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.'
'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.'
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.
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