Blackwood Gazette #121: Strident Whisper Crew Goes Free; Captain Remains in Detention

By Chester Seaton, News

15/5- A decision has been reached amongst the Six Guild Masters of Libertine’s Roost concerning the fates of the crew of a Crowndonion brig that docked there for repairs earlier this year. All Six agreed to release the crew of the Strident Whisper, but only after the ship’s captain, Armistan Cadbury, offered his freedom in exchange for that of his men. Cadbury will remain in detention to be sentenced at a later date. It is likely he will be put to death.

This decision has caused an uproar amongst the Admiralty, many of whom are calling for a full scale bombardment of the Roost should this sentence be carried out. The loudest voice has been, unsurprisingly, Commodore Lucien Keene.

“This…stipulation, if it can even be called that…is an obscenity,” Keene said. “The Guild Masters are testing our resolve, and if we let them win they’re just going to push harder. It’s bad enough that we already look the other way regarding activities on the Roost. Now we’re expected to put up one of our finest officers as collateral? If we do this, our claim to the title of ‘civilized’ erodes.”

These are strong words from an important man in Crowndon’s military hierarchy, and under normal circumstance would be worth heeding. Unfortunately, the Roost’s unique status within the Triumvirate’s shipping economy and its protective treaties with each member would spark a war between all three should just one decide to make a move against it.

“The majority of the Crowndon Admiralty has no interest in sparking a conflict with the Roost, and by extent, Nor Easter and Monteddor,” said Fleet Admiral Winston Johannes. “Leaving Captain Cadbury behind is a shame, but if it means we can bring the rest of those boys home then that is exactly what we will do. Cadbury himself recognized this, which is why he chose to bear responsibility. We will continue to petition for the Captain’s release, but I will not make any promises.”

The Strident Whisper and its crew are set to depart the Roost this weekend. Those involved with the dispute are expected to be reprimanded by military tribunal when they return.

Blackwood Gazette #121: Strident Whisper Crew Goes Free; Captain Remains in Detention

Blackwood Gazette #120: Julianos Announces New Cultural Preservation Initiative

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

14/5-Despite being in the middle of some major political and military moves to reshape the Monteddorian Empire, Alejandro Julianos has found the time for intellectual endeavors, as well. A spokesperson for the Julianos camp announced this week the formation of a council of top Monteddorian academics, in the fields of anthropology, history, and archaeology.

“Julianos recognizes the significance of our history,” the spokesperson said. “For too long, the pillars of Monteddorian society have overlooked the rich stores of knowledge and wisdom hidden in the ancient places of our land. Our civilization is built upon the foundation of one of the oldest known to still remain preserved. This initiative will ensure is stays that way in the face of current turmoil.”

The announcement of the council’s formation comes on the heels of news that several sites of historical importance were damaged or destroyed during the recent military coup, most notably the incident at Tarambor.

The initial stages of the Initiative will include stationing guards at all known Monteddorian archaeological sites. After that, teams from University of Monteddor City will be granted access to sites of their choice, followed soon by joint excavations with the University of Oeil de Fleur.

“This is an exciting moment,” said Professor Juan Nunez, of UMC. “Our knowledge of Ancient Monteddor atrophied under the reign of the Valiente monarchs. Julianos is the first ruler in nearly a hundred years to prioritize giving us the ability to make new discoveries in the field. Through the understanding we glean from new study, I believe the Monteddorian Empire will become stronger than ever.”

Blackwood Gazette #120: Julianos Announces New Cultural Preservation Initiative

Blackwood Gazette #119: One of Two Stolen Dragonfly Aircraft Recovered at Frontier’s Edge

By Hil Spencer, New Crowndon Correspondent

13/5- Colonial Marshals report that they have recovered one of the stolen Dragonfly aircraft used in the attack against second cavalry forces at Fort Winstone. They say the aircraft was heavily damaged, and likely abandoned.

“It’s good to know one of ours took one of those bastards down,” Field Marshal Ameron Lassiter said. “It’s a real boost to morale. I’ve got three thousand men here, chomping at the bit for a chance to deal some payback to that son of a [expletive removed] Von Grimm.”

Unfortunately for those men, they will have to wait for some time before following. The crippled craft was discovered on the edge of the Colonial Frontier, and it appears that Von Grimm and his gang have fled into the indigenous territories.

