Wayle is the most senior ____Clerk____ and head of the Widsith Institute at the start of Black Crown Project. He assumed control of the Institute after ____Clerk____ Chester-Stokes was unable to retain her duties.
Wayle resides deep underground in the Marvel Ouse, where he can be found reclining on his chaise lounge. He is skilled in burrowing, moving quickly and easily through the earth like a worm, and does not like being above ground. He is sometimes seen carrying a trowel, his preferred weapon.
Aside from managing the Institute and doling out promotions, Wayle is shown to keep copious records on \\\\Clerks//// and has a habit of jotting down notes on his arm with a pen. He does not take kindly to \\\\Clerks//// who violate Institute policies or slack off in their work.
Wayle is a pale, sickly man whose sole item of dress is a towel (once white, though throughout the game it is perpetually brown with filth). He is described as balding, with almost no upper body hair (arms, chest, armpits, and even eyelashes), though his legs "have a coiled fuzz about them, as if they have been newly unpacked from some crate." His inner thighs are covered in boils, and it is implied that whatever flesh is beneath his towel is black and rotting. The towel barely conceals Wayle's large genital ring, which bulges and gleams brightly from between his legs.
Wayle is afflicted with Molloscus, which causes his skin to glow and keeps him in a state of constant agony. He also exhibits a persistent cough.
Unlike the other \\\\Clerks////, he bears no markings of ever having been fitted with a Mold or Dutch Frame. He is the only human male seen around the Institute without a suit of any kind.
Wayle is sly and cunning, with questionable motives. He had a longstanding rivalry with Chester-Stokes (catalogued within various Trottering Notes), mainly over whose knowledge of the Eremite was supreme. There is speculation that he may have played a role in her ousting as superior ____Clerk____. He feigns kindness and sympathy towards the PC, but quickly becomes violent when the situation slips beyond his control. His preferred term of endearment is “Poppet,” a word he may have learned from the Eremite. He is not above bribery or even seduction to bend \\\\Clerks//// to his will. He reacts angrily when his orders are questioned, or when a \\\\Clerk//// rebels against the status quo.
Throughout the game, Wayle seems to wallow in self-pity and resentment at his situation:
"To be Wayled, to have so many weeping appendages, and only enough bandage for a few! How painful my life is! You! You are the stump most red!" (The Maven)
“He calls out to you, almost screeching; ‘I hope you know thehonour here! I was lithe enough once, and light on my feet and belly, but somebody took that from me!’" (Wayle Calls Out To You)
He does not understand why the \\\\Clerks//// treat him so poorly, and whines that he is only trying to do his job. He lies to the Eremite during endgame in an attempt to deflect blame from himself.
Wayle can also be described as vain and egotistical. He flaunts his knowledge and superiority, claiming he is the best of his people, boasting that he has become fully pained (the highest designation, per the House Style), and regularly belittling his charges:
“Do you know how many of you there are? How many I have to worm down here, into the dark, and put up with your scampering, your snuffling, your scrapings and your absolute stupidity? I get so very very very bored of those who think that they are above their Work, somehow.”
“Imagine, as a professional exercise, that you were me. That you were learned, past gods, past the sea and the endless barbarism of your people.” (Question 7)
He is prideful, and becomes offended when Chester-Stokes shows contempt for his craftsmanship of the Wayle Map.
Wayle generously uses the term “fat” as an insult, and eats very little himself. The only parts of him that are beautiful are his fingernails, and he displays them proudly.
Though repulsed by filth, Wayle is seen to be quite filthy himself at times.
Wayle comes from a civilisation of hunter/fishermen known as the Ringfolc from the land of Ring-In-Opal . He was formerly known amongst his people as Whale-Bane, where he marketed himself as a bard, augur, and the "Pride Of His People And Most Beauteous Wearer Of The Beads Of Piss." The Eremite writes of him:
“He considered himself a bard, and though he was not much of a singer, just a boy in a fine coat, all he did was pluck. He knew gut very well.” (His Latitude, The Stars)
He claims to be the best hunter of his people (Question 9), the Eremite writing about how he had led the hunt for gold at the Mint in Ring-In-Opal. During the Eremite's time with the Ringfolc, it appears that he had a relationship with Whale-Bane, as he recalls how the two would dance and flirt, referring to him as "my little Bead of Piss," and mentions seeing animal tusks above his bed. At some point, Whale-Bane crafted the Wayle Map for the Eremite, as a guide to lead him to Loss.
Note: This is not a complete plot summary; it is a summary of the plot involving Wayle. It does not provide a walkthrough. It does, however, contain spoilers.
