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Oh my. Do I Have A Theory About The Avid Horizon! Messages in this topic - RSS

Do we ascend into the Sunless Skies? Or do we descend deeper into the sunless skies?

Ascend :17
Descend:1
Can't we just go back to London, Cap'n?!:16
Fizzletwist
Fizzletwist
Posts: 4

1/7/2017
Firstly, hello delicious friends! I am a long time Sunless Sea player, short time Fallen London player and completely new to these forums.

Whilst exploring the world of Fallen London I have accidentally developed something of an obsession with the lore of it all, I am hoping to share some ideas here and would love to hear what you all think! Big Grin




*SPOILER WARNING: ALL BE SPOILT WHO ENTER HERE*



I have a theory relating to the Avid Horizon and how it will link into Sunless Skies. I think it is fair to say that completing the Merchant Venturers story line leads to passing through to the High Wilderness, but what fascinates me more is the notion that passing through the Avid Horizon is a matter of descending rather than ascending... Hear me out!

As we know, the gate doesn't open like we would consider a conventional gate to open. It is instead, described as a law. The law has to be broken to pass through and the watchers must be blind - the key point being that it is not a matter of physically proceeding to sail north.

Another point I wish to bring up is involved in Maybe's Daughter/Rival story. When talking to Penstock he makes it clear that '"There is another sea beneath the bazaar". In addition, it is known from dialogue with the Merchant Venturer that the Bazaar has a knowledge of cosmic trade and what happens in the High Wilderness "Trade exists beyond the gate, in the high wilderness. The bazaar itself has told me this.". I am certain there is also reference to the bazaars other worldly trading, but I am at a loss to remember the precise storylet - sorry! upset

Now, this is where the real logical leaps start happening, so feel free to shoot me down. I think it is possible that the sea beneath the neath could in fact be the High Wilderness! But it isn't just these two things that make me think this. I have some other ideas that also support this.

I was curious to know about the symbols surrounding the Avid Horizon. I am fairly certain they have some cosmic significance as they are seen around the Chapel of Lights (which has links to the Drowned Man/Merchant Venturer) and Codex. In addition, when passing through Penstocks Wicket, Maybe's Daughter says "I want to match my mother...I want to learn the great signs.". I think it is possible that these signs are part of what enables travel to the High Wilderness and that the learning of these signs is guarded by the bazaar. This would explain the mystical nature of Maybe's mother (the lady in lilac) as she has already learnt these symbols. The Drowned Man (Merchant Venturer) also has knowledge of these symbols and ties to the bazaar.

Another possible idea (although this one is weaker!) is the idea that when you are around the Avid Horizon you can see stars in the water. At first I thought they were simply fake stars as reflected from the cavern roof, but then I had another idea. When you look into the stars in the water at the Avid Horizon, you are looking straight into the High Wilderness through a window, not a mirror! This creates so much terror and pain in your captain because you are witnessing the High Wilderness itself! The Avid Horizon doesn't act as a mirror for false stars above. It is a window into the terrifying cosmos below!



Thanks for hearing me out. I appreciate that there are many logical leaps and knowledge gaps with this theory, but I would love to know what you think of it!

Fizz <3
edited by Fizzletwist on 1/7/2017
+6 link
Mardelitron
Mardelitron
Posts: 1

1/7/2017
Humm, an intriguing snippet indeed! The circumstantial evidence coupled with the sort of pranks the powers that be like to play on us Londoners... I think you may be on to something!

