Welcome to Azur Berlin. The Ancient Witch extends her heartfelt greetings. Please, take it easy and relax for the time being.
There's no need to think overly hard about any of this.
Quietly accept all that is about to happen.
That is all that is being asked of you.
This is heavily based off of Umineko, if that much isn't obvious. From that, yes, there will be deaths occurring throughout this read. Umineko is a murder mystery visual novel. Unlike Umineko, I won't go into graphic detail about the murders, but please keep that in mind. If you're offended or upset, I'm sorry.
I also started to rush towards the end because I just wanted to finish this up. I also had trouble trying to craft this into a mystery with how I started. I didn't want to restart the whole thing, so you get this jank story. Which also explains why some character's motivations and mannerisms change. Again, I'm sorry.
To make you feel better here is a spoiler:
Everyone is going to die. Even my characters.
Azur Deutschland - Dellamorte Family
Socialist Macronesia - Ross
Western Fardelshufflestein - Alastair/Marie
Wuchu - Kotera
Las Palmeras - Montse
New Carthagea - Christophe II
Kiu Ghesik - Ari
Minskiev - Ivan
Free Ravensburg - Amadeus
Empirical Switzerland - Bodie
Please, sit back, enjoy the tea, and enjoy your stay.
Everything will be over when the seagulls cry.
We begin with a letter addressed to various leaders around the world and the universal planes. The envelope alone is insanely detailed, with a intricate designed border of gold and the imprint of a blue rose on the front. It seems to shimmer and glow with a faint light. The letter inside, written in a very elegant and beautiful cursive offers a very simple and mysterious invitation.
It is to be a momentous celebration. A once in a lifetime opportunity awaits you at the Castle.
Please, don't be late."
The call was listened to. Ten leaders from around the universal planes gathered at the Dellamorte Castle in Azur Berlin, wondering why specifically they were invited and what event they were invited to. Ross from Socialist Macronesia, Alastair and his wife Marie from Western Fardelshufflestein, Kotera from Wuchu, Montse from Las Palmeras, Christophe from New Carthagea, Ari from Kiu Ghesik, Ivan from Minskiev, Amadeus from Free Ravensburg, and Bodie from Imperial Switzerland.
Before anyone could ask anyone about anything, three figures appeared in front of the ten leaders. Sylvia Lucienne Dellamorte, Julienne Victoria Dellamorte, and Phym Dellamorte all bowed.
Greetings, everyone. Thank you all for coming. As you are all well aware, we are the Azurblaue Rozenschwestern.
We've invited everyone here for a special occasion. We-
-are going to play a game! Hehehe~
Sylvia and Julienne both smile and nod.
It is more or less a contest. We'll tell you more as we proceed. Please, follow us.
The three then turned around and walked on towards the castle. The ten leaders looked at each other, a bit confused. Small whispers broke out, but were silenced when Sylvia and Julienne beckoned them to follow.
Above, the sky started to darken. A massive storm was on it's way.
The entrance hall to the castle was elegant, to put it simply. The wall opposite to the door had an elaborate painting. It was a painting of a woman. Sylvia, Julienne, and Phym led the ten leaders to the painting. The title was "The Ancient Witch" and beside it sat a plaque. The twins and their adopted daughter urged everyone to read the plaque.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream in search of the key.
As you travel down it, you will see a village.
In that village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.
The one who obtains the key must then travel to the Golden Land in accordance with these rules.
On the first twilight, offer the three chosen by the key as sacrifices.
On the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
On the third twilight, those who remain shall praise my noble name.
On the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
On the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
On the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
On the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
On the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
On the ninth twilight, the witch shall revive, and none shall be left alive.
On the tenth twilight, at journey's end, you shall attain to the power of the Golden Land's treasures, once and for the last time.
The witch shall praise the wise and bestow four treasures.
One shall be all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be the resurrection of all the dead souls.
One shall be the resurrection of the love that was lost.
One shall be to put the witch to sleep for all time.
Sleep peacefully, my beloved witch, Aurelia.
This is the start of our contest.
Solve the mystery of the Witch's Epitaph.
The reward is ten tons of gold!
You're welcome to stay here as long as you like. You're our guests, so you'll be treated kindly. We will have a big dinner later. Please, enjoy the stay. Oh, and separate rooms have all been prepared for you already. Upstairs, you'll find doors with your names. Those are your rooms. For now, please relax in the parlor.
