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Mysteries tab discussion

News are that the Mysteries tab will be closed soon, probably by the end of the month, and players will be awarded a Fate reward for every right answer. Some answers seem obvious now, while other still puzzle me; I publish here my conclusions and comments. Any correction, precisation, discussion and further information is warmly welcomed. WARNING: Spoilers.

UPDATE: Official Mysteries answers have been published on Failbetter's blog. You can read them there:

1 - What was Ladybones Road called before the Fall? Marylebone Road.

2 - What was Watchmaker's Hill called before the Fall? Greenwich.

3 - What was Spite called before the Fall? Spitalfields.

4 - What was the Veilgarden called before the Fall? Covent Garden.

Thanks to the extensive work by Sir Frederick Tanah-Chook and the other forum contributors in THIS THREAD, the answers to the first four questions seem clear.

5 - In which continent was the Fourth City? Asia.

The Silver Tree explicitly cleared that the Fourth City was Karakorum, so there's little doubt here.

6 - In which continent was the Third City? North America.

For this question as well as the next two I found much useful the posts in this forum topic: Fallen Cities (A Great Many Spoilers). Many clues (Skyglass/obsidian knives, well-attended sporting events, cinnabar beads) seem to point to a Mesoamerican origin for the Third City, probably Mayan or Aztec. My first answer to this was in fact "Central America", but as that is not officially a continent, I settled for North America, as both Mayan and Aztec civilization flourished in the territories now pertaining to southern/eastern Mexico.

7 - In which continent was the Second City? Africa.

The Second City was heavily hinted to be Egyptian. There are uncertainties about the very exact city, but the African origin seems without doubt

8 - In which continent was the First City? Asia.

Again, there are a lot of hints but none of them conclusive as the exact identity of the city. What seems without doubt is for it to be located in the Middle East, somewhere in the Arabic Peninsula; possibly Syria or Lebanon.

9 - Who brought the tiger to the Labyrinth? Sir Stamford Raffles.

The first answer that surfaced was "The London Zoological Society". A theory first developed by Sebastian Flyte, though, pointed directly to Thomas Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore and later of the very London Zoological Society. Of this there's no explicit allusion, but several hints scattered in different places:

- A letter fragment, dated Singapore, 1821 (sidebar snippet): You can read it HERE. Leopold was historically the son of Stamford Raffles, died in an epidemic in 1821. The snippet mentions Raffles dreaming of Leopold accompanied by a feline; it is probably an allusion to

- A Weakness in the Air - "Dream" option (Cave of Nadir storylet): It probably describes the dream Stamford Raffles did, a child accompanied by a great feline, described as possibly a lion - but the letter fragment stated "there are...no lions here, though many tigers".

- Bartering with the Tiger Keeper - Barter a Puzzling Map for a secret(Labyrinth of Tigers, coil 1): WARNING: Enigma Ambition mild spoilers. The Tiger Keeper mentions the founder of the Labyrinth and a map he brought. The founder isn't explicitly named, but we know from the /a/enigma access code hint that the relevant map (a Panoptical Mirror Map) was published in the early 2014. That was probably a mention of a recent edit in the Fallen London Wikipedia entry, mentioning an opera published in 2014 by a R. Stamford.

All in all, there seems to many conjoined mentions and hints not to follow Agatha Christie's advice, and take three hints as a proof. I'm going to trust Flyte's insights and bet on Stamford Raffles as my answer.

10 - Why are there no foxes in the city? Because they all went to the mountain of glass and ashes at the farthest south, in the Elder Continent.

I owe my answer entirely to this forum post: http://community.failbettergames.com/topic96-why-are-there-no-foxes-in-the-city.aspx#post2181, by KatarinaNavane, mentioning the text from the lucky result converting Zee Stories into Partial Maps. The main problem with that, as Saharan pointed out in the forum, is that it comes from the Salty Fabulist, a source that would be euphemystic to call "creative". It also doesn't explain the reason the foxes actually went there (possibly they were trying to be as far as possible from NORTH), but for me "they aren't in the city because they went somewhere else" is a good enough answer if nothing more precise surfaces before the Mysteries tab close. A possible explanation might be found in this Wieland Burandt's post:


It's sure an interesting piece of information, though it doesn't find any explicit corroboration in Fallen London storylets or snippets.

