Blackwood Gazette #292- Empress Bastian Feigns Ignorance, Expresses Rage on Reappearance of Rinkenbach and Sinclaire

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

12/27/282- Sarnwain has issued a statement concerning the recent revelations that Pixie Sinclaire and Sir Rigel Rinkenbach are still alive, and the situation is said to have the Palace in a state of panic.

The Empress released her own statement this morning. She claims to have Rinkenbach in custody, while also denying any complicity in his survival at Mal-Droit. Despite this, the fact that a body is buried in the Imperial cemetery with a head stone larger than any of the Empire’s past rulers certainly isn’t a good look for the Empire’s credibility.

The statement goes on to say that Rinkenbach will be punished for his deeds, but doesn’t detail what those punishments will be. Given the Empress’ affinity for Rinkenbach, one couldn’t be blamed for thinking the threat of punishment an empty one. Especially since the statement includes a lengthy rant theorizing that Rinkenbach was ‘likely led astray by that wench Sinclaire, who has a sordid history and unsavory hold on my Rigel.’

As for agent Sinclaire, she remains at large, last seen in the Pyrossi islands. And while the Empress’ protests are dubious at best, it is likely that Sinclaire was the main force behind whatever it was that transpired during the duo’s time in Sarnwain.

The Empress ended her statement with the promise that Subterfuge Society Agents are hunting Sinclaire down ‘as we speak’, and a thinly veiled threat, ‘We have a new fleet. Big fleet. The best fleet the world has ever seen.’

In the meantime, Triumvirate Authority officials are reporting a sharp decline in Sarwainian activity within the Triumvirate, with air traffic and trade down nearly 80 per cent in the last week.

A storm is brewing, citizens of Nor Easter. Let’s hope we can weather it.

Blackwood Gazette #292- Empress Bastian Feigns Ignorance, Expresses Rage on Reappearance of Rinkenbach and Sinclaire

Blackwood Gazette #291- Pharassus Primarch Express Disappointment at what He Calls Rinkenbach/Sinclaire Deception

By Chester Seaton, News

27/12/282- The Nor Eastern Empire, amidst its efforts to besmirch the good name of Crowndon at every turn in recent months, has been caught in a deception. After months of claiming that the rogue agent Sinclaire and the mad alchemist Rigel Rinkenbach had been felled at the fortress of Mal-Droit, both Sinclaire and Rinkenbach have reappeared, none the worse for wear.

One might think the revelation of such a deception would have a man as known for bloodlust as the Pharassus Primarch in a complete uproar, but such is not the case. Reports are that he has sent a letter to Empress Marcelette Bastion expressing his great disappointment.

This low key response from a man who once wiped out a fishing village for sending him the wrong type of sea bass has Nor Easter in a scramble, preparing for a war they probably won’t be able to win while also trying to perform damage control. Nor Eastern papers are rushing to the presses with Empress Bastian’s response, and there are rumors of a secret summit of Imperial Alchemists and Spymasters gathering to discuss possible courses of action.

Meanwhile, we are told that military forts along the Sarnwainian border have gone quiet. The Triumvirate Authority says that Sarwainian activity in the Skyways has declined in recent weeks. All is quiet on that eastern front, and the silence is deafening.

And what will become of the rest of the Triumvirate, if Nor Easter goes to war? Crowndon’s military elite have yet to comment on the situation. For many of our Empire’s military commanders, the Dividing War with Nor Easter is still fresh in their minds. Monteddor has recalled its own air fleets back to within its borders, but whether that is to protect its own interests or a muster to come to Nor Easter’s aid remains to be seen.

As for Admiral Alejandro Julianos and the Triumvirate Authority, the first armored air fleet is said to be coming along nicely. It is entirely possible these new ships could be blooded sooner rather than later.

Blackwood Gazette #291- Pharassus Primarch Express Disappointment at what He Calls Rinkenbach/Sinclaire Deception

Blackwood Gazette #290- Desantana Fleets Return to Monteddor

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Easter EIC

20/12/282- Triumvirate Authority pickets along Triumvirate borders have reported a surge in activity along the Imperial Skyways over the past week. Most of the increased activity comes from the movements of Desantana flotillas.

The Desantana ships were all seen to be headed towards Monteddor, leading many to believe that the fleets have been recalled. The reasoning and purpose of this recall is unknown at this time, but citizens across the Triumvirate who were witness to the migration uniformly described it as frightening.

One man in particular, a fisherman from Govanna Territory, said, “I thought it was some sort of invasion. None of the ships I saw seemed to be of the Triumvirate variety. They were covered in weird markings and flew a banner I’d never seen before.”

The strange banner in question is likely that of the Molten Crown Mercenary group. The Authority says that similar ships were seen mixed in with the fleets of Seylene Plamondon and Johanna McKilroy. Desantana has been pursuing a partnership with the group for some time, and it would appear that alliance has been formed.

