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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

In the Hall of the Iron King (Part II)

Imperial and Royal Army Special Ordnance Testing Facility No.3, the Crownland of Styria, Austria-Hungary, 1889.

Feldzeugmeister Alvinzci's thoughtful reverie was abruptly disturbed by a colossal series of bangs, as something inside the hanger suddenly began crashing about. A bright flash lite the hanger a few heartbeats later, followed by a mass of oily clouds of black smoke and bright flashed of flames issuing from the hanger doorway and several of the narrow windows, the thunderous sound of the explosion reverberated throughout the hanger and into the surrounding hills. Broken glass and other debris fell to the tarmac and concrete, fire engines trundled over to the hanger and teams of fire men and rescue medics scrambled in through the doorway to assess the damage and possible casualties.

Alvinzci noticed how they moved with speed and a sense of urgency but at the same time with cool, practiced ease; for them this was just another day at Special Ordnance Testing Facility No.3, there was always an explosion big or small, another accident or mishap or something running amok on the testing grounds. There had been five such blasts in the first day he'd arrived so he too was no longer surprised or alarmed by them, it was just part of the routine for everyone here.

Some, fifteen minutes later, an engineer walked over to report. His pike-grey uniform with black and steel-green collar patches was covered in soot and smoke grim, and even a few scorch marks from either steam or flames marked it. The man came to a smart parade rest in front of the general and saluted calmly and crisply as was too be expected of a soldier of the House of Austria.

"Beg to report, Herr Feldzeugmeister."

"What happened?" Alvinzci asked, after returning the man's salute, he watched the man closely. He looked alright despite the state of his uniform and his begrimed face and hair. The man abruptly coughed several puffs of smoke from his lungs several times before he could continue his report.

"The new test pilot, put Gigant into full reverse instead of forward gear, while it was in the servicing gantry and managed to destroy a major portion of said servicing gantries. Gigant's all right though, Herr Feldzeugmeister."

"Anyone hurt?"

"A few casualties, Feldzeugmeister, several people got thrown off the gantry or where hit by flying debris but the medics have them in hand and on the way to the hospital. No fatalities. The Medics will have a fuller report for you within the hour, so they tell me."

"Good." Alvinzci responded with some relief, the new safety protocals that he had insisted on seemed to be working then. The previous director of the facility, that Alvinzci had just replaced, had been both unworried and uninterested by his people being killed or injured on a regular basis. The man had been both loathed and hated in equal measure by everyone here in consequence.

"The test pilot?" Alvinzci asked with some asperity.

"On his way to the infirmary with a concussion and a broken arm."

"The engineering assistant is also on their way to the infirmary. Broke both legs and an arm jumping from the emergency hatch screaming blue murder. The idiot! He would have been fine if he had just stayed in his chair harness." The engineer muttered with some exasperation and disgust edging his voice and expression.

Alvinzci gave a brief but amused snort of agreement, at the engineer's derisive remark. Peter Tanz, the Gigant's assistant engineer had struck the general as a worrisome and nervy individual, competent in his field to give him his due, but too highly strung for field or practical work.

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