Powered by Jitbit .Net Forum free trial version.

HomeFallen London » The Salons

Here you can speculate on the game’s plot, discuss its characters, and compare notes with other players.

Unanswered Questions of the Neath Messages in this topic - RSS

TheThirdPolice
TheThirdPolice
Posts: 606

3/30/2018
Uncovering the Neath's mysteries was one of my favourite activities many years ago when Echo Bazaar began. I would love to recapture that feeling, and I'm sure many of you are a lot more knowledgeable than I am. There are many things to discuss, big and small (and I should really think about that Mystery tab soon).

Let's skip the spoiler tags and assume this whole thread will be full of secrets. In addition to discussing these, feel free to add your own questions — if the thread gets unwieldy I'll curate the list by editing this post (which is why the numbering gets out of order).



NOTE: I will no longer be updating this post. Instead see this google sheet. This post and the thread below will still contain more details than the sheet.







UNANSWERED MYSTERIES:

3. Who wrote “A proposal to ban black-painted ships from the river, written in a cramped hand on scented letter-paper” and why? UPDATE: It is perhaps relevant that the phrase "a world painted black" appears in reference to Surface anarchists and Night-Liberators

9. Why is the Banded Prince's seat of power called the Resplendent Court of the Wakeful Eye? And who originally built this crumbled palace?

10. What exactly is the Red Book of the Presbyterate? And what to make of its phrase "When we leave the light, we encounter the darkness. When we leave the darkness, we do not always encounter light."? UPDATE from Grumpy_Kong: Perhaps this phrase is a literal dig at the poor quality of other Neathlight compared to the Mountain's luminance.

11. What is a proper translation for the weird little thieves' proverb "Downstairs for the crushers, upstairs for the push, and the roof for the windering"?

13. Do all Clay Men have names? We've met Norbert and Jasper and Frank but it seems likely this only applies to the more human-adjacent. It's hard to tell with FL's naming style so I'm wondering if this is discussed more explicitly somewhere.

26. Can sentient nonhumans or Drownis be members of the Church in Fallen London, according to official policy? Asked by evergreenmonster

OLD MYSTERIES
[spoiler]
LIKELY ANSWERED MYSTERIES:
1. Why do the Clay Men want to spread horrifying tales of Polythreme? ("MORE OF YOU KNOW OF THE TRUE NATURE OF POLYTHREME,' says a Clay Man, next time you visit. 'THIS IS GOOD.' ") UPDATES from Optimatum & JainaEgo: The motive is possibly a commitment to accuracy rather than a desire to make Polythreme seem scary. Alternatively, perhaps they wish to motivate do-gooders to help more Clay Men leave Polythreme for London.

2. Why is the Fathomking called His Complexity by Drownies and Dockers? His whim is legendary, but does anyone know a more detailed story? ANSWERED by Optimatum: The title fits his mutating physiology as well as his behavior; this seems sufficient to explain it.

7. The Firebrand mentions the alchemist Mynsicht and (presumably the poet) "Winstanley's patroness" discussing the Nadir. Are these just a sprinkling of real names to add depth, or is Failbetter referencing specific statements? And who was Winstanley's patroness anyway? EDIT: Actually, the revolutionary Digger Gerrard Winstanley is a better fit than the poet, given the Firebrand's affiliation. This is confirmed by GW's "mystic aristocrat" contact Lady Eleanor Davies, who wrote books of prophecy. I doubt there's anything specific to find here, but if anyone wants to dig through some strange old texts it could be fun...

8. Why does exactly one spire of the Bazaar lack carved Correspondence sigils? The Master who meets you at this spire, at the end of the University murder mystery story, speaks in a high pitched whisper — not sure which this is but we can rule out Iron and Pages. (BONUS fun question: the stairs of this spire are built for claws, not feet. What do such stairs look like? Are they cylinders rather than flat, or even just airy cylindrical rungs arranged in a stair shape?) ANSWERED by JainaEgo and DuneTheWanderer: There is likely no special significance to the empty spire assuming the spires are the blank pages for the Bazaar to write its messages for transport. Perhaps the Bazaar grew/constructed this spire after or shortly before its arrival in the Neath.

