Blackwood Gazette #306- Rigel Rinkenbach in Talks with Delando to Bring Biography to the Theater

10/2/283- A spokesperson for Delando held a conference in Oeil de Fleur earlier this week, where he discussed several of the controversies surrounding the reclusive playwright as of late. Among the topics discussed was the disastrous opening of Delando’s latest play, the failure of the film version of ‘Desires of Dek Kanar Redak’, and what the future holds for Nor Easter’s preeminent peddler of the theatrical arts.

“Delando is very much disappointed in the reception of his first non-Ichthylliad related play in over a decade,” the spokesperson said. “He’d taken criticisms that he only knew how to do one thing to heart and tried to do something new. Naturally, his fans responded by burning his works in town squares across the Empire.”

The spokesperson said this with a sardonic edge that was not lost on the press gathering. Even still, it did not illicit laughter.

“As for the failure of the film, Delando has not given up hope that he can transform the kinetic viewer into the primary source of dramatic entertainment. ‘Dek Kanar’ was an experiment, and Delando assures that he learned much from the process of filming. In fact, he is currently working on something I’m sure will get all of you talking.”

That thing which would get all of us talking, of course, was the reveal that Delando has begun negotiating with Rigel Rinkenbach for the right to tell the Industrialist’s story in dramatic form.

“Thus far, Delando and Rinkenbach have met several times over the last month to discuss the project. I am told that their negotiations are going well, and that both are extremely passionate about the project, often discussing the matter late into the night. Delando is certain that anyone who knows the story of Rinkenbach will see that this is one of the greatest stories in the history of Nor Easter.

“An orphaned genius, forced to fend for himself on the streets of Oeil de Fleur before finding fame and fortune with the original Clockwork Butler. The alchemist who became favored of the Empress herself. The brilliant mind who tamed the wild heart of the Nor Eastern agent provocateur Pixie Sinclaire during the war with Crowndon, and who would win that war with the invention of the single man, planar wing attack craft. The fall from grace that would lead Rinkenbach across the continent, losing home and hearth, culminating in his redemption at the Battle of the Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter Ends.”

It certainly sounds like an epic tale, and while the spokesperson was unable to share any technical or logistical details, the excitement among the gathered press was palpable. Negotiations with Rinkenbach are said to be nearing their end, and it is hoped the show will debut next year.

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Blackwood Gazette #306- Rigel Rinkenbach in Talks with Delando to Bring Biography to the Theater

Blackwood Gazette #305- Oeil de Fleur City Guard Grows Desperate as Stink Monkey Rampage Continues

3/2/283-Two weeks after its escape from the Oeil de Fleur Menagerie, the Ganborran Stink Monkey known affectionately as ‘Chirpy’ is still at large. It is estimated that the creature has caused nearly 300 thousand Imperons in damage, and the amount is rising.

The primate miscreant was last sighted scurrying along a wall by the Dezoar River, where it is said to have caused a panic amongst weekend picnickers.

“We smelled it long before it actually showed up,” said one witness to the incident. “At first, I just thought it was the river…it doesn’t have a particularly pleasant smell, even on the best of days. But within a few minutes the odor was nigh unbearable. That’s when someone screamed. I looked over and saw a woman pointing toward a small shape running along the river wall.

“That’s when someone yelled, ‘It’s Chirpy!’ and everyone lost it, stampeding out of the park like we were running from an air raid.”

Nearby guardsman responded to the report of the monkey’s intrusion and rushed to the scene. They found the beast sitting on a blanket, eating a jam and nut macaron.

“It was just sitting there, chomping away,” said one of the guardsmen. “We moved in to open fire, but no was willing to get close enough for an effective shot. We fired a volley, the six of us, hoping the law of averages was on our side. We all missed. At that point, our eyes are already watering, but to make matters worse the little beast dropped its treat and ran at us. It sprayed as it passed by and disappeared into the trees. None of us could pursue it, gagging as we were.”

The incident at the Dezoar picnic ground isn’t the only encounter citizens have had since its escape. A few days before, a shop owner reported finding the animal malcontent building a nest in the entry way of his business, and the day before that a young couple complained that their midnight tryst was interrupted by a territorial display from the creature.

“It hopped up onto the balcony as we shared our first kiss,” one of the lovers said. “It then began screaming, slapping its bottom and…and…oh, it was awful!”

It has even begun interfering with the creative process, albeit to mixed results.

“I was in the park, painting an abstract of the day’s sunset, when Chirpy dropped down onto my easel and began slapping at the wet paint, leaving tiny monkey paw prints all over the piece,” an amateur painter told us. “To my surprise, the monkey’s contribution improved the piece, gave it a certain whimsy that I feel my work has been missing. I’ve shown it to a few galleries, and more than one of them is interested.”

