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Virginia's Hidden Plan: A Discussion Messages in this topic - RSS

Lady Sapho Byron
Lady Sapho Byron
Posts: 727

7/24/2019
Either the candidates are on the up-and-up about their platforms, or they are very good at keeping their deeper motives hidden.

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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1587

7/25/2019
A very good rp explanation I can live with, but as a matter of feedback, I think this choice hurt the event.

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Azothi
Azothi
Posts: 541

7/25/2019
Jolanda Swan wrote:
A very good rp explanation I can live with, but as a matter of feedback, I think this choice hurt the event.
Agreed. I can understand why, to an extent, it might have been removed - time spent on Election content is time not spent on Sunless Skies or other FL content, and declaring candidates in the second week removes the need for a "twist" to shake things up - but it just leaves this week feeling rather empty.

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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 1587

7/25/2019
True. Though I am looking forward to Sunless Skies expansions, and I understand that time is a resource like any other, I hope these creative choice will not carry over next year. The Election is supposed to be a two week event, and the content is designed to be played within a week - and then you start your investigations all over the second.

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Vladison Ianchester
Vladison Ianchester
Posts: 11

7/25/2019
I have a few problems with the original arguments presented in support of Virginia.

First, your assumption that she wants to use the Spas as a way to test Correspondence while also heating the water is very outlandish. Wasting the Letters of Heaven to warm some people's bath?! Virginia is a deviless. From Hell. That place known to never freeze over. They even export Nevercold Brass which, as the name entails, never turns cold. I think there are quite a few ways to keep the spas warm.

Second, Virginia has no reason to be so secretive about her plans. Yes, the Masters would definitely not like someone to put a protection spell on London if they plan to destroy it, but they didn't have any problem with Shoshana campaigning on that exact matter and telling everyone about London's Doom. This means that she could at least personally tell the player face-to-face about it, as it would not only gain trust, but also possible help from fellow scholars in the Correspondence.

Third, Virginia is not the only enemy of those exiled devils you mentioned. Probably most of Hell or at least the higher-ups (or lower-ups more precisely) are too. They are exiled for a reason. This means that if she was indeed trying to oppose them and defend London and that was her agenda, she would have the support of Hell as well, and probably want it too. No point in keeping it a secret from them either. After all, Hell has pretty good diplomatic deals with London that would be nullified if it got replaced by Paris, so they would very likely be interested as well, and Virginia would want their help in this one.

In my opinion, she just wants to conduct experiments on the cleansing of the souls, with londoners as her subjects.
edited by Vlad on 7/25/2019

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Azothi
Azothi
Posts: 541

7/26/2019
Vladison Ianchester wrote:
I have a few problems with the original arguments presented in support of Virginia.
Fair enough. There are plenty of places to poke holes. That being said, I believe the evidence does not substantiate - or, at times, even outright contradicts - some of the points made here..

Vladison Ianchester wrote:
First, your assumption that she wants to use the Spas as a way to test Correspondence while also heating the water is very outlandish. Wasting the Letters of Heaven to warm some people's bath?!
First, Virginia has already made adjustments to the scorched sigils - that much is established in "A hunt for knowledge", the text excerpted immediately before the spa-Correspondence claim was made. What a spa offers is accomplishing numerous objectives at once: it improves the mental health of a substantial proportion of the city (the downtrodden workers who could not afford such preventative care with the wages and hours forced on them) while allowing her to begin the warding process. Is it outlandish? You could reasonably say that, but stranger things have happened in Fallen London.

Vladison Ianchester wrote:
Virginia is a deviless. From Hell. That place known to never freeze over. They even export Nevercold Brass which, as the name entails, never turns cold. I think there are quite a few ways to keep the spas warm.
Part of my original reasoning presented in suggesting the Correspondence as an energy source for the spa was that the Correspondence is free. Virginia is, to the best of our knowledge, not backed by the Brass Embassy, implying that any Nevercold Brass she uses must be purchased in bulk from the Bazaar. This is far more expenditure on the part of the Mayor's Office than has been shown to this point.

