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

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fragments from the Americas II

Salt Lake City, Utah, Disputed Western Territories, North America: January 1889

The siege lines spread like cancerous growths this way and that across the plains and hills beneath the shadows of the Uinta mountains. Entrenchments, deep belts of rusting barbed wire, wooden stakes and earth, sandbag and timbered gun positions clustered like barnacles. In these lines men and women fought, lived, died and endured, all the while hammering, bailing and digging and repairing or extending the ramparts and redoubts. The sky was leaden and dark, storm clouds hovered thickly, the air was charged with the taint of expectant rain. It made a welcome change from the ever present smells of death, black powder and smoke.

Captain Ezra Powell Hackett, Mormon Republican Army, watched the clouds through his telescope. Thunder rumbled ominously in the distance. Faint flickers of lightening brightened the shifting dark clouds. His gaze swept the horizon three times each day, each time he recorded his observations for the Mormon Council ensconced in the heavily fortified city. He had done this duty with the same diligence for the last four months, nothing changed day in day out: the Union Army or rather armies stood some twenty miles beyond the city limits. Every day to the east and northeast, the Union Armies of the Colorado, the Platte, and the Arkansas hammered at the Mormon defenses. Every day, a line or section of entrenchments was demolished, captured or abandoned, everyday another Mormon fort or artillery position was destroyed, captured or suppressed by a hail of artillery fire or falling bombs from Union airships or aircraft flying high overhead. Everyday, Union observation balloons rose above the battlefield and watched every move the Mormons made within their own lines. Everyday, the Union lines crawled a little closer to the city, even if it was only a few feet at a time. For the Union armies, it was not a question of if Salt Lake City would fall, it was a question of when.

Four months back, the Union Army had brought up the Armies of the Rio Grande and the Pecos, and tried to out flank the Mormon eastern entrenchments around Lake Utah to the south of Salt Lake City. This flank had been thinly held, to spare reserves for the eastern defense lines. Frantic and desperate battles had been fought by the Mormon militias to buy precious time, at places like Lofgreen, Vernon, Faust, Fairfield and Cedar Valley. The casualties the Mormon Militia had endured had been devastating but they had done what they tried to do, gain time for the Nauvoo and Deseret Legions to be redeployed and the Union flanking movement died at the battles of Rush Valley, Ophir and Stockton, the most bloody of them all the Battle of Toole.

The mauled Union Armies of the Rio Grande and the Pecos, had fallen back but only to hold their ground at Eureka and Goshen, and no effort by the Mormon Republican Army had been successful in making them fall back any further. The siege of Salt Lake City had now become a war on two fronts, the Union was closing the noose more tightly around the Mormon capital.

Captain Hackett, had observed every day, more and more steam trains and wagon trains making their way into the Union reserve lines and depots out beyond the reach of Mormon heavy artillery. More troops, more supplies and more guns, coming in everyday. The Union generals were obviously contemplating another big push on the Mormon entrenchments, although they seemed in no hurry to launch such a move, though. Then again, why should they, they had time and superior logistics to do the thing properly.

Hackett had heard reports of large numbers of steam tanks, walking engines and land rams coming into the lines behind the Union camps. There had even been rumours of three Union land fortresses moving up under the cover of the recent storms and the darkness of night. Hackett himself had  seen the presence of Union sky forts cruising low and ominously on the horizon or over the mountains tops. Help was supposed to be coming from California and Nevada, but Hackett was not confident it would arrive in time or if it did was far from sure it would be enough.

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