Ixion's Wheel logo

The Mimer's Well

Supplement Number Five: Nodele the Twelfth 996

Fire in Gelt Town

The unfortunate folk of Gelt Town, so recently the victims of Sibutani attack, were plunged into tragedy once again as a disastrous fire struck the town's Auditorium, destroying it utterly and slaying Hierarch Clarence Newlands.

The final death toll was put at 73, mostly the young, the elderly and the infirm, as crowds struggled to escape the packed Auditorium before being overcome by flames, smoke or the collapsing roof. The fire is thought to have been caused by lightning strike.

Willoughby Marsh

Galena – Mob Marches on Pangaturese Embassy

Is public order in the capital of the Empire now a thing of the past? Ugly scenes were witnessed as a huge torch-wielding mob stormed the Pangaturese Embassy, seeking to burn it to the ground and slay all within. Only prompt and brave action on the part of a squadron of the Imperial Guard, commanded by Captain Will Flint, was able to protect the innocent residents from destruction.

The Guard dispersed the rioters with minimal force, and in a gesture of great humanity Ambassador James Huggett allowed those who had been wounded to receive treatment within the Embassy. Captain Flint told this reporter 'It's lucky we came as quickly as we did, or there could have been a deal of bloodshed. I hope that whatever forces are orchestrating this disorder take note: Her Imperial Majesty's Guard are ever ready to fly to the defence of their fellow humans!'

Equester Huggett later made an announcement: 'The Kingdom of Pangaturan greatly regrets any harm suffered by any during the defence of its property. His Majesty's Government currently has no plans to withdraw his Embassy to Lapang.'

One of the rioters, who declined to be named, was unrepentant. 'They're heretics, aren't they? It's our Dramatic duty to burn them out, it's as simple as that!' What a chilling sentiment!

Tilda de los Reyes

New Book Banned Wheel-wide

Literary circles are agog at the furore surrounding the new cause célèbre, On Fraud. Published simultaneously in Galena, Rangar and Rast, this scandalous volume claims to detail the secret workings of Church and State, and alleges abuses carried out systematically against ordinary people, throughout history.

Possession of On Fraud has been declared a criminal offence throughout Pangaturan and all the provinces of the Lapangi Empire, and in Rangar the private presses on which it was printed have been smashed, with the arrest of those responsible. As yet no Sibutani government has moved against the book, but it is not thought any copies have yet made their way here. Will the home of freedom also act to repress thought? 'We will decide on the book's merits,' was all Sahelan Guild Council chief Martin Pike would say when we pressed him on the subject.

The big question, though, is: just who is the mysterious author, Merindyn Gheran? Clearly a man with a grievance, but no-one has ever heard of him. One theory is that he is a mere alias of Inheritors leader Mollin Cant, who has expressed similar concerns in the past. Whatever the truth is, you can be sure that the beacon of truth that is The Mimer's Well will be seeking out this reclusive author for the right to publish extracts from his book in these pages!

The Editors

A View of the Limelight

'Oh lum'nous harbinger of all that's Good!'
{Wilfando in
A Western Tragedy, III.ii.175}

Last Mekhir I took a boat west from Ribero, to gaze with my own eyes upon the fabled Limelight. We sailed over open seas for eight days straight, leaving the fishing-grounds far behind, keeping the Swordsman high in the sky over our bow.

My captain, Rhona Scudari, a hard-bitten type well used to plying the ocean main, grew nervous and superstitious as the time passed, as did her crew. The sight of a gurney-bird flying around the mast-head was enough to set them all to praying: I joined in, conscious as I was of the awful majesty of the Scenery among which I found myself, in the midst of the open sea.

That night the Limelight appeared – eight great pillars of greenish-white light, roaring their way upwards into the dark skies, or so it seemed, forming a curtain of brilliance beyond which we could perceive nothing at all. Why, the very hairs on our necks stood out with excitement, and small sparks leapt from all the metal objects on board.

Small wonder our ancestors believed the Limelight to mark the edge of the Wheel, marking off the realm of gods from that of humans. Now we know better, of course, but still you will find no Riberan ship's-captain who has passed it. All say that the West, the strange and unknown realm from which Saint Monksilver came on his silver dragon, is too holy to be profaned by contact with our base substance.

