Blackwood Gazette #262-Lord of Amaranth Rodahn Despartes Vanishes from Imperial Custody

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

27/9/2016- A mere week after his arrest for desecrating the grave of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach, Lord Rodahn Despartes, son of Duchess Amelie of Amaranth, has vanished from custody. The young Lord was being held in the cells below the Imperial Palace.

“It is with great embarrassment that the Palace Guard must admit that we have no idea where he went,” said Francois Coulver, Captain of the Palace Guard. “There is no sign of escape; the cell was still locked tight when we went to check on him. It’s like he just vanished into thin air.”

Duchess Amelie isn’t buying that story.

“A likely story, indeed. Never mind that the palace cells are underground and surrounded by nothing but earth and stone, with a single corridor leading out that is constantly guarded by a platoon of the best guardsmen. A lord does not simply go missing. It’s a travesty that he was even being held down there to begin with. I swear, if anything happens to my boy, I’ll…”

Duchess Amelie didn’t expand on her statement, though we are sure it was made in a moment of grief and suffering.

Despite the brief amount of time that has passed, several theories have already cropped up as to Lord Despartes fate. They range from the banal (and most likely), such as the boy was killed in custody and Empress Bastian is trying to cover it up, to the outlandish (and ever more interesting) that the entire affair is a ruse concocted by the Subterfuge Society to help bring an increasingly unruly Amaranth to heel.

The story gets stranger, however, as several witnesses are said to have seen a young man matching Lord Despartes description being placed into an unmarked carriage in the small hours, accompanied by four men in black uniforms bereft of any insignia or rank. One might be quick to dismiss this rumor as the machinations of night walkers seeking attention. However, a single dockworker is said to have seen a similar carriage approach the river bank just before dawn.

According to this dock worker, a woman briefly entered the carriage. Muffled shouts followed afterward. The woman then exited the carriage and spoke to the driver and several others before leaving. A moment later, the men pulled a limp body from the carriage and placed it in a motor boat that headed east down the river, toward the Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter Ends. The dock worker did not field questions on whether he thought the unconscious man was Lord Despartes, and refused to discuss the matter further once the name was mentioned. I can’t say I blame the man, given the nature of such events.

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Blackwood Gazette #262-Lord of Amaranth Rodahn Despartes Vanishes from Imperial Custody

Blackwood Gazette #261- Former Gazette Reporters Accused of Sedition to FINALLY See Trial

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

23/9/282- The staff members of our mother branch in Crowndon who found themselves charged with sedition at the end of Sixth Month of this year will finally see their day in court.

The chief defendants in the case are Maurice Merchant, Editor in Chief and owner of the Gazette, and Ada Herschel, former science and technology writer for the Crowndon branch. Miss Herschel was taken into custody after painting the Crowndon military’s conference during the Industry and Innovation Conference in a negative light. Mister Merchant was taken into custody shortly thereafter in order to ascertain his complicity with statements made by Miss Herschel.

Neither party has been heard from or seen since their arrests. Many expected nothing more than a brief censure (this reporter included), until the Crowndon government issued a statement saying the pair, along with several other Crowndon based reporters and one Nor Eastern liaison, were being charged with intending to incite civil unrest through slanderous implications that the Crowndon military was planning to assert control over the oligarchy.

The prosecutor for the case is one Eldon Rynn Henessy, most well-known for his work on the trial and eventual exile of Admiral Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre, and the impeaching of Roland Hatterfield, a case many thought impossible to win. In a statement released last night, Henessy said that he fully intends to get to the root of the issue, and promises to pursue the harshest punishment allowable.

That punishment is public execution, a sentence that has not been carried out in nearly seventy five years.

It is this reporter’s belief, and the belief of many of my colleagues, that these charges and suggested sentencing are an affront to the Triumvirate Authority, which is why we urge the Authority to step in put a stop to this farce. I also urge any Crowndonian citizen who reads this to petition their government to pressure the oligarchy to reconsider these charges. At the very least, we should try to bring the sentencing down to exile. The Nor Eastern branch of the Gazette would be more than willing to sponsor their citizenship in Oeil de Fleur.

