"Beneath the skin of dreams, behind the faces of mirrors, an orange sun sails in a fervid sky. Here are the borderlands of that place, close by Irem, and closest still to the House of the Amber Sky. And here you are, in another place. The sun is warm on your uncovered head."
Parabola is a dreamlike realm populated by strange creatures and featuring impossible geography. It can be accessed via Irem, which lies in the northeastern Unterzee.
Parabola is more than a dream, however, as those who enter into it disappear from the physical world for the duration of their stay and can reappear in other locations. It is possible for one’s body to return before one's mind does, making one seemingly drunk (this is called being "honeymazed").
The dreams of those living in the Neath have some influence over the geography of Parabola. Memories of Light, frequent nightmares, and prisoner’s honey are the primary means by which a person is transported to Parabola; however, it is not unheard of for people to pass into it directly by stepping through a mirror. (In fact, mirror possession, or mirror madness, is a somewhat common malady in Fallen London and throughout the Neath. Possessed individuals can pass for normal people, but must always carry a mirror on their person. Refusal to relinquish a mirror when asked is grounds for suspicion of potential mirror possession, and this suspicion is confirmed if one is inhumanly strong.)
- The Mirror-Marches, the most commonly visited region, often visited by those with debilitating nightmares.
- The Misermere, a piece of land whose ownership is the source of a dispute between the feline nobles of the Neath (who are all ruled, it seems, by the Duchess).
- The Woods in Winter, sometimes accessible through Irem. The Woods were the hatching-place of the giant sea turtle known as Glory; Glory's shell is now the location of the hunting tribe called the Chelonate.
- The Smoking Shore, a great ocean of sulfurous smoke and a haunt of dreaming devils. They say cats fought off a band of heart-takers here. (Heart-takers, by the way, are a type of semi-sentient ambulatory plant, originating in the Elder Continent and having traveled to London; they are known in London as St John's Lilies. Heart-takers are servants of the Fingerkings.)
- The Drowned Forest, a jungle under the sea.
- The Hanging Mountains, which would be an impossibility in real life, but... well, this is Parabola.
- The Waswood, which was stuck in the past tense. All things within were gone forever, and all things that were gone forever laid within.
- The Castle of Forests, filled with briar-cages, made to contain human prisoners by the Fingerkings. Huntsmen are promoted to Huntsmen here on Wednesdays.
- The Autumn Engine, mentioned offhandedly and never clarified upon.
- The Menagerie of Roses, where the dreamers never see the tops of the walls.
The primary residents of Parabola are cats and serpents, although they are not the only creatures who live there. The cats are domestic cats from London who take on the form of large jungle cats such as lions and panthers in their dreams; they are guardians of what Is. Unlike the cats, the serpents (aka the Fingerkings) have no physical animal form outside of Parabola, because they are keepers of what Is-Not; however, that is not to say they can’t leave Parabola under any circumstances. The cats and the serpents of Parabola are at war, and the effects of this war manifest themselves in Fallen London as the rivalry between magicians of the Glass and of the Shroud. This rivalry is known commonly as the War of Illusions.
Devils once lived in Parabola, back when they were bees, although all of them seem to have moved to various locations in the Neath now; most relocated to Hell, though others are scattered throughout the archipelagos of the Unterzee.
Original by NiteBrite/Mrs. Brite