Blackwood Gazette #50: Blackwood Gazette Relaunch has been A Success; Thanks for Reading!

by Maurice Merchant, Editor in Chief

31/7- When my father began the Blackwood Gazette, his vision was a humble one. He lived in a small town in The Middle of Nowhere, that thin region that separates Old Crowndon and the Alliance of Southern Kingdoms, where news of the outside world was scarce. He simply wanted to keep his community and the surrounding areas informed, so he used his meager savings to travel North and bring back stories from the Capital, and then South, to bring news from Walsh and Toring.

These stories that inspired men and women like industrialist Sean Abernathy and poet Cairistiona Ridpath to look out beyond the fens of their homeland and become important cultural representatives of the region. And along with them, the Gazette found moderate success throughout the Crowndonian Empire.

Alas, the world moves too fast for such humility, and in my father’s waning years, amongst the outbreak of the war with Nor Easter, the Gazette found itself in dire straights. On my father’s deathbed, I approached him with a bold proposal, to take the Gazette over the mountains to Nor Easter, and across the Cove to Monteddor. He was reluctant at first, but I won him over, telling him that it was merely an extension of what he began, when he first left The Middle of Nowhere all those years ago.

After three years, I’m happy to announce that the Gazette is more successful than it’s ever been. We recently opened a branch in Nor Easter (to no shortage of controversy), that has proven to be an invaluable perspective in understanding our great Triumvirate. Soon, we hope to open a branch in Monteddor as well. Perhaps someday we’ll make the jump across the Barricade Ocean, to the colonies. With Adella Chatelaine currently making her way there, it’s closer to reality than we think.

None of this would be possible without you, dear readers. Your tips, feedback, praise, and hate mail are what keep us going. Thanks for reading, and here is to several more years of success!

***On a real world note: I just want to thank everyone who has followed, read, and commented on my blog over the course of the last year. I recently hit one hundred followers, and while it may have taken me quite a long time compared to some, I’m grateful for every pair of eyes that reaches this page. Thanks!

 

Blackwood Gazette #50: Blackwood Gazette Relaunch has been A Success; Thanks for Reading!

Blackwood Gazette #49: La Pierre Found, Shots Fired as Pirate Captain Refuses to Negotiate

by Chester Seaton, News

30/7-It was around dawn yesterday morning that Commander Alistaire Dunsworthy  and his fleet came across the notorious pirate Roderick La Pierre, who they had spent the last week searching for.

According to official reports released by the Crowndon military, Commander Dunsworthy signaled La Pierre’s ship, the Pernicious Platitude, and broke away from the fleet. The Commander believed they had achieved the desired result, but no sooner than Dunsworthy came into range of the Platitude, two fighter planes roared past and opened fire on Dunsworthy’s ship.

As the wreckage fell to the ocean below, the planes turned their attention to the rest of the pirate hunting fleet. Two more frigates were downed before the other ships regrouped and shot down the planes. By that time, La Pierre had disappeared.

Military officials are calling this a direct declaration of war on Crowndon by La Pierre. Several officers at the scene, however, expressed doubts that the planes could possibly belong to the pirate captain. This has led to speculation that a third party was involved. Officials have dismissed this claim.

Commander Alistair Dunsworthy and over half of his crew were killed. Of the other two ships, nearly twenty percent of all hands are either dead or missing.

Blackwood Gazette #49: La Pierre Found, Shots Fired as Pirate Captain Refuses to Negotiate

Blackwood Gazette #48: Leading Aeronautics Manufacturer Announces Racing League

by Huxley Pruitt, Sports

29/7-The CEO of Pandion Aerodynamics, Mathis Galland, announced plans today to establish a racing league built around high speed air planes.

“Now is the moment to do so, I think,” Galland said in a press release. “Montpellier’s automotive racing circuit has proven to be quite successful, and with aeronautic technology starting to make some startling leaps and bounds, competition will be fierce. Public interest in aeronautics is at a high right now. There’s a ton of money to be had.”

Galland was careful to stress that his decision wasn’t motivated purely by business. As the world’s leading manufacturer of fighter planes (in conjunction with Rinkenbach Research and Development), Galland thinks that the league would provide a great opportunity to expand out of the shadow of military application.

“I want to build something that doesn’t have to do with killing people,” Galland said. “I don’t want Pandion to be the company remembered solely for the destruction of Crowndon’s fleet, and subsequent operations around the world. A racing league, like any sport, would serve to bring people together, create a community of people sharing an interest and fuel friendly competition.”

Several freelance pilots have already shown an interest in participating in the league. Many of them are former military pilots, but others are participants in small, often illegal, local leagues along the Demon’s Coast.