Whatever the reason for this mass gathering of mercenary and pirate fleets in Monteddor, one can’t deny the unease that it causes. Neither Monteddor’s High King nor Yolanda Desantana could be reached for comment.

Blackwood Gazette #290- Desantana Fleets Return to Monteddor

Blackwood Gazette #289- Rigel Rinkenbach Walks into A Bar…

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

18/12/282-The Triumvirate hastened its ever downward slump towards insanity last night, when an annual gathering of the Triumvirate’s greatest minds was crashed by two unexpected guests.

The retinue of geniuses (including inventor Ivan Klankenvroot, playwright Delando, and master vintner Alessia Cosgrove) had just settled in at Big Bessie’s Barroom, Billiards, and Burlesque for an evening of leisure and to discuss the newest developments in their respective trades when, to the shock of all, Rigel Rinkenbach walked through the front door.

“I wanted to break down and cry when I saw him,” said Reynard Houlcomb, owner and proprietor of the Quintuple B. “Every time an alchemist walks in here, something goes wrong. And this time…oh, dear. It went horribly wrong indeed.”

Things started off well enough, as Rinkenbach’s cohorts welcomed him to the table, drinking to the fact that he was still alive (and likely forgetting the ramifications of that fact). Things went sour, however, when another patron took offense at the gatherings merriment.

“It was that goon from the colonies, Von Grimm,” said Bessie, the hostess and namesake of the establishment. “He didn’t like the way they were carrying on, you see. All that self congratulation, talk about how great they were.”

We are told that Von Grimm, along with two of his mechanized cohorts, attempted to goad Rinkenbach into a fight. Rinkenbach managed to defeat the two cohorts without lifting a finger.

“One of them was an automaton,” Houlcomb said. “Rinkenbach said some sort of nursery rhyme and the thing crumpled at his feet like so much scrap metal. The other one was simple, couldn’t even remember his name. Rinkenbach, fast talker that he is, just confused the lad into submission. It was the damnedest thing.”

When Von Grimm entered the fray, however, blades were drawn.

“Both of them had hidden rapiers, Von Grimm’s in a baton and Rinkenbach’s in a cane,” Bessie said. “They went at it like pirates, across the floor, on top of tables, up the stairs. I felt like I was stuck in one of Delando’s plays.”

The skirmish ended with both men toppling over the railing of the upper balcony and crashing into the central stage below. Rinkenbach came out on top.

“He just stood up and brushed himself off,” Houlcomb said. “Never the worse for wear. Wound up leaving with Estelle, one of my dancers, and didn’t pay for a cent for the damages. Alchemists. Bastards.”

One of our reporters caught up to Rinkenbach this morning, and asked him if he was worried that being so public about the fact that he was still alive would cause retaliation from Sarnwain.

“I had some doubts,” Rinkenbach said. “That spy, Shanahan, and Pixie were both adamant that we should all lay low. But Pixie came out of hiding last week! I read about it in your paper, as point of fact, and I figured the danger had past. Hiding doesn’t suit me, at any rate. Now, excuse me, I must go see the Empress!”

The reporter told me that as Rinkenbach walked away, a carriage containing royal guardsmen stopped next to Rinkenbach on the street. Rinkenbach lifted his hand in greeting, but the guardsmen are said to have been much less amicable as they shoved him into the carriage.

Dear readers, I fear this does not bode well for the rest of us.

Blackwood Gazette #289- Rigel Rinkenbach Walks into A Bar…

Blackwood Gazette #288- Orphan Twins Give Testimony in Secret Triumvirate Authority Hearing on Klankenvroot Incident

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

17/12/282- Another single, bright ray in the darkness surrounding Crowndon broke through today, as the Triumvirate Authority told us today that they have taken the twins Vertiline and Pigott Torp into custody.

The Torps, interviewed by Adella Chatelaine earlier this year, have become the face of the horrifying action taken by the Crowndon Empire known as the Klankenvroot purge. After a rally last week that ended in a scuffle with the city watch, Chatelaine was able to escape into a nearby channel by the Hawk’s Blood River. It was there that she reunited with the twins, who had been hiding in a small cove since the night of the Purge.

Using her contacts, Chatelaine was able to get both the twins and herself out of the Crowndon Empire and into Triumvirate Authority hands. The Authority reports that all three are healthy, and in good spirits.

The twins were given lodgings at an undisclosed Authority outpost in the mountains, where they were interviewed about the ordeal. They survived the flooding of the dry docks thanks to a pipe that ran from their hovel at the base of the dock wall up to the factory grounds above. They spent nearly an hour submerged, taking turns breathing through the pipe, before the watch opened the flood gates and drained the dock. From there, it was merely a matter of hiding amongst the dead until the guardsmen’s ranks thinned out, and sneaking away.

