Hm. Mechagodzilla was back on post – presumably waiting for some information on where to look for her – so evidently she’d given it the slip for the moment.
So… A Cauldron-Born had come to Oregon, taken over a Freehold under Crater Lake (where the local Raksha were keeping a lost tribe of native americans), and built Mechagodzilla. He had then created a local identity and befriended a local football player.
The local football player had… killed an attacking grizzly bear with a stick while camping and – either then or a little later – had Exalted as Lunar.
The pair of them had then hung around a small town fraternity house partying until Mechagodzilla had attacked and captured them both. They had then… taken over the Freehold AND Mechagodzilla and put the Raksha to work repainting the scuff marks on Mechagodzilla while the new Lunar continued to do nothing but party…
OK; there were bits of that that made no sense; if the Cauldron-Born was ruling the Freehold, why would Mechagodzilla attack them both? Why would the Raksha then take them back home and let them escape and seize Mechagodzilla again? Why was the Lunar doing nothing but party? Sure, partying was fun, but Exaltations normally didn’t settle for people who didn’t want to do much; they were looking for great heroes with big dreams, great strength of will, and mighty destinies – the best candidates for that particular kind of exaltation in the universe!
Or at least within range. They HAD originally been designed to function in a much smaller universe… Could you MAKE someone a best candidate in whatever their search radius was? You could train them for it like the Terrestrials used to do (maybe still did?), but that was usually when they were kids. You could manipulate events and put them in positions where they could be heroic, and the Sidereals could probably give someone a mighty destiny… Wait; if Exaltations responded to destinies that meant that they did use the Loom, at least to some extent, in their search.
Actually, I suspect that some writer noted that Heroic Mortals got more bonus points than Solar Exalts – and yet Solar Exalts were generally Heroic Mortals to start with. Ergo they threw in a “Destiny” requirement that would go away on Exaltation to soak up the excess bonus points without thinking much about the implications – such as humans outside of fate not being able to Exalt. Then other writers established that humans who were outside of fate COULD Exalt, but that it was ever rarer than usual. Evidently Exaltations do tap into the Loom, and give some weight to recommendations from Lytek, and probably the sponsoring Incarnae – but they also have at least some independent sources of information. Like a College Admissions Board; they look at a lot of stuff, and the reasons for their ultimate decisions are often a mystery.
And at least one of the Cauldron-Born – Demien – was originally a Sidereal. Now with Raksha powers too… Were they shaping suitable circumstances through the Loom? Could he possibly be using Wyld Charms that interfaced with the Loom? Even if it was only setting up someone to be LIKELY to Exalt… they could be there first when they did, or they could at least… hang around and wait. A few months or years was nothing to an Exalt OR a Raksha!
That didn’t really explain the “kidnapping” – but that… could just be a bit of fakery. Some sort of mind game (possibly even on the Lunar’s side), or a test run, or an experiment, or perhaps simply keeping anyone else from finding “their” new Exalt, or maybe even just boredom… Once they had the young man thoroughly entangled in vices and pleasures… it might be quite awhile before a physically-oriented sort figured out that something was going on, and by then it could be far too late!
Presumably the other Sidereals could spot that sort of thing – but they got so little Loom time these days, and they wouldn’t necessarily know the significance. Even if they did, it might just be embarrassing enough for someone to cover up – or be bogged down in committee.
Huh! An Investigation Excellency was fun, but you had to watch yourself or you’d wander off into speculation once you turned it on… “When you are being pursued by a gargantuan death machine” was really not the time though!
Did Charles have one, or was he just that way naturally? She could see HIM wandering off into speculation while actively being eaten…
Should she make an approach? It was entirely possible that the guy was ALREADY a Cauldron-Born – and all he’d have to do would be to hold her up until Mechagodzilla and the Raksha arrived; she was good, but fighting a Lunar, a Cauldron-Born, a swarm of Raksha, and Mechagodzilla seemed like a bit much to ask! Heck, with as many mutations as they’d apparently been granted, she couldn’t entirely discount the humans in here!