My zeeside mansion is looking comfier than ever I daresay...
0 link
James Sinclair
James Sinclair
Posts: 86

1/7/2017
This brings up some interesting points, particularly about the "great signs" that Maybe's Daughter alludes to. And I think you're correct about how the stars seen in the water near the Avid Horizon aren't reflections from the false stars on the cavern roof, but are instead a glimpse of the High Wilderness "leaking" through the gate. But allow me to clarify a few things:
  • The sea beneath the Bazaar that Penstock talks about (and that Maybe's Daughter visits at the end of her quest line) refers to the Sundered Sea, a lacre-reservoir beneath the Bazaar approximately the size of two cathedrals. If you are a Fallen London player, you can in fact visit this location starting from today until the end of January.
  • I'm reasonably sure that the Merchant Venturer is not the Drowned Man. The Drowned Man is...well, a certain unfortunate former Master of the Bazaar. It's not a Man, per se, but was most certainly Drowned.
  • The High Wilderness, according to what we know about Sunless Skies, is the in-universe version of outer space, albeit an outer space different from that in reality. So technically from in the Neath, it's just as accurate to say that the High Wilderness is "below" as it is "above". There's no fixed up or down in space, after all. How exactly this connects to the weirdness that is the northern border of the zee, I have no idea.


--
James Sinclair, an inescapable, sagacious, irresistible and magnificent gentleman.

A fully-fledged rêveur of The Night Circus.

Wines is red
Spices is yellow
But old Jack-of-Smiles
Is a murderous fellow ☠
+5 link
suinicide
suinicide
Posts: 1709

1/7/2017
One thing I would like to say, is that some people say "there are seas more sunless. Plural.

--
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/profile/sunnytime
A gentleman seeking the liberation of knowledge, with a penchant for violence.
RIP suinicide, stuck in a well. Still has it under control.
0 link
Optimatum
Optimatum
Posts: 2058

1/7/2017
Welcome to the forums, delicious friend! Before discussing the specifics of your theory, I'd like to say that this is some excellent theorycrafting. You've clearly put in a lot of thought on this subject and looked at stories from around the Unterzee. I've never seen any thinking along these lines before, so great work!

Regarding the theory itself, the short answer is no. The full lore does give explanations for the questions you've asked here, and on many points you're off-base. Again, you've done an excellent job here! The details of your theory fit the setting very well - I'd love to see how Failbetter would interpret them in-game. The lore for the FL/SS universe is incredibly detailed, and learning it all independently is effectively impossible. The puzzle pieces for each topic are scattered across both games, and individual pieces can be very difficult to find*. In fact, it seems to me that the sources of confusion here are certain details hinted at in SS while stated more explicitly in FL. I'll discuss the details of your theory in the spoiler box below, as spoilers of course abound.

*In Sunless Sea a puzzle piece might be in a difficult option, a hidden ambition, or an out-of-the-way optional story segment. In Fallen London a puzzle piece might be behind a difficult option, hidden with obscure requirements, deep in the lategame, in seasonal content, a Fate-locked story, only one of the four ambitions, a certain hidden and dangerous storyline, an early-game hint only significant with later context, or even retired content and limited-time access codes.

[spoiler]
Note: anything I quote from the games is a paraphrase from memory, as I don't have the exact text available right now.
  • As we know, the gate doesn't open like we would consider a conventional gate to open. It is instead, described as a law. The law has to be broken to pass through and the watchers must be blind - the key point being that it is not a matter of physically proceeding to sail north.
Correct. In SS, zailing NORTH off the map describes the ship as being in "the place which is no place" as in the North "space narrows to a single point". Right now it's not clear exactly how opening the Gate works, as there's a storyline in FL ending with opening the Gate through a different method. My guess is that the Merchant Venturer's method specifically allows someone to travel through without being noticed and vaporized, while in the other story the Gate is specifically opened to attract attention. We don't know exactly where the Gate leads in the Wilderness, but it's clear that travel is not a matter of physical movement to an adjacent location.

