The Calendar Code: The Duchess's Secret [SPOILERS]

The Calendar Code was an all around excellent Exceptional Story that provided some very interesting lore on the Revolutionaries, the Calendar Council, and their ultimate intentions with the Liberation of Night. With the information we’ve received so far concerning Sunless Skies, what we learned in the above story is more relevant to Fallen London’s overall story than ever before. I created this thread, on the other hand, to discuss an optional bit of lore that some may have very well missed, but the revelations contained from this optional path also have some extremely dire ramifications on the overarching story.

We learn from the scroll that the Duchess, in truth the youngest daughter of the ruler of the Second City, had us steal revealed that she had been lying to us about the role she played in the love story that brought the Bazaar to the Second City. Originally, we learn from the University story line that the Duchess made a deal with the Bazaar to save her husband who was bitten by an asp snake. The cure the Master’s gave her turned him into the incredibly dangerous and incredibly venomous Cantigaster. The Calendar Code had us steal a scroll written by a man who the Duchess wanted to run away with and so she actually intentionally poisoned her husband to be with the scroll writer. On the surface, this may make many people come to the conclusion that the actual love story the Bazaar was drawn to was the love between the Duchess and scroll’s author, BUT this actually ties rather well with some even more obscure lore regarding the Second City and makes some aspects of that story sense.

With various story bits scattered throughout the game, it can be pieced together that the Bazaar was in the Second City for a very long time and also that the Masters, with the exception of one poor soul, absolutely despised the Second City. Logically, that those two facts don’t add up. After all, why would the Masters and Bazaar stay in a city they utterly hated? Some more very obscure lore implies the Bazaar was in fact trapped by the Pharaoh’s daughters because they believed the Bazaar was a great threat. Of course, setting up a trap for what is essentially a giant space crab powered by giant stone pig engines and accompanied by an entourage of deadly space bats would take quite a bit of set up. Naturally, I’m saying this was all premeditated and the daughters needed bait for the trap. I’m not certain whether the Duchess actually truly loved her husband or not, but my big theory connecting all my points together is that the Duchess poisoned her husband and used her supposed or possibly real love for him to lure the Bazaar in and entrap it within the Second City. There are a whole host of problems that eventually arose directly from that decision with the greatest by far being everything that happened with the Mr. Eaten story.

I would love to hear everyone else’s thoughts on the matter and to see what more veterans might say on the topic. I pieced all this together from all the lore I’ve gathered playing Fallen London for a year now and want to know whether people think I’m spot on or missed crucial information.

[quote=loredeluxe]The Calendar Code was an all around excellent Exceptional Story that provided some very interesting lore on the Revolutionaries, the Calendar Council, and their ultimate intentions with the Liberation of Night. With the information we’ve received so far concerning Sunless Skies, what we learned in the above story is more relevant to Fallen London’s overall story than ever before. I created this thread, on the other hand, to discuss an optional bit of lore that some may have very well missed, but the revelations contained from this optional path also have some extremely dire ramifications on the overarching story.

We learn from the scroll that the Duchess, in truth the youngest daughter of the ruler of the Second City, had us steal revealed that she had been lying to us about the role she played in the love story that brought the Bazaar to the Second City. Originally, we learn from the University story line that the Duchess made a deal with the Bazaar to save her husband who was bitten by an asp snake. The cure the Master’s gave her turned him into the incredibly dangerous and incredibly venomous Cantigaster. The Calendar Code had us steal a scroll written by a man who the Duchess wanted to run away with and so she actually intentionally poisoned her husband to be with the scroll writer. On the surface, this may make many people come to the conclusion that the actual love story the Bazaar was drawn to was the love between the Duchess and scroll’s author, BUT this actually ties rather well with some even more obscure lore regarding the Second City and makes some aspects of that story sense.

