Meanwhile, back with the Colony Council – in far slower time at the moment than the Dragon Empire (which was not helping the group maintain control of their identities there at all), the discussion on Kevin – and his contract – was still underway.
The Unified Church, Escrimera (and presumably the Divine Heavens), and Marty were a trifle appalled to find that Kevin was not at all in control of the ever-growing powers his Thralls got.
The colony council was less concerned with cosmic problems. Regardless of exactly who – or what – was truly in control of exactly what powers the… godling… bestowed, their concerns were a good deal more local. It seemed that that impossible contract was genuine – and no matter what stand they took on it, the impact on their culture was going to be considerable and the implications further-reaching than most of them were willing to contemplate.
No matter how genial, or helpful, “Kevin / Angkor” was, he represented… a social change as complete as the “singularity” that humans had sometimes talked about in their literature – all in one amiable… youngster.
Kevin fielded a few minor questions – but it looked like, for the moment, most of the council members were too engrossed in the computers and the contract-and-procedure details to know what to ask yet.
(Kevin) “Oh, would you like us to help you set up a city ward while we’re here?”
(Cartwright) “I suppose such a thing would be well within your power, wouldn’t it? Although I am seeing caution in letting you go full bore on this too. Do you perhaps have someone in your retinue that knows the details of how one is constructed so that making due with large amounts of power isn’t necessary?”
Kevin got the impression that he was trying hard to find a polite way to say that…
(Kevin) “Yes indeed; I wasn’t intending to do it with raw power; Raphael here would blow his top if he had to calm any more reality storms this month.”
(Escrimera) “Yes, I think it would be best to avoid a reality storm in an underground city.”
(Cartwright) “Very well, what will you need from us and would it be of any help to have our own people involved in learning how to care for and maintain it?”
(Kevin) “Well, it will slightly drain the energies of everyone who participates – but if enough people do, it will only be for an hour or two. Ergo… A really large street party will work; it will provide plenty of psychic and magical energy to work with – quite enough to set up the core of the ward.”
(Cartwright) “Very well, I think we can organize a party. The people need something to lighten their moods anyway.”
There were murmurings amongst the members of the Council, the Church Representative, and the Angel…
(Cartwright) “Would tomorrow suffice for your schedule? Or would you prefer another date?”
(Kevin) “Tomorrow should be fine… Oh, might we visit Ms Valira in confinement? I suspect she is responsible for binding the souls of the two remaining children she killed, and they need to be released. Worse, her presence within the area in her current state could distort the ward; she needs curing – or, possibly, if she’s gone undead on you, to be released to elsewhere or at least escorted beyond the walls during the ritual.”
There were more murmurings…
(Rat Rep) “Do you anticipate any danger to the city during this curing process?”
(Kevin) “It’s unlikely. Almost anything is possible however – but if she’s a focus of that much malignance, leaving her alone would also be very dangerous.”
(Cartwright) “Very well, is there anything you need from us during this process of curing the woman? Or do you just need our guards to ensure that no one interferes?”
(Kevin) “There shouldn’t be anything. Witnesses are welcome, but there is that small possibility of something going wrong.”
(Cartwright) “Our guards can escort you then to the confinement area. I will ask that everyone nearby not involved in the curing process be evacuated first though. That should only take a few minutes though. I shall also attend and any volunteers from the guards as well.”
(Kevin) “Well, thank you all for your time!”
Kevin cheerily wandered off with the guards – with a rather bemused Marty and Raphael trailing along…
No control at ALL?!?!
They were led into the depths of the city, down into the bedrock where large spacious rooms were no longer carved out of the stone, but instead individual rooms and hallways were carved out with far less concern for appearances… The stone was damp, and the air felt more than a bit stale. Along the way they passed an immense waterwheel, rotating slowly as an immense amount of water flows over it and rats and mice ran along it doing inspections and measuring wear.
Soon enough they came to a bronze door with four large rat guards watching over it. They all saluted the guards with them and Mr Cartwright.
