CJ Bernstein

CJ Bernstein

The Making of The Monarch Papers – Episode Five

This week’s show notes are brought to you by dear reader, Tinker!

In this week’s episode, CJ and Simon discuss Fragment Five. Despite being a shorter fragment, it was still quite busy because it marked the start of a new phase. This fragment was comprised of three interconnected plotlines: introducing the Cagliostro and Lauren, bringing Deirdre into the puzzles, and developing the story of Anne of Brittany. The fragment name – Brachursis – came from a chimeric animal name, and linked to plans for a storyline with the Cagliostro and Lauren.

By solving this puzzle (not entirely as intended), the Mountaineers were able to access documents and emails between the Cagliostro and Lauren. Lauren was introduced as the new assistant to the Cagliostro, attempting to scan the third volume of The Monarch Papers. CJ and Simon also discuss logistics (and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – how they worked to balance out the excitement of the Mountaineers’ snooping with keeping the Cagliostro an intelligent and engaging antagonist, as well as the timed unlocking of the journals. Simon also discusses his research on Anne of Brittany, starting with the unicorn tapestries. From this point, Anne was woven into the plot, with the revelation of a secret eighth tapestry and the introduction of the Paths of Wool and Silver.

Phase 2 also saw Deirdre drawn into the puzzles with the arrival of her father’s journal. Deirdre hears from her Aunt Monica and receives the journal, the pendant, and the wool scarf, which all reappear at the end of this phase and again in phase 3. Fragment Five ended up being important for other major character introductions and growth as well. The Cagliostro, Lauren, and Martin are still loved, all these months on. The unified plotline of this fragment helped keep the readers engaged and motivated, leading into Fragment Six.