Blackwood Gazette #300- Curtains Down: New Delando Play Opens in Oeil de Fleur and Nobody Came to the Party

By Alex Grosset, Arts and Entertainment

3/1/283-The Empress Theatre in Oeil de Fleur has spent the last month getting ready for the premiere of Delando’s newest play, hoping to pull in another record breaking crowd. Unfortunately, either people didn’t get the message or ignored it, because nobody of import showed up.

“The opening was a disaster,” said promoter Rean Marcelle. “We spent hundreds of thousands on advertising alone. But still, we have a table full of seafood and cheeses just sitting in the lobby, stinking up the place. It was so bad. Not even Delando showed up.”

The small group of curious souls who did attend, however, were led by Delando super fan Bartolomew Bartlesby Bartlette (a nom de plume culled from Delando’s earlier works.) Bartlette, however was not allowed inside the theater.

“I’ve been blacklisted,” Bartlette told us. “Earlier this year I organized a protest when we found out that this new play wasn’t part of the Ichthylliad saga. You ask me, that’s the reason no one was interested. I only showed up so I could tear it a new one, maybe throw an egg or two. Guess I didn’t need to do anything after all. I mean, look! We’re standing on Empress Boulevard on Saturday night and its damn near empty! So sad.”

Marcelle echoed Bartlette’s sentiments. “I guess Delando is a one trick pony. When people come to see Delando, what they really want is Ichthylliad. We knew we might take a hit, what with a completely new story, and that whole Heisenberg incident, and that story about Rochelle Walsh, and…you know, the more I think about Delando, the more I want to wretch.”

Despite the disastrous turnout, the show was put on, for an audience of about thirty, in an auditorium that holds 600. Of the ten people that remained at the show’s end, reception was mixed.

“I enjoyed it, and actually felt that the dour atmosphere helped it,” said critic Henri Guillemot. “There’s a character in the play who makes jokes at completely inappropriate times. The small audience guaranteed that laughter at these jokes would be sparse, and the ham-fisted delivery in such a large open space rang loudly, and true. Honestly, it should only be performed this way.”

“I [expletive removed] hated it,” said Alicia Vidillia, a student at OdFU. “The story line was vulgar, as was the guy who played the corpse in the second act. He kept winking at me while lying on the stage, pretending to be dead. Disgusting.”

Marcelle says that the play will be pulled from the Empress theatre’s lineup, and he must now struggle to find a new show for the stage.

“We’re bleeding money, because of this. Damn Delando.”

Delando, as usual, was unavailable for comment.

***

And, that’s a wrap, folks. At least for now. I’m putting the Gazette on indefinite hold for the time being, though it could pop up from time to time in the future. The whole thing got a little unwieldy this year, and quite frankly a little joyless as I succumbed to Cerebus Syndrome and started to get more invested, personally, in the story I was telling. The gazette was primarily meant to be FUN, dammit. A lot of the stories I told this year were just depressing. I need to pull back, reconfigure, and revise a lot of what I’ve already written. As of number 300, the word document containing the Gazette is a hefty 115,000 words over 343 pages (unformatted).

When I first started this thing, I wanted the stories in the Gazette to coincide with longer narratives, short stories, novellas and such that told the truth of what happened, and I failed to deliver on that end, aside from last year’s The Lelina Horror’. So, going forward, in 2017, I want to focus on some of those longer narratives.A True Account of Waystation Bravo already exists in a completed first draft. A couple more pass-overs and I should be ready to show it off. I’ve also started work on the tale of Pavetta Janvier and her investigation into the Southward Slayings. Hopefully I can get that out this year, as well.

On the backburner, I’ve still got the woefully incomplete ‘Shroom Job, which I started way back when. I recently revisited it and found myself at a loss as to where I was going with it. It’s still a part of the plan, though, given that some of those characters have important roles to play throughout.

In the planning stages, I have what is tentatively titled the ‘Ballad of Rigel Rinkenbach and Pixie Sinclaire’. It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell since I came up with the idea of Blackwood Empire and while I was writing the series’ sole published novel, ‘Where, No One Knows’. Now that I’ve set up the tale of their adventures across Sarnwain, I feel like I have a pretty good framing device for their tumultuous relationship.

Other ideas are still little seeds, and I’ll be evaluating their potential as I go. There’s a lot of threads dangling throughout the course of the Gazette. Who was knocking off Monteddorian military officers? What happened to Veronica Trenum’s expedition into the Deadlands? And that mysterious organization that attacked the Triumvirate last year sure was quiet this year…or were they? Oooh, mystery! Intrigue! Spies and gunslingers, pirates and assassins! Shadowy organizations and ancient mysteries! I’m really eager to dig into the larger Blackwood Empire, and hopefully share it with you.

