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Inferno 1887 News


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INFERNO

News 1887

PASSING OF RAGNAROK

During the course of 1887 the black mists finally roll back from Europe, and the world is free from the 'Ragnarok effect' for the first time in over four years... The change happens gradually, but steadily, the mists slipping away from North to South. It is around the middle of the year that the mists finally leave Southern Europe. Various changes come as the mists slip past you -- for one thing you will feel a momentary sense of peace and relaxation. Your sight will also change -- you will be able to see further, and hear at a much greater distance... however, for a while this 'natural' sight will seem to be superimposed on you 'black mist' sight that has allowed you to see as well at night as during the day. You will also occasionally still see an entity or gremlin lurking within the mist, or hear their occasional shouts... but during the months following the end of Ragnarok this 'second sight' will slowly fade, until you are once again entirely dependent on your eyes to see, and require, once more, to light your way at night. But the gremlins and entities will cease to disturb you, the moon will no longer have a face, and the palaces in the cloud will disappear. This is not the case, however, for the very young. Those born during the time of Ragnarok notice no change when the mist leaves... they still walk around at night without light, and still seem unable to see more than a hundred yards, although they too are conscious of the entities' absence. They also tend not to bother opening their eyes. When the mists are gone you will start to see yourself in a new way. Mirrors, which are once again reliable about these things, show you looking older now -- four or five years older than before. You may also find scars or bruises on your body you have no memory of receiving. Strangely, you will have very vivid memories of the last few days before Ragnarok -- as if the intervening time had not occurred -- and will once again remember those small details about where you left your door keys.... Door keys will not be the only things to be found... many things suddenly turn up that you had forgotten about -- odd ornaments, things in the back of cupboards, letters and notes, even entire buildings on occasions... all those neglected little things that were easy to forget about now return to your vision. The 'real world' is, however, different in some key ways. For one thing the new railway lines are visible in many countries -- as are the death camps. In Spain and France particularly, large camps patrolled by troops become visible at the ends of complex railway line networks. These camps have great chimneys that belch out thick smoke day and night, as more and more trains of people arrive in them to be processed. Populations are substantially down in these areas, entire towns and villages now standing entirely empty and neglected. It does indeed seem that the human race is being steadily wiped out...

CLIMATIC DISASTER WORSENS, MILLIONS PERISH

As the Earth's orbit continued to spiral closer towards the Sun, global temperatures increased further this year. All pack-ice cover has now melted, leaving Antarctica and Greenland exposed and the North Pole just a large expanse of sea. The planet's tropical zones have become all but uninhabitable, with vegetation scorched to brown husks, and flash fires raging uncontrollably. Europe is descending into aridity, those parts of the continent which are still there at all -- the low-lying nation of Holland has completely disappeared beneath the rising seas, and its unfortunate populace have been forced to take refuge in the despoiled lands they were granted by the Holy Roman Emperor alongside the Rhine. Even mighty Britain has suffered, with the Wash expanding to take in most of Lincolnshire, and Londoners driven back from their beloved river for fear of flooding. And all over Europe there is a muttering -- against the politicians who, despite knowing of this problem for the past two years, have done nothing to alleviate the human suffering it has brought -- and against the scientists who this year expended their efforts rivalling each other in building giant clocks, rather than attempting to restore our planet to its rightful orbit.

TIK-TOKMAN MENACE: TRUE HORROR NOW APPARENT

As the black mist rolls back, we have come to realise the true horror and extent of the Tik-TokMan menace. The countryside of Western Europe is scattered with huge, monstrous death camps, and armies of Tik-TokMen patrol their massive defences. More Tik-TokMen are being continually generated in vast automated factories, and transported to carry out their deadly work in uncanny driverless trains. They are a formidable enemy and well emplaced, and it is clear that the devastation they have already wrought is sickeningly great. Estimates for the various countries show that around ten million French, six million Spanish, three million Britons, half a million Liechtensteiners (ie. all of them) and an unknown number of Italians -- all told, around a quarter of the population of Western Europe -- have perished in their camps. And the camps are still being built, and spreading further East as they go. Who can be responsible for this deadly menace? The Times calls upon the leaders of the world's armies to lay aside their petty squabbles and deal with the threat that hangs over all humanity. Smash the Tik-TokMen!

TURMOIL IN ROME -- TWO POPES?

As a funeral procession marched slowly through the streets of Rome, carrying the late Pius X to his final resting place, not a word came from the crowd. Then a man, stepping from the ranks of believers, walked slowly and purposefully towards the coffin. No-one stopped Jonathan Tyler as he walked up to the coffin itself, and placed his hands upon its polished surface. Onlookers swear that the air about Jonathan Tyler's head blazed with a holy radiance, and they all fell to their knees in awe. Then as everyone looked on in total silence, the lid of the coffin swung back, and Pope Pius X raised himself from within, looking as healthy as he had in years, and spoke out to the crowds. He announced that he was returned to full health, that his successor Paul VI should resign the triple crown forthwith, that the man who had restored his health, Jonathan Tyler, was indeed the very Son of God, and that sufficient prayer would see the entities driven off Earth by year's end. Pope Paul's reaction is not yet known.

