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May 16, 2002
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* * *


Episode I

* * *

New York City, 1792

The dark city streets were covered in a deep white snow, barely visible in the night. The crunch of foot on a near solid surface below proved the weather as did the biting chill that ran through the man’s bones as wind blew his scarf from his neck every so often. Yet the lone man kept his movement at a brisk pace, perhaps to keep warm but more so to find what he was seeking.

The cobblestone underfoot was uneven causing him to look down every so often but as much as possible, his vision was set on the brownstones that lined either side of the quiet residential street. He was looking for one house in particular and he needed to find it this evening…preferably now.

New York had grown prosperous after the war and these houses proved it. This was where the wealthy lived. Three stories often and built solidly, he thought about the warmth that may lay within, but even more he thought of the piece for which he searched. A gemstone that could prove the most valuable of all time were he to lay his hands upon it. But if another…

The darkness that was already apparent grew still and even quieter than before. The air seemed thick and a fog filled the streets making his eyesight worse than ever. He struggled to see the lantern hanging in the window of a nearby house. The night seemed to envelop him and finally he stopped walking.

In the darkness, he called out, “Hullo?”

There was no answer. He picked up his pace and tried to find the end of the thick soup but was tripped up by a stone underneath and hit the ground with a thud. He picked his hands off the wet floor and wiped them on his trousers and then he heard a voice in the night,

“Do you have it?”

It was a calm voice, low in pitch and full of power. And it seemed to come from all directions which caused those hairs on his neck not already frozen to stand on end. He dared not move and sat still on the ground waiting to see if it called out to him again. It did.

“Abraham…do you have it?”

He thought for a second to try and run but knew it would be to little avail. He waited to hear it ask again but when he did not, he started to rise. A brisk wind seemed to follow his action, nearly forcing him back to the ground and he allowed it to push him back to the icy wetness below.

“Who are you?” Abraham finally called out.

A brief silence was followed by a hissing. “You know of me.”

“I do not!” Abraham yelled and lifted himself from the ground quickly. He moved to run but was again forced to stop by a thin hand pressed against his chest. He looked ahead and could barely see through a lifting fog a tall, thin man with deeply sunken cheeks and black eyes. But the crimson red lips moved,

“I have come for the Eye. Do you have it?”

He stuttered at first but then found some inner strength, “I…I…do not. Nor shall you if I have anything to say for it! Yes…I know you. Too well, sir.”

“If you do not have it, then where could it be, Abraham? You know I shall possess it. If you wish to live, you will guide me there.”

Abraham turned to walk away from his stalker but the thin arm grasped his shoulder and turned him back with an easy force.

“You cannot run from me. You cannot hide.”

The foggy mist was breaking and the dark night became slightly clearer such that the moon above seemed to cast a long shadow past the tall man in front of Abraham. At times, he seemed to stand nearly seven feet tall. Seeing that he could not run, Abraham continued in his obstinence.

“You shall have to kill me then, for I shall not help you!”

Arms stretched wide from the seeming apparition and enveloped Abraham, taking him into a deep embrace. Blood began to drip softly onto the white street below turning it deep red. The fog seemed to return and soon, nothing was left but the limp body of Abraham, stark still in a scarlet pool.


Yet he could still hear. He heard the sound of the wind and a cry from a late night fight some ways away. He thought he heard laughter come from a house down the street and perhaps even the cries of a hungry mutt left to starve on the street. In the distance, a door opened. Feet could be heard descending steps making a heavy sound…crunch, crunch, crunch…in the snow. Light seemed to cast long shapes in the black of night. And then a breathy feminine voice spoke softly…

“Abraham Huard? You shall come with me.”

And the darkness surrounded him.
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Very nice. :) Lovely atmosphere - a touch of Eagle in Winter with the cold, the snow, the dark, the blood...

To quote Rhino the hamster from 'Bolt',

"Let it begin! Let it begin!!!"
Wow! A new Coz1 epic, only hours old!

Intriguing start. I'll keep an eye on this!

