The SDMJ Lexicon for New Readers
Updated: May 18
The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay were first created in July of 2013, for part of the short story compilation magazine “Steampunk Trails,” known today as “Story Emporium.” Not soon after, this website, launched in October of 2013, began posting the continued adventures of the duo in weekly serialized installments. The first collection of Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay stories, The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay Volume 1: Gallery of Rogues, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle e-book formats. The Second Volume, The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay Volume 2: Origins of Secrecy, is also avaliable on Amazon. (Read more: Humble beginnings.)
The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay are a pair of costumed crime-fighters from different cities who, after an as of yet undisclosed whirlwind romance, decided to get married, with the Derby moving to The Jay’s native London, England. Through the course of their many adventures, they fight frequently recurring villains while simultaneously trying to deal with their differences in crime-fighting styles, and various issues they’ve found in their newly-made relationship. (Read more: The “Working Relationship.”)
The majority of their adventures take place in London, in an alternate history version of 1890. In the world of The Scalret Derby and Midnight Jay, the royal monarchy is still largely in charge of England, the use of petroleum as fuel has been set back many years, (largely due to its inventor being a known supervillain,) and the potential for certain abandoned inventions like steam engines and dirigibles still exist. While not overtly “steampunk,” a lot of steampunk exists, particularly in the inventions of The Derby and a few of his arch enemies. (Read more: Alternate History)
The Scarlet Derby - Real name: Thaddeus J. Hedwater. He’s an “eccentric” genius who works a freelance inventor and specializes in chemistry. He had a successful career as The Scarlet Derby for many years in his native Manhattan until he chose to marry. He fights with an ornate wooden cane that possesses a retractable ball-and-chain he can use to climb buildings. His other weapon is a bandoleer filled with a variety of incapacitating gasses he wears underneath the opera cape of the entirely red suit he wears as his costume.
Midnight Jay - Real name: Mary Jane Hedwater (nee’ Preston). She is a wealthy heiress to the third-largest fortune in England, given to her by her mysteriously estranged parents. She is an extremely well-studied martial artist, having been trained in Kung-fu from a very young age by her “nanny,” Master Crane of Teh Ra Ning. Erudite in her aristocratic endeavors, but deadly as a crime-fighter, she has proven time and time again it’s unwise to tangle with her, though her relationship with The Derby has somewhat softened that. Her only weapon is an iron-enforced blue umbrella with feathered plumes at the hilt. Her skills as a martial artist allow her to use it with the versatility of any of her husband’s inventions.
Chief Constable Howard O’Gratin - The chief of police in London. He’s accepted The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay as deputized servants of the law, and is also close friends with them in their secret identities. He is especially protective of Mary Jane, wanting to keep her out of trouble with any potential threats to her welfare, which also once included her new husband.
The Paperboy - An unnamed, orphaned, ward of the state, he nonetheless makes the best of his circumstances, and is a model employee and proud public servant with his newspaper business. He is also very close friends with Thaddeus and Mary Jane.
Silas Monstrosity - Real name: Silas Ingrid Haversham. He is a self-made career villain, and the most frequent of The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay’s arch enemies. Once the heir to the royal court of Nodont, he was disowned by his family because of his grotesque, ape-like appearance. He seeks revenge against the court of London for this rejection, and comes up with various schemes to bring the governance of London beneath his heel.
Wilhelmina, The duchess of Nodont - Silas’ estranged older sister. She is secretly just as villainous as her brother and rules over London’s police force with oppressive amounts of diplomacy.
The Three-Headed Mob - A trio of complimentary villains: Steletta, the ambitious leader, Bootsy, the inventive brains, and Heely, the supposedly dim-witted brawn. They style themselves as the finest organized criminals in London, but they’re really only a nuisance to The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay.
The Tin Tuna - real name: Royce Calvin. Master Crane of Teh Ra Ning’s other, rogue disciple. He has embarked on a career as a master thief specializing in the theft of jewels and precious metals. Forming a ninja clan of equally sinister disciples, he seeks to overthrow Mary Jane as The Master’s prime pupil. Clad in armor that was supposed to give him the appearance of a silver marlin, he mis-translated the name in Japanese to be “The Tin Tuna” and is frequently mocked for this.
Hector “Maestro” Bellaco - Once an ambassador to England from Spain, with a sizable crush on Mary Jane, Hector Bellaco famously went on a mad campaign to steal a vein of crude oil beneath the Thames River to fuel war machines and take over the world. After his initial rampage, he is currently missing but may turn up once again.
Mother Mandrake - Real name: unknown. She was once believed to be the descendant of Ogilvy Graves, who once vowed to destroy all of London after his cure for the Black Death resulted in the further deaths of many and his exile. It was soon revealed, however, that she married into the Graves family and her motivations for wanting to destroy London are a mystery. She is an extremely deadly villain, with a mastery of spinning lies, and one of Midnight Jay’s worst enemies.
Rudolpho - Mother Mandrake’s manservant and right-hand henchman, an eight foot tall Spaniard in a black-leather mask. He also has a secret connection to Mother Mandrake’s past.
Sarbajit Puhul - An immigrant to London from India, Puhul is a career mercenary who will work for any of the above villains for a fee. However, he is also a tremendous coward, and often easily dispatched by The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay.
Korsage - Real name: unknown. A self-described “Corsair who fights like a savage,” Korsage is the leader of a sizable pirate crew hailing from Russia, who is wanted in London for smuggling various forms of contraband on his flying ship.
Lyosh - Korsage’s first mate, a surprisingly gentle soul despite being the very next in line of a pirate crew.
The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay - Exclusive to the print version of Volume 1. The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay stop Silas Monstrosity’s plot to set a bomb beneath Big Ben.
The Three-Headed Mob - On this site. The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay foil The Three-Headed Mob’s plot to destroy all of London’s tea houses.
The Tin Tuna - Exclusive to the print version of Volume 1. Midnight Jay attempts to hide the emergence of her old arch-enemy from The Derby, as a rash of jewel heists occurs across London.
Maestro Bellaco - On this site. Midnight Jay witnesses the emergence of a villain in Hector Bellaco, while The Derby investigates a strange element polluting the Thames river.
When The Derby Met The Jay - Exclusive to the print version of Volume 2. The story of how Thaddeus and Mary Jane first met, amidst a kidnapping plot.
The Home of Wayward Idiots - Exclusive to the print version of Volume 2. The Three-Headed Mob attempt to send Heely away for a much-needed education, but a plot is afoot.
The Madness of Mother Mandrake - On this site. Mother Mandrake emerges with a plot to destroy all of London, putting The Jay in a dash to unravel the clues in time to save the city.
The Origin of The Scarlet Derby - Exclusive to the print version of Volume 2. The Derby tells the story of how he became a crime-fighter, and the first truly terrifying villain he ever had to face.
The Siege of Korsage - On this site. Korsage, a pirate hailing from Russia, seizes a shipping dock by force, but there is more to this villain than meets the eye.