IT'S A TRIUMPH!

Cinematic genius Beerbohm Tree proved once again that there is none to match him in the field of artistic endeavour, with his latest blockbuster 'The Triumph of the Will' -- and a true triumph it has been, in artistic, technological and commercial terms. An Asatru warrior (played by Leif Litte), an HRE soldier (Hans Upp), an Air'ai priest (Winston Kodogo) and a hapless Englishman (Dan Leno, for comic relief) are thrown together in a Bavarian warzone and are forced to depend on each other for survival. Finding strength in cultural diversity, agreeing to disagree, and acknowledging brotherhood in humanity, they battle a range of nasty entities and come through to safety as the black mist that surrounds them symbolically rolls back. Critical opinion have praised the film's sensitive blending of pathos with uplift, and its epic sweep -- aided by the specially-commissioned Tchaikovsky score. Audiences worldwide have been emerging blinking from the theatres, commenting on how morally-inspired they feel. And, strangest of all, during the film's run the black mist has indeed been rolling back from our fair planet (see related story) -- a case of Life imitating Art?

CONFUSION IN THE ITALIAN RANKS

The Italian war effort has been hampered by an outbreak of badly written or confusing orders. Supplies have been going astray, manoeuvres have been confused, and even some attacks have been launched against incorrect targets. The source of these incorrect orders has yet to be found, but espionage at the highest level is suspected.

NEW BUSINESSMAN WOWS THEM IN FRANCE!

Some seem to have really caught the spirit of free enterprise in France -- reports are of a new businessman who has come form nothing, but is already building a mini-empire for himself. The enigmatic Mr Frank Lathin has already taken over a number of small shops, and is knitting them together into an impressive chain of retail outlets -- using bulk purchasing to slash prices and increase his market share. His financial brilliance and creativity has attracted the admiration, and envy, of many, and big things are expected from him in the future.

THE POET LANCE FOUND MURDERED IN LONDON

The little-known, but respected, poet Lance was found dead in London. His body was discovered on New Years morning in a back alley. He had been shot once in the head at short range. Police say they can discover no motive for the attack, but are currently conducting investigations, although we are told no clues have yet been found. A retrospective of Lance's work is expected to be published soon, as his publishers say a large quantity of unseen work has been found at his home. A large collection of original paintings and sculptures by the poet was also found. The paintings are, apparently, of remarkable quality, and are very much in the style of Horace, the painter who suddenly left the art scene thirty years ago. Scholars already theorise that Lance must have been secretly tutored by Horace at some time in the past, although no connection has definitely been made. It is believed Lance had no family, and that no one survives him.

RETROSPECTIVE OF POET'S WORK PUBLISHED

A retrospective of the work of the late English poet Lance has been published. It is taken from a large collection of unpublished work discovered after his death. The publishers say they were shocked at the quantity, and quality, of the work, much of which seems to have been done in the last year of the poets life. Much of the later work is dark, and preoccupied with themes of death, and of the shortness of life, as if, some have claimed, Lance had a premonition of his own death. However, much of the work shows the eclectic, and frequently surreal, themes that mark out his work -- from challenging theological themes, such as 'How the hell did that angel get in here?' to the anti-romantic 'The Anything in trousers woman', with its sequel 'The Anything in trousers women', and the bitter 'Bloody hell, not that Duke again'.

NEW HOPE OFFERED TO 'AMBROSIA' ADDICTS

A charitable research institute has offered a deal to those suffering from addiction to 'Ambrosia' -- they offer complete medical care, in return for the sufferer allowing simple tests to be performed upon them. The intention behind the research has not been made entirely clear, but we believe it is research aimed at helping the individuals suffering from this terrible modern affliction.

BIG TAKEOVERS IN THE WATER UTILITIES

A spate of takeovers of the water utilities has been occurring in Europe. Many transactions have occurred within Spain, as well as some movement in the Holy Roman Empire and France. It seems that industrialists now believe there is money to be made from serving the public with clean fresh water -- we just hope that the service will not suffer when the profit margin is given priority.

>From How Do You Do? magazine: ALLURING ALEXIS ASTONISHES THE PRE-RAPHS

So who is this mystery woman? And what does she want with all those dishy pre-Raph men? Just a little of their time perhaps, or maybe something more??? Alexis has come from nowhere to take them by storm -- with her dusky good looks, and those quite delightful fussy furry high-heel slippers, she is simply divine! And although we don't mean to sound cruel, our lovely Lizzie is looking a little... how can we put this delicately? Old? So perhaps it's no wonder the dark allure of the lovely Alexis is turning a few eyes which once only hung upon Lizzie!

