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Ashley Graydon
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Ashley Graydon
Even now, years later, the nightmares of my life in the slums wake me in the small hours. I wanted to drown them out. With more money than anyone who lived in that squalor could ever imagine.

Ashley Graydon, also known under the pseudonym "Eggert Benedict", was a communications officer at London's central communication station. He led a team responsible for setting up and testing the telegraphs used by the ministry, and was responsible for inspections of the ministry's communications office. He was called as a witness in the trial of Gina Lestrade.

Early life[]

Ashley Graydon was born Ashley Milverton, the son of a brickmaker, "Thrice-Fired" Mason Milverton. Born into poverty, he was childhood friends with the Skulkin brothers, with whom he would often engage in chicanery. Milverton and his wife were very poor and they almost never went without worrying about money. Eventually, Mason's wife left him and took Ashley with her, changing his surname to Graydon. Determined to rise out of destitution, Ashley studied as hard as he could and eventually got a job as a communications officer. He worked closely with British government staff on managing international transmissions, and his skills earned him great respect from his coworkers.

Father's death[]

Main article: The Adventure of the Runaway Room
Crogley and Megundal

Making a deal with McGilded.

Around a decade later, Graydon was approached by shady businessman Magnus McGilded. McGilded requested Graydon's assistance in stealing top-secret information from the British government, in exchange for large sums of money; Graydon, being in charge of the ministry's telegraph stations, would have easy access to this information. Still horrified of the idea of falling back into poverty, Graydon agreed. The method was such: After obtaining the information, Graydon would encode the Morse transmission onto two pages of sheet music, one for the dots, and one for the dashes. He would then contact his estranged father, Milverton, and have him embed the sheet music onto two separate music disks, each to be fitted in a special music box designed to relay Morse code. Lastly, Graydon would exchange both disks with McGilded in separate transactions. Through this unorthodox system of encryption, tracing the method the secrets were being leaked would be virtually impossible.

Graydon accumulated much wealth as a result of his espionage. He shared this wealth with his father, but despite his key role in the scheme, Graydon kept Milverton in the dark on the true nature of the disks. During one transaction, Graydon exchanged the first disk with McGilded and went to visit his father to split the profit, but Milverton, having grown concerned over his son's dealings, refused to take the money unless he made the exchange of the second disk himself. Pressured, Graydon relented and allowed his father to make the deal in his stead. But the deal soon soured, culminating in McGilded murdering the brickmaker in cold blood, and having the disk hidden inside a pawn shop, Windibank's Pawnbrokery.

Graydon vowed revenge against his father's killer. He pooled his wealth to hire several phony police officers and stationed them at McGilded's trial. After McGilded was found not guilty under dubious circumstances, Graydon's men lured him into the omnibus where Milverton was killed and set it ablaze, burning the philanthropist alive.

Retrieving the music disks[]

Main article: The Adventure of the Unspeakable Story

After taking care of McGilded, Graydon sought to retrieve the two music disks, the only remaining evidence of his dealings. He deduced that McGilded had hidden the disk in Windibank's Pawnbrokery, as the pair had used the shop in their business. Having attended McGilded's trial, Graydon took note of witness Gina Lestrade's shaky testimony, and correctly surmised that she'd been silenced by McGilded, and had likely been ordered by him to retrieve the disk after the fact. He began collecting information on Lestrade, waiting for the day she would go to the pawnbroker's.

When the day before the forfeit date for the disk arrived, Graydon followed Lestrade into the shop, under the alias "Eggert Benedict". He claimed that Lestrade had stolen his proof of reservation for McGilded's coat. Seen as more trustworthy than the pickpocket by shop owner Pop Windibank, he was provided the coat; however, he quickly realized only one of the disks was contained within. Before he could leave, Herlock Sholmes and Ryunosuke Naruhodo deduced his true intention; cornered, he attempted to take the disk at gun point. He was forced to retreat from the shop after the arrival of Inspector Tobias Gregson, who confiscated the disk.