11 - Where is Mr Eaten? In the well.

It isn't a very precise answer, but wherever the real, actual Mr Eaten (or his remnants) can be, it seems out of discussion that he is in some kind of well, while still being able to communicate and possibly intract with all teh other wells in the Neath. So while it is unsure whether Mr Eaten is NORTH, in Winking Isle or somewhere else, I'd bet he is in a well, hence the answer.

12 - Why do the Masters of the Bazaar value echoes so? Because they're reflections of the first currency ever used by the Bazaar.

At first I had just wrote the most popular answer:"Because they're the last sound a secret makes before vanishing."; I couldn't find any better mentions of the in-game reason of the importance of echoes, just a mention by Alexis Kennedy of the far origin of Fallen London, that was born to be a sort of social Twitter game base on retweets before becoming a Choose your own Adventure type of game. I remember Alexis Kennedy mentioning that was the origin of the name "echo Bazaar", then implemented to become one of the prominent features - or better, characters - of the setting:

Alexis Kennedy: The gameplay. Echo Bazaar was originally a much smaller, very different game - a sort of predictive market in guessing what phrases people might use on Twitter (market=Bazaar, Twitter=Echo). It was basically intended to fund and get press for Prisoner's Honey, our next project.

I added some flavor about a subterranean market and asked Paul to draw some icons in his spare time. But the game was turning out very dry, so I kept adding narrative elements and eventually we went the social RPG route, and then it all got rather out of hand.
(Source: The Escapist)

Jenson Shepherd provided in the comments an in-game mention that seems to corroborate this view: "The Numismatrix has sent you a message! - A lovely place for a lecture" reads:

Coins. You wish me to discuss coins. Very well. Echoes first. The ones you have in your purse are indeed echoes. Reflections of the first currency ever used by the Bazaar. Before it even thought about buying cities. You'll probably never see any of the underlying fundamental Coins. I never have. There's only around a dozen of them, I've heard, and the Masters won't touch them. Fascinating, no?

It seems convincing. I modified my answer accordingly.

13 - Why are prisoners masked? To hide their face, lest they attract Snuffers.

The most frequent answer was simply "To hide their identity". But the "The screaming prisoner" Opportunity Card explicitly mentions a prisoner whose mask has been torn off and whose face has been partially flayed; and the "The Warden" card has the eponymous warden explicitly asking your character to investigate a Snuffer that's been spotted somewhere in New Newgate (possibly in the oubliette? There's a creature there whose identity is never fully disclosed).

14 - What price was paid for the London? The life of the Empress' Consort.

Unless I missed something, this answer seems obvious.

15 - Where do you go when the nightmares get too much? A state of some confusion in the Royal Bethlehem Hotel.

I wrote this answer before the Mirror Marches became available; I wonder if now both answers are acceptable, of if the valid answer should mention both possible outcomes.

16 - How many people did Mister Sacks take at Christmas? 10.

Well, if the question refers to people physically taken by Mr Sacks, meaning people who jumped in his sack and were taken by him, at least in the last two Christmas festivities the answer should be zero. But the question could also mean "how many identities did Mr Sacks assume", meaning how many Masters (or, more precisely, Master's Nomen) played the role of Sacks at Christmas. The storyline lasts for twelve in-game days, with a different Lacresack visiting each day; but on day 4 no Lacresacks appear, and on day 8 the visit is actually by an imposter (Silas, the Showman). That would mean a total of 10 Lacresacks. Is my maths correct?