CNN REVEALS THE FRAUD OF ST CAWRDAV

The Crystal News Network -- a network making use of the new-fangled crystal technology that has no hope of replacing the solid, reliable, dependability of news print -- has been carrying stories for some time that claim to put the lie to the 'deception' of the reappearance of St Cawrdav in Russia last year. The claim is that these were all frauds, engineered by the Hungarian scientist Dr Kestthaarl. Dr Kestthaarl openly admits his fraud, and says he was happy to help act out the scene for the payment he received. However, he says he dislikes the possible political capital that could be made out of his 'appearance' and so wishes to come clean to CNN.

CRICKET TOURNEY 'A GREAT SUCCESS'

The inaugural North Pole cricket tourney (which will probably be the last, with all the ice on which it was held having melted) was a great success, according to organiser Mick Bruce, with victory once again going to the Russian team. England made a rather stronger showing than last year and pipped Australia for second place, perhaps thanks to Professor Hugo Victor's Performance and Ability in Cricket Machine Assessment Node training device, and in the absence of the Terrans a number of smaller nations (France, Spain, Italy, Iceland, etc etc) contested the wooden spoon, finally awarded to Liechtenstein (who were represented by three goats).

'GLOBAL HEATING' STRIKES AFRICA WORST

The 'dark continent' has been particularly badly struck by the world's climatic change. Giacomo Donavelli is perhaps the only world statesman to be making some effort to help his people, providing water with the aid of his fellow Air'ai gods, but he is shouting against the wind -- the only parts of Africa which are now inhabitable are the immediate coastal zones and the southern peninsula.

EMPIRE FUNDS ANTI-ENTITY FILM?

It has emerged that Beerbohm Tree's 'The Triumph of the Will' masterpiece was largely funded by the Holy Roman Empire's Department of Health and Education. We can only applaud Archduchess Ariadne Digitalis's inspired and noble-minded decision to put Art above Politics, and support an endeavour that was so inimical to the entities on whom her nation so largely depends for its strength.

HOUSE OF MEDICI BRANCHES OUT

In a major launch in London this year, orchestrated by Beerbohm Tree, the House of Medici boutique announced that it was now exclusively supplying the popular perfume 'Eau de Rita', as well as being responsible for worldwide sales of the Digitalis Schweppes products Coca-Cepsi (in its new blue bottle) and Vodka Total (now available in chocolate, orange and cinnamon flavours). This represents a major move up market for these drinks -- will Vodka Total, once the down-and-out's favourite tipple (thanks to Dr Digitalis's habit of giving it out free) now be seen only in the cocktail cabinets of the wealthy who are House of Medici's usual customers? There is already muttering that the vodka is weaker than it used to be -- 'it costs twice as much, and you have to drink twice as much to get hammered!' complained one customer.

>From the Letters Column of The Times:

Dear Sir, I wish to correct a misconception about last year's cinematic production on the subject of the FLOP disease, for which I was responsible. Your reviewer described it as 'a salutary admonition for those who would indulge', etc, when in fact it was no more this than it was a guide on 'how to avoid the natural ramifications of such behaviour'. It was an objective scientific report aimed at promoting health and happiness, neither condemning nor advocating any behaviour. The producers were scientists, educators and showmen, not priests. Yours faithfully, Herbert Beerbohm Tree.

>From the Editorial Column of The Times:

Mr Beerbohm Tree seems to be one of our national treasures at the moment, and doubtless feels he can do no wrong. But if he imagines that it is possible to present such a sensitive topic as disease of the organs of reproduction without putting a moral slant on it, he is mistaken. In such a matter one must either condemn or condone: there is no middle way, no neutral path. We call upon Mr Beerbohm Tree now to declare himself: is he in favour of unbridled license and lascivious behaviour, and the degeneracy, birth malformation and woe even unto the tenth generation that it inevitably brings with it, or is he against it?

LOONY RUSSIANS TAKE STEPPES

News reaches us from Britain's colony of the Moon that the White Russian aristocrats domiciled there have decamped from the main base to set up their own community in the Tsiolkovsky crater, where they hope to re-create the Earthly steppes from which they were so forcibly ejected.

TAVENER'S CALL FOR FITNESS UNHEEDED

Governor Dr Peter Tavener of the Moon has built a large gymnasium, to help Lunar subjects avoid that weakness and lassitude of bones and muscles that comes over those who spend too long in our satellite's low gravity. Alas, enthusiasm for it has been weak, and there are fears that those who have already spent two years on the Moon without suitable exercise will now never be able to live full and happy lives back on Earth, as their skeletons are already too weakened.

