JOSEPHUS, LORD OF A-RAM is a character in the upcoming LoE Book VI: Sands of the Solar Empire.

"A-Ram" by Fantasio

The House of A-Ram is a House Minor from the Calvert city of St. Edmonds. His family was once part of a larger Calvert line known as the House of Aramterwillager from the old city of Dee. When the Sisterhood of Light decided to wipe Dee off the face of Kana because of continued lawlessness and decadence in 00221ax, the House split into three minor houses, the House of Aram fleeing to the seaside city of St. Edmonds in the hope of getting back into the Sisterhood’s good graces. The Sisters, never very high on Calverts in the first place, mis-handled the House of Aram’s patent, recording them legally as the House of A-Ram, which they afterwards refused to change, so the name stuck. The A-Rams made their trade as fishermen, renting several boats and trawling the bountiful Sea of Elder. Not rich by any means, they made a decent income fishing and lived in a four-story townhouse several blocks from the docks.

The House would have a rather sordid history with the Sisterhood of Light, always trying to please and impress them and always falling short. Clovis of A-Ram, who had become a noted chef in the region, once accidentally gave food poisoning to a Sister who had come to sample his dishes. Another A-Ram patriarch, Arlie, put a Sister into traction while attempting to pull off a bang-bang move playing brandtball. Silly things like that tend to stick in the Sisters’ minds, and they have a long memory. They eventually slapped the dreaded Programmability tag of Venta-Nomi on the House of A-Ram, meaning they are “Untouchable”.

Josephus was the youngest of seven children of the current A-Ram line. Tiny, slope-shouldered and badly near-sighted, Josephus (or simply A-Ram as he liked to be called) was a frail and sea-sick young lad, unable to go out with his father on the boats. He stayed ashore with his mother and sisters. His older brother, Ephelrood, gave him no peace for it and often bullied him. Despite his various shortcomings, A-Ram had a good mind and a quiet sort of tenacity about him. He was usually near the top of his class.

The Sisterhood of Light never gave the House of A-Ram much thought. (Eve Ventrue)

One day, A-Ram discovered a junked out sub-orbital craft in the canning house near the docks. He spent the summer rebuilding the craft and taught himself how to fly it. He discovered he had a joy and love of flying and hoped to one day join the Fleet as a helmsman. Unfortunately, his Vena-Nomi status prevented his entry to the Fleet. Undeterred, he won an essay-writing competition and earned himself a position in Fleet HQ’s mailroom, a place he stayed for fifteen years.

He got out of the mailroom by taking a position nobody else wanted, becoming the personal adjutant to Admiral Derlith of Cone, a notorious crabhead and yeller. Though often berated in public by the Admiral, A-Ram thrived. He never forgot his love of flying and often snuck into the simulators to fly as many types of ships as he could.

A-Ram had an intense fear/fascination with a serial murderer who terrorized the Calvert region known as the Fiend of Calvert, and was convinced he’d once heard the bump, bump, bump of the Fiend’s footsteps as he ran across their townhouse roof.

A-Ram could not know that the tall man in the mask and HRN coat would soon change his life, forever.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Fantasio

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LADY JUBILEE OF BELMONT-SOUTH TYROL is the mother of Lord Stenstrom the Younger, the hero of LoE Book VI: The Sands of the Solar Empire. She was a key influence in his early life.

"Lady Jubilee" by Eve Ventrue

Lady Jubilee of Tyrol was a wealthy socialite from the Esther city of Tyrol on the far eastern shores of Kana. She was well-known for wearing her Pewterlock hair (a shiny shade of silver often seen in Tyrol) short with a “swoop” of bangs in the front. She was also well-known for her catty, contentious nature. She often feuded with the various ladies of Esther and elsewhere. Her longest running feud was with Lady Sephla of Cone, a wealthy woman from Remnath. Jubilee and Sephla traded barbs without end, even resorting to stealing each other’s gentlemen, bedding them down and writing about their various sexual attributes in the local posts.

At a Nether Day ball, Jubilee overheard the younger sister of Lady Sephla speaking to her friends about a gentleman she was very keen on. Jubilee decided to steal the man to humiliate her. She marched out onto the dance floor to do her dirty work.

The gentleman in question was Lord Stenstrom of Belmont, an officer in the Stellar Fleet from Zenon. Handsome and black-haired, of all things Jubilee lost her heart to him and, after a torrid romance, she became his lady and bore him thirty children–twenty-nine daughters and one son, Stenstrom the Younger.

The enemies she made that night at the Nether Day ball would follow Jubilee and her children throughout her life.