The Jovial Contrarian has focused on the intelligence he can access as Mayor rather than any spending programs. Feducci's "policies" focused on what he's always done: unfair duels, which required no expenditure on the Mayor's part. Even Jenny's programs were volunteer work: the payment for educating Dockers was through their gratitude and their drinks. Even teachers at her Finishing School are not paid but are rather rewarded with the knowledge and trinkets they gain by doing their job. The Finishing School itself is privately operated by Jenny and exists outside of any funding or control from the Mayor's Office, in stark contrast to the public works program proposed by Virginia.

Materials for constructing a spa are already there, scattered about the Forgotten Quarter. A tool for heating it is already there, in Virginia's mind. I'm not sure how wise it is to assume the Mayor's Office has more purchasing power than past evidence suggests.

Vladison Ianchester wrote:
Second, Virginia has no reason to be so secretive about her plans. Yes, the Masters would definitely not like someone to put a protection spell on London if they plan to destroy it, but they didn't have any problem with Shoshana campaigning on that exact matter and telling everyone about London's Doom. This means that she could at least personally tell the player face-to-face about it, as it would not only gain trust, but also possible help from fellow scholars in the Correspondence.
My point is that Virginia has revealed information about her plans, especially in the second week, that have been cited in the theory. What the theory attempts is an interpretation of what she has told us. You are free to interpret the text differently; that's why I want this to be a discussion. But we can't deny that Virginia has stated, "I mean to give the city a fighting chance." We also can't deny that Virginia has taken an academic interest in the failed efforts of the Fourth City to defend themselves against the force that destroyed them - and that force wasn't the fall of the Fifth City.

There's also a good explanation, if hypothetical, for why the Masters are fine with Shoshana's proclamation of doom: Shoshana can't do anything about it. The Masters are well aware of what happens in a Fall, and it's not something that Shoshana's "plans" - ideas that she herself is unsure of - can stop. In fact, electing Shoshana is a good way to lessen the threat London poses to the Masters, because Shoshana proclaims that she alone can fix it. She is channeling feelings of doom in London and presenting herself as the solution when the Masters are well-aware of the severe limitations of her capabilities as Mayor.

As for gaining help from fellow scholars of the Correspendence, I must point out that Virginia receives support from Benthic: the faction featuring the Department of _____ dedicated to studying the Correspondence, and the school whose cricket team is deeply involved with the Correspondence.
Vladison Ianchester wrote:
Third, Virginia is not the only enemy of those exiled devils you mentioned. Probably most of Hell or at least the higher-ups (or lower-ups more precisely) are too. They are exiled for a reason. This means that if she was indeed trying to oppose them and defend London and that was her agenda, she would have the support of Hell as well, and probably want it too. No point in keeping it a secret from them either. After all, Hell has pretty good diplomatic deals with London that would be nullified if it got replaced by Paris, so they would very likely be interested as well, and Virginia would want their help in this one.
Virginia outright states, "Hell isn't interested in elevating the competition." Strengthening London means just that, and Hell has no interest in transforming London into a threat. The exiled devils aren't a threat to Hell; they are merely a pawn (or a rook, more honestly) in the Masters' schemes.

Vladison Ianchester wrote:
In my opinion, she just wants to conduct experiments on the cleansing of the souls, with londoners as her subjects.
This view doesn't account for or explain most of the new information gathered about Virginia's campaign in the first week and especially the second week. One could plausibly (but not definitively) reach this conclusion merely by thinking, "Virginia is an academic and a devil, and her slogan is 'Good for the Soul' - therefore, her interest is solely in experimenting on these souls." But let's assume this to be true, though: Virginia's plans account for little beyond this. There are a few questions that I'd pose, then.

(1) What does Virginia "mean to give the city a fighting chance" against?

(2) What is the point of Failbetter locking several paragraphs of text about Virginia studying the Correspondence wards of the Fourth City and their failure as wards behind 12 Fate?

(3) Why would Hell oppose a platform focused on improving souls?

