Many of you may have noticed the walnuts with letters that were found during the New Year celebrations. If you contributed found walnuts to the cause, thank you on behalf of myself, M Marinus, and Valenza. We believe we have determined what the message says, and we could use your assistance disseminating and interpreting the information revealed to us.
What we believe it says (punctuation inferred):
Foxes come home late; beware watchers.
We received in total:
- 9 walnuts with green letters: C E E F M⁺ O O S X
- 8 walnuts with black letters: A E E H L M⁺ O T
- 14 walnuts with orange letters: A A B C E E E H R R S T W⁺ W⁺
- one golden walnut, with a code inside reading 5 4 4 4 6 8, in differing colors. More explicitly:
5 4 [in green] (9 total)
4 4 [in blue, which we believe corresponds to the black lettering] (8 total)
6 8 [in orange] (14 total)
⁺ M’s and W’s have been assumed based on the angle of the side lines. In theory, any given one of these could be flipped upside down to form the other letter.
We are fairly certain of “Foxes come home late” – after all, the “foxes” have been known to return to wherever their “home” is quite late at night. The orange letters are somewhat less certain. We are not sure what the “watchers” referred to would be.
Is it saying anyone watching the foxes return to their home should beware?
Is it saying the foxes return late because they are being wary of watchers?
Are these in fact the correct words?
All interested townswomen are welcome to participate in the interpretation.
– Mx. Byrgen Ellis
[OOC update: I’ve updated the post to reflect a staff clarification/correction]
Oh, that’s very interesting! I wonder if the watcher refers to the one who turned them into foxes? I know the ones who appear friendly and musical and all have been under attack by other, more aggressive foxes – Addie, Rhett, and I encountered a HUGE one during Remembrance.
My understanding is that the Seamstress is the one who transformed them, and as far as I’m aware no longer takes particular interest in what they do so long as they are not bothering her. Some have been made huge by the interference of Port Katherine residents feeding them arcanum. There have also been some ice foxes, which I hear are the domain of Winter. Do you know if the one you encountered was of Ice?
My first guess would be that someone in town has been harassing the foxes and they are trying to warn them to fork off for whatever reason. Anyone here have anything they want to 'fess up to?
Not to my knowledge! These were just regular foxes. As much as any foxes on Port Katherine were regular, I mean. This one plays music, and Addie got quite fond of it, so she went visiting it between festival. I don’t really know the details of her trips (and also, we were very bad at breaking the code the fox gave us), but we ended up running into one very large fox and one little and very scratchy one out in the woods. I don’t think it was related to the arcanum-fed one, but I really can’t be sure. The word large really doesn’t do it justice, though…
Large does not do it justice at all Avy, you are correct.
I wonder if perhaps watcher refers to those of us that have been keeping an eye on the foxes and asssisting them? I believe that would mainly be Addie, but perhaps this is a warning that something doesn’t like our involvement and is keeping an eye on us in return.
[OOC update! The last number should read 8!]
Of all the possible messages enciphered here, the one above seems the most likely. Nonetheless, considering that either W could be an M (and vice versa), below are a few alternative interpretations of the last section, for your perusal:
WATCH AMBER SEER: An oblique caution about the Autumn Seamstress, who sees without sight amid amber autumnal light?
AETHER BREW SCAM: An accusation? Were the foxes victims of trickery, transformed by an aether-tainted elixir?
EMBRACE THE WARS: Ominously bloodthirsty advice on present politics?
WATER BEAR MECHS: A prophecy foretelling the arrival of indestructible tardigrade automata?
Or could it be the unexpected truth of the foxes’ origins, perhaps most mysterious of all? WE WERE HAT CRABS
Don’t the numbers dictate both how many words and how long those words are? So aren’t the orange walnuts two words, 6 and 8 letters long respectively?
Seems like that kinda shoots down a lotta your alternatives there
[Yeah, uh, ignore all of what I just said there. I was having so much fun with goofy anagrams that I forgot how the puzzle actually worked.]