18. The tomb-colonist moth transformation is apparently a self-directed "sidestep on the Great Chain" and nothing to do with the Flukes or other powers. Asked by Grumpy_Kong, answered by HeirOfLight. Update by me: Researching this, I discovered that the Most-Moth is described as a "gift" (possibly a sarcastic use of the word) from the Mountain to Lorenzo the Almost Dead Man, i.e. one of the Seven Against Nidah who stormed that city to take back immortality. Are all moths gifts of the mountain, much like the more straightforward type of immortality? Or did the Mountain use an existing phenomenon to punish or reward this fellow?

19. I was thinking about one mystery answer the other day, about how Sir Stamford Raffles brought the tigers to the labyrinth. What bothered me is the fact Raffles died before the fall. So does it just mean by founding the ZSL he brought the tigers? Why the specific answer? Where did the tigers even come from? Is the tiger population in the labyrinth a mix of Surface tigers and Elder Continent tigers? Or maybe just EC tigers? Did they even have tigers before the fall? Asked by admdiamond. Answered by JainaEgo & Optimatum & rahv7 & me: Varchas (or its settlers) came from the surface long ago (independent of the Bazaar) from somewhere in Asia. The tigers down here have a large population and a long history with the Fingerkings, so it seems likely that this distant event is when the first tiger population was introduced to the Elder Continent. It's also possible that the first cats came from the Mountain of Light's Garden, as humans and Snuffers seem to have, but there's no direct evidence either way. As for Sir Raffles, he may have found the Neath before London fell, but even if not, he would not be the first Fallen London character whose biography differed slightly from the source material. I also ran across a reference that suggests tigers are potentially (but not necessarily) even older than Varchas: they once ruled one of the Presbyterate's seventy-seven kingdoms.


FULLY ANSWERED MYSTERIES:
4. How did the phrase "The Lao—" end before it was interrupted by a torn page?

("More rarefied and elaborate roles? The last page in the bundle has been torn half-across. It reads, 'The Lao—' ") ANSWERED by suinicide: the unreleased profession Laocoönian, of which we know little

5. The Revolutionaries use the Bach cantata "Wachet Auf" to deliver signals to sleeper agents. Unless there's some deeper layer here, this is due to its English name "Sleepers Wake". This one was easy to solve myself, but I wanted to share an example of Failbetter's wonderful attention to detail.

6. Does Abstraction affect Unaccountably Peckish, or the compulsion to Seek? A heavily stained soul is required for Seeking, but as far as I know you can then sell it and keep going. Is this ever discussed more explicitly? ANSWERED by cathyr19355, hekazu, and REDACTED: devils refuse to purchase stained souls and even have an adverse physical reaction to them

12. Another easily answered but fun reference: the reference to a court case "R v Malphas" refers to a Great Prince of Hell from the demonological text the Lesser Key of Solomon

14. The White is a Judgement spy master, who seeks the Counsel of Peace (extinction of suns?) as preferable to the changes or extinctions sought by the Liberation of Night. Info from Alexis here unavailable in-game Asked by MastrTMF, answered by rahv7 & Peridigital

17. The oft-referenced marble shipments to the Tomb Colonies are used to build the Grand Sanatorium, an evil place where the most decrepit of Tomb Colonists are housed for their final, endless decay. Asked by Grumpy_Kong

15. What do the flukes get out of the various bad things that happen to the Bazaar in the various spoilery fates and Sunless Seas content? I mean, it seems they got exactly what they wanted out of the bargain... Asked by Grumpy_Kong. Answered by A Nice Friend & illuminati swag: The Bazaar abandoned the Flukes and may have forbid them from interfering in matters of love and stories. The mutual animosity also stems from the Flukes' alliance with Mr Candles, who became Mr Eaten due to the other Masters' betrayal.

