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Tysyacha 08-20-2009 07:18 PM

Non-SW: The Eleventh Hour (PG-13)
A New Year's Eve Mystery, At the Close of the Year 1911


Cold. Selene "Shakhmaty" Killian had always loved living in Maine, but the winters...They could take a toll on her, and that was why she had dressed extra-warmly tonight. Under the light of a full moon, with a thousand stars gleaming overhead in their merciless fire, she had made her way to the only mansion standing in the steel-milling town of Icecliff, population 10,000.

Tonight was a New Year's Eve party hosted by the owner of the Icecliff Steel Foundry, Ben E. Faktor. Yes, God's honest truth, that was his name, formally Benjamin Edward. He had invited several guests, herself included, for a night of fine dining and revelry. Her invitation had also come with a strange and wondrous proposition: During the course of the evening, she and her fellow partygoers would be playing a game. The winner? He or she would inherit the vast sum of ten million dollars--Faktor's entire fortune! It seemed almost too good to be true. Then again, Shakhmaty was not one to pass up a chance, either on the chessboard or off. Ever since that match with Mrs. Claiborne...

No. She would not think about that now. She'd only focus on the party.

Cars were few and far between these days, even in a town like Icecliff, and so that was why Shakhmaty had rented a traditional carriage. Clad in a five-year-old mink stole and hat with only ten feathers instead of twenty, the young chess player let the footman escort her up the stairs to Faktor's door.

Knocking three times, Shakhmaty was relieved to see a maid emerge at last.

"Are you here for tonight?" asked the servant sternly. Shakhmaty nodded.

"This way." The maid led her inside the dim foyer of the house. "You'll be in the Plum Room. I'll lead you upstairs so you can put your valise away, miss."

Letting her blue eyes adjust to the funereal dimness of Faktor's cavernous mansion, Shakhmaty followed the middle-aged woman with iron-gray hair up a long spiral staircase, upholstered in dusty red velvet. How long had it been since the housemaid had done any actual work? Shakhmaty noticed the thin cobwebs on the gaslit chandelier and the hazy shadows it cast on the floor. This place was a legend in Icecliff--nay, all of Maine--and yet its newest guest somehow had the feeling its reputation was not all that well-deserved.

"Where is our host?" inquired Shakhmaty humbly of the housekeeper.

"He isn't feeling well. He will be down for dinner. He asked me to greet you."

Not very chatty, is she? The two women had reached the Plum Room. Its walls explained its name, painted in a soft, romantic purple. The decor was all fresh white roses, even in the dead of winter, and French lace. A room fit for a lady, and a very wealthy one. An antique crystal nightlamp illuminated all. There was a bathroom as well, with a porcelain clawfoot tub.

"This is beautiful!" cried the elated houseguest. "Thank you for all of this!"

"It's Mister Faktor's pleasure," replied the maid, not taking her eyes off of Shakhmaty. "As soon as you're ready, come downstairs. Dinner will be served promptly at six o'clock. I am the only servant here, so I'll need to get the dishes ready. You may do as you like, including meet the other guests when they arrive. As for me--oh, dear. I must assure that everything is in place."

She retreated, the folds of her long, gray dress uniform trailing behind her.

"Oh, by the way. My name is Henrietta. Dispense with trivial formalities."

Shakhmaty got the shivers. Her voice had sounded austere and unwelcoming.

And, what was that phonograph on the cherrywood dresser across from her bed? Shakhmaty went over to it. Strange--it didn't have a record upon it...

Shakh. A ghostly sound crept through its golden bell, and she jumped back. Who'd made that noise? She could have sworn the phonograph said--

Never mind. Shakhmaty went downstairs, awaiting the other guests' arrival.

Cyborg Ninja 08-20-2009 08:03 PM

Artemis Black looked up at the sky and saw that it was getting late. He wasn't in too much of a hurry. After all he had just taken down a man who tried to attack him. Thats just something he needed to be ready for in his line of work. He smiled as he looked down at thr brand new watch he got from the man. That was the best part about being a con artist, well that and getting away with it. He continued through the streets until the mansion was in sight. Artemis was quite excited to be part of this party since the reward was so grand. His uncle who had gotten sick over the past few days worked for the owner of this mansion for a long time. He didn't know why Ben E. Faktor was doing this but he loved this man like he was his father right now. He was a very gracious mand for giving away all his money to someone. Artemis arived at the door of the mansion and gave a loud knock. He was let in by a maid who told him he would be staying in the Cyan room. She quickly showed him to his room and than left to go prepare for dinner. He walked down the stairs when a certain long haird woman caught his attention. The maid said he could talk to the other guests and it would be rude is he didn't introduce himself. He made his way over to the woman and looked into her blue eyes.

"My my, why I had no idea the first guest I'd get the pleasure of meeting would be as breathtaking as you are." he said using his old boyish charm.

