The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice CXXXIII – An Impersonal Alchemy

Hiroshige, The station Kanaya

Well, I WAS running out of themes…

While the Tsunami was gathering speed – or, more accurately, phasing further into the older metric framework while maintaining a constant speed (a trick that required more and more power and skill to remain in touch with normal space as you went deeper) – there were people back on Earth who’d been keeping track of Charles. They hadn’t been sure that he wasn’t just a front before – after all, why would Elzeard refer contact attempts to anything else? – but now he was tracking as being in Creation, but not on Earth.

That was interesting – although, if Charles was actually responsible for some of the things that had gone wrong recently, some of them weren’t sure whether they wanted to talk to him or punch him in the nose. In some cases (especially after what happened with the Morgans) – it was both.

Still, Elzeard had given them a phone number for “Charles Dexter Ward”.

Charles was very pleased! Finally, someone who was willing to simply contact him directly!

(Charles) “Hello!”

(Kanaya) “Is this Charles Dexter Ward?”

(Charles) “Well, yes! What’s up? I don’t think we’ve met!”

(Kanaya) “No, we haven’t… have you been to the Atlanta Museum of Natural History recently? Say, in the past year or so?”

(Charles) “Well, yes!”

(Kanaya) “Okay, I’ve got some things I need to return to you then…”

(Charles, with some surprise) “Oh?”

(Kanaya) “Yeah, I’m pretty sure you misplaced them somewhere in the museum, and retrieved them for you. We’d like to give them back to you. And maybe help you in the future with keeping these things more… discreet.”

(Charles) “Oh, are you fussing over the Hipparions? You do realize that I’ve established them in several places and access will be widespread shortly?”

(Kanaya) “Oh no, that was enough of a problem. The thing is, you also left some curious artifacts there. We managed to catch one of the museum staff playing with them… though penetrating her wards was no small task. Animals are easy enough to explain these days, but THAT? What in the Malfeas is your plan? Are you intending to start a magical revolution, Mr. Ward?”

(Charles) “Not at all! There’s no need to be revolutionary about it!”

(Kanaya) “Then what is your intent here? Do you know what a crazed mortal could do with enlightenment? It would wreck the current structure of society – and cause enough chaos to give THEM an opening!”

(Charles) “That’s why I’m arranging to spread things out a bit! And crazy mortals are no worse than crazy gods, and raksha, and everybody else!”

(Kanaya) “And what did you do to the Morgans? I don’t know what happened, but for some reason, we’ve been set to bring in the clan head, his eldest son, and some Awakened thaumaturge. I can understand the first two, but not the third. Whatever it is has my superiors angry!”

Charles promptly checked with the Coatl he’d left with the museum scientists; they should have called if there was serious trouble – but did someone swipe the apparatus?

(Charles) “I gave them a little help! Mostly some upgrades! Anyway, if your superiors are cross, why aren’t they calling?”

Between the powers and Adenic Thaumaturgy of three Coatl, and the Adenic Thaumaturgy of Dr Roberts, Dr Valenti, and the Ecologist, the raiders had never even found the biological lab or the apparatus there – but Dr Aguerro’s lab had been open rather than being hidden, and was only protected by the wards of one Coatl and Dr Aguerro – and a group of Terrestrials had confiscated her gear. Well, as long as everyone was safe, apparatus was easy to replace! Still… they were being watched, with Charms and physical surveillance alike.

(Kanaya) “Ha! They’re currently pursuing a lead on the Morgans’ location. I don’t know much more than that-they’re not telling me.”

(Charles, sighing) “Do you REALLY want me to send the Morgans a few hundred major guardians to help out? Wouldn’t it be a LOT simpler for them to talk?”

(Kanaya, with some shock) “You can do that!?”

(Charles, a bit blankly) “Why not?”

(Kanaya) “Arrrgh… let me guess, you’re working with the Insidious too.”

(Charles) “That bunch? It’s not like they have any time to do anything but run around trying to catch the MAJOR casuality errors, even if they weren’t divided into a bunch of different factions.”

