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Two steampunk heroes discuss fashion. Templeton Sledmeir is an inventor and airship captain from Prussia, while Elson Dowring is a former Skyrine (like marines, but for airships) who fought on the union side of the American Civil War. Their meeting and adventures are the stuff of many a dime-novel legend, but what's important is that Elson is ... less technically inclined than his friend Templeton.

Templeton: "So what does your pistol do?"

Elson: "... it shoots bullets."

T: "Is that all?"

E: "Makes a great paperweight."

T: "Huh. Do your bullets do anything special?"

E: "I hear they hurt."

T: "What about your knife?"

E: "It's sharp."

T: "Your sword?"

E: "Long and sharp."

T: "Your hatchet?"

E: "Heavy and sharp."

T: "Boots?"

E: "Just heavy."

T: "Goggles?"

E: "Keep my face pretty."

T: "Belt?"

E: "Keeps my pants up."

T: "... and the other belts?"

E: "Next ..."

T: "Jacket?"

E: "Warm."

T: "Buttons on the jacket?"

E: "These days? Superfluous."

T: "Pocket watch?"

E: "Tells time."

T: "Gloves?"

E: "For punching."

T: "Kerchief?"

E: "Catches snot."

T: "Hat?"

E: "Stylish."

T: "... You confuse me."

E: "Well ... my pocket watch both tells time AND keeps a picture of my mother."

T: "AHA! Would you like it to also serve as a compass, barometer, and altimeter, as well as play music, hide a lockpick, and heat your drink?"

E: "... no thanks, I ..."


E: "... you frighten me."

T: "Your sword also squirts oil out of the pommel."

Author's Note: This also counts as our first bit of advertizing, as I posted it onto the Steampunk Fashion LJ Community.

Content Migration

Migrating content from this blog to the new and improved Alternia Comics web site.

Progress will be slow for a while probably.

I'll post again when everything's moved over.

Fierceness of a Storm

   Connor Murphy was his father's first son. But his brother Sean would lead the clan after their father's death. It wasn't that Connor didn't want to lead, or that no one would follow him. Quit the opposite on both counts. His brother would lead because Connor would be exiled and disowned. This is the tale of why; it is a story every O'Connor knows by heart.

   Connor left his clan after sixteen summers to find a wife. She would be the new matron of the clan when Connor became patriarch, so he had to find a worthy woman. He left when the clan's roaming brought him far to the South of Baergan Dohl, but a terrible storm came one night, shifting his landmarks and leaving a thick fog. He could barely see an arm's length in any direction for three days. The light of the sun was obscured to an even glow all about him by the fog and the clouds high above. He wandered blindly, trying to at least keep his direction constant.
   The fog finally lifted and he found himself outside a village. This particular village lay a day's walk past the former Gordainne border. The storm had got him so turned around, Connor was heading South when he meant to be heading North, but after three days of walking, the half-starved man had little use for direction save that provided by his nose. He followed the wafting scent of a roasting pig and baking bread to the inn. In a daze, he bartered for a room and a meal with the innkeeper. Connor's auburn hair marked him as aKheld, one of the innkeeper's favorite people; the Kheld travelers always brought something new to the town.
   Connor was greeted warmly by the keeper, but that alone was not enough to stay him more than a night from his quest. It was the keeper's daughter, Maria, that held Connor at the inn for more than a fortnight while he courted her. She only gave a token resistance. It would seem love-at-first-sight was not only found in legends and fairy tales.
   After a month, he asked her father for her hand. The two of them made their way back to the rest of the Murphy Clan, now farther West in theDhol, tracking the migration of the elk. The weather was kind to the travelers and they rejoined the clan in a matter of days.
   Maria was met with open hostility; her dark hair marked her as anything but a Kheld, an outrage to those of the clan who expected the patriarch's lineage to be pure. Connor and his father fought bitterly, first in armed combat, then in verbal sparring as their muscles grew tired. Finally, his father lie beaten and Connor stood over him, broadsword raised. He looked in his father's eyes, and dropped hissword to the ground, turning to walk away. He stopped when his father spoke.
   "To run, it takes courage."
   "Thank you, fath--"
   "The courage of a lamb!" His father's interruption elicited raucous laughter from the assembled warriors. Their energy gave their patriarch the strength to stand once more.
   "To love," Connor kept his back to his father, "it takes the fierceness of a storm. I love my wife, Father. What do you love?" Connor left without hearing his father's reply, and a handful of the clan followed him. They comprised a new clan of Khelds: the clan O'Connor.

