Blackwood Gazette #293- Crowndon Deploys Military Presence in Major Imperial Cities Following Klankenvroot Unrest

By Chester Seaton, News

28/12/282- In response to increasing pressure from rogue elements both within and outside of the Crowndon Empire, the Military oligarchs announced today that they have invoked their Obligation of Security and asserted their power over the Corporate, Religious, and Judicial counterparts.

The announcement comes after weeks of civil unrest in the major cities of the Empire, primarily the capital city. Imperial infantry have been deployed in Walsh, Toring, and Old Crowndon, with deployments expected in Yves and Rommsbach in the coming days.

Along with the increased security of the troops, citizens can look forward to the watchful eyes in the skies of the Gladstone Aerial Reconnaissance Device, which recently proved itself in action against enemies of Imperial interests.

The efforts of the military have already proven to be effective, according to reports provided by Lord General Johnathan Gorsky. Over three hundred dissidents in Walsh, Toring, and the capital have been detained, and many of them already tried and prepared for incarceration aboard Leviathan.

General Gorsky is hopeful, as are we all, that the military’s swift action will reign in the chaos of the previous few months, and restore Crowndon to the industrious state of peace we all know that it can be.

Blackwood Gazette #293- Crowndon Deploys Military Presence in Major Imperial Cities Following Klankenvroot Unrest

Blackwood Gazette #292- Empress Bastian Feigns Ignorance, Expresses Rage on Reappearance of Rinkenbach and Sinclaire

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

12/27/282- Sarnwain has issued a statement concerning the recent revelations that Pixie Sinclaire and Sir Rigel Rinkenbach are still alive, and the situation is said to have the Palace in a state of panic.

The Empress released her own statement this morning. She claims to have Rinkenbach in custody, while also denying any complicity in his survival at Mal-Droit. Despite this, the fact that a body is buried in the Imperial cemetery with a head stone larger than any of the Empire’s past rulers certainly isn’t a good look for the Empire’s credibility.

The statement goes on to say that Rinkenbach will be punished for his deeds, but doesn’t detail what those punishments will be. Given the Empress’ affinity for Rinkenbach, one couldn’t be blamed for thinking the threat of punishment an empty one. Especially since the statement includes a lengthy rant theorizing that Rinkenbach was ‘likely led astray by that wench Sinclaire, who has a sordid history and unsavory hold on my Rigel.’

As for agent Sinclaire, she remains at large, last seen in the Pyrossi islands. And while the Empress’ protests are dubious at best, it is likely that Sinclaire was the main force behind whatever it was that transpired during the duo’s time in Sarnwain.

The Empress ended her statement with the promise that Subterfuge Society Agents are hunting Sinclaire down ‘as we speak’, and a thinly veiled threat, ‘We have a new fleet. Big fleet. The best fleet the world has ever seen.’

In the meantime, Triumvirate Authority officials are reporting a sharp decline in Sarwainian activity within the Triumvirate, with air traffic and trade down nearly 80 per cent in the last week.

A storm is brewing, citizens of Nor Easter. Let’s hope we can weather it.

Blackwood Gazette #292- Empress Bastian Feigns Ignorance, Expresses Rage on Reappearance of Rinkenbach and Sinclaire

Blackwood Gazette #291- Pharassus Primarch Express Disappointment at what He Calls Rinkenbach/Sinclaire Deception

By Chester Seaton, News

27/12/282- The Nor Eastern Empire, amidst its efforts to besmirch the good name of Crowndon at every turn in recent months, has been caught in a deception. After months of claiming that the rogue agent Sinclaire and the mad alchemist Rigel Rinkenbach had been felled at the fortress of Mal-Droit, both Sinclaire and Rinkenbach have reappeared, none the worse for wear.

One might think the revelation of such a deception would have a man as known for bloodlust as the Pharassus Primarch in a complete uproar, but such is not the case. Reports are that he has sent a letter to Empress Marcelette Bastion expressing his great disappointment.

This low key response from a man who once wiped out a fishing village for sending him the wrong type of sea bass has Nor Easter in a scramble, preparing for a war they probably won’t be able to win while also trying to perform damage control. Nor Eastern papers are rushing to the presses with Empress Bastian’s response, and there are rumors of a secret summit of Imperial Alchemists and Spymasters gathering to discuss possible courses of action.

Meanwhile, we are told that military forts along the Sarnwainian border have gone quiet. The Triumvirate Authority says that Sarwainian activity in the Skyways has declined in recent weeks. All is quiet on that eastern front, and the silence is deafening.

