On the Smoky Satisfaction of the Mumu Boarts: Justified and Ancient Pronouncements from the House of Lapsang
Boart your name, boart your skin
These are snippets that comprise the bulk of the LOre found in Enigma. Puzzle-specific parts have been removed, and some sections have been renamed or omitted. [As much of what is missing as possible will be restored in the proper Season -AWL]. Some minor puzzle spoilers may persist; if you wish to solve Enigma on your own, avoid this document.
- ‘Without Language there can be no Wordes. Without Wordes there can be no Message. But only in Silence can there be no Error; and Lo, even in that Beginning, in that First of Messages, was an Error. Thus did we enter the HOUSE OF THE SUNNE.’
– Julian Cosely, ‘The Vanquish’d Cross’
- ‘Without Language there can be no Wordes. Without Wordes there can be no Message. But only in Silence can there be no Error; and Lo, even in that Beginning, before the Conclusion of that First of Messages, was an Error. Thus did we enter the Upper Part of the House of the Sun – ‘
– Julian Coseley, ‘The Fallen Cross’
- Remember our ancestors, when Bird and Worm were one. [¿]
- Not many in Noon now consider themselves Birds of a Feather, but fewer still will say they’re Worms of a Scale.
Most come to Noon to remain apart. But there are those who work to ensure the war is won as they would wish it. St David’s Key, the Biting Key, the Forest Key, among many others, are their weapons and their prizes. Their messages pass in secret among those who Know and those who do not.
- There was insufficient time for the Terrible Ones, or for the Carapace Cross. Each fire has its fuel, and perhaps we are all of us fuel in the end.
- o Demeter, who dwelleth in the earth, who sends up gifts, who art the mare who destroyeth in mercy, in thy name we beseech thee: commend us to thy sister
- Salt: I knew a woman who would walk the beach at night to watch the road the moon offered across the waves. On her final night, she took that road.
- Hydrae: History is the scar on the world’s neck.
- There is no return for those who have committed the Crime of the Sky, but sometimes there is respite.
- The Biting Key was known in an age before other gods. It is found only in the presence of monsters.
- The Mare’s Key opens the door that leads Nowhere. It is employed only with the best intentions. // The Mare’s Key opens a door that leads Nowhere, but never the same door twice. It can be employed only with the best intentions.
- The Flaying Key was present at the birth of all the gods-from-Blood. For the Key to occur, a black pig must be sacrificed.
- The Key of Days opens the Tricuspid Gate. All the gods-from-Light have employed it. At the Crossroads, it may sometimes be invoked.
- When housed in ivory, the Key of David can be used to open the White Door. It requires a rarer house to open the Summit Gate. The Sea-Born has been known to wield it.
- The Princes owned the Key of Night, and their daughter holds it still. // The Princes owned the Key of Night, and their daughter holds it still. It only ever opens one door… but sometimes it opens it the other way.
- The Stag Door opens to the Forest Key, but there is another door that Key opens, deep in the Wood.
- One such as Medusa may not be ended easily – not without a wound as grievous as hers.
- There have always been seven, but not always the same seven, and it has not always been the Ligeia Club. It is very rare for the seven to meet in convocation, but now and then it occurs[.]
- [Echidna:] The gods-who-were-Stone knew the uses of the Biting Key, and now Echidna claims it. She has birthed so many children, and some yet survive.
- [Klêidouchos:] She has known all the Keys, but now she holds the Key of Days. She it was who opened the door the Watchman passed. She meets the Vagabond each year in Vienna.
- [Marinette:] So young, so hungry. All her children cannot slake her thirst. When Moth rose, another held the Flaying Key, but at the Grail’s bidding did Marinette consume that she.
- [<secret>:] Sea-born, tide-drawn. She is jealous of the key of black sapphire, but so many times it has fled her. Of all her kind, she knows the House of the Moon best. Meniscate-sister, Witch-lover.
- [Medusa:] She might be the oldest of her kind still living; and she is dead. Once she held the key to the door in the Wood.
- [<secret>:] She holds the Mare’s Key, which opens the door to Nowhere. Now and then, she has lent it unwisely.
- [Sulochana:] Her father came from the Fifth History, but she was born here, and here she brews her venoms. She is constant in her friendship; sometimes, she withholds her poisons. Since she became what she now is, she has ceased to dislike cats.
- The Locksmith’s Dream: Incursus
“The Law goes back all the way to Stone: the Keys cannot be held or owned. This had, I believe, the unexpected consequence that those outside the law may hold and own them. But even they cannot keep them. And of course a Key is no more physical than a spirit. But a spirit may be housed in a body, and I have touched a Key with my own hands.
