Neathy Mysteries for the Advanced Student

[quote=Erik Vimes]I see your point most definitely, but at the same time, what would you consider a &quotdefinite answer?&quot

I do however propose the idea that next to posted questions notifications are edited in to tell if the mystery is &quotsolved&quot (has a valid, not necessarily proven answer) or not.[/quote]I’ve tried to identify the conclusively answered mysteries in my post. I think it’s generally easy to tell which they are in practice. Your suggestion would require a bit more effort, but I’ll start doing it for my post if a couple of other people request it.

[quote=Erik Vimes][Spoiler about Mr Eaten] (If Eaten himself has opposition to this information being spread, I shall edit it out promptly upon request)[/quote]That’s not how it does things, you know.

[quote=Erik Vimes][Spoilers]

More questions:
Can people still die of old age in the Neath, with the whole business of the Boatman and whatnot?
Why can the Tigers talk? (no offence, Alexis) Or cats in general, for that matter. Or L.B.?
Why do the mandrakes scream?
What made the Starveling Cat the way it is?
Which University was the University before the fall?[/quote]People can die of old age – the sidebar text outright tells us so. As for the talking animals, no one in Fallen London no one seems to think they’re mysterious at all. I’m not sure we’ll ever get an explanation. Amidst the thunder dreams and walking dead, the body-hopping murderer and sinister squid-faced interlopers, perhaps they’re mundane, like power outlets and aeroplanes?

Thoughts on the University, and Hellfarer:

[spoiler]The University is the University of London, of course. Benthic is University College London, and Summerset is King’s College. Only for some reason they’re Oxbridging it up down here. Maybe the Provost thinks quadrangles and stuffy dinners promote romance.

Your take on Hellfaring cannot be right, since you can gain a great deal of that quality by doing something devils don’t care for overmuch. I think we must take it literally – one who travels into Hell. I believe that will be one possible endgame. The Bazaar, Orient and Revolutionaries will present possible futures, too.[/spoiler]

I’ll reply to the Bazaar stuff separately, because what I’m going to say deserves an extra spoiler warning.

Why the mandrakes scream is an easy one and not really a spoiler, just context. According to the Wikipedia page on mandrakes, “According to the legend, when the root is dug up it screams and kills all who hear it.” (this also comes up in Harry Potter, and in Pan’s Labyrinth).

In this post: massive spoilers concerning the Bazaar’s history and plans. Or baseless ravings. Caveat lector, either way.

[spoiler][quote=Erik Vimes]I don’t think anyone can answer who the Masters really are, or what the Bazaar fully is, but they are observably entangled in some way or another, maybe in service or symbiosis of a kind. The Bazaar, as mentioned, is a celestial body, but also seemingly alive, if not in the strictly biological sense…

Perhaps the Masters wrote the Correspondence on the Bazaar, out of will or request, or perhaps the Bazaar itself wrote it. The Correspondence is, as revealed, its tongue.[/quote]Marking the skin

No one writes on the Bazaar. It is, as you say, alive; the sigils on its skin are a physiological response, like the formation of scar tissue at the site of a wound. They are caused by love stories, but not just any love stories. (‘Its skin is not lightly marked.’) There are conditions. The stories must:

[ul][li]Be true, not fictitious.[/li][li]Be authentic, rather than artificial; and[/li][li]Belong to the Bazaar.[/li][/ul]The Bazaar mostly acquires them by purchase. (Try trading Love Stories for Bazaar Permits: ‘Exactly a week later, a new sigil appears on one of the Bazaar’s outer towers.’) This is the responsibility of Mr Spices and Mr Wines. The tax on exports is intended to encourage such sales.