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 08:12 PM

The young lady giggled softly, extending an arm sleekly covered by a black satin glove. The only ring she wore was a very modest silver band with a moonstone, inherited from her mother who had departed this world ten years ago. "Shakhmaty Killian," she said by way of introduction. "Glad to meet you."

She sat down in a stately armchair, crafted from the same dark and rosy wood as her dresser in the Plum Room. Privately wishing that there were more attendants around than the melancholy Henrietta, especially a butler or footman to serve drinks, Shakhmaty took off her hat and placed it on the top of the chair, leaving it dangling. "You are?" She was instantly intrigued by this fellow guest of hers, although there was something--shifty?--about him.

Alkonium 08-20-2009 08:21 PM

A blue Chrysler 300, with an Ontario licence plate, pulled up to the driveway of the only mansion in the Maine town of Icecliff. With a name like Icecliff, I'm not surprised this the only mansion. The driver, Doctor Timothy Lee thought as he stepped out. Carrying his bags up the stairs, he opened the front door and saw who he assumed were guests who had arrived before him, a beautiful woman and an equally handsome man. Dropping his suitcase for a moment, he approached them in order to introduce himself. "Well, hello there, beautiful, I'm Tim Lee." Then, turning to the man, he added, "And hello to you too, handsome."

Litofsky 08-20-2009 08:30 PM

Dusty, dark, uninviting. But it was not greed that motivated Jacob Reynolds as he stepped through the front door of a mansion too great for any one person, forcing himself into the house with a great deal of reluctance. Dimly lit, it was not a place he would ever want to live. Maybe he could get transferred to San Diego...

"Thank you," he remarked politely to the servant as she took his belongings single-handedly. Venturing in the direction of several voices, Reynolds stumbled on a parlor of epic proportions. A grand table marked the center of the room, a number of beautiful, deeply-colored chairs filling the empty spaces. Entire walls were lined with dusty books of all colors and sizes. All were marred by layers of gray dust and neglect.

His eyes met his ears, each capturing the two men and one woman in the room.

"You are?" The woman asked sheepishly, obviously entranced with her pursuant.

Cutting the man off, "The name's Jacob Reynolds, ma'am. Allow me to announce what a pleasure it is to meet all of you fine people."

Cyborg Ninja 08-20-2009 08:44 PM

Artemis eyed the ring on Shakhmaty's finger. He eyed the color of the ring and the stone that rested on top of it. He knew it couldn't be a wedding ring, she looked to fancy for a ring like that. He smiled as he looked over at her.

"Artemis Black, a pleasure to meet you Shakhmaty Killian," he said as he took her hand a kissed it before letting it go.

He took a seat and looked over at Shakhmaty with that same expression on his face. He then heard a new voice and looked over. He saw two men, both seemed to be quite nice people

"Nice to meet you both, and thank you for the compliment Mr. Lee. My name is Artemis Black, its nice ot meet you both."

"So Miss Shakhmaty, I must say that is quite a rare name. Its beautiful much like yourself but rare. So tell me about yourself Miss Shakhmaty, I must say I'm rather curious."

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 08:47 PM

"My name is actually Selene," the chess player said, standing up slowly to greet the newest arrivals at the Faktor mansion. "Although, most people call me Shakhmaty because I play chess. That's how I earn a living, or have tried to." She smiled. Her blue eyes contained the certainty of a person who told the truth, and yet there was some barely-hidden anxiety behind him. What was it? What had caused it? She herself was reluctant to disclose. "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. I wonder if Mister Faktor's feeling better."

"He is," announced a voice from the kitchen, "but I suspect that he will not emerge until he's properly dressed for dinner." Henrietta herself emerged from behind two large wooden doors, both appearing as heavy as they were tall.

"Doctor Lee?" asked the servant, turning to the guests who had arrived most recently. "You will sleep in the Blue Room. It's all prepared for you. Mister Reynolds? You will have the Green Room. They are both upstairs. This way." Henrietta led the two men up the winding staircase, which creaked and groaned under their weight, until they reached two doors adjacent to each other. "It took me hours to get everything ready. I hope you will be pleased."

Henrietta turned to descend the staircase for what seemed the hundredth time. Shakhmaty was still sitting in Mister Faktor's favorite chair, wiggling her right foot absently. Should she tell her? The maid decided firmly against it.

The Blue Room was, in a word, stark. Instead of the lush cherrywood of the Plum Room, all of the furniture in the Blue Room was strictly black lacquer, or else highly-aged varnish. The wood was nondescript, probably pine or balsa. A utilitarian bed with white sheets and a blue comforter stood next to two utilitarian chairs and a utilitarian writing table. Upon that table lay...a knife?

