The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice Session IL – The Sahara Sea

Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecologi...

No, no... That just won't do at all!

Charles was pretty sure that the Sidereal attempt to analyze Aden was going to fail… Not even the savants of the first age had been able to analyze an Exaltation – and his was complicated by the Veil, by hundreds of manses, by tens of thousands of square miles of geomancy, by having hundreds of secondary fragments which had been expanded into full-blown spirits and souls, by his being in more than one place at the same time, and by having numerous artifacts and other powers tangled up in it all. Not to mention the soul-core of chaos, the graces, and the visitors…

Still, it was keeping them busy! If the confusion kept up for a little while longer, surely he could find a way to pile more confusion on top!

That’s a surprisingly viable strategy sometimes. If you’re working on several projects at the same time and are sufficiently quick to recognize and seize whatever opportunities pop up, you can often make not having a plan at all, and just riding with any convenient event while letting the rest of the chaos wash on by, look like you have incredible manipulative abilities and a prepared contingency for everything under the sun… It’s even easier when there were multiple factions around!

All you really have to do is keep a straight face and accept the credit.

The Bronze, however, felt that they knew most of what they felt that they needed to know… Even if the boy wasn’t really a primordial, he had the resources of one – and enough power to counterbalance at least a part of the Solars and resources the Gold Faction controlled. He’d freely given them help and equipment to protect the reclaimed territories with. Judging by the way he’d rescued those villages and the way he was continuing to rescue people across the globe, he might even be able to evacuate the mortal population of Yu-Shan – and would probably be inclined to do it if they were in any real danger. They were helping people, he was helping people… hopefully that would be enough to build on!

At the moment though they REALLY wanted to talk to him about deiphagy… If the (difficult to believe) report they’d gotten was accurate he’d… had tea with three deiphages and left with them peacefully. An impressive feat, even for a Primordial!

Meanwhile, Elzeard had manifested himself in Northern Africa, deep in the Sahara Desert… In the first age, this land had been fertile plains and savannahs, with patches of forest – a dry climate, but one with water enough.

It would be so again. Sometimes humans had very good ideas, even if they were frequently far beyond their means. Some regions of the Sahara were hundreds of feet below sea level – and in 1874 a french proposal had been made to drive a canal to the Mediterranean – creating a small inland sea. Water would evaporate, fall as rain, and water the surrounding area. Plants and trees would grow, conserving that water – and the forests would spread, even as streams running in began to convert the inland sea to a freshwater lake. Much of the Sahara – and the middle east beyond – would soon, once again, teem with life, providing green and comfortable lands for millions…

Those proposals – made over and over again in the decades since – had always foundered upon cost. Driving a canal large enough, so far, through rugged rocks and mountains, would cost more than any group that dreamed of a better world could afford.

Elzeard did not need a budget. He had his own powers, the services of the Aden’s Djinn and engineers, and the support of the other Guardians of Aden. He could readily open a suitable tunnel along the many faultlines of the area – something that might have happened “naturally” at any time, unlikely as that was.

The waters WOULD come forth in the desert.

Thanks to the efforts of the Djinn in cultivating an appropriate demesne and manse to purify the water, the inland sea started off fresh, the influx of water was controlled, and there were ecological monitoring systems in place.

Thanks to Elzeard’s efforts, the area filled with plants and animals at an utterly impossible speed – providing a firm foundation for the greening of the middle east, fixing carbon, and helping to reign in climate change. It took a couple of weeks – but, fortunately, people rarely came within a hundred miles of the worst areas of the desert, which were exactly where Elzeard was working.

By the time a geosurvey satellite made it’s monthly pass over the area, there were glinting lakes, bordered with swiftly-growing trees and fields, with grasslands quickly spreading over the downwind ranges where moisture was carried by the wind. Within a year water would start to run in ancient streambeds that had been dry since the neolithic era.

Impossible as it was, it might have passed as an accident when the scientists arrived – albeit with endless arguments over how so many trees had been seeded and grown so fast – but the structure that stood over where the freshwater waterfall cascaded from the rocks to feed those new lakes was just a bit obvious. It was on what would eventually be the shoreline, had electricity and utilities despite having no traceable source of power, equipment that – somehow – monitored the ecology of the entire area, and a set of highly detailed and sophisticated technical volumes on how to best manage that ecology.

