[color=#ff3366]“The Striking Saleswoman spends her waking hours trudging across London, sales kit in hand. She infiltrates every stratum of society, not resting until she has either made a sale or been made to leave.” The Mistress of the Skies invites Londoners – rich and poor – to paint their faces with the colours of the Neath. Investigate the Striking Saleswoman, with her iridescent nails and sparkling eyelids; observe the consequences of this new pigment on London’s social fabric; learn the true identity of the reclusive Mistress. And try not to trip over the cats.
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While I never expected my character, Feldon, to become a door-to-door makeup salesman, that is what makes Fallen London so much fun. This is possibly my favorite story. Certainly, it is my favorite in recent times because of the underlying themes, the quality of writing, and the poignancy expressed through characters. More than anything else as an outcome, Feldon wishes to court and marry the Striking Saleswoman and he is pleased that she is now making her way in the service of the Duchess.
I really enjoyed the story! It is nice to see more glimpses of forces trying to change London. It is also a great example of the story’s central theme being a great fit to the specific aspect of the Neath’s weirdness explored in the story.
I ended up advising the Mistress to take up direct control. I believe adding more colour to London will be for the best.
I’m a Mr Cards, and based on my experiences from “Shades of Yesterday” and what I know about Light Fingers, am a huge advocate against wholesale distribution of mind-altering substances en masse. Should such a thing occur, it may pollute the genuineness of the love stories that the Bazaar needs. Therefore, I shut it down.
Anyways, does anyone know who the Mistress is? I take it that she is someone related to the Duchess, definitely from the Second City, and I suspect that she is June from the Calendar Council but that is just a guess.
My reading is that she is a heretofore-unknown character. Her being "not anyone special" would fit her characterization.
Unless there’s some deep lore I’m unaware of associating June with either the Second City or cows, I don’t think she’s June.
I assume you’re drawing the connection because June is the architect of the Dawn Machine, right? The Cosmogone Sun of Parabola seems very different to me than the Dawn Machine. It’s not trying to be a Judgement, for one thing. Its Light is not Law. There are several instances of Parabolan entities creating new rulers for themselves, but the Skin of the Sun strikes me as subservient rather than a rule.
Unrelated news: digging around Wikipedia for Egyptian mythology connects the Mistress to the goddess Hathor. In addition to taking the form of a cow, and having horns + sun disc as a primary symbol, and being the mother of the sun, she was also literally called "mistress of the sky." If I knew more about Egyptian mythology, maybe I could make a deeper comment about that.
Really good story. “Ethically complex” is right! I like the Striking Saleswoman a lot, the Second City lore is tantalising, and the writing was tops. Funny but this is the first Exceptional Story I’ve played that went to Parabola and didn’t acknowledge that my character is a silverer. Still a great story.
I liked the story as well, but there was a side it was lacking. An egoistic one.
When I saw the Striking Saleswoman and felt the effects of her makeup, the first thing Lucy thought was “I want this for myself but no one else”. Thus, I didn’t like the idea of selling it — if I could, I would just pay for the whole case and keep it.
I ended up giving the business to the Duchess. She would sell it to the rich and the noble, supporting the status quo, which is not great. But at least she wouldn’t sell it to everyone, and I do hope she would owe me a favour for this.
Unrelated news: digging around Wikipedia for Egyptian mythology connects the Mistress to the goddess Hathor. In addition to taking the form of a cow, and having horns + sun disc as a primary symbol, and being the mother of the sun, she was also literally called "mistress of the sky." If I knew more about Egyptian mythology, maybe I could make a deeper comment about that.[/quote]
I agree that she’s adopted the symbology of Hathor. There are few layers of possible significance there:
[ul][li]Hathor was effectively the queen of the gods in early Egyptian worship. The Duchess (who herself has become a bit of a bastet figure) might be dismayed simply at a low-born tradesperson adopting a title above all kings and indeed most gods of the pantheon.[/li][li]Hathor’s worship diminished over time, both due to male peregrination in nobility and priesthood, and the later shift of state worship to the cult of Osiris in Thebes. I may be pertinent that the Mistress, with the power to craft a proto-judgement and manipulate the neathbow, is now effectively lost and forgotten, taking the mantle of a forgotten goddess. However, I don’t recall off the top of my head just when in history the Second City was supposed to have fallen, and this part of theory depends on that.[/li][li]Thirdly, and likely most important, is the legend of the Heavenly Cow, wherein Hathor is sent to earth as the Eye of Ra to punish humanity, and goes on such a bloody rampage that Ra decides to completely reorder the heavens and the earth, drawing the gods largely out of direct contact with humanity. This would be a particularly dark metaphor that the Duchess might well have read into the symbolism adopted by the mistress of the Heavens, speaking to a revolution wreaking havoc with the social strata of London and perhaps the entirety of the Great Chain itself.
[/li][/ul] edited by Pnakotic on 2/5/2022
To this question in particular: the Second City is almost certainly Amarna. Akhenaten is the Pharaoh whose daughters are the Duchess and her sisters.[/quote]
Ok, Right, that makes sense, don’t know how I forgot.
So that’d be first Dynasty of the New Kingdom. I think Hathor would have reduced prominence by this period, but still be actively worshipped (well, except for Akhenaten inventing his own religion briefly).
Interestingly, I think the Mistress of the Heavens is very parallel to Hatshepsut the more I think about it, since she was a great builder who modeled herself as the female Eye of Ra, was a great builder, but largely effaced from monuments by later rulers for unknown reasons. But the timeline doesn’t line up at all right, she’s probably a writer inspiration, though. edited by Pnakotic on 2/5/2022 edited by Pnakotic on 2/5/2022
I really liked this one too - what an interesting idea to use violant dye as makeup! I also advised the Mistress to take direct control and I was really pleased that the Striking Saleswoman ended up happy with the result, when that was in doubt initially.
[quote=elderfleur][quote=phryne]Can anyone point me to a profile echo of the Attendants tie-in in this one?
I played The Attendants on a different account than this story, so couldn’t take the option…[/quote] My notes aren’t as thorough as they used to be, but I’m reasonably sure this is what you seek.[/quote]
Yes it is, thank you!