(set: $YuMengHate to 0)(set: $YuMengCompass to 0)(set: $TengLongMap to 0)(set: $TengLongRope to 0)(set: $TaoHuanTools to 0)(set: $TaoHuanFood to 0)(set: $XieChangBack to 0)(set: $XieChangCrossbow to 0)(put: (prompt: "What is your name? ", "") into $name)It is the 5th year of Qin Shi Huang's reign. It's Year of the Monkey.
My name is $name.
I'm somewhere in the Middle Country. I'm sitting in a dark prison cell.
It smells like sweat and feces. A rat is skittering around the dirt floor, and dust fills the air. The in-mate across from my cell is trying to catch the rat for the protein.
[[Continue->0GuardEnters]]All other sounds stop, as the big metal door makes a squeeking sound, and a crack of light fills the dungeon. The jailor known as Yu Meng comes into my view. He's known for his brutal punishments outside the cells. The people he take away, usually don't come back. If they do, they're scarred for life.
Yu Meng is carrying a huge wooden club and a bundle of keys.
"$name. You are sentenced to 4 years of work on the Great Wall."
[[Accept your fate->0AcceptFate]]
[[Refuse->0Refuse]](set: $YuMengHate to 1)"I refuse", I say without moving a muscle. I'm not going to willfully build their stupid wall.
Yu Meng gives me a look of contempt, cracks his knuckles and unlocks the door to my cell.
The other in-mates give me a frightened look and move to the back of their cells
Yu Meng moves into the cell, and strikes me with the club across the back of my head. I fall to the ground screaming. The pain is excruciating.
Yu Meng grabs me by the hair and drags me outside the dungeon.
[[Continue->0Outside]]I get up and prepare to leave the cell. Anything is better than rotting in here.
Yu Meng unlocks the cell to my door.
"Come with me. It's time for your briefing".
I follow calmly outside.
[[Continue->0Outside]]It's a big enclosed area with tall trees. The smell of fresh air fills my lungs.
(if: $YuMengHate is 1)[The blow to my head is making it difficult to stand, but after a while I regain my bearings.]
The towers around me are heavily guarded, crossbows ready to fire at any time, should anyone decide to try anything.
The courtyard is already filled with other in-mates and common folk also being sent to the wall. Beside Yu Meng is a soldier barely able to carry his crossbow - there is a gaping void where his right hand is supposed to be.
Next to me is another in-mate by the name of Teng Long. I've talked to him when he was in the cell next to me. One day Yu Meng came and took him outside. It's a relief to see him still standing.
Among the common folk, one person catches my attention. He's half the height of any normal man, so he's standing in the front of the crowd to be able to see anything.
[[Continue->0Speech]]The one-handed guard makes a signal (with his one hand) for the crowd to stop talking.
Yu Meng starts speaking with a penetrating voice:
"You are all about to be transferred to labor on the Great Wall. Every week, some fool tries to escape labor and run away. My advice to all of you is: don't even bother. Every single person dies trying. It would be a shame to lose your life in such a tragic accident. In two days, reinforcements from the capital arrive - at which point none of you will be able to run away."
One person in the western side of the crowd decides to make a run for the gate. Yu Meng swiftly shouts an order, and a crossbow bolt catapults from a guard tower, and penetrates the poor man's skull.
Yu Meng looks with a satisfied look at the crowd, and indicates to get moving.
[[Continue->1Intro]]We arrive at the construction site of the Great Wall. Yu Meng briefs each in-mate about their role in the construction.
It's cold and the building site is filled with huge rocks.
Finally it's my turn to be briefed.
[[Continue->1Conversation]]Yu meng looks at me as I step forward and get ready for my briefing.
(if: $YuMengHate is 1)[His eyes narrow down as he looks angrily at me. It seems he remembers the trouble I made when I put up resistance. "You will stand guard at day light and work on the wall at night. Now move along to your camp!"](if: $YuMengHate is 0)[His eyes widen a little. It seems he remembers me, but for what?
