Continuing in the Reclaimed Territories in Yu-Shan, at the Slumber Party…
As it turned out, Mr. Jorgensen had been called away on interstellar business, and so wasn’t expected back for at least eleven days – and while Charles was indeed enjoying the slumber party (and handing out a variety of gifts all around at whim), it really wouldn’t stretch that long. He had made some arrangements though; as the head of a generally-disliked faction, you stepped carefully with powerful people and potential allies.
Everyone was happy to be receiving presents – and hoped that Papa would get them some when he got back. They were curious though – and gathered around to ask about stuff happening outside of the reclaimed territory – which took some explaining.
Charles was rather curious too… little Harold and Celestina herself (who seemed to be in charge of the kids when they weren’t being attacked) were both apparently “Favored”. That seemed a little weird! Didn’t parent’s normally “favor” all their children?
Harold’s mother – a goddess of some sort, and beautiful in much the same way that a hurricane was beautiful – had come out of her chambers to see what all the fuss was about (and my, there were lots of red-haired, violet-eyed kids about!) in time to hear that question…
(Ardent Wave, Goddess of Postwar Reproduction on a no longer existent world) “Kristoff loves all his children… but we can’t afford the same level of training for all of them. The “Favored” ones, like Celestina and Harold, are first in line for Charms, Artifacts, and reclaimed territory administration training. I believe you’ve met Astrid? She’s Favored too.”
(Charles) “Oh! Well… Hm… what do you need?”
Harold and Celestina… abruptly looked slightly apprehensive, and tried to indicate caution… Papa had warned them about that question! (He was fairly sure that the entire “Lesser Exaltation” business had popped up because another child had asked him if he could find an enhancement device). If you asked Charles for something… he might well go beyond all reason to give it to you! After all, he HAD just… run off to soothe a horde of hungry deiphages without giving it a moments thought! You needed to give THAT question some careful thought!
(Ardent Wave) “The biggest priority right now is some way to train them for deiphage attacks without getting them right in the middle of a siege. You didn’t hear it from me, but Bureau training simulations on that are lacking. They assume that there’s no organization behind a horde, and I can confirm that more likely than not, there is.”
(Charles) “Oh! Well, THAT’S easy enough! I’ve got some Crystal Arena’s in here somewhere… (rummaging) Here we are!”
He produced a dozen. Why not? They were handy and the kids could play in them too!
(Ardent Wave) “Some kind of artifact? Well… I’ll have to set these up in one of the dojos.”
(Charles) “Hm… If I hooked up a training computer with the right programs… they could cover some of the martial arts and such too.”
(Ardent Wave) “Please, do so! Martial arts are great for teaching them confidence and keeping them fit.” (Her hair, which had been constantly shifting and blowing the whole time, momentarily froze.) “Hey, think you could set something up like the Resplendent Sifus, but for the Terrestrial forms? Kristoff is… picky when it comes to sifus.”
(Charles) “It should be possible! It may take a bit though; I’ll need to find someone who knows them and is willing to share a few forms…”
Ardent Wave’s hair had not unfrozen yet… and some of the kids who had been getting in some close time with Mommy were backing off.
(Ardent Wave) “Really? He’s been keeping things from me, not that it’s new!… Celestina, think you’d be willing to contribute some Falling Blossom Style to that?”
(Celestina) “Of course, Mother.”
(Ardent Wave) “And I suppose you could find more Terrestrial stylists easily enough; this is Yu-Shan.”
(Charles) “OK! Hm… we’ll need a recording of the essence patterns and of the physical side – but the easiest way to get that will just be for you to use one of the crystal arenas to practice in for a bit while I have a recording crystal hooked up!”
Celestina hopped in eagerly; she was quite good at that style. It made her a rather capable human shield.
(Charles) “Right… now, once we have a recording, the arena can reproduce it – but for training we’ll want to slow it down to show the form and the various charms. I don’t think that this will work for anything beyond the Terrestrial styles though! I’ll have to build a translator module and a limited-purpose AI… but that won’t take very long!”
(Ardent Wave) “Tell us when you’re done, dear. We’re quite used to waiting on these things.”
(Harold) “It won’t take him long, Mommy!”
(Charles) “Here we go!”
No one was THAT surprised… but still.
(Ardent Wave) “I was told you were powerful, but to summon artifacts from nowhere like this… no wonder he was so unhappy when he had to leave!”
(Charles) “I like artifacts!”
He said THAT firmly enough that it… actually seemed like an explanation for a minute or two.