I agree that the improvement of the soul is a component of Virginia's goals, but saying that she just wants to conduct these experiments would require ignoring the vast majority of the text that was written for Virginia's campaign.

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Lady Sapho Byron
Lady Sapho Byron
Posts: 727

7/26/2019
If Virginia's plans are to protect London through, in part, emplacing a Correspondence Defense, she doesn't need to be mayor to do so (albeit, being mayor would facilitate the project). It's also worth pointing out that Virginia isn't necessarily the only person--er--sentient being--who could effect such a defense.

Who knew that being a Correspondent would be such a noble calling?!

Addendum: we're all worried about being squished by Paris or a similar city. But let's not forget that the LotN also has it in for our fair city.
edited by Lady Sapho Byron on 7/26/2019

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Vladison Ianchester
Vladison Ianchester
Posts: 11

7/26/2019
Let's address those points.


Azothi wrote:
What a spa offers is accomplishing numerous objectives at once: it improves the mental health of a substantial proportion of the city (the downtrodden workers who could not afford such preventative care with the wages and hours forced on them) while allowing her to begin the warding process.


The big searing problem with this argument is the Correspondence as a heat source. Sure, those sigils do produce heat, but that mostly as a side effect. You know what other side effects does the Correspondence have? Nightmares, lunacy, speaking in tongues, a relatively high chance of scorched eyebrows. All that is a far cry from the "improved mental and physical health" that a spa is supposed to accomplish. There is a reason why we don't use it to stoke steamer engines (but it would catch my fancy to be honest). Not just that, but having a spa where everyone is welcomed with a chance of suddenly producing costumers that run screaming like they are honeymazed would certainly attract unwanted attention, probably including that of Mr. Fires who would notice the lack of flammable supplies needed to run warm baths, going against the point of having a secret location to test the Correspondence. Not to mention the unexpecting victims of this spa. May I suggest The Collage as better grounds? Plenty of screaming students there already.


Azothi wrote:
Materials for constructing a spa are already there, scattered about the Forgotten Quarter. A tool for heating it is already there, in Virginia's mind. I'm not sure how wise it is to assume the Mayor's Office has more purchasing power than past evidence suggests.


The Mayor does have some leverage on the public spending. That is also why I suspect that Mrs. Plenty wants to put some of that money into her carnival after reading her cards. But even if it isn't like that, plenty of connection can get you far. And Virginia is a woman of many connections. By reading her cards, we see that some important society figures support her, and that she gets some good founding from unknown sources, which is a bit sketchy by itself. With this, I believe Virginia can build a Spa without having to tear down the Forgotten Quarter that she so much loves in the process. But she could still do it. After all, it is only the fuel cost that would need to be covered if we are to remove the Correspondence out of the equation which isn't that much for a deviless of such expensive tastes like Virginia.


Azothi wrote:
There's also a good explanation, if hypothetical, for why the Masters are fine with Shoshana's proclamation of doom: Shoshana can't do anything about it. The Masters are well aware of what happens in a Fall, and it's not something that Shoshana's "plans" - ideas that she herself is unsure of - can stop. In fact, electing Shoshana is a good way to lessen the threat London poses to the Masters, because Shoshana proclaims that she alone can fix it. She is channeling feelings of doom in London and presenting herself as the solution when the Masters are well-aware of the severe limitations of her capabilities as Mayor.


Shoshana might not prove as quite the enemy to the Master's plans, but the simple fact that her campaign puts that fear in people when this wasn't even well known to the public before is something that could prove a problem. The Masters wouldn't want their last batch of citizens to leave London scared for their lives and taking all their love stories with them before the Masters have obtained Paris. Still, they didn't "bat" an eyelid. Not even the Ministry got involved, which would try to prevent such abominable predictions that threaten public order. Even if it might means that they actually want to channel that fear into her, in the same manner, they could be seeing Virginia in the same way if she tried to run a similar campaign where she leaves the vital parts of her plans out and only talk about her "academic pursuits in ways to prepare London", which is similar to what Shoshana is doing. Instead, she is shooting herself in the foot by campaigning as a devil with an obvious "Good for the Soul" slogan and message which alienates most of the possible voters. She could easily campaign on the same threat of Doom as Shoshana to maximize the her chances and only keep the actual ways plans to eliminate the threat as a secret, instead of advocating for cleaner souls just one year after Slowcake failed and spooked the public with the threat of masked Devils in charge.


