Ixion's Wheel logo

The Mimer's Well

Supplement Number Two: Khoiak the Sixth 996

Attack on Gelt Town!

As I write, lurking in an upstairs bedroom at the 'Woolgatherers' Arms', the roar of cannon and crash of falling masonry is all but deafening. The 'Lady Veronica', out of Port Levaca, is bombarding Gelt Town with all the fury at her disposal.

What, then, has brought the horrors of war to this sleepy town, basking quietly in northern Yapen? What, but international intrigue and espionage, would be my guess. For the fact is that the local authorities, commanded by King Geraint's agent Major Relf, have rounded up a Sib spy ring based here in the town and at nearby Castle Villus. The spies are currently being held in the Donjon, Gelt Town's fortress, and it is that building which is coming under the most ferocious fire.

As yet there has been no reaction from Rangar {of which I am aware}, but surely this is an act of war which cannot go ignored. King Geraint and his Cabal have been loath to succour the Yapeni villagers captured as slaves: will they be more ready to come to the aid of the besieged town, whose defences are surely inadequate to hold off such a determined and sustained assault.

Willoughby Marsh

Adderbury Playhouse Nears Completion

Amidst mounting excitement in Palawan, His Holiness The Dramatarch Léon X has decreed a Holiday throughout the land to coincide with the ceremonial unveiling of the newly re-painted Adderbury Playhouse on Mesore the First. The artist Sakahalin has worked on the frescoes for the Playhouse in total secrecy: no man or woman, nor the Dramatarch Himself, has entered the building since painting began five years ago, although it is rumoured that the artist often works throughout the night, by the light of a candle attached to a helmet on her head.

The daughter of a Salemi vintner, Sakahalin joined the Company of St Aula at the age of fourteen, and had committed herself to a life of Introspection before the Dramatarch summoned her to Palawan after seeing her famous triptych 'The Temptation of St Monksilver' in Galena Auditorium. Though the tremendous size and scope of Sakahalin's works are already famous throughout the world, the Adderbury Playhouse is already said to be her greatest achievement yet.

Medarchs Boiled in Rast

Three Medarchs in Rast, one of the Lapangi Empire's most northerly provinces, have been ceremonially boiled alive. This revival of the horrifying {to all civilised minds} punishment for preaching heresy has struck terror into the hearts of all right-thinking folk throughout the Empire's domains, as it was surely intended to do.

The Hierarchate of Galena issued a communiqué through its Public Affairs Speaker, Medarch Louisa de Cruz. 'While it has come to our notice that certain clerics of Rast have been poisoned by the demon of Improvisation, so has the just penalty been meted out. Those who oppose the true Dramatic Way should take note, and no longer seek to inveigle their twisted lies into the fortress of orthodoxy.' This last comment is thought to be a reference to the Hierarch Prime, leader of the Way in Pangaturan, who has often been criticised by the Galena clergy as unorthodox, and who is thought to have introduced missionaries into Rast.

Does this act spell the opening of a new chapter of Lapangi heretic-bashing? If so, it can only give we free folk of Sibutan cause to give thanks to our ancestors who fled the Empire's oppression, and to have pity for those poor unfortunates of the North who seem doomed to labour under its yoke.

Fishing Vessel Sunk

Reprinted from the Sahelan news-sheet 'Citizens!'

Not only is Pangaturan ranged against us, but it now seems that Lapang also wants its two guilders' worth of honestly gained Sibutani prosperity. Earlier this week a Samarindan fishing vessel, the 'Moving Castle', was boarded by a Lapangi cutter in international waters off the coast of north-eastern Sibutan. Its crew were seized, the catch impounded and the boat scuttled. Samarinda's ambassador to the Imperial Court immediately registered a protest in the strongest possible terms, but his entreaties were met with stony silence. It seems there is little Sibutan can do but smart under the injustice: international law is being daily flouted by our neighbours, and we receive no credit for our peaceful and law abiding ways. 'Fort main' rules the high seas, it seems.

