Charles was musing… if he DID want to pursue being a Primordial as well as being himself… weaving a Synergistic Overmind that was a reflection of, and linked to, his own mind through the structure of Aden pretty well covered the “enlarged consciousness” part of things, and covered multitasking very nicely, and made Aden a part of his mind as well as his soul – but how would you go around promoting the Guardians to actual Devas? Simply by infusing them with more Adenic Essence? Breaking them free of the Manses? Giving them the ability to carry their manses around? Some weird speciality charm? The old records basically said that “Third Circles represent an Intimacy each” and “if a Third Circle gets destroyed, bad things happen” – although the terminology was a lot more elaborate and they took a lot of words to say that not much was known.
It was really hard to figure out a way to do something when you weren’t at all clear about what it was that you were trying to do! Besides, he had too many Guardians for his intimacies (even if it was kind of weird that there were charms that could COUNT those). The only actual Primordial that he could find much of anything definite on was the Ebon Dragon, who was arguably even more of a unique case than most of them should be by his own definition! He was, after all, the only one who was supposed to exist as a shadow-reflection rather than a reality – as witness his ability to swap between the underworld and reality. Apparently he was the only Primordial who could use Necromancy and become a wraith-version of himself, which pretty much said that all the others were radically different right there…
You could use Solar Circle Sorcery to turn a Ghost into a God of course…
Wait a moment…
You could attach a new lower soul to a higher soul and let the new person be reborn, quite alive. Lethe did it all the time – and sometimes memories came through, so memory-erasure wasn’t necessarily a part of the process. That wasn’t a resurrection though, since the original lower soul was gone, and the intimacies and drives of the new one would… override (and eventually overwrite) the higher souls memories of the drives and intimacies of the prior lower soul. You couldn’t reconstruct the previous lower soul (even though they were pretty simple to shape) for some reason though… probably the pattern was locked out!
So if you could turn a Ghost into a God by grafting a Domain (however minor) to them… that must mean that Domains served the same purpose in Gods that Lower Souls did in Humans – to provide them with drive and purpose and motivations. Getting a God a new Domain was their version of reincarnation. Domainless gods, lacking drives and purposes of their own, were easily filled with other drives – thus their openness to deiphagy and madness. Fortunately, the existence of a god was a good deal more fluid than that of a human. For them… trading in their “lower soul” was far less traumatic. Still, that made sense of the way that the gods with domains saw the domainless though; not quite… “alive” – and they could mourn Gri Fel, god of the Imperial City, even if Gri Fel was still around but domainless – like hosting a visiting ancestral ghost.
Of course, domainless gods often weren’t treated as honorably as ancestral ghosts, but then they didn’t have as much to offer their fellow gods. Ancestral ghosts were more powerful than their living relatives most of the time, while domainless gods had little or nothing that other gods wanted. Besides… they were a VERY unpleasant reminder of divine mortality. Someday… you too might be like them – and that was NOT a thought that made a divinity happy; not only might they be left that way, but they’d have failed to protect their domain.
The acceptance of mortal refugees during the last major Raksha incursion had helped the domainless gods in Yu-Shan out somewhat; they could protect humans – and get some support for it – even if it wasn’t part of their domains. It still needed fixing though! And at least that project was well underway. He still had to find a way to do something about human mortality in general though… that needed fixing too!
He had told Mercurial Bane of Deception as much… although she probably hadn’t realized what he really meant. She’d probably just thought he was talking about making them all essence-users…
She had; that hadn’t seemed like such a bad idea in Creation, since they don’t seem to have to worry about Void worshipers. She’d have been a LOT more worried if she’d had any idea of what Charles actually had in mind.
Luna too was musing. What the Sidereals would think was obvious (and amusing – they were SO hung up on “destiny”!) – but Charles had been pretty obviously just being a kid. An adult showed up, you needed something, you asked them for it! That was just the way they thought – and he’d probably been planning to ask anyway. She’d seen plenty of kids while sharing bits of the lives of thousands of her Exalts… They were TERRIBLE little opportunists, and quite shameless about it. It was, after all, their primary survival mechanism. It started with “Waaah!” (“Milk! I’m Hungry! And my stomach and reserves are very small! MILK NOW!!!”) and it went on until they were grown up.
Things had been getting pretty bad – the failing services in Yu-Shan were proof enough of that – but even she was a bit surprised at just HOW bad the situation actually was. At least now she knew what Gaia had been hiding from her! Naughty Primordial! She’d already arranged for about the best choice for fixing things that she could possibly find – a benign Solar who was focused on Geomancy… If an obsessive Solar couldn’t fix something, it probably couldn’t be done! And one working outside the bureaucracy would certainly be a lot faster on the job than nearly all other Celestial contractors. He seemed to have it well under way already…
Still… how HAD Gaia done it? Her resources for subtle manipulation were incredibly vast of course – if only because the motes she’d committed to creation gave her influence over it – but where in all the Wyld had she found…
Ah. The Wyld. Of course… no wonder Gaia had incorporated all those wyld zones during the Reshaping! If they were mapped… what would the sigils – and the power they channeled – say? Or would it just give her existing charmset unmatched flexibility?
