Blackwood Gazette #297- Last Minute Intelligence Prevents Nor Eastern Forces Being Decimated in Engagement over Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter Ends

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

30/12/282-Perhaps in an effort to win the battle before the arrival of Julianos and the Triumvirate’s First Armored Fleet, Sarnwainian naval forces gathered on the Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter Ends made their move in the early morning hours.

The opening salvo was nearly decimating, as Sarnwain’s armored diesel powered ships rammed through the Nor Eastern line, reducing the Empire’s out dated wooden frigates and brigs to splinters. Nor Eastern fighters on those ships made a valiant effort, however, to board those ships and put up a valiant fight before falling.

As Nor Easter’s front line fell, Sarnwain revealed what was supposed to be its secret weapon: a new kind of underwater ship capable of firing propeller driven explosive projectiles. The heavier ships of Nor Easter’s second and third lines, however, were prepared.

The underwater projectiles are reportedly guided by radio signal, and can be detonated remotely. Luckily, Nor Eastern commanders came forearmed with the frequency and were able to remotely detonate the projectiles once the sub-marine vessels revealed their location.

How is it that Nor Easter came by this knowledge?

None other than Sir Rigel Rinkenbach.

In a statement revealed after the battle was over, Empress Marcelette Bastian revealed the true reason Rinkenbach and Society Agent Pixie Sinclaire had been in Sarnwain. The pair had tracked a cache of Rinkenbach technology stolen from his warehouses last year. They discovered that Sarnwain had been planning to attack the Triumvirate for months, using this stolen technology.

While it is true that Rinkenbach and Sinclaire operated on their own without the approval of the Palace or the Subterfuge Society, their actions in Sarnwain did not start the war with Sarnwain…that was already a forgone conclusion. But it did give Nor Easter the means to defeat the Sarnwainian fleet, albeit with heavy casualties.

Despite the crushing defeat, Sarnwainian infantry forces in the north have not retreated. As such, the Triumvirate Air Fleets have been rerouted to reinforce that front.

For their efforts, Sir Rigel Rinkenbach and Pixie Sinclaire have been officially reinstated as citizens, and heroes, of the Nor Eastern Empire.

Blackwood Gazette #297- Last Minute Intelligence Prevents Nor Eastern Forces Being Decimated in Engagement over Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter Ends

Blackwood Gazette #295- First Armored Fleet Takes to the Air; Monteddor Pledges Aid for Nor Easter

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

29/12/282-Almost as if in answer to the growing turmoil along the borders between Nor Easter and Sarnwain, the Triumvirate Authority announced today that the First Armored Fleet has reached a functional state and been deployed.

The fleet, led by the flagship Acrimonious Bulwark, commanded by Admiral Alejandro Julianos, took to the air yesterday evening. They will rendezvous with the Bulwark at an undisclosed location and from there join the ranks of airships gathering along the Cerrano Meridian.

“The construction and deployment of the fleet has gone more smoothly than we ever could have hoped,” said Triumvirate Authority Commander Adam Shepard. “We were able to construct and deploy the ships in record time, thanks in part to private parties in Monteddor and Crowndon, as well as Desantana Refining. I have no doubt that with these new ships, the Triumvirate can weather anything Sarnwain can throw at Nor Easter.”

While the First Armored Fleet reinforces the line at the Meridian, the nearly unfathomable fleet known unofficially as the Triumvirate of the Skies will join the fray. Johanna McKilroy and Zan You-Delsha will stand along side Julianos, while Desantana and Plamondon will head north to reinforce Nor Eastern infantry in the mountains, where Sarnwainian ground forces have been amassing for several days.

“If Sarnwain follows through on its threat to attack Nor Easter, they will be crushed,” Yolanda Desantana told us. “Monteddor and Nor Easter may have their differences, but we are allies under the Triumvirate Accords. Between Alejandro’s new fleet and mine, as well as Nor Easter’s Navy and fighter squadrons, we outnumber Sarnwain ten to one, and with better resources at our disposal. It won’t be a war any more than crushing a roach with a shoe is a war. It will be a quickly forgotten footnote in our history, if that.”

