I find this to be a fascinating theory, and would like to add a few salient points. Fair warning, these involve rampant speculation and possibly connections made up out of whole cloth. What can I say, I’ve been studying the Correspondence, and some of the madness may have leaked through.
First, in Judaic lore angels can come in one of two forms: either in human guise (See Gideon and the angel, Raphael, Jacob wrestling, Sodom and Gomorrah, New Testament references to "entertaining angels unaware") or in their angelic (true) form (See Daniel, Ezekial, Isaiah, Mary, John the Beloved). In their angelic form, there is one common reaction: fear and awe, even to the point of worship in some cases. Considering singular angels were responsible for wiping out armies and cities in one night (10th Egyptian plague, Senacharib’s siege of Jerusalem), theological speculation is that in their true form angels are so holy, powerful, and beautiful that the instinctive reaction is one of fear and awe. Remember that angels live in the constant presence of God, of whom a mere glimpse is fatal to humans "No man can see the face of God and live". And the Bazaar only communicates through intermediaries (The Masters), who are lifeforms completely alien to humans, and provably much more powerful than humans. (After all, to try to kill one took the betrayal of the others, those humans who ate his flesh gained immortality and incredible power - Jaguar, Red bird, and Snake Hands. Even that didn’t completely kill him, as any Seekers can tell you.)
Second, the explanation of the Bazaar being an angel, fallen or not certainly would explain some of the idiosyncrasies of the Bazaar and some of the bits of lore that don’t seem to fit. Take the First City Coins. Whether or not the timeframe would fit with the Surface invention of money is irrelevant if the Bazaar itself is a messenger from outside of time (God, creator of Time and Creation would logically have to exist outside of time. The angels dwell in the throne room of God, in His presence, therefore they also exist outside of time.) Even if that part of the theory isn’t given credence, just a short sail away from the Bazaar is the Iron Republic, where time can flow backwards, and devils are seen wearing clothes from the future. Coins being made in the First City is not that hard to explain, especially if they were invented there because of the influence of the Bazaar and the Iron Republic. (Also, for those who protest that the Bazaar uses "Echoes", not human money, I refer you to the storylets about echo counterfeiters and the picture that accompanies the echoes in the UI. It is a picture of paper money. Obviously the Bazaar simply calls their brand of currency Echoes and uses coins or paper money as needed, just like any other government.)
Third, wild speculation time! We know that the Masters are some form of giant space bat (See the Christmas Stocking, "A New Move in the Game" card - "Eleven letters, starts with ‘C’, ‘Masters of the Bazaar’" Chiropterae is the scientific name for bats, and other references) but they always go about with robes. As far as I know, no one has seen what they look like under the robes, and there are several descriptions of angels - or some other divine related being, they are described as "Great Beasts" in one place - that looked like different animals covered in eyes. Perhaps they fell when the Bazaar did and keep the robes on to keep the lights of the Neath from affecting them as much after all, when your body is covered in eyes, light would affect you a lot more :)
Fourth, continuing the wild speculation: What if the Bazaar is Lucifer? Lucifer is described as "Son of the Morning" and means "Morning Star". Lucifer "was cast down to the earth, with the angels who had rebelled with him". Additionally the Devils of the Iron Republic overthrew the ruler of Hell to become a republic, which means the ruler of Hell would have to go somewhere (this would mean the Masters were also fallen angels, perhaps the last ones that were loyal to Lucifer after the rebellion, which makes the plight of Mr. Eaten even more poignant. And, if they were once angels would lend even more surety to his constant statements "A reckoning will not be postponed forever") And if Devils can be bees, why can’t the Bazaar be a fallen angel? "God is love" is one of the most prevalent ideas in the Abrahamic religions, which is the source of the stories of Lucifer. What is the Bazaar obsessed with gathering in the hopes it will lead to its redemption? Love stories.
Finally, what if the Neath is a version of the afterlife as pictured by CS Lewis in The Great Divorce? In that, after death people continued to live how they felt like, with their decisions bringing them closer to either heaven or hell, but they are unable to die. They can, however feel pain and build lives and houses and whatever else they choose. Additionally, this will only continue until the Day of Judgment, or, to put it another way, the Day of Reckoning.
(As an aside, I find it hard to believe that the Dawn Machine (EDIT:This should actually be the Revolutionary Device, not the Dawn Machine. My mistake, and thanks to Gyges for correcting me) could actually destroy all light in the universe, and in fact the description of what happens is less that the light is destroyed, and more that people can not see using the light, which is more feasible to me. It works on the people living in the Neath rather than on light itself, which plays interestingly into Abrahamic notions of light and dark, specifically passages like "Light came to those who were in darkness, but the darkness could not comprehend it." Suggests that while the Bazaar is trying to return to the Light, and redemption, the Revolutionaries are dedicated to keeping everything in perpetual darkness, denying any chance of redemption to everyone rather than submit to the Judgment that awaits when everything returns to the Light. Interesting thought line that suggests for those who are SMEN that the best thing to do is hurry the Bazaar’s return to the light and the Reckoning that awaits the Betrayers. On the other hand, I am not a SMEN, so I could have missed something in the bits and pieces I have picked up.)
Sorry, I’m no good at tl/dr, but I realize the above theories could be way off base, and would appreciate any countering points. I enjoy speculation like this and it is one of the main reasons I play this game. Good Lord, that is a huge wall of text.
edited by MartzelDePamplona on 1/2/2015