Blackwood Gazette # 148- Pernicious Platitude Shot Down Over Pharassus

By Chester Seaton, News

29/6-After what we can only assume has been weeks of terrorizing the skies of Sarnwain, we’ve received reports that the Pernicious Platitude, the ship belonging to air pirate Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre, has been shot down.

According to Sarnwainian news outlets, the Platitude was sighted in the skies near the capital city of Pharassus in the early morning hours this Sarnsday. Pharesian ground forces mobilized immediately, and tracked the ship to a canyon where it set anchor within. The Pharesian army moved in several cannon to the edge of the canyon, where they were able to fire down on to the Platitude.

“I have to say, I’m surprised,” said Admiral Winston Johannes, commanding officer of Crowndon’s Air Corps. “Since Sarnwain lacks a major air presence, the idea of them being able to take down one of Crowndon’s best air warfare strategists seems unlikely. But I believe La Pierre, whose arrogance led to his defeat at the end of the war with Nor Easter, let that same arrogance blind him to what capabilities Sarnwain does have. He didn’t see the ground forces coming, because he wasn’t looking for them.”

After opening fire, and taking out the Platitude’s main balloon and two of its reserves, the ship was still able to limp away. The Pharesian infantry say they have tracked the downed ship to some ruins in the middle of the canyon.

“We are monitoring the situation,” said Pharesian General Malik Auduam in a press release. “We have a constant vigilance on the pirate. We think he’s making repairs, and his crew is sheltering in the ruins. Unfortunately, he is out of range from the canyon ridge. We are working on ways to get infantry down into the canyon, but that may take a few days. We also have two airships coming in from Thankaen, to the east. I have no doubt that we will accomplish what the Triumvirate, in all its incompetence, failed to do. Typical, no? They created this monster. We must kill it. All the more glory to Sarnwain.”

Admiral Johannes reply to that last part of the statement can best be described as terse.

“They’re welcome to it.”

Blackwood Gazette # 148- Pernicious Platitude Shot Down Over Pharassus

Blackwood Gazette #147- Empress Marcellete Bastian Orders Government Seizure of Rinkenbach R&D

By Ada Herschel, Science and Technology & Hunter O’ Leary, Business

25/6- In the wake of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach’s sudden flight during the Industry and Innovation Conference last week, the Empress Marcellete Bastian has issued orders for the search and seizure of Rinkenbach Research and Development.

The order of a private citizen’s business to be seized by the government has been met with some controversy, yet the Empress stresses that the measure is necessary.

“I do not like this at all,” Her Imperial Majesty said. “And were there any other option, I would take it. But the technologies that Rigel Rinkenbach was developing are of grave importance to the security of not only the Nor Eastern Empire, but the Triumvirate.

“Already we’ve heard reports of thieves and other shady types, how do you say, ‘casing the joint.’ If we don’t seize it, put it under lock and key and guard it, someone else will take it. And judging from the reports of my men who are currently on site cataloging their findings, you do NOT want that to happen.”

Rumors of what has been found are shocking to say the least. The items range from innocuous (plans for some sort of ‘electric toothbrush’) to the deadly (fifteen hundred different types of previously unknown poisons and twice as many devices to administer them) to the plain weird and esoteric (a box, full of wires and boards, with a glass front and metal poles sticking out of the top).

The most popular rumor, however, is that the Empress’ insistence on protecting Rinkenbach’s contraptions is merely a smoke screen, and that she is actually searching for something in particular.

“This is about Blackwood,” said conspiracy theorist Oculus in his weekly rag The Exhumanor, and for once, he may be on to something. “It’s always been about Blackwood. The Empress’ goons are rooting around that old compound looking for Rinky Dink’s formulae. Everyone knows it, but everyone’s afraid to say it: those who control Blackwood control the Triumvirate and, by extension, the world.”