“Our treaties with the native peoples prevent us from crossing west of the Plasten Meridian,” said the Commanding General of the Colonial Militia, General Jonathan Hoster. “We’ll have to petition for entry among the various territory leaders. We’re on good standing with most of them at the moment, but things will get more complicated if Von Grimm crosses into Duv-Ayid territory, which isn’t far from the border. If he does, I doubt they will care that he’s a bandit on the run. It could lead to renewed hostilities.”

The petition to cross the Plasten Meridian is said to be in motion, with representatives from Locmina and Tarumansk territories (those closest to the border) already granting their permission, as well as promising aid despite some remaining bad blood with the latter. The other territories are on the fence, but early talks are promising. The Marshals will require an affirmative decision from sixteen of the twenty territories to proceed.

Blackwood Gazette #119: One of Two Stolen Dragonfly Aircraft Recovered at Frontier’s Edge

Blackwood Gazette #118: Waystation Bravo Prepares for Relaunch Nearly One Year After The Disappearance of its Personnel

By Chester Seaton, News

12/5- Nearly a year has passed since the mystery of what happened aboard Waystation Bravo gripped the Triumvirate. After months of debate concerning what should be done with the derelict station, the Triumvirate Authority has decreed that Waystation Bravo will return to active service at the beginning of next month.

“There were several reservations about re-launching the station after its denizens mysteriously disappeared,” said Admiral Percival Dunbarrow Pillsbury III. “But the extent of the damage, or lack thereof, simply did not mandate the construction of an entirely new station. Bravo has been repaired, and we have installed new fail safes and updated safety specifications to ensure this never happens again. It is, without a doubt, the safest of the four Waystations.”

Despite the assurances of the Imperial Authority, however, enrollment to serve aboard the repaired Station has been low.

“They’re afraid of ghosts,” an enrollment hopeful told us, one of only fifteen others we found in line at the Authority offices in Crowndon on Mursday. “They don’t like the idea of not knowing what happened. And then there was the bodies. People with revolvers. They’re all whisperin’ about Cartographers this and Scarlet Circle that and conspiracies all around. Me, I think it’s a bunch of nonsense. But some people, that’s enough to keep ‘em away from a sure thing.”

As for what really happened aboard the station, the Authority is remaining tight lipped.

“Everything we found is a matter of public record,” Admiral Pillsbury said. “As for those special investigators that showed up, anything they found is being kept under wraps. They only cleared the station for repairs at the beginning of the year, then took off. And our only other lead, that Klaudhopper fellow, well he’s off running around with Von Grimm and his gang in the colonies. The Marshals will probably send him swinging before we ever get ahold of him.”

***

Read more about Waystation Bravo:

#24: The Station Goes Missing

#29: Search for the Station Begins

#33: Waystation Bravo Found!

#36: Bodies Found on Bravo

#40: New Clues Emerge

#51: Salvage Teams Evacuate

#77: Klaudhopper Captured; Promptly Escapes

Novella Excerpt: Klaus Klaudhopper and Arufina Villanova in Mystery of the Missing Waystation

 

Blackwood Gazette #118: Waystation Bravo Prepares for Relaunch Nearly One Year After The Disappearance of its Personnel

Blackwood Gazette #117: Rinkenbach R&D Announces the Announcement for its Fourth Generation Clockwork Butler

By Ada Herschel, Science and Technology

11/5- It’s been over three years since Rinkenbach R&D released the latest iteration of its popular Clockwork Butler line. The line, which put inventor and alchemist Rigel Rinkenbach on the map as the world’s premier manufacturer of luxury technology at the age of 15, has traditionally followed a two year release schedule, so the extra year has left consumers clamoring for information.

“I wish I could say the wait was a preplanned promotional strategy,” Rigel Rinkenbach told us. “But, alas, the feverish anticipation surrounding the announcement of a next-gen Clockwork Butler was a happy side effect.

“No, the real reason for the extra year was to give us more time to iterate. The Butler Mark III was our most successful product line, mainly due to improvements in manufacturing leading to lower cost, higher production volume, and more units in people’s homes. And it wasn’t just the upper crust using the Butler either, but those working directly under the upper crust. We hope that the Mark IV will be the Butler’s first foray into the lower upper class.”

What innovations can consumers expect when the Fourth Generation Butler is released?

