An Invitation to a Symposium of the Correspondence

unlocked with Scholar of the Correspondence.
(Spoilers will abound!)

Dear you – clever you! You’ve gained yourself a reputuation as a Scholar of the Correspondence. What have you begun to dream since dreaming in the language of Xanadu? Do you have a unified theory of sign and signifier certain to shake academia at it s core? Would you compose a treatise on the number seven and the subscript that indicates a name? Do you dare to speak on that loftiest subject, the subject of of love?

Here’s your chance, then, to share all you’ve learned and imagined, among the other scholars of your field. Signor Narciso is holding a symposium, and he invites you.

Only submit a

For example –
Name. Signor Narciso Confortola.
Title. If Music Be The Food Of Love: Exploring the Bagley Notation System and the Linguistics of Longing.
Abstract. In his presentation, Signor Narciso will be revealing the fruits of his research into Tristram Bagley’s unique and unfinished masterpiece, the Bell and the Candle – a Correspondent opera that will leave you enamoured of the unseen sky, desperate with desire for the endless spaces between stars, and consumed with furious lust for the striking of bells. Inspired by the Bagley Notation System, Signor Narciso has embarked upon his own experiment in Correspondent Composition, a Celestial song of longing to be played upon a glass violoncello. After performing a (safe) excerpt, he will delve into his theory of why the Correspondence, when performed, can influence us so purely and powerfully. Art is the art of suggestion and signification, of creating a work that transcends itself – such as when a painting transcends mere paint and becomes a landscape, or a symphony transcends mere sound and becomes a passionate feeling – but the Correspondence is a language that unites form and meaning together, that can create fire from the mere act of expression. It is, argues Signor Narciso, the passion it plays.

[thought this might be a fun conceit for a get-together among scholarly sorts. anyone interested?]
edited by narcissus_echo on 11/8/2012

Is it specific to the heart desire’s ambition?

Not at all! That was the example, but it can be anything involving the Correspondence, throughout the game.

Name: William John Penning
Title: Words of Fire: Ruminations on the use of Correspondent Weapons.
Abstract: In this work, William Penning shall post several theories into the use of the Correspondence in warfare. Both as a weapon itself and in its possible use in the manufacture of singularly devastating artifacts. This particular language has near infinite destructive capabilities, as the mere study of it has been shown to cause combustion of various materials and persons. What if this power could be harnessed? It has been proven that the Correspondence can be played on very particular musical instruments, but can it be spoken? Could a learned enough man wield this arcane tongue and ignite those who would be foolish enough to stand before him? Perhaps. But what of the possibilities of manufacture? Is it possible to give otherwise mundane equipment otherworldly abilities by engraving certain symbols? If so, what materials would be needed, as even steel burns after only a few symbols. And if this possible, was it ever done before? While he is currently just beginning his testing of these matters, Mr Penning will attempt to answer some of these questions. For, as he argues, if such things are possible, then London cannot afford to ignore the ramifications.

A brilliant work! Or should I say incendiary? Welcome to the Symposium, dear William.

A pleasure Mr. Signor. Now then, what shall we discuss?

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Name: Dirae Erinyes
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Title: The Vines Spelled the Words: Reflections of Celestial Language in the Natural World
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Abstract: In this work, the focus is not on human experience with the Correspondence, but on it’s expression and effect in natural world, as shown in the research conducted into the natural sciences by the London Scientific Society. This first part of this extensive survey covers multiple disciplines in the natural sciences with a focus on the natural systems and phenomena in London, it’s nearby countryside, and the depths below it, such as the geology of Flute Street, the flight of bats in accordance to astrological events, and the growth of the Bloodvine plant in the Royal Zoological gardens of the Empresses Palace. The second part of this survey focuses on territory outside the physical proximity of London, such as colonies of the crown and the Parabola beyond the mirror, such as Polythreme unusual ecosystem, the wildlife of the uterzee, and the correspondence letters found on the pelts of leopards. From this survey, Dirae Erinyes concludes on the importance of Correspondence in the very fabric of our material reality.
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Dear William, we can discuss whatever you please – we’ve a common interest, you and I, in the Correspondence as applied, in that liminality were sign and signified meet and bow and exchange calling cards. Some scholars content themselves with the theory of the word, but you, you look to the power of the word spoken! My imagination’s all afire, now, with bloody-eyed enchanters who can spell destruction in a word … What would it take, you think, to pronounce the Correspondence? Are human beings capable of it?

But ah! Dirae Erinyes, welcome, welcome. Yours was an impressive work, as well – one of breadth as well as depth, and we can’t help craving both, down here. The thought that Correspondence might be writ in the fabric of reality … Perhaps it’s the language that reality speaks, hm? And if we can master it, if we can speak back, we can do anything. But that’s only a thought. Tell me, have you truly been Behind the Mirror? Is there evidence of the Correspondence there?

Yes, I have made some direct visits to that location, but evidence of the Correspondence has been limited in the mirror marshes so far. However, I believe that there is a deeper connection, especially when one mediates on the connection between dreams and the Correspondence, and the relationship between mirrors and dreams. I’m currently working towards procuring a zoological speciemen of a a most eloquent leopard. Given the big cats in the Parabola, I think a steady of big cats on this side of the mirror may produce some interesting information.