And what of Crowndon? The great Northern Empire has yet to address the situation, but Desantana isn’t worried.

“Throwing them into the mix would be overkill,” she said. “Or perhaps they might be a liability; they’re too busy trying to wrangle their own citizens at the moment. We don’t need them right now. Perhaps we don’t need them at all.”

Blackwood Gazette #295- First Armored Fleet Takes to the Air; Monteddor Pledges Aid for Nor Easter

Blackwood Gazette #273- Flagship for Julianos’ First Armored Fleet Takes Flight

By Chester Seaton, News

11/11/282- Military Elite from around the Empire gathered earlier this week at the same site as last year’s Summit Attack. The choice of venue was a symbolic one, as they had gathered to watch the unveiling of the First Armored Fleet’s Flagship, the Acrimonious Bulwark.

The new airship is unlike anything the Triumvirate, or the world, has ever seen. At nearly 183 meters long, it dwarfs anything in current use in either the Triumvirate or Sarnwain.  Instead of balloons, the massive structure is held aloft by eight rotors, four on each side. Six cannon line each side of the upper deck, and eight smaller cannon line each side of the lower deck. The structure is protected by armor anywhere from 15 to 27 centimeters thick.

“The thing is monstrous,” said Crowndonian Fleet Admiral Henry McTolliver. “I don’t even know how it gets off the ground. And it looks like it could level a city by itself. I’m all for strengthening the Triumvirate but this…I don’t know about this. The idea of a fleet of these things terrifies me.”

While the thought of anything terrifying a Crowndonian Admiral is cause for alarm, even more alarming is the praise it received from a Nor Eastern Engineer.

“It certainly cuts an intimidating profile,” said Lucianne Volpe, of Oeil de Fleur University. “But it’s also a testament to what the Triumvirate can do. We put this thing together, in the face of an unknown threat, in little more than a year. As much as it horrifies me the ‘why’ of it, the fact that it was even possible at all gives me hope.”

So there you have it; a Crowndon Admiral expressing doubt, and a Nor Eastern engineer expressing awe. I am not one to indulge my own opinion, readers, but what is even going on?

The Triumvirate Authority plans to push the Bulwark into service immediately, under the command of Admiral Alejandro Julianos. More ships are slated to join the fleet in the coming months, and plans for a second fleet are already underway.

***

What is even going on, indeed.

Fun Time! There’s an unintentional Batman easter egg in today’s Gazette. Can you spot it? Can an easter egg be unintentional? WHO CARES!?! You get a cookie (in spirit) if you find it.

I need sleep.

Blackwood Gazette #273- Flagship for Julianos’ First Armored Fleet Takes Flight

Blackwood Gazette #238-Former Julianos Captain Assassinated While Giving Retirement Speech

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

11/5/282- The Monteddorian Empire is in shock today, after one of its most valiant heroes was brutally assassinated during a speech Monday night. The cowardly murder was witnessed by hundreds who’d gathered to celebrate the retirement of Captain Julian Rojas.

“He was standing upon the stage one minute, recollecting more than a lifetime’s worth of stories and achievements,” the captain’s wife, Estera Rojas said. “His voice filled the room as we all listened. He had that sort of presence. And then, nothing. His head…it…he was gone. His voice was gone. His presence. The room was dead quiet, and empty.”

Witnesses say that no one heard the shot that took the captain’s life, but evidence suggests that the killer fired a shot from outside the hall where Rojas was speaking. Investigators say they have yet to find any evidence of the shooter on nearby rooftops or within buildings.

