Atticus Black sat in the velvet-lined red chair, his chin resting on his balled fist, supported by his elbow, and puffing on an Elven cherry-wood pipe. His eyes were fixed on the wall, and though he was looking at nothing; his mind was running at lightening speed. In his lap was a heavy, brown leather bound book that had ages of guilt on the spine, and next to the chair on the rug-covered floor were small stacks of similar looking books. The whole room itself was devoted to Atticus’s place of solving and thinking. All in shades of brown and scarlet and other rich, homely colors, he had his board where he posted articles and parchments of important thoughts, two chairs for he and his partner to delve deep within each other’s thoughts, and the large cabinets behind the chairs where he kept clews, maps, jackets, and other tools for whence he was solving a case. Atticus blinked as there was a quiet tapping upon his door, and he slowly eased himself out of his chair.
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Upon opening the door, he found his partner in crime, Finch Hawk standing there, his cordial expression was laid out upon his face as it usually was, and he was bobbing up and down, eager apparently to see his friend. He was a short and stout man, with a thick mustache and what seemed to be constant rosy cheeks. Overall he looked to be the friendliest man alive!
“Finch! What a pleasant surprise, what can I do for you?”
Finch grinned, and his dark brown eyes gave off a slight twinkle.
“Why help me with this blasted mystery! I can’t even seem to get a foothold in it,” he replied vehemently.
Atticus ushered him inside with the wave of his hand, and then pointed him to a seat, sitting opposite his own comfortable chair. Atticus placed his fingertips together and leaned forward with intrigue, looking as one who has a relish for conversation. Clearly excited by this shady mystery, as he typically was whence a case was brought to him, he searched Finch’s features for any hint of the difficulty this case would hold. In the small city of Iilif, all cases were brought to him in good time.
“What do you have to present, Mr. Hawk?” Atticus asked irritably after a few moments of silence, though his slight impatient annoyance failed to break his nonchalant presence.
“Nothing of any use for my poor skill of observation, you know I’m far handier with medicine work.”
“Quite so, but handy all the same,” Atticus added at seeing his friends reaction to the agreement. “Now, this so referred to item as nothing of which you can decode, may indeed prove to be quite useful in my eyes, being as I’m the one who was endowed with such a magnitude of power in observing; so if you’ll just lend it here, I’ll see what I can find out.”
Finch handed him two sheets of parchment, and Atticus welcomingly accepted them. He leaned back in his chair, pulling from his coat pocket a pair of bifocals, and placed them on the tip of his nose as he peered down with great concentration on each sheet.
“So this sheet here,” Atticus said brandishing the first page, “is the victim of the murder you’re currently looking into, and this second one is some sort of note?”
“That’s correct, the note was received two days before he was murdered.”
Atticus rumpled the paper between his thumb and index finger, fixing a look of great concentration about his features.
“This parchment, the texture is that of the sheets they print in the North.”
“The north?” Finch blinked. “What concern would anybody from the north have with this man?”
“Lucky for you, I myself have been working on this case,” Atticus said with a slight smirk of satisfaction as he observed his companions baffled expression, while he pointed to the newspaper pinned to his case board, where the cover story was a sketch of the man they were at this very moment speaking of.
“Mr. Hawk, I’m about to inquire of you the answer to a simple question, and here’s the best part; the answer is Atticus Black. So when I ask you the question you’re going to reply with Atticus Black…can you handle this?”
“Of course I can!” Finch replied brusquely.
“Who do you think it is that you’re speaking with my dear Finch?”
“Correct you are! Now, this came from the north, and the reason I know that is because this parchment is created from a Witch Tree, thus giving the sheet it’s light tint of gray. Now I know, and am confident that you too are well aware that there was a clotting in this man, Victor Harrisfield’s upper back. Most likely created from poison transferred by a syringe?”
“And now you of course are the medicine expert here, Finch, and also where you become very handy, but I’m almost certain there is a specific poison that comes from the north, around the area of Witch Trees; am I correct?”
