The Masters and Love

[li][color=#000000] [/color][color=#ffffff]Recent events and discoveries have made me think of what is the exact nature of the relationship between the Masters and Love. [/color]
[color=#ffffff] [/color][color=#ffffff]I have the foolish tendency to forget to echo the stories, so I might be inaccurate in some of my quotes and ideas.[/color]
[color=#ffffff] [/color][color=#ffffff]From Lilac we know that the Masters encourage Love, and want potential lovers to meet. Hence, the Feast of the Exceptional Rose being the most important celebration of the Fifth City.[/color]
[color=#ffffff] [/color][color=#ffffff]From the Featuring in the Tales of the University, we learn than the Masters &quotfeed&quot on Love. But if we have to learn something from what happened to the Duchess and her lover, theirs was not a lucky fate.[/color]
[color=#ffffff] [/color][color=#ffffff]A bit more ambiguous is the situation between the Manager and the King. But there is similarities between this couple and the previous one: one of them is a &quotmonster&quot, the other one is &quottrapped in grief and madness&quot.[/color]
[color=#ffffff] [/color][color=#ffffff]I have not personally collected any information about the fate of rulers of the Third, Fourth and Fifth Cities, but rumour says that the Traitor Empress consort is nowhere to be seen around the Shuttered Palace (why is it shuttered?), and I have heard rumour that the Widow might be the Khan’s Window (letting the Kang in a bad position).[/color]
[color=#ffffff] [/color][color=#ffffff]So it seems clear to me, that at some point the Masters used the love that rulers of the Fallen Cities fell to trick them into selling their cities to the Bazaar. They were obviously shortchanged, and their love stories ended tragically nonetheless.[/color]
[color=#ffffff] [/color][color=#ffffff]But what about other, more ordinary, love stories? The ones of people who meet at the Feast, for example? Does the Bazaar also feed on them, eventually, and that is the reason they encourage them? And if so, what happens to the lovers when the Masters “feed” on their love? Or are they encouraged as a sort of penance, so the Masters can repay some sort of “cosmic karma wheel” for the pain they caused when betraying the rulers of the Fallen Cities?[/color]
[color=#000000] [/color][color=#000000] [/color]
[color=#000000] [/color][color=#000000] [/color]
[color=#000000] [/color]

The Empress’ Consort can certainly be seen around the Palace. He seems nice. A little quiet and wan, but, if anything, he actually seems to be in better health than the Empress. (There’s a lot of hints about precisely what’s up with the Empress and the Consort. The answer seems to be &quota lot.&quot Most consistent seems to be that their children are thoroughly bizarre.)

The Gracious Widow… that’s the story we know the most and yet the least about, because The Silver Tree lets us live the fall of the Fourth City first-hand… and it has several possible mutually contradictory endings. Plus, one of the stretch goals for The Silver Tree’s Kickstarter was a sequel, &quotset a hundred years after the first, on the eve of the city’s theft by things beneath the earth&quot - suggesting that Karakorum canonically didn’t fall during the events we’re familiar with. So… anything could be true! In any case, the conventional wisdom is that the Gracious Widow is the daughter of the last Khan.

Excuse me for the spoilers found in the Silver Tree, Light Fingers Ambition, the Hallowmas, higher level content, destinies, the Affair of the Box and then some! I do apologise if this comes off as rambling and incoherent since I’m trying to write down all that I think is significant to the discussion before I forget about it.

[spoiler]To let you know now-- We do get to see the Empress and the Consort in their Court when you’re a high enough Persuasive person. The Consort is described as being ‘pale’ and ‘lost’ in the face. The Empress has been mentioned now and then, while no mention of what exactly is wrong with her is shown to be more fond of the quietness, the darkness and has to write in gnat ink instead of regular ink.

Something is clearly wrong with them, I have to give you that. No way they skipped scott free of the dealings with the Bazaar since Consort all but had to be brought back to life from his illness. When courting the Barbed Wit, the success text for one part of it will make mention speculation about the Consort’s health the ‘number’ of his children. (Feeding into my theory about the Captivating Princess and some other things about what’s exactly wrong with Albert and Victoria but, perhaps, thats a thread or post of its own for another time.)