Oh this is killing me, so many good EU3 AARs coming out I don't know if I have the time :D

Kidding, I always seemingly have time. Great start and I wonder how we will get into the EU3 time era. Time Machine?

Interesting (and brilliant) writing style *takes notes*
A very fine beginning, old chum....

The imagery was vivid with your words, and the screenies only enhance it. This looks very interesting and I shall have to work hard to make sure I keep up with this....
So you've taken the plunge! Nice opening. This is one AAR I'll bite into, as obviously there's much at stake here. What's next? :)
Ahhh, so this is where the comments are. ;) Great to see so many getting in on the ground floor. Let's do a little fb-fb:

Wow. Amazing writing style.
Thanks! I appreciate that.

Kind of Lovecraftian....great start!
Lovecraftian is good. Dark is where I am aiming so we'll see how it goes.

Glad to see you posting an AAR in the EU3 forums. I just started looking at your CK AAR a few weeks ago so I'm looking forward to this one.
I actually have a couple of others and one completed one with Brandenburg/Germany - 40 Years On. Check it out. Glad to see you poking around in Eagle. Leave a comment when you get a chance and thanks for reading.

Very nice. :) Lovely atmosphere - a touch of Eagle in Winter with the cold, the snow, the dark, the blood...

To quote Rhino the hamster from 'Bolt',

"Let it begin! Let it begin!!!"
Great to hear. It's the atmosphere I really want to work on in this one so hopefully I can keep that up.

Hey, coz1, good to see another AAR from you! I'll be following this story along! it looks to be quite good already! :D
Thanks. I've had this in mind for a while so it's good to get started, finally.

Wow! A new Coz1 epic, only hours old!

Intriguing start. I'll keep an eye on this!

Indeed, get in early and stay for the ride, I say. Great to see you on board, Renss.

Oh this is killing me, so many good EU3 AARs coming out I don't know if I have the time :D

Kidding, I always seemingly have time. Great start and I wonder how we will get into the EU3 time era. Time Machine?

Interesting (and brilliant) writing style *takes notes*
I'd think 1792 is already in the EUIII timespan, but we won't always stay there. I'll be jumping about quite a bit here. More on that later. Thank you sir.

A very fine beginning, old chum....

The imagery was vivid with your words, and the screenies only enhance it. This looks very interesting and I shall have to work hard to make sure I keep up with this....
I hope you can, Amric. You always give great feedback and wonderful constructive criticism which I am hoping for as much as possible. Thanks.

A coz1 AAR in EU3? Gotta read that!
Thanks, Qorten. Wonderful to have you on board here. Rest assured, I'll be finishing Eagle while this gets started.

So you've taken the plunge! Nice opening. This is one AAR I'll bite into, as obviously there's much at stake here. What's next? :)

Not wanting to give too much away early on, I cannot directly respond here, LD, but may I say - groan! :p Yep - finally got the idea to crystalize and started working. It was time to get going. Hopefully I can keep up a steady pace and not let this one die on the vine like Wars of the Roses did.

To all - I'm already working on the next bit. I don't want to be too over eager but I am chomping at the bit to get some solid story out. Next update could be tonight or it could be this weekend. We'll see. Thanks for reading and certainly for commenting!

P.S. - Man, I love this multiple quote system. It makes fb-fb so much easier. :D
More fb-fb:

OIK! 1792!

I am sorry, I, at first, thought it was in the EU3 timeframe but the picture made me deviate :D
No worries, mate. The pic was perhaps misleading, sadly pilfered from Heroes, but it really seemed to work. I had to crop out some stuff that dated it but you are right - takes you a bit out of the verisimilitude. But just wait, you'll get even more confused...

A Coz1 AAR and i'm here from the start! Yipee.
Great to have you on board! Thanks for reading and especially getting in at the start. :)

I have a habit of showing up to your AARs late. Time to break out of that and get in from the start.

Hmmm, I am curious as to where this is going. Murder and missing gemstones is interesting. EUIII is interesting. Combining them ought to be great.
And you too, Duke. If I have you guessing then I am doing well. And as I said above, let's really confuse things. :D

The next bit follows and really gets us going...
Amazing start! Looking forward for more, I am very intrigued. This is the first time I read any of your AARs, and I heard only good things, so I am excited.

