theodor_gylden: (not an adventurer a scholar dammit)
German Ghosts and Ghost Stories: Accounts and Annotations from the Autumn of 1887

The Eater-of-Chains and Other Oneiric Entities: Dreams and Dream Lore in The Neath

The Significance of the Name in African and European Mythology (proscribed)

A Decomposing Deity: Dissecting the Correspondence (proscribed)

Septivalence in Correspondence Grammar (proscribed)

Tavern Demonology: Folk Wisdom from the Blind Helmsman

The Cosomology of Clay: Metaphysical Glosses on Loamsprach Verse

Further Loamsprach Glosses

The Fiddler's Fluke and Other Tales: Being a Survey of Neath-Songs from Wolfstack through Polythreme

On Specular and Speculative Travel (proscribed)

The Mountain of Youth: An Epic of the Elder Country

Comparative Soul Lore, with Notes from Flute Street: Pneuma, Hugr and Vital Essence (denounced)

Down and Down and North and Round: An Incunabulum on the People and Customs of Mutton Island

Phoebean, Cynthian, Luciferan: An Incunabulum on the Story Cycles of Hunter's Keep

A Theological Bestiary

Second City Hieroglyphs, Reproduced and Translated for the London Readership (proscribed)

The Fallen Horizon of Aten: A Theory of the Second City (proscribed)

Shrieks and Theosophistry: Regarding the Dancing Trees of Bullbone Island

The Journal of Neath Studies (underground)

The Attendants of Mr Sacks, or From the Mouths of Babes

As Tall as the Cavern Roof: Tales Told by a Salty Fabulist

Burn the Bat and Catch the Star: Following the Correspondence through Street Songs and Rhymes (proscribed)

On the Correspondence in the Manufacture of Puzzle-Damask (proscribed)

The Voice in the Fog: Some Notes on the Purpose of Polythremean Folk Music

The Affair of the Box: An Exposé (despised)

To the Mountains of Cheese: A Selection of the Songs of Ratkind

A Shrine of the Deep Blue Heaven: Evidence of Tengrism in the Fourth City

Reflections on the World Behind the Mirrors (proscribed)

The Feast of Masks and Other Fallen Traditions

Matters Unholy, Impossible, or Untrue: The Short Stories of T.E. Gylden

"The Pirate Poet" in Loamsprach and English

Customs of the Clay Quarters
theodor_gylden: (not an adventurer a scholar dammit)

Everything, I believe, is interconnected ... Fingerwork, the Gates of the Garden, the Eyes of Icarus, the Falling Cities. And so the Mysteries of Polythreme interconnect with Parabola's; they form themselves a parabola, an image mirrored unto itself. I've written before on my voyage to the Marches of the Mirror Country. Now I will write on my voyage across the zee.

First, let me begin in Fallen London. There I worked with an Implacable Detective, to discover a missing Medium -- and when I discovered her, I discovered that she, like me, had been Behind the Mirror. But she appeared possessed by it ... She sang in English and in Loamsprach, the language of the Clay. 'We will exist!' 'Clothed in jade and clothed in mud!' 'The king with a hundred hearts!' 'No flying thing, no thing that flies!' 'The garden gates, with faces locked ...' In her reflection, her hair and hands moved like the slithering of serpents.

That would not be the last I heard of the Serpent-Handed. In another, private case, I found that a novelist of the Neath and a poet of the Surface had both invoked that mirror image, independent of one another, inspired by their dreams. And thus I learned of a dream-entity that slithers through one's consciousness whenever one brings it to being by writing of it. I believe the Medium was touched by this entity. I believe I may be touched, too

But enough of serpents. The Medium spoke of the king with a hundred hearts, and I did not know her meaning then, but I know it now. The King of a Hundred Hearts is the king of Polythreme -- its genius loci. In Polythreme, everything is animate. Stone screams, water begs. On the Grunting Fen, I speculated that all things share a soul, or spirit -- pneuma, as the Stoics conceived of pneuma, the breath of life and the form possessed even by the lifeless. I have come to believe that soul, that spirit, that pneuma, is the Hundreds'. Through the Hundreds, Polythreme lives and the Clay Men are born. I witnessed the birth of a Clay Man in Polythreme, one heart broken from many. Like men, the Hundreds dream. Like the author, like the poet, the King's dreams bring something into being, and that something is the Clay Men. Clothed in jade and clothed in mud, they will exist.

