In which a Worm of Worms points the way.

Solved: 2019-01-04


The text on intercalaris and mercedonius is as follows:

“The Bureau went in the last round of budget cuts – of course it did. It hadn’t even been called ‘the Bureau’ for years. A sub-department of a sub-department, I suppose… but it seems to be a private enterprise now, if not precisely a commercial one.

“It must be Lee. The years have only made her more determined. And richer, I suspect. They didn’t mention her name, but there was a wheelchair downstairs, and I don’t think any of the others are even still alive. They could be, I suppose. They could have been sipping lymph or nectar… but the world is not kind to their sort, and the Mansus is less kind still.

“They didn’t mention what they were looking for, either, but from the questions they asked, it can only be the Key. Fifty years ago, I would have told them everything I know, and trusted Lee to do the right thing. But I can’t be sure of her agenda, not any more. What the years do to mortal flesh, they do to mortal ideals also.

“I’ll write to Coseley. He won’t know what to do either. But it’s only polite.”

– Illopoly, ‘Sunset Diaries’, March 1974

[Progress to Phase XVII might be practical, now, since Birds are found where are Worms, and the inverse is also true.]

The only relevant portions are the mention of Coseley and the last line. Julian Coseley is described by Hersault as “a Worm of Worms”, while Birds were previously found on Twitter through the Birdsong clue. This leads to the Winter Long’s Twitter profile: @juliancoseley

The account is manned by a bot which will reply every five minutes to a few prompts. Of particular note are the Apostle endings, which are what JC fears most as he does not want any more Names (also referenced here). The following are the known trigger words and their associated responses:

  • vitulation: “Yes, that one’s quite disgusting. Name the Nest from which the birds arose, three times, where it all begins again, and tell the Club what you hear.”
  • dawnbreaker: “Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. Name the Egg who made the birds, three times, where it all begins again, and tell the Club what you hear.”
  • third mode: “The most dangerous of all. Name the Storehouse which fed the birds, three times, where it all begins again, and tell the Club what you hear.”
  • pornography: “Each to the taste of each.” (a reference to exotic eighteenth-century pornography; the response was added after the trigger had first been tried)
  • trimalchionis: “What larks.” (a reference to Satyricon)
  • respicius: “No doubt.”

The last trigger is unlikely to be guessed from the start, and instead serves as confirmation for the answer.

The exact reasoning for this phase remains somewhat unclear, but TRN, mentioned in-game, is a reference to Tryphon, Respicius and Nympha, the three saints of the Troissaint company (in French, “trois saints” means “three saints”).

Additionally, JC’s profile bio reads:

Betimes an enemy of Apostles. Once again, we assault secret T’s emperor.

Here, “secret T’s emperor” is a reference to “Silent Tristero’s Empire”, which itself is a clue to email. “where it all begins again” is therefore, which must be messaged with “Tryphon, Respicius and Nympha”. This will trigger the following response:

‘The Cross died not, but passed within’

This must then be “t[old] to the Club”, which means trying the URL /thecrossdiednotbutpassedwithin, which marks the end of this phase.


  • 2018-10-15: Phase XVI is discovered by the Discord. An interlude follows.
  • 2019-01-04: Phase XVI is solved by the Discord.

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