Azothi wrote:
As for gaining help from fellow scholars of the Correspendence, I must point out that Virginia receives support from Benthic: the faction featuring the Department of _____ dedicated to studying the Correspondence, and the school whose cricket team is deeply involved with the Correspondence.


And with that, why doesn't she use Benthic for her experiments with the Correspondence instead of running an expensive campaign to do it all by herself with help from society matrons and some devils, in some well frequented spa somewhere in London. There she would have a good and secretive ground for experiments, plenty of experienced and WILLING helping hands, materials and equipment, and a very good cover story for her dealings. I would applaud her for this.

Azothi wrote:
Virginia outright states, "Hell isn't interested in elevating the competition." Strengthening London means just that, and Hell has no interest in transforming London into a threat. The exiled devils aren't a threat to Hell; they are merely a pawn (or a rook, more honestly) in the Masters' schemes.


Hell might not be interested in elevating the compatition, but they would probably be interested in maintaining the status quo as long as the alternative is more of a disadvantage. They could have eliminated the Church as a condition of their victory back in 68' but they knew that even with that benefit, the consequences of a distrustful public would public would have brought down their trade in souls. The Devils' greatest weapon aren't their 20th superhuman strength or burning sigils, but their smiles and image (I will get back on that later). And so, if exiled Devils do pose a threat to London but not to Hell itself, then they would be more interested to keep the status quo by defending their biggest supplier of souls and also gain points in public image while beating the less tolerated of their kind, rather than letting millions of souls be wasted, let the devils get
a bad name for burning London and then having to settle with Paris, a fresh and distrustful city that didn't lose a war to be forced into accepting soul trade as viable profession.

Azothi wrote:
There are a few questions that I'd pose, then.

(1) What does Virginia "mean to give the city a fighting chance" against?


If we are to look at the her card we see that she talks about the corruption and degeneracy that are rampant in London. Corruption and degeneracy that, of course, affect the soul. Corrupt souls are known to also corrupt the sanctity and purity of love, which in turn leads to a decrease in love story. The fighting chance that she gives could just as well be the fight against London's own disease. Otherwise, I don't see why she would just jump from the subject of corruption to that of mystical protection without a reason.

Azothi wrote:
(2) What is the point of Failbetter locking several paragraphs of text about Virginia studying the Correspondence wards of the Fourth City and their failure as wards behind 12 Fate?


It possibly also show Virginia's more nefarious reasons for campaigning. She expressed satisfaction at the thought of how the old kings all failed and how they didn't understand their writing, where as she actually made improvements. Here, she shows her fangs. She feeds her ego by trying to excel all on her own. This is what also feeds her curiosity for Correspondence. She wants to get better at it and be better than even the great kings before her. All in just one year at that. Her sportsmanship? She just wants to give a level field then prove that she can still win. That goes more in line with her competitive personality that the thought of altruism.

Azothi wrote:
(3) Why would Hell oppose a platform focused on improving souls?


For the same reason as before as mentioned before. She wants to prove that she is better and that she can succeed where Hell itself couldn't, all by herself. That is why they aren't interested in helping her research on Correspondence wards could be even more beneficial to them. When she says that Hell isn't interested in elevating the competition, it is more likely referring to her as the competition, not London, as it would be very out of subject.