“Our participants are already ready and willing,” Galland said. “Right now, we are working on legalities, and compiling a rule set and infrastructure for the actual events.”

Expect to hear more on this burgeoning sport in the months ahead.

Blackwood Gazette #48: Leading Aeronautics Manufacturer Announces Racing League

Blackwood Gazette #47: Monteddorian Festival of Ancestry Ends Peacefully, Despite Hight Tensions

by Chester Seaton, News

28/7- Despite several situations which were ripe for violence, Festival of Ancestry in Monteddor has ended with no major bloodshed.

Tensions were highest over the De Santana family gathering. The recitation of Lineage was performed by Blackwood magnate Marco De Santana. After several raids on De Santana refineries the week before, authorities believed that violence at the event was inevitable. And even though De Santana’s daughter, Yolanda, is believed to be behind the attacks, they stood together during the recitation, and onlookers say they got along without animosity, even if Yolanda’s attitude toward her father was described as cold. She also left the ceremony before it ended, and has not been heard from since.

Another event that many believed would spark violence was the official induction of the Julianos name into the royal circle. Alejandro Julianos was viewed as merely an opportunistic upstart less than a decade ago, and as always, there are rumors surrounding plots against him. Even more, Julianos did not appear at the festival in person, opting to accept his position among the royal families in a letter.

What should have been viewed as an affront, we are told, has instead been downplayed in Monteddorian circles. And, as it has been for two centuries, the fifth Royal ancestral tree stands unpainted, a stark reminder of the massacre that occurred at the Festival so long ago. While some believe this was merely an oversight, others believe it is Julianos sending a clear signal to anyone who would threaten his new claim to power.

**Apologies to anyone who reads Blackwood Gazette regularly for not posting yesterday. My internet was down most of the day, and when it finally came back up it was so slow as to be unusable. Everything’s working properly, now, so…here’s yesterdays post, today! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still need to write today’s post, ha ha.

Blackwood Gazette #47: Monteddorian Festival of Ancestry Ends Peacefully, Despite Hight Tensions

Friday Free For All: The Last of Us-Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture

We all know that movies based on video games are uniformly awful (even though I have a soft spot for the first Resident Evil, personally). But if any game can successfully make that transition, it’s Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us”…the thing is practically a movie anyway.

Sony dropped the bomb today that such a movie is in development, and its being written by the same guy that made the game (Neil Druckmann), and produced by horror icon Sam Raimi. Even better, it’s rumored that Arya Stark herself, Maisie Williams, is a strong contender for Ellie.

That sounds like a great casting choice, so fingers crossed if it’s true. If it is, they just need to find their Joel. Lots of people have mentioned another Game of Thrones alum, Nicolaj Coster-Waldeau, and, well, see for yourself:

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Joel, The Last of Us
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones
Ellie and Joel in “The Last of Us”

Not a bad likeness at all, yeah?

If there’s an element to all this I’m iffy about, it’s Sam Raimi. I love this guy’s movies as much as any horror buff, but his movies tend to lean toward the goofy. He’s only a producer, and I think he’s the kind of guy who knows when to respect¬† the source material. Only time will tell.

Now, to play the cynic: why does The Last of Us even need an adaptation in the first place? The game itself is an excellently told tale of horror and loss, with a great cast in Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker. People have even cut all the cut-scenes together and posted them on YouTube. And there is just something about actually PLAYING the game that adds an extra layer to it all, like you’re actually making the journey with these characters, that’s a unique element to games as a storytelling medium.

In any case, here’s hoping they make a damn good movie.

Friday Free For All: The Last of Us-Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture

Blackwood Gazette #46:Workers Storm Klankenvroot Industries, Find Empty Office

by Chester Seaton, News

24/7-With tensions high over the KI workers strike and Crowndon troops preparing to move in to force the remaining protestors back to work, the workers on strike decided to make their own move early this morning.

Officials say that the protestors, led by Upton Monroe, caught wind of the impending raid, and decided to act first. They threw down their signs and marched into the building, toward Ivan Klankenvroot’s office. When they burst through the door, they found the office empty. The desk had been cleaned out, and all files had been removed. Investigators say that a metal bin was found in the center of the office, filled with smoking ashes.

Upon the discovery, Monroe and the others exited the building and surrendered peacefully to the incoming authorities. Military officials claim that they will not carry through with the threat to charge them with treason, but many believe that Monroe and other ringleaders will likely be blacklisted and put under surveillance for further signs of sedition.

As for Ivan Klankenvroot, there is no clear evidence at this time as to his whereabouts. Civilian police are expected to investigate the reason for Klankenvroot’s flight. As for the company, it is being placed under government control, and production on the Heisenberg Aircraft will continue under the supervision of military engineers.

