Part 67 – In Thanncen’s Words
“Herein this journal lies my investigation into the sudden death of the son of Mayor Graeme Tenderlarch Friedrich Tenderlarch,” the journal read as it started. “This is my final investigation here in Middle Earth before I make my journey to Mithlond. All my hopes are that the Valar grants me a speedy investigation as I am doing this as a favor to my good friend, Graeme.”
Theomin turned the page with weariness as the dark of the cave made reading difficult. He looked at his bioluminescent friend who was inching around, giving him the much needed light. He wondered if he wanted to go on with the journal. It was such a long ordeal in the prison, he almost did not want to revisit it. Finally, with his fingers trembling from a building anticipation, he read on.
“Mayor Graeme informed me, that his son had been murdered. He had been dead not but a few days, judging by the amount of maggots on the body. He was found next to the hedged fence of southeast gate of Bree, fully clothed but with a stab wound on the base of his neck and two more on the front left chest. It would appear they were from the same weapon. A small blade, perhaps dagger, an inch and a half wide and about eight inches long.”
“I have completed my examination of the body. Residue from all three stab wounds appear to be of a soil not from Bree-land. The stab wounds are also consistent with a right handed attacker. The angle of the stab was from right at the entrance of the stab wound to a left turning angle. This is repeated through all three wounds. It would also appear the order of attack was first in the rear, and then the left and right front stab wounds. The rear stab was the surprise stab. First the left front stab wound was the fatal stab one. That pierced his heart. The right sliced through other organs but was not a fatal blow. Perhaps if there was no slicing of the left stab, the right would have been fatal only as he bled out. I base this on the residue amount on each stab wound. Trace amounts of an unknown soil sample appears to be less and less in each wound. There is also unknown soil samples of a reddish hue on the back side of the cloth of the body. It would also appear the victim was still alive when the stabbing took place. This rules out any additional trauma that took place before the victim died and the knife wounds were a ruse to lead an investigator astray.
The attacker was either ambushed or the victim knew the attacker and was confident with his back to the attacker. I surmise the victim was stabbed by surprise, then as the victim fell back onto the attacker, he was stabbed the last two times.
A curious addition to the cloth. Small amounts of salt were found soaked into his clothes. This would mean the salt was dissolved into some liquid, perhaps water. This might mean sweat but there was no sign of struggle before or after. Could it be tears?”
“I asked Mayor Graeme if his son had, at any time, left Bree. I asked this because of the strange residue in the stab wounds that was not identified as any residue found around Bree. It was difficult for him to talk but what he said might corroborate the strange soil. Friedrich had been asked to aid in clearing orcs in the Lone-Lands. Strange as he was not found in the Lone-Lands but at the gates of Bree. The mayor told me to speak with his brother, Gerald.”
“After a few minutes alone with Gerald, he provided the people his brother spoke with. His brother did not seem to want to be bothered. Strange, as anyone else would want to cooperate with an investigator. He has provided me with the name Helesdir. I will speak with him when I can.”
The man who I was to speak with had left. His last place was in The Inn of the Prancing Pony. He left his room and returned back to the Lone-Lands many weeks ago. This does not place him around the east gate of Bree.”
“My two day ride from Bree-land has taken me to The Forsaken Inn. They have seen this man named Helesdir but exclaimed they have not seen him for a few days. He is usually a frequent guest but not the brash kind like many of their patrons. He and his men slip in, have drinks, and slip out. They are busy with their tasks, to clear out the old ruins of orcs and goblins. The inn keeper of the Forsaken Inn tells me Ost Guruth may be an outpost where he stays, though he knows not his right home.”
“My travels have taken me to Ost Guruth, just north of the Great East Road, in the Lone-Lands. My analysis of the soil samples shows that neither the stab wounds nor from the clothes show they are consistent with the soil samples from the body.
Asking around, the people of Ost Guruth informed me of the men in Helesdir’s charge. This will be a boon for my investigation as I can now find them and question each one. Their names are Helesdir, Magla, Sergee, Eleswith, and Engled.”
“Before departure, the wizard Radagast, informed me that he sent a group into a tainted part of the Lone-Lands called Agamaur. A rumor was told that a group of orcs had set up camp there and that the dead that had previously occupied that land had fled. He sent Helesdir’s group into Agamaur to investigate. Five went in but only four came out.
Tales of Agumaur say that there are dark things living in that place. When I go, I should bring my sword and shield with me. I know not what evils lurk there.”
“A terrible place, that Agumaur. Evils still lurk there but no orcs. This either means they were cleared out by Helesdir’s group or there were none there in the first place. With Radagast’s departure, I am left with these thoughts to ponder on: were there orcs in the first place or was it only a ruse to lure him in and kill him.”