- “That time – I remember that the matter of Vienna came up, and young M. was incivil to K. – she made an oblique joke about feathers; she called her ‘Pandora’. K. left early[.]”
- <secret> was my secret name. It’s not real. Names aren’t, any more than souls, or words. Bodies are real, the world is real, and the Hours are real. Your secret name is <secret>. Be careful whom you tell.
- “Last night I saw Teresa. I had not expected it at all. I don’t believe that she saw me. Perhaps she wouldn’t even recognise me, what I am now after all this time. (But I think that she would recognise me. I would recognise her in a crowd, in candle-light in silhouette, glimpsed in a ballroom mirror, even had she aged these decades too.). I am badly shaken. I suppose that the Concursum is the place that this sort of thing is bound to happen.
“Even now I know the temptation to go to the Lodge, to ask her directly – whether she has taken a side – if she still speaks to the Ligeians – whether she knows where it is. (Old man, you’re lying. There is only one question you really want to ask. The others are just excuses.)”
– Illopoly, ‘Sunset Diaries’, January 1982
- “My landlady has been questioned. By ‘a very nice man’, she says, but a very nice man who asked peculiar questions. Whether, for instance, I cut my hair before I sleep. Time to move on.
I can’t put it off any longer: I’ll have go to Port Noon. I can’t imagine our friend is still there in the hills, but someone may know where she’s gone. I will be met with contempt, if I’m fortunate, and suspicion, if I’m not, but I’m no threat to the Long.
“I have a cabin on the Hebe Stanton, leaving tomorrow. I find, to my surprise, that I’m looking forward to it. I cannot but be curious about the place. I’m even looking forward to seeing Coseley again, although I imagine I may feel differently, a couple of lectures in.”
– Illopoly, ‘Sunset Diaries’, February 1975
- The Gallaecian Sisters, who called themselves Angitia and Medea, offered services beside their usual trade to their customers: song, dance, prophecy, and the exhibition of mock battles. They were said besides by their arts to bring the earthquake.
– Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, Lives of the Famous She-Wolves (trans. Franklin Bancroft)
- Rich Gallaecia sent its prodigies, learned in haruspicy, by Feather and Fire, now shrieking in their barbarian tongue, now stamping the ground in the rhythm that shakes the world, now beating their shields to honour the dance.
– Silius Italicus, the Punica (trans. Franklin Bancroft)
- Rich Gallaecia sent its prophets, learned in ornithomancy, by the Wing and the Mist, now howling in the tongue of the Wolf, now stamping the ground in the heart-rhythm, now beating their shields like the Drum of the Great Mountains.
– Publius Statius, the Punica (trans. Franklin Bancroft)
- The guests from Gallaecia brought caged songbirds and worm-buckets, to demonstrate their skill of prophecy. Should a bird devour a worm, they would celebrate with dance; should a worm devour a bird, they would celebrate with song.
– Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the Feast of Trismegistus (trans. William Gore)
- From the mountains of Gallaecia the treasure-house came Anguitian serpents and winged Dracons, skilled in the interpretation of flight and fire and blood, singing the wind, beating the earthquake, rending their scales in honour of Attis.
– Lucan, the African Epic (trans. Franklin Bancroft)
- “The Bureau went in the last round of budget cuts – of course it did. It hadn’t even been called ‘the Bureau’ for years. A sub-department of a sub-department, I suppose… but it seems to be a private enterprise now, if not precisely a commercial one.
“It must be Lee. The years have only made her more determined. And richer, I suspect.
“They didn’t mention her name, but there was a wheelchair downstairs, and I don’t think any of the others are even still alive. They could be, I suppose. They could have been sipping lymph or nectar… but the world is not kind to their sort, and the Mansus is less kind still. They didn’t mention what they were looking for, either, but from the questions they asked, it can only be the Key. Fifty years ago, I would have told them everything I know, and trusted Lee to do the right thing. But I can’t be sure of her agenda, not any more. What the years do to mortal flesh, they do to mortal ideals also.
“I’ll write to Coseley. He won’t know what to do either. But it’s only polite.”
– Illopoly, ‘Sunset Diaries’, March 1974
- “‘[THE CARAPACE-CROSS DID NOT PERISH BUT PASSED WITHIN]’. Of course they did; of course they did. By definition, this changes nothing, and yet I cannot ignore it. At the very least it lends strength to Coseley’s arguments. I am beginning to think, after all, that he is right. “Birds of a feather stick together.”.
