The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXVIII – The Primordial Archives

English: Juniperus morrisonicola near summit o...

Somewhere out there!

Looking at his geomantic map of Yu-Shan – as sketchy as it still was – Charles had begun to get an uneasy feeling that, what with so many of it’s gates now drifting in space, or no longer linked to anything of any geomantic importance, Yu-Shan was basically scrounging for motes to remain functional. All those endless conveniences, canals, powers, and bindings… It really looked like it was more than the local geomancy could support unaided – and the damage made things far, FAR worse. Creation was originally much, MUCH smaller of course – but it had funneled motes to Yu-Shan through prayer and – Charles suspected – through the gates. The Blessed Isle might have been almost as optimized as Yu-Shan, but the hinterlands of creation had brimmed with untapped power…

The increased drain on the remaining useful gates, coupled with the disruption of Earth’s geomancy, would neatly explain why demesnes were rare and why so many manses were mostly powered down; Much of the power was being drained off – and even Essence could only cross interstellar distances so fast, as Gramps knew all too well!

His gate-survey showed that the gates to tiny planetoids in space were mostly “dead” – in fact, in many cases they were active drains on Yu-Shan’s dragon lines. The ones to earth showed an enormous variance in power flows; some were at their limits, some were moderate, and most were very low due to a lack of earthly power sources. The result was power losses and massive imbalances. It looked like the normal response of Yu-Shan would be to shut things down and conserve power. Presumably the underlying activities – preventing elsewhere coordinate drift, maintaining basic security and structural stability (and perhaps the Games of Divinity) normally took priority.

Of course, the tendency of the more active gods, and the Sidereals (who admittedly had a lot more to worry about than the Geomancy of Yu-Shan) was to… shunt more reserves into play to keep the services running. But wherever the divine energy to keep things going was originating from, it was nowhere near the Central Metropolitan Zone.

Still the greater deiphages seemed to be constantly scrounging for motes and feeding them into the Geomancy. Was that why more wasn’t being done about deiphagy? Still, from the survey that only seemed to affect the abandoned areas – although the one he’d fixed the quintessence fountain in appeared to be expanding slowly. No more than a tenth of an inch an hour – but it was radiating from… beneath that fountain.

Well, there WAS more power coming in there… That fit in with the “Abandoned” areas having a higher energy level… And – from the little research on the topic he could find (mostly from the Bronze Faction and the Bureau of Heaven) – it looked like an area was abandoned as more unemployed deities fell to deiphagy – and deiphagy attacks increased in accordance with their increasing numbers. Deities moved away, and there were consequent changes in the local geomancy…

Which looked to be quite wrong. The spread was very slow – but it was the changing geomancy that turned areas into abandoned territories and divine abandonment followed… As the geomancy changed celestial services were disrupted, the area cooled, the lighting changed (instead of glimmering, it bathed buildings in rather naturalistic green and brown hues. Mortals ware of varying preferences – but most gods found it horribly offputting), breezes blew, and a wide variety of aesthetic differences developed. As the “abandoned” geomancy came to dominate there were more disruptions in the canals, irregular computer and communications services, and extended response times to blue jade emergency pillar activations. Eventually, once the abandoned geomancy was totally dominant, using the pillars would instead summon deiphages – although, luckily for most of Celestial society, you had to get pretty deep before that started happening.

The occupied regions functioned at lower power, but were geomantically quieter – and much, MUCH more stable in terms of services.

What was the overall purpose that power was diverted from for all those services and things?

There wasn’t any help for it. It was time for a trip into the Primordial Archives! It would be nice to know what Yu-Shan actually DID before he started hooking up massive power sources. His research was suggesting that the results might be a lot more complex that simply powering up the city services and such again.

A good thing he now had plenty of geomantic resources. He should be able to get a LONG way into the archives…

He went looking deep and early – searching for material on manses, geomancy, and the earliest days of Yu-Shan. Old, old, OLD material. From the first days of creation, the primordial dawn…

He poured tremendous amounts of power from Aden into manifesting as much as possible of the recursive archives, extending the fractal pattern with hundreds upon hundreds of geomantic relays. Were it not for the Veilward, the humming and Essence vibrations would be blatantly obvious across half of Yu-Shan.

