Crimes of Elyria Part One: The Ripper

Hello dear Readers and welcome to my new writing project.

This time instead of warfare I'll be looking into criminality and crime related tales. Some will be from the perspective of the lawmann, some from the criminal.

I hope you enjoy the first in this series.

Crimes of Elyria: The Ripper

The alley stank of stale beer and piss, mingling with the acrid stench of voided bowels and that all too familiar scent of iron. Gareth walked carefully over the cobblestones, watching his step. Small rivers of blood had obviously run between the gaps, drying to a reddish brown-

The alley was the width of two menn, give or take a handspan, with high walls on both sides and Gareth noticed no windows as he walked over to the constable standing in the middle. At the mann’s feet was a bundle, covered in what looked like a heavy tarp. As Gareth approached he saw it properly; a constable’s cloak, the stiff oiled leather meant to keep off the rains. A pale hand poked out from beneath the folds, flesh blue, fingers frozen in a claw.

“Report.” Gareth said looking at the constable.

“Yes, inspector.” The constable said with a short nod. “Right, so me and Constable Tonder were out on the evening patrol. Checking the streets for signs of suspicious activities and the like. You know the drill. Found this old codger.” He nodded at the corpse under the cloak. “Sleeping in alley our first round through. Leastaways that’s what we thought, at first. Just another soak passed out. So Tonder and I do our round through the neighboring streets till we swing round the other side. We see the old soak still lying there, so I start thinking that maybe it’d be a kindness to give him a nudge with the boot, to wake him up.”

Gareth nodded. There was no law against being passed out drunk, at least not if you were fully dressed.

“Go on.”

“Right, so Tonder follows me, holding up the lantern as we walk. It was right strange at first. My boots start sticking, like I stepped in sick, you get me?”

Gareth nodded again. A reasonable assumption, if in this case not entirely accurate.

“So we approach the fellow, his head’s on his chest and his shirt was right soaked in something dark and I nudged him right hard with my boot. Just to give him a nice wakeup."

The constable gave a weak smile. “Fellow keels over, right where he was sitting. So I get Tonder to hold up the lantern and then I noticed that it weren’t sick, sir, but…”

“Blood.” Gareth said. The constable nodded.

“Has the surgeon been summoned?” Gareth asked.

“Aye, he has, inspector. It were nearing dawn by then so I had Tonder run up to the Watchhouse, to fetch the sergeant. Sergeant sent a runner for you and sent Tonder to fetch the cutter, to do the autopsifiying.”

Gareth nodded. Sergeant Halsten at least had done the right thing.

“Any idea what killed him?” Gareth asked.

The constable’s brows rose. “Sir, I thought they told you…”

“Told me what?” Gareth asked.

“It’s another one. Another of the Ripper’s.”

Gareth felt himself go cold. No! It couldn’t be! The killings had stopped. The last killing had been five months ago. He took a deep breath and looked at the constable.

“Are you certain?”

The constable grew pale. “Aye, sir. Sarge and us, we were all thinking exactly the same thing. It’s him alright.”

The Ripper had terrorized the city for close to a year. Always striking at random. There’d been no rhyme or reason to the attacks. Mann or womann, young or old. The Ripper hadn’t cared.

Gareth had hunted the bastard for months, barely sleeping, trying to find any witness, any clue that would lead him to the killer. He’d found witnesses but according to those statements, the Ripper was a tallish-shortish, palish-greenish, manly feminine, toreshian half breed as tall as a Ghoul with reddish blondeish brownish blackish hair. As useful as tits on a Titan, only good if you wanted to drown someone in milk.

Gareth took a deep breath, steeling himself.

“Right, constable. Show me.”

The constable nodded and took hold of the oilcloak. The corpse had grown pale already. The corpse was slumped against the wall, propped up against the white washed walls of the alley as if he was sitting down. His head was slumped against his chest to one side, as if he was merely asleep. A mann in his early fifties, olive skin with curly black hair. Mix blood, Gareth thought dispassionately. His shirt was a dark reddish brown down the front, the drawstrings near black with dried blood. Trousers dark brown or black, hard to tell. Around him a pool of drying blood. All of it, Gareth thought.