Heitman Poisoned

News has just arrived in Gelt Town of the mysterious death by poison of Heitman Villus, the fiefholder of Northern Yapen and widely seen as the Domna's right-hand man. Sibutani agents are implicated. The Heitman is likely to be succeeded by his elder daughter Lady Clarissa, the Countess Rattray. He leaves a wife and another daughter, Lady Cordelia.

Five-Knives Results

in the Pangaturese Premier League
Division One
Division Two

Expedition Recruitment 'A Great Success'

Master Philip Graveside, of the Royal Exploratory Commission Council, announced today that recruitment for the forthcoming colonial expedition had been a great success.

'Thanks to the efforts of the Commission, in particular Master Stanton Harcourt, we now have a full complement of persons wishing to start a new life in the colonies. All the vessels are fitted out and an escort has been arranged: we await only a handful of Medarchs to make up the Church's Touring Company.'

Master Graveside was particularly pleased with the calibre of colonists who had come forward. 'I am sure earlier colonists will forgive me for saying that they were not always from the upper echelons of society. This time, we have a number of notable citizens and persons of substance, who will add stature and dignity to the colony towns.'

'A Study of the Heathen Religion'

Tewfiq Al-Mashood

{A brief note of explanation. Master Al-Mashood is the Ambassador of the Suzerain of Kufra at Sahela. He has kindly allowed us to reproduce the text of a report he submitted to his master shortly after arrival in our city. We think you will find his account of our faith amusing. - The Editors}

Awesome Majesty,

Your humblest servant lays his brow on your jewelled sandal and implores forgiveness for the woeful inadequacy of this, his report on the faith of the heathens of Sahela. He craves your mercy, famed throughout the land, sweet as the song of the bulbul and so much more nourishing.

The faith is known as the Dramatic Way, or simply the Way, or the Faith, or the Church. It seems to be spread throughout the Federation, and also in Pangaturan and in the Lapangi Empire, although I believe minor doctrinal differences exist between the various branches, O Master.

The heathens foolishly trust the charge of their faith to a simple man of ordinary birth, most unlike your glorious self: his title is Dramatarch, his name Léon, the tenth of that name. He rules from Adderbury, on the island of Palawan, which is independent of any temporal monarchy {what folly of the heathen! How much wiser we, who unite Ruler and Guardian in one glorious personage.}

Under the Dramatarch are various senior clerics known as Hierarchs, not unlike our own Sheikhs in authority: some control provinces {so-called 'Hierarchates'}, others are administrators. Each of the four cities of the Federation is a Hierarchate, for example, although none of them pay much heed to Palawan's command. In theory the Dramatarch should invest all Hierarchs, but in practise his authority is limited to the Empire, the seat of orthodoxy: the other nations appoint their own Hierarchs.

Beneath the Hierarchs come the Medarchs, who seem to do most of the work of the Church: they may have responsibility for smaller towns, or districts of a city, or work on a Hierarch's staff. Lowest still are the Prompters, who tend the villagers or small urban localities. Each Prompter is likely to have a Playhouse where he or she Performs: the lessons they read or speak are called Soliloquies, and are generally drawn from or centred about a text from the Lines, the heathen holy book - for they believe it contains all of divine revelation.

Each city is likely to have an Auditorium, a larger version of a Playhouse: the Hierarch is likely to Perform here, not very regularly if the Hierarch of Sahela is anything to go by. This man, Morgan by name, seems more of a politician than a cleric. In Seoni Kuchinda he would rightly have his tongue torn out if he spoke against your sun-dappled rule as he does against the Guild Council of Sahela.

The other important folk in the Dramatic Way are the Introspectors, who live in isolated communities and meditate upon the Method. I cringe at your feet, O Master, but I have been unable as yet to ascertain what authority the Dramatarch has over them, or indeed if they are centrally organised at all. No communities of Introspectors exist in the lands of the Federation, as far as I am aware {Master Al-Mashood has evidently not visited the Introspectory of St Darius near Samarinda - eds.}

With this meagre offering, your unworthy slave abases himself yet further, and craves the harshest of kicks from the feet blessed of Heaven.

More Watchmen Slain

Rangar's Union Square is a no-go area for the City Watch, it seems, as three more Watchmen were slain there three days ago.

