The Eldritch Beings of the Neath *SPOILERS*

Speculation without my two farthings? Nonsense!

Incoming text wall of China.

[spoiler]I. From the Firmament - the Masters of the Bazaar

The Correspondence seems to be the language that is used by certain celestial bodies, such as the &quotJudgements&quot and the Bazaar itself. As such, it is unlikely that the Masters are native speakers, but certain storylets reveal that the Masters write and read the Correspondence quite fluently, and that - between stars - they are also able to speak it.

The Masters have an interesting physiognomy, to say the least. Clawed feet and wings - or rather, vanes - are involved. They seem to be used to flight more than to walking on the ground, and it has indeed been implied several times that the Masters have something bat-like about them.

As for how they gained control over London, it probably happened through the main faculty of the Masters: assessing someone’s desires, and trading them in for whatever they want out of that person. It’s likely that the Masters bought the upper echelons of Fifth City society early on and, if there were any early insurrectionary hiccups, quickly and mercilessily made examples of them.

II. Into the Dark - the Lorn-Flukes

Personally, I believe that the Lorn-Flukes were originally Bazaarine lifeforms. If you compare the artwork for the Flukes with the artwork of the Bazaar in front of the Sun, both look like spiny fractal sea urchins. The Lorn-Flukes also seem to hold a grudge against the Bazaar, and - even though it is Fate-locked to say how, why and what - I believe the Lorn-Flukes may not be strangers to the state between stars.

As for the origin and purpose of Deep Amber…both are Fate-locked, so I can’t say anything other than point out some obvious things that may bring you closer to insights. The Rubbery Men bring Deep Amber to London. They sell it and give it away, and eventually, they buy it back again. They seem to be awfully keen on it passing a lot of hands, and they like to buy back Warm Amber the most. As for what Deep Amber is…all amber is a petrified organic resin, and all amber may contain inclusions. Among jewelry makers, amber with certain high-quality inclusions is considered of a higher value. Perhaps the same holds true for Deep Amber?

As for certain other kinds of Deep Amber, perhaps other kinds of inclusion are responsible. Particularily those who are tinted in exotic colours. But what is the purpose of capturing those colours in the amber?

III. The Light and the Glass - the Fingerkings

I have a bit of a pet theory about the Fingerkings. I’ll write it in cursive, since it’s so much conjecture, but I think it makes sense to some degree.

The Fingerkings are the native inhabitants of Parabola, a world that was once separate from ours but somehow became entangled with it through dreams and mirrors. The Fingerkings live in a world of illusions, where there are no &quotreal&quot things, and where everything that the Fingerkings may wish for can be created, but not &quotreally&quot. (Sandwiches in Parabola, anyone?)
At one point, the Fingerkings became aware of the world we live in, and they fell in love with its reality, its matter, its limitations and immutable character. If a Fingerking wants a sandwich, he creates it - but it’s not a real sandwich. If we want a sandwich, we will have to labour to make it, but it is the epitome of a sandwich. The Fingerkings also fell in love with us. They created prisoners honey and gaolers honey (with the help of &quotthe grumpiest bee in both worlds&quot) to bring some of us to adore and entertain as honoured visitors. But of course, they wanted to visit us as well. Beings of idea as they are, they cannot enter a world of matter all by themselves. So they take some of their honoured guests as vehicles, and set out into our world.
But the way they love us is twisted - they love us for our hylic, limited, non-transcendent character; something that doesn’t change if we are subject to pain, misery or death. So there’s no incentive for them to keep us from those things. And in time, their love becomes jealousy. They want to rule this world and live in it: &quotWe are the real kings of London&quot, &quotWe will exist! Clothed in jade and clothed in mud!&quot (What if Unfinished Men are Fingerkings hijacking the children of the King with a Hundred Hearts when he has nightmares of Parabola?)

IV. Brass Bones - the Devils

Good point there about the Devils existing outside of time.

A recent new honey dream reveals to us visions of devil-like beings that look vaguely &quotinhuman&quot - their faces lacking guile, their movements being jerky and irregular - who may have been (if that tense can be applied to timeless beings) a sort of &quotproto-Devil&quot, which is of course at this point only conjecture on my side.