Indeed. There was no mistake about it. However, it was no ordinary knife, not one to use for cutting steak, but rather, for cutting bodies open. It was a surgeon's scalpel, the blade clean and glinting in the light of the tall iron lantern on the nightstand. Why was it there? Surely it hadn't been placed--

In the Green Room, the furniture was even more spartan, but its wood still smelled faintly of the living pine it had once been. There was the same bed, but this one was king-size. It had a quilt upon it, in squares with camouflage colors--green, brown, hazy gray, and stitches of off-white. A writing desk stood in front of the window, and on it were two leaflets of cream-colored paper. Blank. Fine paper, but why would a soldier need such a thing?

An iron candlestick, lit, paved the way for Jacob Reynolds in the chamber.

Litofsky 08-20-2009 09:06 PM

Jacob Reynolds was nostalgic, taking in each heavenly smell as his nostrils and lungs filled with the earthly scent of pine. But it was not the paper that held Mr. Reynold's eyes, nor was it the fact that the Green Room was, quite literally, painted green. No, two sheets of paper held his eyes, held his mind, but, overall, held his heart.

Two sheets. Not one, not three, but two. Why two? Reynolds quietly collapsed onto his bed, memories flooding his consciousness. A burnt, wood desk, ink and smoke mixing into a fatal combination. Papers strewn about the floor, fingers of red and orange slowly, tickling the fringes brown. Trees, grown with tender care, black crisps.

"Only two. Use 'em well, Son." A gentle smile had marked the occasion, in such stark contrast to fate's malevolently ironic hand.

Godric Volturi 08-20-2009 09:24 PM

A small, slim rather shady figure clad in almost all black slowly made his way down the steps. Corbin had soft purple bruises under his eyes, obviously from the lack of sleep. His bloodshot violet eyes looked around the room, scanning for anything that might be a human. He sighed and stepped back slightly as he noticed several humans in the room. He had his hand around his invitation that was neatly rolled up like a scroll. Even though he was a very intelligent, but slightly anti-social individual, he liked to keep things neat and tidy. Which was odd for an intelligent man, most were nasty, greasy and messy. His jet black hair was neatly combed off to the side of his face, covering a small portion of his left eyebrow and eye. He descended the stairs completely, quietly. He stood next to the fire place, not really wanting to be seen in the big commotion, however he had little choice, seeing as the maid was caught in the middle of it. "Uhhh... miss... I was wondering if I could have an extra pillow?" He murmured quietly in his soft tenor voice. "I kind of need it to rest my neck on when I am sitting in the chair..." But the reason he wouldn't take one of the pillows off his bed, was because he was such a neat freak. He smiled politely at the other guests. "I guess you're here about the money as well?"

Cyborg Ninja 08-20-2009 09:28 PM

"You are quite a mystery Selene, and now you've got me curious. Can I have the honor of sitting next to you at dinner, I want to know more about you."

Artemis smiled at her but this time he added a wink.

10 million dollars, a beautiful woman, and a nice dinner, what's next?

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 09:37 PM

"Certainly," replied Shakhmaty, clearly enchanted by Artemis' overtures. She gazed at the man who had just entered the room, who had insinuated that the only reason all of them were here was the aforementioned ten million dollars. Yes, she was here for the money, but she was also here for the party. 1911 had been a very hard year for her, as she struggled to play as best she could against masters that could beat her. Such was the life of a chess player who was near-phenomenal, but the operative word was near. Who knew what the New Year had in store for her? Only time would tell...

"Have you seen the Violet Room yet, good sir?" asked Henrietta. "That is your allotted lodging for the night." Henrietta bent over her steaming pots and pans. The other guests, reveling in the aroma of gourmet food, sighed contentedly. The hour was not so late, but six o'clock was fast approaching. The grandfather clock ticked steadily away.

In the Violet Room, a bottle of wine was waiting on the white wicker dresser, just for Corbin. It was a fine Merlot, of the late nineteenth century. Hopefully, this vintage would open up the mysterious guest that kept himself closed to the world. Someone certainly hoped so...but who? Faktor? Henrietta? Who else was there in this house?

Godric Volturi 08-20-2009 09:45 PM

Corbin raised an eyebrow and smirked slightly. "Already forgotten me, I see. Whatever. Everyone always forgets me... I'm just a nobody stuck in the middle of everybody." He shook his head and looked back up at the stairs. "I got here at 4 pm this afternoon, miss."

He rolled his eyes and yawned heavily, revealing that his late night prowls were getting the best of him. Heh... he didn't care. Maybe it would make the others think that he wasn't much of a threat to the money, so he could work in private to figure the things out. The only thing that no one knew was that he knew quite a few things about the mystery world, seeing as his father had been a Super Sleuth, until he had died in 1908. He was with his father when he was murdered by the culprit of the latest case, the only thing that had kept the fifteen year old boy safe from the criminal was that he had been hiding under his father's bed at the hotel they were staying at. And now, here he was, age nineteen begining his father's work yet again. He knew it was dangerous, but he didn't care... he was more worried about the people who had been threating him... if he could win the ten million dollars, he could buy enough body guards to keep him safe until his death. He looked around and grinned... the others looked like ametures... then again, he was sure he did too.

