November 2006 Archives

J.D. Stone and the Case of the Bloody Knife

Chapter 3

By Dwayne MacInnes

I immediately called the station to ask Dan to arrest Brent. After I gave the order, I waited until the coroner and Deputies Ed Douglas and Lars "Sonny" Thomas arrived. Both deputies quickly contained the crime scene and were thorough in gathering any evidence at the scene. I had a few words with Mike Harris, the coroner, and some last minute instructions for my deputies before I headed back to town.

Back at the station, Dan had Brent locked away behind bars. Our jail is not large, so there are only three cells that sit behind the main desk. Dan sat behind the desk leaning back in the wooden swivel chair resting his feet upon the desk's large top. Jeanie sat across the room from Dan at her dispatching station. The two were in conversation when I walked in.

Dan nearly fell backwards trying to compose himself. He knew I did not care for him having his feet upon the desk. In any case, he managed to regain his feet without killing himself. I hid my smile with a rough smirk.

I looked over to the first cell to see Brent Underwood in the blue jail digs sitting on his bed at the far side of the cell. He had his head bowed low, so I did not immediately see the bruises and scratches on his face. When he looked up at me, I then saw the beaten Brent had taken. His left eye was nearly swollen shut, a butterfly bandage held a cut above his right eyebrow together, and there were a series of five parallel scratches on his left cheek.

"Did you find anything on Brent?" I asked.

"Yes sir, in his backpack I found a letter from Victoria. You can read it. It is on your desk and this bloody hunting knife," Dan pointed over to the knife sealed away in a baggie on the desk. The knife was the standard hunting knife one could find in any outfitting store. Except it had a nice polished bone handle with B.U. engraved on the pommel.

"I assume you gathered the suspect's clothes as evidence as well?" I usually don't second-guess my deputies, but with Dan, I had to make exceptions. The boy was still learning. Once he almost had a suspect's clothes cleaned, fortunately we retrieved them before we lost the evidence on them to the washing machine.

"Sheriff, I have them separated and sealed up nice and tight."

"Have you read Brent his rights?"

"Yes sir," Dan smiled in his youthful and a naïve way.

"Have you questioned him yet?"

"Just his initial statement. He claimed that some unknown jumped him on Lower Country road while he was out for a walk. I had just finished it when you called to have me place him under arrest."

"Good Dan, we may make a lawman out of you yet," I didn't think Dan's smile could get any bigger. "Take the evidence down to the crime lab, have Floyd look it over."

Our crime lab would have many other departments laughing. It was more of a garage run by Floyd Jenkins. Nevertheless, he and his two assistants ran an efficient operation. He was good at taking fingerprints, typing blood, and a lot of science stuff that I could never comprehend in school.

Dan trotted off for Floyd's while I pulled a chair up next to the cell containing Brent. He looked up at me with his one good eye. It contained all the sorrow and misery of the world.

"You know why you've been arrested right?"

"Yes, sheriff. Dan said there was a murder on Upper Country road and he found a bloody knife in my backpack. I don't know how..."

I held up my hand to forestall him. "Before I ask you a few questions I want to make sure of a couple of things."


"Did Dan give you your one free phone call?"

"Yes, sheriff."

"I hope you called your lawyer. Because my second question is whether you want to talk to me now or with your lawyer present. It would really speed things up if he was on his way in either event."

"No, I called my girlfriend."

"Dan told you who was murdered right?"

"Well no, he just mentioned something about a murder on Upper Country road."

"Did he mention that it was your girlfriend who was murdered?"

"That's impossible; I just talked to her ten minutes ago!"

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Nebrion's Quest

Chapter 8: Castle Cleaning Service

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Perhaps it was the pessimist in me, but I knew we were not going to emerge outside. Every dungeon has its castle. Thus, as we emerged from the dungeons, I was not surprised to find myself in a castle.

At this point, we had to make a decision. It was a castle of unknown size, but we were on a mission. We were sent to fulfill Nebrion's quest. That is, we were sent to eliminate some monsters that were pestering the town. If we left the monsters in this castle unmolested, we were shirking our duty. Thus, we voted on whether to clean out the castle, or search for the exit and leave.

Against my wishes, the group decided that we should fulfill our quest and eliminate the monsters in the castle. Since orcs do not carry much treasure, it was not going to be a profitable task. After all we have been through, I did not expect Nebrion to be true to his word and pay us handsomely. I have the feeling that he does not expect us to get back. Thus, accomplishing his quest is a waste of our time.

However, the do-gooders in the party felt that it was best to help the town. They had some altruistic motive to help the town for no reward. Since Jean was the primary representative for this point of view, I guess I could go along with her. She owed me quite a bit, and this was going to cement the deal.

