Blackwood Empire #224-Authorities Link Multiple Homicides To Death of Yves Business Man; Believe It’s “Only the First Wave of This Violence”

By Chester Seaton, News

29/2/282-Law enforcement officials in Walsh, Toring, and Yves today revealed that a recent string of anonymous tips led them to the scenes of several homicides over the course of the last three weeks. While details were kept to a minimum, it is believed the homicides are linked somehow.

“All of the victims are prominent business owners with ties to each other,” said Inspector Donovan Wick of Toring. “Each of them was killed in similar fashion, and in each case it appears the murders were followed by the environment being ransacked and objects of value being stolen.”

While Inspector Wick didn’t elaborate on what these ‘objects of value’ might be, his counterpart in Yves, Pavetta Janvier, told us that files pertaining to the victims’ business interests had been taken.

“It is my belief that this is only the first wave of this violence,” Inspector Janvier said. “Whoever killed these men was looking for information on their associates and their holdings. This isn’t just about killing, it is about striking a blow to their hold on power. I suspect a vast criminal conspiracy of murder and subterfuge is at play.”

Law enforcement agencies across the Crowndon Empire have dispatched personnel to contact and if necessary protect those they believe are in danger. As for who might be conducting such a grisly business?

“We have several theories,” Inspector Wick said. “But this early in the investigation, I feel it would be unwise to share them. If these crimes are connected, as we believe, we can say that whoever the perpetrators are they are well organized and coordinated.”

We also learned that Inspectors Janvier and Wick had taken several witnesses into custody, but no other information was provided.

Blackwood Empire #224-Authorities Link Multiple Homicides To Death of Yves Business Man; Believe It’s “Only the First Wave of This Violence”

Blackwood Gazette #223-New Admiral Appointed in Wake of Johannes Discharge; Lack of Information Causes Unease Among Ranks

By Chester Seaton, News

27/2/282-A new Crowndon fleet Admiral has been appointed to take the place of Winston Johannes, who was discharged last month after calling into question the veracity of Roderick La Pierre’s demise. The appointment comes with no small controversy, as Crowndon has so far not shared the replacement’s service record.

The lack of disclosure has caused some dissent among the ranks of Crowndon’s air fleet. Several officers of the fleet, as well as civilian contractors who work closely with Crowdon’s military, came forward with their concerns.

“The whole situation is concerning, to say the least,” one Captain told us. “Johannes was an excellent admiral, if a bit indiscreet at times. But those indiscretions were exactly what the admiralty needed to stay grounded. Admiral Johannes kept the fleet out of the fire on more than one occasion, opening the avenue for more diplomatic options, which usually worked in the end. I fear this new man will be a mere puppet propped up by the Admiralty in a bid for more power among the oligarchy.”

We reached out to the Crowndon Admiralty for comment. They were quick to wave away the concerns brought up.

“It’s all foolishness,” the Admiralty told us through a spokesperson. “We understand it: Winston Johannes was a popular man among air fleet personnel, and he was an outstanding leader in his prime. Unfortunately, the political landscape of the Triumvirate is changing rapidly, and Johannes displayed an inability to keep up. His discharge had little to do with his doubts on the La Pierre situation. That was simply the last in a string of insubordinate behavior that we overlooked for far too long.”

The spokesperson went on to say that the concerns over a lack of information on the new Admiral had been overblown.

“Everyone needs to relax,” he said. “That information will come in time, once the new Admiral has settled in and been debriefed on the situation within his command.

Blackwood Gazette #223-New Admiral Appointed in Wake of Johannes Discharge; Lack of Information Causes Unease Among Ranks

Blackwood Empire #222- Prominent Business Man Murdered; Mysterious Figure Seen Fleeing Crime Scene

By Chester Seaton, News

24/2/282- Law enforcement officials in Yves revealed today that a prominent fixture in the country’s business community was found murdered yesterday morning. In addition to the murder, the victim’s office had been ransacked.

“It’s all very strange,” said Inspector Pavetta Janvier. “Many of my colleagues seem to think the evidence points to a burglary gone wrong, but the precision of the injuries which killed him seem to indicate a professional killer. Further supporting my theory is that nothing of immediate value was taken; the only thing that seems to be missing are files related to the victim’s business interests.”