Good luck!



* * *

New York City, 1938

The day was nearly over and only a half a dozen people had come through his door. Sam Finch was ready for a drink and while it was after happy hour in the rest of the city, he never had a problem missing five o’clock. A quick reach to the bottom desk drawer showed the bottle of scotch and it was quickly on his desk. A glass followed and soon, Sam was feeling the warmth it gave his belly. He stood and walked to the second story window of his little office and watched the passers by below. They hurried about in the snow as if they had some place to be. Funny they should need his help. He had no where to go but his one bedroom apartment, a kitchen efficiency and a bathroom smaller than the elevator outside his office.


The door from the outer office opened and his secretary, Minnie Brighton, walked in and watched him survey the landscape.

“Getting that time, boss. You need me for anything else?”

Sam didn’t answer her at first but didn’t want to make her wait. Without turning he nodded. “You go on, doll face. Nothing but crooks and thieves out there tonight and no one wants to catch ‘em. ‘Night.”

She stood still for a moment, reticent to leave her boss in this mood. “You want to go grab a drink or something, Sam? I don’t need to get home right away. My mother's got the kid.”

He turned and smiled at her and she returned it. “Nah, sweetheart. You go on. Just got to finish up some paperwork on that last case and I’m heading out.”

She shrugged her shoulders in that sure way of hers and gave him an extra smile before she turned to leave. Behind her, Sam called out, “Thanks, though.”

She answered as she opened the front office door, “Sure thing, boss. Have a good night.”

He wished he could. Sam looked around the nearly empty office. A hat rack next to the door. A filing cabinet with no effort at organization inside. The wooden desk in front of him. And a painting of a castle that for some reason his father thought might spruce up the place given to him three years ago when he started the detective agency. That was just about all he had to prove his worth as a man…a detective…anyone. But he didn’t let the thoughts linger. Best get that paperwork done and then it was off for a proper drink. It was already dark and he wanted to get the hell out of there.

As he sat down, he stared at the folder in front of him. It held some photos of a man cheating on his wife – just about the only type of case anyone wanted him for these days. The guy had been lying to his wife for two years now and she finally found him out, thanks to Sam Finch, world’s best private eye…or not. The lying bastard even tried to say it wasn’t him in the pictures. Sam knew better though. He tailed him for four weeks and got some sweet shots at a hotel down in the village. He loved that new camera. Blinds meant nothing and darkness couldn’t hide the cheap and sordid. Visual proof was what she wanted and she got it. Of course, that didn’t mean he could get away easy himself. He’d had to sit and watch her cry her eyes out for twenty minutes in the one chair he had for guests in front of his desk. Sam hated that. But he was used to it. This was his life after all. Boring perhaps, but a little action here and there kept it interesting. And in the next few seconds, his life was about to get very interesting.

As he sat looking at the photos, he heard the door to the office open. He assumed it was Minny, back to gather something she’d forgotten. He took the last of the scotch down his throat and stood to see if she still wanted that drink. He moved with quickness to open the door to the outer office and stopped short when he spied the woman standing in his waiting room.

She was short but built strong with wide shoulders and a well endowed chest wrapped tight in her black dress. She wore a hat perfectly attached to her head with a dark lace veil down over her face. He’d caught her just as she bent down to correct the seam in her silk stockings and he’d have liked to view that scene for about a million years. But she saw him and stood straight.

“Mr. Finch, I presume?” she asked in a sweet voice that sounded like velvet.

“That’s me, lady. But we’re closed.” He hated to say it because he wouldn’t mind for her to stick around for awhile, forgetting entirely the thought of having a drink with Min.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” she responded as she held out a black gloved hand. “My name is Miss Else Sullivan and I require your services.”

Sam shook the hand gently and she pulled it away. “Well you’re in luck, Miss Sullivan, as I happen to need some work. But as I said, the work day’s over and I’m just heading out.”