Along with a print copy of “The Man Who Planted Trees” sitting out in the entryway.

Either this sudden influx of water had been anticipated in detail, or it had been planned by someone – someone who controlled mysterious technologies and engineering resources on a massive scale and who preferred to work in secret.

Either way the implications were disturbing.

It took a little time to find out that the systems would accept ecological questions addressed to “Elzeard” – and that someone answered them, no matter how complex the question might be, even if the blasted link seemed to be untraceable – just like half the other functions of the damned building.

Elzeard wanted that kind of information passed on, regardless of nonsense about “secrecy”. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have left his calling card! Besides, his earthly avatar had already moved on to the Talamakan-Gobi desert, where somewhat different measures would be required. Australia would require still other methods – and a bit of work on adjusting those blasted rabbits…

In Aden, Elzeard had been dealing with some of the Sidereal Surveyors in his own way – via education. Given his incredible skills in ecology, ecology biology, performance, and education, he was quite capable of providing utterly fascinating lectures on such topics for days or weeks on end. While those were highly educational even for elder Sidereals, listening to Elzeard’s lecture classes wasn’t exactly their job…

Of course, they were also going to be annoyed when they realized that – even while he’d been lecturing – Elzeard had been busily patching global ecosystems, somehow without causing major disturbances in the loom.

Halfway across the galaxy, Elzeard and some of the other Guardians were still exerting their full power – although no one else was around to witness it. Transforming the upper layers of a barren planet into air, water, and soil was a job for planetary-scale transmutation – Mishinago’s business – but filling the world with plants and animals was Elzeards. Others followed to raise towns and manses to support them, to damp the climactic disturbances, and to prepare the Starlight Paths that would soon link those worlds into Yu-Shan.

The Shining Dream was moving towards reality.

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8 Responses

  1. Let’s hope that the reconstruction of the enviroments Elzeard is doing on Earth aren’t too fantastical/magical in nature, to keep magic from becoming blown wide open to earth’s public.

    And speaking of Aden’s Guardians, what will he do if he wants one to do something and they want to do another? He does still have that “no UMI” thing, right? Would he suffer any consequences for forcing one of his component souls to do something or would it not count due to it being part of his own being?

    • Well, that is a potential source of conflict; Charles, after all, wants to make magic a part of everyday life again – whereas the Dragon-Blooded want it kept secret to avoid diluting their advantages, the Sidereals seem to like secrets on general principles, the Terrestrial Gods are fairly quiet (thanks to instructions – or lack thereof – from the Five Elemental Dragons), and the Lunars are mostly at the other end of the universe.

      Of course, magic in itself isn’t all that secret anyway; we do have various psychics (modern-themed thaumaturgists) and such running around and the scientists do know that quite a lot of things happen that they have no explanations for. It’s just that there’s no general theory, or organized training outside of the Dragon-Blooded support groups – who draw in most of the serious would-be occultists and magical students, leaving most of the world more-or-less in the dark.

      As for Aden’s souls… He did give them their basic motivations and such to start with of course – which didn’t count as UMI because they didn’t exist and had no motivations until he created them with some.

      If they want to do their own things, he wouldn’t dream of stopping them – although he does expect them to help him from time to time and to do nice things. In fact, some of them are doing their own things already; Charles didn’t issue any instructions for Elzeard to start fixing the deserts of the world; it’s just his nature.

      • I mean more about keeping things in line with a scientific paradigm, rather than an outright magical one. For the wide world, I mean. It would be easier for humanity at large to accept “Theoretical Quantum Theory” than it would be all the madness that comes with the Supernatural in Exalted.

    • That may well cause some problems. Charles doesn’t really see any difference between the scientific and magical approaches – magic is just the manipulation of another energy form with it’s own rules as far as he’s concerned – but at least some Scientists are unlikely to see it that way.

      Still, nothing delights a scientist more than a demonstrable new phenomena.

  2. […] IL – The Sahara Sea: The Activities of Elzeard. […]

  3. […] IL – The Sahara Sea: The Activities of Elzeard. […]

  4. […] IL – The Sahara Sea: The Activities of Elzeard. […]

  5. […] IL – The Sahara Sea: The Activities of Elzeard. […]

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