The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CLII – Digressions and Diversions

Back in Aden, the Kickaha had mostly settled down – patrolling the wilds, staffing the more physical attractions, and rearing their packs. The bad news was that some of them wanted a little more excitement. They were itching for Charles to open up the gates to space! Once they could go to untamed worlds, the universe would be open to them!

Charles HAD been letting them set up as colonization guides and go out to map out the new worlds – but the restless ones wanted to explore beyond those worlds… to cross into the Wyld zones and from there, to the wider universe, to explore, adventure, and hunt down the nastier evils! And they didn’t really have the means to do so without spaceships and Wyld drives.

(Charles, with vast hypocrisy) “Uhm… Not until you’re older!”

(Anaki, a young brawler) “But you’re what, fourteen? You have a babysitter, for gods’ sakes! But you’re jumping all over the place!”

(Charles) “Er… But I have lots of backup along!”

(Anaki) “Well, yeah, but how often are we going to run into the kinds of things you take on? I’ll be fine if I have a way to get back to Aden!”

(Charles, who was feeling rather stuck) “But… but a lot of you have kids and need to look after them!”

(Anaki) “Even if I fall, my pack will watch over my kids… and I’ve got to do SOMETHING more with your gifts! No offense, but surveying and being a tour guide is getting boring!”

(Charles) “Well, as soon as the colonization gates open you can help people colonize and deal with those problems!”

(Aniki, who could see the obvious, sighing) “…if you’re that worried about our safety, couldn’t you just build a lot of cool gadgets to keep us safe?”

(Charles) “Well… I suppose… Did you at least complete a few martial arts courses?”

(Aniki, realizing that Charles was just stalling) “Did I complete a few martial arts courses!?”

She showed off her Solar Hero Style training.

(Charles) “Been practicing with some of the students over at the Citadel of Enlightenment?”

(Aniki) “Oh yeah… I wanted to be prepared!”

(Charles, yielding to the inevitable) “Well, that’s good! I guess I could make some artifacts! Armor and things anyway… At least for those of you who don’t have the enhanced link to the Dun and have it anyway!”

(Aniki) “Great! Thanks, Charles! We won’t let you down!”

Oh dear. He’d accidentally created a race of would-be interstellar heroes! Not that that was a BAD thing, but…

Charles put upgraded commando armor in the que, along with some specialty tools and even (sigh) some weapons for the few who really felt like they needed them.

As a stopgap… he checked to see how many of the would-be adventurers were willing to take on temporary roles as guardians; at the moment, what with the Arbiter of Games End acting up, he had a LOT of places that needed watching!

As long as it would put them her against evil – and allow her to use their training and powers to the utmost – Anaki was happy to try bodyguarding for a bit. Halekua, a boy in another pack, had trained in both the bodyguard oriented Falling Blossom Style and God Slayer Style (optimized for fighting spirits). Manesku was incredibly strong and perceptive and had been studying Lunar Hero Style.

And Frumasara stuck her nose in and told him – in no uncertain terms! – that if he was setting up bodyguards for all kinds of OTHER people and places, he should definitely get a few for HIMSELF!

Well… some personal bodyguards might not be a bad idea and (sigh) quite a few of the Kickaha were entirely willing – not ot mention all the other guardian-types he’d been creating to protect the tenders and vital areas of Yu-Shan. At least they all had multiple occurrences of the “only a unique special method will truly kill them” even if it had proven impossible to set up directly contradictory methods on the same individual… there was always SOME flaw (even over and above “wreck the supporting manse:). You could make it almost arbitrarily difficult though!

And there were enough now to deploy additional defenders for the the various Tender bunkers, the likely-vital sites that did not have fate disruptions in Yu-Shan, a few around the Jade Pleasure Dome and Perfect Lotus of Destiny (even if those were likely the most secure locations in the city… still, HE’D gotten through the defenses on the Jade Pleasure Dome without a lot of trouble, even if he HAD only wanted a communications link. Still, with all the gods and exalts around there, they were probably pretty secure. .

