It was almost a week before Shenji drew attention away from Harold’s new armor… but there came a time when a few Deiphages had realized that there was a regular trip going back and forth right under their noses.
The attack on the little convoy wasn’t all that sophisticated or large – but it was quite enough to be a serious menace to the children. The escorts couldn’t be everywhere.
Fortunately, every child had been near Shenji enough to have been warded repeatedly – and the two Coatl manning the link were quite willing to call in more help if necessary. The thaumaturgic spells they could launch through Shenji were limited – but quite effective when backed by Aden’s energies. The unexpected magical onslaught wasn’t decisive – but it was very helpful, and was finely focused on protecting the children.
It provoked some consternation among the guards though. They’d thought that the toy was simply carrying a ward! Was THIS why the child carried it around so constantly?
When they got home there was a bit of crying was Shenji is taken away for some investigation and analysis – which eventually had to be conducted in Harold’s presence as otherwise Shenji tended to disappear into elsewhere and reappear in Harold’s possession the instant that no one was actually watching it…
The link to an extradimensional realm was fairly easy to find now that they were looking for such a thing – but it was so heavily shielded that it wwas impossible to tell much more than that there was a guardian – or guardians – on the other end. The link wouldn’t transmit much beyond Thaumaturgy – but obviously the guardians Thaumaturgy was fast and potent enough to be a a considerable help. Whatever Charles had done to create his “Adenic Thaumaturgy”, he’d evidently shared it with his minions. Just like with Harold, he threw that kind of power around on whims…
Well, that WAS quintessentially Primordial!
There were a couple of other minor functions on the toy – but nothing too major. Whatever guardian angel was watching over young Harold however seemed to be quite another matter; it was evidently fairly powerful… Had Charles actually created a first-circle race of child-guardians? Still, at least there’d be no accidentally blowing up the territory then; Harold could keep his lion dog… that was good; he’d have been very upset to lose it – and it did keep laying protective spells on nearby children.
They HAD to find a way into Aden! All the evidence suggested that Charles was one of the most benign entities ever recorded short of the mercy-kindness-and-healing goddesses – but there were things you just didn’t take on faith!
Wait a moment… Charles himself had opened a way between the realms, and that meant that Aden could be reached by the Mirror-Shattering Method – at least if they could find the route. And finding out secrets was one of the things Sidereals did best.
OK, five days would be a terrible waste of time when Charles could open instant gates – but it would allow them to make an unexpected inspection… If Charles was up to something nasty behind the mask, that would probably be the only way to catch him out.
Meanwhile, over in Aden, Charles was getting his operations organized… Fortunately, his Third-Circle Guardians could appear in three places at once – allowing him to send some (via chaos gates) to start transforming some barren worlds into fertile paradises full of earthly species – many extinct on Earth – and burgeoning life. Once a few manse-powered towns were set up, they’d be ready for small populations of humans to be added to the mix… They’d also have demesnes, ready for manses to link them up with gates to Yu-Shan and Earth!
On Earth, small pilot projects – reducing the pollution level in rivers, small-scale reforestation, educational programs, the ongoing rescue efforts, encouraging microbusinesses, reducing erosion, investments in environmental technologies, and repopulating endangered species – were gotten underway.
Despite the immense geomantic energies being poured into those pilot projects through Aden’s Guardians, they were still based on thaumaturgy – and so neither disrupted the Loom of Fate nor damaged the structure of the cosmos, as true Sorcery was so prone to do. The little gods would be writing reports of course, and the humans would notice soon enough – but, for the moment, most of that activity could pass quietly.
At least until somebody paid some attention to the mundane news reports.
Back at school, the next week or so passed uneventfully. There was some awkwardness due to the presence of the Sidereal Half-Castes – but there was no overt hostility. Most divine parents didn’t want their children antagonizing their coworkers’ children.
The Evasion Club met on Saturnsdays, right before days off. Charles had been having fun with that one! It was a cross between tag and hide-and-seek!
Harold was very good at it, as was that daughter of a conspiracy god.
Some of the Half-Caste kids had made it a game to guess which one – although, of course, even if someone guessed right it would almost certainly never be confirmed. Some of the wiser Secrets Half-Castes were wondering if her father was even a conspiracy god at all. “Mother says being a conspiracy god is a good cover!”
They never said that to her face, though.
Of course Charles never said ANYTHING about his parents – and now that rumors were spreading about him among the gods he was getting some questions about them. He, rather sadly, simply told them the only bits he knew – that they had disappeared while he was still too young to remember.
That got him some sympathy, a mild bit of teasing about it… and a couple inquiries as to whether or not he remembered their names.
Well… Gramps had told him they were called Amalie and Theo Ward – but he’d never had much luck finding any real records on them. Maybe the kids who were asking would have better luck!
As it turned out, there was absolutely no record of them in Yu Shan – although there was some of the stuff you’d expect to find for a mortal in Creation. Not a lot though, and it wasn’t like that kind of stuff was hard to fake.
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session XLII — Laity and Lion Dogs (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – Elzeard Lifeshaper, Aden’s Fourteenth Soul (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice XLI – The Boy Scouts of Siderea (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session XL – Small Gods and Sandwiches (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session XXXVIII – Out of the Umbra (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice XXXVII – Investigating Charles Mansen (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session XXXIX – Gates of the Third Circle (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice XXXIII – City and Soul (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Part XXVII – Hints and Allegations (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – Gothmug, Aden’s Second Soul (ruscumag.wordpress.com)