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 09:51 PM

((Note to everyone: Once all the guests arrive, dinner will be served, and you get to pick your favorite meal--uh, except anything from McDonald's! A warning: To get the mystery started, one of the guests' dishes is poisoned, and the one who eats of the poisoned dish will die. PM me if you want to be the catalyst to begin the real mystery!))

Cyborg Ninja 08-20-2009 09:55 PM

"You've been here since four? I'm sorry to hear that... I'm sorry, my name is Artemis Black. Sitting beside me is the lovely Selene Killian, but she prefers Shakhmaty. So you're here for the money, me I'm here to enjoy my stay in this mansion. Its not everyday I get to stay in a mansion, the money would be a bonus. Well if I were you I'd enjoy realxing while we all can." Artemis replied.

There was truth in his words. Artemis had enough money to get buy in the world. Was he as rich as Faktor? of course not, however he was one of the higher ups.

Godric Volturi 08-20-2009 10:01 PM

"My name is Corbin... but you won't be seeing much of me. I'm not really here for the money, I am here for a quiet place... my father came from nobility, so I'm set for money, seeing as my father died four years ago... when I was fifteen." Corbin shrugged slightly, his eyes glazing over before he fainted on the ground. He was so worn out that apparently he would be passing out quite frequently. He woke up momentarily and frowned. "Sorry about that... I'll probably be passing out every so often... it happens when I have very little sleep or when I travel... and both have happened to me recently. He smiled softly, amused. He looked really weak, he was sure.

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 10:06 PM

Shakhmaty raised a curious eyebrow. "I certainly hope you're feeling better soon," she told Corbin with genuine sympathy. "I'm no doctor, but perhaps you have a bit of narcolepsy as well? I've heard that some people in Highcliff have been afflicted with that disease, although no one knows why...Maybe it's these damned Maine winters. They can put anyone into a deep sleep."

No one laughed. Her jokes usually didn't fall as flat as this one, but indeed...

Her mouth was dry as the cotton sheets on her bed, with a high thread-count, no doubt. She went into the dining room, depositing her mink on the back of her chair. The dining room had that same style of gaslit chandelier, cobwebby and eerily-lit. However, the china plates and elegant varnished oak table bespoke that Henrietta was not lazy about dusting and polishing everything in the house. Shakhmaty took a seat next to Artemis Black, whose eyes darted rovingly over her bodice. She was sure of it.

Cyborg Ninja 08-20-2009 10:07 PM

Artemis looked over at the boy with a frown over his face. No boy should have to live without a father. He stood up and moved away from the comfortable chair he was sitting on. He was about to offer the chair up when someone called out for dinner. He took a seat and watched as Shakhmaty sat next to him.

"Why you're even more beautiful close up, so tell me pretty how did you get into chess?"

Godric Volturi 08-20-2009 10:12 PM

He rolled his eyes and poked at the fire with it's poker. He sat down in front of it, the blazing heat feeling good compared to the rest of the ice cold house. He gazed again at everyone and slid his hand over his hand gun, that he kept in his pocket, for saftey. He slid his hand into his other pocket and pulled out a package of playing cards. "Anyone up for a bit of poker?" He said, mildly bored with the notion, but he knew that dinner was to be served soon. He growled under his breath and started shuffling the cards, wanting to be alone, he however knew that these guests obviously wouldn't allow that. His bloodshot eyes looked up at the maid momentarily and nodded slightly. "I do believe that we have at least one more guest arriving, is there enough food for everyone?"

Litofsky 08-20-2009 10:12 PM

The aromas wafted mystically into the parlor, like in one of the new nickelodeons. Steamed carrots and fresh vegetables imported from southern states announced their presence with heavenly scents, and the taste of all savory flavors of meat lingered on the tongues of all.

Returning from his room, Mr. Reynolds returned from his room to the parlor, where the conversation had died suddenly. A fireplace in the far side of the room flickered, crackling peacefully. Quite the irony, peaceful fire.

Taking his seat, Jacob was about to start conversation when Henrietta returned.

"Dinner," she announced solemnly, "is served."

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 10:21 PM

"Mister Faktor took great care in selecting dishes that he knew you'd like," Henrietta informed everyone. "This party was planned months in advance, back in the fall--October, if I remember correctly. He said all of you had a very dear place in his heart and a very interesting history, even if he did not know you well. Hopefully, he will be down soon. He usually does not take this long to dress." She paused, listening for the master of the house upstairs. No reply.

