I am sure many of you feel the same as I do about this, but I feel like I busted my tail on this puzzle the last few years and have nothing to show for it. With that in mind, I have decided to share all of my findings with this group here, with the hopes that we can collectively fill in some remaining gaps. It is not a solve, but I think everyone will agree that this is the pathway to a final solution.

The overall theory is simply this: The HCB can only be solved by the "code for infinity", which is two, 32 point circles. Each point on the edge of the circle represents either a letter or a space. The very first step in the puzzle is to figure out how to create the code for infinity.

There are really 3 elements that will accomplish this goal. 1. the shape symbols on page 2 and 5. 2. The spells 3. an xy graph.

1. The shape symbols.

There are 3 sets of symbols on pages 2 and 5. There are 6 different symbols. 4 of them have 2 different orientations, and 2 only have one orientation (The symbols on page 2 are upside down, so the Pentagon is oriented incorrectly.) These sets represent the sun, moon, and Earth. As such, we are going to need to combine these symbols in such a way that it forms an "eclipse". The real big trick here is to understand that page 2 actually has two sets of symbols, not one. If you look at that string, there are double moons near the middle. That is the dividing point. You might be asking what is telling me to divide the symbols there. I don't have a great answer for you other than to say that the bottom border has that symbol in the middle, and one of the points (which I believe is grayed out a bit) is pointing right at that mark. As we go on, you will see how everything falls into place once you account for the fact that you split the string at that point. I actually think the page that explains the types of eclipses is important, specifically the symbols. Someone early in the contest found that the symbols on the left would rotate around and overlay on top of the symbols on the right. That is essentially what we do with the page 2 symbols.

So, that breaks that first string into 2 strings of 18 and 20 symbols respectively. As we create our eclipses, we can determine which string represents which heavenly body by its length. The page 5 symbols strings are 30 and 35 symbols respectively. Both of the strings on page 2 are moons. The 35 symbol string is the sun, and the 30 symbol string is Earth. When we create our eclipses, the moon will be different for each one. This is how MS was able to achieve variation between the two circles.

So we need create two "super" strings of symbols. One will contain one half of the symbols of page 2, as well as the strings from page 5, and the other will have the other half of symbols, plus the strings from page 5. The order is actually straightforward. You are going to create a solar eclipse, and you are going to create a lunar eclipse. In a lunar eclipse, the order would be moon, earth, sun. The solar eclipse would be earth, moon, sun.

How do we determine which moon to use in the solar eclipse, and which one to we use in the lunar eclipse? Good question. I have attached a drawing of the symbols using a diagram Mister Gizmo posted a long time ago. (Note in the drawing I have divided the page 2 symbols and they have been rotated around so you are viewing them upside down).

Notice how each set of symbols has a repeating pattern that can link it to the other strings within its eclipse. I think the number of hexagons within the repeating patterns is our clue to order. In the top set, you see that each pattern within each line has one hexagaon. In the bottom pattern, each pattern has two hexagons. So the moon in the top set of the symbols goes first and is part of the lunar eclipse. The moon in the second set goes second and is part of the solar eclipse. I can't swear to this, and I concede this is the weakest link of my theory, but regardless, there are only two possible ways you could order this, so trial and error would still work.

At this stage, We have managed to create two different "Superstrings" using the symbols on pages 2 and 5. (See attachment). One string has 83 symbols and the other has 85. Each one has 6 different types of symbols. This isn't particularly useful yet. It is time to apply some spells.

2. Eclipse spells.

Grow/Mold: I have seen a lot of interesting theories on these eclipse spells. I am certainly not discounting anything I read, but I believe this is actually incredibly straightforward. Oriented the way it is in the book, we are facing the word "mold", which would indicate something needs to whither away and die. Since this is an eclipse spell, and I have created two eclipses, I can only surmise this applies to my code strings. Also note that this spell applies to the EDGES of the Earth, which indicates that the edges of my symbols are significant here. So perhaps I am supposed to remove a type of symbol based on the number of edges it has. The hexagon is the most logical choice. The handwriting on this page has e's that look an awful lot like 6's. Perhaps most significant is the fact that my eclipse with 83 symbols has 19 hexagons, and my string with 85 symbols has 21. If I remove the hexagons, that means I now have 2 strings of 64 symbols. Assuming I am going to pair 2 symbols to create a single value, I now have a cipher in front of me that will yield 2 strings of 32 values.

