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I have made my mind about this project, and I'm going to continue it, though I'm not sure how often or actively, but still, I'm going to keep the story alive.

I will create this thread, and post all of the existing parts as separate posts, and if some of you want, you can pass by and share your thoughts about this story.

Any opinions and feedback shall be appreciated and accounted for.

Even if you've ideas and little wishes about something I should involve in the future story parts, please do tell me and I may even consider it. Smile Smilie

In future, I will post story parts as both journals and as posts. Smile Smilie

- O.W.

Foreword

'Here I am.. Standing on the burial ground.. I see three tombstones, but the third of them is empty.. And I know why.. The Order of Black Serpent's.. That is their name.. Their name.. Darkness is their disguise.. They do not know the joys of life.. They roam the woods.. Searching for innocent souls.. Hidden from the sight of our eyes.. Even their footsteps are so silent that we cannot hear them.. And let it be known.. The third grave is empty for a reason.. I know.. Because..

I died in that forest, when I was buried alive.. Thirty years ago..'


The Secret of Three Graves

Chapter I : A letter from the past


15th of May, 1905, House of Goldwine

It was a beautiful sunday morning. The sun awoke her from a pleasant dream, and as she awoke, one of her maids, Anna, walked in through the doors of her room, and as she noticed the expression on the lady's face, she only smiled and said in a good tone: 'Good morning, Mi'lady. Can I get you anything, a cup of coffee and some breakfast, perhaps?' The lady first looked at her maid with confusion, but then she cleared her thoughts and said: 'Thank you, Anna, I shall come to the main hall in ten minutes. I think I'll go out for a walk before that.'

'As you wish, Mi'lady.' and with saying that, she walked out of the room to prepare her lady's breakfast.

(Background Story: Part I)

At this point, you all may wonder who is this lady we're speaking about, and it shall all be revealed. Her name is Eleanor Goldwine, and just like her father, she was raised and taught by academic ways. She attended many schools and passed them all with very notable degrees, and when her father, Nicholas Goldwine died of old age, she took the reins of their family business and sales, and raised Goldwine family's fortune to unseen heights. Now she resides in an old house, designed by one of the most respected and renowed architects ever to live, Sir Anders Thornell.

She lives there with her husband, Marcus and their two cats, Sunrose and Stardust, and of course, with the seven maids of the house: Anna, Gabriel, Alexandra, Wendy, Joanna, Hannah and Bethina.

Now, we all know her name and the names of those who live in the same house with her, so, let us continue the story.

Before she left her room, she carefully combed her hair and dressed up, and then she walked across those long and familiar hallways. She always stared at the paintings and statues they had collected together with her husband, Marcus, and always when she walked past the kitchen, she could see Anna making breakfast to her, wearing an apron with both hands tied in work. It always made her to smile a bit, and at times she thought that she should double Anna's wage. She was so kind and warm to her and all of the others who lived in the house.

And just like every other morning, she walked to the end of the hallway, and opened a door that led her to the garden. And before she even had a chance to fully open the doors, mother earth decided to change the course of her morning once more, and in a swift moment, a strong gust of wind blew those doors open and wide, and the sun returned from beyond the white clouds, and it smiled at her from high above. What a good way to start a day, she thought.

And so she began to tend the garden, since she wanted to do it by herself, due to various reasons. One being the fact that most of the flowers that grow in her garden are quite rare, and she couldn't even bear a thought of letting someone uncapable to take care of her beautiful flowers. Least of all, her beloved husband, who had never understood anything about flowers or nature.

And as she moved to far side of her house, she began to dig, so she could get rid off all those nasty weeds, and only then, she made a horrifying discovery. Her shovel suddenly hit to something solid, and as she kept digging, she found skeleton of a bird, and she thought it to be a pidgeon, and strange enough, it carried a sealed letter with it, and Eleanor quickly dispatched it from the corpse and slipped it to one of the pockets of her dress.

Shortly afterwards, she headed back inside to notice that her breakfast was already in table. And Anna walked towards her, saying: 'Lady Eleanor, may I've your jacket and tools, so you can sit down and eat something.'

Eleanor didn't say anything that she didn't mean, and with a short reply, she said: 'Fine, Anna, there you go. I'll eat now and then I shall leave for study chambers, and I do not wish to be disturbed.'

'As you wish, Mi'lady.' and with that she disappeared into one of the rooms.

