The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice, Part II

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You want HOW many of these?

Charles was too excited to sleep much – and so he was up very early indeed the next morning.

With rough list of ingredients on hand it was time to consider priorities!

  • Well, first up, the things he couldn’t yet make (like that Folding Ship) went straight to the “maybe sometime later” pile.
  • Things he COULD make, but would be really hard to explain, had to be designed, or called for unobtainable ingredients, got low priorities.
  • That left… the easier stuff, for which designs were available, and with readily-obtained components.

Well, that was an easy sort. And pretty much what would be expected of ANY new director! He could tell the workers… Oh wait. Politics was supposed to come into it too. After all, this WAS Yu-Shan!

It was normally half by ascending order of artifact complexity and half political? But that could easily result in a priority order that couldn’t be filled in ANY reasonable length of time jamming up the facilities for ages…

Oh, wait. No wonder nothing ever got done.

So…

WWW was probably important, and had been helpful enough to include a full set of schematics for his Tapestry Box. It was something mid-range and reasonable to build anyway.

Rua of the Perfected Forge was important, and had included directions as to where to pick up the designs in the archives. The stuff she wanted – her Thunderbolt Shield, Hearthstone Bracers, and Daikalbar – was fairly minor too, but it WAS three items.

Burning Feather was wildly popular, but was probably not in that big of a rush. Her Thousand Comfort Lounges and intoxicant-injecting claws would be convenient for her, but her thousands of pushers, advertising agencies, and the general stresses of modern life already made her work WAY too easy anyway.

Mr. Montague, the Chosen of Serenity, had included very COMPLETE details for his swift flyer – possibly indicating that he had no confidence in Charles’s abilities – but it WAS handy.

Details on most of the rest – except for that blasted plastic boat meant to fold up and to fly around on a cushion of bubbles – should be available in the libraries.

Well, the boat was on hold for the moment anyway.

Off to the libraries!

Not The Forbidding Manse of Ivy, or at least not to start with.

Ixiah sped right over! After all, Charles was going to work on his amulet first, right? Besides, it was always wise for an apparent mortal in Yu-Shan to have a minor god along!

Well, Ixiah’s Amulet of Shadow Walking wasn’t on the official list, but it was high up on the private projects list!

They took a private gondola. It saved explanations along the way (even if it took some explaining at the start) and they WERE on official business!

Charles did have to distract Ixiah with portable video games, but that was easy enough!

They soon arrived at the Garden of Artifice, one of the smaller artifact design archives in the Celestial City.

(Charles) “Hello Mr Celestial Lion!”

(Lion) “Good day, young . . . ah, Charles is it. What brings you to this library?”

(Charles) “Well, I have a lot of artifact-orders from various people, and I needed to look up some designs – if they’re available. Can we come in?”

The celestial lion debated the merits of admitting a god-blooded child and a child-god to the very formal libraries of heaven with himself for a moment. He looked them over with the adamant gaze all celestial lions give visitors.

(Lion) “Well, you and Ixiah are who you appear to be. Come in, and please do not disturb the other patrons.”

(Charles) “We’ll try not to!”

The gate swung open – and Charles tried to keep Ixian quiet, if mostly by turning down the sound on his portable game module (he’d forgotten to turn it down. Again). There were be odd looks, especially from stodgier gods. Quite a few of them seemed to be wondering where their parents were.

They headed for the (messy, if extremely ornate) filing cabinet…

Finding the minor artifact plans was be easy enough. Those sections saw enough use to be kept reasonably well-organized. The moderate ones… not so much. That filing cabinet was in sorry shape, although a human attendant was making a valiant effort at fixing that in minutes snatched between the demands of various divine library patrons.

(Charles) “Oh dear! Can I help with the sorting a bit? I need to find some artifact designs!”

(Archivest) “I’m not sure what my supervisor would think, but it couldn’t hurt. If you see a god with manila folders sprouting from his hair, look like you’re lost, okay?”

(Charles) “No problem!”

