Charles was currently making more manses / bodyguard-protector manse guardians, studying defense charms, researching Deathlords, and puzzling over Yu-Shan’s geomantic maps… Aikiko was not a big worry at the moment given that she was protected from unnatural mental influence and that she’d gone from “Help! I’ve been Kidnaped!” to “I have GOT to get me one of THESE!” anyway. She seemed to be rather enjoying herself…
He’d already notified Autochthonia that there might be attacks there and dispatched assistance (and was rather awaiting the “Who in the Void are YOU!?” responses) and put bodyguards on all the Tenders and major geomantic nexi of Yu-Shan… There wasn’t much else he could do to keep a lid on THAT situation at the moment!
The end of the cosmos beckoned, but the military of Tarvail still wanted to talk to him a bit and the Music Of Creation needed more work anyway. Even for him it was a pretty ambitious project; arranging to hit that peak of skill – and for the cascading probabilities that would make success almost inevitable – was rather a lot of work, even with his resources.
Gamespeak Interlude: It was indeed. Arranging to roll nearly seventy dice, and for the threshold of success to be reduced to “2″, called for a wide assortment of excellencies, charms, sorceries, artifacts, augmented grace tools, grace magic, hearthstones, geomancies, manses, aides, divine aid, and geomantic relays, all carefully sequenced and timed. It took even Charles a rather long time to set up each roll. Doing so at least twenty-five times in a row was a lot of work.
And, of course, there was an interruption…
The extraterrestrial humans had recovered nicely from having the earth astronomers leave, the dragon-lady from Satries was providing entertainment with her marvelous breath, Mothra Leo was fluttering around outside, enjoying getting in some flying time – and Gothmug was reporting that a wraith was requesting clearance to enter Aden through the Underworld communications Manse.
Given that he WAS having Deathlord problems Charles had said Wraith checked out carefully – and gave instructions not to allow him or her in if he or she DIDN’T check out!
According to Gothmug… she identified herself as “Frumisara” and claimed to have been hired by the Donelly Terrestrial Clan to keep an eye on Charles himself! She’d sent documentation over through a living descendant.
He had Malinda check that out – and she turned out to be quite legitimate, and guests WERE allowed… She even had a letter from the clan head himself, which also checked out. And just when he had a lot of things to do… maybe she’d be willing to help sort out the kids from the fey? She might as well come in… after all, she’d be solid by default in Aden.
Frumisara was pleased by that at least. Her demeanor was pretty stoic, though, and – fairly typically for wraiths – her clothing was very old fashioned.
And she wanted to meet Charles of course.
She was currently in one of the stores, looking over some dresses – the darker ones, mostly – but headed over to the Mardi Gras Laboratory as soon as permission came through.
(Frumisara, distantly, but friendly enough) “Ah, there you are. You must be Charles. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
(Charles, who was carefully adjusting a note-sequence, hanging in the air. Fortunately, in the Mardi Gras manse, he could simply manifest them and sand the rough spots off) “Nice to meet you too!”
(Frumisara, not at all startled by this) “Well… you are a powerful one, creating your own world like this. Even with the report from the Donellys, I needed to see it with my own eyes. It must be fairly obliging to you – which is all the more reason why I am needed! The outside world is not so obliging.”
(Charles) “Well no! And there are mean people in it!”
(Frumisara) “Which is why I am here. Mr. Donelly asked me to have you consult with me before you made major decisions – such as building artifacts and manses for people, engaging powerful entities such as Deathlords, or gallivanting outside Creation – which I believe you are about to do right now, yes? Just what is your intent there?”
(Charles) “Well, I need to pick something up to help out someone who’s very sick! And only one Deathlord is really upset with me at the moment!”
(Frumisara) “ONLY one? All right, young man, tell me what happened…”
(Charles) “Erm… Well… But that involves secret stuff!”
(Frumisara) “Come now, young man – I’m supposed to ensure that you don’t give things to people who would be detrimental to Creation – or the Underworld for that matter! And just who is sick enough that you need to go to the edge of the universe for them? Most cures are easy enough to find or create for a sorcerer of your apparent power.”
Charles was panicky! Direct questions! From someone insistent!
Frumisara almost laughed – but maintained her stoicism. For all his power Charles was obviously enough still a small boy! You just needed… to be an authority figure and back him into a verbal corner while sternly waggling a finger! He must have been well brought up from very early on!
(Charles) “Er… Er… Well… Would you take an Oath of Secrecy? At the Privacy Manse? It’s important!”
