The nature of Slowcake

The constant recursion to the Slowcake’s Amanuensis card has raised some questions in me aoubt the actual nature of Slowcake and its Who’s Who of sorts.

We knew with a reasonable certainty that Slowcake’s actually a fiction, invented by a cabal of enterprising devils; this from quite a while before the Slowcake’s Amanuensis card even existed, as it was discovered in the &quotJust who is Mr Slowcake?&quot option from A Private Detective. Then, with the dawning of tier 3 Professions and the Notability system, the Amanuensis could be forced to admit that Slowcake’s guide was a means for the Bazaar to choose the individual most suited to perform some definite career paths. This seemed implicitly confirmed by the out-of-character text in the descriptions of Professions such as the Tutor: &quotThis Profession gives no special item, but is easy to enter if you have no profession; and minimises entanglement in whatever the Bazaar is plotting here. You can abandon any current profession with the Write a Letter…&quot, that implies that most other Professions (with the exception of Tutor, Undermanager, Doctor, Notary, and possibly the lowet-tier ones) ARE entangled with the Bazaar’s plans.

But! Trying to bribe the Amanuensis with Souls to raise Making Waves yields this result: A furtive red spark of interest enlivens the glassy darkness of his eyes. &quotAs it happens, my employers do have… certain requirements.&quot, again hinting at Devils. So:

Are the Devils a decoy, while the actual Slowcake is the Bazaar? That would mean your previous investigation was actually completely wrong even if you completed it, and would also give no reason as why Souls would be so precious to the Amanuensis’ superiors. Could the Bazaar’s role in this matter be a fraud? That would mean the out-of-character text in the Tutor description would be flse or at least misleading - and while in-character description might very well be formulated as to confuse the reader, out-of-character ones have always been true. Is it possible that the Devils and the Bazaar are running some sort of enterprise together, possibly without even the Masters knowing - or, in alternative, with the collaboration of the Masters? At least one of the career paths (the Crooked-Cross-Unbishop) is directly tie to the Devils. I wonder if the Devils might have accepted to aid the Bazaar in change for their very own kind of &quotspecial collaborators&quot to be selecet by Slowcake, or if they’re the ones using the Bazaar - and in that case, what’s the reward they give it? Do they give it a reward at all?

Alright to throw my hat into the ring:
Notice how the career paths slowly twist and turn into complete changes of what they originaly were? A lot of these results dont make sense for the devils to want.
Let’s take the watcher.
You start as a watcher for the constaples thanks to your connection to the last constaple and your reputation.
You later advance to an agent within the great game thanks to your notability.
Suddenly you then advance into some sort of agent to a strange order(Or smething) worshipping Saint Joshua.

The bazaar seems to twist your carreer into serving what it desires.
A police watcher becomes a special agent,
A brute becomes an expert assassin,
A simple thief/trickster becomes entwined in some sort of antichurch,
A campaigner suddenly becomes involved with Parabola and the occult, Etc.

I think the bazaar plans ahead of what we will become. The devils dont have enough influence to do that.

My first impression on the matter is that whoever is behind the careers seems to be willing to help people improve - every step in the career path means not only better equipment, more difficult tasks and more expertise involved, but also a great deal of freedom from the former employers. A Rat-catcher is basically employed by the Docks, while the Stalker is a freelance hunter, and the Monster Hunter is basically a legend. Similarly, the Watcher is no more than a mere executor of orders, the Agent has a little more freedom in choosing his style but still has to respond to the higher pieces in the Game (it is explicitly stated in the Memento of a Struggle description: &quotYou may be a minor piece. But more than just a pawn.&quot, implying that there are much higher authorities than you), while the Midnighter is, seemingly, unfettered by any kind of structure: for what we know, he/she might respond only to St. Joshua ^^ If ever, the only high-tier Profession having a strong limitation in choices is the Licentiate, who follows the list but does not choose the targets… But even that, the List’s description mentions that it cannot be given, only taken, meaning that it is not some higher authority that gives the Licentiate his List - it is him/her to (forcefully?) take it from the previous owner. Again, the Licentiate doesn’t seem to depend on any higher authority in choosing his path, and he only responds to the List (creepy, isn’t it? Basically Wanted’s Loom of Fate ^^)

What I mean is that every step of the career path makes you a little more in control of your own actions, and every step you take is a free choice, never forced. That’s why the Bazaar seems to me a more likely candidate for the undisclosed power behind Slowcake: I don’t know for sure if the Devils couldn’t gather enough power/influence to do the same, but I don’t think they would leave their &quotsubordinates&quot such freedom of choice. The Bazaar, on the other hand, isn’t necessary good in its ultimate goals, but sure doesn’t like fabricated stories - he likes his characters to personally choose their fate, so that their story may be as genuine as possible.

Sure, this leaves open the amount of involvemente by the Devils in this enterprise. Following the reasoning, it seems to me the most likely speculation would be that they accepted to help the Bazaar in setting up Slowcake in exchange for the chance to breed their own Crooked Crosses and Unbishops (and the occasional large Souls bribe). But this would raise the question as why didn’t the Bazaar just employ the Masters to that use, and how much the Masters know at all about what really happens in the shadow of Slowcake’s Exceptionals.

