Blackwood Gazette #11: Man Claiming to be Roderick La Pierre Assumes Responsibility for Tuna Heist; Holds Gold Hostage in Exchange for Haggis

13/5-The offices of the Blackwood Gazette received a strange letter this weekend. Since much of the letter is ineligible and/or contains an over abundance of language inappropriate for the Gazette, we have chosen only to present the relevant information rather than reprint the letter in its entirety.

The letter claims to be from disgraced Crowndon Admiral Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre, and he claims responsibility for the First Imperial Bank heist late last month. All excerpts are printed with the original spelling intact.

“I’ve seen my name thrown around as a potential suspect,” La Pierre writes. “And I see that [expletive removed] Callingworth laughing at the idea. Yeah, well, I’ll show im. It WAS me that hit that bank. Me and me crew. Planned the whole thing. Just no one wants to admit it, ‘cos it were me.”

La Pierre then goes on a lengthy rant about the failings of the Crowndon military, and how the citizens of Crowndon would all be speaking ‘frog speech’ if not for him.

“I ain’t a greedy man…no, actually, that’s [expletive removed],” La Pierre writes. “I AM a greedy man, but for this instance, I’m willin’ to make things easy for all a’yer simple minds. I don’t wanna  keep the gold. I’m holdin it hostage. Not unlike that bank. I’ll be waiting at the location I wrote at the bottom of the letter. Bring only one ship, a small skiff, with one man and the ransom. I’ll give im the location of the gold. If I see another ship within five hundred leagues, I’ll dump the gold into the deepest part of the barricade ocean.

“Me demands is simple, see. I want a nice, steamy pile of Crowndonian spiced haggis, just like me mam used t’make. All the gritty bits, with a side of  the pasties. I want it delieverd to the location I talked about before, and I want it tomarrah. Any funny business, and I blow the gold t’kingdom come, y’hear!”

When we asked Deputy Chief Arthur Colingsworth for comment, he was skeptical.

“No one has seen La Pierre for years. Reports are he’s dead. This is just some prankster that read the rumors spread by your paper and thought to run with it. Even if it was La Pierre, we would be unable to acquiesce. Crowndon does not negotiate with pirates.”

Blackwood Gazette #11: Man Claiming to be Roderick La Pierre Assumes Responsibility for Tuna Heist; Holds Gold Hostage in Exchange for Haggis

Blackwood Gazette #9: Man Pays for Meal with Smelly Gold, Arrested in Connection with Tuna Heist

6/5-A new development in the story of the great Crowndonian Fish Heist, as the authorities are now calling it:

Martin Camwell got an ugly surprise after a dinner last night.

“I ordered a steak,” Camwell said. “Been wanting a steak, you see. Haven’t had none since the Crown seized my milliner’s shop and I got thrown out on the street. When I was done I tried paying for it with this bit ‘o gold a stranger gave me.”

That’s when the restaurant owner noticed something odd.

“Gold smelled bad,” the owner said. “Literally. At first I thought it was the bum, but when I recognized the hint of fish, I pieced it together with the robbery downtown.”

The restaurant’s proprietor contacted the authorities while the wait staff kept Camwell occupied with a dessert menu. When the city watch arrived, they took Camwell into custody, claiming that he did nothing wrong.

“I’m inclined to believe him,” said Deputy Chief Arthur Colingsworth, head of investigations into the heist. “He has no criminal record, and his story checks out. He’s also a bit of a lack-wit and a coward, so I doubt he had anything to do with the robbery, neither its execution and certainly not its execution.”

Colingsworth asked Camwell to provide a description of the man, which Camwell did.

“He described him as average height, ginger hair, mutton chops, and a gray over coat,” Colingsworth said. The inspector then alluded to the possibility that the mysterious man gave Camwell a message, then backpedaled when pushed on the subject.

“We have no further information on the subject at this time,” Colingsworth said, and disappeared into his office.

Charges against Martin Camwell in connection to the heist were dropped. However, he has been kept in custody on charges of vagrancy and disturbing the peace of the restaurant’s wealthy patrons, who report that the smell of the gold, and Camwell, offended them.

Related: Bank Full of Fish Gets Cleaned Out…

Blackwood Gazette #9: Man Pays for Meal with Smelly Gold, Arrested in Connection with Tuna Heist

Blackwood Gazette #8: Tensions Rising Over Sarnwainian Development of Combustion Engines

1/5-The Imperial Blackwood Authority is up in arms today over reports that the Sarnwainian Empire has plans to pursue oil based combustion engines.

