The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice LIX – Explanations and Confusions

manual loom in Nepal

No, it doesn't actually look anything like this; but the reality would BLOW YOUR MIND!

Charles had been hoping that there would be a bit of a time delay on troubles from extra Sidereal Exaltations… After all, Sidereal Exaltations often incarnated in small children, and the Sidereals normally had to hunt for them anyway – and they wouldn’t be looking for extras. Conceivably, they might not notice until one or more of them started monkeying with Sidereal Astrology!

On the other hand, they might also disturb the loom at the moment of Exaltation as an extra sidereal tied into the network.

As it turned out… all one hundred of those terribly impatient Exaltations needed threads in this creation, and needed to tie into the loom. There was no shortage of candidates for Exaltation; Earth alone supported more humans than Creation had during the first age – and with the rest of the universe there were more by twenty orders of magnitude.

As Lytek did his quick – and rather complete (there was no point in keeping memories of an alternate creation of 25,000 years ago) scrub, the Sidereal Exaltations had vanished into creation in search of hosts – and chimed impatiently on the loom like a hundred clamoring bells…

He was very good at his job.

While the Sidereals rarely got to man the Loom for long these days, their divine associates were quite another matter. The gods sent rapid-fire messages to their superiors, who sent them to their superiors, and so on until the memos reached the division heads – and somewhere in that rise, at least one Chosen of the Maidens caught wind of it.

Those individuals simultaneously rejoiced and shuddered – and kicked off a mad scramble to investigate and to retrieve the extras.

The Maidens were almost a chorus… WHAT IN OBLIVION?!?!?

This ought to be impossible! Why hadn’t they seen it? Was the influence of the Nocturnals, and their cloaking of the Future, THAT extensive?

A peek in Samsara revealed only that this was supposed to happen at some point, and that the Exaltations have come from another Creation.

That alone was appalling. If there WERE other Creations, Samsara did not extend there – and the universe DEFINITELY did not work quite the way they thought it did!

They needed to know EVERYTHING about these new arrivals! Only then could their proper role in Samsara be understood.

Not that they weren’t grateful for the additional help – but those Exaltations could be tainted, damaged, or the like, all too easily. This had NEVER happened in the history of… ever!

Attempts to contact Lytek revealed only that he’d done the equivalent of leaving up a sign on the secretaries desk; “Gone Fishing. If you’re a Sidereal, I know why you’re here. Talk to Charles”.

Not that they wouldn’t have anyway. Only one entity had ever designed and created Exaltations – an Artificer-Primordial. And just when they had one around, a bunch of new Exaltations had appeared. The “Primordial” theory took an abrupt jump in popularity.

Charles had considered saying simply “They followed me home! You can keep them!” – but it would never work. He was going to have to explain a bit better than that.

Some of the screams and arguments in the Sidereal offices were almost loud enough to hear on Earth and in Aden – particularly from the Cerulean Lute. Stunting Perform/Scream at the 3d level was quite impressive (and would probably get them audited for creating a disturbance).

It really wasn’t all that long before Charles got a highly scrambled cell phone call.

(Charles) “Allo!”

It looked like there was some Celestial tier counterscrying on it too! Someone was worried!

It was kind of nice to have the people who wanted to investigate him handling most of his security needs by running interference on each other!

(Woman) “Ah, Charles! My name is Sri Varma. I’m with the Division of Secrets. Do you have a moment?”

Ah! One of the more senior members of the Bronze faction!

(Charles) “Sure! Do you need some?”

(Sri) “I would appreciate them, certainly!”

(Charles) “OK!”

He sent her a bunch of “Stopped Hourglasses” – minor Wyld Thamuaturgic Talismans, usable one to three times daily (his were usable three times of course) to get one minute to talk to your friends in, although no other actions were possible. They were related to the Conversation Pieces, but were far weaker.

For a moment Sri just gaped – blasted literal-minded cosmic child-beings! (Not that she’d ever expected to be coupling those two concepts…) That hadn’t been what she’d meant at all! Not that they wouldn’t be useful of course…

(Sri) “Why thank you! I do always desperately need more time in the day… Not quite what I meant though! I need to talk to YOU Charles?

(Charles) “Oh! Ok! What do you need to talk about?”

(Sri) “I was wondering if you would like to meet with me when we have the time. I understand you run a soup kitchen and school on your residence’s grounds?”

(Charles) “OK! Or I could just pop over there if it’s important…

So obliging! If he keeps this up, somebody will try to stamp him down, Primordial or not!

(Sri) “Well… I’m at the office right now, and to be honest, I need more time to prepare. Fate work has been occupying me too much lately.”

(Charles) “When would you like then?”

(Sri) “A week from now should do… and speaking of fate work, I must also ask you something about that, though I am not sure why; have you been anywhere outside of Fate lately, other than the Wyld?”

(Charles) “Well… In Aden of course, sometimes in other universes, sometimes in the Wyld, some people might be carrying an outside-of-fate area with them… I can do that too, but there usually isn’t any reason to…”

(Sri) “I ask because the strangest thing happened while I was working on the Loom last week. I can’t go into too much detail other than that when the event concluded, new Exaltations had appeared. My contacts told me to ask you about it. So… where did you find them?”

