My name, as you well know, is Alfredo DeGuile. Several days ago, my father, Ricardo DeGuile, procured a cursed emerald from a death wizard during the tail end of a business trip to Halifax. He knowingly did this - his purpose for doing so was to use it to practice his amateur curse-unbinding and curse-imprisoning skills, and to sell the curse-ridden emerald for a tidy profit. The nature of the curse, at the time, was rather benign: all who held it would, on falling asleep, spend their entire night in Hell. Now, old Pop fancied himself a tough old coot who could stay up for the few nights it would take for him to return home and get to work extricating the curse, so he belittled these effects. And, indeed, he returned home to this very manor, quite hale and keen to get to work with his mana-scalpel and psycho-tongs in the Hexarium.\n\nBut when he got to work, he found that there was not one curse bound to that wretched stone, but several! Each causing a different effect that, in concert, produced the aforementioned infernal nightmares. To extricate this knotted mass of black magic would be foolhardy indeed. Well, Pop was somewhat taken aback by this, and regretted placing an entire ocean between his hands and that wizard's neck before making the discovery. And so, at the end of 72 hours of wakefulness, he decided to seek respite from the curse the only way he knew how: by informally 'selling' it to my dear aunt Concordia, who was staying over that week.\n\nNow, there is one thing you should learn about Auntie: she's jolly enthusiastic, but she doesn't know the meaning of the word 'danger'. So, while Pop snoozed, she took the emerald to the Hexarium and set about fiddling with its sorcery herself! Now, she was by no means a neophyte when it comes to thaumaturgy, but whoever had constructed that seething mass of magic around that stone was surely far better at it than her, because when she yanked out the topmost curse from its ensorcelment shell, the remaining curses dramatically altered their effects! Rather than consigning the owner's soul to Hell while you slept, it instead caused every door the owner opened to become a portal to the nether realm itself!\n\nObviously, souls and demons cannot survive in the living world, but the animals native to those regions most definitely can! I don't know if you're familiar with the "squirming hairball", but one of those came in when she tried to leave, and while almost every dangerous spell in the Hexarium is kept in earthquake-proof flasks and boxes, one got loose and ended up bound to Auntie's left hand as she tried to wrestle the sentient hell-spawn hairball back into the portal. She failed, and the creature promptly burrowed into the basement.\n\nA vital fact about squirming hairballs: they've evolved to convert any liquid they encounter into thick and apparently venomous hair, with which they then clothe themselves. In their normal habitat, the lava plains of Some Name I Can't Pronounce, water is hard to come by, but not so here on the blue planet! Now I don't quite know how, but the damn thing must've broken its way into the water supply, because soon its coarse fibres began sprouting forth from every tap in the building! Oh, and another thing: the venom in their hair is, as you can probably tell just by looking around this room, quite explosive. Excuse me, are you listening? Yes, everything I'm saying is vital, and I hope you recall the names of my father and aunt - Ricardo and Concordia DeGuile, yes - because I still have hope we can use their names to bring them back alive. But, all that in due time.\n\nNow, where was I? Oh, yes, dear me... immediately after escaping through a window, Auntie Concordia immediately enlisted the help of her son Marcus - my curly-haired cousin, yes, that is him in that photo - to do the service of opening doors for her until this dastardly situation could be resolved. Now, while I may have cast Auntie as a bit of a fool, I'm afraid the real cause of all this strife must fall on Marcus's shoulders. For you see, rather than just leave the wretched emerald alone and deal with that hellbeast, he had it in his mind to just bally well blow it up! Yes, using common dynamite, like it was the intactness of the rock that was the problem! He really wanted to just skive off to the city for one of his little nights out instead of taking care of his poor Ma, I can only guess. Now, at this point I can tell you he did give it a shot, but it didn't succeed - and damn well it shouldn't, or else I'd just be a skeleton right now along with you! Gosh, to think such foolishness could even propagate from my family's fine lineage...\n\nThe emerald itself had been left in the Hexarium during her self-inflicted defenestration, and - what? Oh, it means pass through an open window, and please refrain from interrupting until I'm quite done. Right? And so Marcus immediately rushed there with Auntie in his wake to try and retrieve it. Ah, I should remind you that the curses, at that point, were still only affecting the monetary possessor of the emerald. After he got his meddling hands on it, he proceeded to try and convince Auntie of the merits of blowing it up, seeing as he was now the rightful owner.\n\n!Sweet Jesus look out! *blam* *blam*\n\nAh, nevermind, just a falling piece of debris. Terribly sorry for shaking you like that, but, well, as I shall soon explain, there are living things here that will kill us first. But as I was saying: Auntie tried to convince him otherwise, possibly out of shame for meddling with what until recently was Pop's emerald, but he wouldn't have it any other way. He snuck to the Gunpowder Closet and came out with... \n\n...okay, fine, the rumbling around us means we'll have to make a long story short and skip to the //extremely// critical bits: this entire manor building is alive, it's rapidly growing into the earth, and if you don't kill it before it reaches the vein of gold two hundred feet below, well, I won't even bother saying what will happen. Oh, and Marcus and Auntie are now some kind of ettin rampaging in the upper floors. Don't shoot them, just chant their names into their ears somehow while dousing them in Separation Fluid. I wish I'd gotten time to explain what that was. Anyway, here's your pickaxe - guns don't work below the basement.\n\nNow <<cyclinglink "did you get all that">>?
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Hello! Do come in. Thank goodness you've finally arrived - we can't wait a moment longer.\n\n[[Please sit|Listen]]. What I am about to tell you is extremely important.
YOUR MISSION\n\nby Leon Arnott, 2013.\n\n\n[[New Game]]
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Your Mission
//Thank you//. Thank you so much. Now, let me [[begin|Begin]].
I am about to tell you critical information relating to the task ahead. If you do not listen to all of it before acting, you and I will surely be dead, and the safety of the world will be in mortal peril.\n\n[[Do you understand?|Yes]]