(Who would be paying attention? The Judgements, the stars in the sky that enforce all natural law through sunlight. If the Venturer attracted attention, they'd probably vaporize him like any other Neath-dweller. Living beneath the earth provides freedom from many laws, but that lawlessness sticks.)
  • When talking to Penstock he makes it clear that '"There is another sea beneath the bazaar". ... I think it is possible that the sea beneath the neath could in fact be the High Wilderness!
There is another sea beneath the Bazaar, but it's not the High Wilderness. It's also substantially smaller than the Neath - I doubt it even extends beneath all of London. This is the Sundered Sea, filled with the substance known as lacre, the main component of Neath-snow and also called Tears of the Bazaar. People who go there can learn secret knowledge, but at a cost: the Merchant Venturer has done this, and Maybe's Daughter wants to. If you finish the FL Christmas storyline of the Twelve Days of Mr Sacks, you can travel through Penstock's Wicket into the Sundered Sea. Here's an excerpt of the description:

"Distance is difficult to judge, but this space would handily absorb a cathedral or two. It's a second sea, but a divided one. The lacre foams in cells and pits like a horizontal honeycomb. Pillars, curtains, buttresses of rock elaborate it into a maze."
  • ...it is known from dialogue with the Merchant Venturer that the Bazaar has a knowledge of cosmic trade and what happens in the High Wilderness "Trade exists beyond the gate, in the high wilderness. The bazaar itself has told me this.". I am certain there is also reference to the bazaars other worldly trading.

The Bazaar comes from the High Wilderness, aka space. It served as a cosmic postman for our sun, one of the Judgements, until asked to deliver a certain message to another star. Now the Bazaar is hiding in the Neath instead of delivering the reply. While the Bazaar can't leave without getting in trouble for not doing its job, it apparently has enough interest in cosmic trade goods to help the Venturer bring some back.
  • I was curious to know about the symbols surrounding the Avid Horizon. I am fairly certain they have some cosmic significance as they are seen around the Chapel of Lights and Codex. In addition, when passing through Penstocks Wicket, Maybe's Daughter says "I want to match my mother...I want to learn the great signs.". I think it is possible that these signs are part of what enables travel to the High Wilderness and that the learning of these signs is guarded by the bazaar. This would explain the mystical nature of Maybe's mother (the lady in lilac) as she has already learnt these symbols. The Drowned Man (Merchant Venturer) also has knowledge of these symbols and ties to the bazaar.

The symbols surrounding Avid Horizon are part of the Correspondence, the language spoken in the High Wilderness by the Judgements and other cosmic beings. This language is seemingly used to write reality, among things, and is the native language of the Masters. It's very difficult for humans to learn the Correspondence - we can't really speak it out loud, and written down it causes headaches and spontaneous combustion. The player can study the Correspondence in FL but it's slow and painful (and doesn't require the Bazaar's help).

The Correspondence is almost certainly involved in opening the High Gate in both FL and SS, though it's not clear exactly how they tie in. (In FL the story to open the Gate makes various abstract references to letters of the Correspondence being involved.) The great signs known by the Lady in Lilac are probably related too, as she shows up in FL and clearly knows what the Correspondence is.

  • (which has links to the Drowned Man/Merchant Venturer) ... The Drowned Man (Merchant Venturer)

The Drowned Man is not the Merchant Venturer. The Venturer is human and with assistance from the Bazaar wishes to travel the High Wilderness. The Drowned Man is not human: he is typically referred to as Mr Eaten, mostly in FL. Like the other Masters of the Bazaar, he followed the Bazaar to the Neath from the High Wilderness, but was betrayed by the other Masters a long time in the past. Now he's very dead and haunts dreams seeking revenge. You can learn about Mr Eaten in FL, if you really really want to. This is the very hidden and dangerous storyline referenced earlier, and I strongly advise against touching it yourself, unless you want lore at the cost of items and stats and great pain.

  • Another possible idea (although this one is weaker!) is the idea that when you are around the Avid Horizon you can see stars in the water. At first I thought they were simply fake stars as reflected from the cavern roof, but then I had another idea. When you look into the stars in the water at the Avid Horizon, you are looking straight into the High Wilderness through a window, not a mirror! This creates so much terror and pain in your captain because you are witnessing the High Wilderness itself! The Avid Horizon doesn't act as a mirror for false stars above. It is a window into the terrifying cosmos below!

