Dear Insane Children,
Things here in Shanghai are crazy. I wasn’t here during the Jan-Mar period of 2020 when Covid first kicked-off, so I can’t compare it to that… but certainly for the time since then, this is the most serious period of virus and lockdowns that I’ve seen. Tons of areas around Shanghai are in lockdown. All parks, public spaces, government offices, schools, etc are closed. And there’s mass testing going on all over the place.
As you might imagine that means there will still be no live stream this week. Non-residents aren’t even allowed to enter our housing area at this point… so Martin would just be stuck outside the gate!
But that doesn’t stop our art team from producing beautiful illustrations…
The main image (above) is from Adam for this scene described in the Narrative Outline:
A FINAL INTERMISSION (HUB-WORLD)
MAD HATTER’S DOMAIN (BARGAINING REALM) – HATTER’S WORKSHOP
Alice steps from the Hall of Doors and quickly returns to Hatter’s Workshop. Alice now knows the secrets of the darkness, and what has created it.
Hatter is in a distant state of mind. He explains; Only 1 Moon remains. Tick-tock.
The chaos clock in Hatter’s workshop is nearly completely consumed by the shadow. Everywhere Alice looks in his workshop, darkness is seeping in, through window sills, under doorways. All other entrances and exits from Hatter’s workshop are blocked.
Alice has everything she needs. All that is left to do is complete Alice’s quest and assemble the fragments she has collected and find her way home.
Hatter reveals a sarcophagus, emblazoned with winged beasts.
A mighty Gryphon is carved on its hull.
A final puzzle to solve; Hatter and Alice lay the pieces she has collected into a stone slab with numerous apparatus and machinations. The Eyes, Brain, her inner compass, and tears, all slot into place. In the end, the puzzle cannot be completed. After all other puzzles are solved, a secret panel presents itself. A single, heart-shaped slot remains empty.
The final slot of the puzzle; the clockwork heart, is still beating within the rabbit.
A cut scene plays;
A pause. Hatter reaches for the rabbit, as Alice’s tiny friend shudders in fear behind her.
Hatter stays his hand. His voice is stern but steady.
This might be a difficult choice Alice, but this piece is required. If we do not have the heart in the right place, what we create to get you home will be without one. I cannot guarantee your success, your safety, or what comes next, without it in place.
Tick-tock. Chaos is barely restrained at every crevice of Hatter’s laboratory. It is overflowing.
We are out of time.
Alice looks down to her rabbit, and to the machines, and to Hatter. Her eyes land on her tiny friend. Hatter awaits Alice’s choice, as she turns to address the scientist.
…my heart is exactly where it needs to be. With or without one in place in the machine, I know we’ll face whatever comes next, together.
The Rabbit hops in a circle around Alice. He hugs her boot.
So be it. Sounds like you indeed have enough heart to spare.
An engaging click and a whirr, as heavy gears churn and spark, initiating the machinery in Hatter’s laboratory. The sarcophagus glows, the power sparks surge from white, to red… then green.
Hatter furiously tries to operate levers and keep the wild sparking power controlled within.
The winged Gryphon effigies on the sarcophagus change and morph to… something else.
Still winged. But wicked.
Horrible, snarling, beastly noises are heard from within the sarcophagus. Smoke streams from its cracks.
The Chaos Clock chimes. Time is up.
Alex will be sharing a big post with details about the work being done in 2022 to get the Design Bible done. Expect that next week!
We’re also making great progress on art and story for Oz: Adventures. Here’s an illustration from Gareth where you can see the Spanish Captain leading an expedition into the heart of Oz. By his side is a kidnapped Aztec guide – who will rise to play a very important role as this narrative develops.
Let our artists know what you think in the comments below!
From Shanghai in Virus Madness,