The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Part XIX – The Shattered Mirror

Apartments facing Central Park in midtown Manh...

Could you get a more specific address?

With most of his orders completed, a stockpile built up for his classmates, and quite a lot of his next set of projects calling for either assistance from other exalts (the Lion Ring, the Stargates, the Heaven Orb, and the Dragon Mappers at the moment), required waiting on objections and/or approval (Gri Fel and Terapshim’s appointments), or required places to put them (his manse designs), Charles actually had some spare time.

After a nice long nap that meant it was time to deliver a few things! That way he might be able to get help with his new projects!

Charles decided to see Hiparkes, the Horse Lord, first. They’d met already – and the items for him were pretty minor.

It looked like he was currently at Three Toes’ stable-sanctum… Charles had been meaning to drop by there anyway! He threw in an extra amulet of Dawn’s Cleansing Light for Three-Toes, called ahead to make sure it was all right (given that it was on business, there wasn’t much of any trouble making arrangements), and headed over! It was fairly nearby after all.

There was an equine member of Hiparkes’ entourage on guard who wanted to know what business he had with Lord Hiparkes before letting him in.

Hm. Did celestial lions and such make Hiparkes nervous? That might sort of come with the horse-god package…

(Charles, showing his packages) “A small delivery sir!”

(Ramsthenes) “Ah, I see.”

Ramsthenes ran some detection Charms over the packages; even in the modern day, Hiparkes was a fairly powerful deity. Once he was satisfied that there was nothing harmful in them, he notified Hiparkes – and, a few minutes later, Ramsthenes escorted Charles into the stable proper.

(Charles) “Hello Mr Hiparkes Sir!” (telepathically) “And Hello Mr Three Toes Sir!”

Three Toes looked happy to see him; his eyes were a bit brighter now, and he no longer seemed to be eating his furnishings. Hiparkes is next to him; he was in horse form right now, and he was the very model of a stallion – although his eyes were warm and kind.

Charles put up a small privacy ward, although he didn’t really think it was likely that anyone would be spying on this kind of errand.

(Hiparkes) “Hello, young man! Ramsthenes said you had a delivery for me. I trust you had little trouble getting here?

(Charles) “None at all sir! But I managed to get a hold of the items you asked for, so I thought I’d bring them over!”

(Hiparkes) “Ah, good. Few even know that Three Toes is here, and I want it to remain that way until his domain is healthy again.”

(Charles) “Oh good! I like Mr Three Toes and it’s nice to see him doing better!”

(Three Toes) “Hi, Charles! I feel much more aware these days!”

(Charles, presenting their boxes) “That’s great!”

(Hiparkes) “Need help opening that, Three Toes?”

Three Toes whinnied.

(Hiparkes) “Very well. I’m going to return to human form.”

Hiparkes did. His human form was dark-haired, bare-chested, burly, and wearing riding leathers. He opened the packages and checked everything.

(Hiparkes) “Ah, Three Toes. The young man made you a nice… hmm… Amulet of the Dawns’ Cleansing Light, yes?”

Hiparkes helped Three Toes put that on.

(Charles, after waiting for Hiparkes to look over his own requests) “Is there anything else you’re going to need?”

(Hiparkes) “Not for the time being, young man. I will certainly let you know if I do. Your staff should be commended for their efficiency.”

(Charles) “I’ll let them know you said so!”

Hiparkes smiled, displaying a set of teeth that were definitely more horselike than human.

(Hiparkes) “Now, Three Toes, do you need anything?”

(Three Toes, over the link with Charles) “Do you have any celestial apples? Hiparkes told me they are wonderful.”

Hm… Oh! Those were just ambrosial apples! They sold for a high price among Creation’s occultists, but they were commonly available, and easily within reach for his Salary. They were quite delicious, but not addictive.

(Charles) “I think I can find some for you! It may take a day or two though…”

(Three Toes) “Thank you! I would get them myself, but Hiparkes says I shouldn’t leave my sanctum until I can take humanoid form. That’s what you are, right?”