(Kanaya) “Oh, that’s hard to buy… they’re Celestial Exalted! They can do anything!”

(Charles, patiently) “Think about it. One hundred of them – well, two hundred now – and trillions and trillions of galaxies for things to go wrong in. How busy to you think they are?”

(Kanaya) “I… (embarrassed) wait, there’s THAT few of them?”

(Charles) “Well, you DO know that Autochthon only built so many of them don’t you?”

(Kanaya) “That’s a different story than what I heard…they said they were a defect in the system, a lot like these black Exalts that have been running around. You know, the ones that aren’t linked to death but break causality? I have a feeling you’d know about them, anyway.”

(Charles) “No, the Sidereals are part of the original set! The Nocturnals are new though; they’re related to dimensional intersections!”

(Kanaya) “Ooookay… that’s not what I was told. I think we need to talk about some stuff.”

(Charles, rather blankly) “Aren’t we?”

(Kanaya) “Gah… this is how you suck people in isn’t it… well, I’ll bite. What’s really going on here? Do you have a source for what you’re telling me about – “Sidereals”, you called them?”

(Charles) “What, you want the history of the universe and some references? That’s easy enough – and personally, they work out of the Bureau of Destiny and the Loom of Fate and it’s various subdivisions. That’s not all that far from school really; take one of the fast canals and it’s only about an hour and a half even if you don’t have faster ways. Lets see…”

Charles cheerily traced the phone link, set up a quick link to work over, and transmuted some air into a pile of copies of some of the relevant books next to Kanaya.

(Kanaya) “Whoa… okay.”

What, this child was capable of holding the patterns of entire libraries in his head – otherwise his having the patterns handy for a pile of books suited to that specific query was vanishingly unlikely – as well as being capable of FINDING her through her own ward, and sending detailed transmutation-spells across millions of light years just to give her some BOOKS? Aargh! Of COURSE he was! He had to be doing something similar just to keep his PHONE working, and didn’t even regard it as important!

Fortunately, SHE had some ways to just scan through information sources…

(Kanaya) “Okay, so they’re blind idiots, but not MALEVOLENT blind idiots?”

(Charles) “Way overworked and they tend to think that being responsible for the Loom makes them all-knowing when it’s really pretty limited. Still, without them major chunks of Creation would dissolve into chaos again!”

(Kanaya) “That doesn’t sound like people with an iron fist on the windpipe of Heaven.”

(Charles) “Heaven mostly ignores them these days!”

(Kanaya) “That’s… not what I heard at all. Is this why they usually run when we catch them these days? They’re so busy that we’re… just a nuisance? You told the Morgans all this stuff, didn’t you?”

(Charles, with some surprise again) “Of course! And they operate across the universe, although Earth IS important… but there are rarely more than a one or two dozen things that need fixing there a year, and some years there aren’t any.”

(Kanaya) “So I take it you work with them in Heaven.”

(Charles) “I give them some help sometimes, but there are lots of other things to fix!”

(Kanaya) “That does explain some things. I’m going to call the younger son after I finish with you; he’s been stonewalling for his father. Do you think he’d talk to me if I said you told me what was really going on?”

(Charles) “I suppose he would! I can’t guarantee it of course…. Anyway, just on Earth there’s reforestation, and pollution, and war, and population pressure, and mass extinctions, and resource depletion, and all that needs fixing, and in Yu-Shan there are lost domains, and deiphagy, and potential geomantic collapse, and a lot of things THERE that need fixing, and there are a LOT of planets in the universe that need work…”

(Kanaya, first gaping at him and then interrupting the flow of projects) “And you’re out to fix all that? By yourself? You’ve got to have backing for that!”

(Charles, reasonably) “Why?”

(Kanaya) “Well, surely you’ve got someone backing you? The materials for all these artifacts can’t come cheap, and even if you’re working with Heaven, I’ve been told the bureaucracy up there is murder.”

(Charles) “Mostly I trade for or create those! And I only subcontract with Yu-Shan; that lets me bypass most of the paperwork stuff!”

