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Old 08-21-2009, 01:44 AM   #41
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Higz heard the boy as he muttered and murmured to himself, and smiled. "I'm trying to keep you from what you seem to already have become, a person who's existence is marred by death, and makes it an excuse to not live their life because they fear living it. Don't let yourself become devoid of compassion, is all I'm saying, not that you'll listen to an old fellow like me, you'll just make another excuse, I'm sure." The surprisingly wise older man said with a great deal of kindness.

"But if indeed this man was murdered by the living, then there must be justice, just not the kind you'd give them," he spoke softly to the boy, his eyes settling on the object he was running his hand over, the Majordomo guessing quite accurately what was in the boy's pocket.

Higz leaned in towards the boy and spoke so only he could hear, "violence for violence is a flawed policy boy, don't follow it; if you seek to avenge death with death, then where does it go from there? Don't make what happened to your parents an excuse to kill for this man's death, and don't use his death as a crutch either, commit to justice by other means. And if you need anyone to be your friend while you're here, then I'm always available," Higz said with a great deal of friendliness.

"But I can't stop you from following us to the cellar, if you want to come then that's your choice," Higz said winking at the lad.


"But in you...I see the potential to see the Force die, to turn away from its will..."
"You are beautiful to me, exile. A dead spot in the Force, an emptiness in which its will might be denied."
"But no Jedi ever made the choice you did. To sever ties so completely, so utterly, that it leaves a wound in the Force..."
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you...You are more precious than you know..."-now...it's verbatim!-A quote from Darth Traya (Kreia)
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:45 AM   #42
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"Follow me." Henrietta crossed herself in the traditional Catholic manner and then led Higz and Corbin down to the cellar. Indeed, it was frigid within the stony vault which held barrels of wine and herbal roots, and indeed, the body of one unfortunate Artemis Black would keep very well down here.

Once he had been laid upon a rickety wooden table, for the moment clear of mason jars and other assorted bric-a-brac, Henrietta stared down at the deceased. "I'm truly sorry," she said. "I have tried to have this house cleared of its supernatural inhabitants, but the ghosts never leave. I have begged my master to tell me why, but he will not. I suspect that genuine evil is at work here, and Faktor? He may be the head of this dark cabal of spooks, or he may be a victim. I do not know. All I know is that this house is haunted.

"You may not believe in ghosts, sirs," replied Henrietta, "but rest assured, the ghosts believe in you. Thank you for helping me carry him down to the cellar. Your help is very much appreciated." She looked first to Corbin, then to Higz, and then to Corbin again. "Let's go upstairs. I have a very odd feeling..."

There was a set of stairs that led directly from the cellar to the kitchen. Opening a trapdoor, Henrietta led the two drafted pallbearers into the warmth of a cooking-place that still smelled like the remnants of dinner.

There it was--an open cabinet, and a tipped-over box of boric acid. Right where Black's tray must have been, no doubt. Henrietta knelt down quickly.

"I didn't kill him!" she cried. "I don't poison my master's guests! I swear!"

*****************************

Meanwhile, Shakhmaty was finding warm comfort in Ebony's cool arms.

"Thank you," she said, wiping away a few tears. "Someone dead! And he was so charming..." She let the sentiment trail off. "I hope no foul play's afoot."
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:51 AM   #43
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"Let me examine the body, we might be able to get something out of it, possibly figure what he was poisoned with. Trust me, I'm a doctor." Tim piped up, slightly hesitant to use the scalpel that he found in his room, but he reminded himself that this time, the patient was already dead, and he was performing an autopsy, not an operation. "I'll need him stripped down and set on the table."

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Old 08-21-2009, 01:54 AM   #44
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"Thank you," the older woman said, wiping away a few tears. "Someone dead! And he was so charming..." She let the sentiment trail off. "I hope no foul play's afoot."

"You're most certainly welcome," Ebony said, squeezing the woman's shoulder softly. "I don't know about charming, all the men I've met that are 'charming' tend to be sleazy womanizers, I usually give them something to remember me by -'like one less piece of jewelry'- or a permanent eviction from my family's estate, usually by my good friend Higz," Ebony said rather funnily, trying to garner the woman's homor, so as to comfort her further.

"As for foul play, I don't know, but all this talk of ghosts, and hauntings, is...Intriguing!" The girl said rather cynically, but not enough for anyone to come to judgements about her personality.


"But in you...I see the potential to see the Force die, to turn away from its will..."
"You are beautiful to me, exile. A dead spot in the Force, an emptiness in which its will might be denied."
"But no Jedi ever made the choice you did. To sever ties so completely, so utterly, that it leaves a wound in the Force..."
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you...You are more precious than you know..."-now...it's verbatim!-A quote from Darth Traya (Kreia)
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:55 AM   #45
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"I think that Henrietta led Higz and Corbin down to the cellar," Shakhmaty said meekly, "where Mister Black's body can keep." She took a small sip of her water. Wishing that she had some wine at the moment, she sighed heavily.

Mister Faktor's servant, followed by the two men, re-entered the dining room.

"He's safe now," said Henrietta. "He'll definitely keep 'til morning. Doctor Lee, if you want to go examine him...see if you find traces of boric acid in his gut. I use it for rat poison, for in these hard wintertimes, they creep up anywhere and everywhere. It could be that the box tipped over, and I...No."

She shuddered. "I did not kill him. Mister Faktor loves any and all guests, and any friend of Faktor's is a friend of mine. His death was not by my hand."

Shakhmaty then turned to Ebony. "Intriguing? Yes. Believable? Not quite..."

She did not mention the whispers that seemed to make their way to her ears...
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:56 AM   #46
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His gaze looked away from the elderly man and he smiled slightly. "Well whatever you wanna do... but I must warn you that I am more of a loner." He growled heavily and followed the old man to the cellar. "You want to be my friend... why?"