“The witch tree roots.”
“Exactly!” Atticus exclaimed with his finger raised in triumph.
He leapt up from his chair and rushed to the cabinets resting behind it, and produced a map of the north.
“Now I know also for a fact that the town of Kinsley is the world’s largest producer of Wolf’s Fang,” he said spreading out the map on the coffee table that sat in-between the two chairs. “Though I just want to see something else to confirm my guesswork. Aha! As I thought!”
“What?” Finch probed, hastily scanning over the map in an attempt to catch up with his partner’s discovery.
“Well you see, the Kinsley Forest, a forest that surrounds the town is the largest forest of witch trees in the world, therefore verifying that whoever killed Mr. Harrisfield heralded from this town.”
“Brilliant work Atticus!”
“…But why is the question we must know now. Bundle up Hawk, we’re going on a long, long walk.”
Three days later the two set foot in the frosty town of Kinsley. Their immediate focus went to the towering cathedral that rested like a mountain at the end of the lane, an immaculate structure filled with marble columns, stain glass windows of infinite colors; making the eyes bleary.
“We will have a look within the records building, see if we can pull up anything of our friend, Victor,” Atticus said, his eyes examining the streets.
They ventured to the most downcast looking building on the entire street, and descended upon the steps that were set about five paces into the ground. Opening the door with the glass window perched in the upper center, they found themselves in a cramped, dismal office that seemed to be enshrouded in two inches of dust. A frail looking man with thin gray hair, peered up from his own stack of papers that sat unkempt and askew.
“Can I help you?”
“We need to know if you have any records of a man by the name of Victor Harrisfield.”
The man went to a large drawer that seemed to be at least, somewhat organized system. The man hastily flipped through the folders and found the name he desired.
“Here ya are. It’s a penny fee if you wish to take it for yourself, and a ten penny fine if you choose not to bring it back.”
Atticus dropped a handful of coins onto the table and the man nodded with satisfaction.
“Alright then, you’re all set to go.”
Atticus took the thin folder and observed the inside’s contents.
“Says here that he lodged at a small inn down the street.”
“How do you know it’s down the street?”
“Because I saw it when we arrived. Observation, patience and a long attention span will get you place, Finch.”
They made their way to the shabby, run-down looking building. With the glorious cathedral and all it’s grandeur standing at the end of the street, it appeared that everything was run down and simply out of place. Upon entering they were greeted by a harsh grunt from a man who hardly paid them a second glance.
“Excuse me,” Atticus said walking over to the rotted table of which the man sat, “but I have a few questions for you.”
“Did you know a man by the name of Victor Harrisfield?”
“Course I did! He lived here for a good three months, and not too long ago either…why do you ask?”
“I want to know how it was he spent his days.”
“At the cathedral with the priest.”
“He was trying to prove something about the Gods not existing, or something of the sort. It was all about my head if you ask me; I’m just a simple innkeeper.”
“He spent his days at the cathedral, may ask what the priest’s name is.”
“Thank you sir, you’ve been a great deal of help.”
Atticus walked inside the monstrous cathedral where the roof seemed to touch the heavens, and it would not seem out of the ordinary if clouds were to form right there inside. Upon seeing the first person Atticus and Finch bumped into, they inquired the whereabouts of Joseph. The young man directed them to the priest’s personal office.
“Come in,” was the response the received after knocking on the door. “Hello! Welcome to the great Cathedral of the Gods, what can I help you with?”
The man directed them into a chair each and they gladly accepted it.
“We’re here on the account of a man named Victor Harrisfield. He studied with you?”
“Why yes of course he did! How is he?”
“My God! But how? No, this cannot be!” Joseph said with a look of sheer horror in his eyes. “When? But he was a such a great man of faith!”
“Just a few weeks ago.”
“How unfortunate,” the man said. “How unfortunate…”