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, August 26, 2018

The Man in the Red Mask (Part V)

City of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, January 1889.

In the adjoining waiting room, the two guest waited for their audience with Lord Hood. Sixer stood stiff and absolutely still next to a couch decorated in woodwork and plush cloth, which held the only other occupant of the beautiful appointed and decorated room. Only the deep, steady amber glow of it's eyes within the deep, dark slot that was the only feature of what might be called it's face, and the soft click of gears and hiss of pistons revealed that the construct was active. The girl on the couch was about sixteen years of age, wore much patched and threadbare clothing which had clearly seen better days but the very fastidious care shown in keeping the garments in some state of respectability showed they were probably the best clothes she owned.

"Sixer... do you really think he will see us...?" The girl asked softly, her tone was a mixture of hope and creeping doubt. She clutched a battered, badly discoloured tin box, held fast by two sturdy leather buckle straps and a heavy if crude pad lock, in both her arms. It rattled and clinked when she moved as if jammed full of a great many loose objects.

The towering automata, he stood easily seven feet from his metal boot soles to the top of his head, turned his great bucket like head to look at her. One arm extended and came to rest on her  shoulder. The massive metallic fingers touched her now slumping shoulders with surprising gentleness.

"We have come this far, let us see how far our luck carries us."

"That Mister Cassidy, did not seem to pleased with us turning up, Sixer." The Girl said after a moment. Sixer shrugged his great metal shoulders as he responded.

"I suspect he regards us both of us as a nuisance and whatever errand we are on as being of no consequence. Then again it may just be because, Mister Cassidy, and I do not get along, never have. I am a construct and he is a Irishman and a Luddite."

"So, he hates you."

"Yes." Sixer said simply, although the truth of the matter was more complicated then that. The widespread usage of constructs during the late seventeen, the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century had created both widespread profits for corporations and equally widespread economic dislocation in various places not just with working jobs but in the communities that typically supported working folk but which constructs did not require. Things had begun to settled down in the last few decades and a balance of sorts had been established which worked to most peoples benefit. The Irish had been one of the traditional British labour pools hardest hit by the initial changes and upheavals, a great many of them lost either their situations or their long term job prospects to constructs and not unnaturally resented it. Many Irish as a result had joined anti-construct and anti-machine political groups and caused all sorts of trouble for constructs like Sixer.

"That's not fair, Sixer. You are nicer and a better person, to me and the gang, then a lot of humans I know."

"Life is seldom fair for any of us, machine or human, but thank you for the accolade, young lady."

The girl smiled at Sixer's last words, then looked down at the tin box in her arms, doubt crept back into her expression.

"Do you think, I -- the gang and I, can afford, Lord Hood's services. I heard he is expensive..."

Sixer considered the question for a moment. Quite frankly, a pack of street children, Street Arabs in popular parlance,  did not have the resources to pay for a private detective let alone a criminal mastermind. Still, Lord Hood could be engaged if one knew how to get his interest, Sixer felt that the prize in question would appeal to him. If they asked carefully enough, although Mister Cassidy would be a problem though, Sixer thought glumly.

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