The High Wilderness is definitely outer space, so this wouldn't really work. In one hidden SS ambition ending, there's a description of ascending impossible mountains beyond the nonexistent eastern border of the Unterzee, and climbing up to the sky and the Wilderness. This also doesn't fit with the Zubmariner DLC letting you visit the Unterzee floor next to the Avid Horizon, which is solid ground. All in all I think the stars are just artistic liberty, but this is a really cool idea. In some form, Sunless Skies may use this concept though - the latest blog post mentions using parallax and depth to have scenery below the player's spaceship. The art may show the stars below you again, with the Wilderness going down and down into infinity...
[/spoiler]

--
Optimatum, a ruthless and merciful gentleman

PM me for hints enigmatic or fated. Though the forum please, not FL itself.
+4 link
Fizzletwist
Fizzletwist
Posts: 4

1/7/2017
Optimatum wrote:
Welcome to the forums, delicious friend! Before discussing the specifics of your theory, I'd like to say that this is some excellent theorycrafting. You've clearly put in a lot of thought on this subject and looked at stories from around the Unterzee. I've never seen any thinking along these lines before, so great work!

Regarding the theory itself, the short answer is no. The full lore does give explanations for the questions you've asked here, and on many points you're off-base. Again, you've done an excellent job here! The details of your theory fit the setting very well - I'd love to see how Failbetter would interpret them in-game. The lore for the FL/SS universe is incredibly detailed, and learning it all independently is effectively impossible. The puzzle pieces for each topic are scattered across both games, and individual pieces can be very difficult to find*. In fact, it seems to me that the sources of confusion here are certain details hinted at in SS while stated more explicitly in FL. I'll discuss the details of your theory in the spoiler box below, as spoilers of course abound.

*In Sunless Sea a puzzle piece might be in a difficult option, a hidden ambition, or an out-of-the-way optional story segment. In Fallen London a puzzle piece might be behind a difficult option, hidden with obscure requirements, deep in the lategame, in seasonal content, a Fate-locked story, only one of the four ambitions, a certain hidden and dangerous storyline, an early-game hint only significant with later context, or even retired content and limited-time access codes.

[spoiler]
Note: anything I quote from the games is a paraphrase from memory, as I don't have the exact text available right now.
  • As we know, the gate doesn't open like we would consider a conventional gate to open. It is instead, described as a law. The law has to be broken to pass through and the watchers must be blind - the key point being that it is not a matter of physically proceeding to sail north.
Correct. In SS, zailing NORTH off the map describes the ship as being in "the place which is no place" as in the North "space narrows to a single point". Right now it's not clear exactly how opening the Gate works, as there's a storyline in FL ending with opening the Gate through a different method. My guess is that the Merchant Venturer's method specifically allows someone to travel through without being noticed and vaporized, while in the other story the Gate is specifically opened to attract attention. We don't know exactly where the Gate leads in the Wilderness, but it's clear that travel is not a matter of physical movement to an adjacent location.

(Who would be paying attention? The Judgements, the stars in the sky that enforce all natural law through sunlight. If the Venturer attracted attention, they'd probably vaporize him like any other Neath-dweller. Living beneath the earth provides freedom from many laws, but that lawlessness sticks.)
  • When talking to Penstock he makes it clear that '"There is another sea beneath the bazaar". ... I think it is possible that the sea beneath the neath could in fact be the High Wilderness!
There is another sea beneath the Bazaar, but it's not the High Wilderness. It's also substantially smaller than the Neath - I doubt it even extends beneath all of London. This is the Sundered Sea, filled with the substance known as lacre, the main component of Neath-snow and also called Tears of the Bazaar. People who go there can learn secret knowledge, but at a cost: the Merchant Venturer has done this, and Maybe's Daughter wants to. If you finish the FL Christmas storyline of the Twelve Days of Mr Sacks, you can travel through Penstock's Wicket into the Sundered Sea. Here's an excerpt of the description:

"Distance is difficult to judge, but this space would handily absorb a cathedral or two. It's a second sea, but a divided one. The lacre foams in cells and pits like a horizontal honeycomb. Pillars, curtains, buttresses of rock elaborate it into a maze."
  • ...it is known from dialogue with the Merchant Venturer that the Bazaar has a knowledge of cosmic trade and what happens in the High Wilderness "Trade exists beyond the gate, in the high wilderness. The bazaar itself has told me this.". I am certain there is also reference to the bazaars other worldly trading.