Journey to the Marvel OuseEdit
Wayle first appears in the soil beneath the PCs desk, after the PC digs into it with his/her trowel. He offers his hand to lead the PC down into the Marvel Ouse, where he explains the Black Crown Project and the Work that is to be done. He asks several questions regarding taxonomy and the disposal of corpses. He does not offer much of a reaction when the PC attempts to kill him with the trowel. With a hug, and a promise that “things will get better,” Wayle dismisses the PC. Later, when the PC returns to the Marvel Ouse for excavation, Wayle and his chaise lounge are absent.
A Wayle HuntEdit
Wayle tracks the PC and neighboring coworker (either Your Firend or the Jugged Man) to the Farm during Hogmagundy. There, he attempts to stab the PC for deserting their Work:
“This is not your Work, is it? No! No! What an awful waste of rubber it will be ooooooh.”
If the PC successfully counters his attack, they are able to reach beneath the towel and pull out Wayle’s Ring.
When the PC heads to Parlay's Suites after submitting a Knuckleunder request to cure the debilitating Level 7 German Chimney, they are greeted by Wayle, reclining on his chaise lounge before the entrance doors. He is in great pain from the effort of transporting his furniture. If the PC possesses Wayle's Ring, Wayle will recoil in fear before angrily demanding his gold back in exchange for a demotion. He believes the ring to be a fastener for his soul, a myth of his people to which he still clings.
The PC can either give back the ring, at which point Wayle will administer the cure, or attack him, causing him to flee.
As Wayle distills the liquid cure, he both berates the PC for contracting the disease, and offers sympathy:
“Try to keep things clean, please? Your kind make this job so much harder.”
Wayle makes a brief appearance after The Rain comes, worming out of the ground to wash off. The PC notes that he seems happy.
Wayle mentions that he has been reviewing the PC's Work, and inquires about the PC's gods, claiming that he is “fascinated in the stupidities of the lesser.” He reveals here that his agonies were caused by someone he was “sworn to love.”
After the PC has completed enough excavations, they leave the Desk and follow a bright light to the Marvel Ouse, where Wayle is waiting, his makeshift quarren surrounded by the remaining \\\\Clerks//// in the Institute. The light from his Molloscus is blinding; it illuminates the walls of the Marvel Ouse, revealing the temple carved out by the countless \\\\Clerks'//// trowels digging away at their daily excavations. He beckons the PC to finish the Work:
“Poppet, I will give you another chance. Go, please, just go, down the colonnade. Beyond lies the Eremite's tomb. I told you, I told you, that this was where a great man was buried, do you remember? ... Please. Finish the Work. Please.”
During the final excavation, Wayle shouts several commands at the PC, including:
"Touch nothing! Wait for my trottering notes! It will be so sacred, I know it!"
"Watch out for the myiasis! Who knows how many generations?"
"I hope you know the honour here! I was lithe enough once, and light on my feet and belly, but somebody took that from me!"
When the “tomb” is finally revealed, Wayle begins screaming, and orders the \\\\Clerks//// back to their desks.
Another brief Wayle spotting occurs at the end of the Filthiest Boygirl storylet. After the PC and companions have washed up in the river, the PC notices a strange shadow, and follows it to where Wayle is thrashing about, half-buried in the ground. He is screaming, and does not seem to notice the PC.
“His forearms are coated in a cocktail of fluids, red and purple and black. He has been at Work.”
The PC returns to the Desk, without any interaction.
The Diplomat's SongEdit
After obtaining the Diplomat and activating its song, Wayle burrows up in a rage, drawn to the item. His Molloscus is no longer glowing, and he is filthy and reeking of a revolting stench. The PC manages to scare him off, wounding him in the process. The PC notes that his thighs are bound by a red leather thong.
After the PC wounds Wayle, he sends a garbled message, angry that the PC cannot follow his orders, and dared to wound him when he was only trying to do his job. He berates the PC, claiming they don't deserve such a heroic designation, and questioning if the PC even knows how to read. The PC recognizes that they should hate Wayle, but cannot because he is the only human body the PC has seen in so long. If the PC possesses Dull Currency, they can choose to give it to Wayle, as an act of apology:
"He might be dying, you think, and you did this to him. The least you can do is give him a gift."
This card will only appear if the PC has both “Wayle’s Wounds” and “Wayle’s Ring.” The PC notices a torn and bloodied scrap of towel, and beyond that, a few red jewels shimmering in the grass. Beneath the earth, Wayle speaks:
"When I was very, very little, I was the best hunter of my people. I hunted these out for you. Do you remember them? Wait, wait, no, NNNNNNNNNo, that is not the question…what I want you to do is, look very very closely, now, poppet, look ever so closely, at this, at what you have done, andanswer a question for me, bearing in mind that I am recording everything in your Work."