(Charles) “Yep!”

Charles, of course, was assuming that “days” for gods were like his busy days, and a long time – whereas most gods found a year or two to be a pretty short time.

(Hiparkes) “Any more business with either of us, young man? I’d like to spend more time with Three Toes here, but I have a meeting in a few hours.”

He seemed a bit unhappy about that.

Sadly, even Charles had yet to come up with an artifact that completed your meetings for you.

(Charles) “I have lots of other errands, so if you don’t mind me leaving abruptly Sir?”

(Hiparkes) “Not at all! We all have work to do, and he needs his rest.”

Hiparkes patted Three Toes on his back.

Charles headed off… Next up, Mr Jose Cisneros of the Silver Faction!

Mr. Cisneros would have been a bit difficult to track down. He (like many other Sidereals these days) did not have a Celestial Manse. Fortunately, he did have a cell phone….

(Charles) “This is Charles Dexter Ward, calling for Mr Cisneros!”

(Mr. Cisneros) “Hey there! What do you need?”

(Charles) “Oh, I managed to locate the things you needed!”

(Mr. Cisneros) “That’s great, son!” (Charles heard a female voice off in the distance, asking him something.) “Oh, just business, honey.”

(Charles) “Should I bring them by, or would you prefer to pick them up?”

(Mr. Cisneros) “Hey, whichever works for you. I’m not too picky.”

(Charles) “Uhm… Well then, where are you at the moment?”

(Mr. Cisneros) “Here, let me give you the address. Neighborhood’s not too bad, so you should be safe.”

(Charles) “OK!”

The address was an apartment in a middle-class neighborhood populated by mortals who had managed to break out of menial work. It was fairly close to Dudael too. Easy to get there then!

Charles headed over with his items – the Transforming Vajra-Guitar, the Hearthstone Compass, and the Tent of Perfect Camouflage.

It was a fairly nice apartment building for mortals. There was even a god-blooded door attendant here, surrounded by a current of air – although he seemed a bit on edge.

(Doorkeeper) “May I help you, young man?”

(Charles) “Oh, I just have a delivery… Is something up?”

(Doorkeeper) “Oh, things have been a bit tense since the lady in 40B . . . well, Exalted. At least that’s the rumor. She’s got a visitor right now. Is this urgent?”

(Charles) “Uhrm… (checking the address) I think it’s for him.”

40B was… Catherine Wingate’s apartment. Oh! So this was where she was living now!

(Doorkeeper) “Ah! Well, I shouldn’t get in his way then! He’s got a little friend with him. I think it’s outside the door. Why don’t you take the elevator up and tell it you’re here?”

Charles did so.

The elevator ride to floor forty is not as bad as it would have been in a building in Creation; the Celestial City had had plenty of time to make high-speed elevators. When it opened up there was a most unusual creature waiting though… It was humanoid, but combined organic and inorganic components. Its eyes resembled headlights, and its legs hovered an inch off the ground. It bowed politely to Charles – whether due to it’s own special perceptions or out of general politeness.

(Charles) “Hello! I’ve got a delivery for Mr Cisneros in 40B with Ms Wingates.”

(Familiar, in a voice that reminded Charles of the pattern spiders) “Very well, l shall analyze it.”

It held it’s arms out for the package – and Charles let him have a look. It’s eyes whirred and blinked faintly as it – presumably – analyzed the package. After a few seconds, it stopped.

(Familiar) “Would you like to see Mr. Cisneros? He is available.”

(Charles) “OK! That way I can be quite sure of who gets it!”

(Familiar) “I shall notify him.”

The familiar opened the door, and did not so much walk as float into the apartment. It notified the occupants that Charles Dexter Ward was coming in – and held the door open for him.

Catherine’s apartment was fairly nice. Most of Yu Shan’s mortals dream of a place with more than five rooms, and it did have some nice furnishings. Catherine herself was sitting on a couch, with Jose sitting in an armchair nearby.