Naturally, this meant that we needed to go from room to room and take care of any creatures in that room. It also meant that we had to look out for traps and needed someone to unlock doors. That is right; it meant that I had to lead the way. Sometimes, I cannot believe how much of a sucker I am.

The master or mistress of this castle is an interesting person. The first room we came to was a kennel of sorts. It was a regular room within the castle where there were many varieties of dogs. However, there were also wolves, direwolves, werewolves, and other varieties of canine monstrosities.

Gudrid felt sorry for the beasts being cooped up inside as they were. Thus, the pangs of guilt she may have felt for killing them were eased. She did get a few to fight on our side for a while, but the fight with their kin was too much for them. In the end, all of the beasts were put down.

Aside from the beasts, we also encountered some humans. Some bandits had taken up residency in a few of the rooms. They were a bit surprised to see us. I guess not everyday you find lizards in armor wandering through a castle. Moreover, we were excellent fighters and made quick work of them.

Personally, I like fighting bandits. Bandits like treasure, and there was plenty to be had from these groups. I was feeling less put upon with the trinkets I was collecting off these bandits. Gudrid was also less anxious. Perhaps she could see that we would be outside before long, and her spirits had picked up. Then again, perhaps it was just the dogs.

Apparently, all of the experimenting was happening in the dungeon. We did not have to fight any zombies or any type of abomination in the castle proper. In fact, we did not fight any orcs either. Apparently, the comfort of the surface was too much for orcs. Perhaps that is why some bandits infiltrated the castle.

We went through the castle room by room. In each room, we would take care of any occupants of that room. The castle was becoming free of all life. One room was infested with spiders and we took care of them. Naturally, these were not your ordinary bug eating spiders. These were huge man-eaters. In fact, a few bandits had fallen victim to these enormous arachnids.

Furthermore, rats had taken over the kitchen. Some of these rats were as big as dogs. There must have been plenty for them to eat. They probably would not have left the castle and terrorized the town, but it was a good deed to exterminate them.

We were a regular castle cleaning service. There was no pest too big or too small. We will take care of all of your problem vermin. Of course, they would need someone to clean up after us. We left the bodies where they died. This castle was going to smell something awful in a couple of days.

We were about to finish off the castle when we encountered them. There was a largish room down the hall from the kitchen. If this were a functioning castle, it would be the chief butler's quarters. It was off the main thoroughfare, but it had access to the entire house. This group had put there nest there.

When I opened the door, I was surprised to find lizard people. There was about a dozen nesting in this room designed for one. There was a slight shock and hesitation as the two groups of lizard people stared at each other. A moment later, Jean was in their midst swinging her orc slayer. Luckily for us, we could tell the difference between the groups. We were the ones wearing armor. They used their spears to great effect, but we did make quick work of them.

According to Gudrid, lizard people nest in warm spots close to food. The butler's room was on the south end of the castle, and it was quite warm. As for their choice of food, it was the rats. They were not like the iguanas I have read about that grow large by eating leaves, fruits, and vegetables. These were carnivorous.

We made our second run through the castle to make sure we had taken care of everything. While rats formerly overrode the kitchen, there was still plenty of unspoiled food there. Thus, we ate well that night and gathered plenty of provisions for our trip back to town.

Further, I got some alone time. I found an empty bedroom and claimed it for my own. What the others did was none of my concern. I would have liked it if Jean would have joined me, but I was tired. In addition, I am not very familiar with the female lizard anatomy. It may have been awkward if she had joined me.

We all had a good rest. In the morning, we ate another big meal and began our journey back to town. I sure hope someone knows which direction we should head, because I had no idea where we were.

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J.D. Stone and the Case of the Bloody Knife

Chapter 4

By Dwayne MacInnes

It took me a couple of seconds to regain my composure. The last thing I expected to hear from Brent was that he had just spoken to the deceased. I cleared my throat before I began again.

"I think that we need to clear something up. Who did you call?"

Brent's face reflected the same confusion that I'm sure I wore on my own. "I told you sheriff I called my girlfriend, Betty Vermont. Please, tell me she's alright!" his voice pleaded.

I let the air out between my lips, "I owe you an apology, as far as I know Betty is doing just fine. It was just a case of mistaken identity."

"Thank God," Brent sank back down on his bunk.

"Now, I must ask you again if you'd like to waive your right to have an attorney present during questioning."

"Sure, I have nothing to hide. In fact, I'm the victim here. I was the one attacked."

"Do you know Victoria Drummond?"

The shock on Brent's face told me he did. "Vicky? What happened to Vicky?"

"Miss Drummond was found dead at her residence. How well did you know Miss Drummond?"

