theodor_gylden: (not an adventurer a scholar dammit)
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Even before the mahagony-framed mirror appeared at the carnival, there has been reason to speculate on the existence of a place 'behind the mirror.' The phrase is uttered in dreams -- once by the wind, once by a cat -- and I have encountered a man, awake, who claimed to have seen what lies beyond. Our friend Lamont has witnessed, in the Flit and in his work with Mr Inch, evidence of spiritualists and illusionists communicating and traversing through mirrors. Both he and Gabriel Morgan have met something in the Palace Cellars that demands a mirror, perhaps for escape.

Connected is the word 'Parabola.' Merriwether's theories on the import of this word are perhaps the most sophisticated: they draw upon the mathematical definition of parabola as a divided symmetry. In a dream of escape, Parabola is offered as a place of safety by one's mount, and in another, it is implied to be the location of the Trapped King. In waking life, it has been spoken by special constables and found in messages passed through the Flit. And in an experiment observing a mirror through a nephrite lens, one may hear it hissed by the reflection of a serpent.

All this is preamble. There is a mirror in a tent of the carnival, it frames carved with beetles and tree-roots, and if one looks into it with acuity and ten bright memories of light, it takes one quite away. I have looked into it.

Some observations. In this place behind the mirror -- a place like a jungle, littered with mirror-frames -- I have seen things, heard things, that resonate with what I've dreamt and heard from others, and I would record them before they are lost to me.

First, on the walls of temples I have traced a parabola. I do not know what manner of people lived and worshiped here yet the recurrence of that shape, and the mathematical precision with which it is drawn, leads me to believe that Merriwether was right to grant significance to its equation. Indeed, it is possible that someone before us has wrested the secrets of the Mirror Marches in a like manner.

Some of the stones of the temple are like trees, and the trees like stone. I believe I know why. Elsewhere in the jungle, high up on a tree-trunk, I discovered letters of the Correspondence describing 'a process that can only take place behind a mirror, by which stone becomes wood and wood becomes stone. A process  in which petrification and lignefaction are opposed but complementary and dynamic forces.'  

This notion of opposing, yet complementary and dynamic, elements is one to which I must return. For cat -- a lioness, with two cubs tumbling behind her -- asked me whether I knew 'they' were fighting a war with water and fire. I knew at once what she meant. I have known dreams of fire, and dreams of water, and dreams where the two are opposed and one is caught in-between, and the wind has whispered to me of clashing and hating and striking. If the thunder saves you from the dream-sacrifice, I have been told, it offers to take you where where the masters play at battle -- and when the sacrifice is first mentioned, the king asks to be brought the fire the masters use.

And there, in a walled garden of the temple, I saw a glimpse of a cowled figure that might be a master, and fire. It recalled to me nothing so much as the dream about a storm in a garden where the ground breaks open and fire flows below, or the dream where the beloved fountain is itself in flames.

Are the Masters, then, aligned with fire -- ? Who is with water? The thunder itself? And are the Mirror Marches that place where they play at battle? For I have seen -- in a frame -- the king that asked for fire, who may be the same king that a rat said was was 'still there' and that the blindfolded girl believed was in Parabola. The thunder has spoken, above me, of a king, a queen, and the battlefield, of betrayal and sacrifice, and it claimed to come from the North

(The lioness asked me where I would go from here, but a panther asked, 'Where did you come from?' Would could that mean? Anything at all?)

A game is being played, then, and I've tried to duplicate it with cherry stones. Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy ... Mr Wines, Mr Cups, Mr Iron ... But I am only recording observations.

I should say I have observed the sun, the stars, and the moon, and they brought to mind that dark tunnel where I remembered the light that guided me here. Indeed, the scattered frames of the jungle, and the portholes of that dream opening into other places -- might they be related?

I must return soon. The Mirror Marches are perilous, and if I must choose between the horsehead amulet and the brass ring, I will choose the amulet. But I do believe that all our questions will have answers, and all our speculations purpose. All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

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Theodor

September 2015

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