I think Devils are connected in some way to fire, in a very intrinsical way. It is implied that burning the reported location of a former prince of Hell might be a bad idea in that whatever has been written there may become public to the Devils. And one should never burn one’s letters, either.

Is that why the Devils look into the Correspondence? Clearly, no other script burns as much and as often as it does, and the Devils must be vexed by its mystery much more than we are. Perhaps it might even hurt them to see it. Perhaps it might even be why they are so hot to the touch. But do they really want to just rid themselves of it or do they seek a more nefarious purpose? Devils are not to be trusted and not to be underestimated. After all, the Correspondence can be utilized to speak with the Judgements, who seem to have a certain faculty ascribed to the prime enemy of the Judeo-Christian &quotdevil&quot. At the same time, the prime devil of Judeo-Christian tradition, Helel or Lucifer (when not read in its appropriate context as mocking invective against a Babylonian king, of course) is known as the Morning Star and the Light-Bringer, which would clearly place it among the Judgements.

Now…why do Devils collect souls? Have we actually ever seen them eat souls? My own theories about the life cycles of souls and stars and gods and Judgements would point towards them being the fabled &quotGod-Eaters&quot if it so were, but I don’t quite buy it yet. But what else do they do with things that only sadness in sufficient quality and quantity may destroy? It seems that &quottruly immortal souls&quot are of an even higher value to them. Is there some quality of sadness to Devils that we do not yet know of that allows them to &quotdigest&quot souls, if you will? Or are souls of a completely different use to them? If so…I don’t know what it is. Unless they try to hatch them and create their own Judgement? Unlikely.

V. North Star, Inverted - Mr Eaten

Why is Mr Eatens name a number, and why is that number seven? Seven seems to be the number when a few other things are concerned, most egregiously perhaps in the amount of cities that need to be acquired by the Bazaar before it may return whence it came.

Perhaps seven of the Masters (perhaps there were seven Originals, and five were recruited later?) are tasked with the responsibility of acquiring the cities, and consequently are given some sort of responsibility over the deal? It seems that the First City was acquired by Mr. Cups (which is quite appropriate considering the prominence of pottery in Mesopotamia) and perhaps the Fifth City was acquired by Mr Fires (given his love for the city and the prominence of steam-powered industry in Britain).

Perhaps Mr Eaten acquired the Second City, and was held responsible for its betrayal. Leave it to the Masters to repay in kind.
(Not sure if Egypt had a lot of candles…I’m not a student of Egyptology, but I know they had apiculture enough for wax.)

And why is he NORTH? If the Neath is below the Surface, and the world is still spherical, then the cardinal directions might still hold true in the Neath as they do on the Surface (just one layer below). As such, it might be that Mr Eaten is far below the North Pole. But what is the significance of this?

VI. What the Thunder Said - the dead god of Thunder

God of thunder. It might be worth noting that there is a certain recurrent theme in Indo-European (but not exclusively!) mythology that has been termed the &quotChaoskampf&quot: the defeat of a primordial sea monster at the hands of a heroic thunder god.


Thor vs. the Jordmundgandr (Norse)
Zeus vs. Typhon (Greek)
Tarhunta vs. Illuyanka (Hittite)
Perkwunos vs. Kormis (Lithuanian)
Perun vs. Veles (Slavic)
Ba’al Hadad vs. Yam (Canaanite)
Marduk vs. Tiamat (Babylonian)
Yahweh vs. Leviathan (Hebrew)
Indra vs. Vritra (Vedic)

It seems that the God of Thunder we know of in the Neath is the archetypical Chaoskampf fighter from which all these reverberations come.

Now: usually I loathe the mixing of settings and universes but I know of a concept that I feel would be interesting to bring up here, from another setting.

Some of you may know that The Elder Scrolls has a sort of metaphysical underbelly, the levels of theorizing which are done on which come close to theorizing on Fallen London. Just to throw out a few metaphysical terms of TES lore: the Amaranth, the Enantiomorph, CHIM, zero-summing, the Tower and the Wheel, the Shezarrine(s), mantling.