Blackwood Gazette #261- Former Gazette Reporters Accused of Sedition to FINALLY See Trial

Blackwood Gazette #260- Arrest of Duchess’ Son Sparks Royal Scandal in Nor Eastern Court

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

20/9/282- The Imperial court of Nor Eastern is in an uproar today and a prominent Duchess finds herself under heavy scrutiny after her son was arrested this weekend.

The teenaged Lord Rodahn Despartes, son of  Duchess Amelie Despartes of Amaranth in Sau Anoit, was discovered on palace grounds Saturday night, dancing on the grave of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach. Witnesses to the offense paint a damning picture.

“I came across the boy, under the influence of spirits and perched upon Sir Rinkenbach’s headstone, which he had defaced with slander most foul concerning the deceased and Her Imperial Majesty,” said the palace guardsman who found Despartes. “He was surrounded by empty bottles, and when I approached he stood up and began dancing, or something like it, and yelling obscenities at the deceased. He very nearly fell off. I was more concerned with the boy’s safety at that point than with the crime, as Sir Rinkenbach’s headstone is over three meters high.”

This wouldn’t be the first time the young lord has run afoul of the law. He was arrested two years ago when he stole a motor carriage from a salesman. He made it half a kilometer before the carriage broke down and listed into a tea shop, sending patrons running for cover and cracking the storefront fenestration.

Empress Bastian is said to be livid at the incident, ordering Lord Despartes to be held in the palace cells until a trial can be held, which she will oversee personally. Duchess Amelie is said to have sent several entreaties to the Empress for mercy, but we are told the Empress has not responded.

The incident has already caused great scandal within the Imperial court, with several other Dukes and Lords demanding Despartes be stripped of all titles and lands. The monarch of Sau Anoit has yet to make a public statement on the matter, though it is said there is no love lost between the Queen and the Duchess.

Blackwood Gazette #260- Arrest of Duchess’ Son Sparks Royal Scandal in Nor Eastern Court

Blackwood Gazette #259- Crowndon Military Granted Right of Entry to Libertine’s Roost; Search for La Pierre Turns Up Nothing

By Chester Seaton, News

16/9/282-In an unprecedented show of cooperation between the sovereign state of Libertine’s Roost and the Triumvirate Authority, a small group of Crowndon soldiers were allowed to set foot on the island to search for Captain Roderick La Pierre. Unfortunately, the search turned up nothing.

Other than simply being allowed on the island, Simon Womack, the officer in charge of conducting the search, says they received no further assistance. This included information on where La Pierre had gone and when.

The outcome is a disappointing one, but perhaps not entirely unexpected, in spite of the Roost’s denizens’ legendary dislike of La Pierre. Womack suggested the entire thing was a ruse.

“They dangled a carrot on a stick and we followed it like an underfed horse,” Womack said. “While we focused our efforts on getting into the Roost, La Pierre was sneaking out. How he got past our pickets around the island is still a mystery, though. Wily bastard.”

The Gazette has applied for similar right of entry to interview citizens of the Roost on the matter, but has been turned away almost immediately. The overwhelming sentiment present in these replies is that the only thing worse than Imperial soldiers running around threatening people is Imperial writers telling everyone’s secrets.

Blackwood Gazette #259- Crowndon Military Granted Right of Entry to Libertine’s Roost; Search for La Pierre Turns Up Nothing

Blackwood Gazette #258-Geologists Concerned About Recent Seismic Activity Around Crittendon’s Crater in the Newlands

By Timothy Petite, Science and Technology

8/9/282– Geologists at the University of New Crowndon in the colonies have issued requests to the governments of all three members of the Triumvirate for funding to investigate recent earthquakes in the region around Crittendon’s Crater. So far, they have received either denials or been ignored.

“The Crittendon Crater has been of interest to us for the last decade, since it was discovered not to be just any crater, but a caldera,” said Henry Carthus, lead geologist at the university. “We theorize that the volcano has been dormant for several thousand years, but recent activity in the region suggests that an eruption is not only possible, but likely.”

The Government of Crowndon, in their response, demanded a timeline from Carthus and his team.