The Eyes of Icarus

Most story qualities track progress through particular stories. But four of them are increased by all sorts of things. They are:

[ul][li]Walking the Falling Cities, increased by anything concerning the first four cities;[/li][li]Approaching the Gates of the Garden, increased by exposure to death and whispers of the Garden;[/li][li]Touched by Fingerwork, increased by encounters with mirrors, snakes, Parabola, certain dreams; and[/li][li]Seeing through the Eyes of Icarus.[/li][/ul]They seem to track exposure to some of the deepest mysteries of the Neath: its past cities, the impermanence of death, the Fingerkings. Seeing through the Eyes of Icarus is increased by things relating to the Correspondence, clocks, the North, the Bazaar, love, false stars. I think it seems clear that Icarus is the Bazaar. So we should expect some parallel between the Bazaar and a boy with wings of wax and feather who flew too close to the Sun and fell into the sea.


In the deepest matters of the Bazaar, always look to love.

Long ago, when men still walked the Garden and before the Mountain was hidden from the sky, the Bazaar was enamoured of the Sun. Until Correspondence grammar is better understood, the details are likely to elude us, but it seems likely that there was something sordid about the whole affair, and certainly the courtship did not end well. It marked the Bazaar’s skin, perhaps for the first time, leaving an indelible record of its shame. Instead of seeking out the nearest reputable tailor, the Bazaar got all emo and hid itself in the deep places.

This explains the Bazaar’s appetite for love stories. It’s collecting camouflage for its own story. Until all its spires are well marked, it will stay in the Neath, out of sight of the cosmic community.[/spoiler]Edit: some more questions. The first has a clear solution.

  • Why are there export tariffs on love stories?[/li][/ul][ul][li]What political system reigns in Hell?[/li][/ul][ul][li]How is the quality of lacre related to where it’s found?[/li][/ul][ul][li]What happens to those who drink moon-milk?

edited by Flyte on 6/14/2013

My god Flyte, you’ve blown my mind on so many levels. It makes complete sense too, enormous kudos to you for piecing this together. One thing I am completely boggled about though:[li]

Where did you get the information about the Sun and the Bazaar’s affair? I’ve seen it referenced more than once around here yet I have no memory of the knowledge despite being an end-game character. Most likely my memory is simply faulty, but if you could, would you tell me what storylet it was in? PM me if you have to.

Also, an answer/response:

[spoiler] Each flake of lacre is a correspondence sigil. We also know that upon ingesting it, you dream things that look suspiciously like the scandal with the Sun, success and fail, giving a Touching Love Story on success. Also, feeding it to a Talkative Rattus Faber or Malevolent Monkey (sometimes) produces a Dark-Carapaced Crustacean, the icon of which is the Bazaar. Burning it induces a memory of before the Bazaar came to the Neath, also articulating the post-Sun sadness and hinting that the Bazaar originally arrived before Earth’s surface hardened from magma. Unlocking the option also involves the Eyes of Icarus, solidifying that this induced memory is the Bazaar’s. I can make less sense of scenting your pillow with it, but possibly it is a memory of the Bazaar finding its resting place, as you ‘shoot like a star,’ find a &quotpinnacle of black glass,&quot and &quotdraw the letters&quot which are likely correspondence. Mixing it with surface wine shows a scene of the Duchess caressing her disfigured consort, tying into her betrayal. Less useful upon the matter but still possibly important: lacre reacts violently with souls.

So. Lacre is heavily tied in with the Bazaar in many intimate ways, to answer the question. Further insight is speculation, and ideas on what lacre actually is could be endless. Lacre means &quotsealing wax&quot in Spanish, and &quotseal&quot in Portuguese, so that’s an important consideration, but as far as I personally can guess, it could be anything from the Bazaar’s tears to its dandruff. I’d like to hear other’s ideas upon the matter as well. [/spoiler]

[quote=Erik Vimes]My god Flyte, you’ve blown my mind on so many levels. It makes complete sense too, enormous kudos to you for piecing this together. One thing I am completely boggled about though:

spoiler snipped [/quote] Agreed, Flyte is BRILLIANT. (See also spoiler below.)