“It is our theory that the shot came from the south, through an open window,” said Pietro Regas, Chief Inspector on the case. “We’ve determined the caliber of the round used in the assassination…someone should have heard the shot, even if the shooter was using a suppressor. We’re canvasing the area, but so far no civilians claim to have heard anything.”

Something like a gunshot was reported around the time of the murder, however that report was from several blocks away.

“For someone to have made the shot from the area where the gunshot was reported…I can’t even fathom it,” Regas said. “It would mean we’re looking for a shooter more skilled than anyone in even Julianos’ elite guard. They wouldn’t just have to adjust for the distance, which is plausible…but there are buildings in the way. The shooter would have had to find a spot with line of sight through the windows of several buildings. The thought of finding and detaining someone with that sort of talent and determination makes my blood run cold.”

Regas refused to comment on any possibility of connection with the Pillar Assassinations in Crowndon.

Captain Rojas served in the Ballantine air fleet for nearly thirty years, fighting in three wars and several small engagements over the course of his career. His final military command was aboard the Julianos flag ship Panther’s Reign, where he ordered the bombardment of Sanado Flores in an effort to stamp out the Dougherty rebellion.

Blackwood Gazette #238-Former Julianos Captain Assassinated While Giving Retirement Speech

Blackwood Gazette #226- Crowndonian Business Interests Pledge Support for Julianos; “Akin to Treason” says Admiral McTolliver

By Chester Seaton, News

21/3/282- Despite the outcry of concern from Crowndon’s military elite, it was revealed this week that several members of Crowndon’s business elite have vowed financial backing for Admrial Alejandro Julianos’ First Armored Air Corps.

So far, only one such backer has revealed their identity. Lord Palatine McCredmond Hauks, founder and CEO of Hauks Financial, issued a statement concerning the matter, pulling no punches as to his reasoning.

“I cannot sit idly by and watch the Triumvirate, and by extension, Crowndon, fall under the stresses placed upon her while the Crown’s Arms do nothing. They sit high on chairs built by traditions rooted in times long since ended. I believe Admiral McTolliver when he says that he believes Crowndon’s military is still the best suited to protect the Imperial skyways, and that is why I am worried.

“He’s an old man, stuck in old ways. Old ways that have never seen the likes of the pressure being put on them by Seylene Plamondon or those who attacked the Arms Summit. And who knows what other horrors lie on the horizon, far to the east in Pharassus and Djidann? Hell, they couldn’t even handle the machinations of that mad man Rinkenbach. We live in new times, with new threats that need to be met with new tools, and new thinking. I don’t like that these tools are held by a man many presume to be a criminal. But Julianos has shown that he can weather the storm, that he can think outside the parameters set by those who would do us harm.”

Admiral Henry McTolliver shot back at Lord Hauks’ statement, making it known that severe penalties will be levied against citizens of Crowndon who makes oaths to Julianos.

“The Lord’s statements are outrageous and akin to treason,” the admiral said. “They are essentially funding an outside military, one that is positioning itself to take the place of our own. Were it not for the treaties and agreements in place that serve as the mortar holding our alliance of empires together, I would have Lord Hauks and his ilk in shackles already. It may still come to that. We are pursuing every avenue possible to charge these financiers to the fullest extent of Crowndon law.”

Admiral McTolliver’s threats may ultimately prove to be hollow, however, as the Triumvirate treaties place the Authority above each empire’s own militaries in the chain of command. In other news, Hauks Financial’s holdings increased a staggering twenty percent after the announcement, suggesting many of Crowndon’s citizens agree with Lord Hauks.

Blackwood Gazette #226- Crowndonian Business Interests Pledge Support for Julianos; “Akin to Treason” says Admiral McTolliver

Blackwood Gazette # 215- Explorer that Went Missing in Deadlands Rescued by Colonial Marshals

By Chester Seaton

9/2/282- The Deadlands of the great western continent remain to this day the crown jewel of world exploration, and with good reason. None who have entered the region have ever returned, until recently.

