Book 10 - The Shattered Axe - Chapter 11: A Past Connection

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

This has been long overdue, but here it is.  I do aplogize for the lack of updates to the story.  The weeks are going by faster with my work now and the time I have left I do have other things I do.  Some weeks have been wake up, work, get home, do a couple of things, go to sleep, rinse, repeat.

 

But I got fed up with my own schedule and also a case of writer's block, that I was going to finish what I started last Saturday because I had started to write the majority of this chapter before today.

 

Yet, here we are, I am ready...  After this chapter, I hope you are too ;)

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Book 10 - The Shattered Axe

Chapter 17 - Back on Track

 

The Jarl Mollerson Mystery Series

All Chapter Links
 

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

Proud Leader and fellow member of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

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httyyd
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Drums R Round. Pi R Squared.

Here is the music mix for this chapter:

Epic and Dramatic Neo Classical Music - The Untold 2 Full Album

 

The Shattered Axe

 

Chapter 11

A Past Connection

 

Jarl's Point of View

 

         The whole of my thoughts come to an abrupt halt as comprehend what Ali is trying to say.

         Annabeth moves forward towards Ali, who reacts to the movement by turning her head.  I mean, Ali would do that anyway, but to shift her weight and again move her eyes to greet Annabeth…

         Annabeth takes off her wedding ring with the ruby in the gold setting, saying, “Now I am going to put something in front of you.  Tell me when you are able to see what it is.”

         Ali remains quiet as the ring moves closer and closer to her eyes, before suddenly when the ring is inches away from her gaze, Ali brings her hand to her mouth and her eyes start to tear up.

         “It is…  Red.  And- And gold…  It’s your wedding ring!  It’s beautiful,” Ali remarks, her eyes pooling with tears.  “Granted, it is still blurry but…,” Ali takes the ring from Annabeth’s hand and inspects the ring directly in front of her eye.  “I…  I can see it.  I can see.  As if the ring breaks through the shroud of my blindness, demanding its presence be known…  I see the intricate setting of the gemstones and the workmanship of the gold.  I can see.”

         Instantly, Annabeth hugs Ali.  I walk over to join in.

         After a moment, Ali puts her emotions in check as she wipes the tears from her eyes, “This can wait,” she says, giving the ring back to Annabeth.  “We have a situation on our hands.  Should we go tell Hiccup?”

         “Yes,” I answer, also pulling my thoughts back to yak, lying in the room.  “Annabeth can go get Hiccup.  Ali you stay here.  I want you to think back and start at the beginning.”

         Annabeth runs out to mount Star Scream while Ali starts to retell the events which unfolded.  I do this more for the sake of calming her down after the emotional high.  Meanwhile, I investigate the scene to mark the clues present for Hiccup and the official report on this killing.

         Briefly overviewing the scene, I look for any obvious things.

         Well, there is a dead body with a shattered axe.

         Thank you, I know that.  What else?

         Besides the really obvious, the next obvious is the back door is open.  The building is small but spacious, only large enough for two vikings, maybe three.  There is a loft with stairs leading to it.  Downstairs is an open living room with a kitchen area.  Checking the back door…

         No forced entry.

         The front door is the same story.  Only two windows, front and back, also no forced entry.  So, whoever did this either snuck in or Gladstone knew them to some degree or another.

         Upon checking the window in the back in the kitchen area, I started to smell something.  Like the faint odor hot metal on a forge.  A bit musty, so maybe iron, possibly steal.  When I saw the shattered axe on the floor, I instantly thought it could have exploded.  But why would there not be shards of the axe imbedded into the surrounding area?  If there was an explosion, someone purposefully took the shards and put it back together in the shape of the axe head, then put the handle back where it would have been.

         Checking the axe, I see it is Samantha’s heirloom axe, the only physical reminder she has of her family.  This is not looking good for Samantha, but there is still so much unknown at this point.  Jumping to conclusions is reckless this early in an investigation.  Nothing more downstairs seems out of place on first glance.

         I search upstairs, but only the typical things are found in a bedroom with a middle aged viking.  Two pairs of boots, two shirts, two pairs of pants, and an assortment of accessories such as belts or rings signifying his chief status.  Very minimalistic.  Granted, he was probably only going to be here for the race and then leave, so that could explain the few changes of clothing.  Yet, no viking changes their clothes much.  We wear a lot of the same stuff because we have better things to be doing then having different outfits.  Though, this is from a guy’s perspective.