'FREEDOM' FOR AFRICA

In a move that surprised all but the wisest pundits, the House of Lords passed the African Colonies (Independence) Bill after forcing amendments guaranteeing Britain's trading rights and a voice on the new governments on its proponents. This means that all of Britain's many African colonies are now independent, and sees the old Empire trimmed back to manageable proportions -- little more than the Moon, the Antipodes, and a few islands.

AIR'AI SWEEP THE BOARD IN AFRICA

Giacomo Donavelli's Air'ai managed to achieve electoral victory in every single one of Britain's former African colonies, on a platform of religious tolerance, economic investment and social progress. This means that the Air'ai are now in control of the entire continent, barring the Dutch-held Cape Colony.

BYE BYE BIG BEN -- HELLO HUGE HUGO

Londoners have been relieved to see their favourite clock-tower reconstructed this year, much the same in design but rather bigger and with a giant cuckoo that calls the hour, audible as far away as Hampstead and Dulwich. The new clock is called 'Huge Hugo', in honour of its creator.

SHERIDAN GETS STEAMED UP

Professor Archibald Sheridan has lodged a complaint against Professor Victor Hugo in the matter of Big Ben's replacement. Prof Sheridan alleges that, while he submitted designs for a new steam-powered clock in the proper way, his rival simply went ahead and built his own edifice without attempting to seek permission from the Government or Crown. He has called for those in authority to demolish Prof Victor's 'monstrosity' in favour of his own, more reliable design.

MORE WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA

This troubled province has barely had time to draw breath from the last war before finding itself plunged into turmoil again, as a large army of Air'ai worshippers, Divine Legionnaires and gods poured over the border determined to drive out the Dutch and give governor Ruud Boogers a taste of his own medicine. The struggle was inconclusive, with Gerhard Hubris's brilliant generalship aiding his forces even after their entity allies disappeared towards the end of the year.

AMBROSIA SPREADS THROUGHOUT EUROPE

The evil drug Ambrosia, so popular in London this year, has spread its tentacles throughout Europe, with all our great cities containing desperate addicts. The drug's horrific properties -- it is the most addictive substance known to humanity -- have led to a great fear of it among the educated, although it is rumoured that both Dante Gabriel Rossetti and fellow Pre-Raphaelite William Morris were hooked before undergoing expensive and arduous cure treatments at an exclusive London clinic.

BAGGIO TOURS, RESTORES FAITH

Cardinal Gino Baggio, 'Il Divino Codino', absent from the European sermonising scene in recent years thanks to the unfortunate scandal that dogged his name, has made a triumphant return, with a series of striking speeches on themes related to Christian duty -- culminating in a fine, stirring call to knighthood delivered to the Russian army. Catholics up and down Europe are asking why this holy man of God has never put himself forward as a candidate for the papacy, particularly given the unseemly incidents sent his year involving the current Pontiff and his predecessor.

TENNYSON LAMBASTES BRAIN-STEALERS ONCE MORE

The Poet Laureate has published another CereBingo poem, this one detailing the woes of a loser and the horrors which follow, from his unknown place of exile. Is this great man, once famed for his mastery of the common touch, losing his grip, though? CereBingo is the most popular pastime ever devised in Britain, and by opposing it Tennyson is trying to swim against a very strong tide.

LAUREATE LECTURES TO RED YOUTH

Alfred, Lord Tennyson has popped up in Russia, lecturing to Soviet students on a variety of literary topics, on a bill that includes the Russian writers Lev Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov. The Laureate arrived anonymously at the talks and left immediately after, giving no clue as to the whereabouts of his current domicile.

MEDICI TAKE NEW YORK BY STORM

A branch of the House of Medici boutique has been opened on New York's exclusive Fifth Avenue, stocking jewellery and accessories as well as popular perfume Eau de Rita. Owner Lady Apollonia was thrilled to see it sell out its initial stock within a week, such was the interest in her wares generated by Elizabeth Siddal's visit to the States last year. She spoke briefly on the subject of Terrans, complimenting the Americans on their Martian friends and the delicious Dust and Bars they had brought from their home planet.

MARS DUST BANNED IN USA

The popular confectionery 'Mars Dust' has been banned throughout the United States, selling or possessing it to be punishable by stiff fine, after President Edison pronounced it 'one of the greatest menace our society faces, after the Tik-TokMen of course'. Several congressmen spoke up angrily in favour of the sweet, although it was noticed that all had the tell-tale sticky lips that denote a devotee. Will this evil sweetmeat provoke a backlash against America's Terran friends?