Still, you made some very good arguments, but even if it is all true and if we are to endorse this idea, we still have to consider that she is on an academic pursuit. She wants to make experiments. And if we are to believe the Spa story, she wants to make dangerous experiments with Correspondence on unsuspecting citizens. It is an "academic inquiry" by her own words.
To have unsuspecting people bathe above while you play with reality and risk scrambling their minds and lighting them aflame is abominable.
No matter how you look at it, experimenting on innocent unknowing people is unforgivable, and if we are to analyse to Flash Lay information about her, we see that she is more interested in the ends rather than the means, despite the fact that those means makes even some of her supporters uncomfortable.
If she was to attempt the same thing at the University where there are students that are actually aware of the risks and willing to take them, I would run to her in a heart beat and offer all my services and support. That ambition is indeed a honorable one. But the fact that she chooses to keep it a secret and perform immoral experiments on to common populus, that is something that shouldn't be endorsed, no matter how beneficial could it be in the end. Especially when it is more likely to be a selfish display of superiority rather than an altruistic act for London. Actually, the fact that she would disregard the safety of the people for her own scientific inquiry proves exactly that fact.
And in my opinion, performing experiments with the Correspondence on people is even more outrageous than performing experiments with their souls.
edited by Vlad on 7/26/2019

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Hard to piece together all the missing pieces in those faded mysteries, but enough darkdrop coffee should offer more than enough late hours. Good against Fingerkings too.
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thefantodayhtml
thefantodayhtml
Posts: 23

7/26/2019
Jolanda Swan wrote:
To be honest (player speaking, not character of course) I read this mostly as Virginia being a multi-layered individual. I insist that if her plans were in any way similar to Soshana's, we would have a mention of the fact when we ask her what she thinks about Soshana. But we don't. And surely, if this is the case, Virginia would propose something archaeology related in her platform and not a spa? What good will it be in that kind of challenge?

Good for the Soul/I want to give London a fighting chance because I am a sportswoman point very clearly elsewhere. In contrast, nothing in her campaign points towards saving the city from Paris' Fall. I mean, why give no hint at all and rely on a player making a conjecture if this was indeed the writer's aim?

Not that I don't enjoy conjecturing. In fact, I consider it the main point of the elections. Lore, lore, lore, delicious lore.
edited by Jolanda Swan on 7/24/2019

the option for askig her what she thinks is of Shoshana is "They both seek remedies for London's ailments. Is there any common ground between them?" and the answer is "who would you trust more to defend your city? […] Remember, only one of us has been to war." It's pretty clear.



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    silurica
    silurica
    Posts: 155

    7/27/2019
    Vladison Ianchester wrote:
    Azothi wrote:
    What a spa offers is accomplishing numerous objectives at once: it improves the mental health of a substantial proportion of the city (the downtrodden workers who could not afford such preventative care with the wages and hours forced on them) while allowing her to begin the warding process.


    The big searing problem with this argument is the Correspondence as a heat source. Sure, those sigils do produce heat, but that mostly as a side effect. You know what other side effects does the Correspondence have? Nightmares, lunacy, speaking in tongues, a relatively high chance of scorched eyebrows. All that is a far cry from the "improved mental and physical health" that a spa is supposed to accomplish. There is a reason why we don't use it to stoke steamer engines (but it would catch my fancy to be honest). Not just that, but having a spa where everyone is welcomed with a chance of suddenly producing costumers that run screaming like they are honeymazed would certainly attract unwanted attention, probably including that of Mr. Fires who would notice the lack of flammable supplies needed to run warm baths, going against the point of having a secret location to test the Correspondence. Not to mention the unexpecting victims of this spa. May I suggest The Collage as better grounds? Plenty of screaming students there already.


    Allow me to answer this one as a Correspondent. The various side-effects* of the Correspondence you mentioned above are induced by looking at the Correspondence directly. For example, simply being around the Bazaar - like in the Side-streets where people conduct business daily - is completely safe. However, looking up at the sigils carved on the upper part of the spires will start inducing those side-effects. Therefore, it's theoretically possible to use the Correspondence as a practical heat source as long as proper protective steps are taken, such as hiding the sigils from sight. And I imagine this would be the case; even in ordinary spas you usually don't see the nitty-gritty engines used to boil water with in plain sight, for the safety of both the customers and the engines themselves.