That night, Graydon recruited his old friends, the Skulkin brothers, to help him retrieve the second disk before the police could recover it. Breaking into the pawnbrokery, Graydon very quickly found the music box, and confiscated the disk sitting inside. Windibank heard the intruders from the storeroom, and went out to confront them. After the brothers were beaten, Windibank fired upon Graydon. The bullet passed through his left arm and struck the wall calendar behind him. Graydon panicked, and fired his own gun at Windibank, who was retreating into the storeroom. Despite meaning it only as a warning shot, his aim was uncanny and it pierced Windibank's heart through the back, killing him on the spot. Upon realizing his mistake, he panicked and fled the scene, leaving the Skulkin brothers behind.

Lestrade's trial[]

Gina Lestrade was arrested for Windibank's murder. During her trial, Naruhodo brought up Graydon from a photograph when suggesting the real killer. Juror 5 identified Graydon as a technician in the same communications office where she worked, allowing him to be brought to court. Hastily summoned to the witness stand, Graydon still had the second disk on his person, the first having already been presented as evidence by prosecutor Barok van Zieks. As Lestrade gave her testimony, Graydon discreetly bargained with Gregson on the stand, who at the time was searching for the other disk. They agreed to a trade: Gregson told Graydon about the bloodstain on Gina's coat and the peep hole at the scene of the crime to build his alibi, and Graydon gave Gregson the missing disk. Though they managed to complete their trade, Naruhodo noticed something was up, and was able to expose their trickery and uncover the disk. Despite this, neither man would admit to the collusion.

Crogley broken down

Ashley Graydon defeated.

The final nail in the coffin was Naruhodo threatening to put the two disks into the music box and play the secrets within in front of everyone in the courtroom. As Gregson gave in and admitted to his deeds, Graydon, in a fit of rage, moved to strangle Gregson with his walking stick and had to be restrained. Left with no recourse, Graydon confessed to everything as well. Van Zieks told Graydon that what he did made him no better than Magnus McGilded. The man solemnly agreed.

In jail, Graydon decided that he had no regrets about taking the path that he did, but Nash and Ringo Skulkin told him to take it easy, and suggested they try to revive their old tricks. Meanwhile, it was discovered that the government message encoded on the music disks Graydon coveted was a set of four names: Kazuma Asogi, Asa Shinn, Tobias Gregson, and John Wilson. Though the meaning of those names were unknown at the time, it would eventually become apparent.

Personality[]

Robert Crogley mugshot

Mugshot

"Eggert Benedict"
Then I shall bid you farewell. ...Say goodbye to style.

Ashley Graydon presented himself as a high-handed British gentleman, dressing himself in gaudy white, and displaying a penchant for twirling his cane, dancing, and theatrical posing. He was well spoken yet brusque in his affairs, and chose to flaunt his wealth and his style. As a communications officer, Graydon was professional and naturally talented, earning him recognition and reverence from those he worked with.

Deep down, Graydon harbored utter contempt for his upbringing. He considered being born into poverty a curse, and strived to escape it above all else. Even after achieving a well-paying job, the uncomfortable memories of his strenuous childhood eventually drove him to criminal affairs and espionage. Despite this, he still cared for and respected the people who raised him, including his father.

Name[]

  • Japanese - Rubato Chrogray (ルバート・クログレイ, Rubāto Kurogurei) ~ (né Milverton):
    • "Rubato" (ルバート) is derived from "Mirubaton", a katakana conversion of "Milverton".
    • "Chrogray" (クログレイ) is a play on "kuro" (黒), meaning "black" and "grey" (グレー).
    • His birth surname "Milverton" (ミルバートン) is derived from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton", who in turn was based off real life art dealer and blackmailer Charles Augustus Howell.
  • Japanese - Egg Benedict (エッグ・ベネディクト, Eggu Benedikuto) ~ (alias):
    • His alias of "Egg Benedict" comes from "Eggs Benedict", a North American delicacy.
  • English - Ashley Graydon ~ (né Milverton):
    • "Ashley Graydon" may be a play on "ash gray".
  • English - Eggert Benedict ~ (alias):
    • "Eggert Benedict" is derived from his Japanese alias, elaborated on to make it seem more legitimate. "Eggert" is an actual name derived from the ancient Germanic name Eghard.[1]

References[]

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