He set up some tests, with the various gear items as awards for completion/success, and some counseling (as in: “if you have kids it’s not fair not to raise them first”) to ensure that the ones who graduated were ready!

The program turned out to be fairly popular, even with the “if you fail a test you have to study some more before you can retake a variant of it”. There would still be a reasonable minority of Kickaha ready to go adventuring when the gates opened.

There were some begging for help of course – but extra training courses seemed like a suitable answer there! It wasn’t as if there was THAT big a rush!

The fey rescuees had mostly settled in as child-caretakers and such – apparently it had quite a few similarities with attending the fey – and even the established procedures were managing even the worst cases of naturally-low willpower. The “buying from the fey” program was going well – the Raksha were commonly trading for the Resplendent Butler’s Accouterments – and… there seemed to be a few beastman kids in the latest batch who were so comfortable as panther-people that they’d pretty obviously been that way either from birth or for a VERY long time!

Were they importing from off-earth just because the prices were good?

The Pantheroids from a Wyld zone a LOT closer to Tarvail than to Earth. They even had ribbons “of joy and delight” around their necks. They’d… made a deal with the Fey: they wanted to visit Aden, and the sellers had heard of it from a friend of a friend, and they didn’t really have anyone else to look after them other than the fey, and since Aden was known as a god of charity and kindness, well… From their attitudes… evidently Aden was the next best thing to their conception of Heaven.

Oh well! If they wanted to live in Aden, THAT was an easy set of desires to grant… They were pretty normal kids otherwise, so they got sent to the usual they’ll-be-kids-for-centuries-so-some-school-some-practical-apprenticeships-and-LOTS-of-play program.

And they were cute and Naturally Fuzzy! The Teddies proved to be VERY fond of them.

Meanwhile, Celestial Lion Zuangwo was investigating a reported deiphage attack. Normally that wouldn’t have drawn much notice in a neighborhood so bad – but the reports had indicated some high-end energy discharges and a lot of power involved for a scuffle in a back alley. Some sort of stasis effect, and lunar essence! Not a common combination!
It didn’t take him long to fly over – and the alleyway was choked with ice linked with some sort of stasis effect – with several lesser deiphages stuck in it!

(Zuangwo) “What the…?”

He cast around for witnesses and found a (sigh) over-excited god of Pekingese dogs who’d seen the whole thing. Unfortunately… he was very excited to be interviewed, if slightly nervous about the interview being conducted by a big cat!

(Zuangwo, giving an imposing glare to make sure he didn’t get jumped on. Sigh… Minor gods and their excitability!) “Right! (Montioning towards the scene with a paw) Now what’s all this then?”

(Ranappy) “It was a machine god or something! Maybe a god of gerrymandering or electronic vote fraud! Lots of power, even if he didn’t look too important! A small group of deiphages were lurking in a side-cubby there – must have come up from underground – but he froze them right out!”

(Zuangwo) “What did this god look like, other than a machine?”

(Ranappy) “Well, he had a swirling cloak and a big hat with a feather, and pirate boots and a scimitar – but underneath he was all metal! An electronic vote pirate I think!”

Zuangwo blinked… he didn’t recall any gods like that, but then there had been so many over the millennia! Crazy modern gods…

He turned to the area itself, to perform a more detailed Essence analysis.

(Ranappy) “Anyway, his cloak swirled around, and there was a terrible flash, and the deiphages got all frozen – and he just departed! Didn’t even wait for the reward! MUST be a god of something undercover!”

(Zuangwo, while analyzing) “You didn’t see where he went, did you?”

Huh… Lunar and… Exotic… and Wyld?!? A Reality Shaping stasis effect, but… no actual reality shaping cause evident. And the exotic was… something he’d never run across before! It felt… gigantic, and oddly human, with a touch of the wyld about it, and… prayer of some sort. Definitely reality twisting! Humph! Both artifact and living… with immense amounts of power backing it. And geomancy.

Unfortunately, the Sidereals had been keeping the Kaiju Manses a deep secret.

Some kind of god of geomancy? But why would a powerful god be hanging out in the empty quarters? Did “Gerrymandering” generate it’s OWN geomancy? And such power! And four lesser deiphages in stasis WITHOUT a shaping effect to do it.