The maid smiled, setting large silver trays, which were covered, in front of each guest. "Would anyone like to say a blessing over the food tonight?" she asked solicitously. "Perhaps by the time you have finished, he'll be down."

Godric Volturi 08-20-2009 10:26 PM

Corbin frowned slightly down at the food on his plate. He had just recently turned into a vegetarian and this food was purely meat, because that is what he had like way back in October. He picked up his fork and knife and poked at the food, not really wanting to be rude. The smell just seemed to make him gag. He hadn't smelled cooked meat in so long. He looked at his goblet and shook his head... a glass of water, of course... although it was oddly colored, just a faint blue color in his glass. He glanced around while the blessing was going on and he leaned over to the plant and poured out his glass into it's base, just to be on the safe side. He picked up his canteen and opened it. He looked at the others and bowed his head and then lifted it, just as the blessing was being finished.

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 11:02 PM

Shakhmaty absolutely exulted at what was revealed on her tray: lobster pot pie with a sherry cream sauce! She had not had such a luxurious entree since...well, since the hotel at which the Maine Chess Finals had taken place. Oddly enough, she'd had luncheon with Lucretia Claiborne that afternoon.

What? How had Faktor known--No one could have. Not even the officials knew the deal that I struck with her that morning. No one. It's impossible... Yet there it was, lobster pot pie upon her tray, and there was nothing she could do but try to enjoy it. Relish it she would. This was a redemptive meal for her, for she'd repented of her cheating ways and made no more deals. Of course, her opponent had not cared. She kept demanding money.

No matter. Once she had the ten million dollars, all would be put to rights. She could pay Lucretia all she wanted, on the sly. No one had to know at all.

Taking a gingerly bite of the lobster meat with her fork, she noticed that Corbin seemed to be uncomfortable with his meal. Roast lamb. Perhaps he was a vegetarian, or perhaps he simply did not care for lamb. Whatever the case, he also preferred to drink out of his canteen rather than his water goblet. A strange fellow, indeed. Shakhmaty continued eating and watching.

Master_Archon 08-20-2009 11:05 PM

A hard heavy knock sounded on the mansion doors, said knock resounding and reverberating throughout the entire building, showing the knockers resilience and strength.

The pair that stepped in from the outside world were quite different than the now-residents of the Faktor mansion, darker than most people who lived in Maine, and quite exotic by their descent, they were quite a sight to behold.

The first person anyone would notice was a tall, and although of average size width-wise, one could see the strain his vest and jacket buttons were having keeping his strong chest inside. He was quite obviously the knocker, and although older than any other resident, of the manor, he was still quite handsome, and if age had done anything to him, it was only to dignify him more and more as the years had gone by. In his wide hands he carried luggage, and strapped to his back were art supplies, including an easel. He smiled at the maid who had opened the door for them, but received no response from the woman, which didn't seem to hamper him in the least, seeing as he was used to far worse behavior.

To the man's right, and behind him a bit, partially blocked by his frame, stood an exquisite specimen of a young lady, whose sharp cunning eyes darted to-and-fro pseudo-innocently taking in the surroundings, the shear appearance of said eyes seemingly impaling everything they settled on with a subtle subversion.

The girl took the lead from then on, saying to the man, "Come on Higz, I hear conversing, perhaps even revelry, let's go investigate." The man merely glanced at his hands, and then smiled and nodded at her, following the young and ambitious girl into the area where all of the other guests and residents were. The girl motioned with her hand ever-so-slightly as they approached, the man setting the luggage down in response, and folding his hands in polite gesture to the others, donning a faint smile.

"Hello everyone," the girl spoke up, interrupting just about everyone speaking at the moment, not caring one bit, she herself donning a smile, only far more broad than her companion's. "My name is Shani Burdock, Heiress," she said simply, but in a somewhat elaborate way. "And this is my Majordomo, Origen Kobald-Gewerk," she introduced excitedly - "Hello," Origen said finally, but quickly, not giving anyone much of a chance to register how he sounded. On the opposite side, Shani spoke a lot, in a very soft but melodious voice that could both enchant, and chastise, when the time came.

Shani proceeded to go to each guest and either bow, or shake their hand; a rather simplistic thing to do, but also a somewhat childish, and unnecessary gesture on her part. The young woman stopped at the only other real female guest in the room, and proceeded to curtsy, smiling mischievously at the woman in front of her, then the girl proceeded to seat herself next to the older woman, the girl's Majordomo silently, and almost ominously hovering up behind the girl, and standing there politely, and inconspicuously, but positioning himself slightly towards the older woman, for both multiple, and unknown reasons.