(Kanaya) “There’s always a loophole… anyway, can you get me up into Heaven? They say we’d be treated like animals up there, but these books say we won’t be bothered if we have a guardian who lives there. I want to see things for myself before I trust you too much!”

(Charles, cheerily opening a gate) “Oh sure!”

A woman with dark hair and unusually fluid motions poked her head into Aden…

(Kanaya) “Nice place. Some kind of chancel?”

(Charles) “There’s a relationship of sorts! Aden is more of a pocket universe though! Anyway, you wanted a look around Yu-Shan? Because Gorim runs a daily tour, and that starts in about an hour!”

(Kanaya) “Just a peek – I don’t want to be too long. My superiors are waiting for a – wait, a daily tour? How long does that take?”

(Charles) “About two hours! Gorim is a god of public transportation, and he’s running a small partnership with Nikean, a god of tour-guides… They both like actually participating in their domains sometimes!”

Kanaya wanted to speak with them both before going on the tour, and feel them out, but once she’d determined that they were on the up and up, the tour began. It would turn out to be… rather shocking!

Charles basically waved… that aspect was mostly just a projection, and couldn’t leave the manse after all!

He was reading a book when she got back.

(Kanaya) “So let me get this straight. Yu-Shan is about seven-tenths slum, and the only people trying to do anything about it are either pariahs or just overlooked? And the unemployment rate is about that much too?”

(Charles) “That’s about right! Most of the old links with Earth were broken during the reshaping, and that left a lot of gods with no domains and nothing to do. Gaia’s last command to most of the Terrestrial gods was apparently to let the humans develop undisturbed – and so “divine intervention” is pretty rare these days! Even when there’s a link available, hardly anyone even remembers how to call any longer.”

(Kanaya) “So I guess part of what you’re doing is opening up those old links.”

(Charles) “And making some new ones! And to some new planets; there’s no reason at all to let most of the current universe go unused!”

Gaah! The kid really was planning on rebuilding the known universe to make it better. And it looked like he might actually be CAPABLE of it. She could realistically say that her superiors couldn’t do that, at least not quickly. What was she dealing with?

(Kanaya) “Hrm. that puts me in a bind.”

(Charles) “Oh? Why?”

(Kanaya) “Well… you’re not doing anything wrong other than being indiscreet, but you don’t know what’s going on with the Morgans any more than I do, AND I have a report to write. Plus… I’m not sure, but I know I haven’t had contact with one of my superiors since the incident.”

(Charles, with immediate concern) “Do you have any way to call them? They might have gotten hurt or something!”

(Kanaya, wondering if he could REALLY be worried about people he’d never met who wanted to stop him) “Yeah, I used the normal means, but I got nothing. And when I tried magic, it was blocked off by Celestial magic.”

(Charles) “Well, I should be able to get through that in most cases! Want me to give it a try?”

(Kanaya) “Yeah, because I’m getting worried. It’s not like him to be out of contact this long.”

(Charles) “Well, who am I trying to reach?”

(Kanaya) “Codename Bright Oscillating Shield.”

(Charles) “Hm! Aboard Autochthon then? I have a gate there, which will make it easier!”

(Kanaya) “Autochthon? Wow… do you just have a gate EVERYWHERE?”

(Charles) “Well… a lot of places! Time to try that one!”

Unfortunately, that didn’t get him very far; Bright Oscillating Shield wasn’t within Autochthon’s world body. The link pointed back to Earth instead.

Well, that was easy enough. Earth it was!

He ran straight into a Celestial ward, which was easy enough to overwhelm. It was somewhere in the southern Appalachians, on the Georgia end.

(Charles) “Hello!”

(Bright Oscillating Shield, in static-filled tones) “Hello? This is really embarrassing. Who is this?”

(Charles) “Well I’m Charles! Why is it embarrassing?”

(Bright Oscillating Shield) “To fall for a trick like this… I’m worried sick. They’re talking about getting the dissection equipment.”

(Charles) “Kanaya was wanting to get in touch, so I’m helping her out… And that doesn’t sound good!”

(Bright Oscillating Shield) “What, Kanaya Derevi? Is she there with you?”

(Charkes) “Well yes! Are you in trouble?”