    Why we haven't used the Correspondence for practical purpose in wide-scale, however, is beyond me. Perhaps it's simply because we don't have enough experts in the city. We do know someone, somewhere, use the Correspondence to make an Everlasting Candle, so using it in a practical manner isn't entirely unprecedented.

    *) I'm being pedantic here, but I think speaking as if those are the main effects of the Correspondence isn't quite accurate. The main, consistent effects of the Correspondence are: 1) heat on the surface it's written on; 2) whatever the sigils dictate. I could be wrong here, but I haven't heard of those same side-effects occurring in other beings than humans, who keep observing the Correspondence with their boundless curiosity.
    edited by silurica on 7/27/2019

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    phryne
    phryne
    Posts: 1256

    7/27/2019
    Azothi, you're a genius. I never quite understood what the Affair of the Box was really about, and you explained it beautifully. Thanks for that!

    Concering Virginia, I wanted her to win from the beginning and this hasn't changed at all. I've no idea whether your theory about her is totally spot-on, but I'm convinced it's not too far away from the truth. She does have a secret plan, and its success (which isn't guaranteed) would really be beneficial to London. It might be personally beneficial to her, in some way, too, sure. Why not? I don't expect any candidate to run purely for the public good. This is London, after all.

    I don't spend much time looking at the discussion threads, but when I do all I see is "DEVIL! HELL! OMG! SOUL-STEALER! EVIL! ARRRGH!" and seriously, that alone is enough reason for me to want her to win and prove these people wrong. (Also, imagine the Bishop of Southwark's reaction to London electing a deviless when they didn't elect him. I want to read THAT!) :P

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    Jolanda Swan
    Jolanda Swan
    Posts: 1587

    7/27/2019
    phryne wrote:
    all I see is "DEVIL! HELL! OMG! SOUL-STEALER! EVIL! ARRRGH!" and seriously, that alone is enough reason for me to want her to win and prove these people wrong.


    Hey! We are also shouting "Agent of a foreign power" and "Murderess". Don't sell us short!

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    Varis
    Varis
    Posts: 26

    7/27/2019
    I must admit, my first reaction was absolutely definitely not Virginia, but this thread is making me contemplate my decision...

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    Diptych
    Diptych
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    7/27/2019
    Jolanda Swan wrote:
    phryne wrote:
    all I see is "DEVIL! HELL! OMG! SOUL-STEALER! EVIL! ARRRGH!" and seriously, that alone is enough reason for me to want her to win and prove these people wrong.


    Hey! We are also shouting "Agent of a foreign power" and "Murderess". Don't sell us short!



    Also, none of the Devil/Hell/Soul-stealer/Evil parts have actually been proven wrong.

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    Jolanda Swan
    Jolanda Swan
    Posts: 1587

    7/27/2019
    To be fair, speculation that Virginia has a plan to save London hasn't been proven at all, so...

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    Jolanda Swan
    Jolanda Swan
    Posts: 1587

    7/28/2019
    Not sure where to put that but...
    I just did the Roses expedition in the Forgotten Quarter again. It seems that Hell taught the Fourth city 'the art of glass'.

    And now we have two candidates, one from Hell, and one supporting the Shroud, the opponents of the Glass.

    So is there a connection after all? It can't be a coincidence.

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    Doctor_Static
    Doctor_Static
    Posts: 64

    7/28/2019
    Deep Waters, indeed . . .



    Any further "reflection" on that esoteric skein of klew - in light of the third candidate, Mr.s Plenty, being campaign managed by (The Dilmun Club's) His Amused Lordship - with all his intrigues . . . ?

    -:- Drazzle Psmyth - campaigner for Mme. Shoshana - Muse and Mayor -:-

    .
    edited by Doctor_Static on 7/28/2019

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    Vorwoda Hawksby
    Vorwoda Hawksby
    Posts: 17

    7/28/2019
    Doctor_Static wrote:
    Deep Waters, indeed . . .