The constable moved forward as if to show him something but Gareth held out a hand. He wanted to observe this scene first. The mann’s arms were slumped by his side, fingers relaxed. One leg splayed out, the other collapsed in on itself, folded underneath him inelegantly.

No signs of a struggle. The killer had surprised him.

Gareth nodded at the constable. Now he was ready.

The constable grabbed the mann’s head carefully and shifted it. Gareth drew a ragged breath as he saw the ruin of flesh. Three jagged tears of flesh had ripped out the mann’s throat, revealing bone and cartilage, a hollowed mess of a throat that was more ribbon than meat. Just like the others.

Gareth nodded more to himself than the constable.

“It’s him alright.” Gareth said. He was certain. No one else could have done this.

The surgeon was a tall mann with a perpetual cough and a runny nose, pale as bone with a whispy head of hair and the look of the eternally dying. He’d once heard that southerners enjoyed a rude and robust health but whatever properties their blood held were not transferred to this particular specimen. Gareth waited patiently as the mann poked and prodded at the corpse, using long metal rods to examine the victim, measuring the tears and having his apprentice make meticulous notes of everything he said.

They were in cold vault beneath the watchhouse, a place with a few wooden slabs meant for the occasional autopsy where the corpses wouldn’t rot too fast. Gareth shivered slightly, drawing his coat closed as he waited.

When the surgeon was done he walked over to Gareth, while wiping his nose on the hem of his dark robes.

“Ah, inspector. I had hoped to see the last of these injuries.” He said with a sniff.

“So did I.” Gareth grunted.

“Yes, well, such are the vagaries of life, eh? The Queen giveth and she taketh.”

“Sure.” Gareth said with another grunt. “So what’s the verdict.”

The surgeon looked to his apprentice, who quickly handed over the small notebook he’d been writing in.

“Official cause of death is obviously exsanguination.” The surgeon said. “Three horizontal incisions into the carotid, tearing it to shreds, as well as causing substantial damage to trachea and the surrounding ligaments.”

“Anything useful you can tell me? Cause that one’s obvious.”

The mann sniffed again. “Impatience is not a virtue, inspector.”

“Never was a big believer.” Gareth replied.

“Indeed, how could you be? Your people’s faith is rather…”

“Look, I don’t need you for my immoral soul, alright? Just tell me what you know.” Gareth interrupted.

Faith, ha! What a joke! He’d found the average guardsmann either became fanatically religious or a non-believer. Gareth was the latter. After all, what kind of gods let monsters walk around clothed in mann flesh committing so many atrocities, all the while doing shit all about it?

“Right, inspector. Judging by the angle and depth of the wounds, your killer was most likely a head taller than his victim and considerably stronger.”

Gareth narrowed his eyes. “You’re sure?”

The surgeon nodded. “Indeed, it would require considerable force to cause that amount of damage and the angle of entry denotes an attack from above.”

Gareth’s mind was already racing. A head taller and stronger? No, it couldn’t be, could it? Few menn around these parts carried wolf blood.

Wolf blood? An idea occurred to him.

Gareth nodded to the surgeon and rushed up the stairs.

“Sergeant!” He yelled as he ran up. “Sergeant!”

Sergeant Halsten appeared at the top of the stairs, uniform disheveled and red faced.

“Sir?” He asked.

“Do you still have that hairy drunken giant in the cells?” Gareth asked.

“The fat one? Yes, sir. We do. We were going to release him during the day, once we were sure he was sober.”

“Hand me the keys to the cells. I need to talk to him.”

Halsten fumbled for the keychain at his belt. Gareth strode past him, ring of keys in hand. He passed the offices and constables on and off duty, heading to the back of the watchhouse.

He nodded to the desk sergeant guarding the cells and strode inside.