“If the Sarnwainians figure out how to build an engine that uses their impressive oil deposits, we’re all screwed,” said Authority head Richard Leavensworth. “Over time they would prove to be cheaper than the cost of harvesting and shipping Blackwood for our current steam-based transportation system. Combine that with the availability of Sarnwainian oil versus the limited resource of the Blackwood Grove…the Triumvirate would fall apart. We’re talking about an almost over night shift in economic power and a complete reconstruction of the way the world works.”

Blackwood magnate Marco de Santana isn’t worried.

“Let the Sarnwainians try their combustion engines,” de Santa said. “We tried it once. It didn’t work. The oil gummed up the works. And before it did, the engines were loud, and the fumes coming off the engine choked the warehouse. The citizenry won’t like it once presented with the setbacks.”

The opinions of the citizenry seem to indicate otherwise, however.

“Something cheaper than Blackwood?” one local, who owns a small independent transport company, said. “Sign me up. Costs me six months salary for a chunk of Blackwood to power my little airbus for nine. Maybe one day we’ll ALL be able to afford one of them autos you see the rich folks driving around. People like De Santana, they’re just worried about their own personal wealth.”

Scientists from around the Triumvirate are the most concerned with this development overall.

“In addition to the geopolitical ramifications everyone is prattling on about are the environmental ones,” said Sir Rigel Rinkenbach, of NorEaster. “I was there when we tried our own oil based engine. I even helped design the damn thing! Now imagine a city full of such engines, making noise and pumping black smoke into the air. Say goodbye to the clear blue of the Imperial Skyways, and the immaculate stone work of Oeil de Fleur. No, we must re double our efforts in re-creating the Blackwood formulae, and we must stop at nothing to prevent the Sarnwainians from succeeding. Stay with Steam! Down with Diesel!”

Blackwood Gazette #8: Tensions Rising Over Sarnwainian Development of Combustion Engines

Blackwood Gazette #7: Wealthy Socialites Marry, Immediately Divorce; Set New World Record

29/4-Thousands of friends, family, and well wishers gathered in Monteddor City today for the wedding of Yolanda de Santana and Armin Chevelle. De Santana is the daughter of Montedorrian Blackwood magnate Marco de Santana, and Chevelle is a popular purveyor of adult publications in Nor Easter.

The ceremony was appropriately lavish, with a red silk carpet serving as the bride’s walkway and a flock of rare Sarnwainian Bluebirds being released upon the completion of the vows.

“Oh, it was so beautiful!” said  famous fashion designer Gustavo Frederick-Alanstead Gallardo. “I had literal tears in my eyes. It was literally amazing! Weddings always make me cry rivers. Literally!”

No sooner than the Bluebirds were released, recaptured, and served in a stew, did the newlywed couple turn from the priest (Chevelle’s uncle, ordained purely for the purpose of this ceremony) to their lawyers. A family lawyer represented Chevelle, the infamous Guiseppe Le’Saul. De Santana was represented by her mother.

With the terms of the divorce already agreed upon beforehand, and thanks to a series of complicated loopholes in the Monteddorian legal system, the newlyweds finalized the dissolution of their marriage with a single signature. Their marriage lasted a grand total of one minute, 15 seconds, setting a new world record. Chevelle himself set the previous record of one minute, 18 seconds last year.

With the divorce finalized, the guests attended an opulent reception where they feasted upon the finest dishes in Monteddor, prepared by the greatest culinary artists from around the Triumvirate. Dishes served included barbequed whale and roasted chicken-hogs from the Divide, an exceedingly expensive dish as there are only twelve known to exist (there were one hundred before the wedding took place).

“It all looks and smells delicious,” said popular pin-up Pippi Tralala. “I do not partake, however. I subsist solely on sunlight and air.”

After the meal, the guests celebrated by dancing. The night’s festivities ended with a completely debauched orgy, documented by Chevelle’s own film crews using the newest moving picture cameras. The documentary, simply titled ‘The Aristrocrats’, will be available on all Chevelle Corporation Kinetic Viewers by next month.

Blackwood Gazette #7: Wealthy Socialites Marry, Immediately Divorce; Set New World Record

Blackwood Gazette #6: Bank Full of Fish Gets Cleaned Out…In More Ways than One

24/4-After nearly a week long closure, the First Imperial Bank of Crowndon reopened this morning. Unfortunately, when the Bank manager opened the doors and took stock of the bank’s holdings, he discovered something disturbing.

