Names of the fallen cities

I’ve been trying to understand the Zee’s history better and put names to the fallen cities.

Fallen London- London
Khans Heart- Karakorum
Varchas- Angkor Wat

Anyone know what the other ones are?

Egypt. Somewhere in Egypt. Mr. Eaten kept the Masters there for far too long. I am unsure of the exact city name.

Varchas is a fallen city and Angkor Wat? I thought it had a distinctly Tommaso Campanella’s interpretation of Sri Lanka instead of any connection with the Khmer civilization. Not sure if it’s one of the fallen cities either.

As a contribution to this thread I suggest checking this thread from the Fallen London board:

I believe Khan’s Heart is just a city the exiled Fourth City survivors built away from Fallen Karakorum or an outlying settlement they expanded once London fell on top of the capitol, not actually Karakorum itself. Karakorum I believe is the Forgotten Quarter.

General consensus seems to be:
Polythreme = Remnant of Tell Brak/Nagar (First City)
Salt Lions = Outer remnant of Amarna/Akhetaten (Second City)
Not sure if the Third City has a representative location in Sunless Sea given that it was a Mesoamerican city.
Perhaps Sir Frederick could give a more accurate and detailed answer to the OPs inquiry?
edited by Bardigan on 1/13/2015

Varchas is definitely a fallen city. There’s some options to explore the city and temples and that confirms it. Their religion is built around it. Varchas means “light” in Sanskrit, their god Mihir means “Sun” in many languages descended from Sanskrit, and the city’s pre-fall description of five golden towers matches Angkor Wat.

Yes, I’m aware of the Sanskrit origins of the location’s terminology, they call Stone/the Mountain of Light Amaradri, the &quotSummit of the Gods&quot, which is another name of Mt. Meru from Hindu/Buddhist mythology. Still, I had thought it reinforced the assumption that they were Indian instead of any of the Indochina civilizations. But now:

Well look at that, I could never quite make out what Varchas’ artwork represented with its shadowed honeycomb-mirrors, but the wiki’s minimized version of it gave me a sharper perspective: Those aren’t some interpretive depiction of light and shadow, those were Dravidian towers.

Interesting, an independent Fallen City separate from the main Five brought down by the Masters?
edited by Bardigan on 1/13/2015

But if they are Dravidian towers, doesn’t that reinforce Varchas springing from Indian rather than southeast Asian roots?

I wonder, could the hole in the roof of the Neath over Aestival be where the First City was pulled from the ground? The Cumaean Canal verifies that the Bazaar is below Italy, so if the hole is somewhere in Syria (perhaps Tell Brak, but there is still some discussion over that), it would line up quite nicely…

Southeast Asia was and still is heavily influenced by the Sanskrit language and Indian civilization (Indonesia and Malaysia were largely Hindu/Buddhist before many of the kingdoms adopted Islam, many words in Malay and Indonesian have Sanskrit origins. Thailand, Cambodia and Burma/Myanmar meanwhile have preserved their Hindu-Buddhist traditions), Angkor Wat was built in the Dravidian style and was built to represent Mt. Meru (which seems to be Stone/the Mountain of Light in the FL/SS universe, as well as Qaf in Islamic and Iranian Cosmology and the same Mountain that springs the fountain of life in the Prester John mythos)…so Varchas does check out as Angkor Wat.
edited by Bardigan on 1/13/2015

No, the hole was made when Iron and Misery Co. were testing the Memento Mori on the island.

Ah, I just reached that part of the IC’s storyline. But I still want to know where that hole is on the surface…

I was thinking of this place when I saw the Calumnies for the first time: Great Blue Hole - Wikipedia

Fascinating! This is thoroughly outside of my field of expertise, but Angkor Wat is a convincing theory, as are Bardigan’s explanations of the lore of the Elder Continent. I’d picked up the South Asian flavour of the southern Unterzee generally, and Varchas’s Hindu influences… perhaps it’s mere, to borrow one of my favourite expressively muddled phrases, wishful thinkment, but what we see of Varchas on the overhead map does look a lot like the front of Angkor Wat’s walls, and the described layout matches (though, of course, it’s not the most uncommon design.)