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Old 08-21-2009, 01:59 AM   #47
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Major Johan Schmidt knocked at the wooden door of the mansion. The door opened by itself, and Johan saw several people inside of the mansion. The interior of the mansion did not appeal to Johan, him being a fan of modern houses. He didn't care though, because this house had the opportunity to make all of his dreams come true.

"Hello everyone, I am Johan Schmidt of the German Army. Is this the celebration of Mr. Faktor?"



OMNIA MUTANTUR NIHIL INTERIT.
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:59 AM   #48
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((Oh, man! They already laid Black's body on the table, and they're upstairs now. Sorry!))
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:00 AM   #49
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((ack... my computer was lagging. >.< ))


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Old 08-21-2009, 02:02 AM   #50
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((Or maybe that was just the Ghost of Artemis Black!!!))
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:04 AM   #51
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Henrietta practically jumped out of her skin. "Ach! Yes, this is the New Year's Eve celebration of Mister Benjamin Edward Faktor. Please, come in." She smiled as best she could, despite the tense and melancholy atmosphere, praying with all her might that no one would mention the one deceased partygoer. The less that was said about the late Artemis Black, the better.

"You'll be staying in the Apricot Room. Follow me." She practically dashed over to her newest guest and made wild, exaggerated gestures to herd him over to the staircase. This party was getting more out of hand by the second.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:05 AM   #52
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"You want to be my friend... why?"

"Because you're young, too young to NOT have any friends, regardless of how much of a loner you are, even you need to know that you have someone to turn to in case of a problem, or an issue. Besides, we loners need to stick together - not that I'm much of a loner," Higz responded kindly, looking neutrally at the boric acid on the counter

"He'll definitely keep 'til morning. Doctor Lee, if you want to go examine him...see if you find traces of boric acid in his gut. I use it for rat poison, for in these hard wintertimes, they creep up anywhere and everywhere. It could be that the box tipped over, and I...No." Higz heard the maid say as she passed into the dining room, Higz shook his head and frowned, the poor woman, if she'd actually killed Mr. Black on accident, then he only pitied her.

"Come, the Doctor will need others to strip the body," Higz said knowingly. "It'll give you a chance to see some real justice at work, after all, you can't accuse anyone without evidence."


"But in you...I see the potential to see the Force die, to turn away from its will..."
"You are beautiful to me, exile. A dead spot in the Force, an emptiness in which its will might be denied."
"But no Jedi ever made the choice you did. To sever ties so completely, so utterly, that it leaves a wound in the Force..."
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you...You are more precious than you know..."-now...it's verbatim!-A quote from Darth Traya (Kreia)
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:08 AM   #53
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Corbin shrugged and slowly followed the doctor and Higz back to the body. "Very well... I shall accompany you... but don't think that I still don't have vengence out for this man... I will make damned sure that the man get's the justice he deserves..."


Wants to post something epically amazing here... will work on that laterz.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:08 AM   #54
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In his way to the staircase, Johan saw some people. They seemed very tense.
"What's with the atmosphere? Did somebody die or something?"
Johan laughed as people stared at him.



OMNIA MUTANTUR NIHIL INTERIT.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:11 AM   #55
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Corbin glared at the newcomer, his normally soft violet gaze was as sharp as ice, the cool liquid turned to ice. "Yes." He said, loudly and shortly. His gaze sized the man up. "You may be new, but that doesn't make you any less of a suspect..." He glared at the man and turned on his heel.

[[gotta go to bed, school tomorrow... respond then... see yaz. ^_^]]


Wants to post something epically amazing here... will work on that laterz.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:19 AM   #56
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Even though Shakhmaty was an expert at the reading of a special deck of cards she carried in her valise, she never once suspected that ghosts, or anything of a paranormal nature, were actually real. This was the twentieth century--the age of reason, not the age of superstition! She had acquired her chess skills via a logical mind, not one suited to mysticism and nervous speculation. Nevertheless, she heard murmurs, voices behind the wall:

Help us.

Ask Faktor. Ask Faktor why we're here. He's trying to help us, too...

People laughed at him. Did you know that? Just like our foreman laughed.

Shakhmaty--six, eight, ten, twelve. Six, eight, ten, twelve.

You're the one who can save us...if you'll only relinquish everything.

She bit down on her lower lip--hard. Blood started to form at the corner.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:23 AM   #57
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"Intriguing? Yes. Believable? Not quite..." The older woman mentioned, Ebony nodding at this but not quite believing it, something in the woman's eyes said different, but Ebony dismissed this for the moment.

"I know what you mean," she responded in an almost dreamy manner, her thoughts drifting, but Shani snapped out of it quickly, turning her gaze back on the beautiful older woman. "I'm so sorry for pushing this ma'am, but when I ask something, I don't stop until I get an answer. Um, would you mind telling me your name now?"

Ebony paused, noticing the woman's nervousness, and, yes, blood at the corner of her mouth. Ebony hesitated, and then reacted, grabbing a cloth napkin from the table, she proffered the cloth to the older woman. "Ma'am, you're bleeding, and you seem quite...nervous, is everything alright? Anything to admit?" Shani spoke softly, so as not to gain the attention of the others. The woman's nervousness made Shani wonder if 'she' were the murderer, but she didn't want to be like the little immature child who was with Higz and blurt out accusations, she wanted to understand before coming to conclusions.


