Certain metaphysical theories view the mind as an endless sea of ether. In the ether, thoughts and memories and visions swim about. It is its own, enclosed universe within each individual, a world per every being with a soul. These worlds, the metaphysicists pose, do not cross and, perhaps, do not even exist within the same reality as the person they are bound to.
Such thoughts are, of course, clear and utter nonsense conjured up by raving lunatics who still believe in luminiferousness (and, perhaps, unicorns as well).
The mind, as one may know, is the realization of Law within the individual. Ironically, the theory of mind-ether strikes a cord with one truth – the mind’s essence is light. The light of Law is what breathes life into the Chain, coursing through each being with different intensity. It is not untrue that there are higher beings; it is simply a matter of wherefore they are above.
Only in study of the Law can one know what the mind is truly capable of. Through the study of Correspondence, the language of stars and Law, will the world itself and, by extension, the mind, slowly reveal its secrets. Only through this, the most noble of scientific persuasions, can we discover the truth of thought.
Not for those of feeble mind, the Correspondence brings its challenges. Within a pamphlet on the middle-page spread On the middle-page spread, within an envelope, lies a secured pamphlet with the first steps a secret-seeker needs to peer unto the mind.
May knowledge be forever pursued.
Art of London
Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Five
by Cassius Mortemer
It took three stops and seemingly infinite days.
They’ve stopped at Venderbight, the Tomb Colonies north of London. Some dreadful, cold place where people kept asking questions (Weather? Weaver? Wither? What was it called?). A rock full of Correspondence (the Author didn’t even leave his room).
The trip included frequent visits from sentient ice mountains and giant zeefood. They were almost never friendly, and the captain refused to simply go around them. The crewmembers were skittish and sleepless by the time they reached the Unterzee volcano.
They could see it from miles away. The occasional glowing red flicker at the top mountain, the sullen green lights at the jetty’s edge. The port at the base of the volcano smelled of brimstone. Past the port, there was a knee-deep layer of ash. The Author had to go through this alone. The captain and the crew were busy with their own business.
“Up the Brimstone Convention,” the Curious Devilless had told him before he left. “He’ll be there. Waiting”
The Author was putting a lot of trust in the Devilless’ words.
Up the mountain. Warm earth. An endless climb. Soft ash beneath his feet, on his knees, covering his hands and in his mouth. He was barely halfway when he got tired. The Author sat down on a disturbingly warm rock, spitting out ash and shaking the rest out of his hair.
A gentle, sweet voice spoke up behind him.
“I haven’t seen you here before,” she said. The Author nearly threw himself off of his perch. The Wistful Devilless was standing on the disturbed ash trail that the Author had left behind. Not sinking in.
“I’ve never been here before,” the Author finally said. The Devilless looked up the mountain. There was a low, complex drone. Like the buzzing of millions of insects, deep in the earth.
“This way is… unwise for humans,” she said. His eyebrows furrowed as she watched the Author. “And you are soulless. Hmm,”
The Author looked up towards the volcano. “Someone is waiting for me,”
The Devilless crossed her arms. “Well. You look like you could use some rest. Come to my cottage, at least to wash the ash out of your mouth.”
The Author might’ve turned down the nice offer. He didn’t have much time to waste. But the Devilless practically dragged him to her cottage. He’s starting to see a pattern here. The Devilless cleaned him up, even offered him tea.
“Why are you going up there?” she asked him while pouring tea.
“Who do you expect to find up there?”
The Author stared at his cup, wondering if he should answer the question or not.
“He has my soul,” he said at last.
The Author took a sip of tea. He thought of the Devil who so easily snatched his soul. Not just his soul, but something deeper. Something he remembered at the very edges of his consciousness. An old familiar feeling, now lost to him without his soul.
“Someone I think I’m in love with.”
He could have done without the suit, however.
Hotshot Blackburn looks in the chipped mirror, adjusts his tie, and grimaces. He seemed…vulnerable, somehow, outside of the normal sable uniform. The outfit from Dauncey’s was of impeccable quality, but it just didn’t look right ; the contours slimmed where they should have widened, narrowed where they should have broadened, accentuated youth rather than experience. Even his spectacles – writhing cosmogone lenses, the glasses of a Glazier – seem less impressive without the clothes to back them up. He looked like a freshly graduated Young Stag about to speak in front of a board of investors, wishing he had a cream pie to drop down someone’s trousers and lighten the mood. He looked ridiculous.
But all this was necessary. This wasn’t about his comfort. This was for them. And their safety. If Hotshot Blackburn had to monkey about playing the safe, harmless gentleman to put the potential mob at ease…so be it.
He adjusts his plum tie again and looks slightly less disgruntled, before he turns away from the mirror to the pavilion exit.
“The Kashmiri Princess is off in seven, good luck Blackburn.” “Marksmen and medics are in their positions, let’s hope it’s a boring night eh?” “You’re a madman Blackburn, give ‘em a good show!” “Seamstress and the Expert have taken their seats, the Vesture ambassador is making their way in!” “Ready when you are, Blackburn!”
The Sharpshooter makes his way through a crowd of well-wishers and fellow conspirators. They are among the few in London who are already aware of his secret, of the nature of the act to come. They have helped carry out this plan, build the stage and bring the pavilions and spread word of the event. Revolutionaries, one and all. He murmurs genuine words of appreciation to them, for standing by him.
He hopes they will continue to do so, come what may. As he clears the crowd, he steps toward a small door built into the side of the stage. Behind the door, a sloping ramp leads down into the earth. Here…here is where the final act awaits their cue. Hotshot has long discussed this day with them, and has talked with them even before…but something compels him still to the door. To exchange one last round of words, before it begins.