Dame Fale Hawthorne

Major Mark Relf – an Obituary

This uncomplaining, dedicated son of Pangaturan fell as he would have wished, in deadly combat with the old enemy of Sibutan. He bravely gave his life to defend the folk of Gelt Town, and who's to say that without his sacrifice the Sibs might not have conquered the place?

Mark Relf was born in Ashby, in the northern Pangaturese lowlands, of yeoman stock. As a child he excelled at sports of all kinds, and briefly worked as a prize-fighter wrestling bears, steers and the like, before joining the Army at the start of the Colonial War.

He served initially as aide-de-camp to Equester Walter Woodvine, and was quick to distinguish himself by his bravery and skill, being honoured with the Wheel of Saint Roch for single-handedly capturing a Sahelan colonel and his regimental staff to the north of Filly. He later gained a field commission and Queen Grace's Medal during the retreat from Pebble Beach, where his platoon held the jetty for half an hour against {what seemed like} the whole Samarindan 3rd Regiment, while two hundred Pangaturese troops were evacuated by sea.

Peacetime found Relf's gifts swiftly recognized by the General Staff, and he rose to the rank of Major while serving as the King's Special Agent. Considerations of State security prevent the discussion of his activities during this period, but rest assured that they were most perilous and in keeping with this virtuous warrior's ethos.

Mark Relf will be greatly missed, but the spirit which he epitomised – hardihood, bravery, honour – is that of Pangaturan itself, and there will always be such warriors arising from its lands. His memory will live on!

Sayings of Ossek Wilder
The famous Lapangi wit, raconteur and recluse

'There is only one thing worse than not being talked about, and that is being talked about.'

'I have nothing to declare but my genies.' {on entering Galena with a cargo of brass Kufrish lamps)

'To lose one parent may be put down to carelessness, but to lose both looks very much like misfortune.'

'I can tempt anyone but the resistant.'

What a loss to Lapangi letters he was! And how sad that he should have ended his days in persecution, a bitter and resentful man – and rightly so!

A Brief History of Yapen

The earliest settlements on Yapen are lost in the mists of history. Who these people were, what they were like, what they did, we do not know: all we can say for sure is that they left the numerous barrows, dolmens and such that throng the island's interior. They must have been closer to nature than we, who dare only to hug the coasts, deeming the great forests too inhospitable to offer us shelter.

In Classical times, the inhabitants of Yapen were not greatly different from the Pangaturese, and the second-century author Ferelius writes of them as 'a strange, uncouth people, yet marvellously apt to learn the duties of slavery' – a turn of phrase which rings sad echoes today! They worshipped the old pagan gods – Euan, Jaculi, the Crimson Smith and so on – as did the Pangaturese and the Lapangi themselves. The Ancient Lapangi Empire never bothered to annex Yapen as a province, so that when the Dramatic Way came it was down to disciples of Saint Monksilver to convert the island folk by choice rather than force. Saint Moel was the prime mover in this great work: as a former smuggler himself, he had some affinity with the rough, independently-minded fishing folk of the island.

It was not until the early seventh century that Pangaturan claimed Yapen as a province, and granted charters to Yapen Town in the south and Gelt Town in the north. King Michael's foster-mother Sarabinda Trelliscote was set up as Domna of the island, and the title has persisted in her family ever since, down to the current Domna, Maria Trelliscote. The office of Heitman of Northern Yapen was vested in the Villus family by Queen Grace in 724, after building what is now called Castle Villus, just east of Gelt Town.

The people of Yapen have proved themselves good subjects to Pangaturan, never rebelling {although not all the Domnae and Domni have been as complaisant}. It is only in recent years, with the renewal of Sibutani slaving raids, that misery and woe have come to the island again. May their customary peace soon return, to preserve these simple people and their charmingly traditional way of life!

Willoughby Marsh

Some Limericks

There was a Lapangi Empress
Who had an astounding silk dress:
When asked 'Does it fit?'
She replied 'Not a bit –
I wear it so I can impress.'

There was a young king called Geraint
Who was cursed with a queer mental taint:
If you ask his Cabal,
They'll say 'He's our pal' –
But in charge of his country he ain't.

There was a young squire called Rory
Who had a most interesting story:
We thought he was dead,
Or so Kirkland said:
Let's hope that his end wasn't gory.