“Oh, dear me, no,” Rinkenbach said. “Forgive me, but I wouldn’t want to spill the beans in a simple write up. This is just a teaser, my dear, to say it’s coming. A full reveal will come at this year’s Industry and Innovation Conference, next month. We’ll have more information at that time, and not a moment sooner!”

With Rinkenbach remaining tight-lipped on his new product, the Gazette turned to leading industry analyst Jerald Doramus what he thinks the new Butler will be like.

“I have no earthly idea,” Doramus said. “We’re talking about Rigel Rinkenbach, here. The man’s mind works on a level most can’t even begin to comprehend. For all I know, the next Butler could simply be capable of bringing your tea without dropping the cup three out of four times, or it could be capable of full autonomy leading to the complete subjugation of the human race. The man belongs in an asylum, if you ask me.”

Blackwood Gazette #117: Rinkenbach R&D Announces the Announcement for its Fourth Generation Clockwork Butler

Blackwood Gazette #116: Monteddorian Ruins Damaged While Rooting Out Bandits; New Discoveries Made in Aftermath

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

8/5-Julianos forces tracking a group of rebels recently attacked an encampment located in the ruins of Tarambor, an ancient Monteddorian burial vault. When the dust settled, it was discovered that the ruins had been heavily damaged. But while such damage would typically be considered an academic tragedy, it seems there is a bright spot to be found.

“An ammo cache ignited when a stray bullet hit it,” said Colonel Estevar Araines. “It was stacked against the wall in what I’m told is the ‘rear antechamber’ or some such. It blew a hole in the floor, revealing an undiscovered passage that led deeper into the ground.”

While archaeologists around the world are livid about the way the passage was discovered, their curiosity about what could be found within has somewhat quelled their anger.

“Tarambor, until this point, was considered to be of little significance,” said Professor Juan Nunez, of the University of Monteddor City. “Not that that excuses the damage, of course. In any case, the discovery of this new passage means we must re-evaluate our current understanding of the structure of Monteddor’s ancient burial vaults. I am petitioning to form a team to be the first inside.”

It appears that Professor Nunez will be waiting for a while, as five other Universities, two of them from Nor Easter, are also petitioning for excavation rights. At the moment, the ruins are under the guard of Julianos forces.

“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about that,” Professor Nunez went on to say. “Hopefully Alejandro Julianos is not too preoccupied with his little war to blind himself to the importance of this site, not only in Monteddorian history, but the history of the Triumvirate as well.”

Blackwood Gazette #116: Monteddorian Ruins Damaged While Rooting Out Bandits; New Discoveries Made in Aftermath

Blackwood Gazette #115-Track Construction Begins for Air Races, Despite Setbacks

By Huxley Pruitt, Sports

7/5-It seems that even the loss of several key members of his proposed air racing league cannot keep Mathis Galland down. Construction on the first course broke ground in the countryside outside of Walsh early this week.

“Many people are calling me crazy,” Galland said. “When Blunderberger [sic] and the others left, they took their sponsors with them. It also cost me a few investors. Luckily, I’m richer than sin and was able to cut costs a little bit by building on my own land.”

Rumors of an anonymous benefactor began swirling shortly after those investors mentioned above stepped away. Galland confirmed it.

“I did indeed receive a sizable donations from a third party. It’s not my place to name names. Just know that it’s all completely legal. The donor just wanted to do me a favor. If he wishes to step forward, he will.”

The Walsh course is said to be a straight forward race course, but Galland promises future courses will be much more complex.

“After we finish in Walsh, we’ll begin construction on a course outside of Des Anges in Nor Easter,” Galland said. “That one will make use of the natural environment for much of its length, with a portion weaving through the rocky spires of the Serpent’s Tongue canyon. After that we’ll build three more for this season, in locations that are tenuous at the moment. But the final course, oh, it’s a doozy, let me assure you. People will lose their minds when it’s announced at the end of the season.”

Preliminary races will be held at the beginning of seventh month, and the season will continue on through Tenth Month. Tickets are expected to go on sale soon in Walsh, Toring, Yves, and the Crowndon Capital.

***

BONUS: Here, have an updated map of the world of Blackwood Empire. Like any creative endeavor, its a work in progress, subject to change. It’s also not to scale, because I’m not a cartographer and also I’m bad with numbers. Still, it should give readers a basic idea of where everything is. It’s also gigantic, so if you’re having a hard time reading it, click on it to get a better view.

