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

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Serpent's Isles (Part III)

Akagi spoke first, when the pair met up with Totani on the pathway.

"Morning Tayo, just finishing your rounds of the posts today?"

"Just the Hiryu and Soryu Batteries, left, thankfully." Totani responded feelingly. Her courier duties took up much of her mornings and a good part of her afternoons each day, collecting the daily reports from each of the batteries and the many fortified infantry  or observation outposts that doted the two lagoons and the three islands that made up the head of the Serpent Isles" Fang Rock, Maw Island and Neck Island. She was fortunate that she didn't have to cover the other islands that made up the body and tail of the "snake" or she would be at her duties all day. Both Akagi and Sasaki as it happened had that particular responsiblility, and both had obviously just come back from the other island and landed on one of the numerous jetties to make their way back to Fang Bay and drop off those reports at the garrison headquarters.

"We will go with you, Tayo. Tedious duties pass more quickly with friends." Sasaki said in her soft, sibilant voice. Akagi, gave the Ainu equivalent of a nob of agreement, then lightly clasped Totoni's shoulder in a friendly grip. "Let's be about it then, when we get back to Fang Bay, lunch is on me."

 Totani walked with her comrades towards batteries with a more cheerful step. Her day suddenly feeling just a bit brighter then it had started.

Sho-sa Oda Mitsuru was as a rule a patient, thoroughly professional and humane man, well liked and respected by both his peers and subordinates alike while being esteemed by his superiors. A rare combination in any military establishment, his troops generally dubbed him Snow White or Old Snowy on account of his long white beard and moustache and his superb almost glacial clam and composure in any and all circumstances. He had been the Imperial Army his entire adult life, having served in the ranks before becoming an officer, although as a member of the samurai-caste in general and the powerful Oda clan in particular he was almost entitled to an officer commission by way of birth rate. He had chosen early on however to dedicate himself to mastering the highly technical artillery branch of the Service and had thought the best way to do that was from the bottom up.

That customary calm was in abeyance this afternoon, and that was because he had just gone through his morning correspondence from Headquarters in Tokyo, which explained his exceptionally foul mood to his military garrison and civilian staff. The Imperial Army Headquarters, had informed him that his samurai assault company was due to be rotated out within the next month, and a replacement infantry unit would not forthcoming. The captain of the gunboat Chiyodogata, the single warship the Imperial Navy, had not yet pulled out the isles, had advised him this morning that the Imperial Navy Headquarters was contemplating doing just that in a few weeks. It had been the capper to a perfect day, as far as Oda was concerned.

Oda, tossed his reading glasses upon the heap of letters, reports and sundry paperwork that covered his desk, and rose to walk to window of his office that faced Fang Bay. The Governor's Mansion, looked out from a hill overlooking the waters of the harbor. Being the military and civilian governor of the Serpent's Isles, had been Oda's job since his predecessor Sho-sho Sawato Hirotsu had died from over drinking in the spring of 1888. Oda was beginning to understand why after holding the job for the last ten months.

Note: (1) Sho-sa, was the IJA rank equivalent of Major. (2) Sho-sho, was the IJA rank equivalent of Major-General.

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