&quotMantling&quot is the term I feel need to explain and bring into context with discussion of the dead god of thunder.

In the Elder Scrolls world, &quotmantling&quot is the process of B becoming A by way of being so much like A that eventually the universe itself registers B as being A. Mantling has occurred a few times in Elder Scrolls history (Tiber Septim mantling the trickster-creator god Lorkhan and becoming the god Talos, the Nerevarine mantling Indoril Nerevar as a self-fulfilled prophecy, the Hero of Cyrodiil mantling Sheogorath etc.)

Mantling becomes easier when the person who is mantled is dead, since A is now literally more like B than B currently is (It’s helped by how &quotdeath&quot in TES is essentially defined as &quotto be is-not&quot).

A common description of mantling is: &quotwalk like them until they must walk like you&quot.

In our recurrent dreams of What the Thunder said, we are walking like the dead thunder god.

We are walking in the footsteps of the dead god so convincly and so accurately that we eventually &quotmantle&quot him a bit. This is what becoming &quotStorm-Eyed&quot means.

As to who he was and what his relation to the Judgements and the Neath is, I wish I knew. It is said that the Neath is the skull of a long-dead god, and Grunting Fen one of his teeth.

VII. Son et Lumiere - the Bazaar

The Bazaar. I like to call it the bell-turned-knife. Tristram Bagley wrote an opera on forbidden love between celestial bodies, gathered from Correspondent sources. He named it The Bell and the Candle. The Candle, without a doubt, is a representation of a source of Light, and most likely therefore the Sun.

As for why the Bazaar became a knife when he fell to the Neath, I don’t know. But a Rubbery Man in the Cave of the Nadir (IIRC) provides us with pictographic evidence of the Sun and a jagged triangle side to side.

Why was the Bazaar a Bell? Because the Judgements have a language, but no voice. They require messengers, angels. The Bazaar can display Correspondence signs on its skin. Bazaarine lifeforms like it travel between stars, with messages. One day, our delicious host will bring a message from the Seventh to the Sun.

&quot[color=rgb(255, 255, 255)]&quotDo you recall how we came to that place? And they sang of their lightnings and shapeful disgrace? And we tilted our vanes and ennobled our spires. They welcomed us then and commingled all choirs. And not enough, not enough. Still It mourns, and still waits the Sun.&quot[/color]

&quotAnd commingled all choirs. And not enough, not enough.&quot

Are we not providing enough stories for the Bazaar to soothe its pain? To hide its shame?[/spoiler]

I must now be off to indulge in Christmas festivities. Coming soon: on the Stone-Pigs, the Sun and the Judgements.[li]

[quote=Laluzi]I’m pretty sure that this is expressly not the case - what evidence do you have to support this?[/quote]Mostly recurring motifs between early Seeking and WtTS dreams (vines and skyglass knives, for example). There’s also undoubtedly a connection between what the Thunder says and the Correspondence (check the Wild Words item category and interactions with the Shivering Relicker), and that’s making me wonder if the Correspondence can be more than a mere language, but also a state of existence.

A reply to Mr. Wells’ speculation on the Number Seven: Perhaps it is similar to the Rule of Three from the Planescape cosmology, where things often occur in threes because that’s just how the cosmos works.

Hmm. There’s a connection with the Correspondence, true. But I would argue back that [spoiler]Mr Eaten was a Master, and the Masters are not gods. Furthermore, I was under the impression that the Thunder had died before the Bazaar came to the Neath, and Mr Eaten has a fairly clear point of death in the Third City. The Bloody Ivy vines in early SMEN are a further extension of seeking the Correspondence; there’s no further motif of vines. The knives, one could argue, are a common thing in rituals - they were certainly used in the ‘killing’ of Mr Eaten. And the Correspondence itself is a pretty widespread thing in Fallen London; it’s related to much more than the Thunder and Mr Eaten; the Masters and the Bazaar, for starters. For that matter, the Correspondence in Seeking is mostly forgotten after one finds the symbol for a number of candles. That, and the fact that Mr Eaten’s name was once a symbol in the Correspondence, are really the only two things of note there.