"But in you...I see the potential to see the Force die, to turn away from its will..."
"You are beautiful to me, exile. A dead spot in the Force, an emptiness in which its will might be denied."
"But no Jedi ever made the choice you did. To sever ties so completely, so utterly, that it leaves a wound in the Force..."
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you...You are more precious than you know..."-now...it's verbatim!-A quote from Darth Traya (Kreia)

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Old 08-21-2009, 02:58 AM   #58
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Tim then set up a table in the wine cellar, and set Artemis' body on it, completely naked, save for a cloth covering his genitals. Pulling the surgical knife out of his pocket, and began to cut across the chest. Given the situation, he then ignored the heart, and simply removed the liver and the stomach. Setting the liver aside for the moment, he cut the stomach open to check its contents. Sorting out what was obviously food, he managed to find not simply a standard dosage of rat poison to kill a single rat, but enough to kill dozens, if not more. This was no accident. He thought. Who had access to the Rat Poison at the right time?

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Old 08-21-2009, 03:12 AM   #59
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((Long post. I'm going to speed this mystery along in a big way...))

MISTER BENJAMIN E. FAKTOR'S MANSION, 12/31/11, 7:00 PM

Shakhmaty rapidly shook her head to clear it. "I'm just...hearing things. Sometimes I have a bit of tinnitus, ringing in the ears, and as soon as I do what I just did--shaking my head, not biting my lower lip--the echoes stop." She paused. "I mean, the ringing stops. It's nothing, but thank you."

The chess player caught herself gazing into Ebony's eyes. Hello...

Bringing herself quickly back to reality, the young woman vowed to keep her mind on all things reasonable and rational from now on. No more listening to the sounds of what were probably rats behind the wall, or an echo from a neighbor's house, distant that it was. For now, there was the matter of the game that Faktor had set out for the guests. They were to find--ah, yes.

"Come with me," she whispered softly, at the very edge of hearing. Once she had led Ebony away from the dining room, the other guests, and the silver trays of half-eaten to completely-eaten food, she told the young maiden with the beguiling stare what was going on. "It's a game. Mister Faktor wants us to find clues all around this house leading to his true identity, and to the reason why he's giving away his fortune. He wants us to look for his toys..."

Bookshelf. For some reason, the word bookshelf popped into her mind. Thus, her eyes alighted on the nearest one. All it contained was books, but--wait--some of them were awkwardly positioned. Shakhmaty carefully removed them, one by one, coughing at the dust they had stirred up. Henrietta may have been a housemaid, but she was certainly a negligent one! Behind the three decaying tomes there sat three alphabet blocks.

"N, Z, Q?" Shakhmaty shook her head. "That's not a name." Carefully, one by one, she picked up the blocks and turned them to different positions:

The N block had four colorful letters on it: N, Y, X, T.
The Z block also had four letters imprinted on it: Z, A, M, R.
Last but not least, the Q block and its four letters read: Q, D, U, E.

Ebony whispered something in her new friend's ear. She heard it clearly...

They both found a distraught Henrietta, weeping copiously over the copper kitchen sink as she scrubbed the scattered pots and pans with all of her might. Her former aloofness and unkindness were replaced by bitter tears.

"His name was Tad, wasn't it?" Shakhmaty said softly. "Tad, not Ben."

Lifting up her worn gray head, the servant of the house nodded somberly. She then picked up a covered tray from the cart nearest her. "Place his blocks on the tray," she said, "spelling his name. He wants to see them. Poor dear! He's only sixty years old--scarcely older than me--and yet he wants to remember who he was as a child. I will deliver them to him with his favorite salad, and I'll also tell him who found the first piece to the puzzle of his life."

"The blocks?" asked Shakhmaty. "We'll get them!" She and Ebony raced back to the bookshelf, but when they arrived...nothing was there. The wooden alphabet blocks had vanished. One of the other guests had found them in the meantime, while they had been talking to Henrietta, and had taken them.

Shakhmaty was certain of it. How on Earth could she have been so dense? Now someone else knew Benjamin E. Faktor's real name, and that meant they were one step ahead in the search for clues to reveal the man who would in turn reveal a ten-million-dollar fortune. Who'd located them?!
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:33 AM   #60
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Corbin looked at the blocks in his hand and frowned slightly. "Way too many letters... perhaps it is a simple name... wait. Perhaps this should be it..." He arranged the letters in a simple fashion. "T... A... D. A rather odd name, but I do believe this may be it... I must go to the maid." His hardened violet eyes searched back to the dining room and found her. "Ahh... the murderous maid is here at the scene of the crime." He joked somewhat, somewhat serious. "Well... I found the first clue... here are the letters. And also, here is a letter from me and a lock to be on the safe side... Mister Faktor will know the combination... when we met four years ago, we discussed such."


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Old 08-21-2009, 11:30 AM   #61
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Mr. Jacob Reynolds held in the shadows, waiting patiently for his moment. He was sure that the other were close to discerning their host's given name, which meant that his time of holding the upper hand would be drawing to an unappreciated close.

As one of the other men- his name was Corbin, wasn't it?- stepped away from the maid, it occurred to him to step forward. 'Now.'

With surprising lithe, Reynolds emerged from the shadows, taking Henrietta by surprise. He greeted her with a friendly smile. "G'evening, ma'am. Please, when you next visit Mr. Tad, kindly tell him that I appreciate the... interesting evening he's given us so far, and I look forward to seeing him soon."

The maid gave an uncharacteristic look of bafflement. "Mr. Reynolds, how-"

Waving his hand, the man cut her off. "With ten millions dollars at his disposal, I was surprised that Mr. Tad didn't hide the standard documents of a home owner. He signed the deed with his full name, ma'am. Have a pleasant evening," he concluded.

'That should stir the pot, some.'
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:24 PM   #62
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Shakhmaty turned to Ebony, trembling a little. "The blocks may be gone," she said, "but they were only the first clue. Undoubtedly, there are others lying around this house. Let's see what else we can find." Her new companion nodded. Having a sudden thought, the chess player said, "I know that in a game like this, it's supposed to be every man or woman for himself, but if I win--if we win--we share the fortune. Deal?" The other lady smiled.