         Hearing dragon wings flying towards us, I return downstairs to soon greet Hiccup and Annabeth.  I still want to search every inch of this place, but I want Hiccup’s permission as Chief.  Once Hiccup landed, I catch Hiccup up on what has transpired and then tell Annabeth to follow the tracks Samantha left.  Maybe Annabeth can catch up with her and this can all be figured out quickly.  Wishful thinking.  Something is telling me this is going to be a long and complex mystery to figure out.

         Hiccup already given the cliff notes from Annabeth, went right to the body.  As if he really did not want to believe it was true.  Kneeling down, checking the body, one can see Hiccup visibly sighs.  Shoulders drop and his head turns to the side.  In Hiccup fashion when he stands and turns around his expression is already telling me he is blaming himself for this.

         Hiccup then takes a small deep breath before asking Ali for the details.  She once again goes through what she saw.  This now being the third time, she coherently relays what happened in a calm manner, even remembering things she had not told Annabeth or me, the reason why she wanted to go see Gladstone.

         “Through some of Val’s connections with The Fifth Fleet, some information was shared through the grapevine that they ran across and passed on…  Theodor The Rat has reappeared.  He was in contact with some Dragon Trappers and had some high valued target he is trying to sell to the highest bidder.  The information further stated that messengers were sent out in the southwestern parts of the archipelago to drum up rumors among many vikings to see if there was any scum who would be willing to start a bidding war between them and the Dragon Trappers.  Knowing Gladstone is… Or was…  A Chief in the southwestern area and here for the race, I came to see if he knew anything about the information.  Obviously, I’m not going to get any answers about it now.  Now, I really wish I had not have come.  Maybe I would not have seen Samantha flee the scene of the crime, let alone run into her.”

         “Wait, how could you know it was Samantha?” Hiccup wondered.  “Annabeth said you saw who did it but I thought she meant you heard Samantha’s voice or something.”

         Ali folded her arms and smiled, “One of your right shoulder pad straps are not fastened.  Might want to do something with it before it falls off.”

         Hiccup at first downplays it until he looks.  And behold, it is as Ali says.

         “How could you…  Unless…,” Hiccup finally puts it together.  “This…  This is amazing!”

         “I know,” Ali’s expression of realization swiftly comes back over her.  “Yet with the present situation, I wish I never saw her.  Because without me, no one would know it was her.”

         With Hiccup caught up, he stands there for a moment not saying a word, almost looks at a loss of what to do.  He turns around to look at the room, runs a hand through his hair as he thinks.

         I step forward and ask, “May I take or mark any clues down so that I can help solve this mystery?”

         Hiccup stopped in his tracks and turns back around, a bit more relieved in his expression, “Of all the things to forget, I forgot you have a thing for solving mysteries.  That’s putting it mildly, I know,” he gives a dry chuckle.  “I’ll let The Elders know and send the Berk Guard down to secure the area while you are here.”

         Annabeth questions, “With how they were when I got there, do you think you are going to have any more trouble with them now with having to deal with this?”

         Hiccup lets out a long sigh, “That’s not what I am worried about.  I have a dead chief on Berkian soil.  A murdered one to be specific by the look of things.  Relations with the Iron Conclave were already testy and thin, this is going to put a strain there as well as allies in the area.  I’m not sure how they are going to react because lately if Gladstone is any indication, the Iron Conclave is very unpredictable.”

         “And to answer your question,” Hiccup nearly walked out before doing so.  “Yes, you can take lead on the investigation.  With Samantha running away from the scene of the crime, as much as it pains me to say so, she is our only suspect.  We must bring her in.”

         I remind, “She may not have done this.  She could have just been scared or feared for her safety that she felt the need to run away.”

         “I know she is a friend.  She is my friend too.  But I am also the Chief of Berk.  There are things that must be done when something like this happens.  I hope she is just scared, yet if she didn’t do it, why would she run away?  It does not bode well for her the longer she avoids us.  I’m not worried about what Berk would do.  She would get a fair trial.  I’m worried about what the Iron Conclave might do.  We both can see these people are unpredictable.  To have their chief hideon a foreign land, they may take matters into their own hands to find Samantha.”

