Blackwood Gazette#308-Crowndon Law Enforcement On High Alert After Would Be Vigilante Explodes in Skies Above Toring

26/3/283- The Toring Guard was in disarray late last week after a mysterious explosion occurred over the town’s central square. After a harrowing investigation, the guard claims to have the beginnings of a timeline.

Witnesses to the incident claim that in the seconds before the incident, they saw a ‘flying man’ streaking through the air, laughing maniacally. Some claim that he was screaming something about justice, but that a device on his back that looked something like a rocket drowned him out.

Another group of witnesses claim that, about five minutes before the explosion, they saw a man wearing welder’s goggles, heavy leather clothing, and a strange backpack assaulting a delivery boy on Cloover Street, about a kilometer from the square. Accounts about what this assailant said differ, but many claim that it was a long winded diatribe about crime and punishment. They say the man then disappeared into a nearby alley. When citizens tried to pursue him, a cloud of hot steam rushed out from the alley, scalding several bystanders. About 30 seconds later, the explosion over the central square occurred. The delivery boy in question has not been found for comment.

The incident has led to the central square being shut down and cordoned off pending further investigation, a move that will no doubt severely impact the city’s economy. The Toring Guard has also reportedly posted men on rooftops on lookout for other projectiles. They also refused to lend any official word on whether a man with a rocket pack was actually responsible for the incident.

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Blackwood Gazette#308-Crowndon Law Enforcement On High Alert After Would Be Vigilante Explodes in Skies Above Toring

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.

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 #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

From the Journal of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach, circa January, 281st Year of the Triumvirate

Curse whoever decided to rest the future of our great society on the Blackwood grove!

Oh, wait. That was me. I can’t rightly curse myself, now can I? I could, I suppose, but why would I want to? I must find someone else to blame.

Perhaps I should blame that infernal automaton that announced to the world that I was working on the formula at the Industry and Innovation Conference. But who built the automaton?

I did, and I presented. And I let the audience ask it questions. So that won’t do.

I could blame that idiot in Des Anges for letting Nor Easter on to my trail. Then again, I was the idiot that trusted him. So once again, the blame rests squarely on my shoulders, down along that path.

What of the Empress’ protection detail? The ones that were supposed to watch my every move? Marcelette had taken it upon herself to jump between an assassin’s bullet and myself…and therein lies the problem. She’d been trying to protect ME.

Me, me, me. The blame all lay on me. Rigel Rinkenbach, the most brilliant alchemist and inventor in the Triumvirate, sole heir to the knowledge of Blackwood transmogrification.

The sad fact remains, that there is no one to blame for my incarceration on this humid rock in the middle of the Pyrossi Ocean other than myself. And there is nothing for me to do but dwell on that fact.

Oh, I suppose I could try focusing on my studies. These pirates holding me, charged by some unknown benefactor with keeping me in check, have provided me with substantial, if rudimentary, materials for working on the Blackwood formulae. My heart isn’t in it, however. I’ve no absinthe, no feather bed. My prized baby grand sits in a decrepit apartment in Oeil de Fleur, no doubt gathering dust.

The only concession to my comfort that these brutes have given me is young Gossamer IV, an owlet of the local variety. And a noisy variety at that. I might consider letting this one go of my own accord, but I’m unsure the thing is even capable of flight.

I believe the one thing holding me back from my formulation, however, is my conscience. Yes, despite the public perception, I do have one, and with no knowledge of who it was that has kidnapped me and pressed me into their service, the inconvenient thing has made itself known.

“You really shouldn’t be making this for these people,” it says to me.

“Why?” I ask it, trying to focus on my ‘scientific’ implements.

“Because these people are bad,” it replies.

“Bad? What does that even mean? Who decides who is bad?”

“You do,” my conscience says. Well, I can’t really argue with myself, now, can I? I am a genius, after all.

***

Something is happening outside. It sounds like some sort of attack! Finally, something exciting in this place!

It began with an explosion somewhere along the north western perimeter of the old fort these pirates are using as their base. Pirates, lacking any reckoning for subtlety or grace, are currently racing across the yard with sword and flintlock drawn. Even one of the two guards outside has run away toward it.

Brutes, all of them, to fall for such an obvious diversionary tactic.

Oh! Is someone effecting a rescue for me? That would be fantastic. In my studies, I’ve created no less than thirty two varieties of highly unstable Falsewood. I suppose I could whip up a quick batch using Gossamer IV’s bones…no, I couldn’t. I’m not particularly fond of this particular owl, but I will not murder it, not even to save myself.

Whoever it is storming the gates of this place obviously knows what they are doing. I’ll just sit back and wait.

***

Hello! *cough cough* Ack. Let me knock away some of this dust. Just thought I’d drop a little something something onto this blog. The above is presently the first couple of pages of my new project, a novel with the working title of “The Ballad of Rigel Rinkenbach and Pixie Sinclaire”.

I say they’re ‘presently’ the first pages because I’m currently in the very early stages of ‘let’s get the the ideas on paper, and worry about specifics later’, so I’m not sure the above will even make it into the final draft. I haven’t even decided what POV to use for the book yet. I thought journal entries, like the one above, but that often leads to weird scenes where shit is going down and the character is writing about it, rather than trying to stay alive (PUT THE CAMERA DOWN, YOU FOOLS!). The alternative is to have the character write about it after the fact, and that always comes across as passive. I may just settle on a standard first or third person format. I’m currently leaning toward first, because it’s similar to the journal idea while letting the characters be present in whatever events are unfolding. I also enjoy being in these people’s heads for some reason. Not sure why, they’re all completely bat-shit crazy.

In any case, that uncertainty is what makes a new project exciting! At least for me, anyway, from the writer’s perspective.

I hope to have the thing done by the end of the year, taking a break every now and then to post an excerpt or maybe a short story. The main issue I’m facing right now is that I’ve got three years worth of material to expand upon (much of which is stuff I’d forgotten about, like that Racing League story, or that thing with the albino locusts). The last month has been spent researching my own work to nail down the timeline between Rigel’s breakdown in Greenlille and his little adventure with Pixie in Sarnwain….and you have no idea how fucking weird it was for me to realize and admit that. I hope it doesn’t come off as self indulgent. It did, didn’t it?

*awkward pause*

Speaking of short stories, I’ve got one in the hopper. It’s pretty much done, but I wanted to do an illustration for it. Problem is, I’m not an illustrator, so producing a image I’m happy with takes FOREVER. Hopefully I’ll have it ready in the next couple of weeks).

At any rate, thanks for letting me ramble, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this little aside. More to come!

From the Journal of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach, circa January, 281st Year of the Triumvirate