Chatelaine, who arrived in Oeil de Fleur yesterday morning, told me that she is hopeful the twins’ testimony will lead to definitive action by the Authority against Crowndon. Until that happens, she is simply thankful someone lived to tell the tale.

Blackwood Gazette #288- Orphan Twins Give Testimony in Secret Triumvirate Authority Hearing on Klankenvroot Incident

Blackwood Gazette #287- What is Argyle Von Grimm Doing in Nor Easter and Why Isn’t He Being Arrested?

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

16/12/282-A new scourge on Nor Easter has reared its ugly head in recent days. They started as rumors, but now we have confirmation from the Palace: The Mad Mechanist, Doctor Argyle Von Grimm, has come to Oeil de Fleur, and along with him a retinue of his mechanized gang.

What has the Palace done about this development? Nothing, nor do they plan to.

“Doctor Von Grimm has been granted immunity in Oeil de Fleur for the duration of this month,” said Henri Degeau, a spokesperson for Her Imperial Majesty. “The circumstances behind this are not the concern of the Gazette, or the citizen.”

It’s a rather strange, and disturbing stance, by what is considered to be the most open ruling figure in the Triumvirate. And given Von Grimm’s history, the atrocities he’s committed (including those committed against the Empress herself), I feel the people of Oeil de Fleur have a right to know why he’s being allowed to walk amongst them freely.

Doctor Argyle Von Grimm used to be the Imperial physician, first coming into the position with Empress Marcelette’s grandfather. It is even said that he delivered Her Grace into this world. But halfway through the reign of Empress Marcelette’s father, it was discovered that Von Grimm had a horrible secret, experimenting on the inmates of Marseille Asylum.

Von Grimm had become obsessed with the idea of the mechanical body, first removing the limbs of unwilling victims and replacing them with prosthetics of wire and clockwork. It is said that when his crimes were discovered (after a failed attempt to kidnap the young Empress Marcelette and turn her, literally, into a puppet), he had been trying to remove a human brain and place it into a completely mechanical facsimile. His workshop at the asylum is said to have been littered with the failed attempts towards this grisly goal.

I cannot fathom, dear reader, why the Empress has allowed this, nor why she is unwilling to address it. We can only hope that the Mechanist’s stay is uneventful, and that he leaves when his immunity has expired.

Blackwood Gazette #287- What is Argyle Von Grimm Doing in Nor Easter and Why Isn’t He Being Arrested?

Blackwood Gazette #286- Chaos in Crowndon! City Watch Deploys Automatons to Disperse Boisterous Citizens!

By Chester Seaton, News

12/15/282- A mob descended upon the steps of the Crowndon Capital building yesterday. Spurred on by egregious reports coming from rogue actors outside of the Empire, they demanded that the Imperial Ruling Body answer for alleged actions taken at the Klankenvroot factory last month, as well as the recent sentencing of the traitor Maurice Merchant.

The streets of Crowndon have seen much unrest in the last week, but this was the first time the demonstrations had reached the Capital. While such demonstrations are not necessarily legal, they are often overlooked unless they present a clear and present danger to government officials or the citizens involved. Clearly, the unruly horde that descended upon the building, hurling insults and rocks alike, constituted such a threat.

In response, our valiant city watch deployed its newest asset, the Gladstone Aerial Reconnaissance Device (or G.A.R.D., rebranded from A.R.A., trade marked by Gladstone Enterprises) upon the crowd. The magnificent devices, operating completely autonomously, took position over the crowd and out of their reach, and deployed a payload of noxious powder derived from basilisk lotus pollen and diluted Barrier Tuna oil. The mixture proved too much for the rabble to handle, and they were quickly dispersed. The city watch reports that no one was seriously injured, and arrests were few, though the smell of the tuna oil will likely result in weeks of scrubbing the Capital’s front steps with tomato juice and the lawn must be completely replaced.

“We knew the pungency of the barrier tuna would prove problematic,” Argathal Gladstone said, when asked about the performance of his machine. “I’m still working on the right balance for the concoction. Other than that, however, the G.A.R.D. worked wonderfully!”

Once the situation was resolved, the Watch quickly posted new guidelines for public demonstrations, namely that they are strictly forbidden for a time to be determined by the Imperial Ruling Body. Anyone caught engaging in disruptive political discourse will be promptly arrested and tried for sedition.

Blackwood Gazette #286- Chaos in Crowndon! City Watch Deploys Automatons to Disperse Boisterous Citizens!

Blackwood Gazette #285- Rogue Nor Eastern Spy Reportedly Spotted in the Pyrossi Islands

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

12/12/282-Sources in the Pyrossi Island region have reported that former Nor Eastern Subterfuge Society agent Pixie Sinclaire, thought deceased, has been spotted in the port town of Xev ti Lais. If true, these reports could lead to dire consequences for Nor Easter.