Wait… Could it have been that simple? “You got defeated, obviously you need some more power, here man! Try this! This is great!”. After all, they could presumably recruit other Exalts to be more Cauldron-born just by taking them to the Cauldron – or bringing the Cauldron to them… Maybe she could start on her crusade to punch the Wyld by punching that thing – presuming she could FIND the blasted thing!
Still, with any luck he’d only decided to become the Cauldron-Born’s lieutenant. The possible benefits were pretty blatantly obvious… Still, considering the amount of Wyld Energy he’d been showing… Rather more than just getting some graces would really account for!
She took a more detailed look. It shouldn’t be hard to get away with it; his current activities were keeping him pretty distracted.
A truly detailed analysis was beyond her – but he definitely had graces, almost certainly had a selection of Raksha Charms, had more motes than a new Lunar has any right to – and had rather a LOT of wyld energies in him. If not a Cauldron-Born she didn’t know what. That was pretty worrisome… and she’s deep in here, with no support, and Mechagodzilla likely still on alert for her! Worse, the didn’t know any way out but through the sky – and that was both pretty conspicuous and right in front of Mechagodzilla!
Well, there HAD to be some way in and out other than the lake. It wouldn’t be like Raksha not to have an escape route or two – and, as a bonus, they were probably too small for Mechagodzilla to get through!
She’d just have to look – which might take weeks – or take someone aside (although that would be pretty hard on her cover and disguise, such as it was. It would be weird to have someone who should already know asking about such things). Well, perhaps she could snatch and question someone.
A kid would be easiest… It wasn’t like she needed a lot of complicated details!
Need local information? To interrogate someone who won’t be missed for hours? Grab a kid! They’re conveniently to hand almost everywhere, easy to get answers out of, and easily disposed of! All your spying needs in one easy-to-grab package! Torture some kids to death today!
-A public disservice advertisement from your Local Deathlord.
The selection of kids around was actually fairly limited – but there was soon a muffled “eep!” sound as Aikiko reached out to cover a small girls mouth and drag her behind a building!
(Aikiko) “Don’t freak out! I just want to know if there’s anywhere you don’t go around here.”
(Small Girl) “Er… Lots of places! Other people’s houses, and the lordly pavilions, and the really rough hills, and (the list went on for awhile)… Why’d you grab me?”
(Aikiko) “Uhm… I’m trying to go out into the world outside! You haven’t heard any stories about it, have you?”
(Small Girl) “It’s a bad place! If you go out very long you’ll die! You don’t want to go THERE!”
(Aikiko) “And how do you know that?”
(Small Girl) “Mommy and daddy say so!”
(Aikiko) “And who told them that?”
(Small Girl) “Everybody knows that! You start getting sick after only a few hours!”
Huh! Wha… OH! That mutated were they? Aikiko took a careful look…
Longevity, regeneration, awakened essence, immunity to disease, resistant to poison, extra good-looking, beautiful voice, stamina based soak, essence sight, wyld tolerance – and the ability to reliably pass on all those attributes – among some other items, all inconspicuous and beneficial.
They were way too mutated to live in Creation for long, all right!
(Aikiko) “Well, I just want to take a peek…”
The girl did know some rough locations; she wasn’t supposed to go there though! Older people sometimes went out for a few hours, but never for long – everything they needed was in here anyway!
Kiko listened – and eventually found out that there were at least three three back doors; one through a cave, one that emerged in a ravine, and one that was supposed to be somewhere under the lords palaces.
Well… the Palace would be unexpected, and might well get her more information – but it would be very VERY risky, as well as right under Mechagodzilla’s nose! The ravine should be safe enough with her superlative athletic skills though… and, on this side, the path was in the hills, about a third of the way around the enclave. It should correspond to the foothills of the peak.
Well, she’d try to survey possible routes a bit and see which one to attempt!
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXVIII – Pursuit Cantata, The First Movement (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXVII – The Azure Depths (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – Kaiju, Manses, And Building On A Cult (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXV – Fraternal Affairs (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXVI — Toho’s Tokyo Towers (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXIV – On The Oregon Trail (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice LXXXI (Part I) – Too Many Cooks from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice – The Modern Gates, Part II (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice – The Modern Gates, Part III (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXIII — The Dark Tournament (ruscumag.wordpress.com)