Epitaph: Speculations and Theories [Episode 1-4]
Welcome to the Epitaph thread.
In the game, the Ushiromiya family, servants and rare guests could see this enigmatic riddle on the portrait of the Golden Witch, Beatrice.
Following the information we know, Ushiromiya Kinzo ordered an artist to paint it in 1984, and it was set on display to everyone along with the epitaph.
But over the course of the plot, the riddle becomes centric to everyone's attention, especially regarding the bizarre chain of events between the 4th and 5th October 1986.
Is it really the location of the gold of the legend? Or nothing but the madness of a old man? Or else...?
Original Japanese Text
Behold the sweetfish river running through my beloved hometown.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream in search of the key.
As you travel down it, you will see a village.
In that village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.
The one who obtains the key must then travel to the Golden Land in accordance with these rules.
On the first twilight, offer the six chosen by the key as sacrifices.
On the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
On the third twilight, those who remain shall praise my noble name.
On the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
On the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
On the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
On the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
On the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
On the ninth twilight, the witch shall revive, and none shall be left alive.
On the tenth twilight, the journey shall end, and you shall reach the capital where the gold dwells.
The witch shall praise the wise and bestow four treasures.
One shall be all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be the resurrection of all the dead souls.
One shall be the resurrection of the love that was lost.
One shall be to put the witch to sleep for all time.
Sleep peacefully, my most beloved witch, Beatrice.
Translation provided by The Witch Hunt.
Update: 10th December 2010
Spoiler Policies are applied here!
VN Spoilers are NOT allowed, except if they are used for comparison sake about events that have been already shown in the anime (or if the timing has been bypassed with no way to be disclosed later on). Failure to do this can result in a BAN. Also please be sure to use spoiler tags for critical scenes from the Anime series with a proper title (like Episode X-Y) in order to not spoil people who didn't catch up the latest anime episodes yet.
As it is: do -not- mention any elements from Episode 5 and onwards. More importantly, this thread serves as a place for those who didn't solve the epitaph yet and/or wish to know the hints shown in the game that were omitted in the anime series.
At the first twilight, you shall lift up as sacrifice the six chosen by the key.
At the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
At the third twilight, those who remain shall praise my honorable name on high.
At the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
At the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
At the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
At the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
At the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
At the ninth twilight, the witch shall be revived and none shall be left alive.
At the tenth twilight, the journey shall end and you should reach the village of gold.
this lines... they're creepy. i think this will be the events that will happen when the riddle is tried to be solved or the golden so what tried to be found. those who try shall encounter what ever the riddle is trying to hide.
Not a nice thing to read at a family get together. I'd certainly wouldn't want to stick around after reading that. :heh:
It looks like to me whoever found the access (key) first becomes the killer. And everyone else is just a means to revive Beatrice. The second night victims could be a hint as to who the killer is.
Does the village of gold really exist? The person could be driven by greed to revive Beatrice and in the end find out that it was a snow job and get killed also.
There's actually a bunch of theoretical solutions to the epitaph is some of the Game threads, so if anyone wants some more info they can take a look there. Of course those threads are chockfull of spoilers so read at your own risk.
As for me, I've neglected to try and answer it myself even after finishing the game since I still have a nagging feeling there still isn't enough information to even begin to realistically try and decipher it, so I'm holding off on that for the meantime.:p
Itīs quite clearly a cryptological process. The first part is the identity of the "Key", In this case itīs be a word. Iīm afraid itīd be semantic question, ergo itīs a phrase that makes sense in context of maybe Rokkenjima or Kinzos background.
The 2nd part would be the Key shedule, the transformation process/algorithm of the Phrase to the actually used Key. 12 steps, each depending on the key and the previous step.
Such processes are always vulnerable in their patterns. The eventuall result of the Epitaph has to be a cleartext message, possibly a certain number (spoiler, kinda, thouse that read that far know what I mean), so that message is at least partly already in the
The First Twilight is possibly denouncing the cyphertext, consisting of 6 "normal" words (?) making sense in context of the Key.
The second Twilight "splits" 2 of these elements, maybe it makes 2 out of one.