Glancing around the living room once more, it struck the thirty-two-year-old ingenue how strange and surreal the pictures on the walls were. Absent were the painted portraits of family members or long-dead generals, the pastoral landscapes, the religion-themed fable scenes of devout folk. Instead, there were the most melancholy motifs represented here: buildings, hollow and decaying, lonely streets and staring eyes, and...wait...one of them was a tad bit crooked! The picture itself? It was of a fork in a desolate road, but the road was in the middle of a city. An eerie purple sky and streetlamps completed the picture. Shakhmaty thought to flip it over. A newspaper article!

THE ICECLIFF REGISTER, JANUARY 2, 1867

Hiram Coombs, owner of the Icecliff Steel Foundry, hosted the New Year's Eve party of the century yesterday evening at his brand-new mansion, standing at 13 South Chance Place. Guests were invited to his lavish and ornate ballroom on the second floor for the festivities, including Stanley S. Rives, the Foundry's principal investor, and Madame Sudarinya, a fortune-teller of actual Romany (Gypsy) descent. All had a wonderful time, although there was some tension between Messieurs Rives and Coombs.

The Icecliff Steel Foundry, the heart and soul of this humble Maine community, has come under attack in recent weeks because of its rash of repeated safety violations and the deaths of five workers when a vat of molten steel nearly collapsed. Mister Rives accused Mister Coombs of letting the Foundry rot while he himself, Coombs, pocketed the profits. In his defense, Mister Coombs replied that he had turned the floor management of the Foundry over to one of his greatest foremen, Mister Cornelius Lee. Rives did not recuse him, and it wasn't long before a verbal altercation broke out in the midst of the party. Luckily, Madame Sudarinya cooled things off by offering to read everyone's fortune with her Tarot card deck!


There was a picture taken of the party in the ballroom, caption reading:

"Guests are, from left to right: Stanley S. Rives, Miriam Coombs, Helen Taft, Donald Corbin, Wesley Chandler, and Madame Sudarinya. Thaddeus Ward, a young worker at the Icecliff Steel Foundry, has been hired as waiter and footman for the evening." Shakhmaty slowly turned the picture around.

"That means that Benjamin E. Faktor--Tad, or Thaddeus--was about, oh, sixteen years old when that picture was taken. His shady boss, Mr. Coombs, gave him a chance to be in the lap of luxury for one night--or at least to serve the people in the lap of luxury. I wonder what Tad had on Coombs. How did Tad get enough money to buy this mansion? The last time I checked, slag shovelers don't earn much, even if they do work hard. Was Tad Mr. Coombs' favorite 'pet'? I suggest that we head for the ballroom."

She glanced toward the stairs and crept toward them, hoping Ebony would follow. Strange...Ebony's looks were as deep and exotic as the Romany.

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Old 08-21-2009, 03:06 PM   #63
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Ebony glanced at the newspaper that her newfound friend, Selene, was about to leave behind, and out in the open. The young intellectual girl grinned very disturbingly at the piece of paper, snatching it up she rolled it up, and stuffed it into her blouse sleeve. The two women didn't need anyone else getting the lead.

Ebony whistled sharply, a dark figure appearing from seemingly out of the shadows - it was Higz. "Take the luggage to my room, and the art supplies too. Come find me around 8:30," the girl told her Majordomo, who bowed slightly and turned with an odd grace, the man proceeding into the room where he left the luggage and art supplies, so he could gather them and procure rooms from the maid for himself and his attendee.

Ebony smiled and giggled with mischievous effervescence, that belied her cunning tactics. The younger female proceeded to follow Selene up the stairs, moving quickly to catch up, the young girl raising an eyebrow as she caught sight of the older woman, she studied her gestures and movements, not the the same as her own pedigree upbringing when it came to elegance in movement, but the woman had a form of grace that the young 'genius' could only assume was from - the only way she could think of putting it - proper aging; not to be rude, that was.

The girl smiled to herself as she caught up to the woman, prodding her thin dagger-like finger into the other woman's side lightly, to get her attention. "By the way, I never gave my response to your question. I agree to share the fortune, most of my share is going to go to Higz anyway, he deserves it after all," the young girl said, her near-white grey eyes impaling the woman's own with a hidden sense of compassion for her Majordomo friend.

"Come, let's see what's in this ballroom that the newspaper spoke of, maybe we'll find a phonograph with some records we can listen to!" The girl said excitedly, her hopes for a party still at the back of her conscious mind.


"But in you...I see the potential to see the Force die, to turn away from its will..."
"You are beautiful to me, exile. A dead spot in the Force, an emptiness in which its will might be denied."
"But no Jedi ever made the choice you did. To sever ties so completely, so utterly, that it leaves a wound in the Force..."
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you...You are more precious than you know..."-now...it's verbatim!-A quote from Darth Traya (Kreia)
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Old 08-21-2009, 03:29 PM   #64
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((Hint: Around 8:00 PM, greed is going to get the better of one of the guests. Guest #1 is becoming more and more obsessed with the promised fortune, and Guest #2 has just found a major clue to Faktor/Tad's story. Thus, at 8:00 PM Guest #1 murders #2 in a REALLY gross way, and Shakhmaty sees. That's what I have planned for the second killing... PM me if you either want to be the murderer or the victim. PLEASE volunteer!))

"Excuse me," interjected Shakhmaty as they finished climbing the staircase to the second floor of Benjamin Edward Faktor's spooky mansion, "but what is a 'Majordomo'? I've never heard that term before. Could you please explain?"