(Cartwright) “Give me the keys to the cell please. These gentlemen think they might be able to do something with Mrs Turner. In the meantime, I want you four to go and tell those engineers to clear out from the time being. And tell them I don’t care if it’s scheduled inspection!”
(Cartwright) “Alright, she’s on the other side of this door. Do you wish to be let in, or just have a look through the peephole for the moment?”
(Marty) “I’d like to take a peek inside before we go in, just to be safe.”
(Cartwright) “Very well then. You can find the bolted little window at the top of the door. Just lift the handle and slide to the side to open.”
Kevin cheerily opened it up so that Marty and he could look!
Raphael was running a few divinations – but was trying to keep it quiet, which always made things take longer!
The moment Kevin raised the latch, before he could slide it to the side, it was forcefully torn out of his hand as the peephole slid open to reveal a glowing set of yellow eyes right on the other side.
(Eyes) “Well hello!!! It looks like they’ve brought someone with a good deal of power this time!”
Hm… Per Raphael, not undead – or at least not yet, although it looked like the process was well underway. No ward though…
(Kevin) “Hm… I take it you’ve taken up necromancy, as guided by assorted dark visions of insanity?”
(Eyes) “Perhaps. Have you come to offer up some of that life force you have so much of?”
(Kevin) “Lets see… exploiting the parental bond to use your children as spiritual minions? You must have been quite disappointed when only two of them proved suitable!”
(Eyes) “Yes, I was quite disappointed to have only gotten the two. Somehow, I was expecting a lot more than that!… So have you come to offer more therapy? Or have you come to be the hero?”
(Kevin) “It depends! You may actually be quite sane, at least as far as obsessive necromancers go! What is it you’re actually trying to accomplish?”
(Eyes) “Or perhaps, you’ve come to let me out of here!”
(Kevin) “That’s possible! It depends a lot on what you’re trying to do! Surely you’ve found that projecting evil auras and terror isn’t intimidating people into doing what you want; it’s just keeping them away. I fear the local culture is wrong for manipulating people that way!”
(Eyes) “Yes, this has indeed been quite the disappointment. I was hoping to harvest quite a bit of life force and souls for a little….. what’s the word….. experiment of reality shaping proportions. Perhaps you would like to participate? I am certain I could make it worth your while! I am sure someone like you has come to appreciate the value of immense power to shape reality the way you want to!”
(Kevin, privately to Marty and Raphael) “Possessed by a deceased necromancer perhaps? And likely one from a reality that doesn’t know about phantasms. Needs the mothers soul for the bond – at least initially – and a spirit moving in would account for the initial nightmares and terrible visions and slow progression into undeath.”
(Marty) “I think so. Probably going to be a pain to banish.”
(Kevin) “That’s doable! I take it that you possessed the woman for this purpose, in part because you felt that the Rats and Mice here doubtless bred very very rapidly indeed, thus creating a plentiful, and rapidly-renewing pool of fresh life force and children’s spirits?”
(Eyes) “Oh figured it out did you? And here I thought I was doing a good job of hiding my presence.”
(Kevin) “What, while announcing everything anyone would need to know to figure it out? Free hint here! Cultural blindness only goes so far! The best concealment effects in existence won’t help when you insist on making public proclamations!”
Hmm… it looked like… the mothers soul was still in there, and appeared to be struggling to hold onto the two children’s souls and to the body.
(Eyes) “And how was I supposed to know these rats and mice would turn out to be so weird and obstinate? Usually people get quite spooked by such things.”
Marty briefly considered chiming in with the word “Scouting!”, but didn’t want to give the fellow any clues… He was more focused on ensuring that whatever was possessing her body didn’t get out of the room…
(Kevin, to Marty and Raphael, with more privacy-precautions than usual) “Well… I see a couple of major options: (1) empower the mother, and support her. Problem; how to trap this fellow. (2) Encourage the mother to hang onto this guy – and take him into death-and-rebirth with her. Might not stop him, but should hold him up for some time and/or cost him a lot of accumulated power (3) Try and Exorcise and Entrap him. I’m not even sure how to do that though – unless we still have enough chunks of death knight swords for it. What do you think?”
