Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The plot thickens

Ardoberg Enquirer broadsheet
October 11th, 1748
Hannah Ruedel, A young woman of good family was murdered in her father’s home last night. A gentleman who had been courting the young lady came to Herr Ruedel’s home to call on her, and was being given the right about by her father due to the lateness of the hour when they heard a faint cry coming from her bedroom. They rushed to her aid only to find her lying on the floor. The window was open and they saw a black cloaked figure moving rapidly away down the road to Heckel. The young man went off in pursuit of the assailant leaving the father to care for his stricken daughter. Alas, the young woman was dead. The cause of death appears to be blood loss, but there was no blood to be found anywhere near the body. The assassin escaped capture in the darkness.

From : Captain Boehm, Commander of the Ardoberg City Watch       October 12th , 1748
To: Herr Von Strutz, Burgermeister of Ardoberg
Regarding: The recent murder
The initial investigation report and the Certificate of Death you have already seen. I am writing now to make you aware of information perhaps best left out of the official report.

 First, the family of the murdered girl laid her out in their home in the customary way in preparation for the funeral. Sometime during the night her body was taken from the home. We don’t know who did it or why. The family has asked that this new outrage not be made public.

That same day an old friend of mine, Doctor Plummer from the town of Heckel, visited me and asked for my help and advice on a death that he claims was a murder in his town. Plummer has always been a sensible man, but he was beside himself claiming that his friend was murdered by a relative, and that there is something uncanny about the killer.

If not for the recent events in Ardoberg I might think the good doctor was losing his mind. As things stand, I think the situation in Heckel bears looking into. The magistrate of that town would never tolerate me sending any of my people to investigate. You know of the ill will he bears me. I do, however, have another option. There are four young men sitting in my jail right now for disturbing the peace. This is not their first taste of my hospitality. They are typical of the young pups that come to our fair city seeking fame and fortune, but I must say I have grown fond of this particular group. They remind me of you and I and our circle of ruffians when we were their age. One of them was courting the young lady who was murdered and, in fact, pursued the assassin that evening. Last night they were going from tavern to tavern trying to turn up information on the killer when a brawl broke out. Not much different from last weekend when they were in the taverns for no particular reason and a brawl broke out.

I shall release these young men on the condition that they place themselves at the disposal of Doctor Plummer. They can assist him in his investigation and protect him, for I fear he is in great danger. If nothing else, it will at least get them out of Ardoberg for a week or two, which will afford us a little peace.
The recently deceased Hannan Ruedel leaves her home to join her master
 - Really cool house by Mike Covell
Diary of Dr. Plummer, October 12th, 1748
This morning four young men presented themselves to me with a letter of introduction from my friend, Captain Boehm. It seems they are to assist me in the matter of Herr Lang, but to do so without revealing any connection with the authorities in Ardoberg. Boehm has charged them with keeping me safe so they will be staying here in my apartment. Close quarters indeed, and they have already eaten every speck of food in the place, but I confess their presence makes me feel hopeful for the first time since this tragic affair began. This afternoon we will lay in supplies for a long campaign and this evening I will acquaint my young comrades with the terrible secrets revealed to me by Artorius’ book. If they are still here in the morning, we will begin our work.