On this floor, there were closed doors galore, and the hallway seemed to wind around and around, like a labyrinth with no end in sight. First there were the Green Room and the Blue Room, right across from one another. Next there were the Plum Room and the Apricot Room, their jewel-embellished door handles belying what rooms they provided entrance to. How fitting, thought Shakhmaty, brushing back a strand of her strawberry-blonde hair. Plum and Apricot are paired. I hope it remains that way... Further down the hallway were the Cyan Room, of the late Artemis Black, and the Violet Room, where the taciturn and mysterious Corbin would sleep tonight. At the very end of the corridor were the Emerald Room, Orange Room, and Grey Room. This mansion was certainly creative in its design, and very spacious...

Turning a corner, Shakhmaty and Ebony found two sets of very tall doors with very heavy brass handles, also possessing door knockers with the heads of roaring lions. They tugged on the handles with all their might, on both sets of doors, but all four of them were firmly locked. Now what? She swore--and she swore this was the ballroom.

"Merde! I have no idea where to find the key--or keys--that fit the locks to these doors. As for picking the locks...I'm not that kind of girl. I learned chess skills, not cat-burglar skills." She tried to laugh, but once again, she found that her joke had fallen flat on its face. "Any ideas?"
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Old 08-21-2009, 03:58 PM   #65
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Ebony smiled at her smart, yet ignorant friend, obviously the woman hadn't been outside of Maine in some time, but this only strengthened Ebony's liking toward the older woman. "A Majordomo is a high status Butler who has charge over a person, or persons, basically Higz is a Servant Bodyguard, or you could call him an Heiress Attendant. The title Majordomo stems from areas overseas, such as the Orient, the Middle East, and Africa. Higz, although mostly German, is descended from Greek origins in the Mediterranean, close to North Africa, and, as you can tell from my skin, and looks, that I'm also of exotic descent, only more recent than Higz. My mother is Egyptian, so obviously the title of Majordomo is well known to my family, and even Higz," Ebony enlightened her friend, telling her of how and why she seemed so exotic to others, and what the title of Majordomo was.

"If you want to call him by something more familiar, call him a Castellan, a European and Middle Eastern title referring to a high status Butler who looks after a Castle, and believe me, Higz earned both titles," Ebony chuckled, recalling some memory or other that seemed to amuse her.

Soon they found two large doors with quite nice looking knockers, although it was odd for indoor doors to have knockers. 'Strange,' Ebony thought as she helped her friend tug on the doors, but to no avail.

Ebony cocked her head at her friend's humor, and chuckled at her self-imposed failed attempt. "Just one," Ebony stated, whistling again, Higz approaching from the direction of the Grey Room.

"M'ladies," Higz said politely to both of them.

"If you'd like, I can have Higz open it for us. Locked or not, he's strong as an ox," the girl stated, patting the strong man's chest teasingly.


"But in you...I see the potential to see the Force die, to turn away from its will..."
"You are beautiful to me, exile. A dead spot in the Force, an emptiness in which its will might be denied."
"But no Jedi ever made the choice you did. To sever ties so completely, so utterly, that it leaves a wound in the Force..."
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you...You are more precious than you know..."-now...it's verbatim!-A quote from Darth Traya (Kreia)
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:15 PM   #66
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"Please, sir, if you would," said Shakhmaty, smiling and turning to Higz. "I think there's no door on God's green Earth that you can't open." She squeezed his right bicep playfully. In secret, when it came to romantic interests, she preferred those such as Ebony, but that didn't mean she was completely opposed to a beefy butler--or Castellan, as the case may be.

All of a sudden, she felt an urge that she could not ignore, game or no game, clues or no clues, ballroom or no ballroom. "Excuse me once more, Ebony," she said to her partner in crime. "I have to use the W.C. in my bedroom." Taking off with a very unladylike burst of speed, she dashed back down the dark and lamplit corridor with a haste bespeaking an unladylike need. Nevertheless, everyone had to relieve themselves once in a while whether they were chess players or mansion owners. No one was that self-controlled!

Luckily, Shakhmaty made it back to the lavatory in the Plum Room without incident--or accident. Strangely, through the closed door, she thought she could hear music. There was a phonograph on her dresser, but the last time she had checked it, there had not been a record placed upon it. How odd... Once she had flushed, and washed her hands, she exited the water closet and looked at the phonograph. Sure enough, a record played:

Beethoven's Two Greatest Symphonies: Fifth and Ninth.

How odd, indeed! Who had been in her room lately? Henrietta was downstairs washing the dishes, and there were a great many from the lavish dinner that she and her fellow guests had eaten just an hour ago. Mister Faktor, most likely, was still resting or eating the tray that the maid had brought to him. It couldn't have been Ebony. Ebony had been downstairs with her the whole time, looking at the alphabet blocks and newspaper article. As for the other guests--yes, they could have put the record on the phonograph, but why?

The opening notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony reverberated in the room:

Ba-ba-ba-bom! Rumor had it that was Mister Death, knocking at the composer's door...Was it true, or was it just an old story? Whatever the truth of the matter was, Shakhmaty suddenly found herself bolting down the hallway toward Ebony and Higz. "How are you doing with those doors?" she asked. "If you're still having trouble opening them, I think we'd best try the knockers." She decided to keep the phonograph a secret for now.
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:20 PM   #67
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Artemis Black shot up from the dinner table.

"Alright no more wine for me, I had no idea I could get drunk off one sip."

No one said anything to Black they were screaming and moving around. He had no idea why they were so jumpy until he looked down.

"Oh my god that's my body!"

He jumped out of the chair and looked at his body on the table. This was a huge shock to his system. He was standing in the room but he was also dead on the table. He reached out at his own body and watched as his hand went right through it.

"Aw man...I'm gonna have a real hard time getting that money now."