(Bright Oscillating Shield) “Tell her to assemble the squad right now! I want this place razed to the ground!”

(Charles) “Now that’s not very nice! Why?”

(Bright Oscillating Shield) “They dare to turn their backs on us – and then take ME to be a mere lab subject? Once I’m free of this protocol, I’ll take my saws and…”

That segued into a rather violent rant about shearing through every Terrestrial and Awakened in the place. Not pleasant at all!

(Charles) “I think you need to be separated there! Is there anyone else trapped there with you?”

(Bright Oscillating Shield) “Oh, their little clan head has his hands on me – I think that has something to with it. But he’s got to sleep SOME TIME, and when he does…”

There were whirring noises, unpleasant in their grinding and screeching.

Charles sighed, widened the focus, and had a look around… forty or fifty feet should be more than enough, at least to start – and that showed a sealed containment chamber, not quite factory-cathedral level. Mr. Morgan was there, supporting himself on what appeared to be a variant of the Eternal Crystalline Encasement spell; his right arm was pretty deep in there. His fist was touching what appeared to be a massive man made entirely out of jade – and they were pretty much staring each other down.

(Charles) “Oh Hello there Mr Morgan!”

(Mr. Morgan) “Ah… hello, Charles. I should have expected you to check on me.”

He sounded worrysomely exhausted; a peep over the link revealed that it was pretty much Essence and a lot of alchemy keeping him standing at this point.

(Charles) “Uhm… Are you having to contain that fellow?”

(Mr. Morgan) “Yes! Something is very wrong with him, and I’m not going to risk him running amok in the atelier-chapel. So we took him here, and we’ve been containing him in shifts.”

(Charles) “Ah. Well, shall I take him off your hands? If he’s here for a bit, it should fix whatever’s wrong!”

(Mr. Morgan) “In Aden? He’s built for combat – that’s why I didn’t call you. We want to remove all his combat abilities first.”

(Charles) “Well, I can make indestructible barriers at a moments notice, would that do?”

(Mr. Morgan) “That should work!”

Charles popped over with Gothmug and collected Bright Oscillating Shield – still restrained though, at least for the moment!

(Charles) “Do you need anything else Mr Morgan? I’ll try to get him sorted out!”

(Mr. Morgan) “A bed would be nice… and watch out for nanite infections!”

Chalres made him a quick artifact bed of extreme restfulness – and he fell asleep on it pretty much the instant he hit it.

(Charles) “Now Mr Bright Oscillating Shield? Is there anything wrong besides getting into an argument there?

Unfortunately, Bright Oscillating Shield was currently charging, as tendrils of SOMETHING popped out of his back. It looked like viscous motor oil, but motor oil did not normally smell like decay. Indestructible barriers it was – and there was a LOT of banging against those barriers.

(Charles) “Dear me! There really does seem to be something badly wrong with him!”

He called in Malinda the Diviner and Sovanth the Healer!

(Charles, to Kanaya) “Huh! It seems that there’s something seriously wrong with him… Do you know of anything that does that to – I’d bet an Alchemical?”

(Kanaya, who was much dismayed by the banging in the barriers) “I don’t know! He was always so… CALM when he spoke to me.”

Malinda and Sovanth involuntarily shuddered when they troed to analyze the issue.

(Malinda) “It feels like… slow death and decay. It certainly has an unpleasant sapience and wants to consume everything in rage.”

(Sovanth) “I don’t think thaumaturgy will work on this… it’s definitely linked to something bigger than him.”

(Malinda) “I wouldn’t prod it without protection, dearie. It’s been there for at least 150 years.”

(Charles) “Hrm! I don’t exactly have any absolute medical charms… and it’s going to take a LONG time for my Geomancy to do much with it isn’t it?”

(Sovanth) “At best, you would be able to suppress it. There’s good news, though; your shaping protections should work against it.”

(Charles) “Something from Autochthon I suspect… But that is good news! I… suppose we’ll have to contact wheverer his home base is to consult… Botheration! Can we tell who I should try to call?”

