Pre-Phillip – The Early Years


An epidemic of flu causes the deaths of many upper- and lower-class Continentians, where many good, and previously-successful, families are reduced to only a couple of children. Included in these with the greatest losses are the Costello family, the Longley family, and the Archer family. Strangely, Uppers are little affected, perhaps due to the additional pigments in their skin.

Patch inoculations are created and introduced to limit the damage in high society communities where dinners may lead to excess spreading of pathogens.



Jodrell Masters is born to Felicia and Marcus Masters.

Kian Costello is born to Percival and Venetia Costello.



Percival Costello is born to Percival and Venetia Costello.

A craft arrives on Pebbled Shores of The Continent, balancing on the waves as a form of travel. The craft, later called a boat, brings armed and intelligent men, who proceed to show Continentians detailed maps of their own land – also named The Continent – and the waterway between them, which they call The Big Sea. These citizens are more technologically advanced and, with swords alone, seize the hamlet closest to the Pebbled Shoes and its roadways.

Continentians fight back, eventually driving them away. The guard is not enough when these men swear to take their land; so it is called that The Continent will provide each man of ‘good blood’ as a warrior against the invading foe and their craft.

Weaponry is already a subject at a few halls of education: The Big College is the first to alter the course to ‘Warfare’.



Venetia Costello is born to Percival and Venetia Costello.

Octavia Longley is born to Helaena and Rutherford Longley. Her mother is the surviving female of Percival Costello’s blood-generation, in the press for a good marriage and heir.

As The Continentians finish building their own boats and launch an attack on what they have named The Second Continent, male students are depleted and The Big College begins to reject applications for other subjects and openly criticises other colleges for letting lower-class men apply for Warfare.



George Linacre is born to Stephen and Penelope Linacre, few citizens of dark skin from the Upper Continent.

Quickly, The Big College takes in more young gentlemen for war, filling up the spaces for other courses. They become exclusive and more cultured. They transfer their other courses to the offshoot they have created, The Little College.

Tallon Costello is born to Percival and Venetia Costello.



Wesley Costello is born to Percival and Venetia Costello.

Chemical Scientists create the aluminium-air torch-device, before Chemical Science as a subject is disbanded due to lack of popularity.

Percival devises the Costello Platoon for his sons and brothers to engage the best of men for fighting.

Wesley Costello dies of pneumonia.



Helaena Longley dies in childbirth after several previous miscarried pregnancies. After great medical attention, the child, a boy, dies of asphyxiation. The Longley name dies out. Rutherford, the only survivor of his own brood, is put on edge; rumours circulate in both the Society Pages and press of ‘bad blood’ and Rutherford’s inadequacy “as a man”. Driven to a breakdown, Rutherford hangs himself in a highly-publicised trauma. Four-year-old Octavia is kept at Longley Hall but entrusted into the care of her most prominent uncle, Percival Costello, inheritor of the main Costello line.

Taking advantage of the publicity, Percival promises to forever provide for Octavia, and betroths her to his son, Percival Junior, whose young actions already suggest him to be the most suitable for the majority of the Costello inheritance.



Young Percival applies to The Big College and is accepted. However, during his second year, he transfers to The Medical Symposium and shows an aptitude for optical correction, despite having poor vision himself.



Percival organises the first public painting for his son and betrothed. The event is less of a success and the painter is fired. Spurned, young Octavia sets out looking for a new painter for the couple.



Octavia and Percival Junior meet Jodrell Masters, painter by profession, the year before they are due to be married. Octavia takes a shine to his work and he is commissioned to paint their betrothal and wedding pictures.



After the first wedding date is postponed due to unusual snowfall, Octavia and Percival Junior marry in the grounds of Costello Mansion. As is tradition, they move into the upper floor of Costello Mansion. The event is highly publicised, with a spread in the Pages about Octavia’s lavish dress. The entire Costello relations are invited, as is Jodrell to paint. For this time, there is quiet from The Second Continent and eyes turn back to society and progress.

Technology ‘borrowed’ from across The Big Sea begins the creation of rail-transport, later called the ‘train’.



