Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Secret Order of Doom: Part Five

Ms. Madison rose earlier than she'd have liked, put on a smart white dress of the 'wholesome country girl' variety. She reckoned that it was at least worth a try. After all, she had spent her school holidays on a farm in Sussex (that being cheaper than any other sort). Thus attired, she descended and had the early breakfast she had ordered. It was heavy, but Ms. Madison had been too long with the Green Man to trust in being able to eat later in the day.

Fortunately for the story, Ms. Madison had not only sent her report via runner to the Green Man the night before, but she drove quickly to the ancient and historic village of Castle Acre, past the massive church and down the little lane to the ruins of the Cluniac Priory. Parking outside the gates, as the site was not yet open, Ms. Madison climbed over the wooden gate that now blocked the massive gate of the gatehouse, towards the impressive ruins of the Priory.

She had to pause to admire the architecture of the great West Front of the priory church. In the middle of the countryside, the dissolution of the monasteries had rendered the massive monastery surplus to requirements. While some of the monasteries in the towns had survived, these remote sanctuaries were doomed. She noticed a carving of a Green Man, sprouting foliage from his mouth, in one of the arches, and had to smile.

"So, you noticed my cousin then?" The stern voice of the Green Man caused Ms. Madison to start.

"Oh, yes!" Ms. Madison clasped a hand to her breast. "How are things?"

"The wicked are for it," the Green Man spoke with assurance. "I read your report last night, and I agree with the retired vicar. As of now, we are working on the assumption that this is tied to this 'order of Cain' in some way."

"And the other deaths?" Ms. Madison enquired.

"One in Cambridge, the others in Norwich and Lincolnshire," the Green Man informed his secretary. "All the men were amateur historians working on local history in East Anglia, with special emphasis on religion. They could all have stumbled on this secret."

"So, what's our first move?" the blonde leaned against the golden stone of the Church facade. "I mean, this order is secret, so what do we do?"

"We get inside as soon as possible," the Green Man spoke hurriedly. "Someone's about to shoot at us."

As he ducked, a rifle-shot sounded close by.

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