The power outflow would be obvious soon enough anyway, as the excess discharged itself into the local Dragon Lines, pouring through them like a flash flood raging through a network of valleys.

Situated as it was in the Fulgent Administrative District, Dudael was well-protected against deiphages, and Charles had enhanced those protections – if only be reactivating the Veilward – to the point where only the mightest deiphages could get in. Thus, the first sign of trouble was the phone call.

Charles was several levels down by then… Past the implied and potential architecture, and on his way from the theoretical architecture into the extrapolations…. He’d reach the hypothetical levels soon enough!

At least he would be if he could find the right route… essence was whirling dramatically (ir relatively harmlessly) throughout Dudael’s interior architecture, coalescing into things that even he could not predict.

His current attackers were a wild thesaurous and a couple of sets of encyclopedias, all three taking form as rather nasty bestial and metaphorical behemoths, with some rather weird powers! They encyclopedias were attempting to index his internal organs, while the thesaurous was altering the description of his defenses one near-synonym at a time, opening larger and larger loopholes with each translation!

Drat it! As geomantic manifestations of an nigh-indestructible manse they were pretty much impervious to direct assault! And his phone was ringing!

(Charles) “Er… Yes?”

Rebuild his ward, put up another, there’s a GOOD behemoth, oh blast immune to that… Ow! That was seriously nipping at his defenses and he didn’t WANT an index!

(Shengxi, Celestial Lion) “Hello, Charles? Is everything okay where you are?”

And now there was a… major storm spirit, absorbing his power and building up for an x-ray / antimatter level series of bursts!

(Charles) “Uhm… sort of! Does anyone there know what to do about sevenfold storm spirits with symmetrial essence-nodes? The nodes seem to absorb almost anything I use on it and throw it back as lightning-like energy discharges! And… Ow! Encyclopedias! Shoo!”

(Shengxi) “Whaa… is this related to the geomantic disturbances one of the reclaimed territories is reporting over there? What in Malfeas are you doing!?”

(Charles) “I’m down in the archives! And this section is loaded with stuff that didn’t make it into creation!”

The connection wavered over a dozen possible origins as Charles was forced to fall back on his evasion-charm; the dratted Thesaurous had managed to define several of his primary wards as “Children in his care”!

(Shengxi) “Archives? I thought that place was a factory-cathedral. Hey Xiaoxiao, find me some information on Dudael-and try to get it to me on the way…”

Meanwhile, the Thesaurous was reciting synonyms for rending, and was attempting to pierce Charles’s remaining protections.

(Charles, busily counterspelling) “Oh it is! The archives only have a theoritical existence until you channel in enough geomancy to start actualizing them – but then you can find almost anything!”

Uh-oh! The Sevenfold Storm Spirits’ nodes were whirring and sparking ominously… in multiple places.

(Shengxi) “Not going to blow up, is it? Place of that power exploding would be disastrous.”

Charles performed a fast OCR Scan on the Thesaurous and ran a spellcheck program on it… It should have enough old spellings to be confused for awhile – and he had Gothmug (who had more or less been viewing this as an excellent training exercise) put some walls around the storm spirit!

(Charles, a bit short of breath) “Oh, no! All the power goes into expanding the archives, but they’re potentially near-infinite.”

(Shengxi) “Hrm. Well, kid… I’m still sending a squad down to keep an eye on the place. Can’t have you experimenting without somebody monitoring. And that archive sounds… risky.”

(Charles) “Oh, it’s just got some theoretical monsters!”

Wait… the Thesaurus… Oh! Of course! Synonyms, the foundations of language… These were linguistic encyclopedias! For Primordial! The linguistic interface function! He had to HARNESS them, not get past them!

For a moment, Dudael appeared outwardly the same – but Charles got the distinct feeling that the walls were evaporating, just as the encylopedia-behemoths were bludgeoning their way through his wards!

Ah! He threw them some quick printouts of updates to incorporate and let them graze on new facts for a bit!

(Shengxi) “All the same, kid, I want to be sure… and in any case, that’s probably attracting deiphages by the score. I wouldn’t want them having you for supper there.”