You have to remember that the bazaar feeds on love.
I wonder if devotion towards ones work or goals counts as love.

I am pretty positive that various snippets here and there hint to the Bazaar’s conception of “love” as extremely encompassing, though the highest-valued form of it seems to be the deep, passional love for the companion, as all of the love stories that are known to have fueled the Fall of a City are of that kind.

If you remember way back to the your earliest days in Veilgarden there was a storylet where you embellish some of the acts you have committed to impress Mr.Slowcake. Failure gives a little text that implies if you were a little more scandalous you would have had an entry. I think this is to show the true purpose of Slowcake’s, which is encourage bad behavior to ripen souls for the harvest. I think the Bazaar has no influence over Slowcakes and merely uses it as a way to measure the influence of certain Londoners. [li]

Notability is a goal unto itself to show how amazing you are. The Bazaar is impressed by the notable and uses them in its schemes. In short, I think there is not connection between Mr.Slowcake and the Bazaar.

Also, in no shape or form is the Bazaar or its Masters paying me to say this and further sedation might result in a visit from certain government officials. Might I recommend that you take some time for yourself, a nice romance perhaps. Carry on delicious ones.

Fascinating suggestion, that!
Eluding these more… wordly matters to dedicate ourselves to leasure and pleasure, I mean. But!
Are we sure this would be the best course of action?
Remember: all that is is not all that will be.

Memories fade with time; treasures are made, sold, destroyed; cities and nations come and go.
Even mighty empires rise and cumble into dust. We must be ready when the moment comes!


Now: sure the reconstruction may be faithful. I mean, I find it likely for Slowcake to be run by Devils, and for the Bazaar to be only a… Could we call it, a &quotfinal user&quot? Like the Bazaar has no role in the redaction, it just benefits from the finished product - or better, the informations contained in it. What make me think is just how unsettled the Amanuensis seemed to be when he was forced to admit the Bazaar’s envolvement (Eventually he confesses, with obvious pain, that the Bazaar itself monitors the Notable, and arranges ‘certain starring roles’ for them).

And another thing: why would the Bazaar rely on Devils for such a delicate matter? Does it trust Devils more than it trusts its very own subordinates and collaborators? Are there matters the Bazaar prefers to keep secret even from his Masters?
edited by streetfelineblue on 11/22/2013

[quote=streetfelineblue]for the Bazaar to be only a… Could we call it, a &quotfinal user&quot?[/quote]I think the word you’re looking for is ‘consumer’, delicious friend.

LOL, I inadvertently quoted one of the funniest (or it would be, if it wasn’t so sad) pieces of Italian news from 2009 XD

But yes, I was thinking of something on the lines of either a commissioner or a parasitic consumer. That is, it’s possible that the Devils devised the &quotproduct&quot and offered it to the Bazaar, but I find it more likely that the Bazaar either explicitly ordered it or, even more likely, just found it and used it without requiring permission from the Devils. Though, again, the chance of the Devils getting some kind of compensation is some interesting speculation to make.

I suspect Hell and the Bazaar may be allies in this endeavor. The advanced professions all take the most skilled professionals and channel their efforts into fomenting instability and inciting change.

The Agent no longer serves a nation, but, now invisible and forgotten, exposes those too comfortable in their webs
The Murderer no longer has a clear client, but now unpredictably destroys the safe anonymity of powerful aliases
The Stalker whose hunting made people safe, begins a transformation into something inhuman, something less comforting
The Author no longer reveals the truth, but now rewrites and upsets the laws of nature
The Conjurer no longer entertains, but now undermines the stability of faith and fosters free thinking
The Mystic is still a visionary, but now these journeys bring back new goods and ideas from beyond the mirror

In each case the Bazaar/Hell pays us to do these things. Both perhaps benefit from the chaos, instability, and drama produced when the comfortable are shaken up.

I also think it is a collaboration between the devils and the bazaar. The explanation for why the bazaar would be interested has been explained by others here, but I think the devils are interested in hopes of flagging people whose souls might become brilliant or even coruscating upon their eventual extraction.
edited by KatarinaNavane on 11/25/2013

I agree with Wren that the new Professions do seem to further instability and change, and especially, they give characters a great deal of independence from any sort of power - first and foremost, the very Bazaar laws. While this could be pretty in line with Hell’s policies, what I find interesting is that the Bazaar seems to be on the same line of action.

I wonder if it is just that the Bazaar doesn’t mind having people violating its laws as long as it’s &quotits&quot people, the ones he carefully chose with the aid of Slowcake’s directory, or if this should suggest that the Bazaar’s laws are really more of Master’s laws, and the Bazaar actually would eagerly see them changed or circumvented. Again, the fact that there seem to be no Masters involved in the inceptions into high tier Professions seems significant to me.

What about the name? “Slowcake”? I’m sure that no name is without significance. It brings to mind the idea of something which cakes slowly, such as layers of mud drying and caking on the surface of something.

Is Slowcake doing the same thing with notable people?

I believe that there is a storylet that tells you about who Mr. Slowcake is and gives a vague reason for the name. But that was months ago and most of it has slipped my mind.