Howard had been speculating – after all; the boy had a rank-five manse with gates modeled after the “Stargate” movie – meaning the gates, at least, were new and were likely his own work – and he was experimenting with other universes, and thought that Raksha Nobles were cute and fun. All by itself that sentence pretty much eliminated any even remotely “normal” possibility. Sure, Raksha nobles COULD be all kinds of fun if they wanted to be – but “cute” was not exactly in the cards!
Still, that got put to one side when Raymond wandered in to start paging through the library almost at random while muttering. The shocked, blank, look – and the complete absence of any sign of injury or strain that might have produced it – was rather disturbing. What could have thrown him for that much of a loop?
It didn’t take much effort to get it out of him – but his story was quite frankly unbelievable… Charles had initiated him into an entirely new level of Thaumaturgy in minutes? And had then erected a powerful manse in a few more minutes? On a demesne that hadn’t even FORMED yet? With THAUMATURGY? Certainly the boy was an incredible expert at geomancy – and probably something more than a mere god-blood unless his parent was an Incarnae – but manses required… days or weeks of work, even with the most powerful spells on record. Had the boy just been speculating and thrown up an illusion of a manse that he thought could be built? He was probably skilled enough that he wouldn’t even realize that most witnesses would take such a thing for a reality!
Still… the Thaumaturgy boost was obviously real enough, and there was no real reason to doubt that it did what Raymond said it did. The power… was practically boiling off of Raymond – and adding “He hands out a massive thaumaturgy boost that includes rapid healing, virtual immortality, protections against numerous effects, and coming back as a god if you die, as a minor gift to anyone who asks – and wants feedback on it because it’s still under development” and “does decades worth of geomantic engineering and erects impossibly potent manses in minutes” (if that was to be credited) in with his original information… What on earth had he – and his apprentice – gotten themselves into? Hunting Sidereals was stressful enough before that last encounter.
It COULD be some sort of trick, or prank, or some such – even if Charles hardly seemed like the type. He was such a SERIOUS child.
Howard prevailed on Raymond to take him out to see the place.
It… bridged galaxies, and was funneling enough power into the earth to… be strengthening the dragon lines on a massive – possibly global – scale, marking them out with burgeoning plants as the wood essence spread across the world. A tree of worlds indeed, offering access to endless space and resources – and equipped with a crew of helpful gods to offer assistance and harvest it’s resources. It warped reality around it to conceal itself…
And Charles had… created it as a present because a mortal acquaintance had asked him to help out.
What was it that was loose upon the earth?
Howard promptly consulted his older brother, Peter – also a full Terrestrial Exalt – who was at least as shocked as he was…
(Peter) “That child made THIS?!? HOW!?!”
(Howard) “As if I would know? Raymond said… THAUMATURGY. I couldn’t imagine how that was possible, so I called you. You’re much better at magic than I am!”
(Peter) “It’s NOT. This manse… I’ve never heard of anything like it outside of legends! There are supposed to have been sorceries that create manses quickly – but if they ever really existed they’re a lost art, or perhaps are beyond our power entirely – and even they supposedly required days of planning and work! NO ONE can do this!
(Howard) “Well, he DID fix the Water Tower in minutes…”
(Peter) “Yes – but a relatively minor repair… he COULD have just been a god-blood with very special training and some specialized charms – but no god-blood could possibly do THIS. The whole area is still ringing with the essence that was poured into it! And he did this… as a small favor for a MORTAL THAUMATURGIST. What could he do if he felt a real need?”
They consulted their father, Ethan – who, for once, abruptly felt small.
Dyson spheres did that to most people, but for elder Exalts – even Terrestrials – it was a most unfamiliar and unwelcome feeling.
The Morgan’s had been an established power in the area for several centuries now – since the colonial era – and had quite a few supernatural allies, some of them very peculiar indeed. There were minor gods and elementals, geomancers and sorcerers, and even a few Raksha (although consulting them meant risking the wrath of his wife) – and none of them had ever heard of such a thing.
Such a resource must be guided into NOT being that casual about it! He could readily destroy the entire system!
Of course, to Charles, Manses were just really neat architecture and more things to stick in his world-body. They were neat! There should be lots more of them! All over the place, for all to use! On Earth at least, the spread of magical knowledge had nowhere to go at the moment but up.
The stargate was a bit of a shock too… The Morgans were Starbreaker-allied, and had heard of such things – but they were usually restricted to alchemical colossi, not manses.
Eventually Howard gave up; there was nothing to do but call.
(Charles) “Oh hi!”
(Howard) “Hi, Charles! How’ve you been?”
(Charles) “Pretty good! Lots of things are coming together!”
(Howard) “Well, that’s good… hey, have you built anything interesting lately?”
(Charles) “Uhm… Lots of things! That’s mostly what I DO of course!”
(Howard) “Yeah… of course. I heard you gave Raymond something pretty nice!”
(Charles) “Well, he’d been wanting one for awhile! And I’ve been practicing!”
For a moment Howard just didn’t know what to say. The boy… really did think of Manses of vast power… as simple little things you threw together on a whim. He’d thought – or had at least been hoping really hard – that Raymond was overstating the case when he said that it didn’t seem like such a big deal to Charles.
(Howard) “He said it was lavish… and top-of-the-line. You did a good job on it.”
(Charles) “Well I wouldn’t do a SLOPPY one! That would be just wrong!”
(Howard) “Well, yeah. You can’t explain explosions that big. Anyway… guess who wants to talk to you now?”
(Charles) “Urm… All kinds of people… Everybody wants me to answer questions these days!”
(Howard) “Like museum people? Anyway, my dad wants to chat with you! I never thought he’d warm up to you after that incident at Beech Street, but fixing the place, combined with this, has gotten his ear.”
(Charles) “Well, OK! I think I have a little time today…”
(Howard) “That… soon? You’ve GOT to be busy.”
(Charles) “Well… the Guardians handle a lot of things now, and they’re saying that I need to get out and talk to people more!”
(Howard) “Great, because he insists on meeting with you in person.”
(Charles) “Anyplace in particular?”
(Howard) “How about the Beech Street place, since we all know where it is?”
(Charles) “OK! What time?”
(Howard) “Hey, I’m willing to negotiate, but the sooner the better. Dad can be . . . intense about waiting.”
(Charles) “About half an hour then? I’ve just got to finish up here!”
(Howard) “Right… need a pickup or anything?”
(Charles) “Hm… I don’t think so! I’ll just ride my bike!”
(Howard) “Uh… OK. I guess you’ll just be thaumaturgying up then.”
Well… that was consistent with what Raymond told him about how Anderson got up to the demesne.
Oh well. Sometimes you just wind up with a short session…
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXX – The Djinn of the Lamp (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice, Aikiko’s Search, Prelude I from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXI – Meeting the Nocturnals (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Yggdrasil, the Tree of Worlds (Wood Manse *****) (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session VL – I’m Going To Flurry Manse Construction! There’s No “Rate” Limit On That, Right? (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session LVI – The Exultant Avalanche (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LIV – A Constellation Of Effects (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session LV – Wraiths, Wyldjumps, and Wanderers (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LVIII – Moonsilver Interlude (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXIX – Where Have All The Flowers Gone? (ruscumag.wordpress.com)