(Frumisara) “It won’t affect my mind negatively, will it?”
(Charles, quite indignantly) “Of course not!”
(Frumisara) “I had children pull pranks on me that way, back when I was living… but lead the way.”
Charles set his artificing aside for the moment and did so. Once there, and privacy assured, and oath made…
(Charles) “Well… Yu-Shan is a Primordial, and she’s very sick already – and there’s a Deathlord who wants to kill her, recreate oblivion, and dump all of the gods and Incarnae in it! He sent three Abyssals to Earth to blow up a manse I was fixing, and they sort of died, and their Exaltations didn’t go back to him, so he’s pretty cross! And I need some stuff to help Yu-Shan because most medicines and charms don’t work on Primordial Illnesses! And that’s why there’s a hurry!”
(Frumisara) “By the Dual Monarchs… does he know about this place?”
(Charles) “About Aden? Some! he could get aboard through some of the Old Oblivion Magics – but that’s one reason I’m making more guards. Fortunately, even if someone was standing next to us under perfect concealment effects, the privacy effects here are also perfect, so they still couldn’t listen in!”
(Frumisara) “Well… you should start some further security protocols, just in case – and watch that Underworld communications Manse!”
She listed off some of the ways hostile ghosts could get in and some of the common ways Deathlords could… alter them. She was a fairly popular nanny among Ghost-Blooded and ghosts who cared about their descendants!
And, of course, the odd child-ghost who needed a nanny as a part of the current story they were acting out.
Charles cheering added more precautions. Always good to have more people thinking about a problem!
Hmm… The boy was indeed obliging! Still, she had to wonder what she’d gotten herself into! He’d “only” upset ONE Deathlord? Of course… he’d upset a Deathlord in a major way and was still alive – and seemed fairly likely to stay that way! His defenses were obviously already most formidable!
Charles… set her up with the “special measures to kill” package and some boosts and artifacts and such. If she was going to hang around she might need them!
Frumisara spent some time getting to know Gothmug a bit better… and getting set up to keep an eye on Charles and moving into one of the manses where he had a partial presence; that made him MUCH easier to keep an eye on and advise!
A bit of training at the Solar Academy, checking out Galileo, and shopping was also in order – as well as talking about the other children the boy was picking up from the fey!
Charles had been looking for advice on what to do about the low-end ones anyway.
Frumisara suggested getting guardians for them, and training in for caring for their own needs. She knew several good therapists and trainers, both living and dead.
Charles… had been reluctant to get trainers… it felt unpleasantly like finding someone to teach a dog tricks.
(Frumisara) “Charles . . . they have to learn how to live in the world, even here. It’s good for them to be as independent as they can. Be honest: do you want them to spend the rest of their lives doing nothing but running errands?”
(Charles) “Well… they are learning! Even the Teddies have modified their paws to be better hands, and gotten thinner, and are making their own dinners and things… it’s really SLOW, but they don’t age or anything while they’re here! But… if you think it would help them progress faster, I can get some traininers. It’s just that… most of them aren’t STUPID; they just have so little will of their own that being told what to do makes it easy for them to stagnate. Having to decide what to do in very small things… at least gets them used to making SOME decisions!”
(Frumisara) “That’s not a bad tactic – but teaching them, say, basic cooking will involve them making an awful lot of small decisions – how much spice, how much salt, whether something is done or not…”
(Charles) “Huh! I hadn’t really thought about it, but that’s true! A few hours of lessons every day it is!”
Elsewhere, flashing through the void on yet another errand for her master, a young Abyssal was considering. The function of the amulet the child had given her (or perhaps created on the spot?) was easy enough to see; if she attuned it… it would restore any damaged or currently-limited sections of her mind to full operation and it would provide considerable resistance to mental influence while she kept it. Could that… cheerful gift… have any place in her current life? Was what she’d given up to become an Abyssal Exalt really worthwhile?
On Tarvail, Charles’s small cult was discovering that simply joining the group, even if you weren’t at all exclusive about praying to Charles, was apparently enough to cause virtually any injury to start healing and – at least according to the puzzled doctors – to drastically slow the aging process. And even for THAT benefit, recruiting was…. remarkably easy!
And that wasn’t even mentioning the fact that – if you were really in serious trouble – dropping a prayer to Charles was often enough to get some prompt, and extremely helpful, divine intervention! Or the resistance to mental influence! Or the ability to get minor artifacts of your own, or the way in which their effectiveness in working on projects other than recruiting seemed to be multiplied…