An eyewitness to the events paints a strange picture of what happened the night of the murder.

“I was on my way home,” the eyewitness, whom the police are calling Jacque, said in his report. “I heard shouting from the third floor of the building, then three loud bangs, like gunshots. Frightened, I ducked into the alley between [the victim’s] building and my own. I thought I was hidden, when I heard a shuffling on the fire egress above me. I looked up and saw an individual, possibly a woman, in a long overcoat staring down at me. I thought I was done for! But she simply jumped from the egress to the roof of the next building and disappeared into the night.”

Inspector Janvier tells us that the department is treating this testimony with caution.

“I sounds a bit fantastical,” she said. “A shadowy figure, leaping from building to building. My captain believes the witness has read too many penny dreadfuls, of which I can say there were several in the witness’s office.”

Inspector Janvier said they would continue to follow other leads, but that those leads could not be shared in detail at this point. More on this story as it develops.

Blackwood Empire #222- Prominent Business Man Murdered; Mysterious Figure Seen Fleeing Crime Scene

Blackwood Gazette #221- Desantana Security Forces Run Afoul of Plamondon Fleet

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

22/2/282- The situation surrounding Monteddor’s problems with Seylene Plamondon’s pirate fleet grows ever direr this week, as a Desantana security detail transporting a cargo ship loaded with Blackwood headed for the Crowndon capital was brought down in the skies off the north coast of Monteddor.

Even more alarming is the proximity of this attack to Libertine’s Roost, a sovereign state that lies in the middle of the great inland sea dividing Monteddor and Crowndon and what many believe to be a pirate haven.

“The loss of such a large shipment of Blackwood cannot go unchecked,” said Cicero Aldero, a Captain of Desantana’s militia. “We are operating under the assumption that Plamondon’s forces might be using the Roost as a staging ground. However, our treaties with the Roost are built in such a way that the Triumvirate would collapse into civil war should any one member attack. Needless to say, the situation requires a delicate touch.”

Officially, Plamondon has no association with the Roost. Stories have it that she was exiled after killing a fellow pirate years ago, breaking one of the Roost’s highest laws. Aldero doesn’t think this is a factor any more, however.

“Given the size of her fleet and what she has to offer the other ‘merchants’ that operate out of the Roost, her transgressions as a young pirate might no longer hold sway. She can pretty much go anywhere she wants at this point, using bribes or threats or force. Even the Crowndon fleets fear her.”

Crowndon has yet to issue a statement on the situation, though they have their own ongoing troubles with the Roost. Last year, the Crowndonian brig Strident Whisper had to put down on the island, and an altercation with the crew left the Whisper’s captain, Armistan Cadbury, at the mercy of the Roost’s denizens. The fate of Captain Cadbury is still unknown.

Blackwood Gazette #221- Desantana Security Forces Run Afoul of Plamondon Fleet

Blackwood Gazette #220- Djidann Expresses Wishes for Military Dominance in Sarnwain; Pharassus Laughs

By Chester Seaton, News

20/2/282-The Sarnwainian territory of Djidann continues to grow ever bolder this week in the wake of their new technological strides. During an address of the nation, King Torifin Djida expressed the belief that Djidann would grow into the dominant military power in the Sarnwainian Empire.

“With our ability to stockpile and refine the deep mineral riches coursing like blood under our land, Djidann has been given the potential for unlimited power and wealth,” King Djida said. “We shall build an industry around our new refining techniques, and foster growth in industries that rely on our fuel. The Djidan military will grow, with engines beating like steel hearts deep within iron clad war machines that will command the respect of all who witness them. The world will tremble before our might, and those who do not bow down will be crushed.”

The Primarch of Pharassus, the ruling nation of the Sarnwainian Empire, issued a statement shortly thereafter.

“Isn’t it adorable?” the Primarch said. “King Djida has a new toy. And like any child with a new toy he believes his new toy is better than all the other children’s toys. And like any child who declares himself the biggest in the schoolyard while having only the potential (very tenuous potential, in this case), he’s only made himself a target. He’s declared himself to be something he isn’t yet. His statement won’t incite fear or respect, but anger and ridicule. I’ll let the child have his moment on top of the hill. But should he grow too impudent I have no doubt that we can knock him down.”

