LOE Places: Empire Hotel

April 28, 2017

Looming tall of the low-slung, Barbary city of St. Edmunds near the sea is a great building featuring a stout curtain wall of old red bricks, a stockade of inner-rings and a towering keep sheathed in patina green copper. So large and imposing, it can even be seen from orbit on clear days. This is the Empire Hotel, well known across Kana as a tourist attraction and playground for the wealthy peoples of the north and the west. It’s known for being a CWC, or Curtain-Walled City, a place with its own unique customs and ways, including a unique cuisine served in its many restaurants and its gothic-noir fashion. It’s also known for being the scene of several murders attributed to the killer known as the Fiend of Calvert. It was speculated that the Fiend might have been a guest of the hotel, or even one of the staff, though no arrests were ever made. Its wealthy guests come to disappear in its vast interior, dress-up, eat amazing food and People-watch the locals from the comfort of their exclusive terraces.

Empire Hotel Final

The Empire Hotel, by Ewelina Dolzycka

Originally, the hotel was a giant fortress built by the Vith House of Burgon in 477921 EX, intended to be used as a staging post for the conquest of the Calvertlands. The fortress, built to giant-sized Haitathe specifications, was completed, however the Burgons fled the League in 000000AX and the fortress remained unoccupied by the sea for centuries. Initially given a wide-berth by the Calverts due to its imposing appearance, eventually the seascape surrounding the fortress was taken up by the city of St. Edmunds. In 0010452Ax, the Fortress was bought by the Calvert House of Loin who first utilized it as a convent for daring women, then as a hostel for available youths, then as a cooking school, and finally as a full-blown hotel. It has since become a symbol of the city and of Calvert as a whole.

 

The hotel is considered by some a CWC (Curtain-Walled City) where the facility maintains unique customs, and, in some cases, separate legal status. These unique features are reserved for frequent guests only, often referred to as ‘Empirelites’. For these select persons, the hotel serves in its various restaurants, a unique cuisine enjoyed nowhere else on Kana.  They wear unique clothing tailored for them right there in the hotel. They listen to austere music and have access to floors, ballrooms and whole wings not listed or available to the general public. There is a reported room known as the Fiend Suite, where the Fiend of Calvert was said to have stayed and plotted his murders. Guests sometimes stay for months, years even, rarely venturing out.

copyright 2017, Ren Garcia and Ewelina Dolzycka

Lady Alesta of Dare is a girl of Barrow stock hailing from the western city of the same name. The Dares are the largest extended family on Kana with over sixty percent of people of Barrow stock being Dares.

“Lady Alesta of Dare” by Kayla Woodside

From a young age, Alesta was a mature, thoughtful girl. She loved to play and jump, but was nevertheless more reserved and bit more introspective than her brothers and sisters. She often saw a strange star hanging in the western sky. It was a large yellow star that was bright enough to be clearly seen at mid-day, yet dim enough that she could look right at it without hurting her eyes. She thought she could even see some sort of surface detail on it–a red, twisting cloud. She marveled at it and even thought it might be a moon of Kana, though she couldn’t find mention of it in any of her astronomy books. She asked her mother about it once, and she didn’t know what she was talking about, so Alesta didn’t mention it again.

When visiting the marketplace with her mother, she often saw a group of apparently impoverished beggars being harassed in the town square by gawkers. She asked her mother who the beggars were and her mother told her: “Pilgrims of Merian,” and she said nothing more, hurrying on.

“Alesta” by Eve Ventrue

Alesta often saw these Pilgrims of Merian coming and going in Dare. They appeared to be priests of some sort preaching a bizarre alternative version of the History of the Elders, one not sanctioned by the Sisterhood of Light. Most of the people listening to the Pilgrims appeared to be mocking their beliefs.

One day, she stopped to listen to what the Merians were saying. They said, amid the jeers, that the Elders were not gone, and to see them one need only open one’s eyes. The Merians mentioned their Star–a yellow star to the west. The people listening to them laughed. What star, they asked. There is nothing there.

“I see it!” Alesta cried. The Merians turned to her and she pointed right toward it.

Though her family protested, Alesta had found her calling. She left her family in Dare and set out, traveling in the meager wagons of the Pilgrims of Merian. She quickly discovered that there was much more to the Merians than they let on to the public. They took her to a sacred mountain to pray and discover her path. She knelt in the snow at the summit for hours waiting to hear the yellow star speak.

At last, she heard a kind voice whisper in her ear: Save all those who fall astray.”

Alesta on the Merian Ship (From LoE Book VII cover, by Carol Phillips)

For Alesta, she would walk the most dangerous road. She was taken with her Merian brothers and sisters to places of evil where unsuspecting souls often fell into peril and needed help, and her task was to rescue them. She visited many planets without ever having stepped onto a starship, she walked the mysterious Merian’s Road. She and her order saved many people in need, and those they saved were rarely grateful.

Though threadbare and impoverished, her star protected her. She wore a belt that allowed her to walk invisibly if she so wished and had beads that shielded her mind from attack.

She eventually ended up on a small outpost overlooking a watery world of evil unknown to the Sisters or the Fleet, hiding right under their noses where the unwary were lured in and killed. It was very dangerous, and should she and her Merian order be discovered by the caretakers of this world, there would be no mercy and no help for them. As always Alesta and the Merians were on their own in a dangerous world.

One day, she saw a star fall, and that was beginning of the end …

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue, Carol Phillips and Kayla Woodside

Whenever Carol Phillips finishes a new cover it’s like Christmas for me, eagerly huddled up next to my email waiting for that little electronic package to come skittering down the proverbial chimney.

And, here it is…

“The Sands of the Solar Empire” by Carol Phillips

Book VI, “The Sands of the Solar Empire” marks the beginning of the LoE Second Series. You have the same universe, same setting, just a slew of whole new characters and fresh adventures. You’ll meet Lord Stenstrom, a Fleet Paymaster as he takes command of Captain Davage’s old ship, the Seeker. You’ll get to know Private Taara de la Anderson, a thief from Bazz and Lord A-Ram, a fellow from the Admiral’s office as they take on the unknown.

Lord Bannaster of the Bones Club, by Carol Phillips

The cover for Book VI is the usual wrap-around format. The Second Series takes on a bit more of a Steampunky feel as we move away from Colonial Vithland and examine Victorian Esther and the Calvertlands and dives into the seldom-seen depths of the Bones Club where they openly mock the Sisterhood of Light.

It’s a much darker cover than the previous five, even more so than the Temple of the Exploding Head, which is pretty darn dark. It features a steam-driven geared spider with guns, a balloon/air ship and the constellation Camalopardus and the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Bones Club. The Sanctum comes from my recollections of a Masonic temple that I once wandered into, and here it is in full paint, fully steampunked and super-charged a little.

I can’t wait to finish collecting the interior artwork and get it out to the world.

Look for LoE Book VI: The Sands of the Solar Empire coming this August from Loconeal Publications

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips

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