You stand in front of a desk you never knew was here, even after five years of working at the **Harcourt Manor** as the assistant director of the museum. Dr. Pavel never told you about this secret study. You only recently discovered it after his brutal murder, and that was only in a letter he wrote to guide you here. It has been a long and //[[disorienting journey|recap]]// that has not become any clearer.
On a desk you see a (link: "letter")[an unfolded //[[letter]]// addressed to you] and a bit of (link: "scrap metal that")[scrap metal that you cannot identify the shape of at a glance, but it appears roughly trapazoidal. Perhaps it requires a //[[closer look?|pendant]]// Regardless, it] rests on a (link: "hunter-green display pillow")[hunter-green display pillow, similar to other pieces in the museum you ran for Dr. Pavel within the halls of Harcourt Manor].
The //[[lens]]// pulses in your pocket.<div class="logo"><img src="/images/logo.png"></div>
<div id="titleCard">Prologue: A Secret Study (1996 AD)</div>
<div class="portrait"><img src="/images/p_mika.png"></div>
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[[Replay?|A Secret Study]]
</div>(set: $letter to 'read')You pick up the letter, unfolded and unsealed, from the surface of the desk. Your fingers tremble as you gently grab the paper. It is a (link: "short message.")[short message.
If you have discovered this room then it is clear my worst fears are confirmed and I am dead. A darkness approaches and I fear humankind is not long for this world as it was never truly ours to begin with. My death could not have happened at a more crucial moment.
There is much you will need to learn in a short time to carry on my work. I have filled this study with my personal notes and collections of materials regarding an invasion that has been occuring for hundreds of years.
I have much more to share with you in my journals, but first I must ask you to understand that threat which you now face, the threat that is responsible for my death.
You must examine the Thor's Hammer pendant through the lens that my colleague, Mr. Bouscher, delivered to you. This pendant will show you where our doom began.</i>
You peer at the //[[pendant]]//. You feel the //[[lens]]// pulsing in your pocket, as though it is eager to be used.
]You hesitantly hold the lens above the pendant and peer through the scuffed glass. At first you detect nothing except the curious warmth of the lens.
Then you feel the cold. It eminates from the glass and brass, and travels up your fingers to your arms. Soon you feel deep cold in your veins, and the image of the pendant in the lens begins to grow clearer.
You bring the lens closer to your eyes and your breath catches in your throat.
What you see in the lens is not in //this// room.
The pendant, a polished silver, unaged, rests of a pale chest of a bearded man in a firelit wooden room...
**//TO BE CONTINUED//**
[[Play Again|A Secret Study]]?
(set: $pendant to 'examined')You do not pick up the piece of metal but you have an immediate reaction to staring at it. You feel your skin grow cold, and you feel something, a presence, radiating off the pendant.
The pendant is faded, but you recognize it as a head to //Thor's Hammer//. It was a common religious symbol of the raiding Norse in the 8th century, C.E..
You consider the //[[letter]]// next to the pendant.
The //[[lens]]// pulses, seemingly eager for something.
You pull the lens from your pocket to examine it.
You know little about it beyond physical characteristics. It is a cloudy glass lens surrounded by aged brass. Judging by the metal and craftsmanship you recognize is as being from the 17th century, C.E..
The lens feels warm in your palm. You consider for a moment that it was in your pocket, but the warmth feels unnatural, somehow.
Why it pulses, you cannot be sure.
(if: $pendant is 'examined' and $letter is 'read')[Will you use the lens on the //[[pendant|enterStory]]//?](else:)[You slip the lens back into your pocket to consider your //[[surroundings|A Secret Study]]// for a moment.]
You are **Mika Briggs** and you stand in a secret study.
The study's walls are bare wood and plaster. A network of makeshift bookshelves line the walls, punctuated by newspaper clippings and torn pages from unknown books filling in the gaps between the shelves.
The room is illuminated by a single, yellow bulb that flickers, making the already secret room more disturbing.
(if: $door is 'unlocked' or $door is 'locked')[The door is shut tight and $door.](else:)[(link:"The door behind you is open, filling the room with drafty air.")[The door behind you is open,\
filling the room with drafty air. Given the death of **Dr. Pavel** \
in this very manor you consider //[[locking it|Lock Door]]//.]]
}Will you //[[shut the door|Door Shut]]// or will you //[[shut and lock it|Locked]]//?(set: $door to 'unlocked')You shut the door and //[[turn your attention to the rest of the room|A Secret Study]]//.(set: $door to 'locked')You shut the door and turn the lock in the door knob. For good measure you also use the latch at the top of the door.
//[[You turn your attention back to the room itself|A Secret Study]]//.The weight of the last three weeks weighs on you.
(link:"You are still horrified by the scene you saw the morning you arrived at Harcourt Manor at the behest of Detective Tetsuya.")[You are still horrified by the scene you saw the morning you arrived at Harcourt Manor at the behest of **Detective Tetsuya**. All that was found of **Dr. Pavel** was a charred husk with missing teeth and two nordic runes carved into his skull; they stood for "harvest."
Then came the letters beqeathed to you by Dr. Pavel, cryptic and disturbing, warning of hidden secrets. **Ms. Brennan**, executor of the estate's trust, provided no answers, having not been aware of whatever Pavel worked toward in secret.
Even more alarming was the total stranger, **Gary Bouscher**, who approached you this evening on the grounds. You almost shot him, but thankfully you did not. He gave you another letter from Dr. Pavel, but more importantly he gave you the strange lens that now rests in your pocket.
He also gave you a second gun. You now have a small pistol that had belonged to Dr. Pavel, and a revolver that the mysterious Gary Bouscher had left behind. (set: $guns to true)All Mr. Bouscher said was that his time was up and that you would need the gun. He fled into the night as quickly as he arrived.]
The most recent, secretive letter written by Dr. Pavel led you here. Behind a wall in the (link:"ribcage")[ribcage. It was a rather morose name you and Dr. Pavel shared for the library given the layout and the rows of bookshelves lining the bifuricated chamber like ribs. A tear comes to your eye as you remember the strange man and his even stranger museum. He was always proud of the work you did as the vice-director.]
//[[Now is not the time to dwell, however...|A Secret Study]]//