The Bazaar comes from the High Wilderness, aka space. It served as a cosmic postman for our sun, one of the Judgements, until asked to deliver a certain message to another star. Now the Bazaar is hiding in the Neath instead of delivering the reply. While the Bazaar can't leave without getting in trouble for not doing its job, it apparently has enough interest in cosmic trade goods to help the Venturer bring some back.
  • I was curious to know about the symbols surrounding the Avid Horizon. I am fairly certain they have some cosmic significance as they are seen around the Chapel of Lights and Codex. In addition, when passing through Penstocks Wicket, Maybe's Daughter says "I want to match my mother...I want to learn the great signs.". I think it is possible that these signs are part of what enables travel to the High Wilderness and that the learning of these signs is guarded by the bazaar. This would explain the mystical nature of Maybe's mother (the lady in lilac) as she has already learnt these symbols. The Drowned Man (Merchant Venturer) also has knowledge of these symbols and ties to the bazaar.

The symbols surrounding Avid Horizon are part of the Correspondence, the language spoken in the High Wilderness by the Judgements and other cosmic beings. This language is seemingly used to write reality, among things, and is the native language of the Masters. It's very difficult for humans to learn the Correspondence - we can't really speak it out loud, and written down it causes headaches and spontaneous combustion. The player can study the Correspondence in FL but it's slow and painful (and doesn't require the Bazaar's help).

The Correspondence is almost certainly involved in opening the High Gate in both FL and SS, though it's not clear exactly how they tie in. (In FL the story to open the Gate makes various abstract references to letters of the Correspondence being involved.) The great signs known by the Lady in Lilac are probably related too, as she shows up in FL and clearly knows what the Correspondence is.

  • (which has links to the Drowned Man/Merchant Venturer) ... The Drowned Man (Merchant Venturer)

The Drowned Man is not the Merchant Venturer. The Venturer is human and with assistance from the Bazaar wishes to travel the High Wilderness. The Drowned Man is not human: he is typically referred to as Mr Eaten, mostly in FL. Like the other Masters of the Bazaar, he followed the Bazaar to the Neath from the High Wilderness, but was betrayed by the other Masters a long time in the past. Now he's very dead and haunts dreams seeking revenge. You can learn about Mr Eaten in FL, if you really really want to. This is the very hidden and dangerous storyline referenced earlier, and I strongly advise against touching it yourself, unless you want lore at the cost of items and stats and great pain.

  • Another possible idea (although this one is weaker!) is the idea that when you are around the Avid Horizon you can see stars in the water. At first I thought they were simply fake stars as reflected from the cavern roof, but then I had another idea. When you look into the stars in the water at the Avid Horizon, you are looking straight into the High Wilderness through a window, not a mirror! This creates so much terror and pain in your captain because you are witnessing the High Wilderness itself! The Avid Horizon doesn't act as a mirror for false stars above. It is a window into the terrifying cosmos below!

The High Wilderness is definitely outer space, so this wouldn't really work. In one hidden SS ambition ending, there's a description of ascending impossible mountains beyond the nonexistent eastern border of the Unterzee, and climbing up to the sky and the Wilderness. This also doesn't fit with the Zubmariner DLC letting you visit the Unterzee floor next to the Avid Horizon, which is solid ground. All in all I think the stars are just artistic liberty, but this is a really cool idea. In some form, Sunless Skies may use this concept though - the latest blog post mentions using parallax and depth to have scenery below the player's spaceship. The art may show the stars below you again, with the Wilderness going down and down into infinity...
[/spoiler]



Thank you so much for this brilliantly detailed response Optimatum!