“Teresa, Teresa. Perhaps, had we known, it would have changed nothing for you, either. Is it fair to tell you?
“‘[THE CARAPACE-CROSS DID NOT PERISH BUT PASSED WITHIN.]’ I feel sick.
– Illopoly, ‘Sunset Diaries’, March 1959
- [Cryppys Club:] The rooftop club where Birds of a Feather watch the Sunset, and speak of a day when it might bleed no longer.
- [Bar Vienna:] The cellar bar where Worms of a Scale grouse about the nature of things and, in theory, plot the downfall of the Hours and the freedom of every other order of being.
- [Pocsind Park:] A neglected triangle of parched grass and bravely intended flower-beds behind the Ciervo. In one corner, a tin-roofed shack dispenses burnt coffee. Here congregate the Hokeys, those ambivalents and apathetics who care neither for freedom nor for Glory. Perhaps, some day, they might be permitted to return to polite society.
- [Staff Room:] Chains of ivory, iron, silver and gold hang beside the notice board. The gold chain bears the inscription BE NOT UNKIND. A portrait of Mr Burrs, the owner – a Géricault, he’s always claimed – watches impassively from the west wall. An unlocked cupboard contains the other stored hotel art, stacked haphazardly. The Management’s ceremonial key-rings hang on hooks. The rings labelled PRECEDENCE, CONSCIENCE, INNOCENCE, EXPERIENCE and IMPUDENCE are missing – in use. Perhaps those five are all there is.
- [St. Doves, Kerisham, 1985:] For most of the twentieth century, the way to Noon remained open… barely. The ‘Hebe Stanton’ still sailed the old seaways, though she bore another name now. Long fleeing the Hourly quarrels or the Bureau’s purges found their way to the parish church of St Doves, in Kerisham, to give the priest the pass-sign…
- [Hebe Stanton, Atlantic, 1935:] On this voyage, oak and iron strive with ivory and with ice. Winter storms. Hooked cross. The Colonel and the Lionsmith renew their struggle. There will be a murder.
- [Sikandar’s Rest, Beas Kund, 1861:] Long ago, a conqueror turned back from the Land of Five Rivers. Fear, compassion, loyalty, weariness, revelation? Here is the serene hill station where the last of twelve altars is garlanded with flowers. Here the skeins of Empire draw taut.
- [Great Writhing, Versailles, 1776:] 1776, the Third History: Louis declares the Masque of Masques, and forbids mention of the Great Writhing within the walls of the Palace of Versailles, although by this point the Worms are observed to move openly along the boulevards of Paris, sometimes even in daylight. The Army is redeployed to defend the Court. The Masque lasts one lunar month, and attracts several of the Long abroad in Western Europe at the time – fleeing the Worms, or hoping to take advantage of the desperate Louis, or seeking access to the sealed mirrors of the Palace – or just eager to attend the most inventive and desperate debauch of the century…
– Dr Arun Peel, Collected Hush House Lectures
- Mr Burrs
Lecture: ‘The Great Writhing’
Our distinguished guest Dr Peel, of the Committee of Hush House, will be reprising one of his best-regarded lectures in the Ivory Room at 4pm. Proceeds to the Hush House Preservation Fund.
- [Candia Besieged, Venetocratic Crete, 1668:] Edge-long often seek to match each other in war. But even when they don’t seek it, they share a battlefield more often than seems plausible.
- [Hostage Empire, Tenochtitlan, 1520:] Without the tears of the Intercalate in the world’s mesentery, this solar epigone might have ruled another hundred years. But this hinge of Histories, the Long gather like wolves, and behind them. Above the heart-city, the god-bird hovers. What is left? The sweetness in his name.
- [Crossroads, Utrecht, 148x:] The Children of the Leashed Flame celebrate their victory with gay abandon… too soon? By day, by night, the old wars of Feather and Scale continue. Here they call them Trap-Wand and Sea-Throng. Until the Long are ready to pronounce an end, the wars drag on.
- [Flower Palace, Kyoto, 140x:] The Shogun is holding a secret auction. Over the last year, the invites have crossed the world, to those few who can pay the price for the last, the very last, the world’s last dragon. [It does not resemble the dragons on the walls of his audience chamber. Its eyes are red bone, its hide is plated against the greater gulf; its claws cannot be seen but only imagined. [The auction is open, at least while the auctioneer sleeps not.]]