It’s conspicuously free of the Bazaar’s influence. So, how did it come to the Neath? The story told in the temple is that the Sun let its gaze fall from Varchas, and Varchas fell into darkness. That… is a singularly ambiguous myth. Is Varchas in darkness because it’s in the Neath or is it in the Neath because it’s in darkness? I have no idea. It does seem like a nice place to live, though - pleasantly bright, plenty of vegetarian cuisine, awareness of the danger of the Fingerkings… you could do much worse!

Are the Calumnies the crying heights? I know where I’ll be avoiding my next voyage. (thoughts of tentacles dancing through my head)[li]
I was wondering if those terms in Varchas were based on a particular language - thank you for that! Is Agnihotri or any other of their words also taken from actual roots?

No, the Calumnies are where Aestival is (I believe an older post used the phrase “sun-touched Calumnies”). “Agnihotri” is something like “fire priest”, I think? I recognize “agni” only.

Varchas is definitely not a fallen city. It’s well established that the site of the cities is more or less the same (London’s aim was a bit off, granted, allowing much of Karakorum to survive as the Forgotten Quarter). At best, it might be the exiles of a fallen city, however even that is unlikely given what we know about the other cities: they were in (in order) Asia, Africa, America (North or South depending on how you count) Asia, and finally Europe. The Fourth is well known to be Karakorum, and the First fell long, long before Angkor Wat was constructed; and that they all fell at the time of some catastrophic event in the real world.

The only way Varchas could be the exiles of a fallen city would be if London were actually the Sixth (unlikely) or perhaps if there was a large Cambodian Hindu delegation in Karakorum when it fell.

Not to spoil it but if you explore the temple in Varchas it is almost certainly a fallen city. There are elaborate artworks detailing what the city looked like while it was on the surface, how it fell, and the mythology behind it. If it’s not a fallen city the inhabitants sure as heck think it is.

I’m not best informed about FL lore, but isn’t it possible that there’s some difference between cities that fell because of the Masters or the Bazaar or what-have-you and cities that fell for other reasons, such as the Varchaasi explanation of their own fall as being due to the displeasure of Mihir?

That would be my theory, certainly. Also, we’re forgetting another fallen city not far away, which also seems distinct from the Bazaar’s big five - Irem.

What I’ve found to be interesting with Failbetter’s Irem (besides their choice of using the more archaic and ominous/mythic-sounding Irem spelling rather than Iram or Ubar for ostensibly the same location) is the place’s motifs of snakes, rose petals and dreams.

I’m not aware of any serpent connection with the legendary Iram of the Quran or the dubiously historical Ubar of the Arabian Peninsula, but Lovecraft’s Nameless City, inhabited by reptilian-beings and claimed to formerly be near the coast, was connected to Irem.

The dream-like quality of Irem of the Neath and how one can acquire parabolan-linen there gives me the impression that the FL universe’s Irem was pulled into the Zee through Parabola, somewhat similar to how Leopold Raffles got pulled into the Neath through an Exile’s Rose.

The massive amount of what seems like rose petals scattered throughout the structures of the Pillared Sea suggests to me that the whole city of Irem underwent what Leopold went through but on a grander scale.
The Isle of Cats and Irem also seem to share similar qualities relating to the human subconscious.

Yes: Agnihotri
The Varchasi also call your captain &quotTaamas&quot.

Meg Jayanth’s heritage was quite pronounced in her first SS contribution.

I also admire her decision to choose Borneo and Malacca as her inspirations for writing the Isle of Cats rather than basing it on the over-represented Caribbean and Tortuga. Even Kelantan was given a reference to in the text for one of the Catties story interaction…truly astonishing.
edited by Bardigan on 1/14/2015

Ooh, she didn’t write a postmortem about Varchas, but in the one about the Isle of Cats, she mentioned Varchas:

(The Isle of Cats - you can panic now)