Blackwood Gazette #147- Empress Marcellete Bastian Orders Government Seizure of Rinkenbach R&D

Blackwood Gazette # 146- Pixie Sinclaire Detained in New Crowndon; Taken to See Governor Ancroft

By Hil Spencer, Crowndonian Correspondent

24/6-Wanted as a war criminal in Crowndon, and revered as a war hero in Nor Easter, many were curious what fate would befall Pixie Sinclaire when she arrived in the colonies. The answer, it seems, is rather ambiguous.

When Sinclaire arrived in New Crowndon last night, she was met at the docks by an envoy consisting of New Crowndon militia and the personal guard of Governor Berclay Ancroft. Witnesses report that after a brief exchange, Miss Sinclaire was detained and led to the Governor’s mansion. It is reported that she was cooperative, and she did not appear to be under arrest.

Her current status is unknown, but it shouldn’t be assumed that she’s found her way into a cell; even though New Crowndon is owned by Crowndon, it is governed by its own laws and is overseen by the Triumvirate as a whole. Only a small portion of the city’s government have strong ties to the parent nation, and none of them have ever expressed a particularly strong opinion concerning the Dividing War between Crowndon and Nor Easter three years ago.

One possibility is that the Governor has a job for Sinclaire; given her background in espionage, Sinclaire would be a valuable tool in any number of current situations, such as quietly defusing the dispute between the colonies and territories, or uncovering the secrets of political rivals in light of the upcoming Imperial audits.

Blackwood Gazette # 146- Pixie Sinclaire Detained in New Crowndon; Taken to See Governor Ancroft

Blackwood Gazette #145- Scouting Parties From Territories Spotted Along Newland Frontier

By Hil Spencer, New Crowndon Correspondent

23/6- The tenuous peace between Imperial colonial interests and the Territories continues to be tested this week, as several scouting parties bearing the markings of the Duv-Ayid and Moc-Torgue tribes were spotted beyond the Plasty Meridian.

Sightings were sporadic for a week before one such party was spotted outside of Fort O’Connor, well into colonial lands.

“We sent out men to parley,” said the Fort’s commanding officer. “The riders did not flee, but they did not respond to questions, either. Eventually they turned around and left, but at their own pace.”

A similar incident happened farther south, outside of a small Ranger camp.

“It was disturbing, but they didn’t attack us,” said one Ranger. “Most disturbing thing though were their weapons. They were carrying repeaters. Gun trade with the territories is supposed to be controlled, yeah? Nothing but single shot muskets and matchlocks, for hunting. These guys, though, looked like they were ready to take on the whole fort. They had better weapons than most of us.”

Imperial authorities are at a loss as to how the Duv-Ayid and Moc-Torgue scouts came by such gear, as no shipments have been raided, and the weapons described do not match any known Triumvirate make or model. Suggestions that the weapons were provided by the Von Grimm gang have been dismissed as ludicrous. Despite the open display of the weapons, the Marshals and Rangers alike are stressing restraint.

“Any unprovoked hostile action against these scouts will be met with the harshest consequences,” said First Marshal General Job Stoll. “So far they have made no aggressive moves against colonial interests, other than to show up. And if you remember, we broke that treaty first. It’s my belief they’re just sending a message, for now. Please remain calm.”

Blackwood Gazette #145- Scouting Parties From Territories Spotted Along Newland Frontier

Blackwood Gazette #144-IIC Wrap-Up: Is Rinkenbach Rinken-Done For?

By Hunter O’Leary, Business

19/6– In the wake of his disastrous behavior in Greenlille and his less than stellar showing at this year’s Industry and Innovation Conference, the market has begun to question the continued validity of Rigel Rinkenbach’s claim to being the foremost innovator in the Imperial Triumvirate.

Rinkenbach R&D stocks plummeted after the reveal of the Clockwork Butler Mark IV, with many citing that the lack of anything cutting edge in the new model indicates that Rinkenbach is simply resting on his laurels.