         I suggest, “Do they have to know it is Samantha we are looking for?”

         Hiccup stares at me for a moment before answering, “No, they do not.”

         I add, “That is simply stated the truth and protecting Samantha.  If anyone wants to know more, we are investigating it.”

         “But if it gets out that we hid this from peoples’ eyes, then any footing we stand on to protect the integrity of the investigation and what we find will stand on shaky ground.”

         “Then, Hiccup, we will tell them that we did not want to jump to any conclusions and assume something that was not true.  We want to catch the viking who did this as much as the Iron Conclave.  But what good does it do if we try the wrong viking?”

         Hiccup concludes, “I hope the Iron Conclave sees it that way.”

         With that, Hiccup leaves to inform the Berk Guard of what has happened.

         Once he is gone, Ali and a tone of worry asks, “What is going to happen to Samantha?  We can’t let the Iron Conclave catch her.  I don’t even want Hiccup to either.  He already thinks she is guilty.”

         I answer, “While all the current evidence is pointing towards Samantha, I can’t blame Hiccup for thinking so.  However, he’s wrong.  If only for the fact, it is too early.  You can’t solve a mystery in the first two seconds you know it is a mystery.  Lately, it is like the duties of being a Chief has actually clouded his judgement than helped him.”

         Annabeth counters, “As much as I am not defending Hiccup’s position, the weight of leadership of not just your friends but a whole island can change the way a viking thinks.  Chiefs are not acting just for the sake of their family and friends, but for the safety and defense of their entire people as they know it.”

         Realizing Annabeth is the one to relate to Hiccup’s position as she is an heir to the Berserker Throne, I apologize for being so hastily to judge Hiccup.

         However, I add, “Yet still, Hiccup is not the same Hiccup as before.  He would figure out the problem first before trying to solve it.  Just because leaders are supposed to do certain things in their duty, should not give them the right to disregard common sense and logic.”

         Annabeth changes the subject, “What do we do now?”

         “Ali,” I address.  “Go round up some trusted people to go search the island for Samantha.  She may have used her dragon by now, but then again, she may have simply just run.  Regardless of anything else, we do need to find her first.”

         Nodding and running out, Ali goes to accomplish what I suggested.

         Annabeth walks closer to me to state exactly what I am wanting to do, “There is something here that isn’t right.”

         “In my gut, something is telling me something is just not right here.  Who would want to kill Gladstone at this specific time and on Berkian soil?  I know chiefs have their own fair share of enemies, some who would want nothing more than to have them out of the way.  But still, some still fight with honor and would not stoop to the level of this.”

         Annabeth reminds, “But you know that not all people will sustain their belief in such a code.  If something happen that was close to their heart, they will start to weigh things differently than before.  They would think of doing things that they would have never even dared thought of doing before because of that code.”

         Knowing what she is referring to, “I didn’t…,” I sigh as she interrupts.  “It’s fine.  As much as you are saying Hiccup needs to remember what he once was, you too need to remember that people sometimes are not what they seem.  They only do that to make you believe the good.”

         I take a deep breath before continuing, “Well, before the Berk Guard gets here, I want to check this place from roof to floor, recording all that we see.”

         Annabeth and I work together to write down all that we see.  We both always have on hand a small notebook.  After all the mysteries we have been a part of, you never know what you will need to remember later.

         Starting from the beginning, I look at where the body is in regard to the rest of the room.  Again, everything seems to be out of place with regards to the furniture.  I retrace my previous steps to see if I missed anything by going over to the back door, trying to figure out how someone could have gotten in without Gladstone knowing it.

         “Jarl,” Annabeth calls out from back of the couch, near the head of Gladstone.  “You know how you smelled a musty scent before?”

         “Yeah.”

         “Well, look down at the leg of the couch.”

         Seeing it and then spotting what the floor looks like…

         “This couch has been moved, even if slightly!”

         There is a faint marking of a square like shape a few inches away from where the leg of the couch currently stands.  She and I both know what this means.  I initially thought that there was no fight and whoever did this knew Gladstone or took him so much be surprised he did not try to protect himself.  But checking other pieces of nearby furniture, the same story as the couch shows through.