Blackwood Gazette #46:Workers Storm Klankenvroot Industries, Find Empty Office

Blackwood Gazette #45: New Novel Imagines a World Without Blackwood

by Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

23/7- What would our society be like if not for the discovery of Blackwood? That’s the question posed by author Clement Aldridge Kene in his new novel, The Gutted Earth.

The book takes place in a fantasy world, in the fictional land called Almeria. In it, humankind finds itself on the verge of a world dominated by steam based technology, only to discover such a thing would be unsustainable for more than a few years.

“The only reason our own technology has been able to develop along steam based lines is Blackwood,” said Kene in a press release. “Blackwood isn’t a naturally occurring substance, but an alchemically created one. Now, imagine a world where Blackwood didn’t exist…we’d quickly find that a steam based society could not last more than a few decades. Entire forests would be leveled for wood, coal mines depleted. Where would the world turn?”

Kene writes that his first instinct was to imagine a purely electric based world, but that idea was scrapped.

“With electricity, you’d still need a fuel source to produce it,” said Kene. “So I did some research and found a real world analogue, in Sarnwain’s recent developments with refining oil.”

In the book, humanity develops the ‘internal combustion engine’, and technology develops along oil based lines. The results are horrific.

“We know from our own failed attempts at developing oil based tech that fuel combustion is less than savory,” said Kene. “Imagine a world where everyone has an auto powered not by the soothing pops and bubbles of a boiler, but the grating, thunderous boom of a mechanical beast burning oil and coughing thick, soot ridden smoke into the air.”

What makes the novel even more disturbing, Kene warns, is that the world imagined in his book could be something that actually happens in the next two hundred years.

“Blackwood, theoretically, is a renewable resource. The problem is, the alchemical process has been lost; no one knows how to make more. And we’ve all heard the rumors that, as our influence spreads across the globe, so does the need for Blackwood. Blackwood may burn clean, and it may burn slow, but it won’t burn forever.”

The Gutted Earth will be released serially, and makes its debut next month in Stories of the Strange Monthly.

Blackwood Gazette #45: New Novel Imagines a World Without Blackwood

Blackwood Gazette #44: The Hunt for Roderick La Pierre Begins; Special Task Force Leaves Port to Thunderous Applause

by Chester Seaton, News

22/7- The special unit of the Crowndon Air Corps set out late yesterday afternoon, with only one mission: to bring the nefarious air pirate, Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre, to justice.

Thousands of onlookers crowded the sky docks of the Crowndon Capitol to bid the task force good luck in finding the fiend, who most citizens agree is responsible for Crowndon’s sharp economic decline, as well as its loss of standing in Triumvirate politics.

We asked several of the well wishers their thoughts on the matter.

“I hope they find the rotten [expletive removed], that’s what,” said one man. “It’s like that guy at your paper said, it’s not just about the gold he took. It’s him who lost us the war. That’s when this all started. They should have strung him up then. My cousin’s boy was in that fleet, you know.”

Demands for La Pierre’s head were strong amongst members of the crowd. Just about every one asked knew someone or had known the friend of a friend who perished on that fateful day over the Divide, two and a half years ago.

However, Commander Alistair Dunsworthy, leader of the task group, said this: “Our mission is not to murder Roderick La Pierre. We are not a hit squad. We are to bring him in alive for military tribunal. He was an Admiral, after all, and a highly decorated one at that. A hero, by all accounts before the Divide. All too often we forget such inconvenient truths.”

If it seems that Alistair Dunsworthy’s comments are familiar, they should. His less than zealous attitude towards La Pierre’s crimes are well documented, as he was the only witness at La Pierre’s first tribunal who did not outright condemn him. We asked the Crowndon Air Corps Supreme Commander about the decision to appoint Dunsworthy to lead the task.

“He’s the only one with a chance of bringing La Pierre in alive,” he said. “Anyone else is likely to blow La Pierre out of the sky, first chance they get. And since Dunsworthy and La Pierre have a record together, we’re hoping La Pierre might hesitate at blowing Dunsworthy out of the sky as well. We are not the brutes your publication has started to make us out to be. La Pierre will stand trial, if at all possible. That’s all I have to say.”

Blackwood Gazette #44: The Hunt for Roderick La Pierre Begins; Special Task Force Leaves Port to Thunderous Applause

Blackwood Gazette #43: Citizens in Southern Monteddor Gather for Centennial Festival of the Dead

by Chester Seaton, News

21/7-Thousands of people from around the Triumvirate have flocked to the southern reaches of Monteddor for the Festival of Ancestry, which occurs only every one hundred years.

