The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CXXVI – Infernal Considerations

Meanwhile, Chisaru had – on thinking more – concluded that Charles was probably being a bit naive about the notion that fixing the Yozi’s would fix the universe, but even just making them a bit saner would probably be useful… At least on the “there’s room!” front it was hard to argue with the child! Still, both she and Mr Montague were wondering if he intends to go to Malfeas and propose this to him … They couldn’t predict the results of that, of course. But they doubt that even the other Yozis could!

Charles, in fact, was aware that he might be wrong – but he’d hate to think that the universe was so messed up without a reason. He was planning to offer the option to one or two of the more traditionally reasonable or quiet Yozi’s – or just try a few third circles, and see if that had an effect! Cytherea might be a good one (if he could find her), or perhaps Isidoros; he didn’t seem too badly damaged, he’d pretty much just remained a boisterous black hole/boar. That would be pretty easy!

“Hey! Wanna try an artifact? You can eat it later if you don’t like it!”

Of course, considering Isidoros, he might eat it if he DID like it… he tended to live by his whims and not think too much of the future. Still, it would only be a test – and besides, Charles rather suspected that Isidoros had a charm for incorporating things he liked by eating them, and another for spitting things out later even if he did eat them. That way he could also have his best pal Szoreny the Silver Forest duplicate it using HIS Charms. Then both of them could have whatever the thing was! Szoreny’s copy would be perfect except for being made out of highly reflective silver of course…

Hm! He’d better make sure that he was REALLY well stocked up with Instant Genius Points before he started fiddling with Yu-Shan too! You might not be able to prepare for EVERYTHING, but you could make sure that you had lots of options to work with! That way you could compensate on the fly if and when things started going wrong…

Still, with any luck, he could keep most of the universe too confused to interfere for just a little while longer…

On a distant world, two Infernals were inspecting the changes that the boy – whatever he was – had worked upon their manse, and were… a bit baffled.

The (Original) Preceptor Of Ancient Ways, a Cecelyene Manse-3:

This fanciful, brightly-tiled desert palace of domes and minarets looks like something out of the Arabian Nights, a cathedral to Cecelyene rising above the lesser domes and structures – and the blowing silver sands – about it. It is Watoka Danaj’s temple and bridgehead for the eventual return of the Yozi’s to the earth…

Or at least it was.

Construction Points: 6 (Base) +3 (No Notable Hearthstone) +2 (Maintenance) = 11

Spent on: Extended Zone of Influence (favored, 3), Password Activation (1), Hidden Passages (ruled favored, 1), Geomantic Subtlety (2), Minor Tricks and Traps (1), Archive (the history of Creation (the architect was big on his people knowing that their ancestors came from creation and that they were “destined to rule it once again”), Yozi Lore, and Biology), Charm Transparency (those within it may project offensive charms through the walls as if they weren’t there, 1), and a double dose of Magical Conveniences (it IS a cult center after all):

  • Sweep the Sands: The manse can move the surrounding sands around to make dunes, bury or reveal nearby structures, or mildly annoy people. This is not fast enough to attack with however.
  • Refreshing Waters; The manse provides an endless supply of tea, coffee, and fruit-flavored drinks, hot or cold as desired.
  • Public Address Systems: The manse can project the users voice and image to a multitude, or send messages to the minions within its zone of influence.
  • Thaumaturgic Anchor: The manse can sustain up to (manse rank) thaumaturgic effects applied to itself (usually wards to protect it and an illusion to hide it) and will recreate those effects in six ticks if they’re broken.
  • One Way Mirrors: Those within the manse can see out easily and into public hallways (not the private rooms) within the manse.
  • Air Conditioning: Despite it being in a desert, the temperature is always cool and comfortable.

The place also has a demon locust spawning pit – but that really isn’t a part of the manse architecture.

Charles’s modifications have transformed the Preceptor Of Ancient Ways into the Preceptor Of Ascending Minds (Cecelyene Manse-5) – upgrading the demesne and manse to rating-5 without changing the hearthstone (+6 construction points) and adding two sets of Enhancement Artifacts (+6 additional construction points). Those have been used to purchase…

A set of Alternate Locations (5) – five habitable, fertile, animal-populated, and welcoming planets scattered around a cluster of galaxies in an otherwise uninhabited hubble volume some 10 to the 40’th power light years away from earth – far, FAR, beyond the cosmic event horizon as seen from Earth. (Actually we’re still considering whether or not Alternate Locations and Gates should be on Cecylyene’s favored list; they certainly seem to suit her. If they are, the extra point will go to adding a few more planets to the list).

