Devils, Laws, the IR (spoilers)

So far we know devils do a lot of mischief and partake in the illegal (Absconding Devil, several storylets in Ladybones Road) and they have no problem with killing humans (hunting in the forgotten quarter, permanently killing Fast Hetty) or doing unspeakable things (to the informer of the velopecide squad). But so far we have never experienced devils stealing souls. They buy them from the humans themselves or from spirifers, they bet for them, but it’s always some kind of contract or agreement. They have the ways for extracting souls against their owners’ will – the Spirifer fork – but so far we never read about them using them on the unwilling.

So far the facts, now comes the wild speculation:

The only laws that apply to devils are the metaphysical kind. They cannot take a soul with force. Other humans(spirifers) can, but in the end a devil needs a contract with a human(owner or spirifer) and it needs to hold its end of the deal (if it doesn’t, the soul will probably saved from damnation like in Goethe’s Faust). And that’s something the devils don’t like. Things get more complicated and the more brass and jewels they bring into the city, the less these things are worth.
And that’s where the Iron Republic comes in:
Freedom from tyrants and the laws of nature – but not yet from God’s laws (or equivalent metaphysical concepts).

„We meandered on to the subject of why Hell would want a colony in the first place. He took a long draw on his pipe and said “The Bazaar won’t be here forever. We must make our experiments while we may.” - Day 78
Experiments? I personally think it’s about bending the ordinary laws in order to find out how to break the metaphysical kind, so they can take the souls against someone’s will. Devils are actually lawful (evil):
A stiff-gaited devil in a high-collared dress uniform and gold epaulettes approaches you. He says, “I’ll be returning soon. Downstairs. Seeing this place, one has to ask oneself… was it all worth it? Could we ever return to… law?” He marches off before you can reply.“ - Day 88
„’ - told me that although Hell extracts no burden of tribute, several of the more prominent devils had their own pacts and arrangements to live up to. And of course, there were many appetites to sate; not just the Republic’s citizens, but visitors from Hell. Devils have many duties, but for those that can travel, the Republic is apparently an attractive spot for a rest.’“ - Day 55

Problems with my thesis so far:
- May devils just consider theft below their dignity (especially with the risk of having to face a human court as a defendant) or value their time too much for going spirifing?
- This tidbit:
„The laws changed faster than I could read them. As the fog lifted and the lamps were lit, a trio of devils in fur hats relieved me of my post. They told me that the malefactors were queueing up and I should have just sent the lot for Abstraction.“ - Day 34
Possible interpretations:
Literal: They already can abstract against will (which disproves everything I wrote)
The IR-Way: Don’t take it for the truth.
Spirifer: They have a human spirifer for that business in the IR.
Deal: They offer the malefactors to choose between abstraction and another punishment – which would be an acceptable trade.


Historically speaking the ablity of the devil and his ascoiates to break the ‘ordinary’ laws of nature is a highly contenious subject, with there being a long tradition of authors claiming that Satan and his compatriots, can only perform ‘wonders’ which have to be within the bounds of nature, not true ‘miracles’ which can defy any natural law and are the exclusive perview of the divine.

So this idea of the expriments of the Iron republic could as simply be about the breaking of natural laws, which links in closely to the idea of Satan as a lover of freedom and, at least in his own eyes, a rebel against divine tyranny, as portrayed in texts such as paradise lost.

Though i spouse the key question here is exactly how far one can see the Hell so closely ajacent to fallen London, as having a definat determined goal, so many of the devils seen seem to have there own agenda’s and there has been little direct hint as far as i can tell of the wishes of the rulers of this hell, though one could guess there finger/hoof? prints are upon the iron republic. The phrases of the various devils met within the Iron Republic could still be seen as somewhat conflicting and hinting at no great unity of purpose among the imediate forces of hell, though of course one would assume that some grand plot is afoot somewhere in the damned spheres.

Are devils supernatural at all? Had humans even thought about devils before the Bazaar started taking cities many thousands of years ago? They might have always lived near the Bazaar. Devils do treat humans poorly but does that make them the embodiment of evil? If you asked a rattus faber what he thought of humans, he might describe us as evil and dangerous to do deals with. Devils do know how to extract souls, but humans knows things that some other species don’t like mighty feats of engineering.

Well, devils apparently live forever and can’t be killed… even more so than the Presbyterate, I mean. Other than that… and a number of minor physical differences that they conceal from humans, like the glowing eyes, horns, claws, red fanged maws… who can say?

For a place that is proudly “freed from all laws”, I was surprised that [color=#ffffcc]the laws literally rain from the skies[/color] in the Iron Republic. [color=#ffffcc]Also, the courts and judges and trials and punishments, etc.[/color]

Contempt of all laws, yes, but not freedom from them. [color=#ffffcc]It’s all over my boots for goodness sake.[/color]