Hm… Dudael was handling the powerflow without difficulty – as it should – but “space” was losing it’s definition… The walls were becoming slightly transparent and it would obviously be easy to wander into another dimension if you weren’t careful! Still… that was also a sign of getting close! Things at the period he wanted – when the Primordials had been shaping the Wyld into the Shinma and had been planning Yu-Shan – weren’t very defined.

Meanwhile, the sevenfold storm spirit had unleashed a brutal flurry of electricity against the walls around it, assailing several other dimensions with mighty arcs of power in it’s attempts to find a route around Gothmugs indestructible barriers to get at Charles. The thesaurous was gorging itself on old spellings, and Encyclopedia-Behemoths A-SA had fallen asleep from their feeding frenzies.

(Shengxi) “Hey, kid, the call’s breaking-“

(Charles) “Sorry! It’s the dimensional distortions! I should be done in a little bit!”

Well maybe that part had gotten through! The call was lost!

Of course, Dudael’s walls were now almost fully transparent. So was the entire neighborhood outside – and everything in Dudael as well. Essence saturation was reaching the point where almost anything was possible, and so the choice of reality was almost purely theoritical… Which meant the end of the archives – and that almost anything at all should be accessible from this point!

Charles focused his concentration on the information he wanted, reached out, and tried to pull it out! He needed the overall designs and purposes of Yu-Shan! To compliment the geomantic survey he was running now!

While nearly everything at street level was transparent, the streets themselves were not. Where major streets of jade would be in modern Yu-Shan, there were… simple paths, carved out of the adamant beneath. The geomantic lines ran along these paths. The original structure beneath the overlay… Unfortunately, there was nothing he recognized as Solar, Lunar, or Sidereal Essence in the geomancy. The geomancy of the five elements was present, in about the same amount as in the Yu-Shan he knew. And there was a collection of eclectic Primordial Essence here… all connected by an Essence type he did not recognize. That was the type that ran along the paths, connecting the others. The power level… felt like the empty quarters, but much more stable. It wasn’t quite at the level of modern Yu-Shan’s inhabited regions, but it did feel like it could, potentially, be active – as in “alive”. That essence type would be dominant if it could, but something centered on the Jade Pleasure Dome was holding it back. As it was, it was… moderating the other varieties of Essence.

Oh dear! It looked like the sleeping or bound primordial theory had just picked up some support!

The Sky Dome above was… blank. Then, suddenly, it flickerd. Old Realm numeric characters ran along the adamant surface, written in a cramped and ragged hand. Then there was some text… “TESTING… TESTING…”

That was very slow – operating at a divine time scale. A reality computer? Bother! This was just producing even more theories! Worse, while he could watch a little longer, he’d have to power things down soon…

There was an announcement, reverbating throughout the entire city. A female voice, speaking an archaic dialect of Old Realm.

(Voice) “Overseer 1-A to Overseers 1-BA through 13; Test 1 go. Report to stations for monitoring. (There was a pause) Also, unauthorized entry in Western Sector 52-395. Five, Six, track target and send Operators to location.”

Huh! That was his current location! This should be an archival replay… If it was interactive, it was a very realistic replay! Or was this just… another way of looking at Yu-Shan? Dudael was a pretty mysterious place, and even HE didn’t know all its secrets yet!

(Charles) “Hello! I was trying to check on the original design of Yu-Shan and what it was for! I need to know what will happen when I start fixing things up!”

Dudael… spit out a perfectly solid map of the geomancy – but static was starting to snow around him… It was probably time to start powering down and retreat!

(Overseer 1-A) “What… you… Mighty… fix? Just… the place… want to help… Empyrean.”

And the static became VERY sharp, and loud.

(Charles) “I’ll try to sort it out! Is there some less drastic way to get in touch?”

There was no answer – and Dudael was solidifying much as it went transparent.

(Charles) “Thank you Dudael!”

Through the geomancy, Charles sensed frantic attempts to trace him, but they were getting outpaced by his shift back to reality… He threw out an arcane link (and a cell phone number! You never knew) and a trail of sorts…

Then Dudael was back to normal; the encyclopedia was just an encylopedia again, the thesaurus just a thesaurus, and the sevenfold storm spirit was nowhere to be seen – but the map remained.