(Ardent Wave, after a pause) “Very much, I see! But most beings need to do more than THINK to make them!”
Her hair had not unfrozen yet, and there were faint sparks coming off it.
(Charles) “Oh! I draw on Dudael for most projects!”
Well… she HAD known that he controlled a factory cathedral; a god-blooded kid heading one of those was good gossip grist!
(Ardent Wave) “I thought you had to be in one of those to use it. Some kind of trick?”
(Charles) “There are ways to tap into it through the Hearthstone!”
Perhaps fortunately, she was a goddess of fertility, reproduction, and storms – not one of artifice and manses. Her hair went back to moving again, and all the Jorgensens looked relieved. Any more surprises, and she might have started a not-so-miniature storm!
(Ardent Wave) “Such excitement – an attack and a major visitor all in one day! I hope everything has been to your satisfaction, Charles? My husband wanted to be sure it was.”
(Charles) “Oh sure! It’s always nice to visit friends!”
That briefly confused Ardent Wave. She’d never met Charles before – and, being a faction head’s wife, always assumed that others making friends had some ulterior motive. Still… she recovered soon enough; Charles… had been nothing but friendly and generous and open.
(Ardent Wave) “I’m glad you think of us that way! Now… I think all you kids need to go to bed soon! We can’t have you nodding off during morning training!”
(Celestina) “Another half hour, Mother? I think they’re too excited to go to sleep at the moment!”
(Ardent Wave) “Oh, fine… but don’t tell your father!”
And there was much rejoicing among the children – who had already figured out that – if they wanted to stretch their time as much as possible – they could just play in the Crystal Arenas!
Charles socialized cheerily. He liked other children – and they didn’t have the rather creepy / sad / just weird overtones of having the teddies around. They were a bit distant though… Papa seems to think Charles was important, and that meant that he had to be really powerful or strong! But they warmed up to him eventually After all, Harold met him every day, and he’d done nothing but help him.
Eventually five of them even asked for Lesser Exaltations like Harold got – mostly the physically-weaker, shyer, or nervous ones. They wanted to be Favored just like him!
Well… he WAS supposed to have some left – and come to think of it, it was mildly surprising that no one else had asked yet… Of course, most of them weren’t talking, and few people thought of ANY kind of “Exaltation” (even if it was just a bundle of lesser artifacts and manse-effects) as being something you could just ask for… and there were probably other reasons. Still, they weren’t really anything big.
On the other hand… he’d gradually been becoming aware that becoming more powerful often had downsides!
(Charles) “Are you sure you want that sort of thing? It’s a big responsibility and can get you into rather a lot of trouble!”
(Helsie) “Harold scared away a bunch of deiphages with nothing but his doll!”
(Harold) “It’s a LION DOG, guys! And it really is hard being Favored AND Exalted! I have SO MUCH homework and training!”
Nevertheless, he did seem pretty grateful! Still… that dissuaded Helsie and her brothers, but not the other two.
(Charles) “Do you have any other reason for wanting something like that?”
Lisel… wanted to make sure that the “bad gods” didn’t harm her siblings, and Elgin didn’t want to be overly dependent on his father or the Bureau of Destiny for training.
Well, as long as they had a reason! They each got one privately…
They were quite grateful too!
(Charles) “It’s no big thing! They’re not much use if nobody is using them!”
The (closely, if subtly, monitored – not that Charles didn’t kind of expect that these days) play continued until Celestina called the children to bed – although putting that many children to bed was a rather large production; some of the other adults and Ardent Wave helped her out. There are many prayers this night: to Mercury to ensure their father had a safe journey, to Mars to guide his sword and gun hand, and to Saturn to remember her Harbinger as he worked. Charles – behind on sleep as always – feel asleep curled up in a big, comfortable, chair during those.
There was a bit of debate among the adults on moving Charles… but they assumed that he would understand… He woke up in the prepared bed the next morning. Little did they know that – for Charles – that was quite expected; the Inukami were ALWAYS putting him to bed after he fell asleep somewhere.
For once, a convenient coincidence; this game had several rather short sessions in a row and they’re coming up right when I’m short of time to catch up…
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CIV — Deiphage Slumber Party (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CIII – Multiplying And Dividing Factions (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice C – The Temples Of The Elements (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice IC — The Lions Of Times Long Past (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice XCVIII – The Ri’kienthi (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CI — To Dance With The Devas In The Pale Moonlight (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CII – Hooked On A Story (ruscumag.wordpress.com)