“I think you’ll want to hear my story at least…before you go.” She gave Sam a slight upturn of the lips as if attempting a smile. It was enough for Sam.

“Please…come in.” He stood back and gestured for her to enter his office and smelled a certain perfume he’d never known before as she walked past him.

“Can I…uh…get you a drink, Miss Sullivan?” he asked as she sat in the chair in front of his desk.

“Thank you, no.”

“Well then…what can I do for you?” He walked around the desk and sat in his fake leather chair, careful not to sit back too far on account of a broken spring. He wasn’t in the mood to look like a fool. Not in front of this dame.

“I require the services of a private eye, as you might have gathered. I am need of finding a lost object and your name was in the book.” She spoke with an odd accent Sam had never heard before, but it was like music…a slow rhythmic cadence like a jazz soloist just getting warmed up.

He flashed his famous smile when he answered, “Then you’re in luck. Looks like that ad I placed worked.”

“Quite,” she responded, again giving him only a hint of a smile.

“Well then...uh…” he stammered slightly as he reached for a pad and pen. “What’s this object you need to find, Miss…uh…Miss Sullivan.”

“A rare gemstone, to be exact. It’s been lost for quite some time and it is very important to my family.”

“Gemstone? Sounds like you need a treasure hunter, lady. I ain’t no treasure hunter.”

“Of course not, Mr. Finch. But you do find missing persons, am I not correct?” She shifted in her seat and crossed her legs in a way that made Sam linger on them a bit too long.

Wiping his neck for a second, he attempted to cover himself, “That I do, Miss. But I’ll need some information first.”

“Such as?”

“Such as…what does the person have to do with the object for starters? I don’t like to get in the middle of a fight.”

“Indeed, Mr. Finch. I would never dream of embroiling you in an inter familial squabble. The person you seek is a professor at New York University. He has gone missing and was working on this case for my employer.”

“Right there would be question two…who am I working for here?”

“Does that matter, Mr. Finch?” She reached into her purse and drew out an ornate wooden cigarette case, taking one out and tapping it on the hard outside.

Sam stood slightly and reached across the desk with his lighter to help her and smiled again, “It matters who pays the bills, Miss Sullivan. That matters quite a bit.”

“Let us just say he is a wealthy man and will pay handsomely for you to find this professor, Mr. Finch. I have $500 dollars in my purse that may convince you. Let us call it a down payment.”

The sound of that much money made Sam sit up straight when he sat back down. “Five Hundred?! It really must be worth it to you.”

“Quite, Mr. Finch. Now can you help us?” She blew a thin stream of smoke from her lips that clouded the air between them but Sam had his eyes fixed squarely on hers. She seemed on the level, or as on the level as any of these dames were. And he’d known plenty.

“All right then, Miss Sullivan. I’ll see what I can do. The down payment should cover my daily expenses but if there’s travel involved, I’ll need that picked up. I’m in this business to make a profit, you understand.”

She allowed a slight laugh, “Of course, Mr. Finch.”

She reached into her purse again and withdrew a hefty letter sized manila envelope and sat it gently on the desk in front of him. “This should get you started and the money is included. A number where I can be reached is listed inside. Please do let me know when you have found something. I cannot state enough how urgent this matter is.”

“Just one second there, Miss…I’m going to need more information than…”

“It’s all there, Mr. Finch. Everything you’ll need.” She cut him off and stood to leave, stamping out her barely smoked cigarette in the glass ashtray on Sam’s desk.

“Good evening, Mr. Finch. And do be careful.”

He was barely able to say goodbye as she turned and walked out of the office, leaving the mesmerizing foreign scent filling the room. Sam pulled the bottle of scotch out of the drawer a second time and filled the glass with a bit more than usual. Drinking half of it down in a go, he nodded to himself.

“Well,” he spoke aloud, “Looks like things are covered for a while.” And then he laughed. And hoped he’d get another chance to see Miss Sullivan again soon. But he’d need to find her professor for that to happen. It was time to get to work.
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I feel like I'm watching a Film Noir, with the music and all! :D

Excellent writing style you have, sir!