He crashed through the snowy woods, his labored breath visible in the cold, moonlit air. Every few yards he’d glance back wondering where his pursuers might have gone. They had to be close, too close, for that matter. The snow would surely aid them in following his tracks. "Snow in April? Where are the lilacs? What a cruel month", he chuckled.
He had to escape this wooded waste land; the secret was too important. He stopped to get his bearings and allow his senses to catch up. Looking around, he was deep in the forest. Moon shadows casting an eerie pattern. The trail all but snow covered; if he didn’t keep moving so would he. He could feel they were nearby – that HE was there. Was HE watching?
He thought back on the fantastic secret passed down from generation to generation. As the story was told, the two brothers, his great, great - however many greats they were – uncles had made “the discovery” back in the early 1700’s. A true treasure that would change everything, it was said. The treasure would have to stay hidden until the time was right. To hide the secret, they had created a complex puzzle; as a further safeguard, they divided the puzzle into several pieces. These pieces were then parceled out amongst a trusted few who were instructed to devise their own clever puzzle. Well, 300 years later he was now one of those “few”.
However, if he was caught…. maybe they wouldn’t be able to interpret the “booklet” he was carrying. He’d been instructed by his father to never leave the small leather bound booklet out of his sight. He was also slightly comforted in knowing that his cryptanalyst great-grandfather had “modernized” the original 18th century code just after WWI. The original cipher was just too easy for these modern times.
He started running down what looked like the trail. He soon smelled smoke… wood smoke? The cabin had to be close. The map he had seen at the station did show a small alpine cabin close to the woods edge.
As he made his way to the clearing, he wondered if the cabin would be occupied. He’d been told it wouldn’t be. Wet, cold and tired he’d have to take his chances.
Quickly looking through the window, he noticed no one in the small one-room cabin. The fire was all but out, the embers emitting a soft red glow. He quickly entered the warm cabin, shut the heavy wooden door, took off his wet trench coat and tried to warm up and calm down knowing that getting out of this wasteland is the key.
He removed the booklet from his now steaming coat and sat on the only chair, moving it closer to the fire so he could look over the booklet. Flipping through the crisp pages he started reading the familiar text.
He waited. Should only be a few more minutes. He had just finsihed reading, "Wo weilest du?", when the three men walked in. The tallest of the three looked around and then asked for the leather-bound booklet as the other two warmed themselves by the dying fire.
Taking the booklet, the intruder looked at the cover. It was worn, dark brown and nondescript. He’d seen hundreds like this one. Could this be THE one, he wondered? It was heavily scratched but the title, burned into the leather, was clearly legible. “Understanding Basic Concepts in Haphazard Integers”. Meant nothing to him. Flipping the cover open, he noticed an array of specifically spaced numbers:
From other sources, he knew that the symbols between each number meant spaces, as a reminder he whispered, "Ahh, two spaces before the twenty...".
Subsequent pages were filled with text. Straining to see in the diminishing fire-glow, the intruder started reading and thought he recognized it from a long time ago in school. Also meant nothing to him. This was turning into a waste. Another red herring. HE wouldn’t be pleased.
Tossing the booklet back onto the table. The intruder collected himself and said to his companions, “Let’s get out of here before we’re snowed in. There’s nothing here for us. I dislike numbers.”
As quickly as they entered, they had left leaving him now in a darkened room, the silence only disrupted by the crackling of the cooling embers and his pounding heart.
You can check your answers for this PMC on Geochecker.com.
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
• 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 Buck's Cards
• GerIRL PMC - Hibernia
• Grunriese PMC - Flatlander
• Hostanut PMC - The Order
• M_and_W PMC - 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 Team and MMammelPMC - Song of the Master Sun
• we3girlsnaguy PMC - The Meeting House
AND THE FINAL.....
An elusive cache. It has been missing for a long time. Can you find it?