Stuart Costello is born to Octavia and Percival Costello.



Benjamin Costello is born to Octavia and Percival Costello. There is Espionage silence from The Second Continent, later found to be because of the creation of a new weapon. Percival Costello takes this opportunity to complete his Doctorate Training with warfare at The Medical Symposium.

Percival sets up a practise with clients coming from all over The Continent.



Percival Senior passes away, and, as suspected, Percival Junior takes his title and the majority of his fortune. Jodrell Masters paints his portrait to sit amongst the others in the Mansion.



Rion Costello is born. Percival – and, to a much lesser extent, Octavia – is praised for bearing enough good blood to renew the Costello line. In a society press interview, Octavia Costello jokes they are “good in bed”. With Percival’s practise, the Costellos earn enough to refurbish their Mansion – and, with it, splendour, as well as popularity.

With their three young sons in tow, the Costellos sit for a painting by Jodrell Masters. In passing, he mentions his younger brother’s wedding – and the rise of oil Reginald Masters is promoting. However, the Costellos are rising and the Masters’ place in society is shaking. They choose not to attend the parish-garden ceremony.



Andrew Costello is born.

Lysander Archer is born to Dorian and Cleo Archer.

First successful train journey not ending in engine failure. The first families to travel include the Costello brood, the Vallente heirs, and the Montgomery family, mother of which is heavily-pregnant Anastacia, an Upper with mild skin-tone and gingery hair.



Aimee Montgomery is born.

The first feminism rally recorded to allow women equal access to education is interrupted by higher-class ministers. However, the ladies catch the attention of lower-class workers and servants. Percival believes he cannot trust his father’s servants, so fires them and replaces them with a skeleton household of a cook and a butler, Tomas Richards. Richards’ wife occasionally serves as a wet nurse for the children when Octavia hosts.

The train is regarded as a highly-expensive mechanism. It is no longer used for short journeys, but for cross-Continent journeys.


Percival Costello announces to ten-year-old Stuart that he will marry a woman chosen by his parents. To the boy, this seems entirely natural.

Octavia finds herself pregnant again. At first, she sets plans to make this her last, but she ‘knows’ the child will not be. During her first trimester, she begins having frightening dreams of the future and a black-haired girl with loose curls. She lies to Percival that the first dream was also the last.

Phillip Costello is born. Octavia adores her youngest, but retreats from society’s eye when the dreams continue, though now infrequent, leaving her weak and uncertain. She stops inviting Costello cousins to dine. When questioned, medical experts claim she has post-partum depression.

Maximillian ‘Max’ Folster is born to Kenneth and Genevieve Folster. Their involvement with the servants and middle-class found them in the press. Now, the Folsters have survived, but tentatively.



Venetia Costello, sent to a Service Home and already out of the public eye, dies.

Kian Costello steps in to look after the maturing family when Percival is called away to war. However, after making a pass at Octavia, he is banned from the house. Kian and Percival’s once-close friendship begins to deteriorate.

Octavia becomes more wary, and slips on a sharper edge. When Jodrell Masters comes to paint the family, she snaps and sends him away.



Stuart enrols at The Big College. He anticipates marriage within the next four years, and writes a popular piece for the press supporting the tradition of arranged marriage.

Although too young to apply, himself, Rion gets astounding scores in a theory-application test. He begins to be propelled into the light with rumours that he will be the next Mansion inheritor.



On the way to the boats deploying for war, George Linacre disappears. This is the first of a couple of incidents, but none are looked into fully. As George’s body is never recovered, it is suspected that he has run from the war.



Kian Costello dies in action. The war seems endless, with each Continent trying to outdo the other in forces. Written slander occurs with bias on both sides. The Costello family, however, are hit hard. For Percival, losing his elder brother only equates to revenge. He temporarily closes his clinic to study another year of Warfare Management.

In an attempt at reconciliation – and consolation – Jodrell Masters invites the family to the Naming Day of Deanna and Reginald Masters’ youngest, a two-year-old girl. Still tied up with grief and class manners, the Costellos reject the invitation outright.

The End

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