September 29th – Tremor Day

At some time between 3-5pm today, there will be a small tremor that shakes Buentoille for a few moments. It’s barely noticeable, really, like the passing of a train in a house beside the tracks, but all over. It lasts for a few seconds only, and will be entirely missed by some. If you’re sitting in a pub, getting some late afternoon refreshment, the glasses at the bar might tinkle a little. The people’s mirror ripples momentarily, and later on in the day, well over an hour later, a larger-than-average wave will hit Buentoille’s shorelines.

Despite its regularity, it seems that the small impact of the tremor (the occasional instance of injury or property damage is recorded, but nothing ever serious) has led to it being rather overlooked; nobody seems to have noticed that it happened on a regular basis until 1428 (in fairness, it may not have happened at all prior to that point), when the folklorist Joseque Harimanis wrote about a tale pertaining to the phenomenon that he called The Apprentice’s Mistake which seems to be attempt an explantation for the regularity of the tremors. It seems that this tale and knowledge of the tremor’s regularity was lost again for several hundred years, resurfacing in 1759 when the journal Syentiffik Advantses published a twelve year study which recognised the yearly cycle of the temors.

Despite further scientific study, there seems to be no true consensus on the phenomenon, besides the fact that in recent years the location of the tremor’s epicentre has been estimated as far to the east, in the deep Outer Ocean. Given the poor record of Buentoilliçan expeditions and the difficulty with persuading anyone, let alone those with cushy jobs as scientists, to leave the City for any length of time, there have been no research missions sent to ascertain the source; there are plenty of proposed explanations, ranging from weapons testing, to an enormous deep sea drill to some rare, natural regularity in the shape of the tectonic plate beneath the Outer Ocean, which therefore makes the earthquakes produced at the fault line regular. Given that there is no evidence for any of these theories, many turn to that fifteenth century folk story for explanation, hoping that there is some grain of truth within.

The story begins with a ‘great wizard’ who made a pact with the Waylayer for magical powers, and her apprentice, also involved in this infernal deal. The wizard sets her apprentice the task of preparing a simple potion, but one which requires him to shake the potion within a glass bottle for three full days. Quickly tiring of his task, the apprentice decides to create some magical, mechanical being to perform this role for them, finding the appropriate spell in his master’s grimoire. Yet unfortunately, something goes wrong. The apprentice fails to accurately designate the target of the spell, and instead of having the bottle be shaken by a mechanical arm for three days, the City itself begins vigorously shaking, to such an extent that buildings begin to collapse. When the wizard realises what has happened, she manages to modify the spell, but not to nullify it entirely, ensuring that the shaking gets spread over the following years, and is lessened in effect.

Today various earth scientists and building surveyors will be out and about, measuring, collecting data and photographs with which they hope to get a better idea of how and why the strange phenomenon occurs. Perhaps one day a scientific delegation will be launched and we will fully understand what causes the shaking, but until then, folk will continue to either be perplexed buy it, or will remember the foolish apprentice who forgot to properly set the target of his spell.

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Liberal Party
  • Three House Day