The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session XLIII – A Few Quiet Moments

Charles River Watertown

Why shouldn't it run uphill if it wants to? I'm a magician not a physicist!

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.


12 Responses

  1. Looks like the S.S. Sidereal Paranoia is scheduled to leave harbor soon. All aboard, next stop: Aden!

  2. Heh. Wondering when everyone else will learn about what has the sids in a tizzy… and then what they will do. I wonder if the S.S. Sidereal Paranoia is going to have to start up a convoy system to get the other ships to stop running into each other?

    • Well, there are plenty of other smokescreens in play. Still, that is quite possible.

      Charles may have to figure out how to install a lighthouse in Elsewhere to help guide people…

  3. I just remembered, Charles has access via Durandal to Gnosis, right? Has he tried making relations with Gaia yet? A vote of confidence from the Emerald Mother could be useful for Aden.

    • It’s via Hoenheim – and his upgrades to the place. (Hm. Come to think or it, now that he’s got the manse-boosting artifact bit down, it’s probably time to boost Hoenheim some more; in a lot of ways he considers it “home”).

      Approval from Gaia would probably be very useful indeed – but most of the more outre’ gates make Charles more than a bit nervous. He’s never even opened most of them. Thus, while going out to say hello to the primordials in person would be easy enough; he hasn’t yet tried to exploit most of those gates. He’s just not sure what can of worms he’d be opening up that way – and he is pretty busy already.

      And just for fun, the current gate list for Hoenheim was two in Yu-Shan (one currently in Dudael, one in the Orrery of Istilian), The Underworld, Malfeas (twice, making Charles a bit nervous), the Deep Wyld, Autochthonia, the Daystar, Gnosis, The Far Realms, six on Earth (the Great northern forest of Canada, Brazil, Kyoto, France, Siberia, and the Serengeti), Stormhaven (a pocket-realm adrift in Chaos, apparently dominated by a couple of Lunars), Relkithian (the last refuge of the dragon kings), the Endless Skies (an apparently infinite realm of flying patches of vegetation with no gravity), Kyrthia (a long forgotten – and apparently long-abandoned – city of the Jadeborn buried in deep tunnels and caverns, possibly an alternate creation), the “Elemental Plane of Earth”, Valandur (an apparently unpopulated forest-world), Rokugan, Tarvial (an advanced interstellar empire populated by several types of beastmen), and the Archipelago of Dreams (a realm of high seas and cloudsailing adventure allowing travel between hundreds of realms).

      Oh, anything in particular you’d like to see in the way of articles? The problem is never in finding ideas, it’s in picking one to concentrate on – thus requests are often quite useful to me, and hopefully the responses would be useful (or at least amusing) to you…

      • Well, the Elemental Dragons DO have offices in Yu-Shan, last time I checked, as well as places of residence at the Elemental Poles (though I doubt Creation has them in it’s current form). Instead of taking a gate into Gnosis, you could just contact them first before going to Gaia. Or you could just talk to her when her humanoid Jotun is taking a stroll around heaven, assuming she still does that. Other likely places to encounter her would be Auberge (Luna’s lodge in heaven), or The Silver Chair.

      • Talking to Gaia’s Jotun would probably be easiest; she does still make appearances every so often – but, until quite recently, it would have been breaking his cover and it would almost certainly be public. Gaia is doubtless an object of attention when she’s out and about, and who knows what she’d say?

        A godblooded child making a visit to Auberge or the Silver Chair would also have been rather hard to explain (although perhaps “gathering ingredients” would fly – but you still need Luna’s permission to take things from the Silver Chair). Still, that’s a lot more private – and now he’s just ensuring confusion, not explaining. The Silver Chair would be fairly easy; Auberge seems to call for an invitation – although how that’s enforced is not explained in the books. Perhaps uninvited guests get hunted?

        The Elemental Dragons are hard to find in this setting. In the old days, Hesiesh and Pasiap were more-or-less quietly asleep, while Mela, Sextes Jylis, and Daana’d would “coalesce only rarely at the elemental poles to hold court”. These days… The area under their supervision (and for them to wander around in) has increased by roughly ten to the 250’th power – and thus they haven’t been seen since the reshaping. They probably do have offices though, if only as a courtesy; they were the ultimate heads of the Terrestrial Bureaucracy.

        I wonder how deep the dust is?

        Sadly, while it’s likely that the elemental poles still exist – in fact, it seems likely that the “Endless Skies” realm and the Forest Galaxy are actually the Elemental Poles of Air and Wood respectively – they seem to be few hundred thousand light years across and far beyond the forty-billion-light-year range that’s currently observable. The only likely way to reach them is to create gates.

        It’s also possible that they’re now effectively in multiple locations; the geometry of creation is kind of odd these days.

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