Charles had met Jose briefly before, on his first visit to the Celestial City. He was a relaxed looking fellow, dressed more for travel than for Celestial business right now. There is more than a casual resemblance to Raymond Cisneros, from the Beech Street Manse in Atlanta. Catherine looked very energetic, as she always had since her Exaltation into the Nocturnal Empyrean Caste.

Hm… There had seemed to be some tension with Raymond Cisneros at the water manse about the Sidereals / Insidious… Oh yeah! That was the line that the Alchemicals were spreading among the Terrestrials – something like the old “Anathema” routine.

Catherine smiled and waved. She, of course, actually worked at Dudael… Fortunately, and in part thanks to Charles’s efforts, the tension over her Exaltation had subsided there.

(Charles) “Hello Catherine! I found something that Mr Cisneros wanted, and he said I could come over here to deliver it!”

(Mr. Cisneros) “Is it… THAT? Sailor (he nodded towards the door) was keeping quiet about what it was, but he says it’s safe.”

Hm… It looked like Mr Cisneros suspected it was the Vajra – but he wanted to be on the couch next to Catherine. But for whatever reason, he was choosing to stay back for now. If she felt the same way about him, she was hiding it a bit better. What was… Oh THAT stuff. Ew!

(Charles, looking at Jose with mild puzzlement – what was all the circumlocution about?) “I guess it’s “that””.

(Mr. Cisneros) “Wow, son. I knew you had some good workers over there, but that was fast! May I take a look?”

Catherine looked interested and excited. She hadn’t worked on the Vajra herself. In fact… she hadn’t been aware that the project was already underway. The boss had them working on different stuff entirely. Had he done it in a personal facility?

(Charles) “Well, it was a more singular project, so I had some other assistants work on it too! And certainly, it is for you after all! You ordered it!”

Other assistants? Huh… The boss was running another artificing facility on the side? No wonder he’d been considered qualified.

Jose opened the package to have a look at Angasul, the Iron Wind – currently in guitar form.

Jose was quite pleased, and spent a few moments tuning and strumming.

(Mr. Cisneros) “Well, the tone’s perfect! That’s the most important thing. Now to test the secondary stuff.”

He went to the living room – the most open area in the apartment – and transformed the Angasul into its weapon form, testing the balance and heft. Judging from the positions he took doing so, it looked like he intended to use Angasul in both melee and ranged combat.

While he was doing that, Catherine slipped Charles a note; she wanted to talk with him at work sometime. There was something bothering her, and she would rather not mention it around the Sidereals.

Well that was easy! He ran an open-door policy anyway!

(Charles) “I trust it’s satisfactory?”

(Mr. Cisneros) “Yes, this will work just fine. I’ll need to test it when I’m piloting Sailor, but so far, so good.”

(Charles) “Well, is there anything else I can do for you at the moment? It might have to wait in the que if I can’t find it though…”

(Mr. Cisneros) “Hey, no problem there. Can’t think of anything right now, but I might have some requests for you later.”

Hm. Judging by the subtext there, those might not be for artifacts. Still, at the moment, Jose seemed to be intent on getting to know Catherine better.

(Charles) “Ok then!”

Charles left – but he did stop to say goodbye to the Cohort on the way out. Cohorts were usually based on whatever had killed the most Sidereals in that generation of incarnations.

(Familiar) “Goodbye. Your facility’s work is most impressive.”

(Charles) “Thank you!”

Charles headed off to visit Sal Montague of the Gold Faction.

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4 Responses

  1. […] XIX – The Shattered Mirror: Dragon Lines and Delivering Artifacts. […]

  2. […] XIX – The Shattered Mirror: Dragon Lines and Delivering Artifacts. […]

  3. […] XIX – The Shattered Mirror: Dragon Lines and Delivering Artifacts. […]

  4. […] XIX – The Shattered Mirror: Dragon Lines and Delivering Artifacts. […]

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