A full Control Room – replacing the Password Controls (+1). This is mostly to allow the inhabitants to shift planets when they need to and to operate the various artifacts, below.

Two sets of Integrated Utility Artifacts (6):

  • A Forge Of Souls (Artifact-5): A lesser version of the Well of Souls, only capable of supplying new souls for a few dozen planets. Like the Well of Souls, the souls created by the Forge will automatically attach themselves to the Loom of Fate, and enter a human-style reincarnation cycle.
  • A Lathe Of Souls (Artifact-5): This adjutant to the Forge Of Souls can (permanently) adjust new souls created by the Forge to bond properly with a wide variety of Uplifted Animal Species – granting them full sapience and ensuring that they will continue to reincarnate within their own species.
  • A Metamorphoses Chamber (Artifact-5): This room mutates creatures within it via channeling the energies of the host manse; thus it has no effect on essence-users, but its effects on those who lack that talent are a normal expression of creation’s laws, with the usual genetic developmental drawbacks and the ability to breed true. The Chamber can grant up to 12 points worth of positive mutations without cost, and can counterbalance up to +6 additional points of positive mutations with negative ones – but such mutations must be physically plausible.
  • A Molecular Assembler (Artifact-5): This facility can – given stocks of raw fiber, ore, wood, stone, and edible material – provide basic pioneering supplies (heavy clothing, tools, instruction books, knives, a few weeks worth preserved food, etc) for a group of with a magnitude of up to (host manse rank -1) per month.

Additional Convenience Functions:

  • Babysitting: Provided the supplies are available, the manse can effectively look after up to (Manse Rank Magnitude) youngsters – ensuring that they get bathed, fed, and cared for.
  • Tutoring: Sapient beings resident in the manse will soon find themselves picking up a basic education suitable for grade (manse rank).
  • Test Kits: The manses facilities allow it’s residents to invest a little work to identify minerals, toxic and edible plants, and similar basic environmental data.
  • Automatic Archiving: The manse keeps records of your test results, research projects, and other records for you – and keeps them neatly organized as well.

Additional Archival Subjects:

  • Fundamentals of Civilization – a set of early industrial-era technical manuals, a good science encyclopedia, and basic thaumaturgical handbooks. All in all, a mere thirty or forty volumes – but quite invaluable for building a new colony.
  • Architecture and Engineering – how to build buildings, plan cities, and construct arches, trusses, bridges, and similar practical structures.

After they’d had a chance to look over their upgraded facility both Watoka Danaj and Odirle were simultaneously impressed and disturbed by the ease with Charles had added those functions to the manse – and installed ten powerful artifacts to boot! That should have required tearing down the entire place, re-engineering the demesne, and rebuilding (tearing it down and rewriting the catechism if you’d gone as deeply into Cecelyene charms as Danaj had) – not… modifying the manse on the fly to accommodate the geomantic shifts! Breaking Odirle’s wards was impressive as well; he’d spent quite a lot of time on those, and deployed a lot of powerful enhancements – and he certainly hadn’t been expecting some child to waltz right through them! And so obliging… And so willing to talk, and obviously opposed to hurting people, destroying things, or even… making people unhappy. So ODD in a being of his obvious power!

They petitioned the Unquestionable, to get his Essence signature analyzed; they would know if he was, as suspected, another primordial power…

The answer on that wouldn’t come back for quite some time. After all, Charles had blurred things quite a lot and his true essence signature was still perfectly concealed… But what did show wasn’t a true Primordial signature – far too un-unified and far, FAR too many essence types! – but the new (Adenic) essence type was interesting, and a personal essence type was typical of a well-developed world-body and Primordials. The creature accompanying him was obviously bound to his essence, and was equally obviously a manse-emanation – if one of quite incredible power for a manse-emanation. It… might or might not be being infused with the new essence type to truly become a part of it’s creator and BECOME a true Deva, but personal geomancy clearly indicated a world-body anyway!

Whatever this being was – or was becoming – he was definitely hiding SOMETHING.