Blackwood Gazette #294- Sarnwain Declares War on Nor Easter in Response to Rinkenbach/Sinclaire Deception

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

28/12/282- As our sister Empire to the West folds under the weight of isolationism and martial law, our neighbors to the east are stoking the engines of war.

The Primarch of Pharassus, in a public statement given before a throng of 10 million Sarnwainian citizens (numbers provided by Pharassus sources, so take them with a grain of salt) condemned the Nor Eastern Empire for what he calls an ‘insulting charade, designed to make fools of all nations not Nor Eastern’, and promised ‘a reckoning of unprecedented proportions.’

When he was done threatening to level Nor Eastern cities and string up their citizens, he called upon our fellow Triumvirate members, Monteddor and Crowndon, to ‘rise up with Sarnwain and cast down the self-proclaimed Arbiters of Intellect and Self Righteousness that is Nor Easter, who seeks to subjugate all nations under the boot of Pretense and Bureaucracy.’

I assure you, citizens, that I have lived in Nor Easter my entire life and this so called desire to subjugate anyone under any form of footwear is news to me.

Triumvirate Authority pickets along the border between Sarnwain and Nor Easter claim to have spotted movements of ground forces sporting the flags of Pharassus, Thankaen, Ganborrah, and Tarsia. Authority pickets over the Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter ends likewise reports the naval fleets of Thankaen and Pharassus moving into position along the Cerrano Meridian, the longitudinal line that marks the separation of Sarnwainian and Triumvirate waters.

In response, Authority Air Ships have been deployed to the line, along with the fifth and sixth Nor Eastern Imperial navies. Empress Bastian has issued a formal request of military assistance from Monteddor and Crowndon, but neither Empire has responded as of this printing.

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Blackwood Gazette #294- Sarnwain Declares War on Nor Easter in Response to Rinkenbach/Sinclaire Deception

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 #285- Rogue Nor Eastern Spy Reportedly Spotted in the Pyrossi Islands

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

12/12/282-Sources in the Pyrossi Island region have reported that former Nor Eastern Subterfuge Society agent Pixie Sinclaire, thought deceased, has been spotted in the port town of Xev ti Lais. If true, these reports could lead to dire consequences for Nor Easter.

Sinclaire, along with Sir Rigel Rinkenbach, were involved in the destruction of Sarnwainian military interests earlier this year. The incident led to a continent spanning man hunt that ended in the apparent deaths of Sinclaire and Rinkenbach. With the pair seemingly brought to justice, the Sarnwainian Empire seemed placated. If Sinclaire proves to still be drawing breath, however, it could reignite the situation.

Empress Marcelette Bastian was quick to try and dispel the rumors, saying that there are millions of women in Nor Easter and around the world that match Sinclaire’s description (although, reports that the woman in question was meeting with a known information broker and black market salesman doesn’t help matters). She also went on to explain that if Sinclaire is alive, it is not the result of an attempt by the Nor Eastern Empire to dupe Sarnwain.

No statement on the matter has been given by the Sarnwainian Empire. This news, however, comes hot on the heels of a military demonstration of new weaponized vehicles close to the Sarnwainian/Triumvirate border. Military officials state that the weapons test is unlikely to be a response to this report, but the rumors of Sinclaire being alive could exacerbate the situation if not put to rest quickly.

Blackwood Gazette #285- Rogue Nor Eastern Spy Reportedly Spotted in the Pyrossi Islands

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 #262-Lord of Amaranth Rodahn Despartes Vanishes from Imperial Custody

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

27/9/2016- A mere week after his arrest for desecrating the grave of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach, Lord Rodahn Despartes, son of Duchess Amelie of Amaranth, has vanished from custody. The young Lord was being held in the cells below the Imperial Palace.

“It is with great embarrassment that the Palace Guard must admit that we have no idea where he went,” said Francois Coulver, Captain of the Palace Guard. “There is no sign of escape; the cell was still locked tight when we went to check on him. It’s like he just vanished into thin air.”

Duchess Amelie isn’t buying that story.

“A likely story, indeed. Never mind that the palace cells are underground and surrounded by nothing but earth and stone, with a single corridor leading out that is constantly guarded by a platoon of the best guardsmen. A lord does not simply go missing. It’s a travesty that he was even being held down there to begin with. I swear, if anything happens to my boy, I’ll…”

Duchess Amelie didn’t expand on her statement, though we are sure it was made in a moment of grief and suffering.

Despite the brief amount of time that has passed, several theories have already cropped up as to Lord Despartes fate. They range from the banal (and most likely), such as the boy was killed in custody and Empress Bastian is trying to cover it up, to the outlandish (and ever more interesting) that the entire affair is a ruse concocted by the Subterfuge Society to help bring an increasingly unruly Amaranth to heel.

The story gets stranger, however, as several witnesses are said to have seen a young man matching Lord Despartes description being placed into an unmarked carriage in the small hours, accompanied by four men in black uniforms bereft of any insignia or rank. One might be quick to dismiss this rumor as the machinations of night walkers seeking attention. However, a single dockworker is said to have seen a similar carriage approach the river bank just before dawn.

According to this dock worker, a woman briefly entered the carriage. Muffled shouts followed afterward. The woman then exited the carriage and spoke to the driver and several others before leaving. A moment later, the men pulled a limp body from the carriage and placed it in a motor boat that headed east down the river, toward the Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter Ends. The dock worker did not field questions on whether he thought the unconscious man was Lord Despartes, and refused to discuss the matter further once the name was mentioned. I can’t say I blame the man, given the nature of such events.

Blackwood Gazette #262-Lord of Amaranth Rodahn Despartes Vanishes from Imperial Custody