With various story bits scattered throughout the game, it can be pieced together that the Bazaar was in the Second City for a very long time and also that the Masters, with the exception of one poor soul, absolutely despised the Second City. Logically, that those two facts don’t add up. After all, why would the Masters and Bazaar stay in a city they utterly hated? Some more very obscure lore implies the Bazaar was in fact trapped by the Pharaoh’s daughters because they believed the Bazaar was a great threat. Of course, setting up a trap for what is essentially a giant space crab powered by giant stone pig engines and accompanied by an entourage of deadly space bats would take quite a bit of set up. Naturally, I’m saying this was all premeditated and the daughters needed bait for the trap. I’m not certain whether the Duchess actually truly loved her husband or not, but my big theory connecting all my points together is that the Duchess poisoned her husband and used her supposed or possibly real love for him to lure the Bazaar in and entrap it within the Second City. There are a whole host of problems that eventually arose directly from that decision with the greatest by far being everything that happened with the Mr. Eaten story.

I would love to hear everyone else’s thoughts on the matter and to see what more veterans might say on the topic. I pieced all this together from all the lore I’ve gathered playing Fallen London for a year now and want to know whether people think I’m spot on or missed crucial information.[/quote]

[li]
And yet, she goes out of her way to care for the Cantigaster with lacre and milkings and such. It’s also interesting that she has, in fact, been allowed to live unscathed all this time and that in fact the nunnery across the sea to which she’s implicitly associated to has the discrete backing of Mr. Wines. When their objective is to kill the Vake.

What if it’s the other way around?

What if it was an arranged marriage the Bazaar/Masters misinterpreted as genuine love, the contract’s failure was a byproduct of the Duchess’ feelings for the scroll writer and the trapping of the Bazaar was a desperate measure implemented to stop the Bazaar from destroying Egypt when it realised how badly things were going?

I seem to recall a Breath of the Void denotes the sound of an invocation made by the Pharoah to the Bazaar, and that Mr. Eaten seems to believe the contract was fair. I also seem to recall Egypt has a fair amount of sun-worship in the form of Ra, scarabs etc.

Perhaps they were the first civilisation to have spoken the Correspondence.

I too believe the Masters despised the Second City because the love story they bought into turned out to be, pardon the pun, tainted. As for why the Duchess cares for the Cantigaster there is guilt to think about - I am guessing that after falling into the Neath and becoming immortal, she matured into someone less cruel.

I’ve been wondering about this, and I think it must have been part of the contract for the Second City–the Duchess gets immortality so she can care for him always, and the exact wording of that clause means the Masters can’t do a thing about her, even indirectly.