Marty was for entrapping him; sticking them in the same soulspace sounds like it could really come back to bite everybody involved in the rear. He’d probably mastered the art of returning anyway… The trouble with that plan was that Kevin didn’t know how! Negative Energy had something to do with it though…
Kevin put in a quick research-query to the standby teams in Kadia.
(Kevin) “So what were you trying to get enough power together to do?”
He kept a smartclothes pickup focused on the guards and Mr Cartwrigh toot; their expressions were probably pretty interesting at the moment…
(Eyes) “Ah, I was wondering when someone would get around to asking me that. You see, my colleagues and I were most interested in resurrecting the Loa of the Swamp so that we might…. remake the place to better suit our needs.”
(Kevin) “Ah, thus the necromantic rituals with the skulls and such in the swamp. I take it you’ve found that the traces are spread so thin that they’re rather difficult to pull together at this late date? Thus your need for more power, and this gambit.”
(Eyes) “Alas yes, great rewards generally require great efforts, and this one is no different.”
Marty was wondering… Hadn’t there been someone he had a close personal connection to involved with those runeblades that had been used around Jerusalem.? He couldn’t quite put a face to it though – and that seemed odd. One of the deathknights? Oh wait! Maybe the old him!
Meanwhile, the guards were more than a little upset and horrified over all of this – but Mr Cartwright had a really good poker face.
(Kevin) “Anyway… you wish to raise the old loa, and with them the old realm from it’s ruins – thus providing a legion of the dead, the wealth of a kingdom, and the use of the necromantic potential of tens of thousands of the dead to continue with your research and conquests?”
(Eyes) “Why yes, that sounds about right. Would you like to have a share in that new order young man?”
Back in Kadia, there were some answers coming up on how to bind a spirit someplace… That had never really been Kevin’s field, although he thought that he might be able to use conjuration.
(Kevin) “It doesn’t seem of much value actually! I already own a couple of universes anyway, and I can always make some more!”
There were the Death Knight runeblades, a process similar to what Limey experienced, using tuned negative energy to drain the target of the mana needed to traverse realms (although you have to be careful not to break the links holding the soul to the local reality if you tried that). Holy Magic could do it with preparations and sufficient divine backing, a sufficiently powerful infernal entity might be able to bind the soul for a while to torment it – and there was always the classic method of binding a soul: throw it in a living body.
Well, that one was easy! Kevin could just send a few Thrall souls back to Kadia for new bodies – or use transformation magic to just create some. Even some of the Thralls could do that given a few minutes!
He had a few of the Thralls make a small nothing-is-happening illusion and ward and a shield against life force detection just down the hall and build some bodies – for the kids, for the mother, and a spare for the necromancer just in case the old one is unusable. Barely-living bodies wouldn’t have much life-force to detect anyway.
They went for reconstructions of the original bodies… With any luck, making some matches for the kids would let their mother drop them into them with a little healing and thrall help. She was probably paying close attention to the spirit plane at the moment anyway…
That would take a bit – and they’d need to shock whoever was binding things in the current arrangement enough for the links to reset to the new bodies.
Meanwhile, Eyes was expressing some doubts about his visitors owning universes…
(Kevin) “What, would you care to see?”
(Eyes) “I find such a boast more than a bit hard to believe to say the least.”
They bantered back and forth until the Thralls were ready…
(Kevin) “Well easy enough!”
Hm… It looked like, if he swapped with a mass of solid rock, there would be no real effect on the stability of the city.
Ergo, one block transfer! The cellblock area for a mass of solid stone! He could easily make an opening to the outside afterwards!
Kevin started working on that – and began letting a bit of his divine power shine through…
(Marty) “So… just how were you going to reshape the swamp, anyhow?”