"Hello there. I'm most certainly glad there's another lady present among the guests, I would hate to have thought what it would have been like to come to this party with nothing but men," the girl said teasingly, with an unknown twinkle in her astounding eyes. "As I introduced when I came into the room, my name's Shani, but you can call me Ebony, if you like. And this strapping older fellow is my good, and dare I say, only friend, Origen, but I just call him Higz; I'm sure he's as glad, if not more, to meet you as I am," the young woman said, raising her thin eyebrows ever-so-slightly, suggesting that she was hinting at something, or contemplating the other woman. For a brief moment the girl examined the older woman, taking in every detailed; she was dressed well, quite beautifully even, and she had all of the applications of an intellectual woman, a plus in Shani's book, considering her own intellect. The woman also had a stunning figure, one rarely seen by Shani in these areas, her own figure was a bit more petite, due to her age, but was also quite stunning, suggesting how she would look in her older years, when she reached her fellow woman's age. Shani let her slender fingers trail along her lips as she sat staring, only briefly but with a stark flat pan stare, at the other equally, if not more, beautiful woman.

Higz glanced at the older woman, then at Ebony, and tapped her softly, causing the young woman to nod and smile cheerily, if not sheepishly, "sorry, I tend to envy beautiful older women." The young woman admitted bluntly. "Oh! I forgot, I never got your name, Higz and I would greatly enjoy the knowledge of your title," she said rather extravagantly, motioning with her fingers, and a smile that she was all ears, and almost absentmindedly ignoring the fact that everyone was eating.

((Meh, not good, not bad, but it'll have to do, I was taking too long with it anyways.))

Godric Volturi 08-20-2009 11:22 PM

Corbin frowned, noticing the girl watching him. He slowly bit his lip and tapped his fork against the goblet. "If I may be excused, I have some buisness to attend to in my-" The lights went out and he frowned. Of course... stupid blizzard had knocked out too much power. He pulled out a box of matches and a candle and lit them. "Well, I guess I won't be excused."

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 11:22 PM

Henrietta closed her eyes for a moment, meditating. All is well. Everything is in place. The guests are here, every single one of them, and perhaps now we can get on with the game. I think it a rather odd way for Mister Faktor to dispose of his fortune, but it is his choice, not mine. After all, I'm only the maid! Who am I to discern his motives, or his plans for the ten million?

The gas suddenly came back on, along with the few electric lights in the house.

She heard the dumbwaiter rattle near her. Ah. He's sent the letter down. While the guests were busy eating dinner, she opened the door to the tiny compartment as quietly as a mouse would. Reading the letter with eyes that bespoke foreknowledge instead of disinterest, she loudly cleared her throat. "Ahem. I have a letter from the master of the house, which I will now read to you--if you'd be so kind as to stop talking." Silence fell over the dining room, wallpapered in a green, textured sort of drapery. All eyes looked to her. Finally, they're paying attention to me, or rather to the master...

"Dear Guests:

"I humbly regret to inform you that I will not be able to attend dinner downstairs. Please ask for Henrietta to bring me my tray. She knows where to find me. As for you: What would a New Year's Eve party be without games? The contest that must be won, in order to procure the entire sum of the ten million dollars I've earned throughout my lifetime, is exactly this.

"I am a private man, and have told no one save Henrietta of my private life. No one knows the real circumstances of my birth, or how I came to run the Icecliff Steel Foundry. For starters, Benjamin Edward Faktor is not my real name. It is a pseudonym, a moniker, one that I chose for myself because I was ashamed of my parents and their status as mere laborers. I am a self-made man, and at the end of my life, I wish to reveal what God made me.

"Look for toys I loved as a child. You shall know my name. There begins your journey, but there it does not end. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open.

"I remain your host,
Benjamin Edward Faktor"

Cyborg Ninja 08-20-2009 11:35 PM

Artemis looked over at Corbin and watched as he tossed the the drink out of his cup. He also watched as he didn't eat his food either. Artemis looked at his glass and than back over to the plant. Artemis felt a little concerned as to why he wouldn't drink the drink. After all he did say he was tired, why waste a good drink like that. Artemis than remembered that Corbin was here before all of them. He pushed his drink forward without taking a sip and just sat there looking at the others. When you're out in the streets everyday and you see someone acting odd it means they're hiding something. if they're hiding something chances are they just killed someone. Besides he wasn't that hungry, his eyes were focused on the new girl that walked in. She had a bodyguard or whatever she called him with her. As she sat down next to Shakhmaty she began making conversation with her alone; girl talk he guessed. The majordomo stood over the girl like a hawk.

"Hey big guy, do you want to sit down and eat some food, or do you plan on standing the rest of the night?"

He didn't expect the power to go out and looked around some more. The maid read a letter that came from the host himself. He was a little confused by the letter but just shrugged his shoulders.

"I guess you'll be looking for a chess set first," he said giving Shakhmaty a playful grin.