He tried to get a sketch from the Pekingese god’s description to get a better idea of it’s form – but that turned out, annoyingly enough, to be mostly of it’s clothing. Still, that was something and would make it easier to spot the god! Wyld and Exotic Essence was not normal for gods!

Well, except for that one guy in the Forbidding Manse of Ivy, and nobody knew what the Wyld had warped him into except the division head.

And the essence level was reading as… 5.2? DECIMALS? Perhaps an average? That would mean that the god was… being possesses, or controlled. That was very troubling, even if it was going against deiphages! And by something with an unknown power signature, which was worse!

The trail… was short. Not a Teleport (thank the Incarnae), but down the alleyway, then… traces of a wyld energy charm of clothing alteration – and then lost in the flow of traffic. That was always a problem in Yu-Shan!

He filed a report and watched for further sightings – and called Charles; the kid was pretty knowledgeable about anything at all to do with geomancy and seemed to be involved with a good half of the weird stuff that was going on these days.

He had to settle for sending a messenger – Charles was hard to reach directly at the moment – but there were a few other things going on… A flying vehicle? creature? god? had collided with an aerial rickshaw (who’d thought that it had the right-of-way due to an arrogant god pilot); and there was some argument, and then suddenly… the accident had never happened, and there were only vague memories of it… which was a LOT of power to spend on a traffic offense! Especially when you were arguably in the right!

And the reported essence signature had been… Sidereal-Exotic-Wyld.

Argh! Not another! Yu-Shans security was really pretty permeable, but TWO in one day? With what seemed to be… the same type of exotic essence.

More reports came in from around the city over the next few days – but correlating the reports showed that they were mostly centered on… various attractions. Amusement parks, casinos, and other facilities – with nothing being stolen, but some VERY odd results. One casino in particular… the roulette wheel had landed on “green” then on “do not pass go” – neither of which were actually on it. Four players got simultaneous royal flushes, but were beaten out by seven incarnae. The bingo… had gotten VERY weird. The cards had gone non-euclidean, and had started transforming directly into prizes

That wasn’t even the right number of cards for Celestial Poker! And what happened with the bingo? Plentimon, God of Gambling, must be livid… What in Malfeas was going on?

Actually, he’d been annoyed at first, but then had decided that it was just making the gamble bigger.

Anyway… eventually the casino had had to call in a specialist and purge the whole casino of Wyld energies.

Hm. Business would be down for months now that rumors of THAT have gotten out. What a pain for the divine manager – and a pain for him and and his colleagues, too! Wyld energies were NOT supposed to be in Yu-Shan! ESPECIALLY when the source could apparently blend in well enough to move freely around Yu-Shan!

Worse… there were enough instances that it looked like at least two infiltrators, and perhaps three or more.

Zuangwo grumbled to himself… Blast. He might have to swallow his pride and get Tender help. Useful as the “treaty” Charles had brokered had been, it STILL didn’t sit well! They… just had too damned much in common!

After much additional investigating Zuangwo and the Tenders got close enough to spot King Ghidorah moving through a near-deserted quarter, apparently with no fear at all. He was fairly conspicuous, even with a trenchcoat and three hats. Even among gods, few had three heads!

When Zuangwo got there he found a most CURIOUS creature… shopping. It had a WEIRD power signature though – well concealed, but still Solar-Exotic-Wyld! It looked like it had been worth the trouble to bring in Fifty-Six Joy and Ninety-Seven Daffodil…

The Tenders were pretty puzzled anyway… That exotic aspect… it felt VERY human – but there was no such thing as a “human” aspect! Definitely a LOT of geomantic power there though! No human, or group of humans, should have power like THAT. Even Exalts were less diverse… most of the time. (The Lions weren’t so sure about Charles!)

Zuangwo had the lion dogs, scarab guardians, and (sigh…) deiphages in the area discreetly keep an eye on the thing – but kept the human forces out of it. For some reason the humans and Sidereals tended to get cross when they died, and this could be dangerous!