What of garden gate, with faces locked? Polythreme's priests speak of the garden and the mountain. There, too, is an interconnection, for it is said that in the Elder Country exists a great glowing mountain -- and it said that wherever death flees from, it flees from the Elder Country first, like the shadow fleeing light. There is a curious quality to the Neath. We die, but our deaths are a part of life such that we can live again. We dream, but we dream in common, as in a common reality. In Polythreme, even the lifeless have life. In Parabola, we wander a waking dream. One opens to the other, as through reflecting frames. I know they have a single source.

I do not yet know what, or how -- but in my dreams it shines with the Memory of Light.
theodor_gylden: (not an adventurer a scholar dammit)
The Bespectacled Folklorist received a dispensation from the Dilmun Club, too, and has prepared a compendium of catalogued and cross-catalogued notes. You glimpse the demarcated pages.

Cryptopaleontological Notes. Research notes on the strange creatures of the Neath.
Sorrow-Spiders and Spider-Councils.
The Eater-of-Chains and the Inhabiter of Wolves.
The Thing in the Mirror and the 'Lords of London.'
The Wings of Thunder Bat and its Offspring.
Further Residents of the Labyrinth of Tigers.
The Vake.
The Rubbery Forms of Flute Street.
The Animates of Polythreme. (Including Clay Persons.)
Devils and Demons.
Creatures Capable of Discourse. (Cats, Rats, Ravens, Et Al.)


Prelapsarian Archaeological Notes. Research notes concerning cities before the fifth.
The First City. Speculated to be Nagar.
The Second City. Speculated to be Amarna.
The Third City. Speculated to be Hopelchén.
The Fourth City. Speculated to be Karakorum.
The Half-Stolen Flute Street.
The Bazaar, the Masters, and Their Practices.

Theosophistrical Notes. Research notes on matters of the spirit and the other side.
Imanuel Lundberg's Grand Theory of the Correspondence.
Other Theories of the Correspondence.
Madame Petrovsky's Secret Dogma and the Fifth Age of Civilisation.
Madame Petrovsky's Practical Pantheism.
The Works of Doctor Schlomo.
Parabola.
Speculative Travel. (Anarcho- or Otherwise)
London Dream Lore.
London Soul Lore.
Principles of Life and Death in the Neath.
Spirits and Spiritualism. (Beneath and Above.)
Magic and Magicians.


You also glimpse a glint of gold at his ear, that was not there before -- a zailor's charm against drowning. Superstitious.

Compare Notes with the Bespectacled Folklorist.

[all those researchers scurrying about the zee are bound to run into each other. use the comments to share content and chatter without spoiler tags.]
theodor_gylden: (Default)
Yes! The Shifting Patterns of Bats on the Cavern roof may be Interpreted by SCIENCE to Forecast your Future! See Madame Shoshana's Most Accurate Predictions in the Gazette, irregularly.

1 - The Rat.
Class: Metamorphic.
Character: Dependable, hardworking, 'like our hardworking rat friends.' Pragmatic in approach. Practical and responsible. Stable and grounded. Reliable, above all.
Archetype: Investigator, Politician.
Good Luck: The heavy, geological pull of the rocks beneath us all.
Ill Luck: Macramé (in spite of a talent for it). Volcanoes. Crustless sandwiches, high tea taken too far.

2 - The Lovers.
Class: Metamorphic.
Character: Dependable -- a 'rock.'
Archetype: Scholar, Politician.
Good Luck: The colour mauve (when others wear it).
Ill Luck: Unknown.

3 - The Bat.
Class: Metamorphic.
Character: Nothing if not practical. Strong and wise. Pragmatic and well organised. 'Like the bats in their flocks above,' brings 'order to chaos.'
Archetype: Investigator, Scholar.
Good luck: Unknown.
Ill Luck: Rag-and-bone men. Rags. Bones.

