The quick brown fox is one of the more elusive creatures of the forest. He is always there in the background, watching attentively as other creatures or man pass through his territory. It was a late fall evening, sometime in the mid 1700’s, when he spotted the two travelers. Thick fog was rolling in from the nearby Mullica River. They approached the settlement of Pleasant Mills, by horseback, along the river road from Tuckahoe. This was somewhat unusual as most folks came here by boat, up the river. The river road was rough and primitive and as it had rained earlier in the day, quite muddy. However the two travelers and their mounts were spotless, as if they had just started their sojourn on a bright sunny morning. The fox sensed something very unusual about this pair and was determined to watch them closely.
The fox followed them to the Laughing Gull, the local tavern in these parts. He knew that if he scurried to the west window, that he could get a good view of the goings on at the inn without being detected. As chance would have it, the mysterious travelers were seated at the table near the window. Dinner was served and there was little conversation, though there were knowing looks back and forth between the pair as if they were communicating at some higher level. After dinner they commenced to play a round of draughts. As the elder traveler was setting up the game he noticed there was an extra game-piece. He chuckled, and said to his companion, “You will be able to king me early in the game”. They both had a hearty laugh and put the extra checker back into the small cigar box that had previously held them all.
They played draughts for most of the evening with no real advantage to either player. Then the elder spoke to his apprentice. “I fear that there is no one in this area that can help us in our task. With all the piracy and banditry, even the most trustworthy man would be compromised. Whatever will we do?” The fox knew well the traveler's concern. This was the time of Joe Mulliner, the Robin Hood of the Pines. Anything the travelers entrusted to a local inhabitant would surely end up in Joe’s hands sooner or later.
Just then the apprentice looked up at the window and spotted the fox. The fox froze, hoping not to be spotted. The elder traveler addressed the fox, “You there, at the window, don’t be startled, we mean you no harm." The fox was amazed that he understood the traveler. Normally human speech was far beyond his comprehension. But somehow, the traveler spoke to him, but not in spoken words, rather in thoughts that came directly into the fox’s mind. Not many men were gifted with the ability to speak with the creatures of the forest. Truly these travelers were special.
So for a while the fox and the travelers spoke silently. The travelers related to the fox that they had found a mythical treasure of great importance to all the creatures of this world. It was most important that the treasure not be found until the time was right and only then by those of pure enough mind and spirit. These select few who have to pass a number of challenges to prove their worthiness and to collect the requisite clues to locate the treasure in a future time of need. Further the travelers needed to hide one of the clues in the pine forests of West Jersey but were dismayed that they could not find anyone that could be depended on due to the near lawless nature of the area. The fox was saddened for the travelers that they had come all this great distance and would not be able to complete their quest. He wished there was someway he could help them.
The elder traveler then addressed the fox, “Do you truly wish to help us?” The fox replied, “Yes, tell me how!” The travelers then asked the fox to hide a clue to the location of the treasure for them in the forest. Since the clue would have to be hidden for many, many years, they asked the fox to encode the instructions on how to find the clue to the treasure for when the time of need arose. The instructions would have to be kept safe and faithfully passed down through the generations. The fox agreed that he could do as they asked. The strangers smiled and handed the clue to the fox on a golden slip of paper with strange symbols engraved in dark ink. The clue meant little to the fox. The fox then asked, “What kind of code can I devise to safeguard the location of this secret?” The elder traveler smiled and replied, “We believe that you will come up with something appropriate to the occasion”. Then the younger traveler added, “Trust no one, save the hobbit folk. When the time is near, a hobbit will be on hand to help you”.
The travelers then abruptly got up to depart. The fox scurried around the building to wish the travelers a safe journey. However, as he rounded the corner, expecting to see the travelers face to face, they had vanished. Instead the fox saw a faint and fading trail of the green-blue glow of fox-fire leading from the door of the inn along the river road, away from the village, to the west.
The intrepid quick brown fox did as the travelers requested and hid the clue to their treasure in the forest. He wrote down the instructions to find the clue in an appropriate but devious cipher that he had heard about. Through the countless generations, the fox passed the cipher down among his family. Hundreds of years later, the signs and portents began to appear. The descendant of the quick brown fox knew that something would need to be done soon about the cipher and the clue. On a bright, late summer's day, the fox came upon a hobbit walking about the forest. The hobbit paused to chat with the fox. “Is it time?” asked the hobbit. The fox nodded his head and handed the coded message to the hobbit as he said, “I trust you will know what to do with this.” The hobbit assured the the fox that he would take care of it and then went on his way as the fox scampered back into the forest.
Now without further ado, let's see if you can find the treasure he has hidden.
DUJ H QQII I THCKQ MHEKMIYTI KK ECJTTT ETIEC HUN EITQV EC-TKTIU KKEVTHHIU HKSNU
PMC: PUZZLE MASTER'S CHALLENGE
This puzzle is part of a series of puzzles created by the greatest Puzzle Masters of the Mid Atlantic Region. There are a number Puzzle Masters contributing to this series. Solve all of the Puzzle Masters' creations, follow the storylines, gather the clues and find the final. Will you accept the challenge?
Each puzzle is a unique work of art created and owned by each Puzzle Master/Puzzle Team. In each cache there will be a clue that you must gather and record. These clues will lead you to a final mystery cache located somewhere in the mid-Atlantic region. This series is designed to lead you on an epic adventure that will require Master puzzle-solving skills and extensive travel to unique locations. You must travel and log in at each cache in order to claim a find on the final. Due to the extensive time and effort put into this challenge, the cache can be done as a group but each member of the group must go to each cache site and sign each log. Dividing into sub groups and pooling your efforts will not be allowed.
PMC: THE PUZZLE MASTERS
Listed below are the owners and creators of each cache in the series. As each cache gets released, the link to the cache will be added to the roster.
• cinderbankers PMC - The Box
• Condotrax PMC - I Dislike Numbers
• Dirty Bird and Big Nasty Brain PMC - Creative Confusion
• East Village Family PMC - Urban Renewal
• Ekitt10 PMC - The Message
• Frodo_Underhill PMC - Quick Brown Fox +-25
• GALAP PMC - Uncle Bucks' Cards
• GerIRL PMC - Hibernia
• Grunriese PMC - Flatlander
• Hostanut PMC - The Order
• M_and_W PMC - The Sun, Moon and Stars
• mblatch and ericles - PMC S.E.T.I
• ODragon PMC - A Tribute to Caching
• rehobch PMC - Clueless Again ?
• Resolution PMC - Professor Stone
• Vinny & Sue Tm. & MMammel PMC - Song of the Master Sun
• We3girlsnaguy PMC - The Meeting House
AND THE FINAL.....
It has been missing for a long time. Can you find it?