Hm… At least fifty or sixty hours of sorting here. All to be done in two-minute snatches in between the demands of patrons who were messing things up more. The Attendant was making remarkably good progress, but it was obvious that he spent most of his time trying to break even… Most mortals would just scream at this organizational system and run to a safe, quiet corner though, you had to give him credit for keeping with it!

Hmm… Nobody was obviously looking… Most of the people here were either looking through the stacks, thumbing through the cabinets, reading plans, or doing other things not at all related to research. He could get away with helping some!

Charles waited until the attendant was busy elsewhere for a minute or two, and applied the Laborer’s Word a few times… And done!

The attendant had been getting a cup of coffee. When he turned around he was a bit incredulous – and stared at the file cabinet, blinking.

(Charles) “There we go! Now let me see… I need to find…”

Charles started looking up and noting locations. They were easy to find now that everything was organized!

(Archivist, approaching discreetly) “Um… thank you. That system’s needed work for decades.”

(Charles) “Oh you’re welcome! I hate for things to be a mess!”

(Archivist, looking around to make that nobody was looking) “Do you… teach that?”

(Charles) “Hm… It seems to be a personal knack, but I could try to come up with something!”

After all, there should be variants on that ability – if, perhaps, a bit less effective, for pretty much everyone! It WAS pretty basic after all!

(Archivist) “I just learned how to channel Essence, so every bit helps.” (He gave Charles his contact information) “Why don’t you call me when you’ve got something? And is there anything I can help you with?”

(Charles) “Well… I was kind of wondering about making tools to make things with without going all the way up to wyld vortexes and things. Are there any designs that you know of for lesser tools like that?”

(Archivist) “Certainly, young man. Please follow me.”

Charles made sure to tow Ixiah along… You never knew what he might get up to if you left him alone and he WAS getting pretty impatient with having to be quiet and not jump around!

The “Essence Artifice” section of the archives was – of course – right between “Earth Artifice” and “Fire Artifice” segments.

The Wonderworker’s Mantle certainly looked like what he had in mind… He’d have to make one of those as quickly as possible!

Hm… A Dancing Dragon Ring would be quick and easy

A Dancing Dragon Ring (Artifact *) is forged with a spiraling pattern of intertwining elemental dragons with their eyes, fangs, and talons picked out with tiny inlays of the various magical materials. It’s a minor aid in efficiently channeling the flow of essence into magical effects. Once a mote is committed to the ring it can be attuned to any three charms or thaumaturgic effects given an hour of concentration each. The rings aid reduces the cost of using a charm by one mote (to a minimum of one mote) and allows Thaumaturgic effects to be used three times a day without cost. Unfortunately, using a Dancing Dragon Ring requires calm concentration and a delicate control of essence flows – luxuries which are not available in combat or emergency situations.

He also needed to come up with something for the Archivist… Still, that would be fairly easy, and he probably wasn’t expecting anything immediate.

Fortunately, heaven had copying machines, even if they were magical and fueled by ambrosia! He had a small official budget for things like that anyway!

Oops… he’d gotten so interested in the artifact designs that he’d forgotten to keep an eye on Ixiah. He’d have to find Ixiah and find out what he was up to.

Oh dear, he seemed to be walking on top of the shelves over by the stairway. In – or at least on top of – the section on artifact musical instruments. Heading to swing on the vines, even if he was still playing with his game system.

Wait, vines?

Oh yes, the “Garden of Artifice.”

Oh dear. Charles busily prepared to prop things up if necessary. At least he had pretty much everything he needed…

(Charles, on the link) “Ixiah, if you get us into trouble it will hold up your amulet!”

(Ixiah) “I’m just looking around! I never went to this place before!”

Well, there were a few interesting designs over there. Artifact string and woodwind instruments. Some self-playing, others capable of breaking down structures, a few able to play the chords of death?!? What a nasty thing to do to something dedicated to art! Probably some of those elder Sidereals, they could be quite nasty at times!

Definitely time to leave before the kid in Ixiah got ahead of the god… They had loads of stuff to carry anyway – scrolls and sheets covered with artifact designs, past all the older gods – some of whom were staring at Ixiah quite hard.

Hopefully he hadn’t pickpocketed them all or something. He really should be more careful! 8: Having kids in your domain only went so far toward mitigating mischievousness.