And what will become of the rest of the Triumvirate, if Nor Easter goes to war? Crowndon’s military elite have yet to comment on the situation. For many of our Empire’s military commanders, the Dividing War with Nor Easter is still fresh in their minds. Monteddor has recalled its own air fleets back to within its borders, but whether that is to protect its own interests or a muster to come to Nor Easter’s aid remains to be seen.

As for Admiral Alejandro Julianos and the Triumvirate Authority, the first armored air fleet is said to be coming along nicely. It is entirely possible these new ships could be blooded sooner rather than later.

Blackwood Gazette #291- Pharassus Primarch Express Disappointment at what He Calls Rinkenbach/Sinclaire Deception

Blackwood Gazette #289- Rigel Rinkenbach Walks into A Bar…

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

18/12/282-The Triumvirate hastened its ever downward slump towards insanity last night, when an annual gathering of the Triumvirate’s greatest minds was crashed by two unexpected guests.

The retinue of geniuses (including inventor Ivan Klankenvroot, playwright Delando, and master vintner Alessia Cosgrove) had just settled in at Big Bessie’s Barroom, Billiards, and Burlesque for an evening of leisure and to discuss the newest developments in their respective trades when, to the shock of all, Rigel Rinkenbach walked through the front door.

“I wanted to break down and cry when I saw him,” said Reynard Houlcomb, owner and proprietor of the Quintuple B. “Every time an alchemist walks in here, something goes wrong. And this time…oh, dear. It went horribly wrong indeed.”

Things started off well enough, as Rinkenbach’s cohorts welcomed him to the table, drinking to the fact that he was still alive (and likely forgetting the ramifications of that fact). Things went sour, however, when another patron took offense at the gatherings merriment.

“It was that goon from the colonies, Von Grimm,” said Bessie, the hostess and namesake of the establishment. “He didn’t like the way they were carrying on, you see. All that self congratulation, talk about how great they were.”

We are told that Von Grimm, along with two of his mechanized cohorts, attempted to goad Rinkenbach into a fight. Rinkenbach managed to defeat the two cohorts without lifting a finger.

“One of them was an automaton,” Houlcomb said. “Rinkenbach said some sort of nursery rhyme and the thing crumpled at his feet like so much scrap metal. The other one was simple, couldn’t even remember his name. Rinkenbach, fast talker that he is, just confused the lad into submission. It was the damnedest thing.”

When Von Grimm entered the fray, however, blades were drawn.

“Both of them had hidden rapiers, Von Grimm’s in a baton and Rinkenbach’s in a cane,” Bessie said. “They went at it like pirates, across the floor, on top of tables, up the stairs. I felt like I was stuck in one of Delando’s plays.”

The skirmish ended with both men toppling over the railing of the upper balcony and crashing into the central stage below. Rinkenbach came out on top.

“He just stood up and brushed himself off,” Houlcomb said. “Never the worse for wear. Wound up leaving with Estelle, one of my dancers, and didn’t pay for a cent for the damages. Alchemists. Bastards.”

One of our reporters caught up to Rinkenbach this morning, and asked him if he was worried that being so public about the fact that he was still alive would cause retaliation from Sarnwain.

“I had some doubts,” Rinkenbach said. “That spy, Shanahan, and Pixie were both adamant that we should all lay low. But Pixie came out of hiding last week! I read about it in your paper, as point of fact, and I figured the danger had past. Hiding doesn’t suit me, at any rate. Now, excuse me, I must go see the Empress!”

The reporter told me that as Rinkenbach walked away, a carriage containing royal guardsmen stopped next to Rinkenbach on the street. Rinkenbach lifted his hand in greeting, but the guardsmen are said to have been much less amicable as they shoved him into the carriage.

Dear readers, I fear this does not bode well for the rest of us.

Blackwood Gazette #289- Rigel Rinkenbach Walks into A Bar…

Blackwood Gazette #287- What is Argyle Von Grimm Doing in Nor Easter and Why Isn’t He Being Arrested?

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

16/12/282-A new scourge on Nor Easter has reared its ugly head in recent days. They started as rumors, but now we have confirmation from the Palace: The Mad Mechanist, Doctor Argyle Von Grimm, has come to Oeil de Fleur, and along with him a retinue of his mechanized gang.

What has the Palace done about this development? Nothing, nor do they plan to.

“Doctor Von Grimm has been granted immunity in Oeil de Fleur for the duration of this month,” said Henri Degeau, a spokesperson for Her Imperial Majesty. “The circumstances behind this are not the concern of the Gazette, or the citizen.”