Eleanor thought to eat her breakfast in kitchen, but the content of that letter caused her too much interest, so she decided to take the food with her and head to the study chambers.
Once she was there, she locked the doors, lit many candles and carefully opened the letter, and to her horror, there was dry blood on it, and as she began to read through the text, unknowingly, she began something that would haunt her for the rest of her remaining life. The letter contained a rusty key, short notes and following piece of old paper:

15th of May, 1875, The Blemberg Manor

'My name is Edward Blemberg, and that is all I can tell about myself.. I cannot reveal where I live and what is my part in this all, but I can tell you one thing.. I was the one who found her body, and without knowing, I started something that wouldn't never come to an end. How many more must die.. I do not know, but as I write this letter, I've only one single thought upon my mind..

Who just opened to door of my cellar?

I do not have much time, someone is trying to break through the doors of my chamber. I must send this letter as quickly as possible.. Farly is my last pidgeon alive. It will deliver this letter.. It should contain some of the details about a case called: 'Three Graves'.

Sadly I cannot tell you more, but know that I didn't send this letter to you by chance. We know each other, but I believe that you do not recall the events of your shadowed past.

I must end this now, I wish you good luck and..'

*Stains of blood marks the seal of the letter, signature is missing from the end*

After she finished reading the letter, she carelessly spoke his name aloud: 'Edward Blemberg..'
And at that very moment, flames faltered from all of the candless in her room, and she dropped the letter to the floor, and for a moment, it looked like it was covered in fresh blood, and with shaking her head, she lifted the letter from the stony floor and placed it in one of the lockers of an old cabin.

She couldn't believe it.. How a thirty year old letter could've stayed intact during all these years. It felt so strange and unnatural, and the content of the letter, it gave her chills down to the spine.

With the notes in right, and a key in left hand, she spoke to herself: 'Who is Edward Blemberg, and this letter.. I wonder who should've originally received it.'

So many questions arose, but none of them could be answered. She knew that it wouldn't be wise to venture any further, but instead of that, she sat on a chair and opened some of the notes, only to notice that the text was written in old english, and the writer had used some kind of mysterious code in order to hide the keywords.

'Where are my glasses when I need them the most..' she thought, and without hesitating, she went back to her own room to get her glasses, some research books and a bottle of red wine, and then she returned to the study chambers and locked the door once more.

'It's going to be a long night.' she said, and with opening the bottle and sighing loudly.. The first investigation of her life began.

To be continued.

Story and plot created by: Otto 'Oerath Windsoul' Timonen

The Secret of Three Graves

Chapter 1.1 : An old murder case

16th of May, 1905, House of Goldwine

Eleanor finally awoke to the brightness of faint sunlight that shone through the windows of her study chambers. She felt so dizzy and tired.
She had never had a night like this one, but fortunately enough, it wasn't done in vain. In one night, she had collected a vast amount of information
and a lot of names. And she was just about to unlock the doors and go to kitchen for a cup of fresh coffee, as a reward to her own efforts, but only a
moment later, someone knocked on the door, and to her surprise, it was her husband, Marcus. And he yelled at her:
'Eleanor, Eleanor! If you're still there, please answer to me!'

She sighed and shouted back at him: 'Yes, Marcus, I'm here. Now, would you be so kind to lower your voice. I'll open the door now.'
And as she opened it, Marcus rushed in like a beast on his trail, saying: 'I don't really understand. What can possibly be so interesting
to keep you awake until the morning? For a short time, I thought something had happened to you.'

Eleanor knew Marcus all too well, and she also knew that at times, he simply couldn't think clearly about things, but still, she cared to give
him a satisfying answer: 'Marcus, Marcus. Remember the bird I found from the garden? I also found a letter with it, so I decided to learn about
it's content and so forth. That's all to it.'

Marcus looked somewhat relieved and said: 'I'm glad to hear that everything is fine. Well, did you learn anything useful? The whole research must have
yielded something, you wouldn't have spent the whole night for it otherwise.'

She noticed that he couldn't help, but to smile, and it annoyed her a little, but still, she threw another good answer at him:
'Dear, Marcus, with all the experience and schools attended, I doubt I would end up with a blank paper, don't you agree?'

'Yes, yes, Eleanor, but tell me, did you find anything out?'
Looking sharp, she said: 'Yes, and no. I'm not sure about it. Not just yet. There are too many things that remain unclear to me, but one thing is for certain.'
'And what is that?' he asked.