Lady Jubilee was reputed to be a practitioner of Tyrol Sorcery. She was said to be a master at creating potions, brewing poisons, summoning demons, walking in the shadows and opening locked doors. She was a domineering and very intrusive mother, often disrupting her children’s lives. Many of her children ran away from home, only to be summoned back at her whim via sorcery. Her daughter, Lady Calami, ran away from home a record 4,000 times. Another Belmont daughter, Lady Constance, went Carofab to escape Jubilee’s clutches.

Lady Jubilee appears in The Sands of the Solar Empire, from Loconeal Publishing in June 2012

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Eve Ventrue

10 Weeks at Chanute

April 13, 2012

I’ve got all sorts of irons in the fire at the moment. LoE Book VI: “The Sands of the Solar Empire” is shooting along, as well as its follow-up Book VII: “Against the Druries”.

Writing fiction is all well and good, however, lately I’ve been feeling the call to dive into non-fiction. It’s a world I’ve not tried before. You’d think writing about the real world that you don’t have you build from scratch would be easy, but it’s actually pretty tough. You must consider each word and ensure they are accurate.

Chanute today, a silent ruin

I’m currently working on “10 Weeks at Chanute”, an account of my military experience learning how to turn wrenches at old Chanute Air Force Base in the middle of the flatlands in eastern Illinois and how my time there haunts me to this day.

I was one of the last jetmechs to graduate from Chanute. They closed it down about a year after I left. Today, Chanute is in ruins. It’s shocking to see the once well-tended streets that I marched down pock marked and weed-infested, the spotless buildings falling in on themselves and shedding paint, a-la Silent Hill. It’s like one of those cheesy postapocalyptic midnight movies where you wake up one morning and all the people are gone. The buildings are stopped in a moment in time filled with discarded bric-a-brac and stand empty wondering where everybody has gone.

White Hall, once the largest American military building prior to the completion of the Pentagon, stands in discolored ruins and awaits the wrecking ball

I knew when I was there, that in only ten weeks, I fell in love with the place and that I would feel its loss terribly. Perhaps I assign too much value on places and nostalgia. I once mourned for old Crosley Field and the Armory at Ohio State, and now I mourn for lost Chanute rotting in the sun. Like El Dorado, like Lemuria, Chanute is a place of riches now lost, just waiting to be rediscovered

I know that a bit of me rests in ruins in the flatlands of Illinois.

10 Weeks at Chanute is a moving, occasionally humorous, occasionally ribald account of one of the last soldiers to come to Chanute an unsure trainee and leave it a fully realized young man.

Look for it from Loconeal Publishing in 2013.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia

There are lots of characters rolling around in the LoE universe, some are active and part of the various storylines, while others are more passive helping to set the stage.

Admiral Pax is one of those characters.

"Admiral Pax" by Eve Ventrue

He’s been around since the beginning when LoE was just a dusty screenplay. Admiral Pax has always been the counterpoint to Captain Davage. Both men are Blues of the Kanan gentry, but while Davage is very down-to-earth and approachable, Admiral Pax is a stiff, stodgy bore, a blue-blood fully taken with the complications of League Society. Captain Davage utterly detests Admiral Pax, and the feeling is rather mutual. He is never seen in the course of the LoE stories, he is merely mentioned in passing mostly by Captain Davage who complains of his excesses.

Admiral Pax is the Lord of Adrastus, a stately Zenon House perched along the dark blue banks of the Great Blue Pierce river. His family fortune comes from the making of fine cheeses and breads and the fermentation of various types of expensive vinegar. His vinegar production has a Xaphan connection as they are often used in the Xaphan delicacy Ooust. Admiral Pax is often known as “Lord Vinegar” around the Fleet mentioned in giggled whispers.

The Admiral is not an incompetent. He has a fine mind for organization, logistics and battle strategy. His expert placement of Fleet assets during the iconic Battle of Sorrander-Quo helped stem the Xaphan tide and win the day for the League. He is also a tireless fund-raiser and has the ear of the Sisterhood of Light.

The problem with Admiral Pax is his tart, boorish nature. He lords his status over all he considers inferior to himself, which is virtually everybody. He is needy, fussy and maintains an entourage of no less than a hundred people who follow him everywhere he goes. A gregarious man, he often visits various parts of the League and always demands a full War-Bird escort to accompany him at Fleet expense–a ruinously expensive thing. For his excesses Captain Davage has branded him a “criminal” and a “miscreant” and coined the phrase: “Fraud, Waste, Abuse and Admiral Pax”.

At the beginning of Book VI, The Sands of the Solar Empire, Private Taara is assigned to guard a bust of Admiral Pax that is hidden in a lonely alcove as a punishment.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Eve Ventrue