At first, as the upwelling of cosmic force which had carried them both beyond the gates of death faded, Yuki concentrated on hauling the Dark Lord of the Ru’Kahl towards the light – but eventually she decided to hurl him into the abyss and proceed by herself. She was even fortunate enough to refrain from passing into the light herself, and began descending the Sephiroth.
As always, Death absorbed most of the excess power she was carrying – but she accidently freed the Red Dragon from his imprisonment in the first gate in her descent. As had been predicted so long ago, she had set him free. Unfortunately, when she returned to the dark dimension, there was nothing left but light – and Kanmari, who was busy radiating off his own excess powerload. Being Yuki and a dragon, they promptly got into an argument, than a competition of illusion-creation, and then arguments with their own subconscious projections and Mara, the illusion-demon of distractions (presuming that she actually existed). It took quite some time to settle that down, to return safely to earth, and to have a confrontation with Ranko, who was not amused at Yuki risking her life this way.
While the Sunwall attack had been going on, the Chauffeur had returned to dealing with Chi’an. Seven other dragons feeding him raw magical power. All that raw energy running loose in the human racemind. How should he handle this? In fact, given that level of magic, how should he IMAGINE this? It would make a difference. If he believed that they were actually changing the past there would be all kinds of consequences. Clearly that was not suitable. If he took the realm they were in as an actual, literal, dimension there would be some advantages – it would be clearly separate from reality, only unconscious beliefs and memories could be changed, the patch could be applied and limited, and his vehicle would be at full power – but it could impact all the phantasm planes, and social structures, and beliefs, of the world unpredictably. If he just saw them as adjusting a few subconscious memories via global transformation effects, the effects wouldn’t be so far-reaching, but they could be a lot sloppier in individual cases.
He elected to go with a dimension shaped by human minds, and thus both a real place and subject to transformation. It placed him at some disadvantage, but it seemed wisest. So: onto the astral after them. His helicopter wouldn’t be anything more than an expression of his will there – but all he could possibly be up against would be mental constructs, since he wouldn’t be in anything but an analogy.
He caught up with them at a memory of a WWII prison camp, embroiled in a conflict with Deathurge – or at least with a memory thereof. Kids. They’d both forgotten that they were only “fighting” memories and constructs. It took a little while to talk them out if the fight – but he managed eventually. Unfortunately, he couldn’t talk Chi’an out of his original idea – so he went along to limit the damage and help them navigate.
Now for the route – year to year, trauma to trauma, or linking through the White Necromancer?
It would probably be wisest to see how those traumas had played out: trauma to trauma it would be. He’d also make sure that they observed the initial trauma in detail – a couple of times – before they tried to interfere.
History was sad. There had been so many traumas, and so much pain.
It had been simple enough: an amplified telepathic attempt, made by some of the wisest and most powerful telepaths on earth at the time, to probe the dark places of the sky. A friendly attempt to communicate with the whisperers they sometimes heard, directed towards a “less busy” patch in an attempt to keep thing simple at first. Sadly, humanity as a whole was young and naive. They did not even suspect the powers of chaos that lay in wait between the galaxies – and as the insanity overwhelmed them, and spread throughout the web of minds that made up human civilization, there was madness, death, and suicidal efforts to escape. An adult celestial dragon intervened – but it’s raw power disrupted the biosphere of the earth, and most of the minds it touched withered and died as the insanity within them was burned away. It spared the human race from total madness and utter destruction – at the price of millions of horrific deaths, unguided by the shamans or eased by magic, the destruction of the dreamtime civilization, and the creation of the Sahara Desert. A horror of outsiders, a desperate fear of death and being alone, suspicion of psychic abilities, a reflexive fear of progress, out-of-control imaginations populating the darkness with monstrous visions, an inherent paranoia about the “unnatural” activities and lore of scholars and “experts” – all born in a few hours, despite the sorrow and regret of the Firstborn. Wards were set about the solar system and telepathy restricted – but little could be done to heal the wounds inflicted: without integration into the bioenergy fields of the earth, the power of the Celestial Dragons would do as much harm as good when used too near the planet.
So what to do? Chi’an and the White Necromancer were determined to do SOMETHING.
Simply erasing the entire episode would leave so much else unexplained – and the era was already about as repressed as it could get anyway. Put in a memory of benign external help? They didn’t need more passive looking to external aid for salvation, especially not with alien arms-merchants offering all-too attractive “deals”. Perhaps if they gave people something positive, something for themselves, some inner resource they could draw on to resist those ancient traumas…
Chi’an had a proposal for that: the Eleven Lights of Luathon would do nicely. Even a memory of them would bolster human resistance against another memory – and Luathon had power to spare.
Not bad. The Chauffeur ran some simulations on that. It took immense computing power, but he had a few Dragonseyes himself – and the computing power of the intergalactic network to draw on.
Hm. There would be side effects. The Bane Mummies would sense the attack on their power source and come to defend it. The negative energy couldn’t just vanish, it had to go somewhere. Left to itself, it would focus itself through the minds most attuned to it – yielding a new crop of supervillains, inspiring the study of dark magics, and strengthening demons. They’d have to ground it into something. That would mean a new crop of evil artifacts – but it wasn’t like they weren’t storing plenty of those now.
It would work better if they could focus the racemind – make it pay more attention and get the new information out to everyone more effectively – and if they had some way to boost and rebroadcast the signal. Well, the old Archmage could focus the Racemind – and he might be dead, but he hadn’t gone far and they did have the White Necromancer. Through him they could reach the dead and soothe that component of the racemind too. They could even use the dragonseyes and dragons – or at least the ones who were willing to listen to Chi’an – on earth to rebroadcast the signal. Of course, they’d need a lot of help to handle the Bane Mummy attack while they performed the spell – but Earth had quite a few telepaths and mystics who – unlike the situation in the power-sapping Ru’Kahl hell dimension – could help with that here.
The Chauffeur gathered his allies from across the globe, briefed them, and began.
They scored Magical Theory 18 (a 90% reduction in trauma – which would soon be felt as a diminution in hate-group recruiting, a reduction in evil phantasms, and elsewhere), Presence 21 (getting almost everyone to listen properly to the message), and Necromancy 17 – binding 85% of the dark power. The would still be some new villains, and quite a few new “gray” mages – but there would be some new heroes and heroic mages too.
They could call that a victory on two fronts. The Bane Mummies would be much diminished, and wouldn’t be coming back nearly so easily.
The Chauffeur frowned as they returned to the material plane in Alaska and the draconic power-chain wound down. The Celestial Dragons had been really helpful, even if they were childish and argumentive. Practically all of them were decent enough, and quite a few were even pretty heroic. Even Chi’an – for all his “teenage” glory-seeking and recklessness – meant well. It was simply wrong to see so many of them as slaves, just as it was wrong of the War God to transform and enslave human youngsters. It was true that they were an alien race, and that they had their own customs – but he had customs too, and seeing children enslaving and mutilating each other over stupid arguments and dominance games was very much against them. Weren’t they pretty much being fostered with humanity? Wasn’t part of the reason they were here to learn? Would it be within their own customs to at least try to talk them into behaving themselves? Shouldn’t they have SOME sort of adult role model?
That might even work. The fact that the Mandate was free to MAKE them behave should at least get most of them to listen. As for whether it was right to interfere – he’d try contacting their parents and see what they thought about the situation.