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, November 8, 2022

A Ghost Amid Ghosts (Part III)

Schlossberg Fortress, Graz, Crownland of Styria, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, January 1866.

After a few long minutes the woman, finished her religious observances and stood, before looking about herself and began walking slowly deeper into the memorial chapel proper, in a silent, unhurried way, examining the various memorials, memento mori that decorated the chapel, literally from floor to ceiling. Again, both the Chapel master and the Dean, caught a flash of luminous green eyes, as her gaze wandered about her surrounding, abruptly the whole chapel shook as a particularly violent roll of thunder crashed against the immense stony solidity of Schlossberg. The harsh glare and flicker flash of lightning illuminated the memorial chapel, through the open doors, which were always keep open to admit visitors regardless of the hour.

The woman suddenly grabbed both hands to her head as if suddenly stricken with terrible pain, her eyes blazed with an intense green light that engulfed the pupils, iris and sclera, in a searing illumination, before her eye lids snapped tighly shut with the next lightning flash. Both the Dean and Chapel master exchanged a quick glance, then rushed to the woman's assistance. She was in serious discomfort that was obvious. The Dean, quickly dragged shut the inner doors of the entrance way, to cut out the crashing flashes of light and noise that raged outside, a considerable winter storm was in the offing, falling snow mixed with the rattle of hail striking the Schlossberg, that too was obvious despite the pitch black night that reigned beyond the doors of the chapel. There would be other few visitors tonight, the Dean thought as he dogged the doors shut.

The Chapel master guided the woman towards one of the benches that stood nearest the Siege of Graz memorial. It had been donated to the Chapel a great many years ago, and many found it a particularly comfortable and restful spot to contemplate the memorial. It was certainly one of the finest pieces of ornate woodwork, he had ever seen, carved from the most beautiful and expensive African Ebony, with magnificent gold leaf decorations and plush, wine dark red velvet covered the seating and back rest. Even with massive doors closed tight, the woman reacted to every following rumble of thunder and lightning strike, as if they were physical blows, her arms curled tightly about her as she sat silently, her strained breathing being the only sound in the cavernous memorial chapel.

"Are you all right, Madam?" The Chapel master finally said, after watching her for several long minutes. Her harsh breathing seemed to have eased a bit, to both his and the Dean's surprise the woman, actually smiled, even laughed though her eyes were still closed shut.

"I am not in pain, thank you gentlemen. This just happens to me, when I am caught in storms..." she gave an unexpectedly soft, earthy chuckle before continuing. "In truth, I actually find it... bracing, even exciting. It reminds me I am still...Alive." She said, finally drawing aside her hood and face concealing scarf. A shock of soft hair, pure white shot with gold blonde streaks tumbled down around her neck and shoulders.

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