Once upon a time there was a place called Austral. Once upon a short time later there was not. At the start of it’s brief existence we opened a Steampunk Explorer office in the main town. I believe it was the first building of any kind to open there. The area was quiet for a time. Then things began to pick up quickly.

As in many places in this world people would move in and then move out before you got to meet them. Or you would meet them once and never see them again as they had quickly moved on. For example, in my first full year in Winterfell, every parcel in the Port Laudanum neighborhood, save my own and two others, changed hands at least once. Some had gone through several owners.

One morning I popped in to our Austral office and found there was a new building across the street. It was the home of one Addison Greymyst. I finally met Mr. Greymyst one day. He was quite affable and I thought, “This man will be a good neighbor, I hope he stays for awhile.”

It seemed each time I visited our office there and would look around the neighborhood to see what was new, Mr. Greymyst had made some addition or improvement to his property. He even expanded by purchasing adjoining property.

One day he had a new building on the corner of his property on Danko Road. (Well, yes it was named after me. I didn’t do much to earn the honor, I was just the first one there.) The new building was small but quite attractive and unique. The door was open so I walked in to a beautiful study or library style of room which was well appointed with comfortable seating. It was dedicated to Mr. Tesla and his family would have been proud to see such a place. It looked as if Mr. Greymyst was trying to create the atmosphere of a private club devoted to the study and discussion of ideas and concepts in science and invention though the club would not be private but open to all comers. I could see Mr. Greymyst was a man who wanted to make a contribution to the community he lived in and the broader Steampunk community as well.

I was also often impressed with Mr. Greymyst’s grounds. His selection and placement of flowers, plants, trees, fountains and other items made it such a pleasure to walk down the street past his property. It was also a pleasure to walk onto his land as well, for he invited the public to pause from the hustle and bustle and sit in his garden or at the little cafe-style tables he placed at the opposite side of his land along the inner harbor.

There came a day when Mr. Greymyst, like the others, packed up his household and moved on. I wondered where he had gone until the day Hurricane Adolphe hit New Toulouse. I was walking through the streets of the city observing how we were holding up against the storm when I stopped for something to lift the spirit and warm the belly. There, sitting at a table – with the bar owner if I remember it straight – was Mr. Greymyst! We shook hands warmly and chatted. I found he had moved to a spot up north in Algiers parish.

I would bump into Mr. G, as I called him for short, from time to time (including one memorable afternoon at Le Vieux Canal Jazz Club that was chronicled earlier on these pages). We would tell our stories and share a laugh and often I would speak to him of Winterfell. He became a reader of my articles here and learned of Winterfell from that as well.

We would also often exchange correspondence. Brief notes, catching up on news of the steamlands and of our own exploits, the notes from Addison, always featuring his great sense of humor. One day he wrote me that he had ventured up to Winterfell and found it to be just as beautiful and enchanted as I had bragged. He added that he would soon be visiting again. I was quite pleased that my friend was so quickly fond of my homeland.

There would be times that we would be out of touch for awhile and one of those times ended when he sent along a note by messenger. He had purchased land in Winterfell – in Laudanum yet! He was up on the hill on the southern border with a most splendid view of Cape Wrath. He invited me up for a visit and said, “Don’t wait for our schedules to come together. Go up and take in the view when you can.” I did. It was a very clear day and with my field glasses I could just make out my retreat on the west coast of Wrath.

I was glad to have Addison join the Winterfell community. He purchased a second spot in the southern towns as well. Between Winterfell and New Toulouse we would bump into each other more frequently and thus send notes more often so those times of being out of touched faded away.

Last week, on the day of the unveiling of the new Winterfell community center, Rosehaven, I was wandering around looking at this tremendous work of architecture as Uni placed the gardens and Miss Serra welcomed early visitors and gave directions and impromptu tours. Just then Addison arrived. I was just saying hello to him, when the Seneschelf said, “Ambassador Whitfield, I would like you to meet Mr. Greymyst, the newly named New Toulouse Ambassador to Winterfell!” My mouth popped wide open. Ad piped up, “I’m afraid you will have to have an official meeting with me, Mr. Ambassador.” We both burst into laughter, shook hands, slapped each other on the back. I congratulated him and said, “The first meeting must take place at my Emerald Inn where the pints will be on me. Then you will have to meet me back at Le Vieux where you shall pick up the tab. Remember the last time we were there?” More laughter. Lady Twilight raised an eyebrow, “I take it you two are old drinking buddies?” “Oh yes,” we replied in unison. “Diplomacy and alcohol, how unusual,” Miss Serra said with a laugh. We both joined in the laughter.

Mr. Greymyst, my friend, this is my public congratulations to you. Good luck with your new duties. I look forward to working with you. (I will see you at The Emerald on Tuesday.)