Brent's face now turned a deep red as he turned his face away. "We were...lovers I guess. You know how she was. I was her latest fling. Anyways, I was until I broke things off weeks ago. Look sheriff, Betty doesn't know any of this. But, we are engaged now. I broke up with Vicky when I realized Betty was the one. Please don't let her find out."

"I'm sorry, but she's going to find out once the press gets a hold of this story."

Brent buried his face into the thin mattress of his bunk and began to sob uncontrollably. I left the young man to his inner demons and walked over to the desk.

It was not long before Betty walked into the station. I approached her before she could ask about Brent.

"Miss Vermont," I said as I ushered her to a bench at the far end of the room. Jeanie's desk was far enough away that we could talk in confidence.

Betty sat down on the wooden bench and looked up at me as I took a seat next to her. Concern and anxiety fought for control over her facial expression. "What's going on? How's Brent?" she finally asked.

"He's alright, but I need to talk to you first. Do you know anything about Victoria Drummond?" A dark cloud passed over Betty's face at the mention of the victim's name.

"What has she gone and done now!" Betty said in a harsh whisper as she looked around to make sure that no one could hear her. Before I could say anything, Betty started whispering in an angry voice. "Yeah, I know her. I also know about her and Brent. Brent doesn't know that I do and I don't want him to find out if you know what I mean.

"She's been calling around for him every since he picked me over her. I think I've intercepted all her calls so far. Just last week she called a couple of days after Brent proposed to me. To tell the truth sheriff, I don't think anyone has ever dumped her and it hurt her pride. Anyways, she just calls and demands that I let her talk to Brent. We get in this yelling match on the phone. Fortunately, Brent had to go into work for an emergency job. You know he's the top mechanic at Ace's Garage. But, she won't take no for an answer. I finally tell her that if she ever shows her face around or even talks to Brent again I will personally kill her. Well, I really took care of her she'll never bother us again."

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Nebrion's Quest

Chapter 9: Gypsies, Were-cats, and Bears - Oh my!

By Douglas E. Gogerty

We were now outside. We were in the elements. The ranger in our party was quite happy now. I guess if she is happy, that is better for all of us. However, since we are now outside, we have a completely different set of problems. For instance, where do we go if it starts to rain? Gudrid may be happy sleeping in a puddle of water, but I would rather have a nice warm bed with a roof over it.

Not only that, but with four walls, you can be aware of your security when you rest. Out in the open, someone must keep watch. The spell casters need their rest to be able to concentrate when the time comes. That means that I always have a shift at the watch. Let me tell you, there is no money in that. Of course, I do not sleep that much anyway, but it is the principle of the thing.

Another thing about being outside is the change of encounters. I guess that is a good thing. I think I had my fill with orcs, abomination, and the like. However, now we can be walking along and a 14-foot tall grizzly bear will charge us. That changes your perspective in a hurry.

When we left the castle, we entered a pleasant forest glen. I do not know why someone named this forest 'Glen' but they did. It must have been some sort of lineman for the county.

It was good to see the sun again. A band of gypsy bandits halted our pleasant walk. Let me tell you, they were a grumpy bunch. We had just fought our way out of the mines, dungeon, and castle starting without weaponry, and now we faced some bandits who wanted all our things. Not to mention, we looked like lizard people.

This did not sit well with Jean. Paladins are like that. With her pleasant little lizard female roar, she cut through those bandits like a warm knife through rendered pork fat. Before Glaf could yell "Saleenus Salatt Ska" and bring down an ice storm, she had finished them off. Naturally, the ice storm came anyway.

I found out why these bandits were so desperate. They had nothing. They did not have a single gold piece with them. All they had were a few scraps of food. They should have packed up and left a long time ago. Dieing is not much of a way to make a living. Now they are going to feed the wolves.

After we took care of the gypsies, we continued our journey towards the town. We found a hidden trail and followed it. It led up a steep slope not far from the gypsy camp. After a short walk, we found a well-secured windmill and cabin. Well, that was until I got there. The owners put a tricky lock on the door, and they placed a trap on the door. This did its jobs of keeping those bandits out, but it was no match for me.

When we got inside, we had to fend off some spiders and rats. It appeared that the residents had not been there in quite a while. Thus, I thought we should make ourselves at home. I started a fire in the stove after I killed the spider that was living in the woodpile. We ate a nice meal and discussed strategy.

No one knew where we were. Thus, we had no clue where the town was. We did not think it would be far, but which direction should we go? I said we should go north. You always go north when you are lost. As usual, I was out-voted. For some reason, I have the feeling they do not trust me.

We were going to rest up in the windmill and then be on our way in the morning. They had a nice soft bed with an animal skin blanket. Since I was always on watch, I was taking the bed. I offered to share with Jean or Gudrid, but they declined the offer.