Sylvia then gestured over to a room off to the side of the entrance hall.
You may work together on the riddle. Remember though, there can be only one winner.
With that, the twins bowed and left with their daughter to go upstairs. The ten leaders entered the parlor and were left to their own devices. After taking seats on the couches that furnished the parlor, they all looked at each other again, confused once more.
This is some jank unnatural sh*t.
Yeah... What the hell kind of game is this?
Surely we all think this is something else, right?
I don't know, ten tons of gold can buy a lot of booze.
Marie gently smacks her husband's cheek.
If the ten tons of gold is real, none of that is going towards alcohol!
That's an excellent point. If the gold is real. I think I'm with Amadeus, this seems like there's more at play here....
I see no reason to not trust them. Those two aren't all that evil.
While that's true, it's still probably good to exercise caution.
Extremely wise decision. The twins are strange creatures.
Well, money is money. Ten tons of gold is a lot of money... I don't think they're faking it. Don't they have a history with strange magic?
Mmm, good point. Sylvia and Julienne are witches, so it wouldn't be impossible that they do have ten tons of gold. Though, again, why? Why give us the opportunity to just take it?
Maybe they're trying to judge us on something. Maybe this is some mystic test or something.
Just then, a servant entered the parlor with a tray. She set the tray down on the table and bowed to the ten leaders.
Some refreshments. Freshly brewed tea and freshly baked cookies. Dinner will be ready in an hour.
The servant bowed once again before leaving the parlor.
Well, might as well enjoy the time here.
We can also discuss that riddle. We have time to kill, so we should try to at least get some starting point.
Well, the first thing I've noticed is that we can separate that epitaph into three distinct parts. Something about a key, something about what to do with the key, and something about the rewards.
Oh, yeah. You can break it down like that.
That middle section though. That seems really gruesome, doesn't it? There's stuff about gouging and killing.
IVAN and AMADEUS
See, they're trying to kill us.
No, I don't think that's it.
It might be a metaphor for something... Like a word game or something like that.
Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. It might be something where you remove letters based off of certain criteria.
Well, that just sounds like some stupid children's game then.
Yes, but I would argue that this is more engineered than a simple children's game. For instance, we still need to figure out the key. The key is probably the word that we take letters off of. Assuming Bodie and Ross are right.
I know it's not much else, and it's painfully obvious, but the Golden Land would be whatever vault or place they have the gold locked up.
Maybe we could just wander the castle and find it eventually.
The remaining leaders laugh for a second.
Come on, man! Sylvia and Julienne have magic. You really think it's going to be easy?
The room is left painfully silent after Ari spoke. The weight of that finally settled in hard. This wasn't going to be easy. They got a foothold in a potential understanding of the Witch's Epitaph, but they were still missing crucial components to fully realize the plan they had going.
Maybe we should wait until after dinner to dwell more on this. I can't be the only one whose mind is getting clouded by hunger.
Thankful that someone broke the silence, the other nine leaders agreed with Alastair. From that point on, they conversed with each other about the mundane things while enjoying the tea and cookies set out for them. They killed the remaining time very easily. An hour was already up and the dinner was to begin. The same servant popped back into the parlor to collect the ten leaders. She then lead them out into the dining room.
The storm outside got worse. Heavy rains and thunder. No one seemed to notice, but escape wouldn't be possible anymore.
A long table with fourteen chairs greeted them. Set upon the table was an extraordinary amount of food. It was like a massive Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Watching the ten leaders surprised faces, Sylvia and Julienne smiled. They gestured to the table and the food.
Help yourselves, friends.
We know this is strange, but we'd really like for you all to be comfortable while you're here. We hope to raise Azur Deutschland's reputation with the each of you.
The ten leaders gave nods and acknowledgments before choosing seats. Sylvia and Julienne both sighed in relief. They sat down together with Phym and began their dinner with their guests. After everyone settled in with their plates full of food, the dining room exploded into a lively event. Discussions about the world, about politics and ideologies, and about everyday things were had. There was laughing and giggling. A fun atmosphere was created. This was unconsciously surprising as the sudden contest created a massive amount of tension just an hour ago.
Suddenly though, Ross looked over at the only empty seat. He saw a familiar envelope sitting there. Grabbing it, he stood up. The sudden movement caused the fun to pause as everyone looked over at Ross. He held up the envelope.
First off, why was there an empty seat? Secondly, why was there an envelope sitting there?