(Malinda) “I’ll have to reach across the dimensions for that, but it’s no trouble, dearie! This is worrying! Lets see if the Seal of Eight Divinities is still in place…”

(Charles) “Well, I was figuring on using the gate again… And the Seal it must be open or they wouldn’t be back!”

He opened the gate and put in a call – searching for an authority in Bright Oscillating Shield’s home area… After all, he was handy to use for a link! It took a little while – but eventually he got someone speaking in what sounded like VERY deviant Old Realm. He could pretty much get “Hello,” though! He got translation magics and programs running!

(Charles) “Hello there! Do you have a few minutes? I need to talk about Mr Bright Oscillating Shield!

(Voice) “Huh… this is coming from… outside the Maker!?!? Who is this?”

(Charles) “Oh, I’m Charles Dexter Ward! And I was calling across dimensions because Mr Bright Oscillating Shield seems to be very sick with something very nasty and I don’t think I can do better than suppressing it at the moment, and that will take awhile!”

(Voice) “Oh, bother… look, describe the symptoms to me, OK?”

Charles did.

(Voice) “Okay, that’s what I thought. He’s got Gremlin Syndrome, kid. Not even we know what to do about that… usually, they turn themselves in before it gets that bad, and it sounds like he got far enough that he had special things from it.”

(Charles) “Hm… Mind-affecting? On the physical side of the neural network?”

(Voice) “That’s… usually where it starts. If you let it spread, it takes over the whole body, and exmachina help you then. So where’d you find him? The last we’d heard from that expedition, they’d found the Elemental Pole of Earth. I’ll need some information for my shift chief.”

(Charles, thoughtfully) “Hm! So his mind is being corrupted by a distortion of his physical self… Well, then… Just a minute!”

He attuned Bright Oscillating Shield to the privacy manse, and closed most of his physical mind down to near-coma levels; that would at least leave him coherent! Highly artificially so of course, but it was worth a try!

Given that it was not at all an attack, most of Bright Oscillating Shield’s defenses did not help a bit. He was notably stiffer – but seemed coherent again!

(Charles) “Hello there! I’m aware that you won’t exactly be feeling well, but hopefully you’re able to think straight for the moment? We’re in touch with… uhm, who are you over there?”

(Keldan) “Harvester Keldan of Xexas, kid. The Champion won’t know me – my grandpa was young when they left!”

(Charles) “Oh dear! Well anyway… Bright Oscilating Shield, Harvester Keldan of Xexas and vice-versa! You should be able to be sensible now! I’m sorry, I can’t provide an immediate cure for this “Gremlin Syndrome” stuff; I’ll have to think about it! But you did make it to the Elemental Pole of Earth though – now mostly known as “The Earth”.

(Bright Oscilating Shield) “Xexas? Home… Harvester, inform your superiors that the expedition succeeded but encountered unexpected difficulties.”

(Keldan) “Already on it, Champion.”

(Charles) “If you can tell me who to add, I’ll try to get them in on the conference!”

(Bright Oscillating Shield turned to Charles) “You have no idea what you’ve done for me; there’s no way I can repay even for the suppression of… THAT. Would it work on the others?”

(Charles) “It should!”

(Bright Oscillating Shield) “Then we must bring them here, to wherever THIS is.”

(Charles) “Oh well, this is Aden!”

Meanwhile, Keldan had returned to the link.

(Keldan) “Okay, Charles, add Chief Harvester Yandel; he’s not too far from here.”

Charles cheerily did so.

(Yandel) “You are Charles Dexter Ward? I’d never thought WE wouid be the first people in the city to speak with someone from Earth. I understand you have an Exalted from the missing expedition with you? Ah yes, I can feel him on the link…”

(Charles) “Unfortunately, he has a nasty case of what you apparently call “Gremlin Syndrome”. I’m suppressing the mental effects at the moment; but I haven’t yet found a way to cure it.

(Yandel) “There isn’t one other than euthanasia, which is a shame and a waste of Magical Materials.”

(Charles, disapprovingly) “I think I can probably come up with something better than THAT!”

(Yandel, with some amusement) “That’s a tall order. Nevertheless, if you think you can do it, you’re welcome to try.”