The Heitman Kirkland, Commissioner of the Watch, refused to comment on the incident: it is believed the three, whose names have not yet been released, were casualties of a sword-fight.

According to the Watch's Captain Greene, there has been no progress as yet in the matter of the Bat-man of Rangar, reported here earlier.

The Cabal - Moritz's Legacy

Since King Geraint's indisposition there has been much attention focused on his chief ministers, the so-called Cabal. I thought it might be apt to turn back the pages of history and inform readers with a desire to learn about the original Cabal, which existed under the minority of Moritz III.

You will know that Moritz II died while his son was a child of six years, and the Count Ledbury was appointed Lord Protector of the Realm. Ledbury's tax policies were so unpopular that the southlands rose in revolt, led by Dame Mary Archibald. Her forces were able to reach Rangar and besiege it for three days, as Ledbury had been unable to raise his own feudal troops. In the end the then Hierarch Prime, Euan Bobadil, made peace between the rival parties, and Archibald's son was married to Ledbury's daughter.

These three, then, Ledbury, Archibald and Bobadil, formed a troika and ruled the kingdom between them for three years. At that time the city-state of Sahela declared war on Pangaturan over the Matter of Trodely, and a massive naval building programme was hurriedly put in place. The Minister of the Navy, Anna Cartwright, rose to prominence and was able to gain influence over Pangaturese trading policy beyond hat which her status would suggest. Finally the young king's cousin, Prince Alaric, came to his own majority and demanded a say in the doings of the realm. The ruling group were thus named CABAL from the initials of their names {Cartwright, Alaric, Bobadil, Archibald and Ledbury}.

When Moritz came of age it became apparent that the Cabal had conspired against him to retain power themselves. The King had to flee to Ribero to preserve his life, but the Cabal had such a grip on Pangaturan that none of the citizenry knew he had left. It was not until Moritz returned at the head of a Riberan army and defeated the troops of the Cabal on Gossage Plain that the people awoke to their situation. All five members were summarily executed for treason by the Count Widthrope, whose forces had seized Rangar for the King.

The modern-day Cabal does not share the fortunate coincidence of surname of its predecessor. It is primarily the secrecy of the kingdom's chief ministers' doings, and the belief that the King has little part in their deliberations, that has led to the application of the epithet. Indeed, its membership is not known for certain: which ministers hold the most power? This writer would guess the Heitman Kirkland, the Count Rattray, Admiral Horza and Equester Margulies, but this may well be inadequate or inaccurate.

In any case, the message of this article is to caution those ministers, lest they succumb to the fate of that earlier Cabal: although I am sure no such caution is truly necessary.

Dame Emilia Sware, University of Rangar

The Calendar

by Sieur Ferdinando Aricius of the Athenaeum, University of Galena

Correspondents often ask me how the months of our calendar came by their names. Alas, in many cases the answer has simply been lost in history. Certainly the calendar is very venerable: it was known to the Ancient Lapangi Empire in almost its present form, and we may look to their authorities for explanation. Starting in midwinter, then:

As you see, our knowledge is far from complete in this matter. One further curiosity is that the pagans of Kufra have the same calendar as us, although it is not thought that we had had contact with them before the year 500.

Doings of Nanny Boswell

The Pangaturese wise-woman of the eighth century

'A knight, with a small band of followers, meditated the conquest of Pangaturan, but stayed his progress at the forest near the village of Bostridge, in order to consult Nanny Boswell. A quarrel ensued, and the knight returned in great anger. Next day the band came to a steep ascent, which the knight began to ascend, when the figure of the witch was seen to obstruct his path. "Out of my way, hag," he cried;

'"If Long Compton I may see, King of Pangaturan I shall be."

'The witch replied:

'"Rise up Hill, stand fast Stone! King of Pangaturan thou shalt be none!"

'At her word the entire array of warriors was transformed to stone, and they may be seen there to this day.'

From 'The Wonderful History and Surprising Prophecies of Nanny Boswell', Rangar, c.850.

Acknowledgements: Wendy Anne Prosser


Return to Ixion's Wheel page | Next issue