“They took everything!” The manager said, through tears. “Almost a fifth of the city’s gold and silver, gone. You would think you can trust a crew of menial laborers with a vault full of gold.”
Authorities aren’t so sure that employees with sticky fingers are to blame, however.

“We are working under the theory at this moment that the entire thing was orchestrated,” said Deputy Chief Arthur Colingsworth. “The ship crashing into the bank, the dumping of the fish, the cleaning crew, everything.”

If this theory proves to be true, it would certainly make for one of the most bizarre heists in Crowndon history. Who could be the mastermind behind such a cunning task?

“We have a small list of candidates,” Colingsworth said. “The most popular candidate among the men right now is Pixie Sinclaire, but that’s only because she has a following in the department. The most reasonable explanation is a crew of pirates or mercenaries set the whole thing up. Probably a crack team led by Captain Ferdinand Gnash, or Seylene Plamondon.”

When asked if there was any truth to the rumor that the caper had been pulled off by former Crowndon Admiral Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre, who is rumored to have gone pirate, Colingsworth laughed.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

One is left wondering how such a thing could happen. Shouldn’t there be protocols in place to ensure that so much money can’t be stolen?

“You mean, protocols for when a ship full of tuna crashes into your bank and renders an entire city block uninhabitable for nearly a week?” The manager said. “No. We don’t have protocols in place for that.”

Blackwood Gazette #6: Bank Full of Fish Gets Cleaned Out…In More Ways than One

Blackwood Gazette #5: Airship Carrying Fish Crashes into Bank; Special Cleaning Crews Required

It looks like the citizens of lower Crowndon are going to have to cut open their mattresses. A commercial fishing ship crashed into the First Imperial Bank of Crowndon’s lower branch this weekend.

“It’s one of the dangers of airship society,” the bank manager said. “I always knew something like this would happen. I just didn’t know it would happen to me!”

The crash occurred in the middle of the afternoon, during peak hours. Several injuries were reported, but no one was killed. The biggest injury was likely to the egos of those present.

“The ship hit the roof, broke through, and split open,” one fish covered customer told me from behind a special cordon, twenty feet away. “Never seen nothing like it. The fish just spilled out. I was right under it. They’ve done scrubbed me down twenty times in five different solvents and I still stink. I tell you, my wife is going to be [angry].”

The ship carried a full load of Barrier Sea tuna, famous for its taste, and infamous for its odor. This reporter isn’t sure how that works, but apparently it does.

“The entire bank reeks,” a teller said. “The main lobby, the furniture, the bank notes themselves. We’ve several million dollars worth of gold and silver. We couldn’t give it away, the smell is so bad.”

The First Imperial Bank has called in a special crew of cleaners that deal with Barrier Tuna spills. The clean up is expected to take several days. In the meantime, it is recommended that no one travel within two blocks of the bank.

“This is really inconvenient,” said a nearby business owner. “It doesn’t just hurt the bank’s business…it hurts the entire area’s. Namely, mine.”

Blackwood Gazette #5: Airship Carrying Fish Crashes into Bank; Special Cleaning Crews Required

Blackwood Gazette #4: Tragedy Strikes the Empress Theater in Oeil de Fleur

17/4-Today is a sad day in the history of the arts, as the Empress Theater, the oldest stage in the civilized world, was reduced to ash last night during a performance of Delando’s newest magnum opus. Officials say the fire started during the show’s final act.

“It was that scene with the wizard,” one survivor claimed. “He raised his hand to shoot the fire ball, and he just burst into flame.”

Writer and Director Delando’s representative (Delando himself was unavailable for comment, as usual) denied allegations that the play’s signature special effect, achieved with a new invention called the ‘flare gun’, was the cause of the inferno.

“Delando’s official stance on the matter is that the actor playing the wizard spontaneously combusted,” the representative said. “The actor is a known lush and had spent several hours under the hot lanterns. The heat set the alcohol in his blood alight. The fact that he was wielding an unknown, untested gun that shoots fire balls is pure coincidence.”

Regardless, “Fires…” has been suspended pending further investigation into the matter.

Related: Fires of D’Kalm D’Korr Opens…

Blackwood Gazette #4: Tragedy Strikes the Empress Theater in Oeil de Fleur