After we broke our fast in the morning, we headed south. We walked quite a distance, and we came to an enormous lake. Unless we were going to take the docked boat, we were not going to go any farther south. Naturally, I did not tell them that I told them so. I was a grownup about it. I would never gloat about being right. I would never smile smugly and taunt them.

We did search the boat for any maps of the area. Unfortunately, we only found navigational charts. Did anyone even know the name of the town we were looking for? How did we know it was not on the navigational charts if we did not know the name of the town?

Instead of arguing with them, I searched the rest of the boat. It was loaded with some local concoctions. On this ship, they had cases of ale, wine, and other spirits. The ship could be quite the party barge. Jean forbade me to take the alcohol, but what she does not know will not hurt her. It was a mighty tasty ale.

Since south was a dead end, we had to back track. Since this trip was all for naught, I suggested we spend another night at the windmill. However, they thought more gypsies would have shown up. So, instead we headed northwest to avoid the devastated gypsy camp.

I do not know why I bother to give suggestions. They just ignore them. Perhaps some day they will learn.

We walked for quite a while, and we came upon this ring in the forest. It looked like some sort of druid temple. However, it had been taken over for some nefarious purpose. Druids would not burn trees and spread the ashes in the shape of a five-pointed star.

In the center of the star was a foul smelling cauldron. Around the bubbling pot, strangely dressed humans danced and chanted. A couple of mechanical men guarded the temple. That was another sign these people were not druids.

I snuck in to get a closer look. I did not know what they were up to, but it certainly had to be trouble. Gudrid was incensed at the desecration of a druid temple, and before we could devise a battle strategy, she was off.

As the full moon came out, it was obvious what they were doing. They were were-people. Some were cats, some were wolves, and some were other strange creatures. That is just what we needed. We needed to fight a bunch of werewolves in this forest.

We had surprise on our side, and we made quick work of them. The golems were difficult, but Gudrid ignored them and went right after the worshipers. Jean, Thorvald and I pounded on the mechanical beasts while Gudrid and Glaf fought the others.

I was longing for the windmill as clouds began to roll in. The full moon had a ring around it, and that meant it would rain soon. There was no shelter to be found. We were going to get wet. What does Gudrid see in this great outdoors? I will take a nice inn any day. If this keeps up, I might go back to the orcish dungeon. Who knows what else we will find wandering about in the woods?

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J.D. Stone and the Case of the Bloody Knife

Chapter 5

By Dwayne MacInnes

"You do realize that Victoria Drummond is dead." The shock of my statement took the fury out of Betty. She appeared frightened and took a couple of minutes to find the right words.

"I didn't kill her, honest sheriff. It was just a threat to keep her from bothering us." Betty looked on the verge of tears when finally it all sunk in. "Wait a minute. Is that why Brent is here? You think he did it! That's impossible. He...he..."

I stood up and looked towards the cell. Things were starting to look less cut and dry than they did in the beginning. Brent was still sobbing in his bunk oblivious to Betty's and my conversation. I looked over towards Jeanie; the dispatcher was currently on the phone. I returned my attention to Betty who had been studying me the whole time. Her face told me she had many questions to ask me. Unfortunately, I didn't seem to have any answers.

"Now, now, why don't you compose yourself and I'll let you talk to Brent. It looks like he could really use some cheering up." I escorted Betty over to the cell. I gave her a chair so that she could sit next to her fiancé. Of course, I had to make sure she didn't have anything she could pass to him. The file in the cake may have gone out of style, but you never know when someone may try a variation on the theme.

It was just the tonic Brent needed, the young man perked up when he saw Betty. He dried his eyes and slid down the bunk toward the bars. They started to talk in low voices through the cell. I went over and sat behind my desk. I read the letter written to Brent by Victoria. It pretty much said that he was making a big mistake by getting engaged to Betty and that she still loved him. I leaned back in the chair deep in thought. I absently watched Jeanie on the phone. She hung up the phone and looked over at me. She started to say one thing and then she stopped.

"J.D. what's the problem?" It was clear I must have been advertising I had a lot on my mind.

"The water just got a little murkier," was all I replied. "You have a message for me?"

"Sonny just called. He delivered the unfortunate news to Victor Drummond. I guess the old man took it pretty hard. Mr. Drummond would like to talk to you as soon as you can.

"Also, Eddy called to say they were wrapping things up at the crime scene and was heading back to the station."

I smiled there was only one person in the world that got away with calling Ed Douglas, Eddy outside his own mother and that was Jeanie. Jeanie was a young woman right out of the academy. She was cheerful and got along with everyone. It was well known to everyone that she had eyes for Dan, well known to everyone, that is, except for Dan.

