The Diary of Dr. Plummer, October 3rd, 1748
How is it that a child might be born into the most adverse circumstances and grow to be a virtuous man while another, given every advantage becomes a wastrel? So it was with the man Krebs. Son of a respectable family, he wasted every opportunity through drink and low company. When, in time, he inherited his father’s estate, he soon squandered it all and found himself without a home or any means of support.
Today I attended the inquest on the death of my friend Artorius, and was surprised to see Krebs there in the role of factor representing the man Lang. I expected the Magistrate to charge Lang with the murder of Artorius and clap him in irons, but no such thing! The death was ruled an accident and the Magistrate certified a will, presented by Krebs, declaring Lang his sole heir. The Magistrate has always been an honest and fair man, but this decision makes no sense. He seemed not himself during the hearing, but somehow distracted.
Ardoberg Enquirer broadsheet
October 4th, 1748
Last night a young woman of undistinguished family was attacked on Burgstrasse in the Oldtown district outside a boardinghouse for unskilled laborers. Before the assailant could harm her a group of men returning to the house from their work chased him off. The woman described the man as tall and thin and very strong. She said she was rendered helpless by his gaze and could not move or cry out.
Ardoberg Enquirer broadsheet
October 5th, 1748
Last night an attack on a young woman in the Oldtown district took place, the second in two days. The woman was discovered at dawn, faint and pale, on her doorstep. Her description of the assailant matches that of the man in the previous night’s incident. She remembered little else about the attack except that she seemed unable to run or call for help. The victim seems unharmed, save for two small puncture wounds on her neck, which might have been caused by one of the rats that infest the Oldtown district.
The Diary of Dr. Plummer, October 5th, 1748
From my rooms on the second floor of the Kramerhaus I have a clear view of the front of the home of poor Artorius, now occupied by Lang. Recent events have made sleep difficult for me. I was sitting at the window about an hour before dawn, gazing at the play of the moonlight on the streets of our little town when I saw a dark shape moving toward the front door of Artorius’ house. As the shape moved from shadow to a moonlit patch I saw it was the man Lang, dressed and cloaked in black. There was no mistaking him, but somehow he had grown younger! The gray hair and stooped frame of an old man gone! What sorcery is this! I am no coward, I think, but my heart froze when he turned his head, looked directly at me, and a malevolent smile spread across his face.
Diary of Dr. Plummer, October 8th, 1748
I am obsessed with the strange goings on at Artorius’ house. I spend whatever time I can steal from my practice watching the comings and goings there. Krebs is living in the house now and, I am told, has recently purchased a small cottage on the edge of town on behalf of his master, Lang. There is a gypsy camp in the forest between Heckel and Ardoberg and today four of the men from that camp entered Artorius’ house with Krebs. Later, Krebs and the gypsies loaded what looked like a coffin onto a hired wagon and brought it to the cottage. Something very wrong is happening here, I can feel it! I am a man of science, and not given to superstitious fancy, but I feel the man Lang is somehow outside the realm of science. Tonight I return to the book Artorius gave me before he died. Perhaps I shall find a clue there.