Blackwood Gazette #270-Opening Statements Heard in Gazette Sedition Trial

By Chester Seaton, News

26/10/282- Former journalists for this publication had their first day in court today. Maurice Merchant, former Editor in Chief, owner and proprietor, and son of Tobias Merchant, who founded the Gazette, and Ada Herschel, former science and technology writer, stand accused of sedition and sewing unrest against the Oligarchy of the Crowndon Empire.

The prosecution opened with a blistering presentation of its goals, to provide several pieces of evidence suggesting Mister Merchant and Miss Herschel worked hand in hand to present certain government actions in a negative light, with the ultimate goal of toppling the Oligarchy and reinstating the constitutional monarchy which fell out of favor following the discovery of the Blackwood grove nearly 3 centuries ago. The prosecution promises to show evidence of Miss Herschel’s ties to Nor Easter, and Mister Merchant’s ties to the former royal family.

The defense countered by denying any and all accusations, stating that any seditious statements made were in fact nothing more than innocent remarks of dissatisfaction on the parts of Mister Merchant and Miss Herschel, and that any purported rumors of a government overthrow or foreign meddling in Crowndon affairs are preposterous.

“A guilty verdict in this trial will do more to sew unrest than any expression of exasperation at Crowndon’s desperate grasping for military relevance ever could,” the defense claimed. The accused made no statements.

The trial will reconvene in one week’s time, to present evidence and hear testimony. The prosecution intends to pursue the highest sentencing possible, being either death or exile.

Blackwood Gazette #270-Opening Statements Heard in Gazette Sedition Trial

Blackwood Gazette #269- Inspector Pavetta Janvier Comes to Ilya to Assist in Serial Murder Investigation

By Chester Seaton, News

20/10/282-At a loss as to how to deal with the recent spate of horrific murders in Ilya, the small mountain city has called in outside help to hopefully resolve the situation.

“We’re a relatively new community,” said Tristan Robeau, Chief Inspector of the Ilya city watch in charge of the case. “We’ve only just recently been described as a city. We’ve never had to deal with anything like this before, and I’m ashamed to say we’re at a bit of a loss.”

In order to help bring the killer to justice, Robeau has requested help from the capital city of Yves. That help has come in the form of Inspector Pavetta Janvier.

Inspector Janvier is no stranger to cases both large and small, routine and strange. She recently made waves during her work on the Pillar Assassinations, helping to locate and apprehend the assassin Arufina Villanova, despite having been put on suspension.

“These ghastly crimes are an affront to humanity, and must be stopped,” Inspector Janvier said. “I’m more than happy to lend my aid to the people of Ilya, and bring a swift end to these murders by any means necessary.”

Chief Inspector Robeau told us that Inspector Janvier hit the ground running, requesting to immediately be taken to each crime scene.

“She took charge so swiftly and surely that I was a bit intimidated by her,” the Chief Inspector said. “My peers expressed quite pointed disapproval at her arrival. She was very blunt in her opinion on the methodology of our investigation thus far. However, critical as she is she is also constructive. I assigned my best investigators to her team, not only to assist but receive tutelage. Inspector Janvier will prove to be a great asset, of that I have no doubt.”

Since her arrival, the case has made some head way. Details are being held in secret, however, until the case is solved.

Blackwood Gazette #269- Inspector Pavetta Janvier Comes to Ilya to Assist in Serial Murder Investigation

Blackwood Gazette #268- Demolition of Klankenvroot Factory Halted by Community of Former Workers

By Chester Seaton, News

19/10/282- This weekend, contractors tasked by Crowndon to demolish the old Klankenvroot factory moved in with sole intention of doing just that. With them marched a veritable army of the capital city’s finest, tasked with providing security. If one lived on Harker’s Lane and looked out their window, they could almost be forgiven for thinking Crowndon was once again marching to war.

And a war is almost exactly what happened. As the convoy of trucks and wreckers arrived on the factory grounds, they were greeted with a line of men, women and children who had chained themselves to the property’s inner fence line. Even more stood along the roof of the main factory building. Some reports claim these held fire bottles at the ready.

The contractors stopped their advance and sent a foreman out to negotiate. Eye witnesses say that a brief exchange occurred and the foreman came back. At this point the city watch took over, and marched on the fence line. It is said they proceeded to beat those chained to the fence, demanding them to turn over the keys to their locks. No key was provided.

The foreman is said to have then ordered the wreckers forward, regardless of the human lives before them, but was stopped by the captain of the watch. A crowd of citizens had gathered, watching the exchange. They had seen the watch beating the people on the fence, and begun protesting.

