The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session VLII – Deiphagy for the Connoisseur

Varangian Guardsmen, an illumination from the ...

Watch out for the squirrels!

While Charles had been probing, the deiphages had been gradually coming out of it… By the time that he concluded that whatever-it-was had (at least for the moment) withdrawn into Yu-Shans nigh-impenetrable maze of geomancy – in which it seemed utterly at home, like it had either been there for a VERY long time or was designed into Yu-Shan itself – they were starting to think again.

(Charles, conjuring up some furniture) “Tea? I have sandwiches and things too!”

They sat down almost reflexively. Unemployed gods knew better than to resist gifts.

(Rodent God) “Where are we, child? This doesn’t look familiar at all…”

Charles identified the area – and apologized for how much it had gotten run down!

(Rodent God, twitching his nose worriedly) “That’s… several hundred miles from where I last remember being.”

There was general agreement on that point.

(Charles) “Uhm… I hate to have to ask, but when was that?”

(Lemuresque God) “If I may speak, Sir?”

(Rodent God) “Certainly.”

(Lemuresque God) “By mortal reckoning, Realm Year 825. I think… that dating system was falling out of use.”

(Charles) “Uhm, yes… (He checked to make sure that no one was drinking)… translating… I think it would be… about Realm Year 26,000. The exact dates are kind of hard to pin down that far back!”

They’d been sober. That made them even more so.

(Charles) “Fortunately, you haven’t missed all that many good things! Mostly… blah stuff!”

(Rodent God) “That explains the state of my robes, then…”

(Squirrel God) “Why would there be ichor on them… OH.” (He already looked skittish, but now!)

(Lemuresque God) “Oh dear. How many other gods have we…”

There were guilty looks all around.

(Charles) “Honestly, that seems to run more to injuries than anything else! After all, even if you really shred a deity in Yu-Shan they usually just rematerialize later!”

He didn’t mention mortals. It wasn’t like that would help in any way.

(Rodent God) “Yes, but the mere thought… and judging from my position, it was good that – I think – you warded yourself.”

(Charles) “Well, it’s no fault of yours! There seems to be something entangled in Yu-Shan’s geomancy that causes the problem!”

(Squirrel God) “What? That’s terrible!”

(Charles) “I think so! And if I hadn’t have run into you, I probably wouldn’t have noticed for quite awhile! So it’s very good that I did! Something will have to be done about it!”

(Lemuresque God) “Well, please tell whoever your guardian is. Where is your guardian, anyhow? The abandoned districts are no place for God-Bloods!”

(Charles) “Oh I live here! But I do have good protections… Now, it looks like one of the best protections is an active domain; you were all gods of various subspecies, correct?”

(Rodent God) “I was in charge of the Sub-Office on Varangian Tree-Dwelling Species… until that horrible explosion demolished the region. I’m Hanashi, Lord of Varangian Tree Mice.”

(Lemuresque God) “And I am Valkesh, Master of Varangian Lemurs.”

(Squirrel God) “Um… I’m Adani, Master of Varangian Squirrels.”

There seemed to be a bit of denial there.

(Hanashi) “So yes, that’s what we do – did.”

(Charles) “Hm. Well, I think those are in the files… (he produced a small computer). Could you help me pick out the right ones?”

They were a bit confused by the strange device Charles had pulled out – but once they saw the text, they interpreted it as a reader-artifact. They jumped at the opportunity – although they seemed dubious about a God-Blooded child asking… maybe he was a greater god in disguise?

(Charles) “Ah good! The genetic variances are relatively small, and they’re mostly imprinted on your attunements… That means all I need to do is get the experimental station to run up a sampling and find a place to re-establish them!”

(Adani) “Experimental… station? You’re going to revive them?”

He was trying to keep a stiff upper lip, but he was a squirrel – and even Charles could tell he was getting emotional.

(Charles) “Oh yes! I don’t like for things to be extinct! That’s no fun at all!”

(Valkesh) “I can’t believe it… after all these millennia… and I still can’t believe THAT.”

(Hanashi) “Surely you must want something for this deed.”

(Charles) “Why? I like to fix things! And Creation is a LOT bigger these days, so there’ s lots of room!”

They looked confused. That was NOT how Yu Shan normally worked… and “a lot bigger”?

(Hanashi) “As you’ve allowed us to know, many events have bypassed us. Could you elaborate?”

(Charles) “Uhm… Well, about 25,000 years ago the Scarlet Empress joined the Yozis, and shattered most of Creation’s defenses. With the Raksha rolling over everything as they marched in, Gaia intervened – and transformed some of the chaos around what was left of creation into… Well, I have an educational film! (He pulled up the “powers of ten” film) See, the Earth there is what’s left of the original creation… Everything else is new!”

(Adani) “Incarnae in the Pleasure Dome… that would explain the explosion, sir.”

(Hanashi) “I had thought Creation was done for. This is wonderful news.”

(Charles) “It is ridiculously bigger, but it’s also very messy and REALLY needs some fixing!”