It now came to Artemis's attention that he was indeed a ghost and no one could hear him. He noticed his lucky kerchief was in his pocket and not around his neck, he must have forgotten to put it on. Well he was glad to know at least he was missed for only meeting a few people. He watched the events unfold and found out he had been poisoned. Why Black was picked first he wound never know. He looked around and counted how many people there were, trying to see who might have wanted him dead. There were 10 people if you included the maid and the host. He shivered a little remembering and old rhyme his mother use to tell him. It was rather odd seeing that he died the same way the first indian died in the rhyme. With a new guest juming on board everyone tried to forget the events of what happened and began the game. Well he had nothing better to do now that he was dead so he decided to follow the guests around. He noticed Shakhmaty and the other girl go together somewhere... stay here with the other guests or follow the ladies? It didn't take more than a few seconds before Black floated after them. They were looking for some sort of key and they needed to open it. Black decided to throw his two sense there even if no one would hear him.

"You know if I didn't just die, I would be able to get that chest open no problem but I can't now... by the way that was really good steak."
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:23 PM   #68
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It was a practice that had long ago been perfected. His father had not taught, but rather acted, leaving a young Reynolds to learn via observation. Not at all by luck, stealth was one of his finer attributes, and the two formed a fearful combination.

He stood now where Shakhmaty and Ebony had stood now one minute ago, pouring over the article on the back of the portrait, the first one in the succession of bland and drab paintings. He devoured the written portion of the news clipping, and moved on to the next part.

Reynolds began to stare intently at the picture, looking at nothing in particular. It has his practice that odd entities would jump out at him. As experience had taught him, his eyes automatically adjusted on one of the figures, garbed in bright, white dress-

Uniform. How odd that, twice in a row, two naval officers would appear. 'What if...' Reynolds began to mentally check the members of the party. One naval officer, one chess master, one...

'Oh, Lord!'

Shivering- and not from the temperature- Reynolds looked to the next portrait, wondering what terrible secrets it might hide. He drooped it suddenly, reading the headline. Before bending over to pick it up, he placed his hand on his military-issued Colt.

On the headline, it read:

Six Murdered at Millionaire's Party
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:41 PM   #69
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((A little thought monologue from the maid, Henrietta, and more clues...))

Hah! Henrietta Gibbs thought, scrubbing away at the remnants of the partygoers' dinners. There are guests galore at this little party, and not one of them offers to help a servant with the dishes. It figures. So much for a 'cup of kindness yet'--I'm the 'auld acquaintance' that should 'be forgot and never brought to mind'! They're all interested in the game, all interested in the ten million dollars. Never mind what other people think, or the plight of the less fortunate. The only one here who seemed to care-or the only two--were that chess master and the late Artemis Black. What a bloody pity!

It's all Hiram Coombs' fault. He was the previous owner of this house, and I daresay that he was the house's first victim. This mansion represents the height of greed, the height of evil, the height of all the follies and the foibles that human beings fall prey to! It's no coincidence that all the people he invited to his own New Year's Eve party back in 1867 were either his rivals, his enemies, or those who knew some dirty secrets about him. Poor Tad! He was the only one not murdered on that awful night, because he was just the footman! Even Madame Sudarinya, that Gypsy charlatan, got killed. Drowned in the bathtub, she was, all because she drew a bad card from her Tarot deck in relation to old Mr. Coombs. The Devil. That's what he was, all right.

Mister Tad, before he was Mister Faktor, wanted to do right by the world and the people around him in Icecliff. So how come he danced with the real devil to do it? That's why he's in all this trouble--why his soul's in mortal danger. No matter what he tries, he cannot free the six souls trapped inside this house, and what is more, he cannot free himself. Only one of the guests here tonight, if they can do it, can help to unlock Mister Tad's secret prison.

Although...I don't believe any one of them's good enough. They're not pure enough. They've all got skeletons in their closets, and before this night is through, I suspect they'll join them. That'll be twelve ghosts or more to haunt me now. Please, God in heaven, protect them all. Poor Mister Black.

Poor me...
Henrietta wiped her hands on a rag and continued her work.
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:46 PM   #70
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"Please, sir, if you would," said Shakhmaty, smiling and turning to Higz. "I think there's no door on God's green Earth that you can't open."

Higz smiled at the mature younger woman, reaching up and stroking his foresters beard habitually. "Leave it to me Madam," he said, his foreign accent having a coaxing hint behind it.

"Excuse me once more, Ebony," the older woman said. "I have to use the W.C. in my bedroom."

"Go right ahead," Ebony said, motioning for Selene to depart as and when she desired.

Soon the older woman returned, looking none the worse for wear. "How are you doing with those doors?" she asked. "If you're still having trouble opening them, I think we'd best try the knockers."

"We haven't even tried, we were waiting for you, after all, it isn't too often people outside of my family and my family's estate that they get to see Higz at work, or I should more-or-less say, 'real work'," the younger woman responded pleasently, motioning for Higz to proceed.

The old man walked forward, not even removing his gloves he grabbed the knockers, pausing only to mention something, "I don't condone vandalism of another's property, but if it is what you want young miss, then I will continue."

"I know you don't like it Higz, but there are clues behind that door, and we need all we can find," Ebony persuaded. With that the robust older fellow pulled with great force, causing the doors to careen forward, a splintering sound coming from inside, suggesting the door was cracking where the lock was. grabbing only one knocker this time, Higz yanked hard on the door, a nasty cracking sound was heard, and the single door swung open, Higz moved over to the other door and open it for them, bowing slightly and motioning with his arms in a gesture that said, 'ladies first'.

"See, impressive, only two tries, and the second wasn't even much of an effort," the girl said teasingly to Selene, stepping into the ballroom over the splintered wood of the doors; on the ground.


