Juniper's Knot is a short Kinetic Novel developed by dischan in Ren'Py, set around "20s/30s- "Jazz Age", but the fiend's stuck in a 15th and 16th C mindset and you never see any of the "modern" setting aside from the boy (and the UI, I suppose)"
The title, as explained by the creator:
- "Juniper" is representative of "chastity", as well as the name of a saint known famously for their patience. That it is a "knot" of "Juniper" is to say that it is a binding/predicament of patience/chastity- forced. It ties in to the fiend's situation, who is by no means chaste or patient but has been for ages due to her "curse". Hence the stylization of the "O" of "knot" in title cards, and/or the presence of the large "O" on the main menu and elsewhere. It represents the circle she is trapped inside of. Long story short, "Juniper's Knot" is a way to tell the premise of the game without being direct. "Juniper" has other neat symbolic meanings; and so other interpretations can still be found.
A certain autumn morning, a young boy gets lost. Searching for his way home, he finds a strange girl with horns trapped within a magic circle underground. The girl, a powerful fiend who has been confined there for centuries, asks the boy to stay with her a little as he's the only person she has spoken to in a long time. Reluctantly, the boy stays. And thus they begin telling each other stories...
The linear story is told from both the fiend's and the boy's perspectives. It begins with the fiend's narration as she tries to convince the scared boy to talk to her, but shifts to the boy halfway through.
Provides examples of:
- Asshole Victim: After they raped and killed her Only Friend (before The Boy), The Fiend reacted by turning a whole town into these.
- Bury Your Gays: When the men of the town found out one of their girls had been with the strange demon girl...
- Equivalent Exchange: The rule of the spell binding the fiend is of this type: a life for a life.
- Evil Redeemed in a Can: For all the claims the Fiend makes about her crimes, and her plans of revenge upon the human race, her only action, upon being freed, is to cry in the boy's arms
- Fate Worse than Death: Being stuck in the circle for centuries without escape and only the pain of crossing it as her company, suffice to say being trapped was a horrid experience for the fiend.
- Geometric Magic: The fiend cannot step outside her assigned circle without facing excruciating pain. The only way she can safely get out is if another life enters the circle to take her place.
- Gorn: No visual gorn, but the fiend gives very detailed descriptions with all the gory details on how she killed humans. There is also the description of her hand being burned to the bone when she sticks it through the magical circle.
- Hate Crimes Are a Special Kind of Evil: Twice over. The Fiend tells the Boy how her Only Friend, upon the villagers learning she was involved with the Fiend, beat and raped the girl to death. The Fiend,in retribution for her lost friend, killed everyone in the town, guilty or otherwise.
- Horned Humanoid: The fiend's horns, like her Pointy Ears, serve as a sign of her demonic heritage.
- Irony: Many years after the demon girl buried her partner, she found that an ugly olive tree had grown over her grave. She tore it to pieces, but left the roots alone so as to not disturb her deceased friend. Since olive trees are strong, it just grew back uglier. In the end, what saves her from her prison is an olive tree that is planted within the magic circle in her place.
- Magically-Binding Contract: There is a magical effect when the boy agrees to a deal with the Fiend that echoes off the walls of the room. Interestingly, the only such deals are to stay awhile in exchange for her cooking chestnuts. The Boy freeing her, on the other hand? He does that of his own free will.
- Minimalist Cast: To the extreme. The only characters that appear are the boy and the demon girl.
- No Name Given: Neither of the protagonists is given a name or any way to identify the other. They are just boy and girl/Fiend.
- Noodle Incident: The fiend has done many things, killed many people, destroyed many towns, but she claims none of that is why she was trapped within the circle. We never learn why and how she ended up there.
- Our Demons Are Different: Fiends are ageless and possess incredible strength & magic abilities.
- Pointy Ears: The fiend's ears are long and pointy, but she tells the boy that she usually didn't need to hide them because, as long as she filed down her horns, she'd be taken for a Half-Human Hybrid.
- Power of Trust: The boy invokes this when planting the olive tree in the circle, because even if he doesn't trust the fiend to exchange lives with the tree instead of him, checking would ruin her chances of being trustworthy.
- Precision F-Strike: When the boy falls asleep, the demon girl, bitter at her misfortune and inability to sleep or find peace, begins spouting almost incoherent profanities at him even though he can't hear her.
- Rape and Revenge: The men of the Fiend's village beat and raped her female friend until the last of the light escaped her eyes. Her revenge involved razing the village to the ground.
- Rape as Drama: When the demon girl was still able to wander the world freely, she was close to another girl and often took her to watch the stars. The girl ended up getting raped and beaten to death at the hands of angry men, who soon met a very bloody end at the hands of the demon girl - along with the rest of their town.
- Replay Mode: The game features a Gallery to see the art again.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When the Fiend discovered the beaten, raped body of her friend, she killed everyone in the town - men, women, children.
- The Sleepless: Fiend was trapped in a magic circle and cursed with never being able to sleep. For untold centuries. Seeing the boy sleep awakens some unpleasant feelings.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: The demon girl has golden eyes as a sign of her nature as a fiend, which really stand out in contrast to the boy's comparatively plain ones.
- Take a Third Option: Life must be given in order for the girl to escape from her prison. The boy has to either exchange places with her or leave her to her fate. He chooses to instead plant a tree within the circle, thereby substituting the life of the tree for hers. It works.
- Walking Wasteland: Fiends apparently drain the life out of the environment around them, leaving the soil beneath them dry and infertile.