As the situation now stands, the city’s wreckers stand idle around the factory grounds. The factory dwellers send people out to provide daily aid and succor to those on the fence, while the city desperately searches for a way to gain audience with whomever has organized the former Klankenvroot workers.

The factory was slated to fall on the 15th. As of the 19th, it remains standing.

Blackwood Gazette #268- Demolition of Klankenvroot Factory Halted by Community of Former Workers

Blackwood Gazette #267- Eyewitness Accounts of South Ward Slayings Paint Horrifying Portrait of Perpetrator

By Chester Seaton, News

13/10/282-Authorities in Ilya have a new lead in the case of a string of horrific killings, as eye witnesses to some of the murders have come forward. The accounts provide a description of the culprit, and the description is chilling.

“I was on the way home after my shift when I heard sounds coming from around the side of a shop,” said Madelain Rossey, a clerk at a nearby dock house along the river. “Sounds like wet meat and knives, like at the butcher shop. This was before the news of the killing broke, so I went to take a peek, and I saw it. A dark figure, crouched over a body, tearing at it and throwing bits of it around. I briefly made out the silhouette of its hand. Whatever or whoever it was had three blades, dripping with…oh I can’t, I just finally started to get the image out of my head. I gasped, tried to hold it in, but it heard me. It stood up, long and tall, taller than any man I’ve ever met. It started to turn and I pulled back behind the wall before it could see me. I caught the briefest glance of yellow eyes as it turned. I stood with my back to the wall, my hands clamped over my mouth, not breathing for what felt like forever. Then I heard a sound like a rusty hinge, moving away. I peeked back and it was gone.”

The inspectors that Miss Rossey originally told her story to very nearly wrote off her account as either a flight of fancy or grab for attention, until a man who only called himself Norman walked in a day later and told his account.

“I was sitting on the board walk, down by the river,” Norman said. “I was just getting ready to open my evening bottle of whiskey when I heard something underneath the walk, something like a squeaky wheel. I leaned forward, looking down through the cracks, saw two glowing yellow eyes staring up at me. If I didn’t soil myself then, I did when the thing reached up and punched a hole through the boards right next to my head. Damn thing had claws long as my forearm, I swear to it! I screamed and rolled to my feet. I never ran so fast in my life. I could hear it behind me, that awful metal on metal sound getting closer. I squeezed into a gap between two steel doors on a nearby dry dock. The thing reached in and grabbed me by the coat, pulled me back. Cut me up something fierce. And I felt heat on the back of my neck, sharp and wet. Ever get a burn from steam? It was like that. Anyway, when the thing decided it couldn’t get in it went away. I looked out the door just in time to see it leap onto a roof. Had to be three meters, easy.”

Inspectors say that Norman did indeed have a burn consistent with those found on the victims, and that they found a hastily patched hole in the board walk where Norman says he was attacked. Still, the otherworldly nature of the attacker in both stories has police skeptical.

“There must be some reasonable explanation,” said Chief Inspector Tristan Robeau. “I’m not putting out a bulletin for a two and a half meter tall tin-man with glowing eyes. A leg brace might account for the squeaky sound described, and the ‘yellow eyes’ must be some sort of lantern. As for its purported ability to jump over buildings, we chalk that up to a drunken, fear addled mind. In any case, we have a starting point. We will release an official wanted bulletin in the days to come.”

Blackwood Gazette #267- Eyewitness Accounts of South Ward Slayings Paint Horrifying Portrait of Perpetrator

Blackwood Gazette #266- Desantana Security Foils Assassination Attempt; Begin Hunt for Suspects

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

12/10/282-Desantana Security officials tell us that they were able to thwart the attempted assassination of an unspecified high ranking member of the Monteddorian military late last week. The attempt was the latest in a long line of similar crimes that have occurred this year.

The operation, a Desantana Security spokesperson told us, was set up solely to draw the assassin out. Specifics as to how the military officer would be a target for the assassin were not divulged, but considering the other targets were all involved in the bombardment of Sanado Flores, it is likely the officer was involved in that ill-fated operation.

The trap was sprung at a speech given by the officer at the opening of a new Desantana blackwood refining facility in Govanna Territory. Security specialists were able to pinpoint the attacker before the kill was made. While the assassin ultimately eluded capture, D.S. personnel was able to engage in a brief fire fight.