(Valkesh) “You seem serious about fixing it, as well.”

(Charles) “You’ve got to start somewhere!”

(Hanashi) “That he does… he’s no mere God-Blood – and we are in his debt.”

(Charles) “No, no! I keep telling people, if it doesn’t cost me much of anything there really isn’t any debt!”

That boggled them. Just how extensive were his resources? They had really lucked out!

(Hanashi) “Well, if you say so… what is your name?”

(Charles) “Oh, sorry! I’m Charles Dexter Ward!”

(Hanashi) “Ah, Charles. I hate to ask… but could you help us clean up? We must look dreadful.”

(Charles) “Oh certainly!”

Hm… The robes were ambrosial, so they could be fixed with a bit of ambrosial reinforcement of their original structure and a simple cleaning spell. This group of functionaries must have been moderately successful or good at playing the system – although it was hard to know which after so many millennia. That was easy enough!

A visit to the experimental station on earth near Atlanta was definitely in order… Maybe that forest world would be good? Probably best to find places on one of the new ones though! Or several of them!

It would be best to avoid publicity though! The questions would be starting soon enough in any case, and he had things to do!

After a bit of explaining he used the Celestial Wings amulet to transport them all to the Atlanta gate – although they wanted to shapeshift into animals first. It was less conspicuous, made them easier to carry, and… honestly, they were worried about Charm loss. They wanted to make sure that they could still do that.

They still seemed to be in a bit of dreamlike shock – although company, and Charles’ presence, seemed to be helping.

They peppered Charles with questions about Atlanta’s trees on the way – enough so that he had to get a few answers from Elzeard…

The experimental station was quietly hidden away in the hills near Atlanta, and was basically a pleasant zoo-style place with outdoor-themed enclosures – and some new exhibits.

(Hanashi) “You MADE these? That’s… I had heard stories of Exalts doing that.”

(Charles) “Well no! I was with you! I had some aides look up the gene-patterns and run things up! It was a good systems test! Things were set up as of last month, but I’d never really tried!”

(Valkesh) “That’s incredible… the fur, it’s almost exactly as it should be.”

(Charles, anxiously) “Does it need tweaking, or is it just the brand-new-no-wear aspect?”

Valkesh examined the creature VERY carefully…

(Valkesh) “Well… I would take it as it is now, but if you want to be truly authentic…”

He went into great detail on the coat pattern – and Charles did the gene-tweaking. The gods were all quietly impressed by his skill. The few, small, lingering doubts they’d had that he was a lot more than a normal child were gone… Most gods of thaumaturgy were far less skilled.

(Charles) “And since you are all going back to normal this quickly… a lot of others ought to be curable!”

(Adani) “I would hope so. What little I remember feels like a nightmare!”

(Charles) “Hopefully it will be better now!”

Hm… That “Nightmare” phrasing was still making him wonder about Invara – but there were a lot of things best left untouched by most in the abandoned quarters!

Fortunately for these three, Charles’s meddlesomeness, and recklessness, sufficed. He was nothing if not helpfully impulsive!

Still, he needed to have someone pick some suitable spots on the new planets for the creatures and get back…

There was a little more tweaking of the creatures to their specifications, although nothing too extensive. They seemed leery of pressing Charles too far… They didn’t really care what planet he puts their species on though, as long as they had somewhere to live.

Charles doubted that they’d quite absorbed the notion of “planets” anyway. The tweaks were interesting though! Evidently there’d been some genetic drift from the original designs from the archives!

(Charles) “Ok then! The experimental station will be doing a week or two of observation on the first batches, then on to other planets!”

They were overjoyed at that… Hanashi looked like he wanted to ask Charles for something more, but seemed a bit reluctant to do so.

(Charles) “Is there anything else you need?”

(Hanashi) “Ah… well, we don’t really have homes anymore, and it’s clear just occupying abandoned ones isn’t safe for us. If you could find us roommates until we can get back on our feet, we would be grateful.”

(Charles) “Oh! I’ve got some sanctums set up nearby; would that do for the moment?”

(Valkesh) “Sanctums? How-never mind. What do you say, sir?”

(Hanashi) “That would be wonderful.”

Well, no one had been using the ones he’d set up in the House of Phantoms – and the interactive library function could help them get acquainted with the modern world!

And that left him free to get back to Yu-Shan!

6 Responses

  1. I just thought of something concerning the Guardians. It’s somewhat obvious how Charles thinks of his Guardians, but what do THEY think of HIM? Just curious, because you can tell a great deal about a Primordial by how their sub-souls consider each other. A good example would be the relationship between Malfeas and Liger. Well, more like a bad example, but you know what I mean.

    • That does get a reference in a segment or two (the logs are a bit behind and I’m trying to catch them up) – but I think it’s still developing. After all, the Guardians are only a few months old at this point – so they really haven’t had time to form strong attitudes yet.

      Still, as I get to their descriptions, a “relationships” category would probably be a good thing to include.

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