Oh well, the gods were probably assuming that they were just messengers or some such. It wasn’t like either of them was especially famous or influential and they WERE kids.

Back at the Factory-Cathedral it looked like all of the plans would work – although some of them were a lot less clear than others. Clearly some of these weren’t composed with the help of Charms – and the one for that soulsteel Windblade is particularly unclear. Almost as if the archivists didn’t want people building it, but didn’t have the clout to make it forbidden.

Well, they were down on private aerial transport in Yu-Shan.

Ixiah left – something about business at the Golden Barque – but Charles was deep in the plans by then… Most of the rest were quite good enough, and he wouldn’t be getting to the Windblade for some time. Under normal circumstances the orders he already had would take YEARS.

Oops! Time for school!

School was pretty casual in Yu-Shan. The God-Blooded almost ALWAYS enjoyed extended lifespans – in one way or another – and it was often more a matter of developing natural talents than training. It was usually only a few hours out of the day, with most of the rest being spent on practical learning – apprenticeships, jobs, and service to the various divinities.

Today’s lessons were ancient history, both mundane and occult, advanced thaumaturgy, and – to work off stress – a bit of fencing.

Ancient history was pretty dull… Charles was already an expert THERE, and – save for the occasional new factoid – class was just a desperate struggle to conceal how competent he already was so as to avoid annoying the rest of the class (and occasional intervals when he was unable to resist teaching a bit). Advanced Thaumaturgy was another one he mostly already knew, but the details of the rituals were interesting. Fencing… at that he was just TERRIBLE. You could hurt people in that class if you weren’t careful!

(Very minor war deity, fuming slightly) “The end that isn’t pointy, if you please.”

(Charles) “Uhm… Ok!”

He was busy inspecting the workmanship as an on-guard position…

(Charles) “About three centuries… Looks like the Islessian flexible-steel alloy… Needs a bit of regrinding on the lower edge there, a bit of a nick, balance would be improved with a pommelstone about 5% heavier…”

He was considering the proper spell to cast on it when another blade hit it.

(War God) “Pay less attention to the craftsmanship and more attention to the fight!”

He was trying not to hurt the boy – after all, with a job like his, he must have a fairly powerful parent – but the boy REALLY needed to pay attention!

(War God) “Do you remember the basic stance from last week?”

(Charles) “Erm… How’s this?”

The war god sighed. The child was obviously unskilled – and just as obviously was a pacifist – but he was very fast and smooth, which was something. There was potential at least.

(War God) “You have potential, but you need to pay attention to your positioning. If you leave yourself open like that, your opponents will eat you alive. Here, I’ll demonstrate again.”

The boy did follow reasonably well. Just very non-aggressive. Well, the boys grandfather was insisting on combat training, even if the kid wasn’t too well suited to it. Was the child planning on defending himself with magic? God-blooded rarely had the essence reserves for that – or the power, even if they COULD learn a few basic charms. Yes, the kid was skilled in healing thaumaturgy – as demonstrated by his ability to patch up the other students when they got hurt, like (sigh) that one now.

Yes, healing was a welcome skill in any unit – but thaumaturgy was completely useless in an actual fight unless the child was up to actual sorcery. Oh well. Even if combat was never going to be natural to the child, he could at least be competent at defending himself. Besides, who knew? He might actually have the talent for Sorcery. He certainly had a talent for artifice.

(Charles) “You all right there?”

(Temerith, child of a textile god) “Yeah, thanks!”

(Charles) “You’re welcome!”

Temerith went off to meet his nanny, who looked very uncomfortable in her wool outfit. At least she didn’t have a parrot-headed umbrella!

So, off to work; day one.

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4 Responses

  1. […] II – School Daze: Finding plans, the Dancing Dragon Ring, and basic combat training. […]

  2. […] II – School Daze: Finding plans, the Dancing Dragon Ring, and basic combat training. […]

  3. […] Dancing Dragon Ring (1) (scroll down): A minor device for slightly easing the use of non-combat charms. […]

  4. […] Dancing Dragon Ring (1) (scroll down): A minor device for slightly easing the use of non-combat charms. […]

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