         Viking men are notorious for not wanting to move furniture around, especially if they live by themselves.  Dirt, grime, and dusty will start to collect in places where someone does not clean them.  These places would include under couches, chairs, or desks.  If one was to not dust something off for a few weeks, then move the item, directly under the item would be a spot with no dust in the shape of the item it sat under.  Well, with furniture and dirty.  This couch’s leg has some dirt and grime on the part touching the floor, but the floor around the leg is completely normal color of the rest of the floor.  But the sport a few inches away, this “normal” floor color abruptly stops and forms a square…  The exact shape of the couch’s leg.

         Annabeth address this clue “The furniture is not where it was originally.  Someone has moved it.”

         “Or even,” I wonder.  “There was a fight, but someone had the presence of mind to attempt to put the furniture back.”

         The look on Annabeth’s face suddenly brightens, “Could this be a clue to discount Samantha being responsible?  If she were so scared of what just happened, stumbling upon the body and she ran, would someone in this state of mind think to cover up the clue of moving the furniture back?  If there was a fight, why would someone move the furniture back if not to hide their own tracks in hopes of pinning it on someone else?”

         “It is a good theory,” I agree.  “Although, we need to follow up after this theory with more clues to support it.”

         “I know, but I just can’t imagine Samantha would do such a thing.”

         “I can’t either, but I couldn’t imagine there would be a time of no war with the dragons.”

         I still feel like I am missing something here, but maybe it is because there are several clues here but no connection to each other.

         The motive behind the kill.

         Why was Samantha here?

         How did the axe explode?

         Who put it back together and set it next to the body?

         How did Gladstone die?  Because no blood is on the axe.

         No forced entry, so who did Gladstone mistakenly put his trust in?

         What intel did Gladstone have on the whereabouts of one Theodor Logen Shinfira?

         I cannot believe Samantha would do this, so who is or who are the other players in this fatal meeting?

         With the clues swirling around in my head, I had not noticed Annabeth had left to go look upstairs.

         “Jarl, come look at this.”

         Joining her on the second level, she is at a desk I had yet to examine.  Her expression is one of finally found a connection.  On the other hand, she does not seem happy about it.  After being handed a piece of paper, briefly reading it, I share the sentiment.

         Starting at the beginning, I read a letter addressed to Gladstone:

 

Gladstone,

 

         I am writing this letter to inform you that our meeting will have to be delayed.

         As you well know, I am on my own quest and in search of a connection to my past.  I have time and time again been able to find clues to it, but never anything definite, reliable, or even anything more than what I already knew.

         You have been a big help to me in tracking down leads to follow, but one recent you had supplied has had the best lead I have had in years.  So, I will not be able to make to the meeting on Berk.

         Yes, I know this was one of the best chances we would have to meet each with all the focus on the race, but we will have other opportunities with the other races to meet.

         I will be in the northern most parts of the archipelago searching the snow laden islands for my clue.  I will be unavailable for any correspondence as I will be going alone.  While we both a mutually beneficial mission, I still don’t trust you, as you don’t trust me either.  Even if you knew where I was going, it would be a waste to follow me.  None of this concerns you, as this is a family matter.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my family.  You of all vikings should know that.

         If you need me for anything while I am gone, feel free to write a letter or get in touch with my contact on Wengo Island.

         Don’t worry, I will be back soon to finish the job.

 

Sigrunn

 

         Annabeth echoes, “Sigrunn.  That’s Samantha’s last name!  If other people see this, they might try to pin this on Samantha as her motive to kill Gladstone for his information about her family.”

         “That might be true, however,” I smile.  “This isn’t Samantha’s handwriting!”

         Annabeth is shocked she did not recognize this before, “I was so caught up with what it said, I didn’t stop to think about the style of writing.  Wait…  If this isn’t Samantha’s…  And it is signed Sigrunn…  Then…”

         I finish her thought, “Then there is a member of Samantha’s family alive.”

         But I then drop my shoulders and let out a sigh of frustration.

         “What’s wrong?” Annabeth inquires.

         “Well, with Samantha not being the author of this letter, the fact that this letter is here gives Samantha a motive.”

         Annabeth understands and puts her hand to her forehead, “If Gladstone knows where a member of Samantha’s family is, and the only family Samantha knew she had been her parents…  Samantha may stop at nothing to find them…  I pray that she didn’t do this.”

         I look directly at Annabeth, “We have just got to find Samantha first before either someone else finds her first or worse…  She goes down a path that even we can’t rescue her from.”