(Charles) “Oh those! In Relkithian – all that’s left of an alternate and mostly-destroyed creation! I really wasn’t expecting the Exaltations to still be around though!”

(Sri) “Wait… how in the myriad worlds did you get to an alternate Creation, and why were there free Exaltations ready to leave?”

(Charles) “Because the humans there died with Creation – and the Exalts, and the gods, and most other groups! The only survivors were in an elsewhere -realm that no one bothered to track down! The Exaltations all slipped through while I had the door open!”

(Sri) “Ah… I see. That still doesn’t explain how you got there… I can’t talk about why yet, but we’d like to send a team to investigate the local history.”

(Charles) “You might need to recruit a Solar Exalt for that! Or stick with godbloods and such!”

(Sri) “Hrm… I see.” (As evasive as he is obliging…) “Could you tell me what bought you to that Creation? If I’m hearing you correctly… it seems that you did this ACCIDENTALLY.”

(Charles) “Well, I was making dimensional portals to study them a bit, and they go all kinds of places. Relkithian – the Final Refuge of the Dragon Kings – is one of those! But when I went to visit, apparently the Shards sensed a creation where there were still humans to exalt, and so they came to do it!”

Oh! Dragon Kings… so THAT was why “Solars or God-Bloods”. If the histories were indeed mostly parallel… The Dragon Kings had been friendly with Solars, and accepting of God-bloods – and… and if the parallel had continued up to the post-usurpation period… then they wouldn’t even know who Sidereals were, and would recall the Lunars as folk who’d fled long before.

It still might be an evasion, but it very well might be just being helpful without bothering to explain.

Well, there was an easy way to check.

(Sri) “By the way… were you responsible for that sudden freshwater flooding and plant growth in the Sahara? It’s a rather impressive feat to alter the earth on such a scale while creating so little disturbance on the loom!”

(Charles) “Oh that was one of Elzeard’s projects! He decided that he wanted to get started on fixing a few things!”

Well… that certainly established the “being helpful without bothering to explain” aspect – as well as establishing that the boy’s Third Circles did indeed possess incredible power.

(Sri) “Well, that is a side-issue… What you’ve told me about the Exaltations is interesting information – and not entirely unprecedented; Exaltations travel – presumably through Elsewhere – to Yu-Shan all time time. Still, if this had happened before, we would have heard of it; it seems likely that whatever kind of “door” you opened was necessary for the process – which would also explain why our universe’s Exaltations have never wandered off. Thank you for your cooperation.”

It was obvious enough that the child had left out rather a lot of details. She’d have to ask later – and perhaps ask him to open his “door” to the “Relkithian” place. Presumably, now that the Exaltations had come through, nothing else would…

Presuming that the details were things that the child himself understood and that they would fit into her mind! She’d had severe doubts before – but the casual way that the boy toppled certainties that had stood since the Primordial War was eroding them…

Charles was having a doubt or two of his own… Hopefully he hadn’t imported some sort of Exalted Plague into Creation! Still, Lytek hadn’t mentioned such a thing, and he hadn’t exactly had a chance to check…

Oops! Somebody was on his call waiting! And it was scrambled too!

(Sri) “I thought I heard a beep. Were you expecting someone? I think I have all the information I need for now…”

Charles answered in person – via the secondary aspect in Aden.

(Charles) “Oh, that’s just my cell phone! I’ve got it elsewhere!”

Sri closed things up after a few more pleasantries – leaving Charles to a very similar conversation with Mr Montague… There was more of an emphasis on his sifu hearing of the information and wanting him to ask while she was busy – but that really wasn’t a very big difference.

Except for one point.

(Montague) “Hey, I managed to get a couple of hours of sabbatical tomorrow! Want to show me that Elsewhere net you were working on? I’m lucky I put in for that before this happened… I have a feeling it’s going to be my last for a long while.”

(Chalres) “OK! The prototype is up and running right now!”

(Montague) “Great! Uh… can you bring it to my place? I’m not going to have time to get to your place and back before it ends.”

(Charles) “Oh, it’s anchored in a manse… but where are you? I could give you a lift!”

(Montague) “Well, I was going to spend some time at the Manse with Vaal and the wife! I haven’t been by lately. Stuff on Earth’s been keeping me busy too… I’m down in Cairo right now.”

That was close to Gate #3: Memphis, Egypt.

(Charles) “OK! to Cairo it is!”

Mr Montague was staying in a low-end hotel, and seemed a bit worried.

(Charles) “Allo! What’s up?”

(Montague) “Oh, just finished some work here. I’m ready to head back upstairs after this one!”

He asked Charles if he could put up a privacy ward, preferably Terrestrial tier… and then, once that was up, used an artifact to put up a disguise and declared himself ready to go.

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4 Responses

  1. […] LIX – Explanations and Confusions: Shocking the Maidens, Stopped Hourglass Talismans, Explaining Extra Exaltations. […]

  2. […] LIX – Explanations and Confusions: Shocking the Maidens, Stopped Hourglass Talismans, Explaining Extra Exaltations. […]

  3. […] Stopped Hourglasses (scroll down) (0): You’ve always got a minute to talk. […]

  4. […] Stopped Hourglasses (scroll down) (0): You’ve always got a minute to talk. […]

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