“Wow,” said one industry analyst. “Gyroscopes and a creepy voice box. I’m sure the wealthy will be lining up for a clockwork butler with goofy hands that can question their orders and scare the crap out of their children and pets.”

“He’s peaked,” said another. “Today, he’s revealing a feature that could easily be retrofitted onto his current model (and is indeed something many have already done with Mark III’s), and another that no one wants. He’s begun following trends instead of setting them. He’ll soon fade into obscurity, I reckon.”

Perhaps the most shattering thing to people’s faith in Rinkenbach is the fact that he’s disappeared. The Gazette has tried several times to reach Rinkenbach for comment, but no one in his offices seems to know how to contact him. We also have it on good faith that Rinkenbach has not been seen at the Empress’ court, and there are rumors that Imperial Authorities are searching for him as well.

Rumors abound as to the cause of his going silent; some say he might be embarrassed, but those who know him claim such a thing is poppycock. Many have suggested that his sudden disappearance is linked to the rumors that he’s making headway on the Blackwood Dilemma. If so, we wonder, has he gone into hiding for protection? Or has he been silently done away with, to protect the interests of the Desantana Blackwood Refining Company? One thing is for certain, any of these possibilities could hold dire consequences for the Triumvirate.

Blackwood Gazette #144-IIC Wrap-Up: Is Rinkenbach Rinken-Done For?

Blackwood Empire #143-Michel Pertifour Unveils Portable Gramophone

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

18/6- After the horrifying displays I was forced to endure during the IIC military presser, I was barely able to scramble across the expo center and find a seat for the Pertifour conference. Pertifour always comes up with new and interesting things, so I was excited.

The reality of what he brought has stirred in me mixed feelings, however. After an extended introduction that would have seemed more at home before a Rinkenbach presser, Michel Pertifour appeared on stage with nothing but a small satchel draped over his shoulder.

“Have you ever walked down a crowded street, with nothing but the inane conversation of your fellow pedestrians and the droning buzz of the city filling your skull?” He asked. “Have you ever wished you could drown it out with the sweet sounds of Alicia Sols soprano voice or stirring overtures of Bethelvart? Well, now you can!”

Pertifour opened the satchel to reveal a small wooden box with a wax disk held in place by a pin. A small needle was positioned over the disk.

“Introducing the world’s first portable gramophone!” he announced. “With his device, you can listen to the greatest oratorios, concertos, and waltzes of our time!”

He reached into the satchel and pulled out a pair of ear horns and three more disks.

“The music can be listened to through these horns, without disturbing those around you. These discs, a new design intended to make better use of space than cylinders, each hold up to fifteen minutes of audio. That’s the entirety of Johann Martz’s opening movement of his fifth symphony, right in your pocket!”

The device was powered by a spring mechanism, which Pertifour winded up. Even though I was in the back row and still had ringing in my ears from the military presser, I could hear the music coming from the horns, which seems to undercut his claim that you could listen without disturbing. It also seems to me that something so loud would cause permanent damage.

Someone in the front row asked if you could adjust the volume.

“No!” Pertifour said, proudly. “And why would you want to?”

He then announced that the portable gramophone will be available next month, with a library of twenty disks, with content ranging from music, to audio plays, to academic dissertations. Be prepared to shell out over one hundred imperions for the device and a disk.

Blackwood Empire #143-Michel Pertifour Unveils Portable Gramophone

What is the Blackwood Empire?

So, I realized today that I’m coming up on 150 installments of the Blackwood Gazette, and I imagine that it’s probably starting to seem a bit impenetrable to any potential new readers. So I threw together a little primer of sorts to give you guys the broad strokes on what the Blackwood Empire is, and just what is going on within the Gazette. If you find this primer insufficient, feel free to leave any questions or feedback on the page you’re taken to by the following link, and I’ll try to answer them accordingly:

WHAT IS THE BLACKWOOD EMPIRE?

What is the Blackwood Empire?