“My venture into Agumaur was not without an outcome, though. The soil samples taken from that place are an exact match to the soil samples found on the back of the victim’s clothes. Agumaur was the last place he visited alive. Five went in, but only four came out. It would appear the mayor’s son was that fifth that did not come out.”
“It had taken two days for one of Helesdir’s men to show up to Ost Guruth. Sergee, the man I feel is a ranger, has taken me to the hideout of Helesdir’s men, what they have referred to themselves as the ‘Warriors of Eriador.’ I have analyzed the weapons of each of Helesdir’s group. None were consistent with the stab wounds of the mayor’s son, Friedrich.
I have interviewed the warriors of Eriador and have recorded only some of what my interview yielded:”
Helesdir – Man of the Lone-Lands. The leader of the group. He wears a ranger’s garb but does not seem to be one of them. Curious why he would wear such cloth on his person. He and his men were in Agamaur when Friedrich went missing. He was not with the group as they split off into different directions.
Magla – A man of a few words. Also a man of the Lone-Lands. He is a good friend of Helesdir. Though they are not related they treat each other like brothers. They are rarely seen apart. Magla, on the day he died, was with Friedrich but the fighting was intense. He did not see Friedrich harmed but saw him dead on the Agamaur ground.
Eleswith – Woman from Dale. Also a person of few words. Strong and confident she is with a fire within her. Though she has such a fire, she was made captain of the group. The two had some romantic history with each other. The day he died, she was a part of the group along with Magla. She also agrees the fight was intense and she did not see him killed until it was too late.
Engled – A man from the Trollshaws. He was out looking for adventure. Though both came from much different places, they seemed to become fast friends. He was mostly broken up by the death. He seemed to have teared up when speaking about the mayor’s son. He was with Helesdir during the time of death and did not see it happen.
Sergee – An odd addition to the group. He looks more like the group of rangers that I have come to know but claims he is of the Lone-Lands. He is very adept with a sword, like a ranger, he carries himself much like a ranger, and he behaves much like the rangers I have known. Especially like Saeredan. He was with Helesdir and Engled during the death of Friedrich.”
“Responding to rumors that there has been an arrest made in the death of the mayor’s son, I had to return to Bree. There I found a man and a woman charged with the mayor’s son’s death. The woman was one of Helesdir’s. Eleswith of Dale. Why she was with this man, I know not why.
“The man, who also looks like a man from the north, was originally from Rohan. Though I had not the ability to check the samples of soil on his person, I have found no weapon with which is consistent with the murder weapon used. Throwing it away is a possibility, but I feel it is not likely.
A surprise in the analysis of the weapons. A weapon confiscated from the girl shows an exact match with the samples found in the stab wounds of the victim. The weapon was a dagger, found amongst her effects. A boot knife it was, removed from her belongings at the time of being jailed. The dagger which was a match, was about an inch and a half in width and seven inches long. I can say, with confidence, it was the same dagger that was used and it was the girl, Eleswith of Dale, who killed Friedrich Tenderlarch.”
Theomin threw down the journal. “No, it cannot be,” was all he could say as he stood up. His blood started boiling and his knees became weak. The whole time she was with him she was the murderer of the mayor’s son. All that time in captivity he spent taking the blame for the death and it was really on her shoulders. He collapsed to his knees and sobbed. He sobbed as a child would sob for losing a friend. He banged his fists on the floor of the cave. Banged on it so hard that a throbbing pain shot through his hand. Theomin then scraped at the ground, shredding his nails and bending them back. He then banged again on the ground saying “why, why, why,” each time he hit the ground again and again. He did this until he could not do it any longer. The betrayal he felt was beyond even what he felt from Gerald. “Gerald,” he muttered. “He was right.” When he fled from Esteldin, it was Gerald who tried to tell him it was Eleswith. He did not believe him. “He was right,” he said again, with a solemn confirmation.
As he lied on the ground, he heard Saeredan’s voice telling him, “You must know the reason certain people did what they did.” It rang in his ears for a long while. His sadness started to fade as curiosity began to set in. “Why did you do it, Eleswith? Why?” He looked at the book and continued where he left off.
“As per many murders of spouses or lovers, one could become jealous or scorned enough to kill the other. I have found no evidence of any past quarrels between the two. There have been no spat or problems in their relationships. They were, by all accounts, on friendly terms, if that is the word for it. So this could not be the murder of a ‘scorned lover’. There had to be more to it.”
“I have told the mayor to release the other man but he would have nothing for it. He continues to maintain that the man from Rohan was the killer. I told him he was not and insisted it was only the girl. Being that it was the mayor of Bree and not some other citizen of the town, I had to acquiesce to his demands. So my trusted hobbit friend has been sent to clean him up after each beating. I am not proud of the inability to free that man, but it is the least I could do to aid him.”