There were three small cells. More than enough, most of the time. Enough for most pickpockets, burglars and drunken brawlers at least, which were the usual catches.

Two of the cells were unoccupied, their doors open, cots empty. The third one housed a massive figure, so tall his feet were a good foot over the cot, hanging in mid air. Tall didn’t even begin to cover it.

The mann was a mass of hair and flesh, a veritable mountain of meat. Gareth couldn’t make out his features beneath all the hair but by all the gods everywhere could this mann snore. Like the mating calls of a herd of drunken ursaphants, half roaring, half whistling and wholly sounding like a death rattle.

Gareth stopped in front of the cell and banged on the bars. Once, twice, three times.

“Hey!” He yelled.

“Hradazasd!” The snoring stopped and the mann jumped up, wild eyed. He looked around confused.

“Vhere are I?” He muttered.

“Jail cell, for being drunk and disorderly.” Gareth explained. He watched the mann rise from the cot slowly, groaning.

His estimation had been wrong, he wasn’t a mountain of meat, he was a titan. Sure there was fat but there was a mass of muscle there as well, tearing at the seams, each movement that of a powerful force of nature. This mann was a pureblood. A Brudvir.

A slight shiver ran down his spine at the sheer animalism the mann exuded.

“Drunk? I? No, must be mistake, ja? I no drink.” The mann’s accent was thicker than butter, but his voice was deep and rumbling and melodic.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” Gareth found himself asking.

“Caravan arrive, ja? Is really hot. Sweaty. I go to tavern for en drink. Cold drink, ja?”

Gareth nodded along. It could be. Stories told that these menn did not do well with spirits.

“Well, apparently you tore apart the tavern. Broke several chairs and tables, some heads as well.” Gareth had been there when a full squad had carried him in.

The mann’s brows knit together in confusion, like two hairy mountains crashing.

“I hurt folk, ja? Not good. I…” He seemed to struggle for the word. “I sorry.”

“Right, that’s not what I came here for.” Gareth said. “Tell me something. Is it true what they say about your people? That you are expert trackers? That you can smell as well as a hound?”

The mann’s eyes lit up. “Ja, of course. I can smell mother and father’s trail three weeks after rainstorm. Hrolf smell good, ja?”

Gareth nodded. “Good. I could use your help.”

“Me help? Ja? I smell, I better sorry?”

“Can’t hurt.” Gareth replied. “You’re only in on drunk and disorderly.”

Hrolf thought for a moment then nodded and grinned, showing two massive yellowed fangs. “Goot! I help!”

“Blood.” Hrolf muttered. “Much blood. Very much blood.” The big mann was sweating profusely as they walked.

Gareth nodded. They were still five streets from the crime scene and already Hrolf could smell it. That was a good sign.

Gareth needed a sign, a clue, something to keep him going forward. He couldn’t sit by and let the Ripper keep killing. Something inside him raged against that possibility. He hated this feeling of powerlessness the bastard had instilled not just in him, but in the populace in general.

Before the Ripper’s coming this town had been a quiet place. Sure, there’d been killings. Mostly domestics. Bloodied frying pans or pitchforks wielded in anger. Now though, now people were afraid. He didn’t need Hrolf’s nose to tell him that. He saw it in the way people held themselves, in the furtive looks and hunched postures.

News of the Ripper’s return had spread like wildfire and much as Gareth would have liked to keep it quiet, he couldn’t, not if he could save lives.

Gareth guided Hrolf to the crime scene, drawing more than a few curious looks from passersby.

He’d kept Tonder and the other constable guarding the scene and the two saluted as Halsten, Hrolf and Gareth approached. They looked tired. He’d need to remember to switch them out.

The scene still looked devastating, despite the lack of body.

“The murder took place here.” Gareth said.

Hrolf nodded. “Ja, you want I smell, ja?”

Gareth nodded. “Tell me any scent you can’t identify.” As a precaution he’d already let Hrolf smell the surgeon and his assistant, which had been mildly hilarious.