Godric Volturi 08-20-2009 11:42 PM

Corbin smirked, noting Artemis' movements. He slowly approached the man and laughed slightly. "I know what you are thinking... everyone thinks I am a murderer, but I'm not. The water just looked like it had been chlorinated and I don't know about you, but I don't drink chlorinated water." He smiled and sat down next to him. "So what are you really here for... you're not just here for a relaxing vacation and you claim that you're not here for the money, but I am quite curious as to why you are here."

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 11:47 PM


At the mention of the words chess set, Henrietta gasped. Checkmate. She noticed one of her guests trembling a little bit...

Artemis Black, the smile frozen on his face, suddenly seized up and fell forward, right smack into his plate. Shakhmaty Killian screamed, and the other guests either jumped back in startled fright or stared, unable to move. He had eaten a little bit of food before his sudden demise, which meant only one thing: either he'd had a sudden heart attack, or the dish he'd nibbled on had been poisoned--literally. Never mind the power going out. This being only the year 1911, when electricity was still rare around these parts, only a few lights in the house had been "wired". Mister Faktor had preferred gaslight.

"Oh, good heavens!" Henrietta quickly put on some butler's gloves and rushed over to where Mister Black now lay deceased, his face permanently greased by his favorite food, pasta carbonara. "No one panic. It's all under control."

Godric Volturi 08-20-2009 11:53 PM

"All under control!" Corbin roared. "If it's so under control then why did this man just die? I /knew/ there was a reason that I wasn't going to touch my food and this is it! I knew that something was going to happen! There always is something that happens when a whole bunch of guests to one man happens to appear all at once." He glared at the maid and stalked to the other end of the room. "And it's usually the workers that kill the people." Corbin frowned and sat down on the floor.

Master_Archon 08-20-2009 11:53 PM

((CRUD! He's dead, I was still typing when everything transpired! I'll edit accordingly.))

"Hey big guy, do you want to sit down and eat some food, or do you plan on standing the rest of the night?" Came the words of one of the guests, Higz looking around for the speaker, his eyes resting on a relatively handsome, but ulteriorly shifty looking fellow.

Higz simply cocked his head and frowned slightly, not understanding why he was being called "Big Guy" when he wasn't all that large, just tall, and strapping, and quite broad in the chest...and thick in the arms.....Ok, so he was pretty big in someone who didn't exercise regularly's eyes, not saying the man who had gotten his attention didn't exercise, he could just stand to be a little healthier.

Higz glanced at Ebony, who glanced up at him, nodding with a tender smile, and then returning her gaze to the older woman, still awaiting her response to the question of a title.

The "Big Guy" moved around to where the other man sat, and took a seat next to him, and from that seat Higz could see Ebony, the older woman, and he could converse with the other fellow. "No, I would rather procure my own food from the pantries later, once everyone's asleep, so I know what I'm eating. I enjoy eating certain things, and I most certainly enjoy eating healthy things," Higz said to the man finally, his voice finally being heard clearly; the only description for his said voice was fluid, somewhat deep, somewhat rough, and all around rich with Mediterranean accent, but had quite a noticeable hint of etiquette behind it.

"As for standing, yes, I would have, seeing as I'm used to it, but since you spoke up, I guess I will," he finished responding with a light smile. He proffered his strong hand in a handshake and said, "My name is Origen, as the young lady over there said, but you may call me Higz if you wish, as she does. What's your name, if I may so boldly ask?"

Before he could even give his hand the man began to seize, and then colapsed in a rather unflattering manner, right next to the poor Heiress Attendant. Who proceeded to jump out of his seat in a very urgent manner, realizing exactly what had just happened, but too late to do anything.

"He's gone...quite quickly too," came Higz' words rather neutrally, almost as if what had just happened didn't faze him in the least.

The Majordomo turned to the maid who was hovering over the man's corpse. "I'll help you carry him out if you like ma'am?"

As Higz proceeded to sit with the man who'd called him out, Ebony simply sat waiting patiently for a response from the older woman, only to have said man burst into sudden convulsions and then die right in front of her. The others seemed to be shocked, the girl was not, no, she had a more bemused look on her face as she stood and went around to the dead man, moving the plate of food away, she examined him and then returned to her seat, a cruel calculating look covering her face.

She then turned to the now terrified older woman, and smiled comfortingly, grabbing the woman's hand and patting it softly, trying to calm her. "It'll be okay, Higz will help remove the body, and after we've all gathered our senses together we can proceed to figuring out what exactly took place, we can't just instantly assume he was murdered after all, now can we?" The intelligent and practical young woman said, moving one hand up to the woman's shoulder in a friendly gesture

((...............Late, again...........I'm not editing this time.....again!))

Tysyacha 08-20-2009 11:56 PM

((Might want to edit...Artemis just died!))