Everyone was silent.
Well, the table just happens to support fourteen people...
And the envelope?
We didn't place it there.
I didn't notice it when we were picking seats...
Yeah, I went around the whole table too. I think everyone did as we picked out food.
Strange, but whatever. I think the important thing is, what does the letter say? We can go around in circles discussing how it got there...
Ross opens up the envelope. Taking out the letter, he read it out loud.
Sincerely, Aurelia Beatrice Dellamorte"
Everyone suddenly stopped eating. Ivan and Amadeus slammed their hands on the table.
IVAN and AMADEUS
I knew it! They're going to kill us!
Sylvia and Julienne looked slightly upset. Phym was already crying, hugging her two mothers.
We wouldn't kill anyone...
Aurelia is just a myth though. Our parents told us about her just as a way to keep us from going off deep into the woods...
Mhm, yeah, sure. Look, no matter how you try to play it, this only looks suspicious against you two. You're real witches for Christ's sake.
Not necessarily. I could argue that one of you wanted to frame us. All we wanted was to host a competition to earn favor for Azur Deutschland. I know that some of you would rather hate us for eternity just because of the second world war!
Guys, shut up and stop arguing. If this threat is real, which it very well might be, then everyone's in trouble. It said she was going to take the lives of everyone here. That means we're all in trouble.
Montse has a point. We shouldn't fight if there is an outside threat.
Yeah, well, I don't want to die!
Me neither! We should try to leave!
Unfortunately, the storm outside has gotten worse. We'd advise you all to stay inside the castle.
Upon the realization that there was a massive weather anomaly outside, the dining room erupted into arguments. Sylvia and Julienne left the dining room with Phym. The three of them were all crying as they walked quickly to their room.
I... can't believe her...
It would be... so like her to pick today...
It's all because of the Epitaph...
We'll be okay though, right?
Both of the twins nodded at their daughter's question.
Back in the dining hall, the ten leaders finally noticed that the twins had left.
Damn it... There goes one of our only sources of information and protection. Having two witches would be useful against another witch.
They're probably off to set up traps or something.
Well, guess dinner is over then?
Yes, of course... Jeez, dear, please try to be a little more cognizant of what's going on. Everyone's thinking that we're all going to be murdered.
One thing is certain. We should stick together. That way, if it is Sylvia and Julienne, we have a chance of getting away.
Again, they're witches... It's probably easy for them to kill all of us quickly.
Then that brings up the point they were making earlier. Maybe they really are innocent? If they wanted to kill us, we'd already be dead.
Again, I think our chances would be better to stick with them at least. If we keep our eyes on them it won't be hard to alert everyone. If they're innocent, then they can provide some assistance against another witch.
But they left. This castle is huge too.
Montse glares at Ross for making the twins upset.
Well f*ck, sorry. Not my fault they're highly suspicious, even now.
Then we should find them so you can give a personal apology.
The ten leaders got up and left the dining room.
Meanwhile, in the study off to the side of Sylvia and Julienne's room. The twins were solemnly playing Chess while Phym was reading a book. While it was true that they knew what was coming, it was also true that they didn't know it was going to be today.
Now of any day, she chooses to play her Demon's Roulette... She desperately wants to conduct her resurrection ceremony...
It's because of the number of guests we have...
Yes... That is right. Well, hopefully the Roulette favors us. Only ten sacrifices are needed.
That would be all of our guests, unfortunately.
I... I know...
Suddenly a flash of blue appeared in the study. Standing beside the table the Chess game was set upon, Aurelia Beatrice Dellamorte looked at her descendants. The twins both looked at her and shook their heads.
Me and my big mouth.
I guess, our luck ran out?
Unfortunately, yes. I will grant you three a painless death. Your entrance to the Golden Land will be swift and easy. Please, don't take this the wrong way. I think it would be better for me to live in this world and for you three to live there. This world isn't perfect, but the Golden Land is.
The ten leaders scoured the castle looking for Sylvia and Julienne. Montse made Ross lead the way as it was his sin that needed to be atoned. Strangely, none of the servants were out anymore. A look outside any of the windows showed pitch blackness. The sound of rain was rather loud and heavy. Occasional lightning flashes and loud booms of thunder added to the insanely unsettling atmosphere.
It took them a while, but eventually they found the door to Sylvia and Julienne's room. The clock had just struck midnight before they arrived. Setting their eyes on the door, everyone let out a gasp. Some of them let out screams, but it was hard to make out who it was.
