Girl Genius
Girl Genius

Prende's Chronometric Lantern, Prende's Lantern, or the Muse's Lantern is known as a "magical lantern" supposedly created by Van Rijn that could manipulate time. How exactly the Muse Prende got her name attached to the device is as yet unrevealed. To quote Violetta: "Tarvek was really into anything related to the Storm King, you know? All kinds of things, even fairy stories… There's this one where Van Rijn creates a magical lantern to free the Storm King from a castle where the sun never set." [1]

However, Agatha finds a passage[2] in the Van Rijn notebook that seems to show the Lantern may be more than just a fairy tale and she begins to suspect that this device is what Margarella Selnikov was looking for in the Corbettite crypts of the Depot Fortress of St. Szpac.

Hoping he will be able to provide more information about the Lantern or where it might be found, Agatha becomes even more determined to find time-expert Dio Zardilev, since she thinks the Lantern's powers might be used to free Mechanicsburg, now frozen in time.

She eventually discovers Zardilev and rogue Smoke Knight Madwa Korel attempting to break into an abandoned Corbettite vault underneath Paris. It is revealed the vault indeed contains a blue-glowing lantern connected to a glowing orb via power cables and guarded by Prende herself. When the lamp is knocked free from the cables, it is revealed that it was being used to hold Andronicus Valois himself in some form of temporal stasis. In the general chaos invoked by the breaking of that stasis, both Zardilev and the damaged lamp are stolen away by Korel, although when last seen the glowing orb is in the possession of Violetta.

Korel books passage for herself, Zardilev, and the lantern on a smuggler's submarine headed for Londinium. On its arrival, Zardilev and the entire crew are found dead (from poison gas), and the lantern missing. It eventually turns out that Korel is still very much alive, and the lantern seems to have arrived in Londinium on HMS Audacious — an inference from the fact that its crew were unaware of having docked.

In fact, Korel meets with Ariadne Steelgarter and they proceed to the island where Francisia Monahan evidently is doing terrible deeds. Korel keeps the lantern with her as she patrols the island, and after Agatha and Co, arrive as well, uses it to freeze Hadrian Rakethorn as he attempts to flee an invading army of corrupted Deepdwellers. Violetta is on the scene, and tricks Korel into thinking she is also frozen, giving Violetta a chance to stab the other woman in the back and take possession of the Lantern. Agatha and Co. then use it against Steelgarter, Monahan and the local clank copy of Lucrezia, though because the latter two are in the process of becoming Queens, they are able to (somewhat) resist its effects. Our Heroes eventually escape the island, and Violetta gives the Lantern to Queen Albia of England.

Albia later reveals to Agatha that Prende's Lantern was originally Ninisinaa's Star, something that was created by Queen Ninisinaa in Albia's youth. Albia guesses that Van Rijn found it somewhere and it has been broken and changed since then, but it is definitely (what is left of) the Star and, according to Albia, holds the key to freeing Mechanicsburg from the effects of the Take-Five Bomb and defeating the ongoing Polar Ice Lord invasion. Albia is able to turn the lantern back into its original form and she renames it Lady Heterodyne's Star. According to Albia, Agatha must test it first and calibrate it to the unique phenomena that surrounds Mechanisburg, but it can reverse the effects of the Take-Five Bomb and free the town.

During a battle with one of the Polar Ice Lords, Agatha uses her Star to freeze the Lord's hive engines in "mid-spew", allowing them and their wasps to be incinerated. After the Lord is slagged by one of his compatriots for his foolishness in said battle, Agatha again uses the Star on his rapidly-crumbling remains so that they be preserved for study.

Theories and Speculations[]

Along with the already-discussed history, the lantern might also be (part of) a Robur Heterodyne device , that was given to the Corbettite Monks after his experiments with the nature of time summoned up the Dreen /angels. Van Rijn was working with the Corbettite Monks to study dangerous artifacts in their care, and later found the Heterodyne device in their vaults . According to Van Rijn's notes the Muse of Time was more likely to appear to him there, because of the Heterodyne device .

See Also[]


  1. This story may be related to a tale known as "The Queen of the Mines and the Lamp that Summoned the Night".
  2. ""After the fall of the King, Prende's Chronometric Lantern was thought to have been entrusted to the care of the Corbettites—" On the page for Monday, September 21, 2015, panel 3.