Also, in the mind of a long-dead god, the Thunder demands sacrifice from those trying to go North. Mr Eaten’s dreams compel you to go North. It seems a bit counterproductive to usher your followers somewhere, then sink their ship along the way. Granted, Seeking the Name involves a lot of sacrifice, but the ‘I laugh in their faces’ part implies a certain derision.

Lastly, the dreams of Mr Eaten and the dreams of the Thunder are two distinct dream lines. They don’t intertwine or meet together. If they were one and the same, I don’t really see this being the case.

I don’t mean to put down your hypotheses; I just don’t think this is the thread for very loose speculation, and that’s a connection that I’m really not seeing.[/spoiler]

Delicious treatise, Nathanael. Bitter, precocious, but never impudent. Like caper-kissed surface-squash blossoms.

These are the Fallen London Forums; if you aren’t wildly speculating in every other post, you’re doing it wrong. I also appeal to the OP* in this matter.

In the WtTS dreams, the knife is distinctly made of stone which in turn implies that it’s made of skyglass, and we all know where skyglass knives come from.

In order to say that the Masters are not gods, we must first establish what a &quotgod&quot is**. Based on various information regarding the Correspondence tagged below, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that the Thunder is an altered Master existing in Correspondence.

In response to tagged paragraph #2-3, what if the Thunder and Mr. E are different personalities of the same being? They’re the opposite in several ways (their demeanor towards Seekers, one desires and rejoices in control while the other lacks it, one desires to sacrifice itself while one is resentful of it), and I’d say the events that happen to them are rather similar.

Footnotes be here:

[spoiler][quote=Vishal Khairnar]*-a collection of all of the most powerful supernatural entities and speculations about them[/quote]

-Moar theorizing: If I remember correctly, according to the Shivering Relicker’s journal when you [url=]trade scraps for a Starstone Demark[/url*, she believes that the Correspondence the Masters communicate with is in fact a rudimentary form of something else. My favorite interpretation of this theory (that I just came up with) is that it would be possible for an entity to exist in the Correspondence, which was somewhat hinted at during the ending where the player becomes a Master (I got the impression that the Masters did not have corporeal forms and were instead cosmic beings at the time).

***-I know the exact words got got snipped off by the character limit, and while I would love to rant and rail against arbitrary one-size-fits-all character limits on the wiki, this is not the thread for it. I would also get banned.[/spoiler]
edited by OPG on 12/24/2013

[color=#009900][deleted my own unseasonally grouchy comment re: copyright. Bah humbug.][/color][li]
edited by Alexis on 12/25/2013

I fully understand Alexis. Some of my most vigorous theorising comes from Fate-locked content and it breaks my heart not to be able to speak openly about it, but ultimately the Fallen London world is a generosity of the author towards us the readers and also a product offered and sold; both imply a courtesy we must adhere to in the way we treat the story.

Plus, if all secrets of the Neath were bared on a single page for everyone to read, what good would that do for us?

Is it not the mystery, the theories, the vagueness, the chance for several and no right answers and our ability to unearth some truths of our own that brings us here?

We must be aware that it is the authors who wrote the story (tautology, ho) and we are not entitled to full knowledge. But they’ve been generous with the way they’ve allowed us to conregate and share our theories. Keep in mind how many spoilers there are just on the front page of the Salon subforum!

On this Sackmas of 1888, let us not be ingrates, and don’t let Mr Sacks take away your fun or anyone elses.

God bless us, everyone! No matter how dead or thunderous.[li]
edited by Nathanael S. Wells on 12/24/2013

This is a truly superb thread full of particularly delicious murmuring. Allow me to add to it:

Devils: &quotAh, Death. We holiday on the River, did I ever tell you that? If we cross, we rarely return, but we find the airs of that place restful. We have died, of course, all of us, at least once, or we wouldn’t be citizens of Hell.&quot

Now this is very interesting. We know the Brass Trireme rows North along the River, though we don’t know why. But the second part? Were the devils something else, once? Damned humans? It would explain what they want all the souls for. Or perhaps they were those ‘guileless’ devils from the new dreams.