After the Calendar Code, Bag a Legend, and Dreams of a City in Sunless Sea(attached in the spoiler tag), my entirely unreliable suspicion of the Second City story becomes:
The Pharaoh &quottore down all the old Gods and raised himself up&quot and this endangered the city (that is &quotthe king’s fooliness&quot). To save the city, the daughters, or the youngest princess, lured Bazaar with a forged love story, and signed a contract with the Bazaar and the Masters, took the Second city down to the Neath (and that is &quotthe Princess’ cunning&quot). In order for the city going to the Bazaar, the seller must be the owner. Either the Pharaoh was dead or abdicated can make a daughter the owner of the city. Or he was the betrothed. Or he gave his daughter and her husband eternity as a gift, too generous and can’t find the necessity, in this case. To make the death of subscribe and the parallel between subscribe and betrothed necessary, I tend to believe that the ownership has already transferred.
In that contract, the price of the city, may be again traditionally the immortality of someone and her beloved. They tricked Bazaar and the Masters, &quotbeat them at their own game&quot, maybe by misleading the identity of the princess’s &quotbeloved&quot and twisting the contract, so as to protect the city and delay the Bazaar.
The true beloved of the youngest princess was not her dying betrothed, but the subscribe. At the beginning she murdered her betrothed, but the Cantigaster &quotdoesn’t even die&quot by means provided by the Masters, then, sometime after they came to the Neath, maybe just before the arranged replacement of city, the subscribe &quotwrites that he is already dead&quot. The contract went well before the subscribe died, as the Princess and &quother beloved&quot were all alive, but after the death of subscribe, the Masters and the Bazaar found themselves tricked into default. Bazaar was no longer the owner of the city, nor the dictator of the City’s fate.
Then it had been quite a long time for the Masters to deal with that occasions. After they found out, the Duchess was once used as a hostage to lure her sisters, and they were all killed by the Vake (&quotVake’s taste of royal blood&quot, &quot…all the Pharaoh’s daughters bar one are gone…&quot ), and also, at some point, the Duchess once went Polythreme, maybe that’s before the capture, or just before the Third city fell. And the attitude towards her betrothed has been changed by time and company, Duchess seems to treat the Cantigaster much better in the University storyline than in the memory of her maid (in an ancient age).
But there are still many imperfections in this theory: How did the masters get rid of a defaulted contract? By sacrificing Mr Eaten but how come? Or by letting Duchess fall in love with the Cantigaster? Why do the Masters still let the Princess alive, if the contract is no longer a bother? Again to use as a hostage? What if the Duchess is Cantigaster’s &quotdaughter, not his sister-wife&quot? Why is there always &quotPharaoh’s daughters&quot and &quotSisterhood&quot, but the famous son and brother is never mentioned? For the sisters, how long were their life-span? Were they included in the contract? If not, why the Vake has taste of royal blood in the Second City period and when was the Sisterhood’s first failure? If they were, why only the Duchess and her betrothed left? And, most of all, too many speculations.


I find a confusing retired entry:
&quotThis package feels like a human skeleton wrapped in brown paper. On closer examination, it’s a memory that used to belong to a jackal. You pad across chilly sand. Royal flesh! The Pharaoh’s youngest daughter escaped, but you’ll crack the bones of the others where they lie bleaching in the desert sun. Where did Mr Sacks pick it up? You don’t know. But your table manners suffer considerably from the experience. When you wake on the floor of your lodgings, your mouth is still full of the taste of decaying antelope.&quot
…desert…sun? The others died on the surface?
And here is the text from Sunless Sea, have I misunderstood something here? The pits seem strange.
&quotDreams of a City
Here is a city of sandstone and granite The inhabitants walk gossiping in the streets, sipping dark wines. They are dressed for a warm day, but it is the night of the Neath here. There is an air of uneasy celebration.
What are they doing?
Pits line the streets like pores in skin. Another opens as you watch. One by one, the citizens descend the stairs into the soft white glow of the pits, their eyes wide and tender. You approach the edge of one of the pits. Each one, as they go down, begins to weep. The scent is sharp, unpleasant, like burning feathers. You wake.
What are they saying?
There is an air of celebration. As with many languages spoken in dreams, you understand the meaning without understanding the words: a great disaster has been averted, the King’s folly is ended by the Princess’ cunning, the heralds of night are bound. Yes, the sun is gone, and no, the places below ground are not what had been taught, but perhaps that’s for the best, considering. It will be remembered. They will mark their triumph. You wake. What language were they speaking?&quot

edited by Fadewalker on 1/17/2017

That’s a very interesting bit of text! Looks like that’s the scene of the end of the second city.

Do you mean the dreams of a city? I thought so, but &quottheir eyes wide and tender&quot, and that’s a celebration in the shared event-starting text. And I don’t think these pits seem like Bazaar’s lacre tanks. But I can’t recall if lacre process has a scent of burning feathers.
I can’t recall it clearly, but does this event increase terror in Sunless Sea?

