I don’t know if I made the right choices, but if I were to do it over I would do the same way again. Except, I wouldn’t make a promise to the Celebrant. I should have known I wouldn’t keep it; I can’t stand not knowing.
The themes of mortality and endings are enough to give me pause. The nature of death in the Neath is something that was touched on in Older, Not Wiser, but I like this treatment of it better. An escape from the Far Shore! A return to the Surface, and sunlight, even if only to find out how you would have died. Such melancholy yearning.
I think Moonlight is now officially my favorite Mystery of the Neath. Not Parabola, not the Red Science, not the Liberation, not even the adorable Rubberies with all their wonderous tentacles. There’s even a name for it now: the Should-Be. Which I shall dissect eminently.
I chose, as one might infer, the true dance. I chose Foe, and to save the dance. For those interested in seeing how difference choices affect the text, start from the beginning of the dance. In particular, I suspect the Foe decision might be rare, and would be interested in seeing other choices.
[spoiler]I hope someone with more knowledge around Seeking might hypothesize the deal between Wines and what I assume are the Third-City priest-kings who ate Eaten. In particular, that the dreams of Wines are collateral for an agreement. Poor Wines, wishing he were a poet instead of an alcoholic, but he’s also a two-bit huckster so screw him.
What the heck is moonlight?
We’re given theories by a character, and generally such info in FL is unreliable. Still, the Should-Be follows the same pattern as the Is-Not for Parabola, so I’m inclined to give it a little weight. A view of what the Surface should be like if the Neath were not there. But this bears some examination.
- Most importantly, we know what happens in real history without the Neath, and it’s not the Revolutionary overthrow of the Monarchy like we see in Cut With Moonlight and Noises From Upstairs. So it’s not just a view of what would have happened without the Neath.[/li][li]Heretofore, there has always been a single, coherent alternate history advancing alongside history in the Neath. The Celebrant is shown to have multiple deaths. I can’t reconcile those, except that it’s been a long time, and perhaps multiple intervening Falls has an effect.[/li][li]The Moon is always near, and described as large. In this instance, the stars are described as false, or lying. I don’t think this is the same as the False-Stars.
Here’s my take: Moonlight shows the Should-Be, which is not the same as the Would-Be. Our history in the real world is the Would-Be, what would have actually happened in the absence of the Neath. Both what happened in our world, and what happened in Fallen London, are considered mistaken or flawed in some way. Moonlight shows a correct to those mistakes. Beginning, of course, with the absence of the Neath itself, since that was a sin.
More importantly, it shows one particular idea of what should have happened. The Moon’s. Obviously we’re dealing with the Moon’s light here, but we’re also being told that there’s no true Light from other Suns getting in the way. I don’t know what the Moon’s whole deal is, but it’s using reflected sunlight. And also, if I’m understanding things right, came out of the Earth from where the Neath currently is. So I guess the Moon isn’t really on-board with Law, and when it gets ahold of Light it uses it for different ends.
The fact that our real history is not what the Moon believes Should Be what happens, could be the result of a disagreement between the Sun and the Moon on the proper order of things. My inclination is to believe that human agency makes history take a turn away from what the Judgements believe is proper. That’s their problem, not ours. I have nothing to back up this belief other than just wanting it to be true.