16. Is the thief-of-faces a Fluke project gone and set itself up as a major player? Did he most recently steal Salt's face and that's why no one has seen It around for a while? Asked by Grumpy_Kong. Answered by suinicide, JainaEgo, St Arthur: The Lorn-Flukes did create the Thief-of-Faces, and it does have major ambitions: specifically, it stole a piece of the Mountain of Light to make Mount Nomad, for which the Mountain imprisoned it in Flint, but it later escaped. Salt probably vanished into the East; as far as we know the Thief-of-Faces was not involved there.

20. Why is Storm in the Neath, what is its purpose, why is it so angry, and how did it die? Asked by Carbattle; answered by JainaEgo and rahv7: Based on the interpretation that Storm is "the Hunter" in the play The Seventh Letter (and the line "Ah, were it only my unfettered choice. But I owe him his hunts and the joys of his voice."), Storm arrived in the Neath to enforce the Judgements' laws, but has allowed the Bazaar to continue its plot with a seven city limit. It is unknown how it died and what exactly death means for it — though its thoughts can have strange effects on our dreams — but you might be angry too if you were dead, or if you were a space dragon cop. A Nice Friend speculates that suicide may have been its only merciful alternative to punishing the Bazaar.

21. Why the heck does the Scuttling Squad (or perhaps some other rats) send people Venge-Rat corpses filled with diamonds with notes saying, "DONE BECAUSE WE ARE TOO MENNY"? asked by DuneSabaku; answered by Barse: a reference to a pretty tragic bit in Jude the Obscure - why the rats are doing it, though, I've no idea. Maybe there are just too many of them? :P

22. What does the royal family eat? asked by evergreenmonster; Answered by suinicide & JainaEgo: Raw goat. Honey. Wine. Possibly worse. JainaEgo also vaguely remembers the possibility of cannibalism but isn't certain of the memory.

23. In the Salt ambition in Sunless Sea, you (sorta?) become Salt by taking his name in Frostfound. Cormatron asks why you still have Salt's yearning if the Cladery Heir removes your earlobe and therefore your restlessness. I have no answer to this but I'm putting it under 'fully solved' anyway because I doubt this is anything more than a minor plot hole.

24. Why are moon pearls useful for clocks? Asked by evergreenmonster, answered by me: The appearance of moon-pearls changes predictably over time to match the phases of the moon, which seems useful for a timekeeping device.

25. So if death doesnt happen in the 'neath how does aging work? Do people age slower, not at all, what? Asked by evergreenmonster, answered by me: People continue to age, although I get the impression the decay is more about accumulated damage and a reduced ability to recover from wounds. Eventually you become a tomb-colonist, and eventually the tomb-colonists who do not find a better ending start to lose their ability to speak, to see, etc.

[/spoiler]




edited by TheThirdPolice on 4/5/2018
edited by TheThirdPolice on 4/5/2018
edited by TheThirdPolice on 7/21/2018

--
Irreal Raven Tender

Formerly dead, but I got better.

The Eternal Zailor, or The Loon who Zails in Zirkles
+5 link
suinicide
suinicide
Posts: 2403

3/30/2018
4 probably goes on to talk about the laocoonian, one of the unimplemented jobs. Probably describing what it does.

--
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.
+1 link
TheThirdPolice
TheThirdPolice
Posts: 606

3/30/2018
Thanks, suinicide. I didn't realize we knew the names of unreleased professions using the "unlocked by" text. Laocoön did come to mind since "Lao" is such an unusual start to a word. It's a very odd name for a profession: Laocoön has a cameo in the Aeneid where he warns against the Trojan horse and then gets killed by sea serpents. So a Laocoönian is maybe a Doomed Monster-Hunter a la Sunless Sea, or maybe a poorly trusted prophet (though Cassandra would be a more obvious reference there).

Anyway, assuming all we have to go on is the name, I'll mark that solved and add question 6 to the original post.
edited by TheThirdPolice on 3/30/2018

--
Irreal Raven Tender

Formerly dead, but I got better.