0001_Pirate_Lands_Full

Blackwood Gazette #115-Track Construction Begins for Air Races, Despite Setbacks

Blackwood Gazette #114: Famed Venue Promoter Announces Expo Based on Popular Novels

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

5/5- Salvador Bidlittles, the famed promoter behind such attractions as the 279YT Industry and Innovation Conference and Martin Mosley’s Mechanical Menagerie, has announced a partnership with famous author Henri Duhamel to bring the world of his “Cerul pas Terra” stories to life. This endeavor promises to be more than just a play, or performance, however.

“The event I have planned will pull participants directly into the world of Duhamel’s imagination,” Bidlittles proclaimed. “Their active participation will help shape events as they partake in a series of events and stories that will play out, sometimes spontaneously, over the course of the Expo.”

While Bidlittles declined to comment further on what exactly this meant, he did go on to play up pageantry of the venue.

“We will turn De Peletes square in Val Coursai into a living scene strait from the stories,” he said. “It will be more than a set, or amphitheater, but a fully realized, 360 degree recreation that patrons can walk around and participate in. We are hiring actors to bring its characters to life, bakers and chefs to create its finest dishes, and the finest musicians to realize its music. We’ve even figured out how to recreate the famous ‘Cracked Sky’ described in the stories, but I won’t go into detail how, for fear of ruining the surprise.”

Bidlittles said this last with a laugh, though reports that a glass dome was recently constructed over the square and is being painted would seem to undermine his showmanship.

The venue is planned to open this fall, and take place over the course of two weeks. Tickets have already gone on sale in Val Coursais and here in Oeil de Fleur, though we are told they are already sold out.

***

Hello! I’d figure I’d start sharing some of the real world historical contexts that help inspire certain stories featured in the Gazette. Today’s story is inspired by the “Coming Race Bazaar” of 1891, based on a series of early sci-fi novels by Baron Edward Bulwer-Lytton considered to be a sort of precursor to so many of the fan conventions we see today.

Blackwood Gazette #114: Famed Venue Promoter Announces Expo Based on Popular Novels

Blackwood Gazette #113: “She’s Alive, Dammit!”: Pixie Sinclaire Vows to Find Adella Chatelaine

By Basilio Mura, Nor Easter Correspondent

4/5- Family, friends, and co-workers gathered outside of the Gazette’s Nor Eastern offices today to pay their respects to Adella Chatelaine, who has been missing for nearly eight months. Those of us hoping for a quiet, somber gathering with which to say our goodbyes and close this chapter of our lives got something completely different.

Halfway through the eulogy, delivered by Maurice Merchant, owner and editor in chief of the Gazette, none other than proclaimed national heroine and subject of many a penny dreadful, Pixie Sinclaire, pushed her way through the crowd and nudged Mr. Merchant from the podium.

“Look at you all!” she cried at us. “Giving up on your best and brightest. We’ve seen no hide nor hair of Chatelaine, no further evidence of her demise other than that there is no evidence at all. I’ve known Adella for years, I know what she’s capable of. And let us not forget who she’s with—“

It was at this point that guards reached the stage and pulled Miss Sinclaire off the podium.

Her last words, as she was thrown into the back of an authority wagon:

“She’s alive, dammit! And if no one else will find her, I will!”

The local constable has yet to release a statement on any charges Sinclaire might face. Many of the mourners gathered were understandably upset, but a few others seemed oddly hopeful.

“They should let her go,” said a man who claimed to be Miss Chatelaine’s cousin. “If there’s any chance at all that Adella Chatelaine and the others can be found, then Pixie Sinclaire is the one to do it.”

Blackwood Gazette #113: “She’s Alive, Dammit!”: Pixie Sinclaire Vows to Find Adella Chatelaine

Blackwood Empire: The Rogues Gallery, Vol. I

Last week I did a Blackwood Gazette accompanied by a mock wanted poster. I had a lot of fun making that poster, so I decided to do a bunch more for some of the major players in these stories. Enjoy!

Keep away from cats!
copyright@BlackwoodEmpire.com
Steampunk Outlaw. Also, kind of a troll.
copyright@BlackwoodEmpire.com
That's quite the resume...
copyright@BlackwoodEmpire.com
Vintage Rinkenbach...
copyright@BlackwoodEmpire.com
He's his own worst enemy, really...
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Blackwood Empire: The Rogues Gallery, Vol. I