Usually, there’s some foreplay. When a cop comes to see a private investigator, they make a bit of small talk, accept a drink, maybe speak of old times a while before they stop dancing around and get to the point that they need my help.
They don’t just shove pieces of papyrus parchment into my hands with coordinates on them and tell me to hoof it there, on the double, “a dead female by the University.”
I guess they were shorthanded.
Or maybe they thought it was all one big practical joke.
The dead female was an ewe. A ewe? Whatever. Ovis aries. Of the sheeply species.
The rest of the crime scene was a mess. The wound on the abdomen was clean cut, an incision made by a sharp blade of some sort. Didn’t get lucky enough to find the bloodstained murder weapon.
Plenty of other ways to kill a man, or a sheep, were in evidence though.
A hammer with the name of a neighboring guild etched into the handle. Rubble from some explosion. A broken bottle of wine, labeled with a local vintner’s, sold by a local tavern. Shame about the breakage, I could have used a good long one.
Then there was the rope. Long enough to hang a man with. Woven by flax fibres.
I heard tell that the Clothworking scholars at the University of Harmony had ways of tracing folk by the warp and weave and feel of a cloth as it wound its way through a loom and its makers’ hands. Only Bast knows if they could do their magic for a rope.
As leads went, it wasn’t much. But it was worth a shot.
Next stop, this blacksmith.
The Nile crossing was uneventful. Let’s hope the smith proves as cooperative.
What is it with small town hicks and their obsession with sheep? I suppose the big city’s no better, just more and different vices.
Time for a stop at the tavern. Too bad I swore to remain sober while on a job. Plenty of people already want to give me free cement shoes and a trip to the bottom of the Nile, no point making it any easier for them.
This was going to be a long dry night.
If the sign wasn’t a dead giveaway that I was at the right tavern, the patrons surely were.
Just like that, in his drunken misery, her ex handed me the vital clue to the murder weapon. Not a hammer, nor rope or explosive shrapnel. A Seven Blade, full of pointy lethality.
And I had a motive. Now I just needed the murderer’s identity.
Seven Blade Tournaments are only entered from one location: A Shrine of Conflict. Checking out the nearest one revealed both his name and likely hiding spot.
Case closed. The cops will sort it out from there. I gave my report, and hopefully, they don’t call me in again for another interview. Not soon, at any rate.
Job’s over. I’ll be at that tavern trading secrets of life with the bartender.
Or at least that was the plan until the bedraggled guy stopped me at the door and started muttering about a “missing art curator” and statues that needed labeling. By Osiris, what now?
This short story was brought to you courtesy of the Murder Ewe-niversity Venery by the author Dreasimy. Embellishments and errors are mine.
One of the more amusing Veneries I’ve ever run. Highly recommended.
I’ve striven to avoid full walkthrough solutions (for this and the future Thought puzzles), so that they will still remain somewhat challenging for those attempting the run. Veneries, though, are generally more fun and short than a brainbursting challenge. They are made so deliberately, so that people will like them and rate them highly for being entertaining and not wasting their time on a long time-consuming scavenger hunt.
Two more Veneries later, one involving finding artistic statues in the local area, and another finding regional landmarks in an area I was not so familiar with, the principles were done and I was one level higher.