Charles headed back up, letting the archives close up behind him as things powered down. The Essence displays diminished rapidly – but the Celestial Bureaucracy was sure to send investigators now. Still, he had the geomantic map/design! That should help a lot!

Outside he could hear what sounded like a skirmish, just past the wards. It looked like… Shengxi and his squad holding back what appeared to be several dozen lesser deiphages – which were lashing out at the lions with fangs, claws, and more esoteric means of absorbing Essence.

Charles handed off the map to Aden and headed out to ward them…

(Charles) “Excuse me! I have teacakes, snacks, and fruit! It’s time for a break!”

The Lions stopped attacking when it became apparent the deiphages were no longer deiphages – but they kept a vigilant watch over the group.

(Charles) “Lunch?”

(Xiaoxiao) “Well…” (Checking with the goggles) “He’s blocked it off. And got any shortbread in there?”

(Charles) “Oh yes!”

(Shengxi) “Yeah, shortbread would be great. (He take a look at one of the former deiphages.) Damn… you’re right. Not everyone can do that.”

(Charles) “It needs fixing!”

(Yuchan) “That’s an understatement. So… uh, Shengxi, what are we going to do with these gods?”

(Charles) “Oh, I usually take them to earth to see about some domains while they’re safe from the deiphagy effect!”

(Xiaoxiao) “I believe standard procedure is take them to the nearest reclaimed territory and let the Bronzers handle it. Or we could do that. Your call, you’re the one in charge.”

(Shengxi, thinking) “Eh… domains?”

(Charles, with interest) “Ah, so some of them have gotten the ward-pattern working! And they need their domains restored or substituted!”

(Xiaoxiao) “Like Shengxi says, it’s not something anybody can do. The Bronzers usually grab Sidereals who can quickly.”

(Shengxi) “And tell me more about how you’re going about that. Not that they don’t need employment for their own safety, but I DO need something for the post-mission files.”

(Charles) “Well… what were all of you gods of?”

The pack was somewhat of a rarity among deiphages: gods of defunct technologies.

(Charles) “Hm! Well, that’s slightly awkward… Still, those usually have descendents, and the local positions work…”

(Shengxi) “What, going to stick them out in space?”

(Charles) “Why not?”

(Shengxi, shrugging) “Well, that’s out of my jurisdiction… for some reason. I’d still like to process them as they leave… bureaucracy.”

(Charles) “What does that involve?”

(Shengxi) “They’ll have to sign forms stating they’re moving to the Terrestrial Bureaucracy-such as it is. Way things are today, that’s officially exile. I’m pretty sure you’ll be backing them for Celestial positions. Chengdu told me you were the type – and since nobody stops the Lunars, hey, no jade off my hide.”

(Charles) “Well, a vacation won’t do them any harm!”

(Xiaoxiao) “No, certainly not.”

Wait… Charles had taken a bunch of Gods through a gate not so long ago… Was this a HABIT of his?


6 Responses

  1. Help the Empyrean? That combined with the Overseers and the voice being female, I’m betting that it’s SWLIHN. That or something related to her.

    • Entirely possible there! Or it could be “Help me I’m under attack by the Empyrean…” or something.

      Charles, of course, is going to continue meddling until he either finds out what’s going on or a disaster springs up to divert him – if his own research doesn’t create a disaster of course.

      • Also, that had to have been damn confusing for whoever it was Charles encountered. A totally unknown primordial popping out of nowhere unannounced and spewing out what at the time is a seemingly inane series of numbers (the phone number), and then vanishing.

  2. […] LXXVIII – The Primordial Archives: Geomantic Imbalances, the Depths of Dudael, Evacuating Deiphages. […]

  3. […] LXXVIII – The Primordial Archives: Geomantic Imbalances, the Depths of Dudael, Evacuating Deiphages. […]

  4. […] LXXVIII – The Primordial Archives: Geomantic Imbalances, the Depths of Dudael, Evacuating Deiphages. […]

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