TERRAN EMBASSY DENIES DUST LINK, MARSCO FOLLOWS SUIT

The Terran Embassy in Washington denied vehemently that the illegal Mars Dust sweet had anything to do with Terran activities, or indeed with Mars at all, claiming instead that it was produced on Earth. The mars Trading Company, who make the popular 'Mars Bar', were equally swift to deny involvement, chairman Michael Valentine Smith announcing 'Grok this -- Mars Dust is not a product with which MarsCo would dream of being associated in any way.'

CURE FOUND FOR FLOP, HOWARD ANNOUNCES

Dr Philip Howard, who first brought news of the FLOP problem to an aghast nation's attention, has managed to come up with a cure for it -- known as Howard's Serum, the drug kills the tiny organisms responsible for the drug. Because of the chemical's sensitivity to light and air, it can only be administered via Philip's Screwdriver, an extraordinarily painful type of hypodermic that must be inserted all over the body. Beneficial effects are already being felt by those who have been treated, though: 'I feel so much happier now I'm on Howard's Serum!' said one unfortunate.

RUSSIAN / SPANISH / HRE / PERSIAN / LEVITICAN / AIR'AI WAR NEWS

A national referendum in Spain has shown the Spanish people to be so enthusiastic about Emperor Charles VIII and his Catholic principles that the country has been declared a member state to the Holy Roman Empire. General Perez has been declared the Empire's Minister of War and overall military commander.

A bad year for General Perez, who despite having the best-equipped and most enthusiastic troops on either side of the Russian War, found his most unpredictable strategies anticipated at every turn by Davchenko, and his troops led astray by a steady stream of misinformation. "Davchenko is so brilliant we might as well be telling him our plan of campaign in advance," said ADC Rodriguez off the record.

The final straw for the disgruntled Spanish army was the news of an unexpected attack on their home country by African troops, whipped on by the Air'ai priesthood. With his troops at a hopeless loss on the Russian front, General Perez saw no reason not to order a return to Spain to deal with the new threat, leaving Emperor Charles VIII to oversee the good fight against International Communism.

General Perez has made short work of an Air'ai invasion of southern Spain, efficiently demolishing the opposition and demonstrating that the Spanish army is without a doubt the finest military force in Europe in a fair fight. The campaign season was too far advanced for a return to Russia to be profitable, giving the Spanish stalwarts a much-needed winter with their families to look forward to.

Karl Davchenko has proven yet again that he is far and away the best general of his or perhaps any age. Approaching his military predicaments with a fresh mind he has conceived a new system of tactics that has rendered Helmut von Moltke's blueprint for 19th century warfare virtually obsolete. What a military mind, to make pushing back armies to the north and the south while holding off a third seem so effortless!

The winds of war blow hot and cold, but for none more than the Russians: a double whammy has been struck against the invaders by the acquisition of Japanese heat ray technology, at the same time as unseasonal weather all year has turned Russian battlegrounds into snowfields - conditions which the dour Russians were much better prepared to fight in than their western counterparts.

The Levitican army, headed by Arria, arrived from their successful defence of France to join the Russian forces. Finding no demons to combat, and discovering that the "enemy" were more pious in their Christian faith than their allies, Arria had no idea what to do with her troops until General Davchenko cynically arranged that her Army find itself directly in the path of a Spanish attack. After the general confusion, thankfully not resulting in a bloodbath but giving the Russians time to seize a considerable tactical advantage, Arria realised that she had been played for a fool and salvaged her pride by commanding her followers to quit the field.

The Persian force has been driven back after its impressive advance of last year - seemingly Senor de Moltke's reserves of luck have run out. Once Davchenko could free up enough troops to deal with the problem he was merciless: even those who surrendered were slaughtered in their thousands.

The Russian foreign office has issued a statement blaming Moltke for leading its "traditional allies" astray to fuel his "imperialist dynastic fantasies and delusions of grandeur".

Cawrdav has returned to his cathedral seat in the ruins of Moscow, hideously weakened but unbowed. After undertaking a twenty-four hour vigil before the altar, Karl Davchenko emerged to announce himself the first Knight of Cawrdav, dedicated to defending Christianity and Communist Russia. The mausoleum city has become a pilgrimage site for simple folk, and a new wave of optimism is visible in the faces of the Russian people.

Military recruitment has become a watchword for these troubled times, but Karl Davchenko seems to intend to press anyone capable of standing upright while holding a weapon into his army. Will he sacrifice Russia's entire able-bodied population for the realisation of his Communist dream?

The messianic cricketer Mick Bruce was much in evidence in Russia at the height of the campaigning season, causing havoc by shooting people on either side and attempting to show the poor how to grow crops they already had.

Queen Victoria has offered her services as a peace moderator between Spain, Arabia and Russia.