For me I believe its less about the love and more about the value and the process of the love itself. Enough to bargain for a city of great importance and esteem for the Bazaar’s appetites while it finds what its looking for in its new place in the 'Neath. There’s a reason why the Second and Fourth Cities were met with such reactions/consequences by the Masters. The Cities were ‘false’ in the sense for the Masters, one in terms of importance and one in terms of the love making the deal perhaps invalid? I think that’s what happened with the Fourth City. From what I heard from others and what I’ve gotten from my play myself. Haven’t exactly finished it yet because grinding away Diplomacy and Spycraft yay. Ahem. Continuing on–

In terms or ‘ordinary’ love, I believe its still encouraged in hopes that another amazing tale of romance will be created there and they know of it and can ‘record’ or ‘not’ it for sake of prosperity and evidence I think. Its all about generating stories, stories of love that have weight to them. It is why the Masters aim for the most important cities at the time because it does make sense to go after the world’s leading empires when looking for tales of great importance and intrigue. And it can’t just be any story of love too. It has to be one that’s enough to give the Bazaar a good enough message to the Judgements when attempting to sway it to move earth and heavens for its own desires. (I think that’s the main speculation/information about what the Bazaar is trying to do with its city stealing. This is admittedly the part I’m still trying to untangle for myself because hello I am clearly someone who is more focused on the Foxy and Catty Paths.)

Perhaps that is why the ‘Passion’ destiny has its very specific and hard-to-obtain requirements – You’re required to find out about a love that’s extraordinary and, in a sense, give it to the Bazaar. Allowing it to give have at least one hopeful and beautiful message that makes its mission less of a ‘folly’ as the destiny text for it describes it I believe.

And this sheds some light about what’s going down exactly with the Masters. Seems like when the Bazaar has its fill of the love and stories and it hasn’t found what it was looking for in that City, it leaves to find a new one to latch onto and this move seems to inevitably bring the destruction or decay of the then-current city in the process. Thus explaining why there are some Masters trying to hard to prevent it, make ‘false’ love or prevent important stories from happening so the Bazaar cannot ‘feed’ enough and it will hinder the move since they like London thank you very much, or generate convincing enough love to use as they see fit (the whole experimenting with moon-milk going down at the Orphanage which, frankly, terrifies me to this day after playing that out!) so they can skip off to the next City and be done with their end of the bargain with the Bazaar.[/spoiler][li][/li]
edited by ArtRulesAll on 2/28/2014

I am rather curious about the Affair of the Box, and what it means for the Masters’ duties in collecting tales of love and the Bazaar’s particular hungers.[li]

For one, we learn that Mr Fires is quite comfortable in the Fifth City, and its agents interfere in tales of love. But it does not, as you expect, have them interfere to foil love affairs or bring about their end – at least not on the occasion we see. They interfere to reunite a quarreling company and keep them happy. What does this mean? Is Mr Fires sating the Bazaar with a happy ending? Or is it stoking the Bazaar’s hunger by denying it a tale of heartbreak? Further investigates shows that Mr Wines and Mr Spices are the Masters who do most of the work with love stories, and they rather resent the meddling of Mr Fires.

On that note, it seems the Bazaar itself has suffered a (shall we say) star-crossed love. I’ve been collecting hints of it here (with thanks to Spacemarine9 for transferring the information): The Bazaar And Its Children - Google Docs
edited by theodor_gylden on 2/28/2014

The Bazaar seems more and more like an intelligent creature capable of making day-to-day decisions. I wonder if Fires’ interferences in the collection of love stories aren’t attempts to fulfil or deny its grand purpose, but, rather, simple bribes, to convince it to remain in London, or return to it in the future - either way, to maintain it in its present state.

The Bazaar’s skin is not marked lightly. I believe that Fires isn’t so much bribing the Bazaar as it is ruining potential meals. By manipulating the couple it makes their love less genuine, which in turn means that the Bazaar cannot use it. Spices tried to use Jack to inspire fear, and in turn passion. But because he tried to make it, the Bazaar could not use it. I suspect Fires is using this technique to prevent Wines and Spices to gather love stories. I suspect the Bazaar cannot leave London until it has enough, or does not want to leave London until it has enough.

There has been some speculation about whether Mr. Fires is going down a path similar to Mr. Eaten’s. If that’s the case, he might be trying to pacify the Bazaar while he figures out a way to keep London without ending up down the well. Note that in the Chilly destiny, Fires is the only definitely unique Master not mentioned by name.

I don’t have time to read all of this at the moment, sadly, but as I shared a while ago in the Fallen Cities thread, this is a very interesting Wikipedia article regarding the Widow: