The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CXV – The Voice Of A Brazen Vessel

Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea, also called...

Tragicomedia. Again

Jorgensen had warned his children to be a bit careful about “What did you need” – and had been being very VERY cautious about it himself! That was one of the reasons why he hadn’t asked Charles for his assistance with the Bronze Factions’s geomantic projects (although garden-variety generic Sidereal Paranoia was a large part of it too). There really was no telling what Charles would feel was a reasonable length to go to to give you what you wanted! It… didn’t seem at all likely that he would ever injure anyone – at least not in any way that he could foresee and evade – but there were always unexpected consequences and the “child” seemed blithely unaware of most of them! Besides… he still wasn’t sure that he quite believed that there was nothing but being generally obliging behind it. How could the boy still be THAT godsbedamned naive and helpful after spending years in Yu-Shan? Charles wasn’t stupid. He was just… utterly blind on some topics!

OK, that WAS a normal feature for Primordials – but was the child… truly incapable of being nasty or was it just willful blindness?

The request for ships… had been more of a test than anything else. Was he really THAT obliging? Would he be ABLE to help to that extent? How long would a request on that scale take? Would he want repayment?

He hadn’t been back for more than a few minutes before Celestina was by.

(Celestina) “It’s good to see you back father! I presume that whatever the mission was, it went well enough?”

Father looked even more tired than usual! It must have been brutal!

(Jorgensen) “It… went as well as could be expected. Now… how are things going here?”

(Celestina, gently steering through the spacedocks) “Well… My training is going well, and we’ve been able to expand the martial arts training for all the kids. We didn’t have any deiphage troubles while you were away, although I’m told that the slow-but-steady expansion of the old geomancy has – if anything – accelerated. The evacuation is underway – in fact, Mother and most of the younger children have already relocated.”

(Jorgensen) “What? Already? It’s THAT urgent? We… still don’t have room for everyone!”

He was shocked enough not to notice that they were headed back down to another dock – not into Yu-Shan.

(Celestina) “Er… we do now. Young Charles DID come by – and he gave out quite a few presents – and… Ms Cress asked him for some ships in the morning… and he made some. He… had them ready a few hours later.”

They emerged into a pleasant patch of forest, bordered by a luxurious orchard where bees hummed, a gurgling stream, and an arching bridge leading into a garden maze of flowers and herbs.

(Jorgensen) “What? In a few HOURS? Right then! Show me one of these ships Celestina!

Huh… When had someone installed gardens down here? Not that it mattered. Could Charles… actually have found or assembled some form of usable ship within a few hours? Possibly refurbishing some older ones?

(Celestina) “Father… you’re in one now. He… made three. He did a few other things first too. I think that building the ships… took him less than an hour. And he included secondary craft.”

Lord Jorgensen inhaled sharply. What? But this was… immense! Enough room for a small FOREST aboard a SHIP?

He activated his essence-senses…

(Jorgensen) “But this is a Manse! How could he…”

He checked the geomancy.

(Jorgensen, after a long pause) “Why in all the stars is this boy walking around unsupervised? I want him observed – and people coming to see him checked out – as best we can so that somebody doesn’t ask him for something everybody will regret!”

In less than an HOUR?!?! For THREE!?!?! Aaaargh! He’d fought planet-eating horrors with less power than that! By Malfeas, he’d just fought a battle like that on this mission! And they’d been letting the boy… walk around Yu-Shan, free to talk to anybody he pleased!? And attending… a GOOD school for god-bloods, but still just a school for god-bloods!

And… he apparently found making fudge and singing lessons a far greater challenge than building starship manses.

(Celestina) “Well… that’s not the end of it. He… provided some Chancels, and amulets that will let anyone in them shape the places like a Raksha and protect themselves from the side effects, along with armor, supplies – and some of those “Lesser Exaltation” things for Lisel and Elgin. They… asked him for them and really wanted to have them.”