It had caused even more problems – but the other Primordials with motes committed to Creation – save Cytherea and the Ebon Dragon – had pulled them out long ago. That had undermined the reality of Creation of course, but most of them didn’t care much about THAT any longer.
Meanwhile, the advertising campaign for Charles’s gate-openings were now a fixture in a variety of media… While there would doubtless be scientists, fanatics, would-be colonists, people who wanted to control things, and all kinds of other groups showing up an one or another of the locations, there was no end of space, plenty of supplies stockpiled, and quite a lot of magic and crowd-control available. It should be pretty manageable!
Of course, only seventy-two of the ninety-six ready planets were being opened… A few of the remaining twenty-four were set up as nature preserves, but several others had already been quietly made available to some of nonhumans on Earth – and THOSE gate-openings were already well underway. There wasn’t a lot of room left for them any longer, and humanity was getting ever closer to encroaching on their last hideouts. There wasn’t any reason that they shouldn’t get planets; it was only fair!
The Beastmen were mostly in distant galaxies now – but…
- The Raksha had wanted a planet that chaos-heavy, and that was easy.
- The few Dragon Kings remaining in Yu-Shan would appreciate a world where their young could hunt until they achieved sapience.
- The People of the Sea were being pretty badly affected by the trouble with the oceans; all the pollutants were very hard on their gills (and their occasional appearances in the tabloids were REALLY embarrasing), so they had wanted a nice planet with lots of clean oceans – even if they DID appreciate Mashinago’s ocean-cleansing…
- The People of the Air had been pretty marginal to begin with; wings just weren’t too practical for man-sized creatures without some chaos around. Their surviving colonies had ties to several freeholds on the highest mountain ranges but they still had it fairly rough and had to be really careful where they flew. A lower-gravity planet with a denser atmosphere had suited them perfectly though!
- The Dune People… weren’t on Earth, and might well be out in space already – although it was at least as likely that they’d just interbred out of existence. The only change in THEM had been albinism. The crazed cannibalism… had just been the result of meddling by some equally crazed exalt.
- The Tree folk… would mostly be called “Ewoks” these days, and doubtless lived on many forest moons.
Minikins never existed at all in our Exalted Modern setting; Solars are supposed to be marvelous engineers – and designing stuff that’s hard to maintain is bad engineering, Designing stuff that calls for redesigning the people who are supposed to be maintaining it… is like designing a car so that would-be drivers have to chop their legs off at the knee to operate it. Poor decisions, sure, total incompetence… no.
- The Earthfolk had mostly lived with the Jadeborn, and had apparently vanished with them… He STILL hadn’t had much luck reaching the Jadeborn (or the Earthfolk). Were they ALL behind wards somewhere?
- The Djala… had interbred and vanished long ago. There’d always been something wrong about that story anyway; truebreeding essence users who never used it for anything useful? Why not?
The biggest groups left after that… were the creatures who’d been driven or banished into the depths of creation – the Darkbrood and the Underfolk. There were still thirty-three of those races with a reasonable number of survivors left; a mixture of “unsuccessful” designs, creatures that various primordials had gotten tired of, primordial loyalists, things that the Exalted had banished, mutant versions of normal races, things that had unsuccessfully rebelled against the Primordials before the primordial war, and so on… Most of the ones left were either quite formidable, very good at hiding, very well organized, or under someone’s protection – but there was LOTS of room for them now! Planets for them too, set up to suit their needs! And for the non-sentient species!
At least for everything that wasn’t inherently nasty and evil. The things that were… could have planets too, but would need to be carefully isolated!
Oh dear. The poor evolutionary biologists were going to find that earth humans could interbreed with many of the weird aliens. He might need to have heart therapists and some first age genetics textbooks on standby.
Maybe some new infant bodies so that any of the groups who’s spirits were still hanging about could get their reincarnation cycles started again? Lethe had to be pretty well jammed with souls who’s normal host species was extinct! They’d all been dumped on quite enough up until now!
Well, that might have to wait a bit…
The creatures of the depths were rather suspicious of such an offer – but Charles simply set up the gates for them, and the planets beyond, and left them open. They had a lot of reasons to distrust people from above – and were not at all sure for quite some time that it wasn’t some trick of the Incarnae – but Charles was quite willing to offer guarantees… eventually they’d move on through! There was no big rush!
OK, so this is actually three short discussion-sessions compiled… It happens
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice, Session CXXIII – The Celestial Lions and the Hands of Sorrow (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CXXII – Family Visitations (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CXXVI – Infernal Considerations (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CXXII – Interlude with Lytek (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CXXIV – Cell Phones and Silver Sands (ruscumag.wordpress.com)