The Eternal Zailor, or The Loon who Zails in Zirkles
+1 link
Catherine Raymond
Catherine Raymond
Posts: 2124

3/30/2018
TheThirdPolice wrote:
Thanks, suinicide. I didn't realize we knew the names of unreleased professions using the "unlocked by" text. Laocoön did come to mind since "Lao" is such an unusual start to a word. It's a very odd name for a profession: Laocoön has a cameo in the Aeneid where he warns against the Trojan horse and then gets killed by sea serpents. So a Laocoönian is maybe a Doomed Monster-Hunter a la Sunless Sea, or maybe a poorly trusted prophet (though Cassandra would be a more obvious reference there).

Anyway, assuming all we have to go on is the name, I'll mark that solved and add another question:

6. Does Abstraction affect Unaccountably Peckish, or the compulsion to Seek? A heavily stained soul is required for Seeking, but as far as I know you can then sell it and keep going. Is this ever discussed more explicitly?


[spoiler]The Devils won't take a stained soul. See, for example, http://fallenlondon.wikia.com/wiki/Your_soul_is_stained_now [/spoiler]

--
Cathy Raymond
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/cathyr19355

Catherine Raymond aka Mrs. Rykar Malkus http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Catherine%20Raymond (Gone NORTH)
+1 link
TheThirdPolice
TheThirdPolice
Posts: 606

3/30/2018
Thanks, I never tested that option myself. Questions 7 and 8 have been posted.
edited by TheThirdPolice on 3/30/2018

--
Irreal Raven Tender

Formerly dead, but I got better.

The Eternal Zailor, or The Loon who Zails in Zirkles
0 link
Optimatum
Optimatum
Posts: 3269

3/30/2018
1. I don't think it's that the Clay Men want to spread scary tales of Polythreme as much as they want to spread accurate tales. You can make the tales scarier by twisting their words, after which the Clay Men hate you. They also don't like it if you write a scary travelogue, while writing a neutral or positive travelogue gets a good reaction.

2. I'm pretty sure it's because he's very complex biologically: "Hearts," he muses. "I should develop another one. I grow more elaborate by the day."

--
Optimatum, a ruthless and merciful gentleman. No plant battles, Affluent Photographer requests, or healing offers; all other social actions welcome.

Want a sip of Hesperidean Cider? Send me a request in-game. Here's an_ocelot's guide how.

PM me for information enigmatic or Fated. Though the forum please, not FL itself.
+2 link
TheThirdPolice
TheThirdPolice
Posts: 606

3/30/2018
I am glad I finally started this thread. I've added credits in the first post to the people who provide answers.

I'll add more questions later. People are also welcome to ask their own.

I may also organize the first post better, perhaps separating answered questions and hiding them under spoiler tags. Feedback on format welcome.
edited by TheThirdPolice on 3/30/2018

--
Irreal Raven Tender

Formerly dead, but I got better.

The Eternal Zailor, or The Loon who Zails in Zirkles
0 link
Dune
Dune
Posts: 2

3/30/2018
I suspect that the unadorned Spire was created the most recently of the spires of the Bazaar.

[spoiler]The Masters are not human, as can be easily elaborated. However, what they actually are is a bit of a more complicated question. They are from the High Wilderness, and originally joined the Bazaar when it first entered the Neath to attempt to cultivate the cities that Fell in order to acquire a love story of sufficient potency. They are apparently far more bat-like than humanoid, which explains their high-pitched voices. The claw-based stairs probably look similar to a climbing ladder one sees in the cages of domestic birds, and would likely be far more comfortable for a creature based on bats.

As for why the spire is unadorned, one must understand the nature of the Correspondence itself. The Correspondence is just that - a form of communication. Specifically between stars. Yes, those stars. The stars, also known as Judgements, send messages to each other across the High Wilderness via couriers, of which the Bazaar was once of their number. If the unadorned spire was indeed built after the Fall, it isn't decorated with Correspondence sigils because the Bazaar hasn't couriered a message since then.[/spoiler]
+1 link
Jaina
Jaina
Posts: 229

3/30/2018
1. Probably because Polythreme is a place of horror from which they wish to leave. They seem keen on bringing more of their kind from there.