After all, they’d been trying for nearly forty thousand years, and they weren’t even sure where it came from! There were a few people who thought that it was a chronic condition of the Maker, but that… was just absurd! How could something like that be inherent to the Maker?

(Yandel) “Now, Bright Oscilating Shield… would you care to tell us what happened? We have some idea, but it would be good to have a Champion confirm it.”

(Charles) “Well, I can only stabilize it and suppress the mental effects so far. but I haven’t really had any time to look into things yet…”

Then he shut up to listen!

Bright Oscillating Shield explained. The expedition had launched successfully. They even had a means of interstellar travel through the biggest member of their expedition. (That one, Celerous Dart of the Heavens, sounds an awful lot like one of Charles’ living starships). Unfortunately, for an unprotected Alchemical, being in deep space in Creation turned out to be a lot like being in a Void zone – and one of them already had some illicit tech installed that caused him to fall to Gremlin Syndrome. The rest of the trip to Earth was not fun for the rest of them in the slightest. And on the way they ran into some Abyssals.

They did know about the Sidereal Exalted, and had originally intended to establish diplomatic relations. But after extended discussion, the leader of the expedition changed his tune, and when they got to Earth, and saw that Terrestrials were present, they got the idea to turn them against the Sidereals.

(Charles, interjecting) “Uhrm… why?”

(Bright Oscillating Shield) “We knew that they had used them in the past, and that some of them had worked with them. Our idea was that if we could turn those who controlled the planet against the remaining Celestial Exalted on Earth, we could establish secret control and claim the world for the masses back home.”

(Yandel) “Especially here, I would say. Crowding is a problem everywhere, but we are bad off in that area.”

(Charles, helpfully) “Oh, would you like some fresh habitable planets?”

(Yandel) “Err… excuse me? I think I understand what you said, but surely you can’t just give those away!”

(Charles) “Well, they aren’t really much trouble to make! The universe is full of lumps of rock, so all you have to do change them to suit… It only takes a few minutes! And Gaia said I could change them if I wanted!”

(Yandel) “The Mother of Creation!? Keldan, WHAT IS HE?”

(Keldan) “I don’t know, sir, but he’s clearly not of the Maker. Or a powerful Void-creature playing a terrible prank on us, but he would have killed us by now if he was.”

(Bright Oscillating Shield)) “I assure you, Sodalts, he is not a Void-creature, and he is not in Autochthonia.”

(Yandel) “But do you really have that many worlds to give away? That does seem grandiose!”

Charles shifted the group in Aden over to the Well of Worlds and focused in on an appropriate chunk of rock.

(Charles) “It’s fairly simple really! There are lumps of rock like this all over the place, and you just need to change them like this” (he performed his usual terraforming). “A manse with a gate to you isn’t much trouble either…” (He added one). “And that way everyone will have more room!”

(Keldan, looking at the images) “Is not having a ceiling normal? It’s scary.”

(Charles) “Pretty normal for planets!”

(Bright Oscillating Shield) “No worries… the ground’s gravity will keep you from falling. And you’ll get used to the constant light.”

(Charles) “Anyway, planets are easy!”

Keldan… was REALLY starting to wonder! Charles had picked up and restrained a Champion with Advanced Gremlin Syndrome, called to get a little information about what it was, had promptly used that information to suppress the syndrome somehow – and had announced that he intended to cure it. And now THIS. Was he help sent from Gaia?

(Yandel) “I can’t accept for the Sodalities as a whole, but I can get this to the rest of them, and see if we can get you an audience with the Tripartite Assembly.”

(Charles) “Er… accept what?”

(Yandel) “Well, the planet deal.”

(Keldan) “Yeah, we have to get that approved by the Assembly. If nothing else… the Harvesters can’t move that many people on our own. FEED them, sure, but they’ll need lighting, factories – all the stuff for civilization.”

(Charles) “Well you said you needed some, so there’s no reason not to make you a few… The amenities will take a week or two to install; I mostly leave that the the construction crews!”

