Blackwood Gazette #109: Crew of the Strident Whisper Detained on Libertine’s Roost; Triumvirate Authorities Negotiating Release

By Chester Seaton, News

28/4-The crew of the Strident Whisper, the Crowndonian brig that made landfall on Libertine’s Roost after suffering mechanical failure, has been detained by one of the merchant’s guilds based on the island.

Details are scarce surrounding the reasons for the detainment, but we do know that several of the Whisper’s crew involved themselves in the affairs of the merchant’s guild in question. Due to the complex treaties that exist between the Roost and the Triumvirate and bestow upon the Roost its independent status, recovering the crew will prove to be a challenge.

“We’re lucky the entire crew hasn’t been hanged,” said Commodore Lucien Keene, head of the Toring Second Flotilla, of which the Whisper was a part. “The denizens of the Roost are typically very stern when it comes to punishing those who break their myriad codes and guidelines (I hesitate to use the word ‘laws’). As far as we know, they are still alive, which is promising. I wouldn’t be surprised though if the only reason for that is they’re trying to figure out a way to execute them without angering the Crowndon fleet.”

According to Fleet Command, the crew of the Whisper have been in detention since early this month. When we asked why the news was only being broken now, Commodore Keene was surprisingly candid.

“We’d hoped to keep it under wraps,” he said. “But the families of the crew have begun poking around, and that always accelerates things. We’ve sent envoys to speak to the Guild leaders. Early exchanges have been promising. But we must remember who we’re dealing with; despite the title of ‘Guild’, they’re little more than pirates. If they feel they can enact their primitive notions of justice within the bounds of the treaties, I fear they will.”

Blackwood Gazette #109: Crew of the Strident Whisper Detained on Libertine’s Roost; Triumvirate Authorities Negotiating Release

Blackwood Gazette # 13: Crowndon Capitulates to La Pierre, Gold Recovered, with a Catch


20/5-After several days of debate, and increasing pressure from the citizens of Crowndon, the Imperial Air Corps agreed to Roderick La Pierre’s terms to exchange the wealth of Lower Crowndon for a pot of haggis.

“We cooked it up, just like he demanded,” Deputy Chief Arthur Collingsworth said. “We rendezvoused in the early morning hours over the Divide, and sent a single ship to deliver the foul smelling dish.”
Once the haggis was delivered, Collingsworth watched the exchange through a telescope from his cruiser, concealed in a nearby rock formation.

“The lunatic looked right at me,” Collingsworth said. “I watched in horror as he dumped the haggis over the side and gave me a lewd hand gesture. His entire crew then climbed up on deck and exposed their buttocks. I feared the whole operation had gone awry at that point, until he sent us a message via signal lamp.”


When we asked Collingsworth if he did lace the haggis with some sort of toxin, he denied to comment.

“In any case,” Collingsworth continued, “He then proceeded to send us the coordinates to the gold, one hundred leagues to the south, in a cave rigged to explode after a set amount of time. I wanted to pursue, but I had not dared to bring more than my cruiser. With no other ships in range, we needed to proceed to the site.”

And what did they find when they arrived?

“We found the gold, just like he said. It was buried under the two tons of tuna that started this whole mess. It had been sitting in that cave out in the desert for almost a month, rotting in the heat. The smell is nearly unbearable, and we have no idea how we’re going to sanitize the gold at this point. The real kick in the teeth was the lack of a bomb. Wiley bastard.”

The incident has left everyone in Crowndon wondering what La Pierre’s motivation behind all of this was.

“Don’t ask me,” Collingsworth said. “I’m convinced the man is a complete lunatic.”

Blackwood Gazette # 13: Crowndon Capitulates to La Pierre, Gold Recovered, with a Catch

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

Friday Free For All: Where, No One Knows Book Cover and Trailer Updates

Book cover, concept artFirst up, an updated image of my proposed cover art for Where, No One Knows. Still a bit rough around the edges, but I’m liking it so far. It’s a combo of digital art made in Photoshop and 3D models created in 3DS Max. I’m still figuring out what type-face I want to use and text placement, so any input that may be had is appreciated.

book trailer, concept art, blakwood empire, where no one knows
Rigel Rinkenbach, Roderick La Pierre, and Klaus Klaudhopper, crew of the Pernicious Platitude

Next up is a group shot of some of the other characters in the novel, featuring some of the art I’m working on for the novel’s trailer. I’m aiming for kind of an art nouveau look for the trailer. Not sure how I landed on it, other than I like it. Can’t really think of a better reason for anything than that. I’m probably completely off base on what art nouveau is (my quick definition: illustrations with really heavy outlines), but whatever. I’ve put too much work into the trailer thus far to change the look of it now. It’s fly or die time, at this point.

Friday Free For All: Where, No One Knows Book Cover and Trailer Updates

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

The ‘Shroom Job, Part VI


Eli watched the pirates leave, his mind still trying to process what he had just heard. The idea of using hallucinogenic mushrooms to start a war was something akin to what the Cartographers were in the business of doing, not a band of freewheeling pirates whose plan to raid a train included utterly destroying the track said train was on while over a 400 foot drop.

Continue reading “The ‘Shroom Job, Part VI”

The ‘Shroom Job, Part VI

Serial- The ‘Shroom Job, Part 4


Violet had already started moving before Hester hit the platform. The sudden movement of the train caught her off guard, however, and she stumbled. Hester, being much more graceful, hopped over her and kept going.

Violet scrambled to her feet and found it hard to keep them under her. The train was definitely moving forward, and gaining speed quickly. The collapsing steel and wood structure of the train track roared throughout the valley. She dared not look back as she found her balance and pushed forward.

Continue reading “Serial- The ‘Shroom Job, Part 4”

Serial- The ‘Shroom Job, Part 4

Video-Blackwood Empire Prototype (Keylight Exercise)

Hello, all! This was a project I made for school about a year and a half ago, and it was my first real experience using Keylight in After Effects. We had to come up with a theme, build a matte painting around that theme, and composite ourselves into the scene. I had been kicking around the idea of doing something in the steampunk sub-genre for a while, and came up with this.

This video was also the genesis for ‘Blackwood Empire’, and the character that would eventually become the disgraced Admiral Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre. My initial idea was to do something like a kid’s show, complete with catchy songs to earn the eternal ire of parents everywhere, but I have absolutely no idea how to write for children, especially when the protagonist is a drunken pirate, and I don’t have a musical bone in my body, so that was out. So now I’m aiming squarely for that golden PG-13 spot occupied by such pulpy adventure movies like Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Video-Blackwood Empire Prototype (Keylight Exercise)

Serial- The Shroom Job, Part 3


“How many rounds do you have left for that thing?” Hester asked, leading them to the rear of the car and squeezing herself into the tiny space between the door and the wall.

“Three,” Violet said, somewhat embarrassed. The feeling only grew when Hester fixed her with a perturbed gaze.

“I can only hope the other three rounds now reside within the corpses of three pirates,” Hester said. Violet’s failure to reply prompted a frustrated roll of Hester’s eyes.

Continue reading “Serial- The Shroom Job, Part 3”

Serial- The Shroom Job, Part 3

Serial- The ‘Shroom Job, Part 2

As soon as Violet returned to the compartment she heard several heavy thumps hit the roof of the train. Eli pulled his hands from his bloody nose long enough to look around, confused.

“What the hell was that?”

As if in answer, a large, heavily muscled pirate swung into the train through the window. His bulk propelled him forward and he barreled into Violet, lifting her off her feet and through the door behind her.

Continue reading “Serial- The ‘Shroom Job, Part 2”

Serial- The ‘Shroom Job, Part 2