"But in you...I see the potential to see the Force die, to turn away from its will..."
"You are beautiful to me, exile. A dead spot in the Force, an emptiness in which its will might be denied."
"But no Jedi ever made the choice you did. To sever ties so completely, so utterly, that it leaves a wound in the Force..."
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you...You are more precious than you know..."-now...it's verbatim!-A quote from Darth Traya (Kreia)
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:51 PM   #71
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Artemis laughed even though he was dead, he was having fun. No one could hear him and he could do whatever he wanted. He moved through the door and waited for them on the other side. The Big Man took the door out no problem. Once again Black decided to open his ghostly mouth again.

"If there's a toy train in here I want to play with it!"

Maybe I should have said something better like...Rawr...or Boo!. No, Boo isn't really scary.
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:12 PM   #72
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Shakhmaty, dodging the splintered wood, gazed around the ballroom. Yes, the filigree on the sculpted-plaster ceiling was pure gold, twenty-four karat. Yes, the wall sconces were of the same caliber metal. They weren't brass. Yes, the dancefloor was made of the finest hardwood, and what was more, dust and age had not yet turned it into an unpolished mess. This was the finest room in the entire mansion, and the lady was absolutely spellbound.

She was also spellbound by what she saw directly in front of her eyes:

Six people, transparent as window glass and yet as colorful as the squares in a church cathedral, stood in front of her and around her, talking and laughing.

"Isn't this a wonderful party?" asked a stout older woman wearing a long, corseted gown. She looked uncomfortable--probably because the corset was too tight. "Thank you for inviting us, Mister Coombs. Your house is grand."

"It's not a house," replied a black-haired man, tall and thin as a skeleton, with an icy stare. "It's a mansion, Helen. Remember that."

The woman, turning her head and looking hurt, cried, "I didn't mean to offend..."

"I know how you got your money, Coombs," snarled a man on the other side of the lady called Helen, as portly and rotund as Higz, but without Higz' muscles. "I know how you got this mansion, too. You pocket the rightful profits of my steel foundry, while the workers die. How do you like that? It's blood money that bought you this 'grand' old place, and someday you'll pay!"

The skeleton-man scoffed. "How dare you accuse me of that, Rives. You may be the Foundry's principal investor, but you don't like my utilitarian style of management. Besides, I have turned the floor operation of the steel mill over to my head foreman, Cornelius Lee. I assume that you've heard of him, sir?"

The fat man, Rives, nodded scornfully. "I have, and he's a fool. He knows much about steel, but little about how to guide the laborers in working with it. A huge vat collapsed, or threatened to collapse, just weeks ago, and you ignored it!" He stepped forward to stare right into Coombs' eyes. "Shame!"

"You really think I ignored it?" Coombs paused. "Would you bet your life on it?"

A dark-haired, ghostly woman harriedly dashed forward, interjecting. "Come, come!" she cried. "This is a party, sir," she said with a heavily-accented voice. "At parties, we have fun. If you will let me, I will read your fortune!"

Coombs cleared his throat, squinted, and stared at the exotically-dressed woman. "Indeed, Madame Sudarinya. Tad!" Another ghostly figure, this one of a handsome sixteen-year-old boy, suddenly entered the room with a tray of ethereal drinks. Coombs picked up one of the champagne glasses, as did Helen. "Thank you, Thaddeus. You've been a very good footman tonight."

"All I can do," replied the phantom-boy humbly. "It be my pleasure, sir."

Hiram Coombs laughed. "Grammar is not his strong suit," he told Helen, and she smiled. "He's worked in the Foundry ever since he was six years old."

"Where is Madame Sudarinya going to tell our fortunes?" asked the matron.

The ghosts disappeared.

"Where'd they go?!" cried Shakhmaty, to Ebony's great bewilderment...
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:20 PM   #73
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((Does Ebony and Higz see them too, or no?))


"But in you...I see the potential to see the Force die, to turn away from its will..."
"You are beautiful to me, exile. A dead spot in the Force, an emptiness in which its will might be denied."
"But no Jedi ever made the choice you did. To sever ties so completely, so utterly, that it leaves a wound in the Force..."
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you...You are more precious than you know..."-now...it's verbatim!-A quote from Darth Traya (Kreia)
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:23 PM   #74
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((Shakhmaty sees them 100%, but Higz and Ebony only see shadows, like on the floor.))
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:31 PM   #75
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"So the Henrietta wasn't lying," observed Reynolds casually as he sauntered into plain view. He had heard the voices clear as day, though his eyes vehemently protested at the fact that the mind was accepting the unsound advice of sound over their reliable selves!

The three in the room spun wildly, peering desperately in search of another apparition. There was only another man to be found. His earlier smile had vanished, replaced by an anxious frown. Awaiting a never-coming response, Reynolds reluctantly continued.

"Those people, those... ghosts, they were the previous guests of this 'mansion.' Any guesses as to what happened to them?" Reynolds asked inquisitively, waving a newspaper page about.

His voice was calm, but frigid. "They were murdered."
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:58 PM   #76
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Ebony only saw figments and shadows, but it was enough to peak her interest.

"My my, curiouser, and curiouser this plot seems to get," the girl spoke to no one in particular, looking somewhat confused as her friend Selene seemed to lose it.

"I...uh, where'd who go? The shadows? I don't know, but hopefully we can find out," Ebony said, reaching out and supporting her friend, not sure whether the older woman was stable at the moment.

Then a voice came from the shadows, and a man walked out, talking about ghosts, and voices, and other things that seemed to only confuse matters. Then he waved about a newspaper clipping and spoke about former guests being murdered. Ebony scowled at the man, releasing Selene she checked her blouse sleeve, and as she thought, the newspaper was still there. 'How'd he get that one then?' The girl thought to herself, looking the man up and down, she simply shook her head in disgust.

Ebony simply looked at Selene and shrugged with a look of 'what's he going on about?' on her face.