"The brave one, tsk. You were the only one not screaming and begging for mercy when I got you out of your cell. Let's see if we can't change that, huh? You will be headed to the east of here standing guard and by night get ready to work on the wall. For now head over to your camp.]
[[Ask directions->1Directions]](set:$TengLongKnowsCompass to 0)(set:$TengLongMapKnowledge to 0)(set:$TengLongProposal to 0)Night falls and my construction shift starts.
I thought it was cold earlier - I take that back now. It's freezing. Wild wolves are crying out in the night, interrupting the otherwise constant sound of cicadas.
I'm about to begin construction when I spot Teng Long, the other in-mate who used to be in the cell next to me.
[[Continue->2Conversation]]Teng Long: "I can't believe we're being made to labor on the wall during the night in this freezing cold. They could at least have given us some proper garments."
(if: $YuMengHate is 0)[[[I don't think it's that bad->2NotBad]]
[[We should get back to work->2BackToWork]]After a "great" night's sleep - 3 hours - another day of work is ahead of me.
It is my first shift of patroling the wall.
(if: $YuMengCompass is 1)[I have the compass Yu Meng gave me, so I'm confident I'll be able to find my way back.](elseif: $TengLongMap is 1)[I have the map Teng Long gave me, so I'm confident I'll be able to find my way back.](else:)[I hope I'll be able to find my way back to the camp.]
Before leaving for the shift, I talk to the halfling I saw at the courtyard.
[[Continue->3Conversation]]After a little bit of talking, I find out his name is Tao Huan. He was a farmer back in his village before receiving a letter saying to report to the Great Wall to work instead.
He knows his plants and food well, after many years of soiling the earth back at home.
Looking beyond his size, he seems to be in decent shape and the work does not seem to bother him. The only thing that seems to bother him is the idea of going home.
[[Continue->3AChoice]]The sun sets, and another day has gone by. But work never ends!! It's time for construction labor.
Work is exhausting. My legs are hurting from patroling all day, and now my arms are aching from lifting heavy rocks all night. I don't know if I could keep doing this for 4 years. But what options do I have?
(if: $TengLongMap is 1)[At least the map Teng Long gave me is proving useful in the construction work to find my way around the camp and construction site.
](if: $TengLongRope is 1)[I could attempt an escape with the rope Teng Long gave me.
While moving a heavy boulder, I bump into a patroling soldier. It's the man with only one hand from earlier.
[[Continue->4Conversation]]Soldier: Get back to work, criminal.
[[Excuse me, I just have one question, sir...?->4AskQuestion]]
[[Mind your own business->4MindBusiness]]For two days, I've been laboring on the Great Wall. It's physically and mentally exhausting.
Yu Meng announced at the camp that a huge reinforcement of guards is coming to oversee the labor from tomorrow. Whether I want to make the escape(if: $TengLongProposal is 1)[, as Teng Long proposed], or if I want to stay for 4 more years - I need to make the decision now!
[[Stay for 4 years laboring on the Great Wall->5Stay]]
[[Escape over the border, and try to survive in the jungle->5Escape]](if: $YuMengHate is 1)[I stay and work on the construction on the wall. Yu Meng's impression of me as a trouble-maker causes him to treat me harshly, give me painful punishments and a lot of extra work. I barely survive the first month of labor.
You are dead.](elseif: $TengLongMap is 0)[I stay and work on the construction of the wall. Everything is going smoothly, until one day, I lose my way while looking for a specific tool. Without a map of the area, I get lost and perish in the jungle.
You are dead.](elseif: $TaoHuanTools is 0)[I stay and work on the construction of the wall. Everything is going smoothly, but the hard manual labor is tortorous. If only I knew how to get some better tools, I wouldn't have died from overworking.
You are dead.](elseif: $XieChangBack is 0)[I stay and work on the construction of the wall. Everything is going smoothly, but my technique for pushing the huge boulders is troublesome for my back. I develop severe back problems, disabling my ability to perform the labor. I am punished with death.