4 - The Bear.
Class: Speleothemic.
Character: Enthusiastic in his or her interests. Intelligent and thoughtful. Secretive, 'like the mountain bears, which ... are not mythical at all.'
Archetype: Dreamer, Criminal.
Good Luck: A clove of garlic in the bath.
Ill Luck: Sawdust, especially in the corners of rooms and on the tops of tables.

5 - The Shepherd.
Class: Speleothemic.
Character: Ruled by logic. Fiercely intellectual. At home in the mountains of learning. 'A shepherd of ideas, perhaps.' Thoughtful.
Archetype: Gambler, Criminal.
Good Luck: Unknown.
Ill Luck: Taking hansom cabs in Spite. Traveling on foot in Veilgarden.

6 - The Crow.
Class: Speleothemic.
Character: Easily inspired and creative. Idealistic. Clever, cunning. Quick-witted, 'much like the crows themselves.' Prone to day-dreaming.
Archetype: Dreamer, Gambler.
Good Luck: A spotted handkerchief -- but tying knots in it will not aid memory.
Ill Luck: Cooking tapioca. (Caution advised with cocoa.)

7 - The Lady.
Class: Igneous.
Character: Charming, 'often the most charming person in the room.' Impulsive. Has strong feelings about most things. Appears positive, radiant with energy, 'like certain well-loved Ladies of our time.'
Archetype: Adventurer, Hedonist.
Good Luck: Unknown.
Ill Luck: Black umbrellas, especially in damp weather. The foxtrot or waltz, even when asked by a devil. Incriminating evidence and cool fireplaces.

8 - The Lantern.
Class: Igneous.
Character: Creative, devoted to a craft. Passionate and energetic. Spirited, shining, 'like the flame of a lantern in the dark.' Possessing an enthusiasm either warming or tiresome.
Archetype: Hedonist, Philanthropist.
Good Luck: Toadstools.
Ill Luck: Mosses and lichens. The colour maroon, especially on library wallpaper.

9 - The Cat.
Class: Igneous.
Character: Sometimes overly idealistic -- this is a good thing. Assertive and daring. Clever, 'quick and sharp as a cat.'
Archetype: Adventurer, Philanthropist.
Good Luck: Porridge (when chosen over toast).
Ill Luck: Jam on porridge or toast.

9 - The Rose.
Class: Glacial.
Character: Intuitive and insightful. Of delicate feelings and easily-bruised sensibilities, 'like rose petals.' Attractive towards others, and clever enough to make use of the fact. Empathetic towards all unfortunates.
Archetype: Artist, Assassin.
Good Luck: Unknown.
Ill Luck: Curtains of plum or burgundy. Velvet. Too much pepper in one's sauces.

11 - The Spider.
Class: Glacial.
Character: Embraces the life of the mind. Intuitive and romantic. Spins 'intricate webs of supposition and intrigue, much like the spider herself.' Sentimental, kind, sensitive, and enigmatic.
Archetype: Artist, Animal Enthusiast.
Good Luck: Respect towards match-sellers and penny-dreadful pedlars.
Ill Luck: (Presumably) disrespect towards match-sellers and penny-dreadful pedlars. A possibility of poison spikes in one's shoes.

12 - The Hunter.
Class: Glacial.
Character: Plagued with dreadful bad luck. Thrice cursed, 'just as Actaeon was cursed for his profanity.' Sensitive and romantic.
Archetype: Animal Enthusiast, Assassin.
Good Luck: Buckets of sand? Bedrest.
Ill Luck: High places, low places, zee-level places. Letters, strangers.
theodor_gylden: (not an adventurer a scholar dammit)
"It is so difficult for us to unlearn all we know of the nature of meteorological phenomena, so hard for us to look upon atmospheric changes as though we knew nothing of the laws that govern them, that we are disposed to treat such explanations of popular myths as I have given above, as fantastic and improbable.