Edit:
Add some fragment and some terror, but no SE or secret. I’m still not sure if that’s an end since the avert of disaster also add terror… but I think, probably yes, that is the end. So might not be any anger from the sun.
Dreams of a City - Official Sunless Sea Wiki

[ul] [color=green]+6[/color] to [color=green]+10[/color] x Fragment
[color=red]+5[/color] x Terror[/ul]
And, another meaning of &quottender&quot, yes.
edited by Fadewalker on 1/17/2017

While I can’t comment with any certainty on what took place in the specifics of Fallen London, the lore gives ample hints as to the identities of the key figures being discussed. None of this is my original thinking; it’s been borrowed from various observed discussions and should be taken with a grain of salt.

The pharaoh who &quottore down all the old Gods and raised himself up&quot is almost certainly Akhenaten (&quot’Living Spirit of Aten&quot), who attempted during his reign to convert Egypt from its traditional religions in favor of sun worship in the form of Aten, formally an aspect of Ra but made distinct under Akhenaten. One could interpret this as his equating himself with Aten and therefore having &quotraised himself up&quot. This would line up with the theory that the second city is Amarna, which was built by Akhenaten ostensibly to supplement his Aten campaign. It should be noted that Amarna was also referred to as &quotAkhetaten/Akhetaton&quot, meaning &quotHorizon of the Aten&quot. This brings to mind the Horizon Glyphs of the correspondence. Perhaps more telling and surely not a coincidence, &quotHorizon&quot (&quotAkhet&quot) can also be translated as &quotMountain of Light&quot.

Now then, Akhenaten had six known daughters. As the lore repeatedly specifies that we’re looking at the youngest, that gives us Setepenre, or &quotChosen of Ra&quot. This is significant in that the hieroglyphics for this name feature a disk of the sun over an adze-on-block. Where have we seen this specific combo? Twice in text concerning the stolen papyrus. First, as the papyrus is (optionally) being translated: “He refers to her with these symbols: the sun-disk, above a cutting tool embedded in a wood block. And here: the youngest of six daughters.” Second, in an opportunity card from the original party contracting the theft: “There is no signature. Just two simple symbols, scribed in careful strokes: a disk, above a tool embedded in a wood block.”

However, if we’re to accept that this is in fact Setepenre, this is the point at which &quotreal&quot history diverges from that of Fallen London, as Setepenre is believed to have been the first of the six princesses to perish, around the age of six. Taking some artistic license and blending the lives of the sisters, it would be easy enough to produce the Duchess as she is described throughout the lore. Akhenaten’s son or brother (it’s debated), Smenkhkare, ruled as pharaoh at some stage and was likely married to his sister or niece, Meritaten, Akhenaten’s first daughter.

The third daughter, Ankhesenamun, has a great deal more in common with our Duchess. As her birth date is not known one could make a stretch and claim that she was the youngest, but archaeological records strongly suggest otherwise. This is irrelevant as again, we’re assuming artistic license was taken. She was married to her half-brother, the famous Tutankhamun. Prior to this marriage, she was briefly the wife to her father and is believed to have birthed a child by him. After Akhenaten’s death, she and Tut restored the traditional religious practices and distanced themselves from the whole Aten phase. Tut died young, of course, around the age of 18, Ankhesenamun being 21ish. She was then likely married to Ay, Tut’s Grand Vizier and successor to the throne. Another title held by Ay during Akhenaten’s reign was &quotActing Scribe of the King&quot, which may or may not be relevant.

In summation, the Duchess appears to be an amalgam of Setepenre (whose name she uses) and Ankhesenamun (who is more related to biographical details in the lore), her father being the Aten-fanatic Akhenaten of Amarna either way. The Cantigaster, then, could be Akhenaten or Tut. Most likely the latter, as he is more clearly established as a brother-husband and because of his premature death in historical canon. It’s also reasonable to believe that the marriage between Tut and Ankhesenamun was one of political convenience, not love, opening the door for the Scribe in the lore.