To further inquire: the characters represented by the Nomen in the various days are:
- Mr Spices (he likes honey)
- Mr Wines (he likes First Sporing)
- Mr Stones (he likes diamonds)
- No one (this card is devoted to choosing your allegiance)
- Mr Cups/Mirrors (he's one of the Masters calling you "dear", and explicitly mentions reflections)
- Mr Pages (his original lexicon is a dead giveaway)
- Mr Fires (his fur robe is embered red)
- No Master (it's Silas the Showman instead, pretending to be Mr Sacks)
- Mr Eaten
- Mr Veils (he rewards you in rare Rag Trade items)
- Mr Iron (he doesn't speak, he seems to approve of Knife and Candle)
- Mr Hearts (he's the other one calling the player character "dear")

Confronting this list with the Masters one, it seems like Mr Apples either doesn't have or didn't send a Noman/Lacresacks.

17 - Who makes the Clay Men? The King with a Hundred Hearts.

The most frequent answer about this was "other Clay Men", but in "Investigating the Unfinished", the Clay Priest explicitly states that Clay Men are born from the dreams of the King with a Hundred Hearts, and "An unusual approach to reproduction" allows to infer that Unfinished Men are born from his nightmares instead. This seems to be confirmed in some passing mentions in the Polythreme part of Ambition: Heart's Desire.

17 - How many Masters are there? 11.

I am very doubtful about this as well. The description of the Shrine of Deep Blue Heaven, a relic of the Fourth City, includes eleven statues of what seem to be the Masters (confront THIS FORUM POST by Fhoenix), but we can't be 100% sure the number hasn't changed in the present time; The Chill of the Void Destiny also mentions eleven Masters, but one of them is the player character turned Master, and he seems to not be the only one, as he seems to share a "lowly origin" with at least another Master. So, how many Masters are there exactly in London at the present time? I'll refer to Mr Names's Twitter account, itself not a Master, but an official account following Fallen London's certified NPCs. Its list includes:

1- Mr Pages
2- Mr Wines
3- Mr Stones
4- Mr Iron
5- Mr Hearts
6- Mr Spices
7- Mr Cups
8- Mr Apples
9- Mr Fires
10- Mr Veils
11 - Mr Chimes (I have LOTS of doubts about this one; see below).

Mr Mirrors isn't actually a Master, but Mr Cups in disguise, as it may be inferred byt the faux pas of the Curt Relicker when exchanging 3200 Scraps for a Rumourmonger's Network (judging by the aghast reaction of the other Relickers, it seems an important piece of information.). Mr Eaten is a Master no more at least since the Second or Third Stolen City. Should Mr Chimes, Mr Sacks or both be considered Masters? I'm not sure about that, nor I'm sure that an actual Mr Chimes exists, and it's not a travesty donned by various Masters.

So there's the problem of multiple mentions of 11 Masters, but only 10 certified Masters around, with possibly the 11th being Mr Chimes or Mr Sacks (probably the former). The most compelling hint seems to be the Shrine of Deep Blue Heaven including 11 hooded figures, as it was made in the Fourth City, when Mr Eaten was already out of the picture, but it's possible the explanation given by Saharan on the forum is correct: the shrinemaker depicted both Mr Mirrors and Mr Cups as separate entities. Either that, or somewhere there is a still unknown 11th Master bound to either die or disappear before a player character takes its place with the Chill of the Void Destiny.

Anyway: as mentioned by Jenson Shepherd in the comments, we have a hint of what some Masters were called in the Fourth City from a storylet in the Cave of Nadir: http://fallenlondon.wikia.com/wiki/Dubious_attribution . The Masters were known as Khans, and explicitly mentioned are:

- The Khan of Dreams, who is merry: despite the connection between Mr Spices and honey-dremas, this one was probably Mr Wines. Its Twitter account description reads "The only true merchant of dreams!", and the storylet A long-ago burglar directly connects Mr Wines' spire with the label "THE KHAN OF DREAMS".
- The Khan of Swords, who does not speak, but wields a blade in either hand: I'd say 100% sure this was Mr Irons.
- The Khan of Fires and the Khan of Hearts: self-describing, duh.
- The Khan of Roots: it was a farmer, so currently it's probably Mr Apples.
- The Khan of Drums, whose dance cannot be denied. That would heavily hint to Mr Chimes. Mr Wines also enjoys feasts, revels and probably dancing, but he was the Khan of Dreams. So, unless Mr Veils has a stronger connection than it is known either to dancing or to animal skins (used both as clothing and to manufacture drums), this would seem a rather strong hint to Mr Chimes being a legitimate Master at least at the time of the Fourth City. Whether it survived to this very day as Mr Chimes, or it died and was replaced as Mr Chimes by the other Masters in turn, it's open to speculation. Though AetherGeologist pointed out that Mr Veils seems to have some fondness for music - the Foreing Office storylets include a choir of Urchins singing for the Vake, who is Mr Veils.

Additional debate on the mIRC channel pointed out that there seem to be a tradition between the Masters to keep their number the same throughout the ages. Thus Mr Veils was made a Master to replace the former Mr Candles (now Mr Eaten), and Veils "lowly origin" is mentioned in the Chill of the Void Destinies. The intro storylet for the Chill of the Void explicitly mentions a total of a dozen Travellers (http://gyazo.com/57b0112cf71556f68eacec5939353156.png -  thanks for the link, Deadcrystal!). One of them is "their employer" (probably the Bazaar), one is the player character turned Master. So there are 10 other Masters there, only 9 of which are mentioned explicitly in the various Destinies resultances:
1 - Hearts
2 - Spices
3 - Veils
4 - Wines
5 - Apples
6 - Pages
7 - Iron
8 - Stones
9 - Cups

The tenth one could be either Mr Fires or somebody else. But if the player became a Master in substitution of another one, there should be an eleventh who either died or disappeared. Deadcrystal pointed out that Mr Fires seemed very eager to stay in London as much as possible, so it doesn't seem too far-fetched to speculate that he renounced his role to stay back.

Further thoughts: this number ties in with the number of identities assumed by Lacresacks at Christmas, with one difference: the Lacresacks include a Lacre Mr Eaten, that is not counted in the Master's total; on the other hand, one of the Masters doesn't appeare in Noman/Lacresacks version.

18 - "Between stars?" Lies the Void.

The most frequent answer to this is "Lies the Bazaar". While it was probably true in the past, following the events of the tragic love story with the Sun the Bazaar settled on Earth. So, unless we embrace the Fingerkings' concept of time as completely nonlinear, we should say that between the stars "lied the Bazaar" (but now not anymore)? The idea of mentioning the Void came me from the description of the Breath of the Void: the sound the Correspondence makes when it is spoken between stars. So, if Correspondence between the stars is the Breath of the Void, it seems consquential that between stars lies the Void, possibly meaning the empty space left by the Bazaar when it came to Earth. But that's a personal speculation, I haven't any explicit definition, just hints here and there to this "Void" somehow connected to the Bazaar and/or the Masters (even the Destinies implying for the player character to become a Master are named "The Chill of the Void").

Sidenote: I wonder if "Lies the Bazaar" could be a reference to the Bazaar lying, as in not telling the truth. But even if it was a viable interpretation, Bazaar's lies aren't probably between the stars anyway, so I don't think I'll deepen the investigation further in this sense; it's probably a dead end.

FINAL NOTE: I tried to remember and mention every instance in which I based an answer on somebody else's work or insights. I assure you that if I forgot someone, it's unintentional; if you are or know the author of some of the theories I posted feel free to let me know in the Comments.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2014 04:45 pm (UTC)
When you meet him in the Carnival, Mr Apples says that Mr Hearts (and Mr Mirrors) are trading names, so I don't think Hearts is a 'real' master -- though I'm uncertain of his identity, otherwise. The only major clue I've come across is that he, Fires, and Cups/Mirrors are all described as purring.