In response to your spoiler: check the (now retired) storylets for the Sunlight event at the end of the Feast of the Exceptional Rose, there’s a lot of neat hints there. (See also spoiler below.)

Interestingly, the description of an Elemental Secret corresponds (tee hee) to this: &quotThe Neath is the place where Earth places the memories that shame her. This is such a memory.&quot Now look at the storylet that granted it. That’s right–a reference to the Sun. Interestingly, it mentions the &quotthe Fifth&quot–almost certainly London–will &quotlive on in the heart of the Sun.&quot Taken in light of Flyte’s theory, this raises some VERY interesting possibilities.

edited by Flipz on 6/14/2013

[spoiler]My main sources were indeed the lacre and the Feast, along with, uh, something I learned from a man northridden. Can you remember where else you saw this discussed? I’d like to take a look.

Flipz, thanks for the point about the heart of the Sun. I somehow missed that one. Erik, a minor point about lacre: the flakes aren’t quite Correspondent. And I don’t think the reference to the Earth setting concerns magma. My guess is that it concerns a mythic past, when the laws of geology (and indeed, other things) were not so rigid as they are now. I’m with you on the other stuff.

Two more things. First, the Bazaar has other, more sinister plans. (Seriously, think about the maps!) Second, here’s something pretty interesting, associated with a large increase in Seeing through the Eyes of Icarus: ‘…and the light that flooded the vineyard was thick as honey and red as port wine. We waited for the sun to speak, but it only watched us in sorrow. I knew then that it was waiting for us… As I woke, I thought that its light lingered somehow in my eyes…’ You know, I don’t think the Senior Reader was really murdered over blackmail…

Wait a minute, isn’t this the detective story Borges never wrote? The one where the detective gives a false solution, and there’s a clue to encourage readers to go back and puzzle it out themselves?[/spoiler]

Edit: Borges reference.
edited by Flyte on 6/14/2013

The Starveling Cat! The Starveling Cat! Jumped down the well for a good long chat!
edited by Theus on 6/15/2013

Was this one of the sidebar rhymes or did you write it?

Just some additional information upon the matter that I found intriguing; glim melts upon contact with sunlight.

Was this one of the sidebar rhymes or did you write it?[/quote]

It’s from the sidebar.

Some more puzzles concerning glim, best kept within spoiler tags:

Whatever is Mr Fires doing on the cavern roof?
The Manager claims he sings the false stars to sleep in the morning… why?
Why are the false stars associated with Seeing through the Eyes of Icarus?

edited by Flyte on 6/16/2013

I don’t believe there’s currently any information about Mr. Fires’ exploits on the roof, but it’s very likely that the next installment of the Light Fingers Ambition will shine some light into the matter.
Perhaps the Manager sings the false stars (living things that are bio-luminescent, moon-misers or not) to sleep every morning to get them to stop shining so as to mimic surface sky.
False stars might be associated with Icarus because they were ordained by the Bazaar itself, trying to make the Neath as much like where it used to be.


As discussed earlier in this thread, the Bazaar uses love stories to mark itself and camouflage its first &quotscar.&quot A practical assumption with this information is that the tax is to keep as many potential mark-inducing stories near it as possible


What is the Museum of Mistakes? The Fruit of Forbidden Knowledge is there, mankind’s first and greatest mistake is there, but how did the Bazaar (or its agents, or the owners) get a hold of it? What purpose does it serve?

“Lacrimae” is latin for “tears”.

A few more from me.

[ul][li]Why should one ware dreams more than mirrors?[/li][li]What is the Egg of the Judgements?[/li][li]Who was the Khan of Drums?

I know who writes Slowcake’s Exceptionals, but why?

I imagine it’s for the same reason children write Christmas lists.

About Slowcake’s Exceptional, I’ve been thinking…

Maybe it’s a way of gathering information, What better way of learning about people than giving them a reason to describe their most notable exploits? Though I like Theus’ answer as well.