"Sir, please don't sneak up on people like that, there's no telling what unfortunate consequences could occur next time you do," Higz said to the man in a nonthreatening manner, un-clenching a tight fist he'd made the moment he'd noticed the man lurking out of the shadows.


"But in you...I see the potential to see the Force die, to turn away from its will..."
"You are beautiful to me, exile. A dead spot in the Force, an emptiness in which its will might be denied."
"But no Jedi ever made the choice you did. To sever ties so completely, so utterly, that it leaves a wound in the Force..."
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you...You are more precious than you know..."-now...it's verbatim!-A quote from Darth Traya (Kreia)
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:17 PM   #77
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Corbin slowly emerged from his room again, going over what he had learned... not only had he figured out Thaddeus' real name, but he had sort of almost figured out who had killed Artemis. His suspicion was that chess playing girl... then again he also suspected the host. He locked his room, not wanting anyone to know that he had invaded the host's library. He had slipped the book in a pillow case and then put it on the bottom, but one could never be too careful. His bloodshot eyes darted this way and that, expecting to be shot at or something... something he was expecting. He was a master fencer, so if the murderer would prefer to kill by saber, then he was ready. He also refused to eat or drink /anything/ for the rest of his stay, once again, to be on the safe side. He pulled out a map to the grounds that he had drawn up. The attic had been locked since four, at least... maybe it was open again. He slowly made his way up the stairs and the door swung open easily. He moved in cautiously, moving with the shadows to avoid detection, if anyone else was already up here. He looked over at a glass encased book, key and lock. He slid over and took all of them, and set the key in the lock, but it wouldn't turn... it must not have been a key to that lock. He shoved it all in his pockets and shoved the book into his shirt. He slowly made his way around the attic one last time, trying to make sure he didn't miss anything and he grinned when he came across the suit of a sixteen year old servant. He moved the stuff and looked at it and then gasped. The 'servant' was dead... his or her bones were piled up in the clothes, bleached pure white. His eyes widened and he quickly covered them up. He didn't know why, but he had a feeling that their host was starting to look more like a murderer, seeing as the bones were too big to be a sixteen year old boy's... perhaps when Tad had been a servant here, he had murdered his master... there had been other parties that he hosted that had other people killed at, he knew from reading the book in his room... he looked around and darted out of the attic, shutting the door behind him and running back to deposit the stuff in his room.


Wants to post something epically amazing here... will work on that laterz.
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:43 PM   #78
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"The shadows aren't just shadows," Shakhmaty told Ebony. "This place really is haunted, and I'm starting to see ghosts. Real live ones, or at least as real and alive as they are purported to be in all the fairy tales and horror stories." She sighed. "You can cart me away to the insane asylum in the morning, or at least take me to the Icecliff City Hospital before I get sent to Bedlam in Augusta. Choose to believe me or not, but I just witnessed the selfsame argument that we read about in the newspaper article on the back of the picture we found. I heard Hiram Coombs and Stanley Rives accusing one another, and that Madame Sudarinya offered to read everyone's fortune."

She gazed at Ebony and Higz. "What room in the house would everyone go to in order to have their fortunes read? Madame Sudarinya was using Tarot cards, so there would have to be a fairly large table around which everyone could sit. The kitchen would be too obvious a place, and besides, Coombs' maids and butlers would be trying to work in there. Can you think of anywhere else that guests would go to congregate, besides the living room?" She had a thought. "I think the living room would be too obvious, also."

**********************************

Henrietta had finally finished washing and drying the dinner dishes. It was half-past seven, and the later the hour grew, the more worried she got. Out of all the guests, the one who made her blood run the coldest was Corbin, the mysterious man who would be lodging in the Violet Room. She'd seen him sneaking around, gathering clues to the mystery of her master as if he owned the place, or as if he already knew every single rule to Faktor's "game"! How dare he! If she had any say about it, she'd throw him out into the cold--

No. Henrietta knew that she was not a murderer, and neither was Faktor. The real killer was somewhere in this house, and if she were a gambling woman, she would have bet on one of the ghosts that was trapped here. Not Rives or Taft--oh, no, they were too good-hearted--but the dark apparition of that other Corbin, Donald. He was the seventh ghost, and the seventh guest, that bound this mansion to himself. It was he, and not Madame Sudarinya, who had seduced Tad, led him astray, and led him to the pact.

In order to get revenge on his rival, Coombs, Donald Corbin, a trustee of the foundry, had taken Tad under his wing and shown him how to get power.

She was sure of it, but who on Earth ever listened to a servant's theories?
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:04 PM   #79
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It was time for a new approach. He had to try to communicate with them somehow. He floated over to Shakhmaty and tried speaking her name.

"Shakhmaty, Shakhmaty."

If she could see these other ghosts maybe she could see him. He even tried an old school ghost trick. he floated down from the ceiling and tried to warn her in an odd way.

"Ten little guests went out to dine, One choked his little self and then there were nine."

Artemis was getting a little discouraged now, he didn't want to talk to these other ghosts it would creep him out.
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:14 PM   #80
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Wolfgang Kohler was late. He hated being late, it was a fine show of his effeciency...and being late wasn't why was he was paid.

His booted foot echoed loudly against the icy pathway that led to his newest contract, Benjamin Faktor. The Bank Comittee simply wanted to make a deal with the man, concerning some of the South American stock the Bank had purchased from him. Now, Faktor would either agree to the Bank's terms and allow a deal of great benefit to both...but mostly the Bank. If he disagreed...well, he wouldn't, Wolfgang would make sure of it.

He went over to the large door and knocked hard on it for three times. He promised himself that he would keep this one quick and simple.


you very much
If a tree would fall in the woods.....would the other trees laugh at it?
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