What makes you think Hearts was the last master of lacremas? That would be interesting, if so. Cups/Mirrors has only one lacre-self. Apples doesn't have a lacre-self, but it's hard for me to imagine Apples as Hearts, though of course, food is food. Hm.

I've seen a couple of different responses from Chimes to different entrances -- one explicitly uses Pages' vocabulations, but others don't bear a resemblance to him, leading me to believe that Chimes is an amalgamation (an ironic word, following the MrE fate-locked bit this lacremas) of masters.

I don't know anymore if gravelly Sacks was a Master, or another lacre-manifestation, that was simply different before because the Bazaar was less hungry or less sad. I think the urchins say that lacre people rise every xmas, so perhaps gravelly Sacks was just a persistent version?

And I don't see a point in a pre-5th city Sacks.

I also don't know where the popular answer of '11' for how many people did Sacks take comes from. I think the question preexisted the last two lacremases, and was up there when we still had gravelly Sacks, but my memory is poor (he did take my bloody aunt, though, praise the gods).

Edited at 2014-01-14 04:47 pm (UTC)
Jan. 14th, 2014 05:15 pm (UTC)
The Nomen/Lacresacks are 11 if you count Silas. I don't think he should count as he's quite clearly an imposter, but maybe other people thought differently.

The main reason I thought the last Noman to be Mr Hearts is the use of the word "dear" to call the player character - it's a constant mannerism of his on Twitter replies. Mr Cups sometimes does that too, but Cups is probably the one mentioning reflections (being Mr Mirrors too).

I don't think the mention of Hearts and Mirrors trading names should be taken as a hint of Mr Hearts not existing; several Masters have changed names in the ages (like Mr Iron was once Mr Bronze), or enjoy having different identities (like Mr Cups poses as Mr Mirrors).
Jan. 14th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
Regarding question 12, the numismatrix content mentions that they're reflections of the original currency of the Bazaar.

That's the sum total of the information I've been able to find on them, but it sounds like a good reason to value them.
Jan. 14th, 2014 08:19 pm (UTC)
Oh my... I had completely forgot about THAT! O_o

I think you may be unto something. I'll modify the text accordingly.
Jan. 24th, 2014 11:07 pm (UTC)
I note that you discount the existence of Mr Chimes. There's a card in the nadir which lists the names several Masters used in the Fourth City. If there is no Mr Chimes which of the remaining Masters do you think went by the name of "The Khan of Drums"?
Jan. 27th, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)
The Khan of Drums presided over dances; it could be either Mr Veils or Mr Wines. If it's Mr Veils then Mr Wines was probably the Khan of Dreams (he is merry); if it's Mr Wines, then the Khan of Dreams could be Mr Spices? It's a subject that emerged in a couple of forum threads:

http://community.failbettergames.com/topic5578-hallowmas--the-visitors-are-here.aspx?page=16 (Page 17)

http://community.failbettergames.com/topic2017-neathy-mysteries-for-the-advanced-student.aspx (Asked on page 2)

Jan. 27th, 2014 05:39 pm (UTC)
The Kahn of Dreams is pretty explicitly spelled out as being Mr Wines, in both one of the archaeology expedition rewards (http://fallenlondon.wikia.com/wiki/A_long-ago_burglar%3F)and that the bottles of airag are labelled as gifts for the Kahn of Dreams.

I notice in those threads that the discussion of the Kahn of Drums doesn't go anywhere other than someone offering a guess and little to nothing in the way of corroborating evidence.

All the other Masters that are name checked in the Nadir storylet have names that relate to the ones they use in London. Fires and Hearts don't bother to change theirs, Swords becomes Irons. I can see why Roots is thought to be Apples, since there's a link there in the form of the cultivation of plants. I don't see a link between a musical instrument and dancing, and textiles. Outside of the dance of the seven veils, but that's a pretty weak link.