You are dead.](else:)[I stay and work on the construction of the wall. Being on Yu Meng's good side, I get a balanced workload, and using Xie Chang and Tao Huan's tips on pushing boulders and using proper tools, I survive the 4 years of labor.
Congratulations, you win!]
(Made by Johannes Andersen and Daniel Hansen)(if: $TengLongRope is 0)[I try my best to get over the wall but with great difficulties. If I had a rope, I would have been able to scale down the wall. The guards see me trying to get over the wall and before I can react I see a crossbow bolt hurling towards me.
You are dead.](elseif: $TaoHuanFood is 0)[Using the rope Teng Long gave me, I scale down the wall unnoticed. The days in the jungle are long and cold. The animals' sounds fill my mind, but the loudest sound is the growling of my stomach. I try to find something to eat, but in vain. Without knowing how to find food in the wild, I go hungry. I can barely walk any further as I lay down and close my eyes for the last time.
You are dead.](elseif: $XieChangCrossbow is 0)[Using the rope Teng Long gave me, I scale down the wall unnoticed. Thanks to Tao Huan's tips, I'm able to find berries to eat. The nights in the jungle are scary and I am lucky to have survived this long. The tigers prowl around me and the wolves howl in the distance. With no weapons to defend myself, I end up as animal food.
You are dead.](elseif: $YuMengCompass is 0)[Using the rope Teng Long gave me, I scale down the wall unnoticed. Thanks to Xie Chang's crossbow and Tao Huan's tip for finding food, I survive for a while in the jungle. But the terrain is thick, vines hang from the treetops and it's hard to find my way. Hours become days, days become weeks, and with no tool to find my way around, I slowly forget who I am and why I am here, dying in the jungle.
You are dead.](else:)[Using the rope Teng Long gave me, I scale down the wall, and with Yu Meng's compass, Tao Huan's tip for finding food, and Xie Chang's crossbow to hunt animals, I survive and live a happy life in the jungle as a free man.
Congratulations, you win!]
[[Start over->0PrisonCell]]Me: "I don't think it's that bad. The wall is to protect everyone in the Middle Country. And after all, maybe we deserve this punishment."
Teng Long: "Deserve?? I sure as heck don't deserve this. Every man and child in the empire is being forced to labor on this stupid wall. Even farmers are being dragged away from their rice fields. If we don't do something, you and I are both going to die in this place."
[[Yu Meng takes care of us->2YuMengProtects]]
[[Why were you in prison anyway?->2WhatAreYouInFor]]
[[What do you propose, then?->2Proposal]]
[[Die? The punishment only lasts 4 years.->2Only4Years]]Me: "I'd love to talk, but we should get to work before Yu Meng senses something."
[[Continue->2Ending]]Me: "I agree completely. I wish no one had to build this wall."
Teng Long: "I know, right? I don't believe this."
Under his breath, Teng Long mutters:
"I show one freaking sign of independence and this is what I get? This is proposterous..."
[[Why were you in prison anyway?->2WhatAreYouInFor]]
[[At least it's only 4 years, right?->2Only4Years]]Me: "Why were you in prison, anyway?"
Teng Long: "I had disobeyed my parents and as a punishment I was sent to prison."
[[What happened when Yu Meng took you away?->2WhatHappenedYuMeng]]Me: "Yu Meng is taking good care of us.(if: $YuMengCompass is 1)[ I got this compass from him.(set:$TengLongKnowsCompass to 1)]"
Teng Long: "That madman? Are you kidding? I think his only pleasure in life is torturing poor souls like us. I found an old map of the construction site - there's a burial ground nearby specifically for those who die during torture. If only you knew what happened to me.(set:$TengLongMapKnowledge to 1)"
[[What happened when Yu Meng took you away?->2WhatHappenedYuMeng]]
[[Why were you in prison anyway?->2WhatAreYouInFor]]
[[What are you going to do, then?->2Proposal]]
[[Thankfully it's only 4 years, right?->2Only4Years]]Me: "At least the punishment is only 4 years. After that, we're free to go right?"