Litofsky 08-20-2009 11:58 PM

The seats were uncomfortable, at best, but Mr. Reynolds had not the slightest care in the world. He picked up his silverware as politely as possible, and then slaughtered the portion of chicken that lay in front of him. Mashed potatoes along with green beans filled the side of the plate, each fresher than he had ever tasted before.

'Still, nothin' beats a home-cooked meal.' He drank water, as he had his whole life. He had never fancied soda pops.

The lights flashed on and off briefly, but he took no notice. Thunderstorms were a common occurrence in his part of the world, and electricity was too fragile a thing to be depended upon with one hundred percent consistency.

It was the face of Artemis lying in his own food that gave pause to Mr. Reynolds. As the women gasped in shock, he quietly looked down to his food, and then to the deceased. He took another bite of chicken. The next few days- God help them get that far!- would be trying, and he'd need every bit of strength possible.

Tysyacha 08-21-2009 12:06 AM

"Oh, so I'm a murderer now?" Henrietta scoffed. "The maid did it instead of the butler? I've heard that old cliche a thousand times, and I'm not falling for it! All Mister Faktor wanted was a nice, quiet New Year's Eve celebration, and lest you accuse him of being the killer, he is not. He is the kindest, most honorable man I've ever known, and he..." She heard some more rattling. "Either a train went by, or--No matter. If you'll excuse me, I must remove the body of our unfortunate guest to the cellar. It's absolutely frigid down there, and the morgue is closed this evening." The flustered maid attempted to lift the body out of the chair, but she could not do it.

Shakhmaty suddenly stood up. "Tell us the truth. Who could have poisoned Mister Black's food? If it wasn't you, or Mister Faktor, then who did it?"

Henrietta stared at her beautiful young guest with cold, grey eyes.

"You want the truth? This mansion is haunted, Miss Killian. Here be ghosts."

Godric Volturi 08-21-2009 12:11 AM

Corbin rolled his eyes. "I'm so sure... if there are ghosts here, then why haven't you gotten an excorcist to come to the house? There is one in town... or are you too afraid to excorsize the house." He looked down at the body of the man who was kinder to him than the other guests. "Umm... let me help you... I don't want his body decaying... he was a kindly man." Corbin said, glaring at the maid and picked the man's feet up.

Cyborg Ninja 08-21-2009 12:12 AM

((ghosts huh looks like black's back! jk, by the way is this based off the book And Then There Were None?))

Tysyacha 08-21-2009 12:13 AM

((Yep. Although there will be SOME left by the end!))

Cyborg Ninja 08-21-2009 12:17 AM

((I figured so, I noticed some similarities between the two. But now I really wanna know what happens here))

Master_Archon 08-21-2009 12:19 AM

"The maid did it instead of the butler? I've heard that old cliche a thousand times, and I'm not falling for it! All Mister Faktor wanted was a nice, quiet New Year's Eve celebration, and lest you accuse him of being the killer, he is not. He is the kindest, most honorable man I've ever known, and he..."

Higz got a look of mock shock on his face, and then spoke up in a rather humoring manner, "I resent that madam, I would never poison someone, too cowardly." His attitude was quite strange for someone who just witnessed a death not but a few minutes ago. Higz proceeded to lift the cooling body with amazing ease, and looked down at the maid with a smile.

"Show the way, and, sorry son, I can get him," the much older man said to the very young boy with a very faint smile, showing that he didn't want someone his age around the dead, showing his very minute maternal side.

Litofsky 08-21-2009 12:25 AM

"Ghosts, eh? Madam, I do say that you'll have to try a little harder than that if you want to dissuade us from ten million dollars. The man may be dead, but nothing is unexplainable, and those that can't explain something aren't searching hard enough. Dispense with the foolery, and get to the point!"

Mr. Reynolds was standing now, his meal entirely devoured, save two green beans. It was delicious, but he had no stomach for ghost stories.

Godric Volturi 08-21-2009 12:29 AM

Corbin's soft violet eyes turned hard. Whoever did this to Artemis would pay... he swore it silently over the dead man's body. He looked at Higz. "I don't care... I'm going to help you, regardless. That man was the closest thing I had to a friend, in the short time I knew him... besides... I watched my mother and father being murdered... my father's bloodied body fell on the floor, his neck gashed by a knife, I was hiding under the bed in the hotel room and as for my mother... she was murdered in our own home not three months later... we were playing a game and then I saw as a man broke into the house and shot her with a hand gun... the ironic thing is later, that very hand gun killed the same man and it was given to me, in memory of my mother..." He murmured, running his hand, subconsciously along the hand gun in his pocket. "So I have seen death and dead bodies... so whatever you are trying to keep me from, I don't care... I'm not afraid of death. Death is immenint... but murder must be brought to justice... besides, I would like to observe the corpse..."

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