He then inquires whether the PC has ever loved anybody. The PC can respond with a simple Yes or No, or choose to dig for Wayle with the trowel. Wayle wriggles away after receiving a response.
After leaving for A Breath Of Fresh Air, the PC hears the sound of stones being struck together, as if someone is trying to start a fire. Beneath a flat rock, “[s]omething wriggles downwards, before the shadow is lifted from the soil, and you only catch the glimpse; a single, pale toe, the nails bitten down to the quick and streaked with the white that speaks of a singular diet.” In his escape, Wayle leaves behind several candles, each handmade, with torn scraps of one of the Eremite’s larger pieces serving as the wicks.
During the day, as the PC follows the Livid Map to Friend's quarren, they hear a rumbling beneath the soil, full of shouts and cursing. It follows, until the PC begins to exercise caution while moving, softly placing each footstep.
And Then You Were OlderEdit
Once the PC brings Friend back to his/her quarren, most interactions will alert Wayle to the pair’s plans. In addition, the PC can choose to betray Friend up to three times by stamping his/her fetlock on the ground, signaling Wayle’s attention:
Everything you did, across the skin of it all, boomed down to him like he was the spirit of the drum.
As Wayle’s awareness grows, new options are unlocked to the PC. Once “He Heard You” reaches a certain level, Wayle catches up to the PC, halting further progress. The level can be lowered slightly by singing the Dittation during “Such Migrations,” the song seeming to calm him. Endgame content is triggered when “He Heard You” is maxed out.
Wayle manages to track down the PC and Friend, due to the constant noise and movement the two create:
“He came feet first out of the soil, thrashing his hips, gasping for air. There was not any glow about him, anymore, and he came at you, as you frantically hunted for a sharp edge to him.”
There are several options the PC can choose here. On the more violent path, he/she can attack Wayle (repeating the mantra “Fingers end in nails for reasons”), or watch as Friend reaches beneath his towel and tears at his swollen genitals (or lack thereof). If the PC fails in the attack, he/she will express remorse:
“…you remember that you deserved it. You had treated him so badly, over the years.”
Conversely, the PC can show sympathy toward Wayle. Wayle’s Ring or the Wayle Map can be given as an offering, or the PC can “take him in,” noting how much pain he is in:
“He had been crying. There was dried blood about his nose. The mud coated him, up to the eyelashes. He had lost more of his hair. He had lost more of his muscles.”
Once a choice has been made, Wayle returns to the earth. During the ordeal, the PC notes that Wayle is protective of his towel, “…terrified of it slipping down, of revealing everything to you.” The PC also notes something like wind rushing from beneath the towel.
“Wayle has finished with you, with everything. You have ruined the Black Crown Project, and him. You feel as proud as a termite who brings down an eave.”
Eventually, Wayle’s constant tunneling causes the hill’s collapse. After the earthquake, the PC and Friend are the only \\\\Clerks//// to surface; the desks, quarrens, and the remaining employees are all buried. The PC is unsure of who is to blame for the Institute’s destruction:
“It was not his fault. It was an accident. It was yours. It was all of these things.”
If the PC has betrayed Friend enough times, Wayle will strike her with the trowel, which appears to kill her. She seems to melt into the Dutch Frame, and the suit falls to the earth, like “it was only a sack.” The PC notices that Wayle’s trowel is absent of blood, as he picks up the suit and rifles through it:
“In went his arm, fishing. You could tell by his confidence that he had done it as a boy, in a wide ocean.”
He does not find what he is seeking there, and as the tidal wave falls, he turns to the PC and inquires if he/she has the unnamed item.
If the PC’s “Just A Tap” quality is below 3, Wayle will not attack Friend, and a wide array of other options becomes available. Wayle is uninterested in her, and instead turns his attention to the PC, revealing his knowledge of the PC’s red tooth, and its lineage. He claims the information is all written down. Wayle is also aware of the PC’s preference for red jewels, and pulls some from beneath his towel, showering them as gifts. The jewels are wet, yet the PC cannot keep from gathering them. Wayle remarks that he has no use for red glass, that “There are no windows to fill anymore.” There is sadness in his voice, and he finishes with, “Some of us received greater gifts.”
He is growing worse from his illnesses and injuries; his ribs are showing, some toes are missing, and he can’t keep from wetting himself. His arms are covered in scars, an observation made when the PC returns the Wayle Ring (if still in possession). The PC notes that he has lost his regal air.
Wayle speaks to the PC in Latin, stumbling over a language he does not fully understand:
“Desiderum, non intelligis? Vos tam turpi. Quid agis?”
And then, in English:
“I was only ever trying to help you. Do you not think that I hurt, too? Would you not be rather Working?”