They do all seem interrelated, don’t they? My dear Doctor Schlomo theorises that our Neath-dreams share the ‘commonality of experience in a common space,’ and that space is Parabola … and who hasn’t dreamt the Correspondence? It’s like the gates of horn and ivory all over again – true dreams come through the gate of mirror. I wonder whether we can say, then, that the Correspondence comes from Parabola, or only comes through it on its way from somewhere else.

A most interesting question, I would guess that the Correspondence traveled through it from elsewhere. My theory is that the Correspondence is the words that underwrite reality. The Parabola reflects so much of this reality that I have a hard picturing one without the other. Though, which one is the reflection and which one is the reflector is another question. . . Therefore, I believe they were spoken into being the same time.

Gentlemen, I return with my preliminary results. Do forgive me if my handwriting is a bit shaky, as I currently have no control over my right arm. I assume you are also accustomed to reading scorched parchment. The flames seem even more erratic than usual today, and burn with strange colors and ferocity. I fear it will be weeks before my mustache regains its normal strength. At any rate, my findings so far. I decided to do my first round of testing in my private room at the Royal Bethlehem for convince in case of personal madness, and lack of sane neighbors to disturb. I chose to begin this research with a very simple inscribing. As you all well know, many of the symbols that we study do not easily translate to our native tongue or fit into the concepts we typically use. As I do not wish to inscribe a symbol with a possibly disastrous double meaning to it, I chose one of the few that I know to have a single and relatively simple meaning, and one that could have some use as a weapon. Pain. So, I took up my engraving acid and a small knife from the kitchen and set to work. The flames began at this point. After several hours of work, and several knives, I had etched the rune perfectly into the blade of the thing. Then there was a sharp crack!, not unlike rifle fire, and the smell of the acid and burning steel was replaced with a strong odor of a recent storm. Then nothing. No swirl of unknown energies, no eldritch flames. Just nothing. I will admit to no small amount of disappointment. I then picked up the knife to further inspect my handiwork. The handle had no reaction to the touch of skin. At this point I made the mistake of running my finger across the blade.

It did not pierce my skin, for that I am grateful, but in that fleeting moment of contact I felt more pain that I can recall ever feeling before. Gentlemen, I do not mean to boast when I say this, but I have survived significant physical trauma. I have been speared through by a warlance, and bitten dozens of times by a spider council. My body is host to dozens of scars from all kinds of injury, and this was by far the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. It was like a fire in the veins. It started in my right hand, and spread throughout my entire body. I fell to the floor as every muscle in my body began to seize. I know not how long I lay there, but I have never more fervently wished for the release of that slow boat on the dark river. Eventually the fire began to fade, and left behind it the most terrible chill. I took up the knife from where it had fallen and dissolved it on the spot. My right arm is still limp. A most promising start, if a little bittersweet. I suspect it was the simplistic nature of the word I chose that caused in to act that way. But what if I could direct it? Instead of just Pain, if I found the symbol for Pain to Devils, or Pain to Those Foolish Enough to Stand Before Me? Or perhaps Fire? Bah, mindless speculation I admit, but it gives me hope. At any rate, this concludes the log on my first Engraving Experiment.

Side Note: Mr Signor, I would hazard that it would be possible for a human to speak the Correspondence, I cannot imagine it to be anything less than a miracle if the speaker survives it. Our study demands perfection, especially of penmanship. It would be safe to assume that in order to properly intone the dread power of the Correspondence he would have to pronounce it perfectly. Ask ten Londoners off the street at random to say any word, and most likely they will all say it with slight differences in the emphasis, or even dropping or adding certain sounds. With time and many attempts, one could conceivably learn a few spoken words of this most ancient language. But what happens that first attempt? When you make some small mistake? I dread to find out. Also, given my recent experience, even if one said the word or phrase correctly, it might not have the intended effect. Nonetheless I do intend to make headway into both of these fields at some point. As the theoretical perspectives of the Correspondence seem to be in good hands I shall leave them to you gentlemen.

Once I recover I shall be back to testing.

Wish me luck, I fear I shall need it.
edited by W J P on 11/17/2012
edited by W J P on 11/17/2012

My condolences! I shall send a case of Tinctures of Vigor right over.
Also, your story gave a strange thought. Have you tried giving properties of the correspondence to living things for the purposes of battle yet?
Keep strong and may your mustache grow back stronger then ever.

