Archive for July 20th, 2019

The last day of Ianda on the isle of Landa

Saturday, July 20th, 2019

last day of Ianda

Written on the ship “Phaedra” near the shores of Kargash…

On the second day of the fourth week of En’Var – The First Resting – my free companion drew my attention to the fact that a cloud of unusual size and shape had made its appearance. I had been out in the sun, followed by a cold bath, and after a light meal I was lying down and reading. Yet I called for my sandals, and climbed up to a spot from which I could command a good view of the curious phenomenon.

Those who were looking at the cloud from some distance could not make out from which mountain it was rising – it was afterwards discovered to have been Mount Callera on the northern part of the isle of Landa – but in likeness and form it more closely resembled a tree of a swamp forest than anything else, for what corresponded to the trunk was of great length and height, and then spread out into a number of branches, the reason being, I imagine, that while the vapour was fresh, the cloud was borne upwards, but when the vapour became wasted, it lost its motion, or even became dissipated by its own weight, and spread out laterally. At times it looked white, and at other times dirty and spotted, according to the quantity of earth and cinders that were shot up.

To our Physician and to our Commander Marcus Attilius Flamma the phenomenon appeared one of great importance, which deserved a closer study. Marcus ordered a galley to be got ready, and offered to take me with him, if I desired to accompany him, but I replied that I preferred to go on with my paperwork. Oisin, the Physician of Ianda, and the commander were just leaving the house when the Physician received a written message from lady Dezire, the free woman and scribe of Ianda, who was terrified at the peril threatening her – for her villa lay just beneath the mountain, and there were no means of escape save by shipboard – begging him to save her from her perilous position. So they changed their plans, and carried out with the greatest fortitude the task, which they had started as a scholarly inquiry.

last day of Ianda

They had the galleys launched and went on board, in the hope of succouring, not only the free woman but many other citizens of Port Ianda, for there were a number of people living along the shore owing to its delightful situation. They hastened, therefore, towards the place whence others were fleeing, and steering a direct course, kept the helm straight for the point of danger, so utterly devoid of fear that every movement of the looming portent and every change in its appearance he described and had noted down by a scribe, as soon as their eyes detected it. Already ashes were beginning to fall upon the ships, hotter and in thicker showers as they approached more nearly, with pumice-stones and black flints, charred and cracked by the heat of the flames, while their way was barred by the sudden shoaling of the sea bottom and the litter of the mountain on the shore. They hesitated for a moment whether to turn back, and then, when the Physician warned to do so,

Marcus Attilius Flamma exclaimed, “Fortune favours the bold; try to reach Rarius Yuroki”. The latter was at Port Ianda, separated by the whole width of the bay, for the sea there pours in upon a gently rounded and curving shore. Although the danger was not yet close upon them, it was none the less clearly seen, and it travelled quickly as it came nearer, so all citizens had got their baggage together on shipboard, and had determined upon flight, and was waiting for the wind which was blowing on shore to fall. The commander and the Physician sailed in with the wind fair behind them and embraced the captain of the ship who was in a state of fright, comforting and cheering him at the same time. Then in order to calm his friend’s fears by showing how composed he was himself, Marcus ordered the slaves to carry him to the bath, and, after his ablutions, he sat down and had dinner in the best of spirits, or with that assumption of good spirits which is quite as remarkable as the reality.

In the meantime broad sheets of flame, which rose high in the air, were breaking out in a number of places on Mount Callera and lighting up the sky, and the glare and brightness seemed all the more striking owing to the darkness of the night. Marcus Attilius Flamma kept declaring that the country people in their terror had left their fires burning, and that the conflagration they saw arose from the blazing and empty villas. Then he betook himself to rest and enjoyed a very deep sleep, for his breathing, which, owing to his bulk, was rather heavy and loud, was heard by those who were waiting at the door of his chamber. But by this time the courtyard leading to the room he occupied was so full of ashes and pumice-stones mingled together, and covered to such a depth, that if he had delayed any longer in the bedchamber there would have been no means of escape. So Marcus was aroused, and came out and joined the rest who had been keeping watch. They held a consultation whether they should remain indoors or wander forth in the open; for the buildings were beginning to shake with the repeated and intensely severe shocks of earthquake, and seemed to be rocking to and fro as though they had been torn from their foundations. Outside again there was danger to be apprehended from the pumice-stones, though these were light and nearly burnt through, and thus, after weighing the two perils, the latter course was determined upon.

last day of ianda

They placed pillows on their heads and secured them with cloths, as a precaution against the falling bodies. Elsewhere the day had dawned by this time, but there it was still night, and the darkness was blacker and thicker than any ordinary night. This, however, they relieved as best they could by a number of torches and other kinds of lights. They decided to make their way to the shore, and to see from the nearest point whether the sea would enable them to put out, but it was still running high and contrary.

Then the flames, and the smell of sulphur which gave warning of them, scattered the others in flight and roused them. When daylight returned – two days after the last day I had seen, all citizens including the commander, lady Dezire, the physician, lady Lilly, my free companion and myself and others had reached the shores of Kargash.

Ianda was no more. The homestone was safe.

Published in the VOICE OF GOR, seventh volume (year), issue No. 323, Fifth day of the Fourth Passage Hand of the Month of En’Var (The First Resting) of the year 10170 Contasta Ar (07-18-2019 barbarian calendar]

Pictures mady by a citizen of Ianda who painted them out of memory.