Dazed was a horror-based short film, animation, and musical rolled into one, telling the story of the descent to madness of one Kennedy Harris and Hugo Selva as they attempt to go further than one should into Unverno. Dazed was the finale to the Find Averno ARG.
The video opens with a message from Hugo,
“To whomever finds this, there is no hope for me at this time, but there is still hope for you. Do not attempt to go too far. Knowing you, as you are just like me, you romanticize this idea a great deal in your highly imaginative head. But let me be the one to tell you that there is nothing romantic about wondering if you are stuck in the rift between worlds or wondering if you are dead.”
This message is accompanied by footage of him disappearing into the woods and a sigil. [The Game Begins].
Will and Quinn welcome listeners to a highly requested new episode of Live From Averno, regarding the disappearance of Hugo Selva, a former DUE student at A New School, a member of the photography club, and owner of a pet toad named Maya who disappeared in his senior year. Will notes that police records stated that Hugo’s friends had noticed him acting strange in November of that year, whispering about the Forest and noting everything in his journals. Quinn wonders if they could find any of these journals.
Elsewhere, Kennedy, a DUE student, finds Hugo’s journal in the tunnels underneath campus and shares it with Clover, a DCD student and their partner. Clover reads a passage of the journal where Hugo notes that he has been noticing strange whispers in the Forest, and that he is ‘done hiding from the things he doesn’t know’. Kennedy and Clover both react excitedly to the entry, with Kennedy stating that the journals can help them understand more about Averno and that they ‘need to know’ what it means. Kennedy asks Clover if she will go with them ‘anywhere’, and Clover says yes.
Quinn and Will continue their episode, focusing on the fact that as Hugo was a senior, he would have been working on ‘the Project’, a final thesis that no other student had done before. Quinn asks if Hugo ever shared what his project was, to which Will responds that he never shared anything.
Hugo’s journal reveals the beginning of his descent into madness and that he was looking into a big mystery in Averno, that ‘if you want strangeness, sometimes you just… have to get a new perspective’. In the present, Kennedy and Clover ponder over what Hugo could have meant by ‘getting a new perspective’, and relating it back to research on parallel realities that Kennedy had previously researched. Clover leaves the library to turn in for the night while Kennedy continues to read ahead.
The journal further documents Hugo’s studies, discussing that something at the end of ‘that road’ makes him feel like he’s being watched, but that he welcomes the level of depersonalization because he is desperate to understand what it all means. In the present, Clover begins to get worried about Kennedy’s fascination with the knowledge that they are gaining, and in the journal Hugo’s project progresses, noting that he feels invincible by the knowledge he is gaining. [Behind the Curtain]
Quinn interviews Hugo’s freshman roommate, who has no information on where Hugo (or his toad) are or what he was working on. Elsewhere, Clover argues that Kennedy is not respecting her personal boundaries when it comes to the information in the journals, and Kennedy agrees and suggests that Clover take the night off. In the second interview, Quinn and Will interview Hugo’s sophomore year lab partner, who notes that they had been working on a theory of parallel universes together and that Hugo had written the term ‘Unverno’ in his notes several times.
In interview three, Quinn speaks with Hugo’s best friend who noted strange things about him in the weeks leading up to his disappearance: that they didn’t feel like Hugo was in his body sometimes, and that he had found something that could ‘change everything’. In the present, Clover confronts Kennedy about their recent behavior while Kennedy argues that there are much bigger things in play. Their fight escalates until Kennedy snaps and tells Clover that she doesn’t have to stay around if she’s afraid of them now. [Too Far]
Quinn and Will hypothesize that Hugo went to Unverno, which, according to DUE legend, is a ‘different Averno-- a mirror image of this one, exact opposites, except time doesn’t work there’. Hugo’s journal dictates what Unverno is: a dirt road on the edge of the Forest blocked off by the Turner family due to hurricane damage, but at night becomes a gateway to Unverno stopped at exactly 8:27PM. Hugo warns against going to Unverno, but explicitly warns against journeying to Unverno alone, stating that ‘I made that mistake once and I will never make it again.’ In the present, Clover laments where her and Kennedy’s relationship had landed, wondering if her actions are what caused Kennedy to act the way they did. [Real Life]
A letter from Hugo documents that his several solo trips to Unverno have led to a lack of control over his mind and that he feels ‘locked away’ behind himself. His monologuing becomes frantic and scattered, and eventually his words start overlapping with Kennedy’s, becoming their own frantic thoughts. Kennedy finds themself somewhere underground, and calls for Clover several times before hearing their own voice echoing and calling for it all to stop. Elsewhere, Clover finds Hugo’s letter about Unverno and worries for Kennedy. [Lost Souls]
Will and Quinn conclude that Hugo must have ended up in Unverno, but Quinn questions what would lead him to go in the first place. Will hypothesizes that some people get ‘a kind of bored you can’t shake’ and wonders if that was the case for Hugo, to which Quinn angrily argues that that is never an excuse to leave people behind. Elsewhere, Clover searches for Kennedy and wonders what will happen when she finds them. [Find You]
Underground, Clover finds Kennedy enclosed in vines in the Averno Crystal Caverns underneath the town. Kennedy identifies the cavern as ‘an outlet where all the power comes through’ and starts to ramble about energy before Clover tries to get them both to leave. Kennedy denies her, and questions why they would want to leave when they can finally be their truly authentic self and not have to hide behind a mask. They accuse Clover of being scared of them, to which Clover says that she is only scared of what Kennedy is willing to become. The vines continue to ensnare them, to Clover’s horror, and Kennedy says that they understand everything now. Clover discloses that she wished the two of them would be together longer, but that she knows Kennedy would be fine on their own and she won’t hold them back. [Enough]
Will and Quinn report that Hugo disappeared on November 17th, and that searching his dorm found nothing. Hugo’s journal shows his plan to ‘dig a new road’ on Unverno and that a choice had to be made between it and Averno, and Hugo’s monologuing eventually becomes Kennedy’s until they seem to come to the same same choice he had. [The Game Ends]
Back in the cavern, Kennedy’s voice has taken on the same distorted tone that Hugo’s had. Clover questions whether Kennedy is themself, to which they sinisterly respond that they don’t know what that means, but they’d ‘like to find out’ and that ‘there are some things they can’t leave behind’.
Will and Quinn end on a dead end as to Hugo’s whereabouts, although they both state that it hurts to know that they may never know where he went because they know ‘what he left behind’. Will senses Quinn’s sadness and promises that she will not leave him in the same way, before ending the episode in their usual happy manner.
- The soundtrack for Dazed was released almost a full 24 hours before it was supposed to!
- Why does this always happen
- Dazed was released on Spotify on January 1st, 2021. Listen to it here
- Dazed was released on YouTube on January 2nd, 2021. It is now deleted due to Exverno and Dazed is now lost.