    Any further "reflection" on that esoteric skein of klew - in light of the third candidate, Mr.s Plenty, being campaign managed by (The Dilmun Club's) His Amused Lordship - with all his intrigues . . . ?

    -:- Drazzle Psmyth - campaigner for Mme. Shoshana - Muse and Mayor -:-

    .
    edited by Doctor_Static on 7/28/2019



    I think His Amused Lordship's support for Mrs. Plenty is personal, not political. He is (or was) her paramour, and helped her to dispose of his own wife, (Her Probably-Not-Amused Ladyship) when the two ladies were neck-and-neck in their Seeking adventure, as I understand it.

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    Agastya Rai
    Agastya Rai
    Posts: 11

    7/28/2019
    Jolanda Swan wrote:
    Not sure where to put that but...
    I just did the Roses expedition in the Forgotten Quarter again. It seems that Hell taught the Fourth city 'the art of glass'.

    And now we have two candidates, one from Hell, and one supporting the Shroud, the opponents of the Glass.


    So is there a connection after all? It can't be a coincidence.


    Also, Dr. Schlomo seems to be assisting both of them (as far as I can tell), and as its been established that he has at least a rudimentary understanding of Parabola, its definitely not a coincidence.
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    Agastya Rai
    Agastya Rai
    Posts: 11

    7/28/2019
    Azothi wrote:
    Among all of Fallen London's myriad stories, there is one that stands out as an influence on this Election: the Affair of the Box. I believe this winding tale of a locked box is the key to understanding Virginia's plan and why it is good for London, not just in public health and economic equality via public works and exercise, but in living up to what Failbetter themselves named Virginia: The Heroine of London.

    Heroine? Really? It's a strange choice of words for a deviless, but the writers have given us all the information we need to understand why Virginia is running for mayor, what her plan is, and how she plans on addressing the looming threats that face London.

    (Spoilers ahead for new text from candidate cards available in the second week)

    Virginia wrote:
    "Is London in safe hands with me? Of course not. I am, after all, a devil. More relevantly, I'm me. But, look around! Can you say that London is in the best of health? London is filled with corruption, degeneracy, paucity of ambition." She wipes her mouth delicately on a pressed napkin. "London's reserves in the only currency that matters are almost spent. I mean to give the city a fighting chance. Call me a good sportswoman." She pays the bill when it comes.
    First, there is the question of the nature of this currency, and the most telling point is that it's "the only currency that matters" and "almost spent". Souls are not this currency - they are not in short supply, and they are in constant production rather than being kept in "reserves". Remember that Victorian London had the highest population of any city on Earth, and couple that with the Neath's unnatural vitality.

    The answer is clear: the secret currencies in the Bazaar's vaults. Those "Fragments of a primal power, locked away in the Masters' vaults since the deal that bought the First City." Virginia is a player of the Marvellous, where the Masters gamble with this ancient currency. Now, lore surroundings these currencies is sparse, to say the least, but the fact that they're "almost spent" brings us to the basic point of supply and demand: those who want them will have a vested interest in obtaining and keeping them.

    Wandering the Forgotten Quarter alongside Virginia gives us a very telling piece of information about her thoughts on the fate that befell the previous city.

    A hunt for knowledge wrote:
    She halts in front of a shattered spire. Sigils, blackened and dull, adorn its cracked walls. She shows you the pattern that rings the stone, and produces her own transcription. "They didn't understand these when they made them. It was supposed to be a ward." She points to further scorched signals, in a style identical to her own notes. "I made some adjustments."
    These ruins have clearly seen better days. Remember, these are not ruins from natural decay: they were destroyed. Virginia makes it clear what those sigils - the Correspondence - were meant to accomplish: to be a ward. To guard and to shield. They didn't understand, and in the hour of need, they couldn't be protected. This may seem irrelevant to the rest of her campaign. What do Correspondence wards on broken towers have to do with public health or physical exercise? What does it have to with a spa? For that, let's examine how exactly this spa works. Virginia has been personally scouting locations for it - it seems like any old place isn't suitable. Knowing Virginia's interests, it very well could be in the Forgotten Quarter. Furthermore, the spa is public - available to anyone, regardless of wealth or influence. It's an institution that serves the poor, who can't otherwise afford it. Fuel isn't cheap. It's much easier to win promising vague ideals like "a chain that can be climbed" if Virginia were solely concerned about victory, she wouldn't need the spa. The resolution is clear. Virginia (and us) know of an energy source that generates heat - scorching heat, perfect for heating a spa: the Correspondence. And it just so happens that Virginia has been studying the use of Correspondence as a shield.