On the door was a strange occult symbol drawn with some dark red... paint? No. It was definitely blood.
Pushing aside the fears, Ross took control and grabbed the handle. He forced the door open. The ten guests stumbled into a rather elegant bedroom. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary, but no one could really tell. Sylvia and Julienne were mysterious girls about their private life.
Looking deeper and focusing harder, the guests found that Sylvia, Julienne, and Phym were sleeping on the massive ornate bed. A closer inspection, however, revealed that it wasn't a slumber that they'd wake up from. They looked peaceful. The only way to tell that they were dead was the wounds over their hearts.
Oh my god!
I... I think I'm going to be sick.
This is... rather upsetting. They were young.
Yeah, guess you were wrong, Ross.
F*ck me. I guess this means we're next.
Guys, there's another letter here.
Bodie lifted up an envelope placed next to the bed. Without hesitation, he opened it and read the contents out loud for the rest.
My descendants did not abuse your intellect. The gold exists. Find the gold, and you find the answer I want you to find.
Sincerely, Aurelia Beatrice Dellamorte"
This cryptic sh*t is getting real annoying.
We should head back to the parlor and barricade ourselves there. Then we can think about solving the riddle.
The ten leaders agreed on Montse's plan. They left the twins' room and headed back to the parlor. Once inside, they gathered some extra furniture and barricaded the doors. Then, they all sat down on the couches. The room, filled with tension, was also filled with a heavy silence. It wasn't witnessed, but murders had definitely occurred tonight. The worst part was that they were all locked in the castle for who knows how long.
Alastair got up and started pacing around. He looked over the parlor and found some side rooms.
There's more rooms here...
Maybe we should check them out.
Go ahead, you two, but be careful. This witch intends to kill all of us...
Alastair and Marie nodded. Getting up, Marie walked over to her husband and the two of them went into the side rooms. They were like quite spacious storage closets. They had a very creepy atmosphere. Alastair rummaged around, looking to see if there was any alcohol stored here. Marie, shaking her head, was sticking close to her husband.
All of a sudden, the two of them heard giggles and cackles.
The king is mine~ Ahuhu~
Then I'll topple the queen~ Kihihihi~
The remaining eight leaders were in the parlor discussing the Epitaph's riddle. They didn't know how long they were talking, but it was an extremely long time. They hadn't noticed that Alastair and Marie still weren't back. Only after what sounded like two gunshots did everyone startle and get up.
I think Alastair and Marie might be in trouble.
We gotta go and find out!
Getting their wits about them, the eight got to their feet and moved quickly to the side rooms. They pushed their way inside fast. Taking a quick look, they all confirmed that the side rooms were storage closets. Sticking together, the eight leaders moved their way throughout the closet. Eventually, the found Alastair and Marie. They seemed to be sitting down next to a crate of wine.
Only, they weren't alive to enjoy the wine. Stuck into their chests and into their hearts were ornate demon-looking stakes.
What the hell?!
CHRISTOPHE, ARI, IVAN, and AMADEUS
The killer certainly isn't wasting time. Damn it.
I don't want to look at them like this... Let's lock this up and go back to the parlor. Everyone needs to keep together.
They all nodded. Returning to the parlor, they sat back down. Kotera looked at the table and sighed. He picked up the letter and read it just to get it out of the way.
Allow me to entertain you with a thought. I'm not alone.
One of your ilk is an accomplice to these murders.
Sincerely, Aurelia Beatrice Dellamorte"
Kotera took that last bit to heart. Something about this seemed insanely off. Almost like Sylvia and Julienne gave someone some incentive to commit murder. Maybe one the guests here already had the gold and was trying to eliminate everyone else. The others, however, weren't convinced by that.
Someone here is helping commit the murders? How would that even be possible?
Everyone has an alibi, right? We've all been together this whole time.
Yeah, but that doesn't mean they aren't an accomplice. You can help out with out being directly responsible.
Why would a witch need an accomplice?
The culprit might not be a witch.
I think I'm starting to understand... We definitely know that Sylvia and Julienne were witches, but who is to say that this Aurelia actually exists? The two of them did say that it was just a legend their parents told them.
Which can lead us to a conclusion that some unknown heard about this party, heard of the gold, and is now seeking to find the gold and eliminate the competition, with the help of one of us...