I guess I just find the parallels between the Kahn of Drums and Mr Chimes to be more compelling. (For the record, I do not subscribe to the theory that Mr Chimes is in fact the other Masters taking turns. I find the reasoning to be unsound at best.) Drums and chimes both share the common themes of music and keeping time: drums often being used to keep time during a dance, and the chimes of a bell keep track of the hours of the day.
Jan. 28th, 2014 09:47 am (UTC)
Hmmm... Mumble mumble. That ties in with Mr Wines' Twitter description - "The only true merchant of dreams!". With Wines out of the picture, the only possible candidate would be Veils... That has no real connection to dance, and only the faintest connection to animal skins (he deals in clothing now, maybe he dealt in furs and skins before... Skins that could be used to manufacture drums?). On the other hand, Chimes being a travesty does seem an interesting theory, but it's ultimately based on hunches more than on explicit indications. Chimes could very well be a real Master after all.

Of course there's still the problem of the Khan of Drums being a denizen of the Fourth City. We cannot know for sure if it survived to become Mr Chimes, or he died/disappeared and was replaced by the other Masters posing as him. That would allow to unify the theories (The Khan of Drums could be Mr Chimes, and at the same time the current Mr Chimes be a fake Master), but it is a theory based more on speculation than on conclusive evidence. I'm going to set the Master's number to 11 for now.

There's still the conundrum of the Mr Sacks visit. The most popular answer is "11", but in that case I'm quite convinced that Silas shouldn't be computed in the total. Or should he?

Edited at 2014-01-28 10:06 am (UTC)
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC)
It occurred to me last night that the Kahn of Roots could also be Mr Spices. From wikipedia "A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetable substance primarily used for flavouring, colouring or preserving food."

You're right that we can't be certain that Mr Chimes didn't die or be replaced between the Fourth and Fifth Cities, but there's also no evidence that he did, and lack of evidence for one is not proof of the other.

I would say that I find the idea that Mr Chimes did die between cities to be unlikely, however. In the entirety of the game we know of the deaths of two Masters (The one which leads to the creation of Mr Eaten and Mr Pages' death in one of the Darkness in the Air destinies)and both times it's regarded as a fairly major thing. I can't see something like the death/replacement of the Kahn of Drums happening and it not being mentioned or hinted towards anywhere.

I hadn't considered the Mr Sacks visit conundrum. If your idea about it being the number of people Mr Sacks was pretending to be is correct I'd say you're right with 10. Silas is pretending to be Mr Sacks rather than Mr Sacks pretending to be Silas.
Jan. 28th, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
But why, then, would Chimes mimic all of the other masters?

ETA: six of the Chimes entry options reference Chimes' voice. One of those is a whisper (Pages), while the others are all the shrill voice that most of the masters have. Of course, we have no idea of their individual vocal ranges, but nevertheless it does provide *some* indication that Chimes is not a single master.

Edited at 2014-01-28 06:06 pm (UTC)
Jan. 29th, 2014 11:26 am (UTC)
I'm still not certain the Mr Sacks question refers to what you think it does. It's been there as long as I can remember, before Christmases features the "Twelve Days of Mr Sacks" thing. All I can think it would refer to from that era is how many people chose to get in his sack, but I don't see how players would be expected to have any way of knowing that.
Jan. 29th, 2014 11:28 pm (UTC)
I'm not certain either. But as I have no way to know how many people entered in Mr Sacks' sack, I just adhered to the most followed theory on mIRC - that as of now, the verb "to take" is to be interpreted as "to impersonate".

I would have no better answer; the only possible alternative would be "0", as in the last Christmases the option to jump in the sack was no longer available. But somehow I like it less; it seems too simple.
Jan. 29th, 2014 06:18 pm (UTC)
I never said Chimes was mimicking the other Masters. It makes more sense than the others all getting together and pretending to be a different Master however, especially when Cups is already doing that. It could be argued as being Chimes' gimmick - its equivalent to Pages' vocabulary, or Irons' never speaking.

Your point about the Chimes entry options proves nothing of the sort. The *only* indication it gives is that Chimes and Pages are both capable of whispering. You don't think that all the Masters that speak with a shrill voice are the same creature do you?
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )