Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlefolk.

This blog will be devoted to my literary and cosplay interests and stories set in my own alternative historical steampunk background. I hope people enjoy the stories, as much as I enjoy devising and writing them and that it stimulates their own artistic interests, entertains them or if nothing else fires their own imaginations.

A special note to new readers of this blog, the entries "Nation States" are gazetteers of the nations as they exist in the An Age of Steam, Steel and Iron background, each with a few remarks/observations about each nation as they exist within. Any post headed by the title containing the words "Story Snippet" or "Fragments" is a stand alone, snapshot of the background, they will be developed into fuller stories in future, but at present they serve to give the viewer/reader a measure of what this world is like, what is going on in it and who some of the players are. Full stories, will be headed by their title and a roman number, as they will generally be in several parts.

Comments, suggestions or remarks by readers are welcomed.

I would like to thank the following people:

Yaya Han, for getting me seriously interested in cosplay at a time when things were looking very glum for me back in 2006 with several extended stays in hospital due to illness, and motivating me to get actively involved.

Ashley Du aka UndeadDu, for her unfailing friendship and cheerful support since we first met in 2014 at the Hamilton Comic Con, and for being my Cosplay mentor and advisor.

Sara Marly, for her interest in and support for my writings, since we first met in 2016 at the Hamilton Comic Con and incidently helping me make up my mind to finally do this.

Stephen Thomson, my friend, for his advise and assistance with creating and setting up this blog.

Daniel Cote, my friend and co-worker for his advise and friendship over the years.

The People of the The Aegy's Gathering (particularly Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, Scott Washburn and Jenny Dolfen, all of whom I have kept in contact with over the years), who were brought together in friendship by a certain randomness of chance and a common interest in the Honor Harrington books and stayed together despite distance and the strains of life.

The People of the Wesworld Alternative History website, who gave me the opportunity to sharpen my writing and story telling skills while directing the affairs of Lithuania and briefly France during their 1930s timelines.

My parents Mary Ellen and Logan, my siblings Adam and Danika and various friends both online and at work and play for putting up with me, encouraging and supporting me both in the very good times and the very bad times.

I remain as always yours very sincerely, your obedient servant, Matthew Baird aka Sir Leopold Stanley Worthing-Topper

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Serpent's Isles (Part II)

Both the Imperial Army's and Imperial Navy's steady withdrawal from the Isles bothered Totani, as it did everyone connected with both the garrison and the residents. According to many of the local villagers, a fortress division made up of army infantry, samurai and various fortress, regimental and battalion artillery units had occupied the islands since at least the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Navy had during much the same period, place a third class naval station at Fang Bay with a flotilla of gunboats to patrol the local waters.

Since 1881, various units forming the permanent garrison had been pulled out or reassigned temporally never to return, causing the garrison to steadily dwindle. In 1885 the Navy had pulled out all but one of the gunboats and reduced the naval station to the barest minimum. Only a handful of steam launches and their crews remained to perform routine patrol amidst the isles or check the papers and cargo manifests of visiting vessels. Only a few scattered artillery companies and one field battalion of mixed regular infantry and samurai companies remained in place, under a major of the artillery Oda Mitsuru, to hold all the isles in the Emperor's name. The beginning of 1889 was not shaping up to be a good year for the garrison, as still more cuts to the establishment were rumoured to be contemplated by the Imperial Government.

Totani shook off these grim thoughts, as the heavily bearded, burly Ainu waved an arm towards her in cheery greeting. Akagi Tomi, was like her a Go-cho in the infantry branch of the Imperial Garrison, born and raised like herself in the Hokkaido Prefecture of Japan and as he admitted to her on one occasion, good for nothing but the army, fishing and drinking. Totani liked him for his rough good sense, good humour and his candor. His Ainu name she did not know nor did he confide it to anyone outside his own family or extended clan. Like many Ainu and Lemurians he had taken a Japanese name to accommodate the dictates of the Imperial Government, and learned to read and speak the Japanese language, and patiently observed Japanese customs that were not his own, although he remained just as intractably fluent in his native dialect and still faithfully followed many of his people's ancient customs. Joto-hei Sasaki Sata, was a Lemurian, and as different in looks and background as Totani and Akagi were to each other despite both coming from the same part of Japan.

First of all, Sasaki, was not human, she was a Lemurian Draconian one of the two non-human species the other being the Lemurian Snake-Folk, to inhabit the islands of Lemuria and Mu within the Japanese Empire. Standing easily six feet tall, she fairly towered over both sturdy Ainu and slender Japanese alike. Her features suggested both the reptilian and the human strangely mixed together, in her case rather alluringly. She had a pleasing oval face, full lipped with a delicate chin, high cheekbones and deep, lustrous almondine eyes. Sasaki's eyes were by contrast to any human eyes however cool and alien, being slitted like a cat's and a glittering topez in colour, her skin was a rich jewel tone green set off by her neck length jet black hair.

Note: (1) Joto-hei, IJA rank for a lance-corporal in the 1880s or superior private by the 1930s. (2) A 3rd class naval station, was a naval post or anchorage that could refuel and resupply naval vessels in most particulars but was only capably of very limited repairs or engineering services. Such a base generally wasn't capable of constructing major warships, although building small craft like steam or motor launches, gunboats or gunvessels might just be within it's means.

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