Your response has filled in a huge number of gaps in my knowledge as well as changing a lot of my thought about other areas of the lore. I admit, I was a tad nervous about posting this theory as I was aware that people here would likely know far more about the lore than I did - but I couldn't resist seeing if I hit any nails on the head smile

I am definitely going to get deeper into FL now to try and smooth out my knowledge gaps, as I was reading your post I found myself stopping from time to time to check my notebook, only to realise that I had to rewrite a whole load of my notes. Not everything though...some things I think I've still got nailed Cool Time will tell smile

Thank you again for such an awesome, warm and informative welcome to the forums Big Grin

You rock! <3
0 link
James Sinclair
James Sinclair
Posts: 86

1/7/2017
@Fizzletwist: If you like Sunless Sea, I think you'll enjoy Fallen London too. If you decide to play, feel free to add me as an in-game contact using the link in my signature, and I'll help you out as much as you need.

--
James Sinclair, an inescapable, sagacious, irresistible and magnificent gentleman.

A fully-fledged rêveur of The Night Circus.

Wines is red
Spices is yellow
But old Jack-of-Smiles
Is a murderous fellow ☠
0 link
al2o3cr
al2o3cr
Posts: 38

1/8/2017
I've never completely understood the Merchant Venturer's deal - is he a Seeker who was "redirected" by the Bazaar's influence? He's certainly got some suspicious mannerisms in SS:

  • always wants seven things (even lampshaded once as "Seven. It's always seven. I don't know why. But if we are to profit by this scheme, we have to hew to the rules.")
  • "One thousand. One thousand exactly. One thousand is the num - one thousand." This one I'm not sure about - is it supposed to be in-character, or is it just the authors winking at the (retired & inaccessible at the time) FL storyline?
  • The text when you're sent to procure sapphires ends with "Hurry. I have candles to light."

Perhaps he got to SMEN 12 and chose "how can I monetize this?" as his question. wink


  • edited by al2o3cr on 1/8/2017
  • 0 link
    The Master
    The Master
    Posts: 796

    1/8/2017
    al2o3cr wrote:
    I've never completely understood the Merchant Venturer's deal - is he a Seeker who was "redirected" by the Bazaar's influence? He's certainly got some suspicious mannerisms in SS:

    • always wants seven things (even lampshaded once as "Seven. It's always seven. I don't know why. But if we are to profit by this scheme, we have to hew to the rules.")
    • "One thousand. One thousand exactly. One thousand is the num - one thousand." This one I'm not sure about - is it supposed to be in-character, or is it just the authors winking at the (retired & inaccessible at the time) FL storyline?
    • The text when you're sent to procure sapphires ends with "Hurry. I have candles to light."

    Perhaps he got to SMEN 12 and chose "how can I monetize this?" as his question. wink


  • edited by al2o3cr on 1/8/2017
  • The number is related to more things than just SMEN, it's just extremely common in general, the second one is probably some weird judgement number we don't really hear much about in London and the candles are probably still used to blind the watchers, probably different candles though.



    --
    http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Lolwolfking
    A very ruthless and daring doctor of the neath.

    No more gift exchanges, im getting too many and I can barely hold these.
    He has knowledge of a certain enigma, ask, you will get a clue.
    0 link
    Leonora Rothwood
    Leonora Rothwood
    Posts: 3

    29 days ago
    The Master wrote:
    al2o3cr wrote:

    • The text when you're sent to procure sapphires ends with "Hurry. I have candles to light."

    The number is related to more things than just SMEN, it's just extremely common in general, the second one is probably some weird judgement number we don't really hear much about in London and the candles are probably still used to blind the watchers, probably different candles though.

    I always assumed it was a reference to "How Many Miles to Babylon", which seems thematically appropriate to me. ("Can I get there by candlelight?" "Yes, and back again", though of course in this case getting back is not an option.) It never occured to me that the Venturer might be referring to literal candles, but that does bring up some interesting possibilities!

    --
    Leonora Rothwood, the Ink-Stained Wanderer
    +1 link




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