Gaah! If he only had enough influence he’d try to pull rank and get the boy into the command structure of one of the reclaimed territories – or even into the Bronze Faction! For his own protection! As it was… Gold Faction operatives were coming in and out of Aden gates regularly. The “boy” was obviously willing to support all factions with complete open-handedness – and while he couldn’t KNOW what the Gold Stars had asked for, he could certainly make some shrewd guesses! Safe training facilities for their pet solars/disasters waiting to happen, research facilities for that blasted Solar Circle Sorcery, artifacts and artifact manufacturing facilities… Couldn’t those blasted Gold Stars see how… dangerous it was to rely on Solars? They were almost impossible to stop! Half of them had very nearly defeated a surprise attack by the massed forces of most of the rest of the cosmos! And THAT was no longer available! WHEN – not IF – they went haring off on their own… Would there be enough power in the cosmos to stop them or would it ALREADY be too late?

Jorgensen… thought that way all the time. While he didn’t exactly hate the Solars… well, the Bronze Faction doctrine had always been less “Solars are demons” than “Solars are too dangerous for Creation to endure.”

There was some justification for that of course – but the same basic case could be made about any group that was powerful enough to properly maintain creation. Mending was always harder than simple destruction.

Even after the Gold Stars… He had no idea of what the Silvers might be up to with the boy. Were they planning something besides “preparing him for the journey”? That was rather suspicious in itself! They might just agree with whatever they thought he was up to of course – presuming that he WAS up to something besides… trying to fix whatever problems were brought to his attention… but were the Lunars planning something? He knew that they had far more influence with the Silvers than was at all healthy! Did they want to use him as a living demesne generator or eat his Heart’s Blood or something? Hadn’t that Righteous Hala been seen with him a few times? Suspicious in itself!

Still… It made little difference! The abandonment levels in Yu-Shan were increasing at a frightful pace, sieges were becoming more common, and the first steps of Stanewald were underway. Compared to that… the supernatural nature of a boy who was helping him and his people meant NOTHING. Thanks to that intervention… he now had enough space to evacuate every family member, distant relatives, associates, friends, servants, pets, any of his political allies who didn’t want to be interrogated, and any passers-by who happened to be in the area that he wanted to take along! That would make his wife happy; she had a kindly heart due to her former domain and would probably insist on taking at least SOME indigent gods and mortals…

As for those “Lesser Exaltations”… Was it really possible that… Charles’s criteria for giving them out were simply… that the recipient be a friend of his or was asking for it to help protect other people? Yes, they DID seem to be simply… an indestructible psychic box full of minor artifacts and manse links, and they were nowhere near the power level of a true Celestial Exaltation – but they were FAR too useful not to use! Harold was pretty responsible – although he was certainly no fighter before this – but now he had THREE of them.

Besides… he was vindicated now! He would never ask any of his subordinates to do anything he wouldn’t do – and Harold was just fine interacting with Charles. It was really a shame there wasn’t time to send more Bronze Half-Castes to that school. It would make being besieged by those treacherous deiphages a lot less burdensome! Even if the child was busily curing every one or them that he encountered… and with more ease than even the Weavers could throughout the millennia. If they had him actually working with them – as opposed to just wandering by occasionally and helping out – this problem could be nipped in the bud… but even then they’d have to flee. SOMEBODY would find some way to stir up political trouble.

He’d… have to try to get an interview with the Maidens! Or at least with his patron! Even if he wasn’t even a thousand years old and they might not be paying attention. If nothing else, his successes against the deiphages should get him some attention…. few though they might be, at least he could say that he had never lost a reclaimed territory. They might well want to give instructions about Charles anyway. Surely his doubling up the Celestial Exalted was an event worthy of it!

10 Responses

  1. All aboard the Sidereal Express! Next stop, Disaster Station! CHOO CHOO!

    • They do tend that way don’t they?

      Still, I’m pleased to say that – while the Great Curse does cause some boneheaded behavior in our games – the NPC’s are allowed to come up with good plans and ideas on occasion. I find the standard NPC idiot-ball presumption almost physically painful.

  2. You know, I bet by now the Yozis (or thier lesser selves) have gotten word of all this stuff that Charles is handing out. Makes me wonder what they will think, finding out a Primordial (or something like it) has popped up out of nowhere.

    • Well, it’s always been possible that another Primordial could simply appear at any moment – but if anyone would recognize that Charles is not quite a Primordial, it would be the Yozis, their Third Circles, and the Infernals.

      Still, for good or ill, Charles has plans for things to give them too. The Privacy Manse was actually the first attempt at a prototype system – which should be coming up pretty soon.

  3. […] CXV – The Voice Of A Brazen Vessel: Lord Jorgensen’s Reactions. […]

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