Teng Long: "You don't actually believe you would last 4 years in this place, do you? There's no way I'm going to just sit here and rot."
(if:$TengLongMapKnowledge is 1)[[[If you're leaving, maybe you wouldn't mind giving me that map you found?->2GiveMap]]
][[What is your plan to leave then?->2Proposal]]
[[Do what you must, but I'm staying for the 4 years.->2Staying]](set: $TengLongProposal to 1)Me: "What do you propose, then?"
Teng Long: "I'm going to flee the construction site into the jungle. Then I'll survive out there as a free man. I acquired a rope, I'm going to use to scale down the hillside."
[[Let me come with you!->2LetMeCome]]
[[I'm staying here->2Staying]]
[[You don't have to go->2YouDontHaveToGo]]Me: "What happened that time Yu Meng took you away?"
Teng Long: "I was taken to a slaughterhouse. I thought I was done for but..."
He gulps nervously before continuing.
"They cut off the only thing more valuable than my life."
He looks me in the eyes and says
"Anyways, we should get back to work."
[[Continue->2Ending]]Me: "If you're leaving, maybe you wouldn't mind giving me that map you found?"
(if: $TengLongKnowsCompass is 1)[Teng Long: "Maybe we can trade, then? I'll give you the map if you give me that compass, Yu Meng gave you.
(else:)[Teng Long: "Hmmm... I would, but I think I'm going to need it while planning my escape. You'll have to get by without it.
[[Continue->2Ending]]]The construction work is agonizing. Huge block after huge block has to be carved, moved and fit into place. My hands are bleeding, and distant screams remind me what might happen if I don't keep up the work. At this rate, it will take more than 2 millenia to build the wall.
[[Continue->3Intro]]Me: "Do what you must, but I'm staying."
Teng Long: "You're freaking crazy, but that's up to you. Good luck, friend."
[[Continue->2Ending]]Me: "Let me come with you! I want to escape too."
Teng Long: "Sorry, man, it would cause too might attention. It's just too risky. You'll have to find another way to leave on your own."
With that, Teng Long gives me an apologizing nod and we both return to the hard labor.
[[Continue->2Ending]]Me: "You don't have to go, you know. You heard what Yu Meng said, you saw that man get shot right there and then. No matter what happened, you haven't lost the reason to live on. Don't throw away your life like this."
Teng Long looks uncomfortable. Without looking me in the eyes, he says:
"You're right, man... I don't know what I was thinking. Here, you can have the rope. Maybe it will serve you better.(set: $TengLongRope to 1)"
[[Continue->2Ending]]Me: "Okay, sure."
I hand Teng Long the compass, and in return I receive the map.(set: $TengLongMap to 1)(set: $YuMengCompass to 0)
Then we both go back to work.
[[Continue->2Ending]]Me: "No thank you, I'd rather keep the compass."
With that, we both return to work.
[[Continue->2Ending]]Me: "Excuse me, I just have one question, sir...?"
Soldier: "My name is Xie Chang. What do you want to know? Make it quick"
[[How did you lose your hand?->4RudeQuestion]]
[[Where is this boulder supposed to go?->4BoulderQuestion]]Me: "Mind your own business"
Soldier: "I'm Xie Chang, second-in-command at this camp. I'll mind exactly the business I want, criminal. You should watch your mouth"
[[What are you going to do about it?->4WhatAreYouGonnaDo]]
[[Sorry, sir->4Sorry]]Me: "What are you going to do about it?"
Questioned on his authority, Xie Chang gets an angry look, and begins drawing his crossbow. He fiddles with it for a while, but gives up using the two-handed weapon.
[[I'm sorry - how did you lose your hand?->4Backstory]]
[[Can I have your crossbow?->4Crossbow]]Me: "Sorry, sir".
[[Continue->4Ending]]With that, I continue work for the rest of the night...