As if I had conjured him up by thinking about him, Dan walked through the door. Jeanie immediately flashed a smile that she reserved only for Dan. Dan smiled back in his own goofy way and gave her a little wave.

"Sheriff, Floyd typed the blood found on the knife and it is a match for Victoria Drummond," Dan said a little too loudly. Fortunately, Brent was too engaged in his conversation with Betty.

I walked over to the Deputy Sheriff and talked in a low voice. "Keep it down a little, okay. We don't want everyone to know about the investigation until it is complete."

"Oh, sorry sheriff," Dan said sheepishly.

"Did you get any prints to tie this thing all up?"

"Sorry, but Floyd said that there are none on the knife. He thinks that they may have been wiped off."

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Nebrion's Quest

Chapter 10: Cold and Damp vs. Warm and Dry

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Damp sums it up nicely. During the night, the skies opened up and dumped buckets and buckets upon us. Everything we owned was now wet and starting a fire was going to be quite a chore even with Glaf's magic.

In the sky above, the forces of cold and damp were battling against the warm and dry. A line had been drawn in the sky, and our cold and damp clothes indicated which side we were on.

A strong chilly gust of wind, a bolt of lightning, and a clap of thunder indicated that cold and damp were going to put on a big push. How could the sunny force of the warm and dry compete with that? It looked like cold and damp was going to win the day.

We had other things to worry about besides the battle in the sky. We were lost. We were looking for a city whose name we did not know. The forest surrounded us and it seemed that we went around in circles. If we went one direction for a while and then reversed our course, we seemed to go to a different location.

Further, we would battle goblins, werecats, and other creatures on our hike. To add to our misery, Gudrid would not allow us to kill a deer for food. We were eating gristly grizzly bear instead. Some tender venison would have eased my suffering, but there was going to be none of that.

It was going to be a miserable hike, but you would not hear me complain about it. I would not let anyone in the party know of my utter discomfort. My hunger was my own little secret. I would just trudge along quietly collecting no treasure as we fought off yet another pack of winter wolves.

I was about to completely turn into a cold and damp fish-person when we were attacked by a large group of goblins. At least the activity could potentially warm me up as I jumped into action.

Before we killed all of the goblins, I smelled something. Further, I heard a distinct grunt in the distance. Normally, I would have ignored it because we were in the middle of a skirmish. However, Thorvald must have sensed them also and he ran towards the smell.

The goblins would be vanquished in a few moments anyway, so I followed him. He ducked behind a rock and spotted them. I came up behind him and saw them too. We looked quietly so we would not scare them off. Gudrid would not complain if we made a meal out of them. Moreover, they were in our path. We just had to be careful not to destroy a carcass or two. If we could manage a clean kill, we would be eating well tonight.

Just then, the forces of warm and dry made their push. The sun came out from behind the clouds and a warm breeze neutralized the chill in the air. Things had turned for the better for us. The sun thoroughly warmed me, and a pack of wild boar was waiting for us. We could be warm and dry eating a nice pork dinner by dark.

I fired a couple of crossbow bolts at the boar killing one. The rest of our party came up behind us just as the pack charged at our location. The thought of a cured ham made my mouth water as each of the wild pigs fell. I think even Jean was looking forward to roast pig at the evening meal. It was not going to be bacon, but it was still going to be delicious.

Thorvald and I cleaned a couple of carcasses and we marched on. In the morning, it seemed to me that the cold and damp had too many powerful weapons on their side. The cold wind, the rain, the thunder and lightning seemed an undefeatable combination. However, the warm and dry side just waited for the right time to bring out their most powerful weapon -- the sun.

We decided to make camp early to take advantage of the sun and dry out our things. The sun was glorious against my lizard skin. I now understood what it was like to be a lizard lying on a rock basking in the sun. Modesty may have prevented the others from stripping down, but I had no such qualm.

Jean started a fire and we began roasting the pigs on a spit. Off in the distance, I heard a cow mooing. "Perhaps we could have beef tomorrow," I thought to myself.

We sat around the fire and ate excellent barbequed pork. Most of my clothes were now dry, and I was beginning to enjoy the camping experience. It was a quiet starry night, and most of all I was dry.

However, as darkness was approaching Jean sounded a minor alarm. The cow I had heard earlier was now closer and continued to draw near. It seemed that an ox cart was being drawn towards our camp.

I snuck up close to get a close look. A lone female in a roguish costume was riding in the cart. She was quite plain, and I was sure she was not a threat. She had a look of concern on her face.

"How now," I greeted her.

"Oh! You startled me," she responded.

"What brings you towards our camp?" I asked.

"I smelt your food, and I thought..."