There was an old Hierarch called Graz
Who thought heretics to be rats:
He boiled them alive
Lest a few might survive
And set light to the ends of his plaits.

Revolt Brewing in Rast?

Political minds in the Empire are turning to thoughts of Rast. This unhappy northern province may be ripe for open revolt, say commentators who prefer not to be named.

'First we had the trouble with the boiled Medarchs – heretics maybe, but popular preachers nonetheless. And now this business over young Crown Prince Adolphus's claim to the throne of Tobolsk. They're saying that the Empress had him put away, and now the Baronne of Rast is able to portray herself as the saviour of Tobolsk for finding him,' said one expert on Northern affairs.

But is this mysterious youth, supposedly the rightful rule of what are now the Lapangi provinces of Rast, Telanan and Swalehaven, really Crown Prince Adolphus? The Empress's Provincial Office has put out a statement denying his identity and branding him a pretender. Violetta Montacute, Baronne of Rast and a long-term thorn in the Empress's side, has been summoned to Galena to explain her behaviour in championing his cause.

One thing is sure, these most recent citizens of the Empire will never be happy to tamely submit to rule from distant Galena and its 'southern nancies', as one trader colourfully put it. The situation is likely to become particularly acute if religious intolerance in Lapang continues to grow: for the northerners are much closer to the Pangaturese way of worship, dubbed heresy by the Hierarch of Galena, than they are to Palawan's preferred orthodoxy.

Ariel Bender

Noted Explorator Disappears

Lal Pressman, Council member of the Pangaturese Royal Exploratory Commission, has disappeared, the City Watch announced today. Foul play is suspected.

Pressman, a noted figure in his youth and in the first party to land on Cabrena, was among the Council faction who favoured closer links with the Church, although it is not thought that Council politics have anything to do with his disappearance, according to Watch investigating officer Captain Marcus Greene.

Persile Vetch

Galena: Plague Kills Hundreds

The deathly plague the capital of the Empire so greatly feared still rages, even though colder weather is now firmly upon us. Reports from Bankside and the other poor areas of the city tell of the great suffering experienced by the poor, although it seems that the deadly contagion has not spread to those districts further from the river.

'I've never seen anything like it,' said Doctor Gabriel Flitch, who has a Bankside practice. 'Folk have been dropping like flies – I'd guess there must be several hundred dead in the city now. But what are the Government doing about it? Nothing! Bankside might as well be at the farthest rim of the Wheel for all they care about us.'

Ariel Bender

The Strange Column

Darius de Profundis
Roving correspondent for
Unusual magazine

Yes! Another Strange Column inches its way from the presses, O faithful and patient public! This time we must turn our thoughts to matters alchymical – yes, that dark art, science, philosophy, call it what you will, that has fascinated folk since the earliest days, those who seek eternal life, the transmutation of materials, clear vision, freedom from disease, the power to converse with animals – all turn in the end to the alchymical path!

Even the very earliest of the ancient writers speak of alchymy as a formed art, and we must conclude that its study predates the invention of writing. The great Stevinus speaks disparagingly of those who 'would determine the nature of an egg by smashing it' and calls for 'a plague on all such dabblers!' in his Tribadia. The greatest names of alchymy, Typho Bantacrides, Metanis Polyphéme and the sublime Euphemius Philalethes, all date from the later years of the Ancient Lapangi Empire, and it is a matter of great regret that the destruction of their works during the Third Karthian Uprising left so few copies extant outside the Imperial Library in Galena.

So what does the work of alchymy entail? Essentially, the preparation of substances by reference to a long, complex and ambiguous set of instructions provided by some ancient authority. As you grind, distil, mix, fumigate, purify and infuse, moving from furnace to retort to alembic, so the base substance of origin moves towards the sublime uniquity you seek. In practice, though, the possibilities of misinterpretation of the cryptic and besymbolled manuscript are legion, and at any of the many stages a moment's lack of care will cause all to be set at naught.

The Kufrish people also study alchymy, with it is believed rather better results than ourselves, and it may be that their mysterious land would be a fertile prospecting-place for any wishing to take up the art. Good hunting! Next time: my promised Yapeni researches!


Return to Ixion's Wheel page | Next issue