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

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Day in Tortuga (Part I)

Port Fadrique, Island of Tortuga: January 1889

The airship swung listlessly in the heat of a Caribbean day from her moorings in one of the many disreputable or nearly derelict sky docks of Tortuga. The rising sun, lazily coming up over the horizon painted her long bulbous shape a tawny brown, the colour of brewing tea. The sky docks of Tortuga, called by locals Port Fadrique stood to the west of the regular nautical port of Tortuga, Port Breathern. Port Fadrique was a ramshackle mass of wood and iron gantries, cranes and derricks, ladders and elevators, shabby offices, bulging storage barns and sooty workshops mounted on platforms both on land and rising from the sea.

As lighter-then-air dirigibles, this particular airship was not much to look at, her hull plating being as patched, scuffed and faded as it's much patched and stitched canvas envelope. The whole airship had a woebegone, tatterdemalion air to her, having seen much hard and varied service under many different masters and owners. In point of fact it was arguable whether the airship or the air dock around her was in worse shape.

Kurt Ortleib, looked at the airship thoughtfully for several minutes from the hillside over looking Port Fadrique. Kurt Ortleib was many things, like the airship he was examining through his old spy glass. Derelict, outcast, mercenary, he'd been all those things in his life. He had been born in a quiet, sleepy, backwood village in the province of Prussian Saxony, in the Kingdom of Prussia, some forty three years before. He had gone to school in the village, been lucky enough to attend a technical college and learn a trade, before joining the Prussian Royal Army for his term of conscription. The artillery had been his arm of service and he had been judge competent enough by his superiors to rise to the rank of feldwebel during his seven years in the army. Kurt had joined the ranks of the Freikorps, the German mercenary fraternity, after he had finished his term, rather then try and find a new vocation in civilian life.

For some years it had not been a bad decision, although at other times Kurt had thought it had been amoung the worse decisions of his life. Kurt had drifted from Freikorps unit to unit, never staying for long, not because his peers disliked him or that they thought him a bad soldier, it was just he never seemed to be wholly comfortable with anyone or any group for long, being something of a loner at heart. Finally his drifting had left him, here in Tortuga. Perhaps that airship would be his next step, to somewhere else.

He packed the spy glass away in his haversack, and began to pick his ways down the hillside through the narrow and confusing streets of the shanty town that sprawled untidily over much of it. He glanced at the pamphlet he had found in his morning newspaper, as he walked. The advertisement said simple:


Airship captain, seeking a crew for privateering and mercenary service. Those with prior military, mercenary or similar experience required. Technical expertise with small arms, artillery, technical or engineering skills perfered. Please apply at Office No.553, Hallwood Dock, Port Fadrique.

Note: Feldwebel is the German Army equivalent rank of sergeant.

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