So hold on tight. It gets pretty windy on the Imperial Skyways.

Blackwood Gazette #300- Curtains Down: New Delando Play Opens in Oeil de Fleur and Nobody Came to the Party

Blackwood Gazette #296- Leviathan Investors Claim Prison is Under New Command, Detail Plans Moving Forward

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

29/12/282-On the heels of Crowndon announcing that they plan to send hundreds of political dissidents to Leviathan, the secret board of financial backers behind the controversial Leviathan prison ship have released a statement addressing concerns of prisoner mistreatment and deplorable living conditions.

The statement was shockingly open, providing us with more details into the workings of Leviathan and what has transpired in the year since it left port. According to personnel on the ship, it wasn’t long before the now former warden began descending into a ‘power drunk madness’, punishing inmates for the smallest of infractions and in many cases working them to death.

The guard personnel on the ship say they didn’t fare much better. They faced harsh punishments for treating inmates as ‘anything more than chattel’, and some are even said to have found themselves imprisoned after defying the warden. Those interviewed said that it was a hold maintained by fear of the warden and a small group of loyal officers.

That hold was shattered, however, after the escape of Hjavern Newstead and increased scrutiny from the outside. A mutiny, led by one Guard Captain Colin Nettle, led to the downfall of the warden. One Scanlon Donleavy, a former Crowndon naval officer, has been appointed to be the new warden of the ship.

“Donleavy accepted the offer with no small amount of reluctance,” the investor’s report says. “He called the very idea of Leviathan ‘unseemly’. But Leviathan is a thing that exists. If it is a thing that must continue, then it might as well do so under the guiding hand of someone who cares about the well-being of those under his charge, be they prisoner or prison guard.”

The current personnel of the ship have been examined, and many have stepped down. A new crop of recruits is currently being vetted. Many of them are Triumvirate Authority personnel, whose job it will be to monitor the situation aboard the ship. Captain Colin Nettle will assume the position of Warden Donleavy’s First Mate.

“It is our hope the ship will return to full working order within the month, in time to accept the new prisoners from Crowndon,” the report concluded. “Once here, said prisoners, as well as those already incarcerated, will undergo rigorous rehabilitation. We are hopeful that many under Donleavy’s charge will be made suitable to return to society at large.”

Blackwood Gazette #296- Leviathan Investors Claim Prison is Under New Command, Detail Plans Moving Forward

Blackwood Gazette #282- Leviathan Investors Claim Prison Conditions Will Be Rectified

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

9/12/282-A spokesperson representing the board of investors for the prison ship Leviathan released a statement today concerning the recent developments of alleged abuse of prisoners and deplorable living conditions.

“The investors behind Leviathan are as troubled by these reports as anyone,” the spokesperson said. “Not only are the conditions described, if true, unacceptable, but they reflect poorly on those whose money made the prison possible.”

The spokesperson went on to say that the investors are in the process of negotiating a tour of the ship, accompanied by Triumvirate Authority officials. The announcement comes on the heels of a failed request by the Authority acting on its own, who claim to have no jurisdiction over the ship.

“If the allegations should prove to be true, the investors are willing to make it a priority to replace the current personnel of the ship with people who are more agreeable, following an overhaul of the ship’s structure to help curtail accounts of the ship already falling into disrepair.”

Blackwood Gazette #282- Leviathan Investors Claim Prison Conditions Will Be Rectified

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 #275-Leviathan Escapee Tells Story of Horrific Conditions Aboard Prison Ship

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

18/11/282-Hjavern Newstead, the man recovered from a Monteddorian shipping lane late last month, has made a full recovery from his time at sea and released a statement about the conditions aboard the Leviathan prison ship. The picture he paints is a horrific one.

According to Mister Newstead, the ship is already in heavy disrepair, despite having only been in operation for a year.

“When I got there, there was already leaks in the hull,” Newstead said. “Never got many details, being a prisoner and all, but overheard some talk about the weight of the ship stressing the connection welds, or something.”

According to Newstead, guards on the ship were overworked trying to maintain the prison population while constantly making repairs to the ship.

“Despite all the work they did, things only ever got worse. Woke up one morning to find the cell I shared with three other people half flooded. The two cells next to us, they wasn’t so lucky. They had to move us. Another couple of hours and we woulda drowned next.”

In addition to the ship’s state of disrepair, Newstead said that the warden was a complete tyrant.

“We hated him, and the guards hate him, too. I remember plans for mutinies. They almost always involved the guards and us working together. They were always rooted out, though. And it made the warden paranoid. That’s what happened to me. Not sure what I did, but the warden and the small cadre of loyal guards under him took me up top, told me they would make me sorry for causing unrest, and they threw me overboard.”