Halsten suppressed a snigger as Hrolf bent down on all fours and proceeded to smell the cobblestones.

“Much scent marking, ja?” Hrolf said.

Gareth was confused for a moment, then realization came. “Yes, a lot. Too much.”

“Is normal. Mann is animal, want to mark territory.” Hrolf replied with a grin.

“Smell dead mann. Scent strong. Smell you. Smell stinky mann next to you.” Hrolf sniffed. “Smell two youths. Smell corpse mann and his lover, ja?”

His lover? Oh… Gareth filed that away for future reference.

Hrolf went over the alley with a fine tooth nose, sniffing away, following scent trails. For a brief moment he raised his head, nostrils flaring, eyes narrowing, then he shook his head and went back to the cobblestones.

He shook his head after a good quarter hour.

“No killer scent.” He said after a while. “I smell and smell, but no. Nothing. Killer no scent, ja?”

Gareth’s veins turned cold. “No scent? Are you sure?”

Hrolf nodded. “I smell and smell. I smell more. I think, maybe, but no. Nothing. No scent.”

“What doesn’t have a scent?” Gareth wondered.

Hrolf shook his head. “Mann has scent, ja? Clever mann masks scent with other scent. Strong smell. Not here. Here no. Killer is no-mann. Monster, ja? I know this. Legend say so. Monster no have scent.”

Gareth stared at the mann. The killer had no scent? No, that couldn’t be. What Hrolf said made sense. A smart mann would cover his scent. Except there was no scent. Could it be? Could Hrolf be working with the killer? Gareth considered the possibility. He looked at the big mann again, big grin but sweating with a troubled look in his eyes.

No. Gareth had been doing this job long enough to trust his gut and his gut said Hrolf had nothing to do with this.

How to explain this then?

“Sergeant, please escort Master Hrolf back to the watchhouse and get him released. Master Hrolf, if you could not leave town while we conduct this investigation?”

“Hrolf stay, ja? He work. Big mann hire Hrolf to make furniture.” Gareth nodded. He gave Halsten a knowing look and the sergeant gave an imperceptible nod. Someone would be watching Hrolf; gut instinct or not, Gareth was no fool.

He released the two constables as well, assuring them that he’d stay until reinforcements came. He needed to think this one through.

Gareth paced the alley. Taller than the victim, who’d been taller than five feet. Strong. Yet, no scent. How did you hide someone so big? People had noticed Hrolf, he was hard to miss. So how? How did the Ripper do it? Was he a monster?

No, Gareth couldn’t believe it. Those were stories meant for children. Monsters didn’t figure into it. These killings were made in anger. There was a motive there. Not one he understood, but these killings had intent. They weren’t completely random. Again, his gut told him as much. Something motivated the Ripper. Mann made.

It would be easy to just attribute this to some supernatural monster. Too easy in fact. It would absolve whatever guilt he felt at not being able to catch him, which was precisely why Gareth couldn’t allow himself to think it.

So how? How did the Ripper do it? How could he be tall, strong and yet leave no trace?

Two weeks and no more killings. The townsfolk were already breathing easier again. Gareth wasn’t. He could feel it in his bones. Another killing was coming. Another victim.

Hrolf’s tail had reported he was working in the home of a wealthy merchant and didn’t interact much with people due to the language barrier. Gareth still had him watched, as a precaution.

He stood on the balcony of his small apartment gazing out over the town. Night had fallen and the only light came from windows and torches. He took a glimmer shaving and took out his pipe, stuffing it and setting it alight.

Two weeks. Two weeks of little to no sleep, gazing out over his town. He knew he should sleep. Knew that he’d be as useful as a lead codpiece if something happened now, but he just couldn’t. Whenever he closed his eyes his failures loomed over him. The corpses of the Ripper’s victims.

Damn it! His job was to protect people and bring those responsible to justice when he couldn’t. Except he was powerless. Tall and strong, yet scentless. Tall and strong, yet scentless… The pieces of the puzzle were always there. Always wanting to be assembled yet never fitting.