“I couldn’t give them one. A time line is what we hope to discern with our research, which requires funding. They rejected the petition, citing the lack of evidence and the remote location.”

According to Carthus, and other leading members of the field, that remote location would not mean much should the volcano spring to life.

“It would be a disaster of apocalyptic proportions,” Carthus said. “The eruption itself would likely obliterate the land bridge connecting the Newland continent to the Northern Mass. The entire upper half of the Newlands, including New Crowndon would be covered in ash; large tracts of valuable woodlands would be lost. Unique species of flora and fauna would be wiped out. The ecosystem of both the Barrier and Omeddon Oceans would be irrevocably damaged, leading to millions of dead sea-life washing up on the shores of the Triumvirate and Sarnwain. The ecological and economical effects would be felt everywhere, for hundreds of years.”

What could be done, if Carthus and his team determined a timeline for this eruption?

“Nothing could be done to stop the eruption itself, but we could prepare for the event, put contingencies in place for the evacuation of the colonies and the stockpiling of supplies. And I know what you might suggest: skip the timeline and just make the contingency. But doing so with any accuracy without wasting millions in gold and man-hours would be difficult without proper data. Trust me; it is less costly to invest in research now than to over or under react to such an event in the future.”

Blackwood Gazette #258-Geologists Concerned About Recent Seismic Activity Around Crittendon’s Crater in the Newlands

Blackwood Gazette #257- Memorial Held for Sir Rigel Rinkenbach Lives Up to His Legacy

 

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

Thousands gathered in the Nor Eastern Capital of Oeil de Fleur this weekend for the memorial of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach, renowned inventor, alchemist, and philanthropist (and philanderer). Perhaps befitting the man in whose memory the event was held, things quickly took a turn.

It all started well enough. A few important people said a few hollow words. His acts and deeds were rehashed for the hundred thousandth time (and will likely be rehashed a hundred thousand more as history marches on). Military leaders told of his great technological victory over Crowndon. Industrialists harped on their business rivalries and begrudging respect. A Rinkenbach Clockwork Butler intoned a popular Sarneaster hymn that many attest was Sir Rinkenbach’s favorite. Halfway through the ‘performance’, the Butler stopped, asked why it was singing at its own memorial, and then shorted out, sparks and smoke pouring from its head vents.

And then the Empress took to the stage. I’ll give Her Imperial Majesty credit…she held it together for all of ten seconds before breaking down, going through all the stages of grief except acceptance over the course of her eulogy, which included a rather sordid and detailed account of their relationship over the years. A large portion of the audience began laughing at one point. I felt absolutely TERRIBLE for her Illustriousness.

Next came the candle light vigil, at which point a delegation from the Academy of Alchemists and Alliterators, of which Sir Rinkenbach was an honorary alumnus, commandeered the festivities with their parlor tricks, sending great gouts of flame shooting from their tiny candle sticks in a brilliant display that set an overhanging bit of finery aflame. The reaction of the crowd was a mixed bag. Half of them panicked, the other half applauded, perhaps thinking it part of some elaborate performance. Either way, the alchemists seemed quite pleased with themselves.

After the speeches and vigils ended, the drinking began in earnest. Those who’d arrived sober got drunk; those already drunk got even more so. The enormous crowd broke down into smaller crowds, those with a dearth of personality orbiting those with an overabundance. I would be surprised if no less than three cults are born from this event.

While the majority of the square outside of the Imperial palace was awash with noise, there were quieter corners to be found; corners where Rinkenbach’s truest friends and enemies alike gathered to share in their respective sadness and delight. I overheard equal declarations of denial from both groups. It’s hard to tell who will miss him most. Few give our lives more meaning than those we love, and those we hate.

That was the kind of person Sir Rinkenbach was, after all. It was hard, if not impossible, to be indifferent. You’d be hard pressed to find someone in the Triumvirate not touched by his influence. As the night wore on, and I’d seen all I’d needed to see, I myself eventually drifted towards one of these groups. Which one is something I’ll leave to your imaginations.

Blackwood Gazette #257- Memorial Held for Sir Rigel Rinkenbach Lives Up to His Legacy