Newstead’s description of life aboard Leviathan has stirred interest in the matter by the Triumvirate Authority, who says they have begun the process of recalling the ship to investigate the matter. Hjavern Newstead will remain in the Monteddorian hospital until he recovers, at which point he will be turned over to Crowndonian authorities.

Blackwood Gazette #275-Leviathan Escapee Tells Story of Horrific Conditions Aboard Prison Ship

Blackwood Gazette #271- Man recovered from Shipping Lane Claims to Have Escaped Prison Ship

By Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

1/11/282- A group of fisherman off the coast of Julianos Territory in Monteddor received a shocking surprise on Friday morning when their nets pulled in not only fish, but a man dressed in a tattered prison jumpsuit.

Captain Enricies Saldazar described the scene.

“It was complete chaos. One minute, the men are doing what they always do, pulling in nets, grousing about their jobs and pay. Probably planning a mutiny. Next thing I know they are running around, shouting at the top of their lungs about a mermaid.”

It wasn’t a mermaid they pulled onto the deck of their ship, however. It was one Hjavern Newstead, of Toring. Newstead was arrested two years ago after he used his landlord’s cat to feed his family during the winter freeze of 280.

Newstead was sent to Toring Penitentiary, where he, along with several others, were reported missing several months ago. So, how did he wind up floating in the Pyros Ocean, still wearing his prison jumpsuit?

“The jumpsuit mister Newstead was wearing is not one issued at Toring Pen,” a Triumvirate Authority representative told us. “Nor is it one issued by any of the major Monteddorian institutions. Mister Newstead in fact claims that he never escaped prison, but was transferred to another. He claims he was incarcerated on a ship.”

This statement by the TA has sent rumor mongers and conspiracy theorists across the Triumvirate into a frenzy.

“I knew this was happening!” said Oculus, creator of the popular underground rag The Ex-Humanor. “I told you all this would happen! The moment Where, No One Knows (a popular colloquialism for the ship officially known as Leviathan) left port and prisoners started vanishing into the ether!”

Leviathan has been the source of much scrutiny in the Triumvirate since it set underway a year ago, under the cover of night. The official line provided by the privately funded venture’s backers is that Leviathan is a place for the most dangerous criminals in the Triumvirate to be held without possibility of escape. Some have speculated, however, that the ship is being used to make ‘problems’, such as political dissidents or business rivals, disappear.

More on this story as it develops.

Blackwood Gazette #271- Man recovered from Shipping Lane Claims to Have Escaped Prison Ship

Blackwood Gazette #264- Is the Triumvirate Authority Stonewalling Manhunt for Lord Despartes?

By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC

5/10/282-A joint task group of Nor Eastern and Triumvirate Authority Officials have spent the last week combing the Nor Eastern country side for Lord Rodahn Despartes of Amaranth. As yet, their search has proved fruitless.

“Given the boy’s propensity for hellraising, we’d hoped to hear reports of his passing,” said Captain Reginald Desmanse, speaking for the TA. “So far, we have heard no such reports. Either the kid has learned the value of keeping a low profile, or he’s been spirited away to parts unknown by people unknown. There’s also the possibility that he is lying dead in a ditch somewhere.”

An anonymous source in the Nor Eastern force taking part in the search paints a less dismissive picture as to Despartes’ fate, however, going so far as to suggest that the Authority is doing everything that it can to close the case and move on a quickly as possible.

“What the TA Captain says isn’t the full picture,” the source told us. “I’m not supposed to talk about it, but we received word of a ruckus at an inn along the river. When we arrived, the TA was already there. They said they’d already investigated the place, and there was no substance to the rumours. But the whole situation seemed off. It just felt too quiet for a bordello on the weekend, and when we tried asking questions, the establishment’s employees acted as though they were frightened.”

The source went on to tell us that other platoons have been stonewalled by TA officials as well, all in locations positioned by the river. Captain Desmanse called the accusations ridiculous.

“We’re talking about the son of an Amaranth noble, and a fugitive wanted by the Empress of Nor Easter,” he said. “It wouldn’t be worth the trouble the TA would be in to hinder the investigation. In any case, we don’t plan on calling off the search yet. We’ve expanded our efforts to the Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter Ends, and we’re dragging the bottom of the river. If there’s something to be found, we’ll find it, even if its nothing more than the little Lordling’s fish-bitten corpse.”

A lovely picture, to be sure. The Empire of Nor Easter and Duchess Amelie alike are no doubt put at ease to know that a man unfettered by such nonsense as diplomacy and sensitivity is on the case and we are confident in your utmost commitment to this endeavour, Captain Desmanse.

Blackwood Gazette #264- Is the Triumvirate Authority Stonewalling Manhunt for Lord Despartes?