Title. A Reality of Convenience: The Liminality of Definition
Abstract. We have already begun to broach the subject of the nature of what we name The Correspondence, and I am pleased to see that my colleagues in this endeavor are similarly possessed of a great thirst for further knowledge concerning this elusive and intriguing subject. I am sure, merely by having read the preliminaries of your research, that we are each in accord as to the inextricable interpenetration of The Correspondence and the fabric of our (all?) realities. As the worthy Dirae Erinyes hints, our understanding of our subject is shaped by its appearance in our world; I submit that this restriction limits our view, and that, indeed, The Correspondence and our reality at once define and are defined by each other coterminously. That is to say that some Characters – I cannot say All – are dependent not only on their graphical form, but also simultaneously on their media of expression. As substantiation, I submit the fact that Characters, when seen as a Form, are capable of extruding immense power into our world, but when transliterated into our own language, are perfectly safe, though often (to the layman, at least) otherwise nonsensical strings of words. This suggests that there are both Phenomenal and Noumenal qualities to a Character, and it is my intention to show that certain Characters (if not all) are entirely dependent on their media, and that a single graphical Form, when applied through different media actually become two completely independent and distinct Characters. This hypothesis may be further extended as to the difficulties we experience when attempting to employ and understand a Character – side-effects with which I am sure my distinguished colleagues are eminently familiar.[li]
edited by The Grey-Eyed Poet on 5/13/2013

Excellent work! Sorry about the delay, I have been away on other matters of late.
Do you think there is a hierarchy of which of the dependent Characters and their affect on the world?
Also, is there any Character you are looking for in the Correspondence but have not found?

Alas, I see that the scholarly pursuits of this madness we call The Correspondence is fading in fanaticism however I have a mad theory, one perhaps that allows all of your delightful theories to be true as well.
My name is MyKael.
The title of my theory, The Correspondence and Law.
A brief overview of my hypothesis and theories.
The Correspondence as we know is capable of extremely powerful things, such as causing pain, the essence of pain perhaps, as Sir William has illustrated, among the endless possibilities we have been able to explore very few. However, I believe that the Correspondence is not just a means of communication or a cause of disastrous effects. Rather it is the written form of the Laws that govern our world. Gravity, life, death, endless numbers of rules and when the words are spoken correctly or the symbols written, they alter our world and the rules that govern it. Perhaps the fabrics of reality being stressed and torn is the cause of the fire that awakens when a symbol I etched correctly, the release of energy or the friction of conflicting laws. In addition, I hypothesize that it is the reason why down here death is not as significant as on the surface, I believe someone or something has mastered the Correspondence and used it to rewrite the rules of our world. Perhaps the Masters, perhaps a being that is unknown to us entirely, but it is safe to assume if my theories are correct that this being is the equivalent of a god, for it can shape the world around us.

Name: Lady Sapho L.Byron
Title: Applied Correspondence: Everyday Uses for the Extraordinary.
Abstract: Long the province of scholars and madmen (and women!) the Correspondence has been deemed too dangerous and too abstruse for the public. Consequently, Correspondence research is often suppressed, making this taxing field even more difficult to pursue. I propose that if practical Correspondence applications can be found, study of it would be more widely accepted. To this end, I have been experimenting with using the Correspondence to roast coffee beans. Although most beans are entirely consumed by the process, occasional beans survive. Over time I accumulated enough to brew into coffee. Consumption of the coffee produces celestial visions, auditory experiences reminiscent of lacre, and physical sensations that are best not described publically. Consumption also results in bleeding eyes, extreme stomach cramps, and extraordinarily horrid dreams. Correspondence Coffee tastes like slightly burnt stars, which are, it seems, quite tasty.[li]
edited by Lady Sapho Byron on 3/27/2015

Name: Zhorgren

Title: The Creation of Man: Homunculi of the Correspondence

Abstract: The Correspondence is Neath-renowned for its capacity for destruction. Indeed, any Londoner can tell of incautious scholars who have lost their lives, both temporarily and permanently, due to experimentation with the mere transcription of the Correspondence. However, few, even among scholars, are aware of its capacity for creation. Artificial humans, or “homunculi” are a possibility through keen study of the Correspondence. There lives a crafter of these homunculi, a “homunculist” if you prefer, on the Surface. It was this man who first drew my interest towards the Correspondence and its mysteries.
I will be honest, as I must provide some evidence for my claims. The mortal known as Zhorgren is one of these homunculi. The craft is still imperfect, and Zhorgren is, while somewhat self-aware, malleable enough for the purposes of myself and my brother. A marionette, so that we can have some “human” rights.
We are ravens. My name is Maggie. I perch on Zhorgren’s left shoulder. I put it to you: how much can we create with this language? Why does it possess the ability to do so?

Name: V.N.
Title: Language et ostentatione Tempus: Commanding the Clock
Abstract: The basics of the mysterious language known as the Correspondence has been described in detail by other scholars, but an important topic of study has been neglected: The relation between Neath’s exotic clockwork and the Language of Xanadu. This particular work details several possible theories as to the connection between the two and the forces exuded by the latter onto the former. Soon, other means of temporal display are touched upon: Moon-Pearls, the regularities of Lacre and Glim-fall, and various other events.

Title: Et in Parabola Ego: Law and Inexistence
Abstract: The essay details an unusual and surprising theory that Parabola possesses laws, which are enforced by a set of Correspondence-marked objects. The work goes into detail about the workings of Xanadu’s sigils, explaining an idea that the Correspondence creates combustion as to spread luminosity and provide the sigil’s effects. The sources of this info remain a mystery, as the author does not cite most of their sources.