2. The Fathomking is enormous and, well, complex. His body is rather unique.

8. The spire:
[spoiler]The spire is likely going to be filled in with more love stories. The correspondence is the communication of the Judgments (and other beings high on the great chain, such as Flukes and the Masters). The Bazaar seeks to collect love stories and converts the worthwhile ones into correspondence symbols on its body, if I remember correctly.[/spoiler]
edited by JainaEgo on 3/30/2018
edited by JainaEgo on 3/30/2018

--
Cair-Var, a power-hungry lover of Devils and Rubberies
Hungry Ego, A morally upstanding citizen
0 link
TheThirdPolice
TheThirdPolice
Posts: 606

3/30/2018
I never put two and two together and realized those spire carvings are the messages the Bazaar is collecting! Probably because there was such a long gap between me reading about those spires and discovering what the Bazaar actually is (or maybe I'm just thick). In that case it's not a great mystery that all the spires haven't been filled yet. The story does explicitly suggest that the Master may have just chosen that spire to hint that you should stay away from the Correspondence, in which case there's not necessarily any other significance to the choice.

I've added some more questions to the first post and reorganized them a bit. I also slipped in an easily solved reference in the fully solved section.
edited by TheThirdPolice on 3/30/2018

--
Irreal Raven Tender

Formerly dead, but I got better.

The Eternal Zailor, or The Loon who Zails in Zirkles
0 link
Optimatum
Optimatum
Posts: 3269

3/30/2018
Jaina wrote:
1. Probably because Polythreme is a place of horror from which they wish to leave. They seem keen on bringing more of their kind from there.



I don't recall the Clay Men wanting to bring more of them to London; they come because the Masters have a deal with the Hundreds to provide Clay Men for menial work.

--
Optimatum, a ruthless and merciful gentleman. No plant battles, Affluent Photographer requests, or healing offers; all other social actions welcome.

Want a sip of Hesperidean Cider? Send me a request in-game. Here's an_ocelot's guide how.

PM me for information enigmatic or Fated. Though the forum please, not FL itself.
0 link
Jaina
Jaina
Posts: 229

3/31/2018
Optimatum wrote:
Jaina wrote:
1. Probably because Polythreme is a place of horror from which they wish to leave. They seem keen on bringing more of their kind from there.



I don't recall the Clay Men wanting to bring more of them to London; they come because the Masters have a deal with the Hundreds to provide Clay Men for menial work.

Wasn't the Clay Coalman all about bringing more Clay Men to London? Maybe he was an exception, but from my chats with him and the Clay Quarters stuff it seems like they really don't like their homeland.
edited by JainaEgo on 3/31/2018

--
Cair-Var, a power-hungry lover of Devils and Rubberies
Hungry Ego, A morally upstanding citizen
0 link
TheThirdPolice
TheThirdPolice
Posts: 606

3/31/2018
Several more questions added from reddit! Some of them were answered there and went straight to the solved section — I recommend checking those out if you haven't seen Alexis' exclusive Kickstarter answer about the nature of the White.

--
Irreal Raven Tender

Formerly dead, but I got better.

The Eternal Zailor, or The Loon who Zails in Zirkles
+1 link
a Nice Friend
a Nice Friend
Posts: 127

3/31/2018
On the Flukes:
When the Bazaar found them unsuitable for its scheme, it basically abandoned them and forbid them from love, and most likely forbid them from interfering with its precious stories. Their existence is barely tolerated as long as they stay out of sight.

The life it promised them was probably so much more than what they got.

--
Definitely a nice friend - http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/a%20nice%20friend
+2 link
suinicide
suinicide
Posts: 2403

3/31/2018
13) other than unfinished men, they don't seem to care enough to give themselves names. I think they also want to return to being part of Polythreme, so taking a name would be a step away from that.

16) the thief of faces is related to the flukes in a nebulous way, but we don't know the details. It did not steal salt's face, salt went east I believe. But it did attack stone and steal a piece of it to make Mt Nomad, so it is almost as powerful as the gods of the zea.
edited by suinicide on 3/31/2018

--
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: 3269

4/1/2018
16. The Thief-of-Faces is in some way the progeny of the Flukes, as iirc it was created since they left Axile. I doubt it's powerful enough to take on a Judgement's shape though. (I don't think it outright attacked Stone either, just stole a life-diamond from the Garden while Stone wasn't paying attention, so not sure we know relative power levels.)