You can't seriously believe that one of us is an accomplice, right?
It all depends on the motives.
Can't you see that this is what the killer wants? Aurelia or whoever wants us to fight and break off. We'll be easy targets.
The parlor turned into a huge argument at this point. Raging debates filled the air as people expressed opinions. If the culprit was a witch, we'd all be dead by now. If the culprit is human, it's only logical to stick together. If the culprit is one of the guests, it would be logical to separate yourself from any potential suspects to keep yourself safe. All of this back and forth started to give everyone pounding headaches.
Everyone then remembered that there were rooms prepared for them upstairs. Bodie, Ivan, Ari, and Amadeus left the parlor to check out the rooms. It was decided that that shouldn't be a problem as they are three of them together.
Later into the night, the remaining four leaders traveled together upstairs to find their rooms as well. There was an uncanny feeling washing over them. Climbing up the stairs, they made out the hallway that would contain their rooms. Getting closer and closer to the hallway, they trembled and stopped.
Four of the doors had similar occult symbols and drawings like what they saw on Sylvia and Julienne's door.
Knowing already what they were going to find, the five entered each room and examined everything closely.
First was Bodie's room. The poor man was dead, stabbed in the head by a demon-looking stake.
Second was Amadeus's room. Like Bodie he was also dead. A demon-like stake stabbed through his chest.
Third was Ivan's room. Dead as well. A stake piercing through his stomach.
Last was Ari's room. Another tragic death. She had a wound on her knee. The stake was across the room. She was also holding a knife in her hand. It seemed she put up a fight against whoever killed her.
The four remaining guests went back out into the hall. Montse, Christophe, and Kotera were silent, though for differing reasons. Christophe was giving a moment of silence for those killed. Montse was trying to deduce why everything happened like this. Kotera was watching everyone. Ross pounded against the wall for sometime, anger and frustration building.
I'm going back to the parlor. That bitch probably left a letter.
No one stopped him. No one seemed to notice that he stormed off. Kotera silently watched him as he left.
Upon returning to the parlor, Ross found a gun, an old carbine version of a Kar98k rifle. Attached to it was a note. Ross read it, grabbed the gun and walked out into the entrance hall.
A loud gunshot echoed throughout the castle. The sudden noise brought Christophe, Montse, and Kotera back to their senses. They double-timed it and ran towards the source of the gunshot. Climbing down the stairs they were met with an unsettling, but unsurprising sight.
Ross lay dead in front of the portrait of Aurelia. They was a wound not only to his head, but also to his leg. A demon stake was stabbed through his leg. The three also noticed that Ross had a gun in his hands.
Kotera looked closer at the body and found the note.
Kotera shook his head. Turning around, he was about to claim that either Christophe or Montse were the culprits. He stopped, however, unable to speak.
Standing before them was a beautiful woman. The woman in the painting. Aurelia.
The time has come. My resurrection is almost finished. You three who are still left alive, I ask you. Join me in the Golden Land. Your friends await you.
Montse and Christophe bowed and accepted the invitation. Kotera, furious, denied it. He denied that this witch could even exist.
Blinding light filled the castle.
The next day, the authorities couldn't find anything. A mass murder took place at the Dellamorte Castle. The culprit is assumed to have committed suicide.
Sylvia Dellamorte - Victim of the First Twilight.
Julienne Dellamorte - Victim of the First Twilight.
Phym Dellamorte - Victim of the First Twilight.
Alastair - Victim of the Second Twilight. Pierced by the Stake of Lucifer.
Marie - Victim of the Second Twilight. Pierced by the Stake of Leviathan.
Bodie - Victim of the Fourth Twilight. Pierced by the Stake of Satan.
Amadeus - Victim of the Fifth Twilight. Pierced by the Stake of Belphegor.
Ivan - Victim of the Sixth Twilight. Pierced by the Stake of Mammon.
Ari - Victim of the Seventh Twilight. Pierced by the Stake of Beelzebub.
Ross - Victim of the Eighth Twilight. Pierced by the Stake of Asmodeus.
Aurelia Dellamorte - Revived. Offered the survivors passage to the Golden Land.
Montse - Acknowledged Aurelia's invitation. Was rejected, however, and killed.
Christophe - Acknowledged Aurelia's invitation. Was rejected, however, and killed.
Kotera - Denied Aurelia's invitation. Fate remains unknown, but he damned the rest.
I will make you submit.