No one knows where Chirpy will turn up next, but citizens should be wary, the Menagerie warns.

“Chirpy is a young primate at the dawn of its maturity, in a strange environment with a plethora of unknown sights and sounds. He will be extremely curious, and extremely aggressive. Anyone who runs afoul of Chirpy should immediately flee and alert the nearest city watchman.”

Blackwood Gazette #305- Oeil de Fleur City Guard Grows Desperate as Stink Monkey Rampage Continues

Blackwood Gazette #304- University of Oeil de Fleur receives correspondence from Trenum Expedition, along with captured ‘Monster’

25/1/283- The Deadlands expedition led by Veronica Trenum has borne fruit, if a recent delivery received by the University of Oeil de Fleur is any indication.

After half a year of silence as to the whereabouts or status of the expedition, a crate was delivered to the University in the wee hours of Surnsday morning. Within the crate was the carcass of a strange, fearsome looking bird, along with several reams of paper detailing the expedition as of late twelfth month of last year.

Trenum writes:

“After a tumultuous crossing of the mountains in late 9th, during which we narrowly avoided the closing of a climatological event which allowed us passage, we came to the remains of a mid-sized ruin. I would date the ruin to be around 1500 years old, and it is the first sign of any sort of civilization in the lower Newland continent. It has been slow going, trying to eke out a theory as to the culture of these ‘Deadlands’ people, as the ruin has largely been eroded and reclaimed by a thick jungle growth It is apparent that they had a working knowledge of stonework and masonry on par with our own middle ages, nearly half a millennium before us. What happened to these people, I cannot say. There is, heretofore, a lack of evidence pointing to any cause. It is my hope that a closer study will provide answers, and it hurts to move on. We are pioneers, however, and as such we must push on.”

A later entry in the notes explains the carcass that accompanied the document.

“We ran afoul of a hostile creature this past week (the entry is dated early eleventh). It is avian in nature, roughly the height of a Sarnwainian ostrich, but heavily muscled and displaying behaviors resembling pack predators.

“The creatures ambushed us in the late hours, attacking from all sides. I’d say there were about eight in all. The low light made it difficult enough to discern them, but the patterns of their feathers matched the foliage almost identically. Indeed, one of our security men cried out that the trees had come alive. Such was not the case. The creatures seemed to have a sort of adaptive camouflage…a feature often observed in reptiles but never in birds. They killed three of our party before Mister Mackay dropped what we assume is the lone male in the group. The other creatures broke off their attack and disappeared into the jungle.

“The specimen I am sending you is that individual. It is a spectacular find! Nothing like it exists in the known zoological world. I also hope never to run across one again, as the ferocity of their attack and the noises they made will forever be embedded in my nightmares!”

The specimen sent to Oeil de Fleur is said to be in excellent shape, despite a several months journey across the ocean. The headmaster of the university says that they plan to strip the carcass, saving his feathers for study and its bones for exhibition.

Blackwood Gazette #304- University of Oeil de Fleur receives correspondence from Trenum Expedition, along with captured ‘Monster’

Blackwood Gazette #303- Citizens in Shock After Exotic Ganborran Stink Monkey Wreaks Havoc at the Oeil de Fleur Menagerie

17/1/283- The north-eastern side of Oeil de Fleur is in shambles tonight after an exotic primate from Ganborrah escaped from a petting exhibit at the Oeil de Fleur Menagerie yesterday. The monkey, which emits a foul-smelling musk when threatened, went berserk after a child pulled its tail.

“Every thing was going as normal,” said the exhibit’s custodian, Emile Tousaun. “The kids and their families were just milling about, shooing away the usual goats and chasing the everyday chicken-hogs. Things didn’t get out of hand until we introduced Chirpy.”

Chirpy, we are told, was a new addition to the exhibit, and this was to be his debut. Though the animal was used to the menagerie’s handlers, this was his first time interacting with the public.

“Things went south pretty fast,” Tousaun said. “It’s amazing how quickly they went bad. It was almost as though the offending toddler had a directive from some higher power, given how she zeroed in on Chirpy’s tail and pulled it.”

Chirpy howled, an ear-splitting call that witnesses to the incident say caused every goat, chicken-hog, and man to freeze in place and take notice.

“I looked over and there’s this kid standing there with this orange liquid pouring down her face, bawling her eyes out, and that horrible little beast standing at her feet with its ass up in the air, howling like it’s being murdered,” said once such bystander. “I only had a second to parse out the situation before the smell hit.”

Just how bad is the smell of a Ganborran Stink Monkey?

“Take a Newlands polecat, mix it with a Barrier Sea Tuna that’s been rotting in the sun for a month, throw in traces of Crowndon’s sewers with a side of a Monteddorian dumpster after Harvest Day, and then get rid of it, because none of that compares to what comes out of a scared Ganborran Stink Monkey,” Tousan said.

