In Snakeyear 1989 a large "Flying Monster" was seen several times over Bycantium. This was in fact the first recorded flying machine on Snakeworld. It was built by the eccentric Baron Mavic Che'en, a member of one of the few Noble families to survive the Tablet Wars. The Baron constructed the machine himself out of oilcloth and titanium1, with a wooden front-mounted airscrew. The gas used in the dirigible was hydrogen, created by the Baron who was a noted alchemist of the time. It is not known for certain what powered the engine, but several theories have been put forward, including Goblins, Pixies and Earwax. Today it is generally accepted that it was powered by a pair of elastic suspenders. Below is a description of the "Monster" as written by Derro Sazl'ar, a noted chronicler of the period.

The monſter be around three metres in lenthe, one ande one halfe metres in width ande two metres in heit. Its bellie, wicth is of a copius ſize be ſlunge above the reſte of its bodie and this bellie be filled with a gaſſe that holdeth it in the aire. On the poſterior ende of this bellie be foure tails or finns with wicth it directeth its movement thruh the aire. On the front ende of this bellie be a ſharpe ſpike. ſlunge undre this bellie be a longe tube and a ſtrange boxe, made of mettle from wicth iſſues forwards a wooden polle fixed ſtrait againſt the boxe that ſpins when the monſter move.

This description, along with several etchings and cartoon strips of the period have allowed historians to produce this reconstruction of the machine.


After "terrorising" the citizens of Bycantium for almost five months, the "monster" was tracked to the Baron's castle to the north of the city. The castle was stormed by the Bycantium City Guard, and the Baron arrested on suspicion of "Tamprin' wi' things that ain't nat'ral like". After a search of the castle the Baron's chemical apparatus and the dirigible were found and he was charged with "Muckin' round wi' things that ain't right". Despite the Baron's protests that he was trying to write a dictionary of bird speech, and that he hadn't done anyone any harm, he was found guilty, and sentenced to be burnt at the stake with his "monster".

MAP On the day of the burning, all of the prominent Religious Leaders2 and Witch Hunters3 turned up to watch. A raffle was held to decide who would have the honour of lighting the fire and the Mayor of Bycantium4 won. He stepped forward, took the flaming torch, and threw it into the pile of oil soaked wood right next to the stake where the Baron and his "monster" (still fully inflated with Hydrogen), were tied up.

The resulting explosion instantly killed almost all those attending, permanently deafened and blinded most of the few survivors, flattened all the souvenir stands within a three hundred metre radius, and created a crater three metres deep and six metres wide. The fires started by the detonation burnt for five days, destroying two hundred acres of crops, three farm houses, six barns, thirty two huts, and most of the Baron's castle.

The secondary explosion, caused by the ignition of the Baron's chemicals, his twenty bins of powdered coal, and the ninety five thirty litre barrels of whisky stored in the basement of the castle, destroyed what was left of the structure, and sent hot and burning building materials flying through the air for a kilometre in all directions. On landing, these materials started more fires, flattened two houses, and blocked a nearby river, causing widespread temporary flooding and the permanent inundation of two hundred and sixty seven acres of prime farming land. The shock wave flattened an estimated two thousand trees, was heard for a fifty kilometre radius, and neatly demolished a Junior Army Scout clubhouse5.

The death of almost all of the officials opposing scientific experimentation left the way clear for more scientific discoveries, and ultimately the comencement of the industrial revolution around sixty years later.

1. Snakeworld and it's sister planet are particularly rich in titanium. The Baron's refining methods consumed huge amounts of pulverised coal, but all other details are lost.

2. The major religion surviving the Tablet Wars was a modified version of that in place before the Wars began. Several smaller sects (most descended from the various armies) also survived.

3. The Witch Hunters association was formed from the remnants of the "Worshipping anything but the Old Gods is sinful and you'd better repent damn quick!" army. They travelled around the countryside attempting to burn anyone they had reason to suspect of being in league with Geranaka (The Devil). This boiled down to anyone who acted, looked or spoke differently, or indeed anyone they felt like at the time. The association collapsed after the Mavic Che'en disaster.

4. After buying 2867 of the 3000 tickets with taxpayers' money.

5. From this time onwards, Snakes were particularly careful when handling Hydrogen. Especially The Junior Army Scouts.


©Copyright Denys the Purple Wyrm 1992-2014