(Eyes) “Remove and/or subjugate the interloping races, return the cities of our ancient ancestors to their height of grandeur, and begin spreading the might of the Loa across the land for starters! (to Marty) So what would you want? Females? Wealth? Lots of slaves to serve your every whim? Or perhaps to lead an army of the dead on a reign of conquest and destruction?”
(Marty) “Eh, I’ll pass. I’ve got enough of the first three to suit me for a while, and that last one sounds overrated.”
(Eyes) “Sigh, no imagination and too much imagination. You two aren’t much fun at all. I think the therapy people were a bit more fun. At least they could be disturbed.”
Well… with the soul-anchoring effect of Kadia, even if they slipped up on getting people into bodies, they’d just get new ones at the malls! It was block transfer time!
(Marty) “It’s hard to be disturbed when you’ve visited as many dimensions as we have.”
(Kevin) “Be fair Marty! It’s almost impossible to have enough females and servants! You just have to keep making new avatars to play with them!”
Kevin aimed for one of the currently unused sections, with mountains; that way it would be easy to arrange access to the outside.
With that, reality shifted and distorted around them, the Thralls, the new bodies, the guards, Mr Cartwright, and the cell door until they found themselves in a mountain valley at the edges of a lake. The guards and Mr Cartwright were more than a bit stunned at the transition – and they heard an evil cackling coming from the new bodies as a chameleon stood up.
(Eyes) “Ah, it looks like whatever you were trying to do has backfired, because now I am free to do as I wish! Now, I shall make one final offer for you to help me or else…. where the hell are we?”
(Marty) “Oh, we’re in his personal universe. I wouldn’t be that cocky if I were you.”
(Eyes) “Looks like a mountain lake to me.”
(Kevin) “In this section! There are lots and lots of places… when you’re making a universe for yourself anyway, why be skimpy?”
(Eyes) “Right, and how do I know that this isn’t simply the result of a teleportation spell to a mountain lake?”
(Kevin, sighing) “You’re a necromancer. Is there death here?”
(Eyes) “Of course there is death here. There is death everywhere. Watch and I will demonstrate…… what the hell?! Oh, now this is going to be hard to….. what’s the word….. rationalize? Alright who the hell are you and how the hell did those rodents manage to get someone like you in their service?”
(Kevin) “I was just visiting!”
(Marty) “Yep! We’re on vacation!”
(Eyes) “Vacationing to a city of rats and mice? You are weirder than I gave you credit for”.
(Marty) “Nah! Just in your usual universe!”
(Kevin) “And I am Kevin Sanwell, or Angkor Shadowfang, or many other names… As it happens, I am a Creator God, and I didn’t include Death in this reality; it makes it much easier to bestow immortality on those I link here!”
(Marty) “I’m Marty, the Comforter of Numerologists! My reality is next door.”
(Eyes) “Well blast, my powers have little effect in a place like this and I can still sense the bunch of you have substantial power left. Right, what are you planning to do with me?”
(Kevin) “Advanced studies in some other types of magic perhaps? And maybe teaching a few theoretical necromancy courses on the side? The pay schedule is really quite good, access to the facilities is free – and you probably do like the comforts and pleasures of life, or you wouldn’t have been so quick to offer them to Marty!”
(Eyes) “Wait, you’re actually trying to recruit me?”
(Kevin) “Why not? I create universes; the only resource I can ever be really short of is competent personnel…”
Eyes appeared to be at a momentary loss for words.
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 195a – Of Mice and Men and Councils (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Sessions 189-190 part IV – Don Quixote the Innkeeper (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Sessions 189-190 part III – Damsels and Diplomats (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 191b – Debates and Discussions (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 193a – Rats Up Doc? (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 188b – The Negatives of Power Leveling (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 177 – Family Matters (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 186b – A Fire Upon The Deep (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 179 – Any Old Port in a Storm (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 183a – A Darkness Upon The Deep (ruscumag.wordpress.com)