Meanwhile, Triumvirate military leaders are wary.

“Within the borders of the Sarnwainian Empire, Pharassus is the reigning military power and I believe the Primarch when he says he can suppress King Djida,” said Crowndon Lord General Johnathan Gorsky. “What worries me is what happens when the Primarch controls that oil. He isn’t exactly a friend to the Triumvirate.

“The Primarch is shrewd; he wouldn’t attack right away. He’d build up first. Chances are, we wouldn’t even see such an invasion in our lifetimes. But the Primarchs have a practice known as the Last Order: before they die, they issue an order that must be carried out. It doesn’t matter how long ago that order was issued, though they are typically enforced right away. A few, however, can fester for years on the pages of the Pharesian Book of Royal Decrees. And rumor has it, those that do are particularly nasty.”

Blackwood Gazette #220- Djidann Expresses Wishes for Military Dominance in Sarnwain; Pharassus Laughs

Blackwood Gazette #219- Cargo Ships Raided Off Newland Coast; Evidence Suggests Return of Von Grimm

By Chester Seaton, News

17/2/282- A series of recent pirate attacks off the coast of the Newland colonies have left the Colonial Navy scratching their heads recently. However, evidence found at aboard a recent vessel attacked two weeks ago suggests the return of an old threat.

“In most of these recent incidents, most of the crew have been murdered,” said Captain Benjamin Nestle, the colonial liaison to the Triumvirate Authority. “With this most recent pirate raid, however, we have an eye witness.”

Details surrounding the eyewitness’s identity are be kept secret, for obvious reasons, though Captain Nestle did say that the individual was a stowaway.

“The witness told us that the attack happened quickly in the early morning hours, during a thick fog,” the captain said. “From this individual’s hiding place, they were able to watch as the pirates moved through the ship, killing the crew, robbing their bodies and breaking open cargo.”

All of this seems fairly standard for a pirate raid, but one detail in the witness’s report caught the Captain’s attention.

“The pirates all had missing limbs replaced with mechanical facsimiles. This is a well-known trait of the Von Grimm gang.”

Doctor Argyle Von Grimm, aka the Mad Mechanist of Mosaille, is believed to require members of his gang to sacrifice a limb that he then replaces with highly intricate prostheses that contain a number of deadly devices. Last year, Von Grimm led the colonial authorities on a wild goose chase across the frontier, nearly causing a war with the indigenous territories. By the time the authorities sorted out the mess, Von Grimm had escaped.

“Von Grimm had gone quiet in recent months,” Captain Nestle said. “A selfish part of me had hoped that he’d quit himself of the colonies and was harrying some other poor lot. It seems he’s returned, however, such is our luck. Rest assured, the Colonial Navy is making the apprehension of Von Grimm’s new pirate endeavour a priority.”

The eye witness found aboard the ship was taken into custody, Nestle also told us, and will face charges for stowing away aboard the vessel.

Blackwood Gazette #219- Cargo Ships Raided Off Newland Coast; Evidence Suggests Return of Von Grimm

Blackwood Gazette #218- Rescued Explorer Reportedly Rambled on About ‘Living City’

By Chester Seaton, News

16/2/282-Rumors and speculation continue to swirl around the recent recovery of the famous explorer Uriah Farringdon Oke, who disappeared during an expedition into the Deadlands of the western continent. The Colonial Marshals who took Oke into their custody have been reluctant to share details on Oke’s condition, but new reports are shedding some light on what happened during his ill fated expedition.

Sources close to the personnel of Fort Faulkner tell us that the Professor exhibited signs of madness when he was brought in. During his waking hours they say he is prone to babbling on about various mysterious things.

“Most of it is incoherent raving,” said a doctor who claims to have performed the initial examination of Oke. “However, he became particularly lucid when he would describe ‘The Living City.’”

According to the doctor, who wished to remain unnamed (and whose references check out, we can assure you), Oke and his team had stumbled upon a ‘great, mechanical city’ in the heart of the Deadlands. At the center of this city lay, ‘a monumental forest of gargantuan trees, blackened and burned by some unimaginable inferno.’