The thing seemed to have plenty of ambrosia – and was mostly shopping for ornaments and other trivia. A little interest in artifacts and such though.Mostly convenience stuff, some interest in armor and weapons (not that much), and some queries about Rings of the Wyld – a rather rare item!

Rings of the Wyld were from early in the first age, when the Raksha were more or less being seen as entertainment. They shielded a Raksha from the sun, allowed respiration in Creation, and allowed the use of some minor powers on a personal level – a bit like a low-grade personal wyld pocket. They were mostly used for entertainers and ambassadors at the time.

Harumph! That.. Wasn’t good,, although he’d heard that the Silver Faction Sidereals used those on fey associates sometimes… still very suspicious! Of course (sigh…) etiquette in Yu-Shan being what it was, he couldn’t do an arrest like the humans would see on COPS. He’d have to ask it to come with him down to the local station with him. If it resisted, and didn’t somehow manage to slip away… THEN he could pursue.

He quietly slipped up beside the thing…

(Zuangwo) “Well. Finding what you’re looking for?”

The lion dogs and scarabs covered the entrances, with orders to be discreet but cut off escape.

(“Khan” Ghidorah, “speaking” in a bizarre sound that somehow translated as) “Partially! If you’re one of the clerks, how much on this spun-emerald sash with the gold-and-ruby buttons?”

Now THAT was weird.

(Zuangwo) “Harumph… I am no clerk. I have some questions for you, if you wouldn’t mind joining me for a little while…”

(“Khan” Ghidorah, with an offended noise) “What, store security then? As if I, Khan Ghidora, would stoop to stealing something from a shop like this! Or are you just a nosy pest moonlighting a bit? “Very well! I present you with this award!””

Somehow – despite the lack of arms – it hung around his neck… a huge fluffy ribbon-bow tied to an incredibly gaudy and tasteless medal declaiming “1’st Place – Overzealousness!” in great big letters!

(Zuangwo, through gritted teeth) “Sir, please come with me…”

(“Khan” Ghidorah) “Harrrounnkkk!” – which came across as “And why?”

Argh! If he said “I suspect you’re a Wyld creature,” it would cause a panic!

(“Khan” Ghidorah) “Gronkkkk! / The shop owner is happy enough to take my money!”

(Zuangwo) “Your Essence signature is of interest to Heavenly authorities. My colleagues wish to look at it.”

(“Khan” Ghidorah) “Grwowwth! / “Very well then! If it is my essence signature that you find interesting, here is a sample!”

The creature – somehow – handed him a bottle full of… essence signature!?!?

While he was considering that, the creature cheerily attracted the nearest clerk, filled her pockets with ambrosia – and sprinkled her with a bit of… powdered essence signature, a sort of sparkling crystal sand – making HER essence-signature a duplicate of HIS!

(Zuangwo) “Whaaaaaa?!?!”

(“Khan” Ghidorah) “Hooonnnkkkkk! / Try out new brand of essence-makeup!”

Zuangwo groaned to himself…. other than the weird twists of fate, they hadn’t done anything truly malevolent. Just… annoying! At least the essence signature would be something. Though that might count as “disturbing gods” there!

At least if he hadn’t plentifully bribed her first.

(Zuangwo, with gritted teeth) “Thank you, sir. Is there a way I can contact you if I need further information?”

The three heads looked at him from all directions…

(“Khan” Ghidorah) “Hoooonnngggg! / Quickest? Grab nearest human, slip him a coin, have him pray to “Khan” Ghidorah! How else?”

(Zuangwo) “Of course, sir.”

Savvy creature! It knew how hard prayers were to trace! Although… that DID say either that he was lying or that he was better at hearing individual prayers than most gods were…

He was still considering the fact that he’d just been handed a sensory impression in physical form as “Khan” Ghidorah departed… It might be a suitable arcane link – but turning impressions into objects… was definitely dream-magic or wyld thaumaturg. It was usually a Raksha stunt! That was VERY worrying! Infiltrators in Yu-Shan, or at least somebody using potent Wyld magic at a fairly critical time! At least there was a possible link that the sorcerers might be able to use to track it!

