I recall one day on the surface. Early morning as it was, dew on the grass and mist all on the countryside. Through a window of a carriage, as we passed trees and hills and fenceposts, the sky was clear yet the fog was so so thick. Yet, even through the shroud, I could see the sun. I could see it – truly see it. Its light so strong, yet subdued by mere few droplets of water. Naked, bare, and perfect. A perfect circle hanging in the sky, suspended by its own belief in its beauty.
Circles are perhaps fundamental for beauty. The ancient greeks have believed so, and there is little reason or want to disprove their statements. All can agree there is perfection in circles. They bring with them properties ripe for exploration. Relations and transpositions with delightfully surprising results. Trigonometry owes itself to the circle as it commingles with tau to unravel the very nature of triangles. Primes travel on a circular trajectory, forward to infinity on the fastest curve of the brachistochrone.
Circles are pure symmetry, and symmetry had been deemed beautiful. Denial is unnecessary, rebukes unwanted. It is found in nature, in humans in the stars above. Balance in all things, and all things in balance – points equidistant from their origin in a beloved dance.
Circles, truly, are the gateway to the secrets of the universe.
Art of London
Temple in the Neath
The Messidorist Panopticot
News of Art, Art of News
The Magistracy Of Evenlode – The Last Outpost Of The Constables
Halfway to Hell, miles from London, amongst ancient temples and underneath flooded chambers, the last outpost of London’s constabulary stands. It is said they are less corrupt than the inner circles of the Scotland Yard. Farther from the powers. Yet, importantly, closer to that what matters.
London is merely a single city within the vastness of the Neath. There are those well-versed in these lands. Those that have lived in its folds for years, decades, centuries. Humans, oh, clever little creatures we are, find their way. There is much to be done, even so far away from London. There is good and honest work there, and there are those still willing to do it.
The constables of Evenlode are an honest if eclectic group, one still seeped in tradition and rites. It is not uncommon for those far westward to be drawn to these habits. Less so than the Gondoliers of Jericho, the constables still prefer their own to outsiders. It is not, however, a closed family.
Our own reporter had been a witness to an acceptance ceremony of the constables. A young recruit, idealistic and good-willed, relocated here for his moral core – perhaps on his own whims, perhaps out of the fearful whimsy of those higher up.
They bound the young man, hoisted him up above the waters, with little regard then put him under the waves. It felt like years, the surface even became calm, before a gentlewoman’s quiet worry broke the crowd. They reemerged him, then, reassured him, welcomed him as one of their own.
There, amongst those temples older than time, built to gods not even the stars may remember, there the last efforts of good remain. Forgotten, or perhaps only hoped to be forgotten, they toil away, and we can be sure – they have never left. They shall never leave.
There is hope yet, after all.
It Feels Like Nothing
a report by Ruddertail
They asked us what having your soul extracted felt like, and as one not so superstitious as to believe the devils could perform such a feat, I was the only volunteer.
I was a little worried about it, on some fundamental level, but quickly found a devil loitering near the Brass Embassy – a bedraggled one, clad in what seemed to be attire intended to shame, rather than compliment – and his eyes lit up immediately with that familiar devilish glow when I asked him. He hadn’t convinced anyone to part with their soul recently, he told me, just barely suppressing what I can only assume would’ve been a joyful dance.
There’d be a payment, of course, he assured me. And it wouldn’t hurt. Not in the slightest! Some, he claimed, even enjoyed the sensation. He likened it to having a particularly large clump of ear-wax extracted and finally being able to hear. To the popping of a pimple! A sensation most humans enjoyed, he assured me.
Never let it be said that all devils possess what we like to call devilish charms. But he was there, and I had a deadline to meet.
When I agreed, he thrust a rather sizeable purse of brass into my arms, and produced a strange device, one that looked very much like a tuning fork. It felt warm, almost tingly as he touched it to my skin a few times, first to my forehead and then to my chest, just above my bosom – and then he told me it was all done, with a wide grin on his face. All in all, it felt like nothing. really. He’d finally earn at least a modicum of respect from his infernal peers, he added, seeming genuinely thankful.
I’m not convinced he did anything. Perhaps it was all merely trickery, something to keep us “mortals” convinced of their abilities, for no reason but their own amusement?
Merrily, he turned around, and I saw no particular reason not to drive my knife into his back. He made a strange sound like a whistling kettle, and collapsed. It felt like nothing. As expected, he didn’t have anything resembling a soul on him, only a few bottles of what seemed like some kind of hellish intoxicant, and that strange fork. There, then, is my conclusion; the only thing our devils have in common with those of old is their affinity for deception.
Next week, dear reader, a report from the clerical perspective on the soul trade. I’ll find one of those especially ornery priests and see what kind of sound he makes.
Ask Mother Goose
Dear Mother Goose,
Ah, look at the time. I should have been gone. Perhaps I’ll forgive, one day.
Forgive, never forget.