The festival is a longstanding tradition in Monteddor, with origins in the region’s most ancient pagan beliefs. Many feel, however, that the festival has been stripped of its spiritual meaning.

“It is less about the remembrance of one’s ancestors, and more about selling crap to tourists and the royals marking their territory and reasserting their position in Monteddorian society,” said one citizen.

Sometimes this reassertion involves blood shed. Two hundred years ago, one of the five royal families was completely wiped out in a massacre that took place during the fifth day parade. Officials warn of similar violence this year, due to the recent developments involving Marco De Santana and his daughter Yolanda.

The week long event begins with the Gathering of Families, during which the highest echelons of the Monteddorian royal houses, which pre-date the formation of the Imperial Triumvirate, come together for the recitation of Lineage. The recitation begins with the names of those Royal leaders who have come and gone in the past century, and is performed by the current family Patriarch.

The rest of the week consists of a wealth of festivities, including feasts, dances, and parades. The events come to a climax on the sixth day, during which the children of the Royal families use brightly colored paints to decorate their ancestral trees, five ancient Blackwoods that stand mysteriously separate from the rest of the grove, farther south.

This year marks the first time the fifth tree will be painted in two hundred years, as Alejandro Julianos officially cements his name amongst the five royal families. Since Julianos has no children, it is expected that he paint the tree himself.

The royals aren’t the only ones who partake in these traditions, of course. Smaller festivals will take place throughout Monteddor and in Monteddorian communities across the Triumvirate. Most wealthy families own their own trees, while the ordinary citizen will take part in the painting of a community tree.

Analysts predict a 200 percent boom in Monteddor’s economy during the week.

Blackwood Gazette #43: Citizens in Southern Monteddor Gather for Centennial Festival of the Dead

Blackwood Gazette #42: Letters to the Editor, Week of 14-18/7, 280 YoT

by Maurice Merchant, Editor in Chief

I feel I must take umbrage at the way you are reporting the Waystation Bravo Incident. A few days ago, you reported that a device had been discovered attached to the station’s boiler. But you failed to report on the theories concerning what that device might be, including the fact that some believe it is responsible for the storm that caused the station to go missing in the first place. Call me crazy, but isn’t that a huge part of this puzzle?

Vermina, in Walsh

Dear Crazy,
We here at the Gazette are fully aware of the speculation surrounding the purpose of the device in question. We did not report on it at that time because the speculation did not exist. And even if it had, that speculation is not being put forth by the investigators involved. In fact, the only source I can find that is putting forth the notion that the device some how controlled the weather is Oculus, a man who puts forth no evidence for his ‘theories’…he simply makes broad statements, and when something happens that even remotely resembles those statements, claims to have predicted the event.
Don’t believe everything you read in the paper, Vermina. Unless it’s ours, of course.

****

Mister Merchant:
I cannot believe that a paper as (formerly) prestigious as the Blackwood Gazette would hire a writer like that Eli Knickeannie Wilderspinner. He’s such a HACK!!! How dare he suggest we give a medal to that TERRORIST and PIRATE Roderick La Pierre. It’s because of HIM that the Crowndon military is about to be forced to MURDER a bunch workers at that factory. You should FIRE Wilder-Ninny immediately, because if you don’t, I will UNSUBSCRIBE. That goes for your entire Nor Eastern office, too. FIRE THEM ALL!!!! Your FATHER would be ASHAMED, Mister Merchant. ASHAMED. And you should be ASHAMED. SHAME ON YOU, Mister Merchant. You HACK.

Charles, in Toring

Dear Charles,
NO.

****

is it true that adella chatelaine is leaving the gazette i heard shes leaving the gazette is it true i don’t want her to leave shes the best thing to happen to the gazette in forever and shes the reason i started reading you cant let her go her articles are the only thing that gets me through because shes just that good and if something happens to her in the colonies then im gonna hold you responsible mister merchant this is just your way of getting rid of the nor eastern branch isnt it you jingoistic bastard i know people in monteddor and i know people in sarnwain and in rommsbach so you better watch out how could you do this
thank you for your time

adellafan, in sau anoit

Dear adellafan,
Miss Chatelaine is not leaving the Gazette. Her role has simply changed. And I have not sent her anywhere; she chose to pursue the story with Veronica Trenum on her own accord, and I wholly support her decision. It will lead to great things in her career. She is a brilliant writer and the Lelina story is a huge development in the field of archaeology. So please, call off your dogs in Monteddor and Sarnwain and Rommsbach and wherever else you know people, and calm down. Perhaps seek the professional services of a therapist, or maybe a copy editor.

Blackwood Gazette #42: Letters to the Editor, Week of 14-18/7, 280 YoT