It’s a rather strange, and disturbing stance, by what is considered to be the most open ruling figure in the Triumvirate. And given Von Grimm’s history, the atrocities he’s committed (including those committed against the Empress herself), I feel the people of Oeil de Fleur have a right to know why he’s being allowed to walk amongst them freely.

Doctor Argyle Von Grimm used to be the Imperial physician, first coming into the position with Empress Marcelette’s grandfather. It is even said that he delivered Her Grace into this world. But halfway through the reign of Empress Marcelette’s father, it was discovered that Von Grimm had a horrible secret, experimenting on the inmates of Marseille Asylum.

Von Grimm had become obsessed with the idea of the mechanical body, first removing the limbs of unwilling victims and replacing them with prosthetics of wire and clockwork. It is said that when his crimes were discovered (after a failed attempt to kidnap the young Empress Marcelette and turn her, literally, into a puppet), he had been trying to remove a human brain and place it into a completely mechanical facsimile. His workshop at the asylum is said to have been littered with the failed attempts towards this grisly goal.

I cannot fathom, dear reader, why the Empress has allowed this, nor why she is unwilling to address it. We can only hope that the Mechanist’s stay is uneventful, and that he leaves when his immunity has expired.

Blackwood Gazette #287- What is Argyle Von Grimm Doing in Nor Easter and Why Isn’t He Being Arrested?

Blackwood Gazette #286- Chaos in Crowndon! City Watch Deploys Automatons to Disperse Boisterous Citizens!

By Chester Seaton, News

12/15/282- A mob descended upon the steps of the Crowndon Capital building yesterday. Spurred on by egregious reports coming from rogue actors outside of the Empire, they demanded that the Imperial Ruling Body answer for alleged actions taken at the Klankenvroot factory last month, as well as the recent sentencing of the traitor Maurice Merchant.

The streets of Crowndon have seen much unrest in the last week, but this was the first time the demonstrations had reached the Capital. While such demonstrations are not necessarily legal, they are often overlooked unless they present a clear and present danger to government officials or the citizens involved. Clearly, the unruly horde that descended upon the building, hurling insults and rocks alike, constituted such a threat.

In response, our valiant city watch deployed its newest asset, the Gladstone Aerial Reconnaissance Device (or G.A.R.D., rebranded from A.R.A., trade marked by Gladstone Enterprises) upon the crowd. The magnificent devices, operating completely autonomously, took position over the crowd and out of their reach, and deployed a payload of noxious powder derived from basilisk lotus pollen and diluted Barrier Tuna oil. The mixture proved too much for the rabble to handle, and they were quickly dispersed. The city watch reports that no one was seriously injured, and arrests were few, though the smell of the tuna oil will likely result in weeks of scrubbing the Capital’s front steps with tomato juice and the lawn must be completely replaced.

“We knew the pungency of the barrier tuna would prove problematic,” Argathal Gladstone said, when asked about the performance of his machine. “I’m still working on the right balance for the concoction. Other than that, however, the G.A.R.D. worked wonderfully!”

Once the situation was resolved, the Watch quickly posted new guidelines for public demonstrations, namely that they are strictly forbidden for a time to be determined by the Imperial Ruling Body. Anyone caught engaging in disruptive political discourse will be promptly arrested and tried for sedition.

Blackwood Gazette #286- Chaos in Crowndon! City Watch Deploys Automatons to Disperse Boisterous Citizens!

Blackwood Gazette #281- Citizens across Empire Demand Explanation from Crowndon Government in Light of Controversial Pictographs

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

8/12/282- Tensions in Crowndon have reached a fever pitch, as the citizenry have begun taking to the streets in the wake of leaked pictographs depicting what really transpired on the Klankenvroot factory grounds last month.

Despite Crowndon officials’ best efforts, or perhaps because of them, to suppress the circulation of the graphs, the images have spread like wildfire through the lower boroughs of some of Crowndon’s largest cities, including Walsh, Toring, and even the capital itself.

Groups gathered outside of town halls and civic centers, demanding the heads of officials who ordered the flooding of the Klankenvroot dry dock. Even a few of the empire’s more prominent citizens took to these rallies, using their influence to gain audience with Imperial leadership.

What fruit these meetings will bear remains to be seen, but that members of the Oligarchy are willing to meet and discuss the events of the Klankenvroot Purge is a step in the right direction. We can only hope that the actions taken against the former workers living on the factory grounds were ordered by a small portion of corrupt elements, within the Crowndonian oligarchy, elements that can be weeded out in short order.