The 3rd once again speaks about "putting something high". Itīs a pattern combined with the First Twilight, maybe adding "Beatrice" to (above?) the Text resulting from the 2nd Twilight.
And so on.
The issue is even though the process would be relativly easy if we had the "Key" the other way around is pointless - exactly how encryption is supposed to work.
Considering that it's the Witch's Epitaph, wouldn't it make more sense if it were relevant to Beatrice rather than Kinzo?
However the person who's talking says at the end "my beloved Beatrice", then the subject is probably not Beatrice but Kinzo. I hardly see how the "honorable name" can be Beatrice.
Anyway I think the problems are basically two: You need to understand what the key is, and you need to understand where the key should be used.
I actually think finding the key is easier because the whole first part of the riddle has this purpose. But as for "where to use the key" there isn't any info, at least not inside the epitaph. This probably requires some external knowledge, or maybe once you know the key you will automatically understand where to use it.
Agree with Jan-Poo. I'm really impressed if you come up with this conclusion only by reading this thread alone.
It take us three episodes of the game to come this far...
Since this thread is just on the Epitaph might as well re-link these, as to solve the riddle, it's very likely that you need to analyze the names to some extent. The information is purposely overkill info as I was trying to provide as much info as possible as to what was asked. It may or may not have any relevance to the mystery.
These were posted in the EP03 game thread and contains some spoilers, so read at your own risk.
The family (japanese kanji analysis)
The other characters (japanese kanji analysis)
The romanized name analysis
Since we are at it I thought it could be useful to the anime watchers to see how the cousins tried to solve the riddle during the pic nic at the beach. This part was cut in the anime.
I've taken an excerpt from the game script, but I removed any part that isn't relevant to the epitaph, there's more idle chatting between the following lines.
The translation was provided by Witch Hunt.
Spoiler for The cousins and Shannon try to solve the riddle during the pic-nic:
Mind that these speculations are not necessarily true, actually it's probable that they are all wrong.
The first part they came up with are pretty good. But they skipped the part 'the two will tell you of'. So apparently, two people will have to tell you about the shore.
"The two" doesn't necessarily refer to "people" though. It's a riddle, so let's not forget that there's metaphors in it, including that sentence.
I'll post a theory/interpretation that a friend of mine and me came up with. It shouldn't be spoilerish since it doesn't really contain infos on the game's plot:
Supposing that the sentence "follow the river downstream" is actually referring to the Ushiromiya's descendence, in the bit of the riddle where it talks about finding the village (里) it's basically saying that we need to focus our attention on Maria's name (真里亞). So, keeping that in mind and going on with the following lines, we combine the kanjis 二 and 口 from the sentence "二人が口にし" (the two will tell you) and we obtain the kanji 目.
Now, following the riddle, a shore is a portion that's between land and sea. It's telling us to look for it ("岸を探せ"). Keeping in mind Maria's name as well, the kanji 目is contained in 真. So this is the "shore". In this shore (meaning in this kanji), we have to look for the "Key".
Here's the creepy curiosity about the last bit: the origin of the kanji 真. It was originally meant to indicate a corpse that lays upside down, the lower part of the kanji should depict the hair sticking out from the beheaded corpse. The story behind it says that the man who died this way became a ghost and possessed a strong spiritual force. Then the spirit of this deceased man was caged inside a sanctuary, in order to calm him and purify him.
Among the most popular meaning/uses for the kanji 真 there's "reality", "truth", "genuine", "pure" and all things related to this. Could this be a way to say "please find the truth?"
Just an idea, and a question regarding Epitaph.
(I'm only through midway of VN Episode 3. )
If the Epitaph is actually a wordgame in kanji, wouldn't that be meaningless for the non-Japanese speaking people?
We don't know how much knowledge of japanese is needed. It is certain that a basic understanding is necessary, but it is not necessarily true that the whole thing is based on Kanji.
Actually there's something that might be an hint to the solution of the riddle that is written in english. Certainly this doesn't help finding the solution of this riddle because it is not possible to determine what kind of language or writing system is involved. And maybe English, Japanese, romaji, katakana, hiragana and kanji are all involved somehow...
Kinzo, being a western freak, most likely put an English-related step in the riddle. That is just speculation though.
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