&quot[…]when one falls, another rises. The same one? Hell is unnumbered, my dear. And so who can say? Did I ever tell you my name? Why do you think that might be? If I said to you that Death visits us as the bee visits the flower, what would that mean to you?&quot

Curiouser and curiouser. Other experiments show that devils, when killed… crumple into paper and bees fly out. Okay then. This may have been a trick of some kind, but it is said that Devilbone is not devil bone, and devils barely react when you shoot them. Perhaps the devils are some animating force that controls their bodies. If devils are bees, is it of significance that the Hound of Heaven is a serpent? There are also other kinds of demons, but they are rarely mentioned, and it is hard to tell if they are the same kind of thing as devils.

Regarding fire: &quotThere was a time when Death feared fire. And then we did not fear him. That time is long past… but it is very difficult to burn us. […] If I die, will another rise in my place? Or will it be me, the next instar?&quot

Very interesting. Also frustratingly cryptic. But note the bees/reincarnation theme again.

Masters: Perhaps it is of note that music appears to have an unusual effect on them. Mr Wines becomes intoxicated by it, there was a brief mention of a similar effect on Mr Pages, and Mr Veils, well… if it is permitted to be said aloud, we know he is the Vake. And there are certain choirs that sing to appease the Vake, and Urchins speak of a creature they must feed poetry lest it eat them. This fondness for song may simple be an extension of their presumable bat-like nature, or may have greater significance.

Through a process of deduction and the careful study of secret documents, I have found a physical description of something that is quite possibly a Master disrobed: [i]

&quotA bat. Well, the shape of a bat. It’s more like an ink spill pushed into a batlike silhouette. It glides on silent, unmoving wings towards you, passing just over your head. As you duck, you see that the shape contains tiny pin-pricks of light, like distant stars. No wind marks its passing.&quot[/i]

That is all I will say on the matter.

Parabola: It occurs to me that the denizens of Parabola are somewhat reminiscent of fairies; they are otherworldly, tricksterish beings with bizarre anatomy and a habit of messing with people’s minds. The mention of a ‘Huntsman’ and the way they make things that are not quite real are further signs. They also live in a place where time doesn’t work the same, where they imprison people based on poorly-worded deals. The connection may only be thematic, but that theme could be useful to explore.

The name is interesting, too; Parabola, a symmetrical curve that dips below or above a flat plane. I wonder why that name was chosen to describe it. Does Parabola lurk below the axis of reality? Does that curve describe its non-linear trajectory through time?

The connection to spiders is a bit mysterious. To uncover more, I believe we will need to investigate Spider-Councils. I do not know everything, but I know that every sorrow-spider is hatched from a stolen eye, and that the Councils hatch from the eyes of those marked by the Correspondence. Perhaps this links the Finger-Kings to the Correspondence somehow, or perhaps it is simply the mixing of different metaphysical powers. The only evidence I have found to link Parabola and spiders, though, is that they can travel through mirrors.

The Thunder: Others have covered this subject very thoroughly, but I haven’t seen anyone mention the Urchins. They definitely have something to do with The Thunder, but I’m not sure what. They live on the rooftops and listen to the wind. They are connected to Wild Words. They have strange powers, among which is the ability to free one of the Name. And then there’s this: [i]

&quotOur ancestor-tribes. We go back farther than anyone knows. Some says the Second City. […] But I think we goes back farther than that. I think the Bazaar had other children.&quot[/i]

Snuffers: I think some mention should be made of them, as they are certainly not natural in the usual sense. I’m afraid all I have on them is fragments. They steal the faces of humans, because their own faces are hideous. Some of them seem to have some very religious connections, possibly because they were expelled from the Garden. They were somehow expelled moreso than humanity, because they ‘die more easily than other men’, likely meaning that they cannot come back from the Dark River, even in the Neath. I do not know what their lifespan is. They are very interested in the Mountain of Light in the Elder Continent. And they eat candles; it invigorates them, gives them life. Perhaps they steal it from the light. Does this Eating of Candles connect them to Mr Eaten?