I wish that the Gazette Nor Easter could take some credit for helping these graphs circulate, but our intervention proved unnecessary, and the outrage expressed by the citizenry of Crowndon is a testament to their integrity and humanity. If Crowndon can fix itself, there might be hope for the Triumvirate as a whole.

Blackwood Gazette #281- Citizens across Empire Demand Explanation from Crowndon Government in Light of Controversial Pictographs

Blackwood Gazette #280- Pharassian Military Unveils New Motorized Vehicles in Blatant Display of Power

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

6/12/282-The average citizen couldn’t be blamed for thinking that the situation between the Nor Eastern and Sarnwainian Empires had cooled down in the wake of the destruction of the ancient fortress of Ma-Droit and the deaths of rogue agents Pixie Sinclaire and Sir Rigel Rinkenbach. Sarnwain had ceased it seemingly ceaseless chest beating and trade between the two Empires had resumed in recent months with little to no trouble.

That lack of chest beating should have been a warning, according to Nor Easter Admiral Alexia Tremonte, who told us that the Pharassian military recently conducted a test of new motorized vehicles in the Tarsian desert, right near the Sarnwain/Triumvirate border.

“That Pharassus would conduct such a test on the opposite end of the Sarnwainian Empire in a completely different province is something we’re taking as a direct threat to the safety of Nor Easter,” the Admiral said. “I implore that the Triumvirate Authority, as well as our Triumvirate sisters in Crowndon and Monteddor, take this threat with the utmost severity.”

The vehicles tested by the Pharassian army certainly sound terrifying, if the reports given by Society spies are to be believed. They describe high velocity armored vehicles, belching a noxious black smoke, armed with cannon and rapid fire weapons that put even the Crowndon army’s crank driven repeaters to shame.

“That they would so openly display such weapons is what worries me the most,” Admiral Tremonte went on to say. “The Triumvirate just launched the most advanced air ship the world has ever seen, and Pharassus didn’t flinch. They’re either fools, or completely confident in their new weapons.”

Crowndonian officials are betting on the former.

“I really don’t think there’s anything to worry about,” Admiral Henry McTolliver said. “Sarnwain has been trying to keep up with the Triumvirate for centuries, and so far their efforts have proven impotent. Their reluctance to embrace Blackwood and pursue oil based energy is a fool’s errand. Honestly, I’m more worried about what’s going on inside our own Empire than anything from without.”

Admiral Tremonte disagrees, vehemently. “That’s rich, coming from a Crowndonian Admiral. It wasn’t so long ago that another Crowndonian Admiral made the mistake of hubris, and was taken down by new technology he didn’t see coming. Nor Easter has proven its foresight in the past. If the Society are telling us we should be worried, then we need to listen. To do otherwise could prove disastrous.”

Blackwood Gazette #280- Pharassian Military Unveils New Motorized Vehicles in Blatant Display of Power

Blackwood Gazette #277-Triumvirate Authority Say they Have No Jurisdiction Over Leviathan Prison Ship

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

29/11/282-The Triumvirate Authority proved its impotence this week in regards to alleged injustices taking place aboard the prison ship ‘Leviathan’. After recalling the ship for an inspection, the prison ship’s Warden replied with a simple ‘No.’

What will the ‘Authority’s’ response be?

“Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do,” said Captain Thomas Billingsworth, a TA rep who was tasked with performing the inspection. “The prison is a private venture, with investors in high places. As much as I would like to search out the ship, board it, and see for myself what exactly is going on there, my hands are tied.”

This reporter wonders if any of those investors are members of the Authority itself? Any wondering on such corruption is, of course, just speculation on my part.

Meanwhile, the reports of awful conditions and prisoners incarcerated for the smallest of crimes being transferred to such a high security facility with no notification being given to their families has reignited the mystery of several hundred prisoners that went missing around the Triumvirate earlier this year.

The families of said prisoners from all three members of the Triumvirate reportedly swarmed the offices of local lords and governors this weekend, demanding answers. According to sources in each area, the disruption actually impeded government function in several cities.

“They think they can take our boys and girls and shuffle them around and no one will miss them because they were in prison,” said Hattie Buckflower, the sister of the notorious Toring gang leader Howard “The Dogfeeder” Buckflower. “Well, they’re wrong. We’ll show them they’re wrong. We’ll burn this whole [expletive removed] place down to prove that point!”

Miss Buckflower was promptly arrested after her statement. No details were given on where she will end up.

***

Related posts:

Blackwood Gazette #213

Blackwood Gazette #231

Blackwood Gazette #277-Triumvirate Authority Say they Have No Jurisdiction Over Leviathan Prison Ship

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