Why was such an animal on display in a petting exhibit in the first place? Did the menagerie have any idea of the horror they were about to unleash?

“We knew,” Tousan said. “But Chirpy, he was a just a baby. The glands aren’t supposed to develop until maturity. We even tested the reflex last night, and nothing happened. Must have hit puberty overnight.”

After spraying the child and half of the exhibit, those present were so incapacitated by the odor that the monkey was able to escape over the menagerie wall. The toddler is in quarantine while the menagerie works out a way to remove the smell, and will likely have vision trouble for the rest of her life. Chirpy, we are told, is still at large.

Blackwood Gazette #303- Citizens in Shock After Exotic Ganborran Stink Monkey Wreaks Havoc at the Oeil de Fleur Menagerie

Blackwood Gazette #302: Sarnwainian Coalition Sends Prince Djidann to Parlay with Desantana Fleet; Djidanni Forces Turn Guns on Compatriots

10/1/283- The stalemate between Sarnwainian and Triumvirate military forces along the northern border of the Triumvirate grew a little less stale this weekend, as the Sarnwainian Coalition (consisting of the combined military might of Djidann, Pharassia, Thankaen and Ganborrah) sent the Djidanni Prince to parlay with his former business associate (and rumored paramour) Yolanda Desantana. However, the Coalition greatly underestimated the hold Desantana had over the young prince.

“Their thinking was typically Sarnwainian,” Lieutenant Gabrielle Antillan, an officer in Desantana’s, fleet told us. “ ‘Send a man to put a woman in her place.’ What they got instead was a toothless puppy wrapped around said woman’s finger.”

Shortly after his arrival aboard Desantana’s air ship, Prince Alarasant Djida is said to have sent a message to his nation’s forces. The Djidanni military, easily comprising the largest percentage of the force, then turned their guns on the rest of the Coalition. After a brief ten-minute fire fight, the Coaltion is said to have called a ceasefire and retreated.

“Once again, our illustrious Governess has proven her talent for laying the groundwork for fruitful alliances,” the Lt. Antillan said. “We’ve always known she had an instinct for business, but now she’s proven herself militarily as well.”

The turnout of this conflict has proven fruitful for now, but we have yet to see the no doubt catastrophic repercussions Djidann’s betrayal will have throughout the Sarnwainian power structure. Prince Djida has returned home, where his father, the King of the second largest power in the Sarnwainian Empire, is said to be exceedingly angry about the results of situation.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about the Prince,” Lt. Antillan told us. “Yolanda Desantana is firmly in his corner, and any action against him will be an action against her and the Triumvirate of the Sky. The King would be wise to seek out alliance with the Triumvirate.”

***

Related Story:

BG #217: Courting Disaster: Yolanda Desantana Seen Meeting with Djidanni Prince

Blackwood Gazette #302: Sarnwainian Coalition Sends Prince Djidann to Parlay with Desantana Fleet; Djidanni Forces Turn Guns on Compatriots

The Blackwood Gazette #301- Nor Eastern Engineers Reveal Plans for Waystation Systems Over Omeddon, Pyrossi Oceans

By Patrice Coulon

4/1/283- A group of engineers based out of Oeil de Fleur University say they have drawn up plans for two new Waystation systems. The stations, they say, are an important part in building the bridges of commerce between the Triumvirate and extra-imperial entities.

“The Triumvirate does not exist within a bubble,” said Lucianne Volpe, the engineer heading up the project. “Nor does it contain all the necessary resources for the advancement of our society. There are factors outside our realm of influence that could prove either a boon, or a curse. Economic ties are a tried and true way to build alliances.”

Detractors have already caught wind of the proposal, and call into question the veracity of such a project.

“I can sort of understand a Waystation or two between the Triumvirate and Quin Loh,” said Joshua Trachter, an economist from Val Coursais University. “But a station in the Omeddon Ocean is a fool’s errand. There’s nothing out there except scattered islands and the western coast of the Newlands.”

Volpe sadly shakes his head when told of Trachter’s doubts. “That man is short sided, at best. Dumb at worst. If he, as an economist, fails to see the untapped trade potential provided by the Omeddon island chains and original peoples of the Newlands, he needs to be stripped of his tenure. Hell, his being a Crowndonian is probably enough to warrant that!”

All of this talk of new Waystations is purely theoretical at the moment, however.

“The original station was an immense undertaking, and an enormous drain on resources,” Volpe admits. “Be we’ve nearly a century and a half of development since then. It is my job as engineer to prove that new stations could be built in a timely, and cost effective, manner.”

