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

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Hidden Past (Part III)

Millicent Carmichael followed her fellow investigator swiftly into the hall, jerking him to a sudden and painful stop when she caught up with him. The man seemed momentarily oblivious to both his immediate surroundings and to her all too unladylike steel hard grip on his wrist, his eyes flashing with conflicting emotions as he grappled with whatever vision now had him in it's possession.

"What did you see? Whatever it is has you spooked, Althorpe."

"I... I saw death that walks..." Ebenezer Leighton Althorpe's eyes flickered eerily with luminous witch-fires glowing from their depths, his voice was curiously hushed, laced with deep shock and something rather like fear and yet strangely crisp and detached.

"Do not go cryptic on me, Althorpe. If your vision is important, Sir Nigel needs to know it."

"I am not being cryptic." He retorted with some asperity creeping into his vague but troubled tone. "I am being exact, Josephine Rumbleton, is amoung the dead and yet amoung the living. I saw her past and it terrifies me."

Carmichael looked searchingly into Althorpe's eyes, measuring his agitated expression, she did not like what she was seeing and she understood it even less. Althorpe was typically unflappable in dangerous or strange circumstances, he had a cool, collected calm you could not crack with a pick axe. That customary calm was not in evidence now.

"I... I do not follow you?"

Althorpe nodded absently at the remark and made a serious effort for the first time to pull himself together and give something like a coherent report to his colleague.

"When I looked at her with my mystic sight, her appearance abruptly altered before my eyes. That was not supposed to happen, I was trying a protocol to determine if she possesses any magical ability or hidden items. Suddenly  I was seeing both what she was and what she had been."

"As I watched, her hair shifted... becoming tangled, wild and unkempt. Her skin paled, bruised and in places it rotted while overall her flesh became marked with grime and bloodstains. Her constable's uniform faded away from my sight like smoke and was replaced by more... feminine garments that were as despoiled, bloodied and disheveled as the rest of her rapidly changing appearance."

Althorpe shuddered, ashen faced at the image his excellent memory was again calling forth from his unconscious to his rebelling conscious mind. After a minute he continued, his voice low and strained.

"Her face was the worst of it, her irises had paled from light brown to a ghostly white-grey, her lips and teeth were clotted with blood, while a ragged scar traversed her face from just under her right eye kinking over her nose and angling down her left cheek. She looked a perfect horror and yet... strangely attractive... almost beguiling..." his voice trailed off with the last words, making Carmichael feel like she had abruptly gone deaf.

"Is she some sort of vampire?"

"No, she seems to be or rather at sometime in the past was of the living or walking Dead. A zombie to be precise, rather then one of the vampiric Undead proper."

"When I looked into her eyes, at first they did not appear to notice me. They were vacant, soulless, absolutely blank save for the fact that they were filled with a mindless hunger for the flesh of the Living. Then without warning they shifted and turned upon me. " He paused and swallowed, absolutely chilled by this part of the vision. "You have heard various expressions over the years about gazing into the Abyss?"

Carmichael nodded. She was beginning to get just a little creeped out now, Sir Nigel and his team dealt with some strange and ghastly stuff on a regular basis, but this was definitely out of the ordinary. People did not ever come back from being zombies, even the most accomplished necromancer, skilled in the white or black magics, could not manage it.

"Well, sometimes when you do, the Abyss gazes back at you. There was a terrible will, an intense focus unlike anything I have experienced before, behind those eyes. I am not sure if it was her or that some other power or directing intelligence was looking at me through her."

"Then... it... her... Smiled. She or whatever was looking out of her eyes, knew who and what I was, it was reading me like an open book. Up till then I had merely been scared, now I knew sheer terror. I had to get away from it whatever it was, I broke the mental and mystical link that I had established with her. I could bear no more of it."

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