"You thought you would see if we would share."

"Well... Yes."

"Come on. Let us hear your story as you sup with us."

The woman drew her wagon close to our camp and dismounted. She neared the fire to warm herself. Jean cut of a bit of meat and gave it to her. The rogue hungrily gobbled down the food we provided her.

"There are not too many lizard people who would share their food with a human," she said after eating a good portion of food.

"We are not actually lizard people," responded Glaf.

"Some wizard or sorcerer has placed a spell on us," added Gudrid.

"Where are you headed?" the rogue asked.

"There is a town not far from here," replied Thorvald.

"You mean the town just north of here?" she asked.

"Why yes...," replied Glaf with some hesitation.

"Were you sent on an adventure by the wizard Nebrion?" she continued.

"Why do you ask?" I inquired before anyone could give her all of our information.

"There is something fishy about that wizard. You see, my fiancé and a group of adventurers went on one of Nebrion's adventures. I have not seen him in several months. I can only assume that the quest he was sent on was rigged."

"So you assume that we also partook in some sort of 'rigged' adventure," I stated taking control of the conversation.

"My Paul is in an experienced group of adventurers. They would not have taken an assignment that was too dangerous."

"We ran into a Paul..." started Gudrid before I could stop her.

"Was he all right?" she asked.

"If the Paul we ran into was your fiancé," I continued after I glared at Gudrid. "He was fine."

"I am so grateful for some news," she gushed. "What else can you tell me?"

"What is in it for us?" I asked.

"The town you are heading for has been under attack by many monsters. They are not about to let you walk in the front gate. In fact, they will probably be quite hostile. I know a way in."

"Continue," I prodded.

"There is a statue along the wall. Behind the statue is a large crack. If you use the statue as a boost, you should be able to get into the city from there."

"Paul was a prisoner in a dungeon of a castle just north of the big lake. He was a bit hungry, but he was fine. We armed him and some of his adventurers, and we cleared the way for him. He may still be in the castle or perhaps on his way to town."

The rogue was so happy from our news, that she planted a big wet kiss upon my lips. Her tears flowed quite freely and we gave her much assurance that the man we ran into was her husband to be.

We talked and visited well into the night. In the morning, we ate more pork and parted ways. She headed south towards the castle, and we went north towards the town.

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J.D. Stone and the Case of the Bloody Knife

Chapter 6

By Dwayne MacInnes

"Wiped off?" I said to myself more than to anyone else.

"Actually sheriff, I believe maybe Brent was wearing gloves so maybe there were never any fingerprints," Dan offered optimistically.

"Did you find any gloves on Brent?"

"No, but I bet he threw them away."

I walked around behind the desk and sat down. I looked at the letter again. Things were not adding up here. Dan just smiled at me from across the desk holding his Smokey Bear hat in his hands. After awhile he started to brush some lint off the front of his brown shirt, and then he started to polish his badge when a thought struck me.

"Was there blood on Brent's clothes?"

"Yeah, there was a little on his sweatshirt, but that is all I noticed. Floyd is looking into that now."

"Nothing on his pants?" I probed.

"No sir, just on the sweatshirt."

"This doesn't make sense," I said thinking aloud.

"How so sheriff? He had the knife in his backpack, he was fleeing the scene of the crime, and he had blood on his sweatshirt." Dan pretty much tied everything up. It looked good. However, only on the surface, when everything was examined more closely it started to unravel.

"Why would Brent wipe prints off a bloody knife and then throw it in his backpack?"

"I told you sheriff, I believe he used gloves. I bet if we looked around the area we'd find them," Dan said smugly.

"Maybe, but why throw out gloves and then keep the knife?"

"I dunno? Maybe he forgot to throw the knife away?"

"Perhaps, people get absent minded. But, if he didn't have gloves and he wiped off the prints, why didn't wipe off the blood also? He could have done both at the same time."

Dan just shrugged his shoulders, "Maybe he was in too much of a hurry and forgot?" The excuse did not sound very likely.

"Plus, I saw the crime scene and it was covered in blood. It was all over the place including the ceiling. Brent's clothes should have been covered in the stuff." I continued.

"I think he changed his clothes and tossed them with the gloves. I tell you sheriff they are out there, probably on the side of the road."

"Dan, did you notice the scratches on Brent's face?"

"Yep, right down his left cheek. Probably when they were fighting, Victoria scratched him. You know how women tend to claw in a fight," Dan smiled and folded his arms across his chest. He believed he had me on this.

"You read Miss Drummond's letter, correct?" I shot back.

"Yeah, so what does that have to do with anything?" Dan queried.