He tries to impress the PC by singing, a tune that the PC finds pretty, but causes Friend to grimace. His towel stirs, though the wind is absent.
If the PC asks about his/her lack of feet, Wayle replies with a tale from his homeland, of a fish that “eats its own sex daily, to hide it from us in its shadowy belly.” He ends the tale with the statement:
“There is a nature to eating oneself. Would you rather it had been grass?”'
If the PC still possesses the Wayle Map, he/she can return it here, wrapping it around Wayle to shield him from the cold. Friend is in a state of disbelief over the PC’s kindness.
In place of sympathy, the PC can once again traverse the path of violence. In the midst of Wayle’s groaning over the death of the Black Crown Project and the lack of Work, the PC can attack, attempting to butcher him. He is too weak to fend off the assault. As the PC reaches beneath the towel, to dissect his “choicer cuts,” the tidal wave falls, triggering the final storylet.
The Hollow ClimesEdit
Once the wave falls, and the Institute is turned into a beach setting, Wayle can be found weaving through the Hollow Climes, the Wayle Map wrapped around his shoulders. He SSSes along, struggling from his wounds:
“You refuse to believe that it is him. It is just a man, then, hunched and cloaked beneath your map.”
He staggers on his path, never noticing the PC.
Past the Hollow Climes, into the clearing where the Eremite’s tent is pitched, Wayle appears crouched beside one of the suitcases, in a state of shock. He has been crying, but his eyes do not blink. He does not acknowledge the PC, only gazing sadly at the Eremite’s ragged lodgings.
“He has given up.”
The Eremite's ReturnEdit
Wayle makes no movement as the Eremite appears. He only continues his crying and shivering. The PC describes him as “a mollusc.”
Only after the PC relates his/her experience at the Institute to the Eremite, does the Eremite take notice of Wayle. He approaches Wayle, and
“You see [Wayle] blink, for the first time since you came into the clearing. It is louder than you thought, like a bucket of water emptied onto rock.”
Wayle rises, clutching a large book. The Eremite hands him a clean towel, and he buries his face in it:
“It comes away filthy, sopping with blood and earth, but it dries quickly enough.”
The Eremite instructs Wayle to move behind him, initiating a sort of cuddle. Wayle embraces him, and the PC notes that he seems to be trying to burrow beneath the sand, though it is too densely packed to breach. The PC grows jealous of Wayle’s monopoly of the Eremite’s attention, and moves to kill him. However, the Eremite halts the PC’s plans.
He refers to Wayle as “Poppet,” a term that makes Wayle blush.
“’What travails you have made,’ he coos. ‘Let me see your legs…’”
Wayle presents his injuries, many of which can be attributed to the other \\\\Clerks////, such as bite marks and scars caused by trowel blades. The Eremite seems to sympathize:
“There is a curious sound from the hose; it is not a sound you have ever heard him make before. He says that he can barely imagine what he has been through.”
A Bead Of PissEdit
After asking about the reason behind the Black Crown Project, the PC can choose to turn Wayle over to the Eremite as the person responsible for the Institute’s current state (requires Meadowflesh of 3 or more). The Eremite angrily approaches him, demanding answers.
Wayle attempts to put the blame onto the PC, speaking lies in a language the PC does not understand. The Eremite ignores him completely.
The Eremite wants to know where Rosetto is. Wayle cannot give him an answer; he tries to silence his question with a SHHHHHHHH. The two continue to argue, until Wayle admits: “She got too old…She got too fat.”
When they next embrace, the PC notes that the Eremite has begun the process of killing Wayle. It takes an indeterminate amount of time to complete, and Wayle himself does not even realize it is happening, but slowly his body is falling apart. His skull is splitting, and his intestines spill out:
“He was always so methodical. He would not have wanted any fuss. You see how much he loves Wayle, how gently he makes the incision, how precise it is to the existing cracks in his skull.”
Eventually, Wayle succumbs to his wounds, and collapses to the sand, uttering a brief “NNN” before dying.
“[The Eremite] looks deep into Wayle's eyes, into the mess that he has made, and sighs. 'It had to be done.' He had been putting it off for a long time…”
The PC picks up the book Wayle had been holding, and identifies it as the Book of Pernick , a tome mentioned in the Trottering Notes of No Ingress K29 and The Roasting Dance. The book will not open; it is made entirely of wood—a mere paperweight.
Wayle/Whale-Bane, or the Ringfolc in general, are referenced by the Eremite in the following items/texts:
- His Latitude, The Stars
- The Wayle Map
- A Peripheral Bestiary
- Vignettes On A Disaster, Apparently Not In My Honour
- Incineration Order [Incinerated Misc. K97]
A drawing of Wayle (as Whale-Bane) can be found on page 5 of the miasma item The River Upstairs.