Annoyingly… that was NOT easy, and it traced to… the deep wyld, earth (slightly more in Japan and America), elsewhere, and humans in general all at once. Still, it was SOMETHING to go on – and revealing – and worrying! – in it’s own way.

Still… while there were occasional strange reports… at the moment nothing outright horrible was happening, although Raksha imports – which were normally very rare – were up! It was mostly amusements and diversions – bottled dreams, candied euphoria, some gossamer stuff (mostly as novelties, although the Armor was popular; it was still protective even when it was constructed of pure narrative, and hence generally hard to even detect in Yu-Shan). Possibility-stones were popular too.

Was that just Charles again? Aden was a good source for that stuff.

Charles eventually did get back to him, even if it was by phone.

(Charles) “Hello there! What do you need?”

(Zuangwo) “Hello, Charles! I’ve got a case I need assistance with…”

He explained – but it was mostly “Huh” and Hmm” – until he mentioned “Khan Ghidorah” and his three heads and lack of arms – at which Charles was suddenly paying attention.

(Charles, suddenly sitting up straight) “Oh DEAR! Khan – “King” – Ghidorah? With a solar-exotic-wyld signature?… Er… (shows some scenes from movies) did it look like this? (and a near-perfect match)”

(Zuangwo) “Almost exactly!”

(Charles) “Oh dear! That’s not a god… That’s something that humans dreamed up!”

(Zuangwo) “Who would think of such a thing?”

(Charles) “Well… Entertainers actually! For a movie!”

Charles happily showed Zuangwo Godzilla versus “Monster X” (King Ghidorah) – which, incidently, showed it being summoned by shapeshifting beings who become strangely animalistic and then sort of calcified when killed – and who came from beyond “the dark side of jupiter” to attack a huge city….

(Zuangwo) “Incarnae! That’s not good!”

(Charles) “Yeah but… it never goes shopping in the movies! Just flies around blowing things up!”

(Zuangwo) “Hrmm… I’m sure it’s up to something. I’ll have to monitor it… Now how did it get out of the movie? That normally doesn’t happen unless somebody’s fooling around!”

(Charles) “Er… well… (sigh) It’s a manse built from dreams.”

(Zuangwo) “I knew it! Some kind of Wyld technique, no doubt…”

(Charles) “Well yes! You have to build it in the domain of the mind – but it’s sited on an IDEA rather than a fixed demesne – and ideas don’t really have “locations”, so it can move around!”

(Zuangwo) “Hrmm…”

He put two and two together; The lions all knew all about Demien’s Hearthstone. They’d been specifically guarding the place – albeit with nowhere near enough resources.

(Zuangwo) “Argh! If only we had enough resources to keep those blasted troublemakers out!”

(Charles) “Well, I can send some help – but they’re already here! And they’re… shopping and seeing the sights…”

(Zuangwo) “Nothing we can do but surveillance at this point… until they do something.”

He could barely grumbling about improper allocation of Celestial resources! No wonder so many of his colleagues had gone renegade!

Charles tried to avoid inducing panic – but he wound up having to explain that the Kaiju were manses, with crews of hundreds of Raksha and some Exalts and their own awakened god, etc, etc, etc.

(Zuangwo) “What can I expect out of these things?”

(Charles) “Er… well… anything you might expect from… several hundred Raksha, an Exalt or two, a Manse, and Artifacts. If King Ghidorah as “Solar” as a part of it’s signature, it’s probably got a Solar for a pilot!”

(Zuangwo) “That many raksha-and a Cauldron-Born pilot? That’s it! I’m advocating round-the-clock surveillance for these things!”

(Charles) “I hope that you’ll be able to find them!”

(Zuangwo) “One down, anyway… we’ll find the others, or I’m no lion!”

(Charles, somewhat plaintively) “But… what are they PLAYING at? Why are they just… amusing themselves? Are they waiting for something? They have free access to Yu-Shan already!”

(Zuangwo) “You don’t think they’re planning to mess with somebody else’s plans, are they?”

(Charles) “Urm… (And he looked a bit worried suddenly) maybe!”