The Blackwood Gazette #301- Nor Eastern Engineers Reveal Plans for Waystation Systems Over Omeddon, Pyrossi Oceans

Blackwood Gazette #300- Curtains Down: New Delando Play Opens in Oeil de Fleur and Nobody Came to the Party

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

3/1/283-The Empress Theatre in Oeil de Fleur has spent the last month getting ready for the premiere of Delando’s newest play, hoping to pull in another record breaking crowd. Unfortunately, either people didn’t get the message or ignored it, because nobody of import showed up.

“The opening was a disaster,” said promoter Rean Marcelle. “We spent hundreds of thousands on advertising alone. But still, we have a table full of seafood and cheeses just sitting in the lobby, stinking up the place. It was so bad. Not even Delando showed up.”

The small group of curious souls who did attend, however, were led by Delando super fan Bartolomew Bartlesby Bartlette (a nom de plume culled from Delando’s earlier works.) Bartlette, however was not allowed inside the theater.

“I’ve been blacklisted,” Bartlette told us. “Earlier this year I organized a protest when we found out that this new play wasn’t part of the Ichthylliad saga. You ask me, that’s the reason no one was interested. I only showed up so I could tear it a new one, maybe throw an egg or two. Guess I didn’t need to do anything after all. I mean, look! We’re standing on Empress Boulevard on Saturday night and its damn near empty! So sad.”

Marcelle echoed Bartlette’s sentiments. “I guess Delando is a one trick pony. When people come to see Delando, what they really want is Ichthylliad. We knew we might take a hit, what with a completely new story, and that whole Heisenberg incident, and that story about Rochelle Walsh, and…you know, the more I think about Delando, the more I want to wretch.”

Despite the disastrous turnout, the show was put on, for an audience of about thirty, in an auditorium that holds 600. Of the ten people that remained at the show’s end, reception was mixed.

“I enjoyed it, and actually felt that the dour atmosphere helped it,” said critic Henri Guillemot. “There’s a character in the play who makes jokes at completely inappropriate times. The small audience guaranteed that laughter at these jokes would be sparse, and the ham-fisted delivery in such a large open space rang loudly, and true. Honestly, it should only be performed this way.”

“I [expletive removed] hated it,” said Alicia Vidillia, a student at OdFU. “The story line was vulgar, as was the guy who played the corpse in the second act. He kept winking at me while lying on the stage, pretending to be dead. Disgusting.”

Marcelle says that the play will be pulled from the Empress theatre’s lineup, and he must now struggle to find a new show for the stage.

“We’re bleeding money, because of this. Damn Delando.”

Delando, as usual, was unavailable for comment.

***

And, that’s a wrap, folks. At least for now. I’m putting the Gazette on indefinite hold for the time being, though it could pop up from time to time in the future. The whole thing got a little unwieldy this year, and quite frankly a little joyless as I succumbed to Cerebus Syndrome and started to get more invested, personally, in the story I was telling. The gazette was primarily meant to be FUN, dammit. A lot of the stories I told this year were just depressing. I need to pull back, reconfigure, and revise a lot of what I’ve already written. As of number 300, the word document containing the Gazette is a hefty 115,000 words over 343 pages (unformatted).

When I first started this thing, I wanted the stories in the Gazette to coincide with longer narratives, short stories, novellas and such that told the truth of what happened, and I failed to deliver on that end, aside from last year’s The Lelina Horror’. So, going forward, in 2017, I want to focus on some of those longer narratives.A True Account of Waystation Bravo already exists in a completed first draft. A couple more pass-overs and I should be ready to show it off. I’ve also started work on the tale of Pavetta Janvier and her investigation into the Southward Slayings. Hopefully I can get that out this year, as well.

On the backburner, I’ve still got the woefully incomplete ‘Shroom Job, which I started way back when. I recently revisited it and found myself at a loss as to where I was going with it. It’s still a part of the plan, though, given that some of those characters have important roles to play throughout.

In the planning stages, I have what is tentatively titled the ‘Ballad of Rigel Rinkenbach and Pixie Sinclaire’. It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell since I came up with the idea of Blackwood Empire and while I was writing the series’ sole published novel, ‘Where, No One Knows’. Now that I’ve set up the tale of their adventures across Sarnwain, I feel like I have a pretty good framing device for their tumultuous relationship.

Other ideas are still little seeds, and I’ll be evaluating their potential as I go. There’s a lot of threads dangling throughout the course of the Gazette. Who was knocking off Monteddorian military officers? What happened to Veronica Trenum’s expedition into the Deadlands? And that mysterious organization that attacked the Triumvirate last year sure was quiet this year…or were they? Oooh, mystery! Intrigue! Spies and gunslingers, pirates and assassins! Shadowy organizations and ancient mysteries! I’m really eager to dig into the larger Blackwood Empire, and hopefully share it with you.

So hold on tight. It gets pretty windy on the Imperial Skyways.

Blackwood Gazette #300- Curtains Down: New Delando Play Opens in Oeil de Fleur and Nobody Came to the Party