful, especially when combined with there are three options. Below is a hint that should help you with the lateral thinking.

I know of three letters, resembling three; spin it or flip it, and you will see.
Once you have found it, do keep in mind; that more often than not, Loki tells lies.

Edit


I would like to apologize to the community for not giving enough detail to perceive only one answer. Many of the supplied answers were very good, and fit the story quite well; however, due to the fact that the follow up stories rely on this one and the previous stories, I have to ensure the correct answer is accepted. To those who put forth tremendous effort into solving this, and coming up with reasonably acceptable answers, thank you for your time, and I apologize for not making the riddle hold only one possible answer.

The Entire Story


I will update this section each time a new part to the story has been posted so that you can access each part quickly.

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  • $\begingroup$ Do we need to read all the parts of the story in order to solve this riddle? $\endgroup$ – Racso Sep 17 '18 at 19:49
  • $\begingroup$ No, each part of the story is solvable on it's own, but they are all woven together and will be part of a final story. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 17 '18 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ You need to submit these to some poetry competition. These stories can pass as books :D $\endgroup$ – Feeds Sep 17 '18 at 23:33
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Is the letter

d? As pointed out by @nikki the letters b,q,p and d fit the description of letters flipped and reversed of each other. I believe the 3 to focus on are b, d and p simply because there is no extra hook on the others and eliminated q because of this. The clue "Contained in a place, but not in a play; do take your time, I've got all day." means the letter is hidden in the first hald and not in the second. 'p' is eliminated because it is in both, b is eliminated because it only in the second part, and 'd' is hiding in the first part in contained meaning d is the answer. There is also the use of d in day at the end of the sentence and d is used a lot throughout the riddle (descending, darkness, distance, danger, devious, etc.)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good attempt for sure, but remember, this is Loki our heroes are dealing with! He's bound to lie but tell the truth at the same time somehow! $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 17 '18 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ Noted! Will give it some more thought... $\endgroup$ – gabbo1092 Sep 17 '18 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ This is another good guess, and I think I may not have done a good job on my riddle now. :( There's not many other ways I can describe it without giving it away. It doesn't resemble the number three though. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 17 '18 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ Good job on finding the answer; I'm going to update the post to apologize to everyone for not refining the details enough to extract only one possible answer. This was poor oversight on my part. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 18 '18 at 14:37
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I think

It's one of the letters b, d, p or q. You get them all by flipping or reversing as said in "I know of one letter, resembling three; spin it or flip it, and you will see."

But also

"Contained in a place, but not in a play", could mean he's talking about one of the 4 letters in the first part, but another in the second part

Looking at

"take your time, I've got all day.": I think he means we need to eliminate 'd' from the 4 options we have and we are remaining with 3. But I don't know which of the 3 yet.

I know an answer is accepted, but

Is the answer B? Because it resembles 3 as OP says in the comments of the accepted answer

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  • $\begingroup$ Closest yet! It is one of these, and your elimination statement is wrong. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 17 '18 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ Okay! Let's see... $\endgroup$ – nikki Sep 17 '18 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ I would further say that maybe rot13(vg'f c be d, orpnhfr gurl unir n fznyy pengre ba gbc) $\endgroup$ – Kaspar Scherrer Sep 18 '18 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Cashbee That's a good view on it, however; rot13(gur evqqyr qbrfa'g fgngr jung qverpgvba gurfr flzobyf ner va). $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 18 '18 at 14:35
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I think the letter is

Y.

Some things in the story that look like they're hinting at this:

craters on towers (put a crater on top of a tower, and the cross-section is approximately a Y-shape). Contained in a place, but not in a play (OP's comments suggest that we should take Loki's words as lies; Y is in PLAY but not in PLACE). so many options, no wait, just three (at a Y-shaped junction there are exactly three ways to go).

However,

I am not terribly convinced by any of this (e.g., I have Loki lying in one sentence and telling the truth in the next; I bet there are lots of other ways to interpret the place/play thing that give different answers; it seems like there's a lot more in the story that doesn't hint at the answer than that does) and regrettably the whole thing has a bit of a guess-what-I'm-thinking vibe to it...

I suspect I'm missing some clues.

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    $\begingroup$ So your answer is incorrect, and though you have a valid point in your However section; the answer is found through lateral thinking. I'll add a hint. I can tell you that Loki has given the letter within the line you have quoted. Though it is the first portion that is both a lie, and the truth. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 17 '18 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ Please see my edit to my post. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 18 '18 at 14:41
2
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I think the letter is

S

Loki's Riddle

It's the sounds of the words: "play" + "sss" = "place".

Plus

All of the S words: "Stronghold" in the title, and "SKIN SHOW!" really jumped out at me.

The hint

The letter S can be flipped to resemble a Z, and spun to resemble an N. I'm less sure about this but it seems to fit.

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  • $\begingroup$ Please see my edit to my post. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 18 '18 at 14:41
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I can't help wondering if it is

The letter E

Because

E is in "place" but not in "play"

And

There are "E"s in many of the important words (and implied words): such as freeze, shoes (I find it interesting that shoes are mentioned, and they contain an "E"), flee, cavern, throne, peak, week, file, eyes, stranger. And importantly, three, the number of the letter.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is another great deduction but unfortunately no. Remember, Loki can lie while telling the truth; it's just in his nature. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 17 '18 at 17:22
  • $\begingroup$ Please see my edit to my post. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 18 '18 at 14:41
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The letter is

Q

Explanation

"Contained in a place, but not in a play" Both these statements are both true and false. The letter q is not found in "a place", if taken literally, but you could say it is found in "a place" because the p in "place" is just a flipped q. You could say the vice-versa is true for "a play" but I think there's another interpretation. The letter q is not found in "a play" however plays have lines which become other actor's cue's (q's) and in this sense a play does have a "q".

Edit: Alternate explanation

"Contained in a place" could be both true and false for a different reason. False because q does not actually appear in "a place" but true because a queue (q) can be contained inside of a place (like the DMV)

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  • $\begingroup$ Please see my edit to my post. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 18 '18 at 14:41

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