He drew a breath from the pipe, feeling the acrid smoke burn his lungs. He coughed. A horrid habit but it kept him awake, kept him focused.

He stood waiting, watching, pipe smoke curling about him, rising into the night sky.

Slowly the lights of the town winked out as night deepened further and slumber claimed the populace, leaving the streets feeling empty and abandoned. Here and there a few lone lights stood vigil against the pervasive darkness, small glimmers against a midnight backdrop.

Gareth turned from the sight. Useless! What was he even doing? He should just head to bed. His eyes felt rough and grainy, burning with lack of sleep and pipe smoke, his vision blurred. Two weeks was enough, right? No one could expect a mann to stand vigil longer, could they? There wasn’t more he could do, was there?

Gareth sighed again. Sod it! He should just head to bed. He was useless like this anyway. He turned from the balcony.

A scream pierced the night air. He turned, eyes roving. Another scream, this one louder, fearful and pained.

Gareth let the pipe fall to the floor. Finally! He felt a rush of joy as his boots pounded floor boards. He grabbed his coat from the rack, grabbed his sword, belt and sheath, and was already running.

The screams had originated from somewhere close by, he was sure of it. He had run as fast as he could, down empty streets and alleys, working off memory in the darkened gloom.

Shit! Where was it? He knew he was in the right area, but where? Gareth walked with sword drawn, eyes squinting to catch what little light he could.

Then the sound of a watch bell. Someone else had made it there first. Gareth ran.

The sound of the bell came from an open warehouse, light spilling forth from the doorway.

Gareth braced himself for what he might find.

A lone lantern was on the floor, its light spilling forth in every direction, creating a tableau of shadow and light. The warehouse was massive, with high rafters and massive shelves. Gareth crept forward, letting his eyes adjust.


In the back of the warehouse he saw it. One mann lying face first on the floor, the lantern light glinting off a breastplate. A bell was next to him, lying on the floor in a dark puddle.

Gareth’s guts turned to ice. One of his! He approached slowly. Next to the watchmann was another corpse. A womann. It was obvious what had killed her. Three diagonal slashes down from her collarbone, tearing open her chest and stomach.

His heart began pounding, sweat beading on his forehead. Gareth adjusted the grip on his sword.

His eyes darted back and forth, searching for the Ripper. He couldn’t be far. The blood was still fresh.

Gareth heard skittering behind him and turned on his heels. Nothing but shadows. His heart was thumping away in his chest. Thump. Thump.

Another sound, but still more shadows. His breaths came ragged and heavy.

Gareth stilled himself, taking deep slow breaths.

Think! Where could he be? He turned in a circle, sword at the ready.

Luck saved him. Gareth wiped away stray strands of sweaty hair from his brow when he saw a glint. Gareth jumped back.

Pain assaulted him. The left side of his face felt like it was burning. For the first time Gareth caught sight of the Ripper. A mere flash but it was enough.

Small, smaller than the mountain folk with eyes of blackest midnight and a slaughterhouse smile showing tiny filed teeth. It grinned down at him while climbing up a rope, scurrying away into the darkness of the rafters above.

He caught a glimpse of the taloned glove in its hands, still slick with blood.

“Smart Big, smart. Not smart enough though.” It giggled. Gareth heard a slurping sound and shivered. The voice was high but twisted, carrying an edge of frantic madness.

“Got your blood, yes, yes. Good blood. Yes. Red blood.” Another giggle, as if from a nightmarish fae tale.

“Who are you?” Gareth asked. He held a hand to his face. It came back red and dark with blood. He tried to ignore the pain.

“Ripper, yes. You call me Ripper. Good name. I rip. I tear. I kill. All Bigs must die, yes, yes. Spill blood, yes.” Another giggle. “Fools. Always looking down. Thinking small is bad. Never look up do they? No, they don’t. So I come from above.” More giggling as if it was the funniest joke ever told.

“Why?” Gareth asked. “Why did you do it?” He needed to keep the thing talking. The more it talked, the better Gareth could find it.

