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--- On Fri, 5/11/12, Puey McCleary <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I think that I’m more interested in the kaleidoscope of creativity that
> I find on this list than in finding a specific answer. A phrase, an
> image, even a single word can certainly inspire one down a multitude of
> paths which one could never have anticipated.

And due to your mention of the kaleidoscope as one of Princess Éfhelìnye's
inventions, this is what kaleidoscopes do in the World:

The caleidoscopion is a curious class iv device that creates for its
wearer a particular effect. In shape, the caleidoscopion appears to be a
simple set of spectacles, but upon closer inspection, one will note some
clear differences. The framework is most often of brass and has a leather
pad which rests upon the bridge of the nose. In stead of the normal
crystal looking glasses set into the frame, however, the caleidoscopion
has fixed to the frame two circular metal boxes each having a set of
adjustable rings round its perimeter. At each end of the box are two clear
crystal looking glasses. If one looks into the opening of the box, one
will see an assortment of small colored gems and rounded bits of glass. Up
on the bridge between the looking glass housings is a small vented castle
of copper from which two shafts of brass descend, one to each lens box,
and upon the farther end of these shafts is a worm gear. Up in the castle
is an very tiny homunculus motivator which causes the shafts to spin in
opposite directions and with constant velocities. Upon the front of the
castle is a round crest which serves as a regulating dial for the
homunculus motivator within.


The dial upon the castle alerts the homunculus as to the desired
rotational velocity, which will cause the inner barrel of the housing to
turn which will in turn cause the gems and colored glass bits to move
about in lovely patterns of shimmering, stained glass light. Of the rings
upon the outer housing, one sets the spacing of the looking glasses.
According to Q. Plutarcho Agricola, a respected artificer of Pylycundas
and author of "Through the Looking Glass: a Survey of the History of
Reading Stones", a key to the "...proper functionality of any set of
pinza-nariz or reading stones is that the distance between the center of
the looking glasses be equal to the distance between the pupils of the
wearer's two eyes." Another ring sets the background focus while the third
ring sets the foreground focus.

At speeds of up to 60 rpm, one only sees the lovely and tranquil effect of
spinning colors. Once the rotational speed reaches 99 rpm, a curious thing
happens: a sort of window is opened through the looking glasses, but not
into strange sets of dimensions as is often the case with thaumic devices,
but rather a window into the normally hidden dimensions of our own world.
The swirling colors resolve into a clarity of vision unobtainable with
ordinary reading stones such that the user is now subject to the absolute
beauty of each leaf and petal, the breathtaking curve of distant hills,
the depths of a person's eyes or the richness and texture of her hair. At
111 rpm, the crystal clear of the looking glasses becomes slightly rose
tinged and a very curious effect is seen through the device, for at this
rotational velocity, the viewed world becomes not as it is, but as it
ought to be. A sort of ideal vision is revealed. A shufty down an alley at
the dirty and sickly people living in the squalor of a slum yelling from
the windows and doorways of dilapidated and overcrowded tenements suddenly
becomes an idyllic glimpse into the contented lives of utter merriment
where well scrubbed young rapsacallions play games outside their quaint
and cosy townhouses and happy young housewives sing whilst hanging well
worn but prinstine linens on the line to dry. Above 121 rpm, great care
should be taken for at increasingly high rotational velocities, the
looking glasses become enfogged with a kind of thaumic rime and the swirl
of colors seizes the mind of the wearer, sending him upon the strangest of
visions. Dancing fairies gobbling bloody sugared plums, wolves devouring
their own tails, bizarre songs being unsung, suns wheeling across the
starry skies and Gea rising and setting over the watery horizons of a
seagirdled world. At 144 rpm, all the most steadfast of minds will be
driven utterly mad and if the caleidoscopion is left on the victim long
enough, he might just go off and dance with the fairies and leap over the
Sun, leaving behind an empty husk of a body that will soon wither and die.

The thaumery of the caleidoscopion has a great affect on the course of the
creativity of the wearer. Artists of any sort, but painters in particular,
seem to be drawn to the altered perception of reality afforded by the
caleidoscopion. The renown Auntimoanian portrait painter Yuhan wan Maare
said of Rumelian landscape painter Leonhardt te Victo: "Magical -- that's
the one word I'd use to describe the ineffable qualities of the Rumelian
master's work. Color, balance, the delicacy of his detail work. It's as if
he were working through the fabled Rose Colored Spectacles of Nimrud
itself!"

Padraic