But among the ancients all solutions of natural problems were tentative, and it is only after the failure of every attempt made to explain these phenomena on supernatural grounds that we have been driven to the discovery of the true interpretation. Yet among the vulgar a vast amount of mythology remains, and is used still to explain atmospheric mysteries. The other day a Yorkshire girl, when asked why she was not afraid of thunder, replied because it was only her Father's voice; what knew she of the rushing together of air to fill the vacuum caused by the transit of the electric fluid? to her the thunder-clap was the utterance of the Almighty." - Sabine Baring-Gould, The Book of Werewolves: Being an Account of a Terrible Superstition (1865)

"Even while I correct these sheets for press, a lecture by Professor Tyndall has been put into my hands, which I ought to have heard last 16th January, but was hindered by mischance; and which, I now find, completes, in two important particulars, the evidence of an instinctive truth in ancient symbolism; showing, first, that the Greek conception of an ætherial element pervading space is justified by the closest reasoning of modern physicists; and, secondly, that the blue of the sky, hitherto thought to be caused by watery vapour, is, indeed, reflected from the divided air itself; so that the bright blue of the eyes of Athena, and the deep blue of her ægis, prove to be accurate mythic expressions of natural phenomena which it is an uttermost triumph of recent science to have revealed.

Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine triumph more complete. To form, 'within an experimental tube, a bit of more perfect sky than the sky itself!' here is magic of the finest sort! singularly reversed from that of old time, which only asserted its competency to enclose in bottles elemental forces that were -- not of the sky." - John Ruskin, The Queen of the Air: A Study of the Greek Myths of Cloud and Storm (1869)

Compare, if you would: the discovery which prevents mythic sympathy, the discovery which is in itself mythic (or magic), myth as explanation from ignorance, myth as instinctive and symbolic truth.

Consider what is opposition and what is correspondence.

Recall what the thunder said.
theodor_gylden: (not an adventurer a scholar dammit)
On the cosomology and metaphysics of Clay People.

In surface lore there can exist a division between earth and sky -- I say 'surface lore' and attempt to encapsulate a multitude of cultures and traditions, but cultures, we may agree, with an earth and sky to divide. Geb and Nut, Gaia and Ouranos, Prithvi and Dyausa, siblings and spouses. When Ruskin spoke of Athena, Queen of the Air, at London University, he warned his audience that 'if we have never seen anything above us in the day but smoke, nor anything around us in the night but candles' we cannot read the stories of the ancients who led their lives and steered their ships by starlight.

Some have argued that the Clay have language but no literature, no high ideas. But with the Clay, we should not speak of heights. We should speak of greater and greater depths. Earth and sky, the cavern floor and the cavern ceiling, are not distinct as they are on the surface -- all is earth, all encloses us.

But neither is the earth uniform. If we cannot read the stories of the surface without knowing starlight, we also cannot read the stories of the Clay without visiting the labyrinth of the Clay Quarters.

Some considerations. The Clay consume mud for sustenance and strength. The mud of the shore of the Stolen River, they say, is imbued with a special vitality by the waters of Hell, and forbidden for use by the Masters of the Bazaar. (When Lyme was given his choice, he selected for us the foods which grew closest to dirt and mud.) The Clay Warrens, beneath the city, are a place of healing, but beneath the Clay Warrens are the Stone Pigs, who will bring destruction when they wake.

Furthermore, in Polythreme, the elements are quite alive. The fire pleads not to be put out. The water weeps when it is drunk. Silence is mythologized, those spaces of the earth that are slaves to no one and speak to no one.

The Clay themselves are known for stoicism; despite their obedience, they do not give themselves away. This does not, however, mean that there is nothing to give. Again, with the Clay, one must think of depths -- one must think of the earth, abiding. But Clay Men are earth with shape and purpose, sculpted earth, and a certain fullness of form is the ideal among them. A Clay Man can be Unmade. A Clay Man can also be Unfinished. These are not, I presume, the same.

Further topics for research --

The Clay conception of soul and vital forces.

The ethics of service and duty within Clay society.

The Clay Diaspora v. The Clay in Polythreme.

Love.
theodor_gylden: (not an adventurer a scholar dammit)
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.
theodor_gylden: (not an adventurer a scholar dammit)
Seeking Mr Eaten's Name.

"Why? In God's name, why? What can you possibly hope to gain? Stop now. Before it's too late.''