Well, that… that was supposed to be a much shorter post.
…I’ll be going now.
edited by Alexander Feld on 12/25/2013

A couple notes that I’ve not caught in this thread. (Curse my inability to not read wild speculation. It both spoils some things and makes me determined to eventually reach those mysteries myself.)

They may very well be already discussed to death and I missed it, so I won’t risk boring people by expounding on them at length.

[spoiler]The association of bees with souls is an ancient one and likely not accidental in the case of the Neath’s Devils.

A Parabola is, of course, a shape with very unusual properties if made out of a reflective material.[/spoiler]

EDIT- left out a pesky &quotnot&quot
edited by Mordaine Barimen on 12/25/2013

Considering that the theme of Devil and Bee is becoming more and more evident to us, and Parabola is said to border Hell, could the “grumpiest bee in both worlds” be connected to Hell? Perhaps the grand prince of Hell?

A third of all those who visit honey dreams would go to the Bee, the others to the Serpent. Such was the deal. Is a third of all honeydreamers doomed to an Infernal metamorphosis?

[quote=Nathanael S. Wells]Considering that the theme of Devil and Bee is becoming more and more evident to us, and Parabola is said to border Hell, could the &quotgrumpiest bee in both worlds&quot be connected to Hell? Perhaps the grand prince of Hell?[/quote]I cannot remember where, but I do recall a devil mentioning that those of Parabola are &quotold associates&quot of Hell.

What if hell, with all its princes, was once ruled not by one of them but by a queen? A queen tended to by the princes, and in turn supplied with souls? by the “worker devils” (the suits we know) and the soldiers (the goat demons)?

…Interesting. Who is the queen, I wonder. And was she cast out with the others during the Season of Revolutions?

Based on some of the stuff he said, I believe the Capering Relicker was part of Hell’s Aristocracy. Based on some of the other stuff he said he was involved with the Fall of the First City, so I assume he was important in some way.

That reminds me if a new question for the OP: What’s up with Hesperian Cider?

I think it’s confirmed that the Capering Relicker is a First City resident, the uncle of the Priest-King, no less. And also the first to brew Hesperidean Cider.

Ah, yes…Hesperidean Cider. Apparently doesn’t so much make you immortal as gives you some sort of “vision”, which then leads to immortality. All I know about it.

[quote=OPG]Based on some of the stuff he said, I believe the Capering Relicker was part of Hell’s Aristocracy. Based on some of the other stuff he said he was involved with the Fall of the First City, so I assume he was important in some way.

That reminds me if a new question for the OP: What’s up with Hesperian Cider?[/quote]
I don’t think the Relicker is a devil. Gulliver doesn’t at least. [spoiler]He was around since the First City because he drank (and made) the original Hesperidean Cider. And the Manager refers to him as &quotuncle,&quot so he’s possibly a different kind of royalty.

I’ve gathered that elixirs of immortality can be brewed from a few different fruits. The fruits may have to be of special origin, but peaches from the orchards of Karakorum were turned into a brandy that extended life. It took a great deal of cunning distillery and possibly magic to do, but the peaches still had some unusual properties even in a weaker form. The Cider made from apples that come from the Garden, which seems to bring immortality on its own. I suspect that the Cider is drunk to bring visions that lead one to the Garden, but it does have some healing properties on its own.

I just noticed St. Meliflua is the patron saint of devils. Perhaps there is a connection to the bee theme? “Mellis” and “fluo” mean honey and flow respectively.

The way inaccessible prisons may be refers to as ‘the rock’ certainly gives a pleasant bit of diversion if the notion of the honey being associated with devils comes to mind at the same time.

Well, having earlier today gotten past the triple-locked door in the Shuttered Palace (Nemesis Ambition) and examining the garden within, I’m leaning towards saying the bees deserve a space on the list of eldritch abominations.