Hidden amidst the back-alleys and old bazaars, the ancient city of Constantinople holds a mystery….
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Be enthralled by the tale of Cosmo, an American alchemist living in Constantinople, who buys a mirror in the Grand Bazaar only to discover it’s enchanted with a beautiful girl trapped inside. Cosmos suddenly has a new passion in life… and a terrible choice to make.
Yakamoz is the Turkish word for the moonlight’s reflection dancing on the water.
The ancient city of Constantinople lies tucked between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea on a slender strip of land, making it highly valuable both for trade and conquest. The Roman emperor Constantine rebuilt the city in 330 A.D. after Roman forces virtually destroyed it 150 years prior. Being a humble sort of fellow, he named the city Constantinople after himself. The city flourished as tradesmen from near and far flocked to its gates and eventually it became even more wealthy than the city of Rome herself. As far-flung cultures collided within her walls, Constantinople became the birthplace of legends and mysteries all her own.
You can find the ancient city today under a different name – Istanbul, the capital of Turkey.
Alchemy is the the medieval forerunner of modern chemistry, focused on the transmutation of one type of matter into another. While the creation of gold from lesser metals was a popular alchemic goal, the actual science was much deeper. Through mysterious symbols and hidden languages, alchemists passed their secrets on from one generation to another hoping to understand the very fabric of reality.
The Magnum Opus – the Great Work – towards which much of alchemic research strove was the Philosopher’s Stone, said to serve as a conduit through which all other alchemic transmutations could occur. What we can discern from the coded writings of men such as Hermes Trismegistus, Nicolas Flammel, and even Isaac Newton, is that this alchemical process required four stages. Nigredo (blackening) required all impurities to be burned from the mixtures, Albedo (whitening) is the stage where the impurities are scraped away leaving a pure substance, Citrinitas (yellowing) this flash of yellow is the coveted point where the mixtures have properly combined and the transmutation occurs, Rubedo (reddening) is the solidification of the final work.
While the quest for the Philosopher’s Stone may or may not have been successful, alchemy helped to lay out the foundation for modern atomic theory and many authors have taken the symbolism of the science and transformed it into a literary motif – using the colors and symbols to show the transformation of a character. Cosmo, our alchemist in Yakamoz, both studies the mystic science and goes through his own alchemically based transformation.
Hit “Play” on the video below to learn more about alchemy!
Cosmo is an American alchemist living in Constantinople trying to unearth whatever secrets the arabic alchemists have hidden in the city. He has mostly given up on life, however, falling prey to the ennui of the academic.
Aysun (Turkish for “the beauty of the moon”) is the young woman enchanted to live in the mirror’s reflection. She is graceful, beautiful and proud and seems to be fighting a battle that Cosmo cannot see. Possibly a sorceress herself, her power seems to wax and wane with the moon.
Pickering is a retired British Colonel who has befriended Cosmo and taken it upon himself to ensure that the boy sees the light of day from time to time. He is a jolly fellow, completely fascinated with everything life offers.
Selem (Turkish for “safety”) works in his father’s shop at the Grand Bazaar. He seems to know something about this mirror that Cosmo attempts to buy, and tries to keep him away from it. Throughout the story, Selem attempts to stand against the darkness that creeps into Cosmo’s life.
“Two major influences inspired Yakamoz. When I started college, I read Phantastes by George MacDonald which sparked my now obsession with fairy literature. The story of Yakamoz is actually an adaptation of a story that the main character in Phantastes reads in an enchanted fae library. Secondly, as a child my grandparents split their time half and half between San Francisco and Istanbul and let me come visit when I was 10. The country made a deep impression on me from the frenetic bustle of the Grand Bazaar to the solemn sense of history of the Hagia Sophia to spitting cherry seeds with my grandpa into the Bosphorus. I had Turkey deeply imprinted on my heart and imagination. I returned again at 13 and 17, each time falling more deeply in love with this country. So when I set out to tell a fairy tale, pulling from Phantastes and setting it in Turkey seemed to be the natural choice.”
“I’m a sucker for interesting story hooks, so once I heard there was a lady trapped in an alchemist’s mirror I was sold. Plus, the setting of early 1900s Constantinople provides such a vibrant background of people and materials to illustrate! The flip side is that the level of technical difficulty is higher, requiring me to push myself farther than I’ve gone in the past. And research, so much visual research.”