Experts in both archaeology and anthropology have begun requesting transcripts of the doctor’s report. So far, however, the doctor has only sent a copy to Veronica Trenum.
Trenum, an expert in Pre-Alchemical Rift culture, was reluctant to discuss her thoughts on the doctor’s report. She did offer one, mysterious statement on the matter.

“If the lost city described in Oke’s rambling are the result of an actual experience and not some tragic devolution into insanity, and if the city is what I think it is, it could very well change everything we think we know about Pre-Rift history and the practice of Alchemy. If it exists and we could get to it, the knowledge contained within would completely alter the course of our world.”

While Trenum would offer no further insights into what she believed this lost city might be, former colleagues were more than willing to offer their theories.

“There exists, in certain interpretations of translated Pre-Rift writings, the myth of a colossal city in the sky,” said Professor Alex Congate. “This city was believed to be the Capitol of a nation of ancient alchemists whose hubris led them to take to the skies and rule the world below, only to eventually be toppled and come crashing back down to earth. A ridiculous notion, to be sure, but one with a lesson to be taught. That’s why we call it a myth.”

It is perhaps prudent to note that Professor Congate is a well-known rival of Doctor Trenum’s, and came under investigation for a fire that consumed most of her notes during an expedition several years ago.

Blackwood Gazette #218- Rescued Explorer Reportedly Rambled on About ‘Living City’

Ex-Humanor 002- Dead or Alive? Examining the La Pierre Construct

Have you heard the news, dear reader? That a few weeks ago, the wreckage of the ship belonging to the notorious air pirate Roderick La Pierre was found floating in the Barrier Ocean? You did?!

Good job! Here is a crumpet!

But hold on…I’m not going to give it to you just yet, dear reader. Did you find the willingness of the Crowndonian military and the Triumvirate Authority to believe this story and write off La Pierre for dead to be a little bit odd? Or did you say to yourself, ‘Good riddance’, and go about your day? You didn’t, and you did, you say? You didn’t question a single line of this news? Hm. I guess I’ll just eat this crumpet myself, because none of you deserve it.

‘But, Mister Oculus, wait!’ you say. ‘They presented evidence!’ you say. Did they now? You’re speaking of, I assume, the ledgers found in the remains of the Captain’s cabin?

‘Why, yes, Mister Oculus! La Pierre’s name was in each and every one!’

No! I protest, as I whack you on the nose with a rolled up, chip stained copy of the Blackwood Gazette. Bad Sheep!

Did you not notice the evidence to the contrary? That the pictures released of the wreck match the profile not of a CAF Frigate 264 class, the same class that the Pernicious Platitude is a modified version of, but of a CAF Frigate 278, introduced into service following La Pierre’s exile because it was believed his loss at the Divide had forever tarnished the legacy of the 264?

And what of the unceremonious discharge of Admiral Winston Johannes, pressed out of the Crowndon Air Fleet for casting doubts on the story? A man whose doubts, given his record, should have been treated with the utmost consideration?

This is all dependent upon whether you actually believe in the idea of Roderick La Pierre as the terror of the Imperial Skyways, of course. I, for one, posit the idea that La Pierre post exile was nothing more than a myth, a piece of propaganda and scapegoat trotted out by the Crown to serve as a flogging post whenever things go wrong. Now, I’m not saying La Pierre never existed…I’m sure he did. I’m also sure he died at the Divide, along with the other four thousand men who fell under the guns of Rinkenbach’s Firefly attack planes. The idea that he was somehow able to escape the carnage when so many others did not and somehow claw himself back to Crowndon a difficult pill to swallow.

The question now, ever as always, is why? Why has Crowndon chosen now to retire their mythical stooge? Perhaps the answers lie in darker corners…darker corners where Men in Blue Coats reside. I entertain the possibility that the La Pierre boogie man wasn’t a Crowndonian construct, but a Cartographer one, a cog in their nefarious plans that had served its purpose after the attack on the Arms Summit. After all, why should they bother to sustain such a farce to cover up their existence when our collective bias towards ignorance allows the Cartographers to exist in secret EVEN AFTER THEY’VE SO BOLDLY WALKED INTO THE LIGHT FOR ALL OF US TO SEE?