(Zuangwo) “I mean, just blending in means you see a lot of things you wouldn’t get to if you went in Charms blazing. And with the time I had tracking that one down, the others will take at least as much time.”

(Charles) “Well… I’ve been worried that they could get in for quite a while now… It’s a relief in some ways to know that they are already here I suppose.”

(Zuangwo) “Nothing left to do but keep an eye on them!”

(Charles) “I suppose not!”

There were other things to deal with of course… Multipresence and transdimensional cell phones let such a lot of people pester you at once! Fortunately, he could now handle that…

(Charles) “Er… Hello?”

Maybe I should get a secretary?

(Mr. Montague) “Hello, Charles! There’s something you might be interested in over in the Lunargent Ecological Protectorate… the geomancy’s going crazy around this one Quintessence fountain. I’ve been asked to look at it and wanted to invite you along. Got time to look?”

(Charles) “Oh? Oh! OK!”

He’d have to send a remote – but at this point they were almost impossible to tell apart from HIM save that he couldn’t use anything but the most basic charms and thaumaturgy through them. Of course, that covered most of his usual activities anyway… Of course, given his current schedule – at least for those who knew what was going on – a remote was pretty much expected.

(Mr. Montague) “Great! I’ll give you the address and meet you there…”

That led remote-Charles to a cordoned-off Quintessence fountain in the local empty quarters. There were still indigent gods and divine servants receiving the daily handouts there, and guardian gods watching over it. But even from a fair distance he could see that the Quintessence was “burning” brightly. Mr. Montague was there outside the cordon, carrying some surveying tools. He was… rubbing his hands again.

Charles quietly checked on that as well as the fountain – and it looked like Mr. Montague was in quite a bit of pain! And a minor god was approaching him with a package…
Excess energy? The fountain was certainly pulling too much and what was affecting Mr Montague seemed like it might be an excess – or blocked – energy-flow problem. The fountain was, of course, very much like the local Essence – but moreso. Were the Sidereals linked to the old geomancy through the loom? Could this be a part of Yu-Shan’s “price”?

He tried to counter the pain for the moment anyway and looked for any actual damage… could it be purely sympathetic? Related to Yu-Shan’s depleted power reserves?

Meanwhile, Mr Montague had opened the package… which turned out to contain a necklace and a note. He read the note and took a divinatory look at the necklace.

The pain reduction did seem to be helping somewhat – and it was DEFINITELY linked with Yu-Shan’s pain and felt “alive” – even if there was only a bit of physical damage from the supercharging. Yet another reason to get on with the fixing! And… none of the NEW Sidereals were showing any symptoms…

Mr. Montague had put on the necklace with a quizzical look on his face, and had headed over to the fountain. He looked a little more worried now.

(Mr Montague) “You might want to stay back, Charles… something’s not right here.”

Charles was still busy analyzing… the Fountain seemed to be way overcharged… it was getting a LOT of interstellar prayer-input, and the other fountains weren’t spreading it around properly! The source of the damage seemed to be a lot of cracks in the fountain’s base that were constantly healing and sealing themselves as the energy flowed in and out. As for the energy… compared to the other fountains, this one was actually showing some signs of life, and a bit of sapience.

Mr. Montague’s analysis matched up – although he seemed rather distracted. Almost as if he was listening to something.

Charles made some special purpose automatons – rather like Folding Servants but set up to go do repairs on other fountains and powered by the energy-flows of Yu-Shan, rather than by personal essence.

(Mr Montague) “Can you put audio recorders on those?”

(Charles, with some surprise) “Sure! Why not?”

(Mr Montague) “Okay, good… are you really not hearing it?”

(Charles) “I’m afraid not! What does it sound like?”

(Mr Montague, leaning in to whisper) “It wants me to dive in!”

(Charles, thoughtfully) “Now THAT’S a little weird… it wants you to… join it? Become a secondary focus? Help feed power to the city? Power up the Loom?”

(Mr Montague) “It says that I need to unlock my full duties! The note said the necklace would keep me under control if I did dive in, but ordered me not to!”