She looked him deep into the eyes, and said: 'I'm most certain that this letter.. This letter was supposed to be delivered to my father.'

To be continued..

Story and plot created by: Otto 'Oerath Windsoul' Timonen

The Secret of Three Graves

Chapter 2: And so, the investigation begins


Marcus shook his head and said: 'Are you absolutely sure about it? During our whole marriage of twelve years, you've never spoke of your father to me. And I would like to know why.'

She would've liked to remain silent, but for some reason, she wanted him to know what it was all about, and then she spoke: 'Marcus, I haven't spoken to you about my father, because I wanted to forget everything what happened on that day. He disappeared thirty years ago, and it shares the same date with Edward Blemberg's note. Before he disappeared, he left us a note, describing some of his situation, but even my mother didn't know what it was all about. After one year, she lost all hope about finding him, and arranged a burial ceremony. That is all to it. I am sorry I haven't spoken to you about it, but it has been something I've trying to forget during the past thirty years.'

At first, Marcus wasn't sure what to say, but after walking around the room, he said to Eleanor:
'I am sorry to hear that, my love. I.. I didn't expect you to have such secrets. It is, well, I am not sure what to think of this all. But you've all my support in this, and I want you to find the answers to this mystery. No matter what it takes, or how long you've to be away from home. I know, you were about to say that you have to leave, and we won't be seeing each other for a long while, am I right?'

Now Eleanor looked a bit confused, but what Marcus had said brought tears to her eyes, and smiling sadly, she said: 'I didn't expect you to understand, Marcus, but yes, I've to start the investigation and I will be gone for a while. Let us go to the living room. Go and tell the maids that they shall come to those quarters in fifteen minutes. Understood?'

'Yes, my love. I will go at once.'

And so, he departed from the study chambers, and Eleanor placed her hands on the table and thought: 'This will not be an easy task.. But, fortunately, there's one person who can help me. I must go to see the private investigator, William Stanley, but first, I must attend the meeting.'

And after packing her belongings, all of the notes and related books, she was ready.
And so she left the chambers and went to the living room, and once she got there, she noticed that all of the maids and Marcus were standing in the center of that room. And so she spoke: 'I've called you all here, 'cause I've a very important task for all of you to carry out. I will be leaving today to meet an old friend of mine, and I won't be back for weeks, or for months. While I am gone, I want Anna to lead you all, and she will be watching over the house, and all of you others, I want you to help Marcus with his daily activities, and everything else he needs aid in. Be well and may keep it clean, will you?'

And like a perfectly arranged choir, they all shouted back at her: 'Yes, Ma'am!'

'Good, Anna, come over here.'

'Yes. my Lady.'

'Here are keys to the house and it's sections and chambers, but do not go to the study, is that understood?'

'Of course, my lady. I will take care of things in your absence.'

'Good, and if anyone comes by, and leaves me a note, make sure to hide 'em to the usual place.'

'Understood.'

'Now, I've to go. See you Marcus, and my trusted maids. Farewell.'

And with that, she walked out through the front door, and took the chariot's to the city of Ravenwood. And after a ride of almost two hours, she felt a bit tired and headed towards the nearby inn, and booked a room for the night. And as she laid her large case to front of a wardrobe, she thought: 'Tomorrow, I will finally meet William. After all these years, I didn't believe that I would see him again, but I guess that fate can be deceiving.'

And so she turned off the lights and fell asleep.

The Inn of Ravenwood, 17th of May, 1905.

Her dream was so pleasant, but it all faded away as the sunlight made it's way through the windows of her room. Feeling a bit dizzy, she thought: 'Isn't this a second time already?'
But it was only then, when she realized that she wasn't at home. And after a while, she snapped:
'Of course, I am at the inn. Well, I guess it's time to head down stairs for a breakfast. And after that, I will return the keys and head towards William's house.'

And as she got to the table, she could notice many important people sitting around it. Mayor, a few councellors, some merchant's and other notable people. And she could only ask from herself: What are they all doing here? For she didn't know, but before she could open her mouth, the mayor looked at her and said: 'Oh, isn't it Eleanor Goldwine. Well met, my friend. Your brewery is one of the most important shops in the city. Well, how are you doing?'

She thought that he'd recognize her, and with a noble tone, she answered: 'Oh yes, Good morning to you, Mayor Thornbridge. And the brewery is at it's full strength. Our sales are higher than ever, and we've added a few new ale recipes to our collection. But what about the city hall, is it all going well over there?'