I have another crumpet here. It’s yours, if you can tell me one thing. Are you asking questions, now?

Stay Awake, dear readers.


Ex-Humanor 002- Dead or Alive? Examining the La Pierre Construct

Blackwood Gazette #217- Courting Disaster: Yolanda Desantana Seen Meeting with Djidanni Prince

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

12/2/282- You might want to sit down for this one readers. Rumor has it that there’s a new power couple in town, and this time the word ‘power’ isn’t just a metaphor.

According to gossip mongers in the Djidanni capital of Teras Madai, Prince Alarasant Djida was seen personally escorting Blackwood magnate Yolanda Desantana along a private beach earlier this week. As a result, rumors about what the two may have been discussing spread like wildfire.

This wildfire was perhaps fanned by the fact that neither Desantana nor the Djidanni royal family denied the meeting. They did, however, offer a clarification.

“It was completely business related,” a Desantana rep said. “The five Royals of Monteddor have long standing relationships with Djidann, going all the way back to before the founding of the triumvirate. Prince Alarasant extended an invitation to Miss Desantana to share with her the recent developments involving the refining of oil and development of diesel engines.”

Even if what the Desantana rep claims is true, the meeting of the most powerful holder of Blackwood interests meeting with the Prince of the country developing a competing fuel source is cause for…I’m not sure exactly. Excitement? Concern? Whatever the emotion should be, one can rest assured it will have widespread economic ramifications.

Despite the statement of Desantana’s rep and a similar one given by the Djidanni royal family, the imaginations of gossip hounds around the continent have been captured. Prince Alarasant has a reputation for being quite charming, and Desantana isn’t famous for being chaste. Both are known for knowing what they want and how to get it. Whether or not they want each other is anyone’s guess, and lots of people are guessing. One needs just stroll to the nearest peddlers of Penny Dreadfuls to see that the pens of smut writers have been running hot since the rumors first started.

Blackwood Gazette #217- Courting Disaster: Yolanda Desantana Seen Meeting with Djidanni Prince

Blackwood Gazette #216- Crowndonian Military Conducts Raid on Mysterious Island Stronghold; Finds Evidence of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach

By Chester Seaton, News

10/2/282- Triumvirate Authority Officials report that a task force following leads in the Pyrossi Ocean region raided an island stronghold this weekend. While no evidence of the mysterious attackers who raided the Arms Summit last year was found, they did find evidence that Rigel Rinkenbach had been kept there, recently.

“There is an abundance of evidence,” said Captain Michel Dufresne, the lead investigator in charge of the task force. “Including but not limited to discarded lab notes referring to something called BW-19, all of which is encoded in some unbreakable cipher. A tell-tale Rinkenbach trait.

“Also found at the site: 21 discarded bottles of absinthe, a half-starved owlet, and a faded pictograph of a woman believed to be Pixie Sinclaire, stained with tea rings. On the back of the picture was another string of encoded equations none of us have been able to decipher.”

The Captain went on to say that they are attempting to contact Pixie Sinclaire and bring her into the investigation. However, the Nor Eastern government has proven difficult in this regard, saying only that she is occupied with other matters of Imperial importance.

More baffling, however, is the lack of evidence that any of the shadowy Men In Blue were present at the stronghold.

“Other than Rinkenbach’s lab, the only other presence we can find traces of are those of pirates,” Captain Dufresne said. “It is likely this location was used as a hideout for one of the smaller bands, or possibly even a lookout station for Seylene Plamondon herself. In any case, this development is most troubling. It was not pirates that kidnapped Sir Rigel Rinkenbach late last year. Somewhere along the line, custody of our wayward scientist was transferred from one group to another. We have theories, but none of them are worth sharing at this point in time.”

Was any evidence found pointing to Rinkenbach’s current whereabouts?

“None whatsoever. Whoever was here left in a hurry. It’s possible they struck out without a plan. It’s also possible they decided Rinkenbach was too much trouble and dumped his body in the ocean. We have search parties combing the coast line and trawling the nearby shallows.”

Blackwood Gazette #216- Crowndonian Military Conducts Raid on Mysterious Island Stronghold; Finds Evidence of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach