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 II)

Sir Nigel looked at the young woman across the narrow width of the oak interview table. Behind him stood two members of his special investigations team: a man of middle age and a young, demure woman both in civilian dress rather then the formal dark blue and black police uniform that Rumbleton wore. The young woman wore a dress made entirely of black cloths; velvets, stains and laces. The only contrasting colour in her attire was the deep purple silk ribbons that decorated her dress and light brown, heavily curled hair. She possessed an attractive oval face which was at first glance surprisingly pale but had an attractive amber colouring that suggested some foreign or exotic parentage. Wide, sparkling blue eyes took in her surroundings with guarded interest.

Her male companion, by way of contrast could be described as almost nondescript: he wore a dark grey frock coat, black boots and an unadorned tan coloured vest and light grey trousers. His face like his body was lean, narrow almost to the point of gauntness. His hair was the colour of freshly burned ash as were his eyes although they had a suggestion of an almost luminous green tint to them. While the woman was as still as glass, the man moved restlessly even when standing still not even his eyes remained fixed upon anything for more then a few seconds. Rumbleton ignored both of them, her attention rested firmly upon the older, white haired man seated before her.

Sir Nigel mentally ticked off things about Josephine Rumbleton, that he either knew from her records or from simple direct observation. She wore her regulation police constable's uniform as if it was perfectly natural to her to, perhaps with a bit of careful hand tailoring to enhance it for cut and style. She wore her dark brown hair loosely but neatly combed and an artful minimum of makeup. Although this did not distract from the fact she had an attractive face and pleasing deep brown eyes. Her records were remarkably vague to the point of being cryptic regarding her past life, which intrigued Sir Nigel. Take her education for instance, under the entry for her elementary education were the words: School of Hard Knocks and for her higher education were the words: University of Life. Her birthdate and even her exact age was a matter of some interested speculation if not outright conjecture amoung her fellow constables and detectives. In fact there was practically no information regarding her life before joining the London Police other then she had worked by her own admission as a seamstress, although that had not been successfully verified by anyone.

Information concerning other details of her early life were just as maddeningly nonexistent in her professional record, the entries for her parents or siblings if any or extended relatives were mysteriously blank. It was assumed that she was born in London but there was no actual hospital paperwork or local church baptismal certificate to back that assumption up, only her extensive knowledge of the city consistent only with someone who was or had been a long time resident. For some reason the name Rumbleton jogged a warning note in his memory but nothing immediately presented itself to Sir Nigel's mind when he considered it.

Suddenly something in Sir Nigel's memory clicked into place. Rumbleton Alley was a part of what was known to Londoners as the Devil's Courtyard, an ancient, largely derelict and labyrinthine selection of buildings and twisted streets and narrow alleys in the oldest part of East London. A street called Hobb's Lane formed the area's main concourse. Until about five years ago, the place had been a major point of trouble for the London Police in general and the Dead Watch in particular. Around that time a mysterious fire had gutted much of the area, killing many of it's inhabitants, human and otherwise.

The middle aged man behind Sir Nigel suddenly stiffened, his eyes fixed upon Josephine Rumbleton with a terrible clarity, as if he was looking straight through her. Surprisingly, the constable did not react to the scrutiny which typically unnerved most people. In point of fact she seemed to fail to even notice it. Sir Nigel felt his interest pique, something was afoot, his psychic investigator was having one of his clairvoyant episodes. After several moments, the man shook himself then abruptly turned on his heel without a word and left the room, the woman followed him after a nod from Sir Nigel.

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