Sinclaire, along with Sir Rigel Rinkenbach, were involved in the destruction of Sarnwainian military interests earlier this year. The incident led to a continent spanning man hunt that ended in the apparent deaths of Sinclaire and Rinkenbach. With the pair seemingly brought to justice, the Sarnwainian Empire seemed placated. If Sinclaire proves to still be drawing breath, however, it could reignite the situation.

Empress Marcelette Bastian was quick to try and dispel the rumors, saying that there are millions of women in Nor Easter and around the world that match Sinclaire’s description (although, reports that the woman in question was meeting with a known information broker and black market salesman doesn’t help matters). She also went on to explain that if Sinclaire is alive, it is not the result of an attempt by the Nor Eastern Empire to dupe Sarnwain.

No statement on the matter has been given by the Sarnwainian Empire. This news, however, comes hot on the heels of a military demonstration of new weaponized vehicles close to the Sarnwainian/Triumvirate border. Military officials state that the weapons test is unlikely to be a response to this report, but the rumors of Sinclaire being alive could exacerbate the situation if not put to rest quickly.

Blackwood Gazette #285- Rogue Nor Eastern Spy Reportedly Spotted in the Pyrossi Islands

Blackwood Gazette #284- Adella Chatelaine Gives Heartfelt Speech in Crowndon at Klankenvroot Memorial, Barely Escapes Arrest

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

11/12/282-For several days now, citizens of Crowndon had gathered at the site of the old Klankenvroot factory, holding a vigil for those who lost their lives. A company of Crowndon city watch stood by, watching them like a hawk.

Despite the high profile situation, former Gazette writer and person of interest in the Gazette sedition trial Adella Chatelaine made an appearance yesterday afternoon, where she gave an impassioned speech memorializing the workers and decrying the way the situation was resolved.

Earlier this year, Chatelaine visited the area of the factory known as the gutter, where she interviewed a pair of orphans, Vertiline and Pigott Torp. It is unknown whether the orphaned twins survived the Klankenvroot purge, and a large portion of Chatelaine’s speech lamented the state of their lives when she met them and the possibility of their death.

Chatelaine’s time on stage was brief; as soon as the watch identified her, they moved in to arrest her. Her speech had caused unrest within the crowd, however, and the throng lashed out. It is believed that Chatelaine was able to slip away, though we’ve received no word as to her fate at the time of publication.

The altercation between the watch and the people gathered was short lived, as the crowd dispersed with the discharge of a single firearm. Luckily, no one was seriously injured. Even still, our sources inside Crowndon tell us that a feeling of unease persists in the capital city of Crowndon. The city watch retains a presence on the factory ground, removing any objects of memorial and running off anyone who approaches to replace them.

Blackwood Gazette #284- Adella Chatelaine Gives Heartfelt Speech in Crowndon at Klankenvroot Memorial, Barely Escapes Arrest

Blackwood Gazette #283- Maurice Merchant Found Guilty of Treason and Sentenced to Death

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

10/12/282-Two days ago, I was able to express hope that Crowndon may be able to heal itself thanks to the actions of its people against those who ordered the murder of 200 of its citizens. Today, however, that hope is a thing far away indeed. So very far away, thanks largely in part to my personal proximity to the issue at hand.

The Imperial Court of Crowndon returned a ruling in the Gazette Sedition case today, and it is a sorrowful turn of events. Maurice Merchant, owner, proprietor, and son of the founder of the Blackwood Gazette, was found guilty on charges of sewing unrest against the Crowndon Empire, and has been sentenced to death by firing squad, to be carried out later this month.

On a slightly less grim note, Mister Merchant’s alleged co-conspirators, most notably Ada Herschel, were sentenced to life in labor camp at an undisclosed location, with possibility of release following rigorous re-education.

I cannot believe the situation in Crowndon has devolved to such a point in such a short time frame. Since the attack on the Imperial summit meeting late last year, Crowndon has moved further and further away from the ideals the Triumvirate was striving for. And if we believe that Nor Easter and Monteddor are not complicit in this descent, we are fooling ourselves. We’ve left our sister Empire, and its citizens, to freeze in the cold.

I do not know why I even bother to try again, but I implore the leadership of Nor Easter and Monteddor, Empress Marcelette Bastian and High King Mario Adallantes, and the governing body of the Triumvirate Authority, to intervene before this matter grows worse. Evicting Crowndon from the Triumvirate is not an option: she must be healed, not left to die.

We call ourselves the Imperial Triumvirate. It’s time we remembered how to be that again.

Blackwood Gazette #283- Maurice Merchant Found Guilty of Treason and Sentenced to Death