Character Focus #2

A long while ago, Alarin and I sat down to talk about his cats, his sisters, Cathy Travis, The Bards of Subterra, and The Jabberwock.

We invite you to listen in.


As with all Character Focus episodes, this contains spoilers for plot elements that may or may not have been published either in this feed or at the Alternia LiveJournal community.

Originally published at Stories of Alternia. You can comment here or there.

(Inspired in part by News from Poughkeepsie #38.)

We don't have a lot to do since the war. Was it really even a war? They came, we nuked, they died or left and, for the most part, so did we. Rumor has it some of the great underground cities that were planned actually got built. Not all of them got populated though.

Out here in the middle of nowhere Utah, we don't really care too much one way or the other.

We got bored quickly once the power went out. We switched to battery and crank operated radio until the stations switched to unmanned 24-7 Emergency Broadcast. Fortunately, we were near the salt flats proving grounds for some of the fastest land vehicles on earth. Miles and miles of nothing but flat, salt encrusted, dry ground.

There were a couple of cars, if you can call a rocket powered vehicle with wheels a "car", left there, abandoned. Me and my friend Jake tried the ignition on a couple: dead. We came back often with spare parts scavenged from our ghost of a town and got them running again.

The races were a great distraction until we rant out of fuel. And, of course, these things ran on jet fuel, and sucked it down like it was going out of style. Which, of course, it had.

We toyed with racing the abandoned cars we hadn't gutted in town, but after the rocket cars the little commuter cars just didn't feel exciting.

After a few months we managed to convert the rocket cars to using regular gas, but they were a shadow of their former speed (and thrill).

Then Jake hit on the idea of making them electric and using the government supplied mini-fission reactor from the radio station to power the cars.

It soon became clear that a nuclear powered rocket car was a Bad Idea. Especially for racing. After all, we had only the one reactor, so racing in general was out. We could do time trials, but then we'd either have to remove the power plant and remount it in another car, or we'd have to share a single car. Jake was partial to the 307 "Arrow," and I liked the 712 "Quicksilver," two radically different vehicles, so sharing was hardly appealing.

We compromised by cannibalizing. Over the next several weeks, with saws, torches, pneumatic drivers and a four foot wrench, we tore down the vehicles on site and rebuilt them as we saw fit.

We ended up with an unholy amalgam of the 307, the 712 and the 119 "Hornet." It had a roomy interior, with two sets of controls. I'd gotten used to the 712's setup, and Jake had fallen in love with the 307's scheme. Now each pilot could use his preferred controls.

A Story of the Everyman (Unfinished)

It is said that everyman has a story to tell, even if only his own. Most men's stories can be summed up in seven words: He was born, did things, then died. This summary is often found lacking, especially by those who knew the man. But for everyone else in the world, it suffices to sum up this faceless, unknown man.

Great men tend not to tell stories, but to live them, and have their stories told by others.
This is not the story of a great man.

This is the story of a man, any man you may have met on the street. You, the reader, may safely assume these pages can be summed up thus: A man was born, lived his life, and died at the end of his story.

This is a book about the details, missing from the summary.

He was born on an unremarkable day in an unremarkable town to unremarkable parents. His was an easy birth with no complications, strictly by the book.

It was an inauspicious beginning, and his relatives joked he was destined for great things, realizing in the backs of their minds that if there was ever a man born to lead an utterly unremarkable life, it was this boy.

His parents gave him the name Mark. He was the younger of two children and grew up in a comfortable suburban neighborhood. He rode the bus to school and earned average marks, graduating from highschool with a B- average.