* * * * STORY * * * *

PT 1-2 3-4 5 6-7 8 9-10 11

 * * STEAMPUNK DAY: 2019 * *

Caught In The Thorns

 

* * * * * Part 11 * * * * *

I snuck into the new Carnevale's location, hanging closely to Atrocious at first but as the day quickly progressed I grew in confidence. My appearance was shrouded by the mask I wore which resembled the symbol of Comedy in theatre.

My job here was to gather evidence and ensure that everything went according to plan.

 

The Baron announced the start of the festivities with a toast and Atrocious followed with one of his incredible magic performances.

His work still astounded me to this day and, despite my reservations in the belief of magic, I knew not whether he was a talented illusionist or someone that truly possessed magical capabilities.

 

The event was filled with dancing and mock-dueling between ladies and gentlemen alike, sometimes to settle a debate, other times for the fun of it.

 

All the while I drifted about the venue like a ghost, slipping incriminating evidence into the guest's pockets to further our goals.

I was stopped once by the Baron Meinster.

"Who are you?" He questioned. I shrugged and Atrocious stepped in to answer.

"He's my guest, I've brought him along to assist me. Now shoo, go assist!" He declared while waving me away. I listened in as I left.

"My guests do not get to invite guests of their own. I did not give you this right." The owner of the Carnevale scolded. The magician shrugged. "I'm simply providing you and your guests with the best services that I can offer."

From there I was too far away to hear the parting words as the conversation wrapped up quickly after that.

 

The event seemed to pass quickly now and we were well into dinner when the retired commander Drakenwulf took to the stage with a bold announcement.

"Attention Honored Guests,

  An investigation into the events of the Carnevale of 1877 has finally yielded answers. A murder most foul was committed and while at the time of the event we had believed the murderer to be the Contessa Teresa Bacco, we were misled.

 

New evidence has revealed that the magician, Atrocious, may be responsible for the death of one of our guests that year. It is advised that you keep away from him until the investigation is complete..." He paused to examined the audience. First resting his gaze on the Baron before settling on me. I knew that this was a signal. He had mucked up the Baron's plan and would be working to assist us.

"That is all!" He cried out.

"What!" The Contessa screamed in outrage. "Arrest him immediately! This is the same case that I was framed for. I know it was him!"

"Preposterous! Lies! Fake news, everyone!" Atrocious waved dismissively.

"I believe that we can wait to settle the case until after the Carnevale ends. There won't be any more deaths, I'm certain." The Baron stated with a determined look in his eyes. The Contessa hissed angrily but sat down.

All the while I stood nearby and waited for the next phase.

Everything had to be careful. You see, the Baron was a very careful man. He could not afford for the magician to be carted off to prison wherein his tongue might slip. No, he needed him removed from the picture entirely and so we needed a plan. The only plan that would work was the one which he could not see.

Now that things had settled, Atrocious continued on to his final performance of the evening.

I was there at every moment to help him.

 

First, the magician performed some small acts for the guest's entertainment. When that had run its course we began the real work.

"Ladies and gentlemen. I'm about to perform an extremely uncomfortable task. I will be locking myself into these cuffs, and changing into a brand new coat. Afterwards I will remove the chains all myself, with magic.

My assistant here will lock me inside and present to you the keys. Now, come here Comedy." He beckoned to me and I set about to do as he requested. When it was done I dramatically revealed the keys and that he was locked tight.

It was then that the poison in Atrocious' system began to work. My close friend crashed to the floor with a barrier he had placed up.

Laying on the banner we all watched for a moment as he writhed in pain and at last succumbed to death.

Heartbroken, I leaped down to him immediately and recovered a fang which had come from a Basilisk. This same object had been responsible for the death of the guest in 1877.

At the time, the Contessa had been marked as responsible for the crime. It was now revealed publicly that Atrocious had, perhaps, been the real perpetrator all along.

This proposition was furthered along by evidence that I had planted in addition.

Yes, I gave evidence that Atrocious committed murder in the year 1877.

 

I had also given evidence for something else. This anecdotal information was now going to play its part in the show.

As the guests tried to discover who the killer of Atrocious was I worked to encourage their use of the many clues I had left behind.

Many of these guests began to blame me, as the assistant, and I suppose in some half truth sort of way they might be right.

What I wanted them to see was that the Baron was responsible for hiring Atrocious to murder the guest Rolph Von Richthofen in 1877.

That the Baron was responsible for many things was certain. Blackmail, theft, murder. Never directly by his hands. Not since 1877 anyway. No, every foul deed that had need to be committed was pawned off to someone else.

This time the Contessa was to take the fall again. You see. She knew long before this day that she had been framed in 1877. While a lot of the details were missing from her, we worked to clear that up.

What we needed was a killer who was known. The Baron had many tools at his disposal and if we were uncertain from where the attack would come, we could not prepare.

So we provoked the Contessa to kill the magician.

In doing so we also were able to ensure the path and the destination of the day's events.

 

It began with the provoked Contessa seeking a tool to commit the murder with. We set it up so that Nero Meinster provided for her a poison tonic. The imbibed potion would begin to wear at the imbiber's throat, stomach, and intestines. Eventually it would eat through their internals and when at last enough had been devoured the result would be inescapable death.

Of course Atrocious knew this and it was left up to him as to how he would escape.

 

In this case it seemed that he played up the role of a poison as the traces of the drink provided by the Contessa were found all about his lifeless body.

So too was that Basilisk fang that I had mentioned. The Basilisk fang was needed as a reminder of what had happened in 1877.

Though the fang had left no wound, the magician had ensured that it would be clear that it might have been responsible for his death.

Now we hoped that the guests would put together the evidence and reveal the Baron's underhanded work. With this we would discredit the Baron Meinster as an absolute authority as well disarm him of his own evidence which he often used to blackmail others.

I was not disappointed. The plan had worked perfectly. The Contessa Bacco had satisfied her thirst for revenge and was incriminated for the murder. The Baron was found out to be guilty of his own shady empire of business. While the Commander Drakenwulf was freed of his commitments to his blackmailer.

No one was arrested. Despite the clear misdoings.

Realizing the predicament that he was in, the Baron dismissed his guests and proceeded stormed off himself.

While no one was there to witness I helped Atrocious to his feet and we escaped quickly. "How the hell did you do it?" I asked him. "We'll talk later!" He remarked, cackling loudly as we ran away.