(Charles) “Ah! That’s the city speaking… it wants you to fulfill a VERY old bargain, and it has gotten somewhat desperate!”

Mr Montague showed him the note – but all all traces of who had sent it had been expertly thaumaturgically removed, although it was written in Old Realm script.
Interestingly, the same script that had appeared in his cocoa. Roughly translated… “Put the necklace on if you wish to continue your life as is, and stay at least a foot away from that fountain. If you insist on fooling with the fountain, the necklace will keep you under control afterwards, but I make no guarantees for your future.”

(Charles) “Huh! Well… lets see what happens with the other fountains!”

He’d already finished up some 1200 fountain-repairing automatons. There were a LOT of fountains!

(Mr. Montague) “Right… I’ll keep tabs on those for you… while keeping my distance.”

Hmm… fixing more fountains to pick up interstellar prayer helped reduce the load on this one! And the stress on Mr. Montague too! (Although he WAS still staying at least a foot from the fountain).

(Mr Montague) “Er… Charles? How did you know what was going on and how to program artifact-servants to reproduce it? And do you have any idea why a thaumaturgic ward against deiphagy, turned INWARD, would have helped me out? Because that’s what’s on the necklace!”

(Charles, privately) “Well… you’re linked to Yu-Shan through your Exaltation which is linked to a thread in the loom which is linked to Yu-Shan! Yu-Shan desperately needs power – and that’s affecting you! With so much extra power so close at hand… the craving was becoming overwhelming I think! I suspect that if you exposed yourself to that much extra power the link would open fully and you’d start pouring it through into Yu-Shan – basically becoming an exalted counterpart to the Deiphages!”

(Mr Montague, privately and in a bit of denial) “But… I’m HUMAN! It shouldn’t work that way!”

(Charles, privately) “Why? You’re an Exalt, and so an active essence-wielder – and if you started being drained of motes all the time wouldn’t you be desperate to replace them?”

(Mr Montague, privately) “Well, yeah, but… what that means! I could go berserk and mess things up – and somebody other than you knows about this…”

(Charles, privately) “But you aren’t! – And after I get things fixed, the problem should go away!”

(Mr Montague, privately) “Thank the gods… I’m going to try to find who sent this note… if I can get the time.”

Hm… it sounded like he was going to keep the necklace on.

The other fountains flowed more freely – and this one powered down somewhat.

(Charles) “Much better now!”

The gods guarding the fountain were much relieved, – if bewildered by the speed at which Charles had done it. Though he’d taken the pressure off their backs-the Quintessence from that fountain was absolutely delicious…

(Charles) “It should be spreading out a bit! It will take the workers about twenty minutes per fountain though even after they reach them!”

And there were questions, and requests for instructions on making the fountain-fixing automatons, since that one fountain had been getting too much Essence.

Charles turned out another 1200 anyway; Yu-Shan had a LOT of fountains! And hopefully there would be no further eruptions of Essence like that, both for the city’s sake and for the Sidereals.

There’d been far more interstellar prayer-flux than he’d thought there was! It needed better distributing so that Yyu-Shan wouldn’t get unruly in her sleep…

(Mr Montague, privately) “Now then Charles… Having the fountain talking to me with no one else noticing was weird – and just HOW did you know exactly how to fix the issue? And what to program your automatons to do?”

(Charles, privately) “Oh… Well, when I was wandering around the deep passages, I ran across the substructure of a fountain and it wasn’t properly adjusted to pick up interstellar prayers – so I adjusted it for more efficiency! But with it being the only one there was a local overload!”

(Mr Montague, privately) “There’s a reason you don’t mess with the fountains, you know…”

(Charles, privately) “But it wasn’t working right!

(Mr Montague, privately) “Yeah, but look at what happened… at least you fixed it.”

(Charles, privately) “Well, that should make the quintessence a good deal more abundant!”

(Mr Montague, privately) “I don’t think anyone will complain too much, at least.”

(Charles, privately) “I hope not! It’s just maintenance really!”

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  1. […] Rings of the Wyld (Scroll Down): Protection from Creation for visiting Raksha. […]

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