“After being sent an anonymous tip, I went to the west end of Bree. There, I met with a few men who claimed they were owed money for services rendered at the Inn of the Prancing Pony. They said they were to create a scene in front of the man, Helesdir. They were to harass the girl from Dale and for Helesdir to defend her. She planned on joining the group beforehand. It would seem it was in order to get close to the mayor’s son and murder him. I still do not see any motive. What would lead a person who never met a man to go and kill him? It has been starting to dawn on me that she was hired.”
“Upon searching the area where the man from Rohan and the woman from Dale were arrested, I found many dead goblins and brigands. One brigand, who asked to remain anonymous and who escaped the melee, said there was a man who called himself Kronog. Long ago, he said there was a girl who matched Eleswith’s description amongst the ruins of Ost Baranor. He said this person named Kronog, who was a leader of the group, told her to do a job for him. After the success of the job she continued to go back to him and they formed a business relationship. Not only did he have a relationship with her, but two others. He called them ‘Cleaners.’ The cleaners would clean the scene of the crime and dispose of the body and all other evidence. For the last task, he gave her the description of a person and she headed toward Bree. After that, she was not seen for months. During that time the ‘cleaners’ were sent to do a duty. They came back and soon we heard of the death of the mayor’s son. A few nights ago, the night the girl from Dale came back, was the night the goblins descended upon the ruins and killed almost all of Kronog’s men, but not the cleaners. In fact, the cleaners were nowhere to be seen.
“It looks as though Eleswith was a person for hire and this Kronog person hired her kill the mayor’s son.”
“I have just been informed that a man matching Gerald’s description was found around the same ruins. He had been the leader of the group of brigands for quite some time. This means that the man named Kronog is actually Gerald. The mayor’s youngest son.”
“This would mean Gerald, the mayor’s youngest son, hired Eleswith to murder the mayor’s eldest son. But why would he do this? What would force Gerald to want to kill his own brother?”
Thoemin looked up. She was only a pawn. She was hired to kill the mayor’s son. “Did she even know it was him she had murdered?” he said aloud to himself.
“Graeme just informed me that, in the instance of his own death, the town of Bree was going to be inherited by the mayor’s eldest son, not by Gerald. I learned this by him telling me that he had no choice but to appoint Gerald as the mayor’s successor now that his older son was dead.
It all makes sense now. Gerald wanted to be granted the mayor of Bree but not as the mayor’s second son. He could not kill his own brother himself so he had Eleswith, an unsuspecting girl from Dale, to do it for him. She killed his brother and by association to Eleswith, the man from Rohan was to be arrested. If there was any suspicion that she could not do it, the man from Rohan, not being from Bree-land, was the obvious scapegoat.”
“This bodes ill for the man from Rohan. He is not to blame and for that matter neither is Eleswith. I must release them from prison. The man I have not an outfit for but the girl must wear the outfit my elf friend left before her journey to Mithlond. It was Lalia’s Market that her outfit was from and she blended in with quite well with the peoples on the outskirts of Bree.
My old ranger friend, Saeredan has a cabin not far north from Bree. I can hold them there while we can figure out what we can do with them. I fear taking them anywhere the men of Bree frequent will be disastrous. Anywhere north is a mistake. My only option would be either to Rivendell or to the Shire. The Shire would be the closer road but a man living amongst the little folk would be the rumor of the whole shire.
There are also a couple of matters I must attend to before I allow them to escape. The saddle bag from the man of Rohan I shall place in the Lalia’s Market. There, it will be safe until my return. The man’s staff, which was amongst his effects, will be placed in the armoury. That is all. I hope all goes well for this is my last task until my journey to Mithlond.”
There, it ended. The last page was of him releasing them from prison. Theomin knew what happened after that. He was captured by the men of Bree and held prisoner. He now knew the full extent. Part of him was satisfied but the other part wished he never knew. As he started to close the book he noticed a page that was slightly loose. He opened the book and noticed it was a small parchment that had writing on it. He opened it and read it.
“During my investigation into the mayor’s son’s murder, a small animal has been pacing around the southeast gate of Bree. A lynx no larger than an adult lynx, has been sitting in wait and pacing around. He is without food or water and denies care from anyone. I noticed a slight injury on his leg. I will have him patched up soon.
I can only assume he is the right owner of the man in jail. The one brought in only a day ago. The man I am unsure if he will ever be let out. What I can do for this lost lynx is to give it a home. I know of a few places where there are some good lynx families up in the hills of the North Downs. Just north of the road to the farms. I cannot think of a better home for such a precious animal.”
Theomin looked up with a sudden glee, “Aches!”