What of the Scribe himself? Ay is a possible candidate, matching the title as he does, but this also would have been a marriage of political intent, undercutting the passion, shame, et cetera. It may be that Imhotep was taken as inspiration, though he lived and died long before Ankhesenamun’s time. Still, his extreme fame within Egyptian culture bespeaks a certain immortality, as do the various mythological accounts of his lineage; most relevant is an association with Thoth, patron of scribes. There are, no doubt, plenty of other candidates, or the whole thing could be pulled from the void. I may just be channeling The Mummy Returns, in which Imhotep and Ankhesenamun were contemporaries engaged in a forbidden romance behind the pharaoh’s back, or something to that effect. It was a weird movie.

Like I said, take it as pure speculation, I’m by no means a historian and my knowledge of these things is purely superficial. But if nothing else it’s… sorta plausible and may be of use to others wishing to piece together seemingly disjointed bits of lore.
edited by Saint-Just on 1/25/2017

I recall this post some time ago and as the ES offered new insights about what happend to the Second City, I think it’s appropriate to dig this post up. I posted a reply under the ES’s thread but it seems not a good place for a page long discuss so I move my reply here and extend it somewhat. And at this point I still highly agree with Arden Saint-Just’s conclusion, as the Duchess is a mixture of more than one historical individuals. Yet now since the six daughters’ destiny have been given, we cannot keep other daughters out of the event horizon. The following discussion based on the assumption that the mad Pharaoh is based on Akhenaten, and I address the six daughters with their historical name, just for convenience.

Ok now it seems we get something new and contradictious. The Obstinate Adoratrice is the second daughter (Meketaten), and from whose mouth the end of the youngest princess was said to be &quotperished on Surface&quot. And for all daughters, their destiny were also hinted:

1st daughter (Meritaten): OA said she perished in the House of the Feather (The place is also mentioned in Sunless Skies but no further information are attainable currently). And this place was &quotopened before the Palace was completed&quot (no idea what she means). The last door (corresponding to the first daughter) before entering the palace, along with the quality &quotOpening the Gate of Sacriface&quot give the hint that she finally ended up in the House.

2nd daughter (Meketaten): She is the OA. This is given by herself:&quotAlways, i was the second of six&quot. The fifth gate is &quotsombre and golden, like the inner door to a church&quot and her quality &quotOpening the Gate of the Priestess&quot also match the description.

3rd daughter (Ankhesenpaaten, aka Ankhesenamun): This is where I got confused at first. Since the doors took the reversed order of that of daughters, the fourth door corresponds to the third daughter. What makes me confused was the note when I got the quality &quotOpening the Gate of the Vengence&quot, the note with the word &quotprobably this ought to go third?&quot. I was not sure about if the third here means the third door, or the third daughter. The door was black, and &quotmidnight cruel&quot. This reminds me of the Vake, and, the nuns on Abbey Rock. From Bag a Legend we know they are descendants of Second City’s royal family, one of the daughters, of course. This also matches &quotthe Vengence&quot. Pitifully, I thought if Ankhesenamun was the Duchess it would be a perfect fit, for she was historically the wife of Tutankhamun, who can be a candidate of the Cantigaster. No, no, sadly probably not the case.

4th daughter (Neferneferuaten Ta-sherit): This is where I found inconsistence. Her door was made of chains and shackles. What makes me confirm that she was the hostage and probably the Duchess is the &quotpoison-green indent&quot. I think it is a metaphor of Cantigaster’s poison. Also her quality &quotOpening the Gate of the Hostage&quot bears the icon of the cat, the one appeared on CC’s poster. Thus the note mentioned above belong to the 3rd daughter, not the 3rd door.

5th daughter (Neferneferure): There’s not much to be discussed. She sailed to the Elder continent. iirc there’s a piece on Ploythreme &quotThey say Polythreme’s been here for ever. I dunno about that, but there used to be a carving in a temple of when the first ship turned up here carrying a Pharaoh’s daughter&quot. This is highly possible to be the fifth.