"When most people write, the letters in their words tend to slant to the right; Victoria Drummond's don't because she is left handed. If she were to scratch Brent he should have the wound on his right cheek."

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Nebrion's Quest

Chapter 11: Into the Inn and Out

By Douglas E. Gogerty

We had not walked very far when we emerged out of the forest. There it was, a ragged town surrounded by a wall. Perhaps it was the city we wanted, and perhaps not. None of us had seen it from this vantage point; however, everything pointed to this being the town where Nebrion was living.

As we approached the city wall, a bandit gang came out of nowhere and attacked us. Clearly, they were desperate because it looked as if there was no more wealth in the city. The group was gaunt, lean and ferocious; however, we were in no mood for them. We quickly and easily dispatched them.

To my surprise, after the skirmish, I smelled cooking food. Someone was stewing meat and vegetables. That could only mean one thing -- an Inn. There was still a functioning Inn near this town.

The group followed my nose, and I led them to the John St. George-Gogerty Inn. It must have been the first time they listened to me. Nevertheless, there was a quaint little inn nestled next to the exterior city wall. Moreover, it was open for business.

I rushed right in and ordered their finest ale from the barkeep. It is unusual for me to imbibe this early in the day, but it had been weeks. Further, the last ale I had was mediocre at best. I cannot comment on the taste of this ale because my palate was out of shape and turpentine would have tasted as sweet.

Once again, I had forgotten about my appearance, and the bartender did not give it a second thought. However, he began, "So you went on Nebrion's quest..."

I was a bit confused at first, but remembering my appearance I replied, "Why yes we have."

"I must say that you not the first to make it this far, but you look like you are none the worse for wear."

"Fortune has smiled upon us," I replied.

"May it continue to do so."

"Many thanks, may I ask you some questions?"

"I will do my best to answer, another ale?"

"Certainly," I replied draining the last of my first mug. "What can you tell me of Nebrion?"

"Not much. He has been quite free with the gold, but he is not one to spend it on pleasures. He has entertained some 'clients' in here. They were shady types. My guess is that he had been recruiting bandits as well as adventurers."


"He has been making a great deal of coin since the attacks on the city began. The city is in ruins, but he has a lucrative business of some sort."

"Where do you suppose he gets his wealth?"

"I cannot say, and I would not want to speculate about one of my occasional customers."

"I certainly understand. With the impending completion of the quest he has sent us on, we need to know how we could get up to see him?"

"He lives in a tower with no doors or stairs up. He sees guests by appointment only, and then brings them up himself."

"So, if we manage to get into the city, we may not be able to get up to see him."

"If you have fulfilled his quest," replied the bartender. "He would certainly let you in."

"Unless it would cost him too much," I mumbled to myself.

"What was that?" asked the bartender.

"Nothing," I responded quickly. "Who do we see about getting an appointment?"

"He has an apprentice who is in charge of such things. He lives on the first floor of the tower. Go see him."

"Thanks barkeep! The ale is fabulous."

I went over to where the group was speaking to a single adventurer. He was anxious to speak to us in private. The group asked me to accompany him to his room and find out what he wanted. They asked me because of my way with people.

We entered his room to where he could speak freely. "Are you trying to see Nebrion?" he began.

"We have business with the wizard," I replied.

"He is not expecting you."

"I should think not, but we have completed his quest."

"Has your appearance taught you nothing?"

"I am used to looking like this now. I may keep it."

"Very well, I have information to help you get in to see Nebrion."

"What kind of information?"

"I know of a way to get in to see him without making an appointment."

"What is it going to cost?"

"My sister Tanya went on one of Nebrion's adventures and I have not seen or heard from her in quite some time."


"I would like to see Nebrion dead. That is all I ask."

"Give me your information, and we may oblige you. However, I have information for you."

"Let us exchange."

"Very well," I agreed.

"The previous owner of Nebrion's tower had a magic rug to get her in and out of the tower. When Nebrion took over, he had no need for the rug and gave it his apprentice to destroy. This individual cut the rug into four pieces and sold the pieces. These pieces were spread across the realm. If you collect them, you can put them together and use the rug to enter his tower."

"Do we look like rug repair people?"

"Nebrion has forgotten that the repairing device remains in his tower. You just need to collect the four bundles and place them in the machine."

"Where can I find these bundles?"

"I know of one that is close, but first your news of my sister."

"If your sister is an attractive rogue traveling with a man named Paul, she is safe. We came across their party several days ago. They should be coming into town in a few days."

"Are you sure?"

"We sold the group our excess equipment, and we cleaned out the dungeon in which they were held. They were hungry, but were in good health."

"Here is a bundle," the adventurer said as he pulled a bundle from his chest. "This is a genuine piece of the rug. However, the apprentice did create a few counterfeit bundles. Unless you are good at identifying carpeting, you may collect more than four bundles. One it is rumored to be guarded by a Minotaur."