The wedding of Her Imperial Highness Empress Juanita Evita and His Majesty Tsar Alexis IV ended in chaos and tragedy when a large explosive device disguised as the altar left some guests in spasming fits and others feeling "quite hale and hearty". Almost immediately a lambent figure clad in shining white crashed through the central stained-glass window on a rope, yelling "Give this maiden a decent innings, you blighters!", scooped up Juanita Evita, and was gone in almost a single bound to an inspired flourish from the elderly church organist. As the Tsar looked around himself in shock a dozen Russian soldiers burst from their hiding places, shooting him and all who rushed to defend him dead before beating a fighting retreat. How can the world fail to be struck dumb by such infamy?

IMPERIAL NEWS

The Prussian and Hungarian armies, commanded by Emperor Charles VIII, is now the mainstay of the battle against Communist Russia. Rumour has it that the Emperor for all his advisors is hopelessly outclassed by Davchenko's tactical genius, and that his Imperial troops are largely unenthusiastic. Certainly he has failed to make any great advances into Russian territory since the Spanish withdrawal - no doubt he is looking over his shoulder in the hope that Perez will appear once more on the horizon!

The Holy Roman Empire has taken advantage of England's war with France by moving upon the Balkans - but progress is slow given His Imperial Majesty's attention being mostly focused to the east.

Archduchess Digitalis seems to have more strings to her bow than anyone could have expected - she has been made Governor of all Austria. President Miklos Toldi of Hungary is to oversee any territorial gains made by the Holy Roman Empire in the Balkans.

The Holy Roman Empire continues its rebuilding drive, with the assistance of Japanese investors. Armament factories seem to be the primary concern, closely followed by orphanages and other such benevolent institutions. Charles VIII has provided a generous donation to the Pope for the reconstruction of the area around Rome. Meanwhile Karlstadt Cathedral is now the biggest in Europe (though not as tall as the Helmut von Moltke Memorial Cathedral in Bethlehem, thanks to that structure's enormous spire), and the base for sponsored pilgrimages in the autumn for Imperial Citizens to the Holy Land.

What remains of the Khiron Commission is debating the offer they have received from Charles VIII to rebuild their offices in Karlstadt or any other Imperial city of their choosing.

Princess Annabella has spent her year doing good works in the name of the Protector for the people of Austria. Whether the Emperor will approve of the introduction of Protectorism to his borders remains to be seen.

Charles VIII spent a week in bed, with his private physicians concerned for his life, after drinking something that disagreed with him. He has since recovered, but apparently has been advised against exerting himself in the conjugal sense, as he has taken pains not to spend time with the young Empress since that occasion.

The Empire has handed all of central Italy over to the Papacy to rule, withdrawing all its troops south of the Venice-Milan line. This is being seen as a diplomatic coup for Pope Paul VI, and effectively a re-establishment of the medieval Papal States, including Florence.

ENGLISH / FRENCH WAR NEWS

After the failure of the Mongol Horde to move against France, the indefatigably bellicose Marshall Joffre turned his troops about face for an assault on Britain. Never before has a war provided such a showcase for military technology: the sides proved evenly matched on that score, as conventional assaults took a back seat to the astonishingly destructive inventions of Professors Directrix and Victor. In the end, however, the French had the day, and Victoria's troops retreated before Joffre's landing on English soil: he would no doubt have pushed forward even to London had the state of affairs in Paris not been weighing heavily on his mind.

Queen Victoria seems to have decided that if you can't beat 'em, you should join 'em: several hundred English troops were observed taking Pevensey with minimum fatalities from several hundred of their own men. Their victory was short-lived, however, as the French quickly recovered from their confusion and shelled the place "just to make sure".

Turmoil in France, as with the Emperor on English soil and the Empress in the Holy Roman Empire, a three-way political struggle broke out between Communist-inspired revolutionaries, peaceful liberals and pro-Joffre hard-liners. The revolutionaries eventually triumphed over a France whose hearts and minds were weary of war and bloodshed, and Joffre was declared deposed by a new Paris government, Terran-backed and looking to their "English allies" to defend them from the wrath of the army.

The Spanish nation has been giving France much-needed loans in their time of national crisis, continuing the strong tradition of co-operation between the two nations.

ENGLISH / SCOTTISH POLITICAL NEWS

The Scottish people voted yesterday in a crucial referendum yesterday over the future of their country. With an almost overwhelming majority they voted for the reestablishment of an independent monarchy for Scotland.

A "Governmental Law Bill" has been introduced in Britain, creating an addition to the British legal system not answerable to the government. The "Judicial Circle" consists of three persons, two senior judges and a political expert (currently the noted Sir Maunder McIrnan).

The first British General Election in some time has been called. Despite some altercations at the polling stations when Lobotterised citizens were denies their right to vote, the turnout was good. The recent political turmoil, the disappearance of Scotland and the emergence of several new parties have disrupted the traditional two-party landscape of England, and it is one of these new groups that now holds the balance of power: Mr Bufton Tufton, prominent in sponsoring the African Colonies (Independence) Bill, has been elected the new Prime Minister of Great Britain, in coalition with what remains of the Liberal Party.