“Bigs, always thinking big. Hihihi. Kill all the smart people. All the good people. Kill and eat, chomp, chomp, chomp.” Another burst of giggling. “No! I no let Bigs do so anymore! All Bigs must die! Kill and maim, I tear, I rip, I flay. I destroy you all. One by one. Small folk will win because Bigs stupid.” More giggling. “From nape to navel I open you, yes yes. White of bone and red of blood. Such pretty ribbons you make, yes.”

“This has to stop.” Gareth said, trying to draw it out. He though he knew where the creature was.

“No! Never! Only stop when all Bigs die!” The tiny voice roared at him, turning venomous. “I will kill you now. You still too big. Unless…” He heard the scraping of steel on wood above.


Another giggle. “Want me to cut off legs? Then you not Big anymore. Hahaha!”

He didn’t respond. Gareth knew where the creature was now.

“No? Shame. Bigs too stubborn. Too stupid. I kill you now. One less Big.” More giggling.

Kill him? How? He was a good few paces away from the thing.

Swinging towards him, like a nightmarish vision from a deluded child came the tiny mann, cackling and giggling, that slaughterhouse smile rimmed with fresh blood.

Gareth didn’t think, he swung, using his sword like a club.

It connected and the figure tumbled away into the darkness. Gareth followed the laughing groans.

It hung there along the rope, almost scraping the floor.

“Funny Big, funny.” It giggled. “Spin me more! More! Spin me as I rip! I tear! Hahaha!”

Gareth saw that the flat of his blade had smacked into the thing’s forehead. Dazed and confused its midnight eyes shone with mirth and it still giggled as Gareth punched it in the face.


His name was Kyjaq, a Kypiq, one of those rare forest dwellers who mostly shunned other people. The priests called him possessed and had pleaded for mercy during the trial and permission for an exorcism.

Gareth had argued against it, so too had the families of the victims.

All through the trial Kyjaq had laughed and giggled, threatening to tear them all to shreds with his high pitched squeals.

Gareth stood in front of the hanging platform in the front row. The whole town had gathered to watch the bastard swing.

Gareth couldn’t help but smile at the panicked expression on the Ripper’s face as the headsmann put the noose around his neck. He stood on a high footstool, squirming and shouting.

“Rip! I’ll rip you all! Make bloody ribbons!” Another involuntary giggle burst forth.

The headsmann pulled the lever.

A sharp crack filled the silence of the square. The sound of a neck snapping.

The sound of justice.

The crowd cheered.

Gareth nodded to himself.

It was done.

11/24/2019 4:03:20 PM #1

awesome job Bear, this was suspenseful, and really vivid descriptions XD hope I can sleep after this

11/25/2019 3:04:41 AM #2

see we knew there was a reason Kypiq dont eat meat it sends them mad and blood hungry

well done loved it

From Our Farm Gate To Your Dinner Plate.

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11/25/2019 4:33:28 AM #3

I really like this series and I hope there is more! I'm looking forward to it. :)

11/28/2019 7:50:31 PM #4

Always an incredible read from you, brother. I especially like this one ... kinda rips at the heart-strings ... or at least some muscle and ligament.

12/10/2019 11:03:31 PM #5

Thank you all for the compliments and look forward to Part 2 and however many parts I can come up with! (I'm currently thinking 8)

12/11/2019 5:31:51 PM #6

I really hope you make these into a book ig of stories to tell around the campfire.

These are amazing!

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12/19/2019 7:40:51 PM #7

looking forward to part 2 already, this was great!

12/30/2019 4:41:24 PM #8

Don't wait to long in posting part two, people happen to like these ya know XD

1/2/2020 5:45:07 AM #9

Well written as always! The ripper reminded me of words "choppy choppy leg" ;)

2/21/2020 4:51:04 PM #10

Masterfully written! Great use of tribe traits.

-Wayland Ade'Braeden, Judicator of IronCall, Tritea Duchy of the High Seas.

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