It is unclear whether Mr Eaten is or was a Master. What is clear is that the Masters share disdain for him. Mr Veils has called him 'the shadow of a sliver of regret'. Mr Spices has said 'a deceitful remnant, no more' and refers to a regrettable 'fall.' Mr Hearts has asked its customers to stop selling skin to him, for he has not 'the least idea what to do with it.' Disputes among the Masters are common, but there is a sense in which the others regard him as less than a Master, and unfit to do business with.

(Is Mr Eaten 'him' or 'it'? Though the Masters terms themselves Messrs, human sex does not apply to them, and therefore, custom selects the pronoun 'it.' On further study, however, I have found the Masters are liberal in referring to one another by either 'him' or 'it' -- so this has not proved as enlightening a course as I had hoped.)

The title Eaten, too, is unlike Apples or Iron. It does not indicate a what, we might say, as a noun form. It is -- Henrik has noted -- a perfect passive participle. 'Essus, consumptus.' It is something that has happened. What does it signify, that it should be passive, rather than active? That it should be past, rather than present or future? Merriwether has observed that the old parliament is described as having been 'eaten' -- the same perfect passive participle. Is there a significance to that?

But like the Masters, Mr Eaten is -- or was -- involved in a trade. Though I am uncertain as to whether he practices it any longer, he would once offer favors to players of the game Knife-and-Candle in exchange for his name tattooed on their skin. He had a manner of speaking that could not be perceived by anyone except the person he spoke to. And, so the story goes, he first approached Knife-and-Candle players speaking no word other than 'yes.' Attached is one player's recounting of an exchange; here are others. 

Consider Mr Eaten's claim that the cost could be 'indefinitely deferred,' and another saying associated with him: 'an accounting is not to be postponed indefinitely.' 

(Elsewhere I must compile my notes on the surface location of the four fallen cities preceding London, but this detail could be telling: the Masters share an antipathy towards Egypt, but when asked his opinion, Mr Eaten said, 'I think the place is charming; the weather, delightful; the Pharaoh's daughters, most hospitable.' At the well in Big King Square, a voice told me of a tall man's daughters, a city of granite, the drowning. Was the city Egyptian, and was it one of the four? Was the tall man a Pharaoh? And why was it that the voice only became clear to me in hunger? I cannot say.)

So the search for Mr Eaten's name began, I believe, in Knife-and-Candle. But there is another way to begin it. It requires a keen hunger, one that has been termed 'unaccountable.' (Is it at all related to the saying? For how can long can such an accounting be postponed -- ?) I know of three ways to acquire it.

The first is in the common and recurring dreams of kings, queens, bishops and battlefields; the dreams, Londoners call them, of chess. In a dream one may be a spy in an enemy camp and, stopping by the fire to partake in the soldiers' stew, become too distracted to attend discussions of strategy. The hunger will stay upon waking.

The second method, I have heard, involves Mrs Plenty's Rubbery Lumps, but I am wholly unfamiliar with it.

And the last is how the hunger found me, and requires a counterfeit head of St John the Baptist. The head has a use in Knife-and-Candle: it whispers the secrets of the dead. After setting it upon my bedside  table, I dreamt that the head sat upon my shoulders, and spoke of treachery committed in water and a betrayal remembered only by a few.

That is remarkable to me because I had long been dreaming of death by water -- first, on a ship during a storm, then wrecked landscapes where water did not belong. Then a voyage in a dirigible high above a flood. And in those dreams anything that had a voice, or that could make the sign some other way, would bid me NORTH. The last of these dreams -- a dream of the surface -- is the dream that spurs the search. In mine I left home and left the message: WILL GO NORTH WHEN I FIND THE NAME

But what is in the North? What must I arrange there? Why will I need Mr Eaten's name? And why -- again -- did it only become clear to me through hunger? Ms Leslie Hardwicke has suggested to me that NORTH is sent into our dreams of water as a message, and there may yet be something to that suggestion --

Nevertheless, I have made little progress on discovering the name in waking life. One incident, at the corner coffeehouse, has led me to believe that if the name is written down it is written the Correspondence. This language -- if it is indeed a language -- is a subject to which I must devote further study ...

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