A large Terran presence in the new House of Commons line-up, as our friends from Mars were allowed to stand for election, and proved quite popular with voters swayed by their impassioned campaign.

Once again the imposing structure of Hadrian's Wall seems set to separate England from Scotland. In a huge construction drive, almost eighty percent of the wall has been reconstructed in a single year, and almost all of the inhabitants of the newly independent country have travelled South to see the great structure and place their own brick in the wall.

MONGOLS STOMP OFF

Apparently resulting from the death of their war leader Tamerlane Khan, the Mongol Horde broke from its inexorable march upon the borders of France and collapsed into squabbling factions as the Khan's captains began to vie with each other for his mantle. Much of the Horde appears to have elected to wend its way back to Mongolia rather than continue to fight Tamerlane's wars.

The Mongol Horde's retreat took it through Persia and caused much collateral damage to that weakened nation. It would not appear that the Arabians will be able to consider expanding their frontiers again for a considerable time!

BRITISH HEROES SEE OFF ENTITIES

The British-commissioned Virtue Mecha Suits, piloted by the dashing Messrs Drake and Tavener, were present to witness the end of the black mist and the retreat in disarray of the Mongol Horde from the borders of France. There's one in the eye for villains everywhere!

POWERS STARTS NEW WORK

Mersuavin Powers, the famous artist, has retired to his estate of Crail to begin his most ambitious ever work. The artistic community is abuzz with speculation as to what medium the flamboyant leader of the Symplastique school will adopt for such a grand project.

STEGGIES IN SUMATRA

A Jurassic Centre has been set up in Indonesia for the breeding and training of Venusian dinosaurs.

WORLDLINK OFFER

Dropping taxation levels have caused a minor boom for world economy. To celebrate, MA Shipping offered a special "Travel like a Medici, pay like a Scot" deal on WorldLink routes, affording ghoulish voyeurs a view of the many warzones and scenes of devastation that are the norm in our post-Ragnarok age.

SECURITY COUNCIL -- BOLTING THE STABLE DOOR?

A world security council has been mooted by Senor de Moltke in order to combat extra-terrestrial and communistic threats to the planet, in the manner of the Khiron Commission but on a much greater scale.

TERRANS CALL FOR DEMOCRACY

Terran-backed National Unity Parties are calling for democratic general elections in both Berlin and Rome to match the great victories of the popular will in London and Paris this year.

ASATRU NEWS

As the entities have been pushed back to the southernmost tip of the Earth, the Asatru have followed them, colonising the outer parts of Antarctica for the glory of the gods with Terran assistance. Trade has begun with South America, Australia and Africa, a particularly shrewd profit being made from the selling of icebergs to increasingly drought-afflicted parts of those continents!

An ancient document has been found by antiquarians in Kiev, declaring that in the time of Ragnarok, and impostor claiming to be the son of Odin would come and lead the men of the north astray. Working for the giants, he would lead his people into their traps and cause them to die. The text exhorts all true followers of the Norse to rise up and kill this impostor, before dealing effectively with the giants. It is reported that some violent dissent was voiced in the camp of the Odinsson following these revelations.

The Norse resistance movement has finally been weeded out of the Holy Roman Empire by Charles VIII's secret police. However, the Odinsson has taken advantage of the rout of the Mongol Horde by taking the disputed Prussian lands in the name of Scandinavia.

The newly created nation of Scotland has seen its first taste of military action as Asatru troops took the Orkneys and the Shetlands back for Scandinavia.

IT'S 'GOTHIQUE MUSIC' NOW

The millennial feel of Gothique music is enjoying increased popular appeal, with numbers by Gideon Stargrave and his Invisibles, "the Sister of Mercy", and "Anarchy in the British Empire" by Andrew Taylor and Doktor Avalanche (proud inventor of the Automated Percussion Engine) all back on the nation's Molotov gramophones now that Ragnarok allows their use once more.

>From How Do You Do? magazine: NEW LOVE FOR LIZZIE?

A new romantic interest for Lizzie Siddal? Wasn't that dashing Mr Bruce being attentive in stopping anyone male from getting within ten yards of her on her cross-channel excursion?

BRUCE'S CHALLENGE

Mick Bruce has made a standing challenge to all British republicans of a duel on Wednesdays, at Lords, from 10 till 5 with a break for lunch and tea, no women or black people allowed. This challenge also applies to His Imperial Majesty Charles VIII, apparently on account of his being a wife-beater.

LOST EMBRACE VOODOO

A huge voodoo ceremony in honour of Papa Legba and Baron Zaraguin was organised on All Hallow's Eve in the Americas by followers of the Lost cult. The youth of today!