After taking a few bites of toast and some boiled eggs, he said: 'I am glad to hear that, Eleanor, and oh yes, everything is fine at the city hall. But I am afraid that even we have nothing to say about the rising of taxes. It.. Well, it won't be good news to the townsfolk. I am pretty sure of that.'

Looking a bit sharp, she said: 'Oh yes, Mayor Thornbridge. It will also affect to our family business, but fortunately not that much. Still, these are sad tidings for the people of Ravenwood and for all of the nearby small towns.'

'Yes, Eleanor. But well, there's nothing left of my breakfast, so I must take my leave and head back to the city halls. It was good to see you again, Eleanor. Goodbye.'

'The pleasure is all mine, Mayor Thornbridge. Have a good day. See you.'

And with Mayor's departure, she seated herself and finished with the breakfast. After that, she returned the keys and said: 'Thanks for the room, Adrian. I will take my leave now.'

'Sure thing, Eleanor. Farewell.'

'Farewell, Adrian.'

And once she got outside, the bright morning sun greeted her with it's light, and it made her to smile. And as she walked along the streets, she could see many people looking strangely at her, and it made her to think: 'I wonder why they all are staring at me like I was accused of murdering someone. Does this have something to.. to do with my father's disappearance. How could they possibly know!?'

But before she could raise her voice in anger, someone grabbed him from hand, and as she turned to face the stranger, to her surprise, it was William Stanley. And by looking into her eyes, he said: 'Hello there, Eleanor. I've been expecting you.'

She was so confused, how could he know that she came here to meet him, and in a fearful tone, she asked: 'How.. How did you know?'

'Oh, yes, don't be afraid, Eleanor. Yesterday, Marcus came by and told me that I should be expecting you. Didn't he tell you about his intentions?'

Feeling a bit angry, she said: 'He bloody didn't, but I guess it doesn't even matter. I am here to see you, William, and despite we haven't seen each other for years, I know you want to hear me out.'

'Well, I am all ears.'

Clearing her throat, she said: 'I am sure you remember my father's disappearance, but two days ago, I found an old letter, written by Edward Blemberg, and I am more than certain that the letter was originally meant for my father.'

For a moment, deep silence struck at William, and by looking into his eyes, Eleanor could sense it.

He knew.

And after a moment, he said: 'That is.. impossible. Where did you find that letter, tell me!'

She almost got scared, but she had to keep her head cold, and so she answered: 'I found corpse of a pidgeon from my garden, it was buried deep under ground, and it carried the letter. Even I was surprised that it had stayed intact during all these years. But it seems that you know more about this than me. Tell me, William. You know that you can trust me.'

With an ashamed look on his face, he said: 'Eh.. I am sorry, Eleanor. My anger got the better off me. But to be honest, I thought that I'd never have to hear that name again. That is why we buried the case. Oh yes, we found Edward Blemberg's body, but that is not all. We also found a letter from near his corpse, and because of it's content, we abandoned the case.'

'Well, what did the letter say?'

'If you continue to investigate these murders, none of you will be alive in three days.'

Well, we didn't believe the warning, and we got on the murderer's trail, but when we found our way to a certain forest, we found three graves, and only one of them were empty, and a day after the discovery, I heard that one of my men had been killed in his own home.'

His body shoke so much that he had to draw some breath, and then he said: 'After that, we named the case 'The Secret of Three Graves' and closed it for good. And none has ever mentioned it. Until now..'

'Well, no matter what, I intend to solve this, with or without your help, William. So what say you? Will you help an old friend in need?'

He looked like he would've just wanted to walk away, but then he said:

'If we don't get to the bottom of this, then my soul shall know no peace. Let us go in to my apartment.'

'Lead the way, William.'

And so, the investigation began.

 

To be continued..

Story and plot created by: Otto 'Oerath Windsoul' Timonen

The Secret of Three Graves

Chapter 3 : So many buried secrets, but so few sane thoughts


17th of May, 1905, Office of William Stanley

Smell of flowers, fresh bread and sounds of birds singing. That's all she wanted to hear, and as the clouds faded from the sight, sun began to shine once more, and from that she knew the time of the day. It was midday, and the streets were full of merchants and people of all sorts.

Wealthy business men, nobles, traveler's, merchants, farmers. Everyday, people from all over the land came to Town of Ravenwood, and it is needless to say why. There is one thing that matters more than anything else in the world, and that is gold.