Although Charles couldn’t see it, in a very cramped office in a very cramped city, two Autochthonian officials were looking at each other and saying, “Is this really happening? It’s pretty extravagant for a prank!”

(Yandel) “What do you use for construction crews?”

(Charles) “Djinn mostly!”

(Keldan) “What’s a Djinn?”

(Charles) “Well, specialist gods really! I made them to do construction!”

OK. Even if this WAS a prank, it was getting reported to the Assembly… and to the Theomachracy. Maybe his name appeared in the Tome of the Great Maker somewhere?

(Yandel) “We’ll… see what we can do, okay? I think you’ll have a good chance of being heard, though!”

Charles was puzzled; were there complications here beyond giving a gift? Oh well!

(Charles) “Anyway… is there anything else you can tell me about this “Gremlin Syndrome” stuff? It needs fixing!”

(Yandel) “Well, that’s a subject not often discussed… certain Charms the Champions can install open them to the condition, and worsen it.” (He looked uncomfortable.) “Certain regions in the Maker’s body can also worsen it, affecting the exmachina of those regions and blighting the land. Now interaction with people like Keldan and me can cause it to subside for some time, but that’s not a permanent solution.”

(Charles) “Oh! So it’s a resonant effect of a greater problem affecting Autochthon then! That’s why local cures won’t work; you can suppress the problem, but it’s inherent within the link with Autochthon. It affects his internal spirits too I’d imagine?”

(Yandel) “That would be the case…”

(Charles) “So a healing effect applied to HIM on a sufficient scale should at least bring the problem back down to a manageable level, even if it IS likely to be chronic somehow; Primordials don’t normally get diseases, so it’s probably something in his power-set!”

Yandel was recording… in thirty thousand years, the Sodalts had come to expect that it was an inherent quality. It just kept coming back – and this enthusiastic child might not be RIGHT, but he obviously had a great deal of power and information that they didn’t. At worst there might be some clues to whatever he’d used to help Bright Oscillating Shield!

(Charles, musingly) “Hm… Entropic; associated with randomization – in itself precursor to creativity and invention. the more he pushes his power to create new things, the worse this will become… And I’d bet it went critical when he created the Celestial Exaltations and invested so much power in them. The problem has expanded since the early days as more Alchemical Exalts have been created hasn’t it?”

(Keldan, with some fascination… how much was the boy going to deduce? Did he actually have a theory ALREADY?) “Exponentially. Making contact with your world helped, but not enough.”

(Charles) “No, it wouldn’t… Contact with the Elemental Pole of Earth will help stabilize almost anything, but for genuine entropic reversal you need Wyld energies; that’s why he had no problem as long as that was where he hung out!”

(Yandel) “I’ve actually heard of this Wyld… some of the early archive reports from the expedition mentioned it. But the Tome of the Great Maker says he wanted to get away from that!”

(Charles) “I think it’s been too long! With enough wyld energy, anything can be restructured at whim – but that can produce instability! Generally… you don’t want too much wyld energy around until you REALLY need it! Have you projected the rate of decline?”

(Yandel) “Hrm… our estimates give him another two thousand years, give or take a few decades. I’m not sure about the Eight Nations; we don’t have contact with Autochthonia proper that much.”

(Charles) “Huh! I wonder if Gaia is sick too? Definitely needs fixing in any case!”

(Keldan) “Well, we might check her out yet… leave the gate open and we’ll send some people through unofficially.”

(Charles) “Oh, that’s just a planet! There are enough of those to make it pretty hard to calculate; Gaia mostly manifests herself in Yu-Shan these days. And the gates permanent! Planets are no good if people can’t get to them to live on them!”

(Yandel) “We’ll take a look, then.”

(Charles) “And thank you for the information! I’ll see if I can’t get the rest of the membes of your expedition aboard and back to sanity!”

(Bright Oscillating Shield) “Thank you Charles…”

(Keldan) “Yeah, thanks!”

(Charles) “And curing Autochthon can go on the schedule! And you’re welcome!

And Keldan and Yandel departed for frantic conferences.

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  1. […] Musings on Gremlin Syndrome: How, why, and how to treat. […]

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