According to Colonial Marshals stationed at Fort Faulkner, Professor Uriah Farringdon Oke has been found. The Marshals offered no details about what Oke saw and did over the course of the last half decade, but did report that the Professor was extremely malnourished and psychologically impaired.

Six years ago, the renowned explorer led the largest expedition to date into the Deadlands. Correspondence with the team lasted for two months, and according to a letter written by Professor Oke himself, the expedition had been charting a river leading to what they believed was the region’s center-most point. Contact dropped off after that, and it was believed that Oke’s expedition had met the same mysterious fate as those who came before.

Johnathan DePlante, Professor of Archaeology at the Empress University in Oeil de Fleur, spoke to us of the unique dangers inherent in exploring the Deadlands.

“The biggest obstacle is how little we know of it,” said Professor DePlante. “And what we do know isn’t pretty. First, one must cross over a treacherous mountain range that runs in a ring around the region. The peaks of these mountains are concealed by horrible cloud cover and tumultuous winds whip through them at speeds that even our most advanced air ships would have trouble getting through. The only way through, until recently, with the Julianos expeditions (who aren’t being forthcoming), is a narrow pass that can only be traversed during a specific, two week window. Even then, a freak storm or rock slide or avalanche often proves fatal.

“Once through the mountains, out of the freezing winds and ice, a team would descend into a basin thick with rain forests. The climate would be oppressively humid. The flora and fauna would be an unknown (Professor Oke’s own correspondence was tragically bereft of any such details; he was more enamored with emotions caused by the natural beauty of the place…man should have been a poet, not a scientist), but we speculate one would expect to find an abundance of large reptiles, insects, territorial primates and large predatory cats that can be found in similar environments around the world, along with the typical spectrum of diseases they carry.”

Blackwood Gazette # 215- Explorer that Went Missing in Deadlands Rescued by Colonial Marshals

Blackwood Gazette #212- Seylene Plamondon Hits Blackwood Refineries on Monteddor’s Eastern Coast

Chester Seaton, News

1/2/282-With the Triumvirate Authority and Julianos military bodies otherwise occupied with matters of building new fleets and searching for signs of an unseen enemy, the pirates that roam the Imperial Skyways have grown ever bolder.

The raids had been fairly small; a nuisance to be sure, but nothing that the provincial militias of Monteddor haven’t been able to hold off. However, it would seem that the most notorious of these pirates, the self-proclaimed “Pirate Queen” Seylene Plamondon, has joined the fray.

Plamondon, who controls a massive fleet of over one hundred air-ships, reportedly hit five east coastal villages simultaneously this weekend. Two of the attacks are believed to have been diversionary, calling the attention of Salasan Territory militia in the area and dividing the force. The remaining three attacks hit a military armory, a Blackwood distribution center, and a coastal resort famous among Triumvirate socialites.

The fleets bombarded the areas around the towns before landing parties took to shore, rampaging through the streets and stealing everything of value. It is estimated that between all five attacks, nearly 200 were killed, almost a quarter of which were civilians. Property damage is estimated to be within the millions.

The attacks drew harsh words from Salasan Admiral Raul Cinturios: “This never would have happened if the Triumvirate didn’t have their heads up their [expletive removed], digging around for phantoms. And Julianos…he is supposed to be the High Protector of Monteddor, but now he spends all his days [explicit descriptions of various carnal acts with Nor Eastern government officials removed] trying to gain more power than he already has. Just what is he trying to do? Save the whole [expletive removed] world? The Triumvirate doesn’t need him; Monteddor needs him.”

Fleet Admiral Alejandro Julianos has yet to respond to Cinturios’ statement, though a statement released by Governor Salasan would seem to indicate that he, and the rest of the militia, are distancing themselves from Cinturios in preparation for the expected blow back.

Blackwood Gazette #212- Seylene Plamondon Hits Blackwood Refineries on Monteddor’s Eastern Coast