19. Given that tigers have established seats of power and a lot of history with the Fingerkings (wars, claimed territories, etc) it's reasnable to say they were around before London. Either a previous city brought them or they originated from the Elder Continent. (Or surface tigers came from the Neath, which isn't that far fetched, given Stone's possible role as Garden of Eden and source of life on Earth.)

Jaina wrote:
Wasn't the Clay Coalman all about bringing more Clay Men to London? Maybe he was an exception, but from my chats with him and the Clay Quarters stuff it seems like they really don't like their homeland.

Not sure about the Clay Men in London, but there's a Clay Broker in Polythreme who explicitly says the shipments of obedient Clay Men to London are a tithe for the Masters.

--
Optimatum, a ruthless and merciful gentleman. No plant battles, Affluent Photographer requests, or healing offers; all other social actions welcome.

Want a sip of Hesperidean Cider? Send me a request in-game. Here's an_ocelot's guide how.

PM me for information enigmatic or Fated. Though the forum please, not FL itself.
+1 link
Jaina
Jaina
Posts: 229

4/1/2018
Post about the family tree of the Bazaar from Spacemarine9's fantastic blog http://saint-arthur.tumblr.com/post/139091455609/can-you-please-explain-the-bazaars-family-tree (relevant for Flukes, Fathomking, and Thief of Faces)

19. Varchas was a city that fell from the surface onto the Elder Continent. It was somewhere around Cambodia
http://thefifthcity.wikia.com/wiki/Varchas
Wild tigers used to live in southeast Asia, including Cambodia, so it is not unreasonable to assume that some fell with the city that became Varchas. (note: this doesn't mean that they were necessarily the first tigers [and definitely not the first cats, given Amarna's descent] in the neath, but it's the most likely source of surface tigers in sufficient quantities to establish a breeding population).
edited by JainaEgo on 4/1/2018
edited by JainaEgo on 4/1/2018

--
Cair-Var, a power-hungry lover of Devils and Rubberies
Hungry Ego, A morally upstanding citizen
+1 link
illuminati swag (Benthic)
illuminati swag (Benthic)
Posts: 137

4/1/2018
a Nice Friend wrote:
On the Flukes:
When the Bazaar found them unsuitable for its scheme, it basically abandoned them and forbid them from love, and most likely forbid them from interfering with its precious stories. Their existence is barely tolerated as long as they stay out of sight.

The life it promised them was probably so much more than what they got.

Yeah, they're just getting revenge for their betrayal. Also, Mr. Candles was friendly to the Flukes and was probably the one who brokered the original deal, so in the Eaten destiny they're also getting revenge for his betrayal.
0 link
Jaina
Jaina
Posts: 229

4/1/2018
Yep, there's a connection between Mr. Candles and the Flukes
edited by JainaEgo on 4/2/2018

--
Cair-Var, a power-hungry lover of Devils and Rubberies
Hungry Ego, A morally upstanding citizen
0 link
TheThirdPolice
TheThirdPolice
Posts: 606

4/3/2018
Updated again! There are some more things added to the likely/fully solved mysteries due to reddit discussions transferred here. I'm going to post one here as well because I went deep on some Sunless Sea wiki reading and discovered a potential origin of the moth transformation I've never seen anyone pick up on before:

[spoiler]Lorenzo the Almost Dead Man was one of the Seven who traveled to the Mountain of Light and attacked the city of Nidah in a failed bid to steal back immortality for mankind. Though they failed, Lorenzo describes the Most Moth painfully growing inside him as a "gift" of the Mountain.[/spoiler]

--
Irreal Raven Tender

Formerly dead, but I got better.

The Eternal Zailor, or The Loon who Zails in Zirkles
+1 link




Powered by Jitbit Forum 8.0.2.0 © 2006-2013 Jitbit Software