"Thank you stranger. This may be of some service."

I did not tell him that we had already collected the fragments being guarded by the Minotaur.

I reported to the rest of the group about what I had learned. They were relieved that it was indeed the correct city. It was indeed Nebrion's tower, which we could see on the other side of the wall.

I also informed them about the magic rug that would allow us entry. Thus, if we did not wish to advertise our entry, we had an alternate method of entry.

We spent a nice evening in the inn. It was going to be another night in a bed -- alone. I was beginning to look forward to returning to human form. We would explore the wall in the morning.

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J.D. Stone and the Case of the Bloody Knife

Chapter 7

By Dwayne MacInnes

Dan was about to come up with another excuse when Ed walked into the office. He smiled over at Jeanie who was working on the daily paperwork that comes with the job. She flashed a smile back.

"Well, sheriff I'm sorry I took longer than expected to get back. Mike Harris wanted me to give you his preliminary autopsy report. So I had to wait around the coroner's office until he was done."

Ed Douglas was a little older than I was. In fact, he was the oldest deputy I had on staff. He was tall and stocky. You could tell by his height and build that he used to play football during high school many years ago. He used to be darn good too. If he wanted, he could have probably gone off to play for a college team. However, instead he went to the academy and pursued a career in law enforcement.

Ed made a great deputy. He got along with everyone, was easy going, and he rarely lost his cool. The only times I have ever notice Ed to lose his temper was a couple of times around Dan. For some reason Dan would occasionally get under his skin. Like the time Dan started banging around the coffeemaker Ed brought from home. Dan could not get it to work and when he can't get things to operate for some reason he thinks banging them around will fix the problem. Well, Ed said a couple of harsh words and then proceeded to plug the coffeemaker in. It has worked great since.

Don't get me wrong. Dan and Ed get along great, most of the time. They even spend a lot of their off time together.

"Well, what do we have?" I asked Ed as he slapped a file folder onto my desk.

"Miss Drummond died from someone slitting her throat with a sharp instrument. Most likely it was a knife of some sort."

I was paging through the report looking for anything that might catch my eye. "Ed, did Mike find any skin scrapings under Victoria's fingernails?"

"No, none. In fact, Doc Harris believes that there wasn't even a struggle. She has no signs of bruising or lacerations. It looks like she was caught by surprise."

"This case is getting stranger by the minute. You saw the crime scene. The place was busted up. You think it was staged?"

"I don't know sheriff? Johnny said there was a lot of yelling."

"In all that blood did you find any footprints?"

"The only footprints or fingerprints for that matter we found around the crime scene were the ones belonging to Johnny and you and of course the deceased. Everything else was smudged."

Dan's eyes widen. You could almost see the 15-watt light bulb blink on over his head. He snapped his fingers and then started to wave it around. "I got it sheriff!" he blurted out excitedly. I motioned for him to lower his voice. Even Brent and Betty looked over at us. We waited until they returned to their conversation then I motioned for Dan to continue.

"It's so obvious," Dan moved in closer to Ed and me before he began to share his revelation with us. "I think Johnny and Brent were working together. Johnny kills Victoria with Brent's hunting knife. He wipes off the handle in a hurry, but forgets to wipe off the blade because he's in a rush. He breaks up a few things inside the house. Runs out and hands the knife to Brent. Brent tosses it inside his backpack and starts off down Upper Country road not paying attention to the bloody blade.

"Johnny waits a little while so Brent can get down to Lower Country road before he calls in the body. I find Brent. He makes up this story of being assaulted and you respond to the call. You find Johnny and he tells you some story. Therefore, you never suspect it's him. You'll dismiss his footprints because you think it's someone else. Pretty cleaver right?"

"Dan, you amaze me," I said looking at Ed who was rolling his eyes. Brent started smiling his goofy smile again. "You absolutely amaze me. I don't know where to begin. Your story is so full of holes and is pure speculation."

Dan's smile disappeared from his face. "Well, I uh..." Dan began to stumble for words. "I was just brainstorming."

"Yeah, that was a real cloud burst," Ed started to laugh.

I stood up and grabbed my hat. "Dan, I want you to check out everything about Brent Underwood. I want to know about his daily routine. I want his work records and I want you to interview his coworkers, friends and family."

"Where are you going sheriff?" Dan asked.

"I have to talk to the grieving family."

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Recent Comments

  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks for the kind words Kerry. I too am very read more
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  • Christian: A great story, i remember my first computer with DOS read more
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  • Douglas Gogerty: Thanks Susanne. You are correct, the OS of computers has read more
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