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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Hidden Past (Part I)

Constable Josephine Rumbleton looked out the soot begrimed window of her small office in Scotland Yard's special investigations annex. The skyline of London was bathed in a deep velvety blue-black tinted with a warm red-orange, the sun was just beginning to creep steadily up and over the horizon. It heralded the beginning  of another morning, a new day was dawning with that warm glow, meaning she had survived yet another night. She looked back absently at the report upon her age and work worn desk, she had spent the last hour recording and indexing. It made grim reading but that was not all that unusual in a police criminal report. Moreover it was all too normal for a night's work in the secretive and quietly dreaded London Metropolitian Police's Dead Watch.

Inspector Sir Nigel Redfern, seated a floor above and two halls away from the room Rumbleton occupied, examined the cluster of official ledgers and police dossiers before him on the interview room table. The young police inspector at his side shifted uneasily in the silenced that seemed to cloak the room. The older man's stern patrician profile was highlighted by  the lights and shadows thrown up by the shrouded lamp that hung over the table. The white haired, clean shaven senior police inspector spoke not a word, merely turning the pages of each document that lay before him then moving to the next when his examination was completed.

"I am not sure, Sir Nigel, if our Constable Rumbleton is the right person for you."

"Hm?" Sir Nigel responded absently as he continued his inspection of the police career dossier in front of him. After another few minutes, Sir Nigel looked up from the papers and fixed the young inspector with a cool, searching gaze.

"Why would you think that, Inspector? Is there something against her? From what I have seen so far, her service with the street patrol and investigations branches seems to have been exemplary." Sir Nigel tapped the dossier in front of him with his folded reading glasses for emphasis.

"Whistler, is.... well... a bit of an odd duck, sir."

"Whistler... " Sir Nigel said flatly, it was not a question, the young inspector coloured briefly and visibly in embarrassment as the older man's gaze settled even more firmly upon him. Sir Nigel as a rule did not altogether approve of nicknames and even less of ones that he surmised were designed to mock of denigrate the person they were applied to.

"Inspector Mathieson, you have some explaining to do."

The Dead Watch was Scotland Yard's oddball division, it was literally the graveyard shift working through the dead of night from dusk till dawn, and all too often got the worst the London police and detectives had to deal with from the merely strange or out of the ordinary criminal cases to the terrifyingly grotesque in occult or paranormal investigations. For someone in the Dead Watch to be referred  to as "odd" was no mean feat considering some of the truly epic characters found within it's ranks.

Inspector Edward Mathieson winced inwardly, he was most definitely not going to enjoy the next few minutes of this conversation.

"How odd?"

"She has an affinity for horror, she does not frighten easily. Hell, she does not frighten at all!" Mathieson said with a trace of bewilderment. "She even appears to enjoy it. Which is probably a good thing I suppose given the horrors we wind up routinely investigating."

"how long has she been with the Police Force?"

"Hm, almost four years now. Two years with the street patrol service, a year with the regular detective branch and then a year with us in the Dead Watch."

"The nickname?"

"That followed her from her time with Street Patrol. Evidently she had a pronounced tendency to whistle when she spoke, particularly the letter 'S' so her fellow constables took to calling her 'Whistler'. I gather she got into a few... well, altercations about it. Several were serious, she was reprimanded for attempting to pummel the stuffings out of at least three of her male comrades in Street Patrol at one time or another."

"Tormentors, more likely, Inspector." Sir Nigel remarked coolly.

"Another thing, she seems to be able to sense death or the supernatural. Several times she's gotten our lads out ofa jam by either turning them clear of potential trouble or at least give them a vital few minutes prior warning that we were going to be hip deep in it!"

"Did Constable Rumbleton, ever explain or account to you or anyone else for this peculiar ability?"

"Not that I know of, for most of us in the Dead Watch teams that worked with her on a regular basis, it was enough that it worked and helped make the difference between life and death quite often literally for us. Come to think of it, it often seemed that her physical senses were even more acute then normal at such times."

"In any event, Inspector Mathieson, I would like to see Constable Rumbleton for a few minutes before I make up my mind."

"Very well, Sir Nigel. I can have her called in, she is still filing a report at the moment, if you would feel comfortable enough to wait a few minutes."

"Thank you, Inspector. I appreciate it."

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