Greetings on a hot, sultry May night in the Sportsman's Paradise of Louisiana!

It's odd how something can just plop out of nowhere. I haven't thought about this game in a long, long time, and I don't know what made the lightbulb in my head go 'pop', but I thought I'd pass along these thoughts to those of you still working on this puzzle.

This puzzle has the possibility of having a really elegant, logical solution, and this decoding mechanism is so simple it flew past me when I was actively working on the book many moons ago.

It's just a bisected circle.

Lord have mercy, I think that's all that's needed. It's the 'code for infinity'--a reference to pi: a circle divided by its diameter.

Each symbol clump in the HBC would be decoded to a single Morse code character using this bisected circle.

This basic circle would have 'positive' on one end, 'negative' on the other end, and a dividing line between the two, which is 'neutral'.

This basic circle would turn a number of ninety degree 'clicks', such that the setting of this circle would be either 'positive', 'negative', or 'neutral'.

Consider the symbols of the HBC. There are five pairs of opposites present within the symbols:

1. Sun/moon (circle/moon)

2. Left/right (moons)

3. Large/small

4. Open/filled-in

5. Horizontal/vertical

Each of these has a distinct +/- polarity.

We would create five circles and turn each circle the appropriate number of 'clicks' as determined by each HBC symbol clump.

For instance, for the sun/moon circle, we would count the total number of circles and moons present within a clump and turn that particular circle that number of 'clicks'. For the horizontal/vertical circle, we would count the total number of horizontal lines and vertical lines (this would include both skinny and rectangles) and turn that circle the appropriate number of clicks. Etc.

After you have turned each of these five circles the appropriate number of 'clicks', we would simply 'read' the current settings of these five circles and translate to the appropriate Morse code using positive = dot, negative = dash, and neutral = blank.

For instance, if our five circles read 'blank - positive - blank - positive - blank' that would be decoded as morse code 'I'. If our five circles read 'blank - blank - blank - pos - neg', we would have the letter 'A'.

One can see that a single letter could be encoded in multiple, multiple ways which would probably prevent computer decryption.

The five circles could be used to encode any letter or number in Morse Code.

I'll be highly amused if the decoding mechanism turns out to be so simple as this bisected circle.

Doc

PS: I think the names of the Chant spells being 'Arise', 'Descend', and 'Crevasse' might represent the three basic settings of this bisected circle: positive, negative, and the neutral line that bisects it.

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