But as much as she wanted to stop and look at that daily sight, she knew that time is of the essence. And as she turned to face William's office, he was already shouting at her:

'Come on, Eleanor. We don't have all day!' Smiling quite sharply, she shouted back: 'And that's where you're wrong, my friend. We've all the time in this world.'

Smiling back, William unlocked the door of his office with an old silver key, and as they stepped in through the door, Eleanor staggered a little and placed a hand on her mouth, saying:
'So this is why you haven't invited me for a cup of tea for so long time. William, you should be ashamed of yourself.' - Looking a bit confused, William started to wave his hands in the air, and Eleanor bursted out to laugh, as he said: 'Um, um, well, I was about to clean all this, mess, but.. Alright, I admit it. I haven't cleaned this rathole for months, but..'

And before he continued, Eleanor took a more serious look and said: 'It's alright, it's alright. I know you, and I also know that you hate cleaning. I can help you with all this mess. It shouldn't take more than an hour, and then we can sit down and discuss things further. Agreed?'

Nodding, William said: 'Yeah, it's good to have you here, Eleanor. I'll get my old broom and some other stuff, so, I'll be right back.' Nodding, Eleanor took a few steps forward, and looked at all the paintings above William's fireplace. There were so many paintings that she recognized, and as a collector, it brought a smile on her face to see so many rare paintings by notable painters.

And below those paintings, was a fine wooden table, which she had given to William three years ago as a birthday present. Many artifacts and pipes laid on it, and even a box of hand-rolled cigars. She didn't smoke, but she knew the label, and it was expensive. How typical for William, she thought, but before she could look at other things, William returned with his equipment, and as he dropped them to ground, he sighed and said: 'Here is all we need, El. And after we've cleaned this mess. I'll light a fire and heat up some green tea.'

By grabbing a broom, she said: 'That sounds like a fine plan, William. Now, get to work. I'll start from the kitchen, so you should start from the living room. All those spider webs and dust, clean it up. Can you do that?' she smiled grimly.

William looked sharply at her: 'Of course I.. Wait, do you keep me for a fool, El. Darn you. You haven't changed.' 'You neither, Will.' she laughed and so, they started to clean it up.

And after a hour or two, when everything shined once again, the two sat down on chairs. And leaning back and sighing, William said: 'Well, that's about cleaning. I'm glad it's all done now, so I can finally relax.' - 'Yeah, but I did most of it. Still, good job, William. You clean like a man should clean.'

Laughing a bit, he said: 'Thanks, El. Now, that tea should be ready, so I'll get the pot and then we can get to business.' - 'Sounds fine to me.'

And as William returned with a hot pot of tea, he filled two cups and sat down. And as Eleanor tasted it, she said. 'Mm, this is good. Did you buy these tea leaves from the marketplace today?'
'Aye, it's very fresh, ain't it? Now, I will go straight to business.'

He placed his cup on the table, took off his glasses and looked Eleanor into the eyes, and said: 'I hope you know what you're doing, my friend. That case was abandoned for a reason, and you know it too.' - He rose up, walked in a circle, and even hesitated a little, before he continued: 'Three men. All dead. And I even knew all of them. But Edward Blemberg, none knows why he was murdered, but I know that he is somehow linked to all of this. What do you think about this all, Eleanor?'

She had remained silent for a while, but as she finished with her tea, she looked serious as she said to William: 'I think that the solving of this case will take more than just a couple of days, and I also do think that we've a lot of paperwork to do.'

'Yeah, I think so too. Well, let's start from those notes that you found. I hope they will yield some information to us.'

And so, they focused their thoughts and started to search for possible answers. And as William kept smoking his black pipe, they both looked at each other and came to a silent agreement. It would be a long night.

To be continued.

Story and plot created by: Otto 'Oerath Windsoul' Timonen

Time for a little trumpet solo.

I just wanted to inform that I am going to write a brand new, longer fourth chapter to the story.

Not sure about the date, though.

Now I feel that it is the right time to continue this little mystery story and take it further.

Much more further than it is at the moment.

Edit: I've managed to write most of the fourth chapter, but not everything, I'm afraid.

I had a rather busy day. Me and my sister's boyfriend drove about 350km to a town called 'Joensuu' to do a relocation job. We loaded our van full of stuff and drove 350km back. It was a long trip, one of the longest I've done in a while, and now I quite tired.

I haven't been able to keep my promise on this one, but I can assure that the fourth chapter will be online sooner than later.