    There are those who want to see London destroyed, and they too are the natural enemies of Virginia. The enemy of my enemy is perhaps not my friend, but an ally nonetheless. What Virginia wants is to strengthen London: not just its health but its resolve and ambition. We're now embarking into deeper lore territory and spoilers for the Affair of the Box, so those who prefer not to read those can depart with my final claim that Virginia does not seek power for power's sake; she does not seek power for Hell's sake; she seeks power for her own sake, and for London's sake, because she intends to bring new life - a second wind - to a London that has forgotten what it means to make a stand and live.

    [spoiler]We know what happened to the Fourth City. The Masters burned it to the ground. They destroyed it. Those Correspondence sigils didn't save them. When the last Khan rose in rebellion, they obliterated the city and then left to find the Fifth. The lacre wasn't low; the Stone Pigs weren't stirring. They simply destroyed the city and moved on. This is the lesson they learned from the Fourth: the Fall of a new city can be accelerated, and there are those who scheme to do the same again, notably one revealed in the Affair of the Box, the owner of the box: Mr Stones.

    Stones planned to pay an exiled devil captain and his army to destroy London and bring about the fall of the Sixth City; the loss of the box meant that Stones had lost one means of payment, but Stones is still around and scheming, and these devils never left the Forgotten Quarter. Virginia is a hero of the Season of Revolutions and instrumental in bringing down the old aristocracy: she is a natural enemy of the exiles who could destroy London. And by her reckoning, London doesn't stand a chance. That's what she wants to change. She wants to give London a fighting chance. London might not be strong enough. All her efforts might go to waste. But she's made an effort. She's studied the protective wards that failed, and she's made her own adjustments. Her key public work is one that can be built on those very same protective wards, one that aims to invigorate the entire city. The pieces fit together: her platform is the defense and revitalization of London.

    And, if we're being more speculative, the threat may be more imminent than it seems. It's like Pandora's box: once it's opened, what was within can't be locked away again. The timeline of the Bazaar's acquisition of cities is increasing: the Masters are already scheming for the fall of the Sixth City when the Fifth hasn't even been around for half a decade. We see this when Wines is hearing offers from the Empress' Shadow. We see this in a future lost in reflections, when Paris is on the verge of falling less than a decade into the 20th century. The destruction of the Fourth left little for the Stone Pigs; they hunger, and they stir. Why not repeat this for the Fifth? Virginia's plan is to give London a fighting chance against this destruction: to not go like a lamb to slaughter but to fight back against those who would preordain its demise.
    [/spoiler]
    Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Now, I will admit this is not the strongest of hypotheses. It leans too heavily on circumstantial evidence for my liking, and there are many ways to interpret the text; this is just one among them. That's why I want this to be a discussion.


    This isn't random, though. We're talking about Failbetter here: writers, editors, and directors with a knack for cryptic but coherent writing, a deep understanding of the lore, and frankly good storytelling. They won't name Virginia the "Heroine of London" for nothing. They won't let the text we spend real currency (via Fate) on simply be a wall of text unrelated to the Election at hand. For me, this interpretation of Virginia's plans binds her entire campaign together in a story rooted in the foundational lore of Fallen London while staying true to her character, and it's this that solidifies my support for Virginia: because this is a plan that might just actually work.


    Sadly, even if this is true, there is no stopping the next fall, whether it be Shoshona or Virginia. "The fifth's tales may exalt the suns, but may never hope to halt what comes." (FL Advent Calendar)
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