The suspect is said to be a Monteddorian woman in her early to mid-twenties, and it is believed that she may be a surviving rebel from the Sanado Flores attack. Interviews conducted around the nearby town show that a woman matching this description was spotted a few days before, procuring supplies. The interviews also revealed she was possibly traveling with another, older woman, likely of Crowndon descent with graying blonde hair.

Several of the people who claim to have seen the pair referred to them as either ‘Moldradus’ (an old Govan word for Shaper) or ‘Ropaos Moldradus’ (Shaper Rogue). The significance of these terms is yet to be determined.

Desantana Security and the Monteddorian military both have increased their presence in the area as well as along the borders of Govanna. They are confident the assassins will be detained or killed soon.

Blackwood Gazette #266- Desantana Security Foils Assassination Attempt; Begin Hunt for Suspects

Blackwood Gazette #265- Murder and Mayhem Grip Small Mountain City in Yves

By Chester Seaton, News

11/10/282- Police in the growing city of Ilya in the province of Yves released a statement today concerning a rash of brutal murders in the city’s South Ward that have shaken the community to its core over the last couple of weeks.

“The first incident was reported at the end of last month,” said Chief Inspector Tristan Robeau. “Details of the murder were kept a secret from the public, being deemed too grisly for civilized consumption. Then another body showed up, and another, and another. Releasing the details is now a matter of public safety.”

The bodies are said to have been discovered in isolated, out of the way places, such as warehouses, empty lots, and alleys in the city’s South Ward, along the river front.

“The bodies are mutilated,” Inspector Robeau said. “I wish there were a more diplomatic way of saying it, but they were torn to shreds. Our initial thought was some sort of animal, perhaps a mountain lion from the nearby des Anges range (which isn’t unheard of, though the creatures are usually shot or run off before they can do anything) but the wounds are too clean for tooth and claw and there is no sign of mastication on the victims.”

In short, none of the victims were eaten. Thank heavens for small favors.

“Besides the grotesque manner in which the victims died, only one other detail links them; small burns with no rhyme or reason on the bodies. We’ve no idea how the burns are caused or what the purpose may be, but we’ve ruled out fire or chemicals. It seems completely random.”

Inspectors say that they are devoting the majority of their man power and resources to the investigation, and doubling patrols in areas where they believe the murderer may strike next. A small comfort, to be sure, for the citizens of Ilya.

Blackwood Gazette #265- Murder and Mayhem Grip Small Mountain City in Yves

Blackwood Gazette #264- Is the Triumvirate Authority Stonewalling Manhunt for Lord Despartes?

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

5/10/282-A joint task group of Nor Eastern and Triumvirate Authority Officials have spent the last week combing the Nor Eastern country side for Lord Rodahn Despartes of Amaranth. As yet, their search has proved fruitless.

“Given the boy’s propensity for hellraising, we’d hoped to hear reports of his passing,” said Captain Reginald Desmanse, speaking for the TA. “So far, we have heard no such reports. Either the kid has learned the value of keeping a low profile, or he’s been spirited away to parts unknown by people unknown. There’s also the possibility that he is lying dead in a ditch somewhere.”

An anonymous source in the Nor Eastern force taking part in the search paints a less dismissive picture as to Despartes’ fate, however, going so far as to suggest that the Authority is doing everything that it can to close the case and move on a quickly as possible.

“What the TA Captain says isn’t the full picture,” the source told us. “I’m not supposed to talk about it, but we received word of a ruckus at an inn along the river. When we arrived, the TA was already there. They said they’d already investigated the place, and there was no substance to the rumours. But the whole situation seemed off. It just felt too quiet for a bordello on the weekend, and when we tried asking questions, the establishment’s employees acted as though they were frightened.”

The source went on to tell us that other platoons have been stonewalled by TA officials as well, all in locations positioned by the river. Captain Desmanse called the accusations ridiculous.

“We’re talking about the son of an Amaranth noble, and a fugitive wanted by the Empress of Nor Easter,” he said. “It wouldn’t be worth the trouble the TA would be in to hinder the investigation. In any case, we don’t plan on calling off the search yet. We’ve expanded our efforts to the Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter Ends, and we’re dragging the bottom of the river. If there’s something to be found, we’ll find it, even if its nothing more than the little Lordling’s fish-bitten corpse.”

A lovely picture, to be sure. The Empire of Nor Easter and Duchess Amelie alike are no doubt put at ease to know that a man unfettered by such nonsense as diplomacy and sensitivity is on the case and we are confident in your utmost commitment to this endeavour, Captain Desmanse.

Blackwood Gazette #264- Is the Triumvirate Authority Stonewalling Manhunt for Lord Despartes?