6th daughter (Setepenre): Before this story, she was the most promising candidate of the Duchess. The Duchess asked you to retrieve the papyrus about the story of Setepenre and a scriptor. She even sent you a letter bearing her signature. The Mother Superior on Abbey Rock also confirmed: &quotKept the youngest sister hostage while the rest of us ran for it. We ended up here.&quot, which hints that the Duchess is the youngest one. Yet the OA gave another answer:&quotWe four survivors fled. One remained with the City, while i retreated here.&quot, and &quotThe youngest of us perished on the Surface, the eldest in the House of the Feather&quot.

There’s a chance that I made a mistake about who is the hostage. There can be probabilities that the one remained with the City and the hostage are two different people, which can be a far-fetched explanation of the inconsistence, but still, what happened to Setepenre remains disagreed. Definitely the one remained with the City ought to be one of the four survivors, which already rules Setepenre out. If OA is telling the truth, then the Duchess is telling lies (She’s already a notorious liar anyway). Of course she can retrieve a papyrus of her sisters, and sign her name on letters. But what of the Mother Superior’s words? She’s one of the four survivors, and at this point, Setepenre was already gone, so there’s no way she doesn’t know who the Duchess is. Even we don’t take the Duchess’s words, MS and OA’s words still cannot match.

Then, How about the other way around? If they are telling the lie deliberately, I think a better question will be, WHY OA/MS is covering the truth. One possibility can be a trade of identities: The Duchess is the fourth daughter but trade as youngest after her death. The MS and the Duchess herself still keep it that way, while the OA gave out the truth, out of sorrow probably, or she think the others are no more, and thus there’s no point to keep the secret.

Another question is, how did Setepenre managed to perish on the Surface? &quotThe last chose to stay behind, in the lands of the true sun.&quot The question is, did she ever made to the Neath? Was she just like the Empress’s Shadow, lingering alone on the Surface after the descent, or did made her way back just before the end of Second City? There’s a timespan of more than 2k years. She is nowhere to be found, then why OA was so sure that she perished on the Surface?

i didn’t do much search work myself and the speculations are largely based on previous threads and echo of other players. Any new clues or discussions are welcomed.
edited by Delta67 on 7/30/2017

A thought regarding the House of the Feather. That’s where the eldest daughter, the sacrifice, died. What if the ‘feather’ refers to the weighing of the heart against a feather and this was a place associated with sacrifices or death?

That wouldn’t explain why the name shows up as a port in SSkies though…

[quote=Optimatum]A thought regarding the House of the Feather. That’s where the eldest daughter, the sacrifice, died. What if the ‘feather’ refers to the weighing of the heart against a feather and this was a place associated with sacrifices or death?

That wouldn’t explain why the name shows up as a port in SSkies though…[/quote]
Yeah, It’s highly possible it has something to do with Ma’at, the goddess who does the weighing job. This place was opened before the Palace of Rising, sounds like that’s quite unexpected. It had been part of the daughters’ plan before the incident. But if the place was used for sacrifice in the first place, It feels like either way around the eldest was meant to be sacrificed.

Maybe the House of the Feather wasn’t the actual name of whatever it refers to? I interpreted the text as saying it was related to the Masters/Bazaar, so maybe the Adoratrice is referring to the lacre-vats opening and killing the citizens of the Second City?

The description of the House was a dark temple adorned with a feather. I guess it’s a better assumption that it is related to the feather-weighing stuff.

Tangentially relevant, breeding the Plated Seal with any one of the three methods will produce this beast (with slightly different story text).

[quote]Some time later, the trap door opens and something appears, slithering on a midnight blue belly. A cobra! It must be twenty feet long. The venom dripping from its fangs leaves smoking holes in the stone roof the size of grapes. Its hood bears the Correspondence symbol for ‘A gift to remind a woman of something best forgotten’.[/quote]Seems a bit too on the nose to be a coincidence. “Hey duchess, remember the time you poisoned your husband? That thing you did which eventually made us really, really hate you? Yeah. That. That was a thing.”