NEW WEAPON INVENTED

A recent development in military technology has seen the introduction of a new type of projectile weapon. The PLASMA (Projection by linear acceleration of a Star-Metal analogue) pistol has recently been unveiled by a new military supplier. They have the capability for causing phenomenal damage at short range, and even for harming some of the smaller demonic entities, but at the moment seem only to be available to the extremely wealthy.

SHAKA GETS THE SHAKES

The huge computing engine SHAKA-Zulu has been experiencing significant technical difficulties in recent months, causing all manner of strange results. Several programmers have hiked into the innards of the machine in an attempt to locate and deal with any bugs, but this will be a mammoth task. A group of programmers who absent-mindedly wandered off into the machine's innards have not been seen for weeks.

MATHENCARDS PLAYING UP

MathenCards go Mad! The new plastic currency that has been spreading round Europe has suddenly become very unreliable. Some people have found that their fortunes have grown from nothing overnight, while others have suddenly gathered massive debts. The scheme is currently being suspended while these errors are dealt with.

ALBANIAN FESTIVITIES

Residents of Albania have returned to their beds exhausted this evening after a continuous three day festival to celebrate the coronation of Princess Melusine after scholars unveiled her royal lineage. The populace have welcomed her into their hearts, and everyone seems overjoyed for the young woman's good fortune.

BEAST KILLINGS IN SCOTLAND

The fourth woman has died in Scotland recently as the result of a savage attack by a pack of wild animals. One of the women was seen by bystanders being consumed alive by a swarm of sparrows, which seemed to completely black out the sky around her. By strange coincidence, the women all seem to be linked to the moon Goddess Killin, whose worship has been growing recently in Scotland, but zoologists can offer no explanation for the attacks.

SCUFFLE IN VATICAN

Pope-watchers were treated to the sight of an unseemly scuffle in St Peter's this March, as the resurrected Pius X attempted to grab the papal crown from the head of his successor Paul VI in order to deliver the traditional Easter message. Paul has declared that Pius is not properly alive, being sustained only by means of black sorcery on Jonathan Tyler's part, and thus cannot still be Pope. Pius has claimed that his resurrection was a genuine miracle, testament to Tyler's divinity, and that Paul is an impudent puppy. All this rancour is only harming the image of the Catholic faith worldwide, and causes the longing eyes of worshippers to turn once more towards Cardinal Baggio, who has wisely remained aloof from the wrangling.

SAUROPOD SAUCE

A new delicacy has hit the top restaurants in Paris recently. Dinosaur steak seems to have become an instant hit, particularly with those customers who have particularly large appetites. Surprisingly tender, and with a slightly volcanic taste, the new meat provides a perfect platform for new explorations in the Gastronomic world.

HAVE A _REAL_ HOLIDAY ON VENUS!

Bored of the standard family holiday in the sun? Then take a look at VenusEnvy, the new magazine from Venus Connection, filled to the brim with exciting new ideas for your family jaunt this summer. All the thrill of dinosaur hunts, live volcanic action, and a real opportunity to explore a new and untamed land. What more could you ask from the adventure of a lifetime?

'SONS OF MERCY' FORETELL MILLENNIAL DOOM

As the end of the world seems to be drawing closer and closer, a new cult has gained a foothold in society which looks forward to the destruction of the planet with a kind of insane glee. The 'Sons of Mercy' predict many catastrophic events in coming years, culminating in the total and inevitable destruction of our planet. Slightly worryingly the head cultists seem alarmingly accurate at predicting potential disasters before they occur. One of the most notable was the collapse of the Arc de Triumph in France, which was shaken apart by unexplained seismic activity last month.

'CHURCH OF ALL WORLDS' FINDS SUPPORT

As our world seems increasingly in jeopardy of being destroyed many people are turning to new and diverse religions to seek spiritual comfort. One of the more recent religions to spring up is the 'Church of all worlds' which advocates its followers moving to Mars to avoid impending doom on Earth.

INFANT PSYCHOLOGY CRISIS

As the black mist has gradually rolled back over much of Northern Europe already this year, the world we return to seems to have maintained some vestige of the strangeness of recent years. Not least is the profound effect the terrors seem to have had on the children born and raised within it. Almost all of the children born during the last five years seem locked within the terrors of the past. Unable to accept the sudden change of their surroundings, their eyes stare sightlessly into our world. This entire generation of children seem to have been permanently scarred by their experiences, and are unable to accept the reality we took for granted before the coming of Ragnarok. Psychologists working with the children hope that they will be able to lead them back to sanity, but are forced to admit that it will be a long and arduous task. The trauma seems to have gone much deeper than the delusion over their senses, causing many of them to behave strangely, and to be far more emotionally sensitive and intense than other children their age. Luckily they seem to be extremely responsive under hypnotherapy, and psychologists believe this may offer the best hope for their future.