[[Continue->5Intro]](set: $XieChangCrossbow to 1)Me: "I've thought that a weapon would be useful when patroling out here in the wild... You don't suppose I could have that crossbow?"
Xie Chang looks at me with a look of amazement and bewilderment, and then says:
"You know what, I like your straight-forward attitude. Here, use it well".
Xie Chang gives me the crossbow.
[[Continue->4Ending]]Me: "I'm sorry - how did you lose your hand?"
Xie Chang: "It's a long story, but it happened while defending Xi'An from barbarians. I was a notorious archer, but during an ambush, my right hand was cut off. When the wall is finished, no one will have to suffer that same fate. You should be honored getting to construct such an important monument."
[[Continue->4Ending]]Me: "How did you lose your hand?"
Xie Chang: "That's none of your business - get back to work."
[[Continue->4Ending]]Xie Chang: "I'm just patroling, there's no way I would know that."
[[Who should I ask?->4WhoToAsk]]
[[Sorry for taking your time->4BackTip]]Me: "Who should I ask?"
Xie Chang: "Your best bet would be Yu Meng - if nothing else he can point you to the person who would know. Yu Meng can be tough, but if you obey your orders and show your respect, he's a good man. Good luck."
[[Continue->4Ending]](set: $XieChangBack to 1)Me: "Sorry for taking your time."
Xie Chang: "No problem. You look like you're struggling with that boulder - let me give you a tip"
Xie Chang shows me the technique to push the boulder without damaging my back in the process.
[[Continue->4Ending]](set: $YuMengCompass to 1)I start to slowly walk off before I suddenly stop and turn around looking at Yu Meng. "My navigation skills are not that great, my sir. With all due respect, is it possible I could get something to help me find where I am going?"
(if: $YuMengHate is 1)[He stares at me angrily without saying a word. He slowly raises his sword as everyone backs off a bit. I decide to just move along.](if: $YuMengHate is 0)[He chuckles a little as he looks over at me. "You may act brave but you sure don't seem smart." He looks in the pocket of his uniform and produces a compass and throws it at me. I pick it up as I look at him. He keeps staring at me. "Go!"]
[[Continue->2Intro]]I decide to just move along, not knowing where I am suppose to go. I look around me seeing the landscape bare and filled with men from across the country. The air is thick from the sweat of the hard-laboring people and the grunts and screams from tortured men fill my ears as I keep moving along.
[[Continue->2Intro]]He suddenly says that he has heard a lot of prisoners wanting to run off into the deep jungle and survive. He looks up at me and asks what my plan is.
[[Run off into the jungle->3RunOff]]
[[That does not concern you->3NoConcern]]
[[Stay and work off my years->3StayAndWork]]
[[*Look at the halfling concerned*->3Concerned]](set: $TaoHuanFood to 1)I tell the halfling that I had been planning to run off into the jungle, as some of the other prisoners. The halfling looks at me, a little concerned, knowing what horror would lie ahead of me if the guards figured it out, and the horror, that lie beyond the wall.
The halfling then decides to give me some tips on the best way to find food out in the wild. Which berries to eat, how to hunt animals and so on...
[[Continue->4Intro]]I look down at the halfling angrily as I turn my back to him and slowly start to walk away from him. "Such information does not concern you, halfling. You were just gonna turn me in, if I told you"
[[Continue->4Intro]]The sound of the words fill my head as I get goosebumps just thinking of the question. I look nervously around, afraid that anyone has heard the halfling's question. "We... we should not talk about this at all. What if someone heard us? I better get back to the camp before something happens."
[[Continue->4Intro]](set: $TaoHuanTools to 1)I tell the halfling that I want to serve my years here, knowing what horror it would be out in the jungle and if the guards saw me fleeing. The only issue is how I would avoid destroying my body with all this hard labor.
The halfling looks around making sure no one is here to hear his secret.
"The early bird gets the worm. Not every tool here is alike and some are better than others. That's the reason I am holding up."
I nod, taking his advice.