The Sharpshooter slips down into the darkness. Some time later, he emerges back into the light. What was said between him and the person waiting in the darkness below the stage is only for them to know. He slips back to the steps leading up backstage, ascends, and prepares for the beginning of the final act. He makes his way to the plush magenta curtains that shroud him from the audience, prepares to part them.
A hand reaches out, grabs the Sharpshooter by the coat and twirls him to the side behind a facade column. A familiar face gazes back at him: the soft green eyes and guarded smile of his oldest friend down here. Lord Daniel Whitethorn – the Adamant Progressivist, the Revolutionary Firebrand, Comrade Citizen – shakes his head. “Blackburn,” he nearly whispers, “Blackburn you fool. How many are out there?”
Hotshot beams, but the Progressivist can tell he is genuinely happy. “I dunno. Lost count after the first few dozen. I didn’t specify a limit on plus ones either!”
The Progressivist groans. “There are more than a few dozen, Blackburn. The newspapers are here. The constables are here. The Ministry is here. I’m pretty sure the Royal Family’s around here somewhere!”
Hotshot’s smile never ceases, but his eyes dart slightly. “Masters?”
“Three of them. Hearts, of course. Fires came as soon as we put the automobile on stage. And I’m fairly certain Mr Wines has abused eminent domain laws to claim the alcohol pavilion for itself.”
The Sharpshooter brightens. “Excellent. No plausible deniability then. Let’s see the Decency Evaluators censor their way out of this one.”
A long sigh. “Ski- Hotshot, you know what you are about to do tonight, right?”
“Drag this city kicking and screaming into a new era of cross-species harmony and cooperation?”
“No, I was thinking more like unleash a monstrous abomination on the masses-“
“Don’t call them that,”
“-and make yourself so dangerous to public health you won’t be able to walk out in public without the Constables hunting you down.”
The Sharpshooter falls silent at that. Whitethorn was right, of course. This plan…there was no going back from this. He’d likely burn whatever credibility he had with the Menace Eradicators, the dockers, and many others. A stint in New Newgate wouldn’t be enough to offset this, nor would temporary exile.
But then he thinks of eyes without faces in dark cellars; boneless forms hidden beneath thick coats; the silent breath before a code-phrase is given; children that do not officially exist. His heart resolves.
“Well then,” Hotshot shrugs with a grin, “Let them try and stop me.” He pulls free of Daniel’s grip. “If it does go wrong-“
“When it goes wrong,”
“- if it goes wrong…will you still be here? Beside me?”
Daniel Whitethorn laughs. It is almost like Hotshot remembers, from the college days. “Wouldn’t miss it for the heads of all the crowns in Europe.” He steps back, and tilts his head to hide the smile – and slight blush – from his cheeks. “Alright Blackburn, get this disaster started then!”
Hotshot laughs in return, and bows. He makes his way out from behind the facade column, and back over to the curtains of the temporary theatre. He can hear the clapping and hooting as the Kashmiri Princess – Esmeralda, he thinks – finishes her routine. It is almost time for the big unveiling. The act he has been preparing for years.
Memories and Roses, Part I
by Professor Wensleydale.
I entered St. Fiacre’s, where I’d be sure to have my wedding, during a normal service. The Bishop wanted me to do this, so I may as well start here.
The sermon was based around Hebrews 11:1; “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Not truly inspirational, but it gave me a couple of ideas.
“Sir? Could you give me a random nugget of wisdom? No? Okay…”
“Madam? Do you have the time to spread some of His word? … I understand.”
This went on for a while, until I left, feeling uplifted and slightly inspired.
Austere is increasing…
Melancholy is increasing…
Nightmares is dropping…
Suspicion is dropping…
Scandal is dropping…
You’ve gained 1*Surface-Rose Petal(new total 4).
Restoring an Epic has increased to 2!
News of Art, Art of News
The Tree Of Liberty – A Hesperidean Spider-Council Revealed
In the late evening hours of last week, the Debonair Sharpshooter organized a gathering at a remote square of the Forgotten Quarter for an exquisite reveal.
As the event included wonderous acts, free food and drink, and the revelation of a secret, many a Londoner had turned up, from the bottom of the Flit barrels to the highest echelons of society. Our own Gazette’s reporter had, of course, been present at the event.
The Tree of Liberty, as the Sharpshooter calls the revealed Spider-Council, is indeed a Council of size yet unseen. Hundreds of thousands of sorrow spiders upon each other, clutching and grasping and forming one single, conscious being. It is, truly, a being of immense grace and import. We cannot help but proclaim the reveal, if not the sole existence of this being, an art piece for the ages, an intricate web of beauty and secrecy.
As the Tree was revealed, most of the event attendees had fled, soon to be replaced by the Department of Menace Eradication and the Constabulary. Our own reporter had bravely stayed to see the event to the end, though they are hazy on the details.
In a brief post-reveal interview, Hotshot Blackburn commented on the panic as follows:
“They don’t really understand, not yet, but they will, the significance of this is [incomprehensible] and I tell you now, dear [REDACTED], one day they will love them as much as I do.”
The Tree of Liberty itself only added “Such. Beautiful. Eyes.” before our reporter had to hastily attend to other matters.
The Menace Eradicators and Constables were unable to harm the Council in any significant way before it scutteled away with its protector and progenitor. Its location is as of now unknown, though meetings with several city and Bazaar officials are planned in the following months.
For further information, follow the instructions on pages 5-6.
Ask Mother Goose
Dear Mother Goose,
Shall the waters ever clear?
Only in patient diligence may the truth reveal itself.