Maze Spell: The stated purpose of this spell is to place things in their proper order. The maze is useful in this sense: If you solve the maze, you see that you have to go around counter-clockwise, then you have to go back around clockwise, and repeat this until you are in the center. So, we take our strings, and starting at the 3 o' clock position, work our way around counterclockwise. Once we have gone around 32 positions, we start wrapping around in the opposite direction on the inside. We should now have 2 different circles with 32 symbol pairs (an outer and inner symbol).

4/4 spell: The last eclipse spell is where we actually combine the symbols together to create their letter value. As with the grow/mold spell, it says we are to apply this spell to the "edges" of the earth, so the number of sides for a symbol would seem to come back in play again. If you look at the symbols, you have 4 symbols that can be oriented up/down or left right. You have one symbol (pentagon) that is only oriented one way. This screams for an xy grid. The pentagon would represent the axis, and the other symbols would be 1 though 4 or -1 through -4. An xy grid that could go from -4 to 4 would have to have 81 positions. The fact that the center symbol on this spell looks like a 4 and an upside down 4 supports this theory in my opinion. So how to we create this grid? I believe this is where the chant spells come in.

3 XY graph/Chant spells:

I believe chant spells are referred to as the simplest of the spells, and should only require basic knowledge. Looking at the pictures on the pages of the chant spell, you see xy on at least a couple of them, which supports the idea that these spells will build our grid. Let's assume I would be inserting letters into this grid. With 81 positions, I would have enough room for 3 complete alphabets, with 3 spaces left over. If I look at the names of the spells, I see Crevasse, descend, and arise. Let's say I apply crevasse to each of the 3 alphabets. That would add a space to the center of each alphabet, between M and N. Descent and arise would be explaining how to position each letter in the box. You start with A and go down 9(descend) then come back up (arise). It would look something like this (This is getting thrown off by formatting, but you should get the idea):

aqrijzaqr

bpshkybps

cotglxcot

dnufmwdnu

e ve ve v

fmwdnufmw

glxcotglx

hkybpshky

ijzaqrijz

There are a couple of different ways I think you could position those. It was around this time that all of the bankruptcy stuff hit and I lost all enthusiasm. I found it very demoralizing to have made it this far only to have it end like that. The rest of this should be straight forward, if not time consuming. Each pair of symbols around each circle would represent a grid coordinate. Hopefully it is as straightforward as a teardrop is 1 or -1 a triangle is 3,-3, etc. However, since a pentagon is zero, it might be reversed. The apple wheels on page 58 will serve as confirmation that it was done right, as each red slash around the circle should correspond to a blank space. I would also assume that each letter would only be used once per circle. I would also image that both circles would have a single 4 letter sequence that would appear on both circles. This would be the link point to make them form an infinity symbol. IN ATT, the puzzle was tied into the story, as Zak had to collect the jewels in a box 5 to a row. Remember Zak builds a box for Ana in the story. If you look at the picture in the book of Zak building the box, the window has a + in the center, perhaps eluding to how the box is tied to our XY grid. Ana has to figure out how to use the eclipse spells, and it makes references to symbols swirling in her head. Note that passage is on page 103 in the book. There are 103 total shape symbols.

Anyway, I will be happy to clarify any points. This is the core of what I have, but I have tons of info to support this. Even though I have taken a couple of leaps of faith, I am pretty convinced that I couldn't have made it this far on delusion alone. I know there are some clever folks out there who can take this to the next level. I would at least like this to end with the satisfaction of a solve, even if there are no more rings anymore.

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