The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CLVI – Geomantic Negotiations

In a quiet office in the Bureau of Destiny.

“You’re serious? All it took to send him on multiple rescue missions – from individual ships on up through gods and even planetary populations – was to bring unpleasant situations to his attention? He’s THAT easy to steer? That’s… awfully convenient, and not just because it makes it easy to avoid a lot of the usual unpleasantries involved in large-scale fate-planning.

Come to think of it… the boy had let a bunch of mortal museum scientists boss him around.

He really WAS that obliging.

In a musical manse the Forging of Notes for the Song of Creation continued.

Aboard Aden, more and more refugees were being taken in – and funneled through to the relative safety of new planets.

Meanwhile… Aikiko was finding things a bit anticlimactic; after deploying I AM – backed by some 300 trillion geomantic relay points, even if only a tiny percent of them were assigned to the project – and some shiny new Solar Computer Charms undreamed of when he was created against Skoll’s Artificial Intelligence… reassigning him to her own service was a breeze. It didn’t actually make a lot of difference – in the absence of directives he’d mostly been taking orders from her anyway – but it never hurt to be safe and being able to stop out (or just swap places with him at a moments notice) was really handy!

Was this what having a Warstrider was like? Even if it was turned up to the max? Practicing with Skoll, with it accepting her as pilot, was kind of like wearing that “Iron Man” armor from the movies; sensory boosts and displays, with her consciousness basically treating him as her body for the duration. She’d never thought that she’d be anything like Tony Stark, but it WAS pretty cool! Even if it did take some getting used to the gargantuan range of options he offered… There were hundreds of different weapons and artifact-systems available. The primary weapons -the Oblivion Lance and the Godspear – called for direct links to a Neverborn and to the Unconquered Sun respectively, and she was just as happy to have them offline. Still, it might be handy sometime to have all the secondaries working at once sometime and she should probably have him checked over by an artificer.

Charles was quite impressed with Skoll… He was a REALLY good piece of work! Even if those Soulsteel parts did need replacing…

So long as they were equivalent or superior Skoll had no objections – and refitting him with more Orichalcum and no Soulsteel would make it even harder for any Deathlord to tamper with him.

It didn’t take long – and it did make him resonate better.

(Aikiko) “Nice! Thanks, Charles – he looks great in the sunlight now!”

She spent some time posing for dramatic pictures across Aden. Charles could use them in his advertising!

Afterwards she headed for Japan. She had a movie to appear in! OK, it was just a minor role in a mutants-versus-aliens superhero flic – a secondary character who got killed fairly early on and thus inspired her boyfriends grand sacrificial moment later on. It wasn’t the biggest role, but it was pretty good for her first one!

And she had a performance excellency and the anima to use it without blowing her cover… and in Toho Studios… she felt an approving presence.

Oh well! Mecha-Godzilla was oddly benevolent in his own way. Why not embrace the role as his shrine maiden? Heh! Maybe that would qualify her to request Godzilla Miracles! Especially when fighting Kaiju!

Er… wait a minute… that would REALLY WORK wouldn’t it? And Mechagodzilla did tend to come to the defense against other Kaiju… It might even allow the use of some Raksha charms too. Expand Skoll to five hundred feet tall to battle a neverborn Kaiju on equal terms?

Well, hopefully she would never have to unleash that level of destruction on a city – but considering what those Abyssals were up to it was hard to be sure!

She was going for stardom anyway, so she put in a brilliant performance – and the backgrounds and effects provided by the manse subtly emphasized it. That was very nice! It was STILL weird to use a manse that way though! She’d have to investigate it further some time, especially since it didn’t seem to be connected to the Cauldron-Born beyond Mecha-Godzilla.

Wait. There were gods of manses. Perhaps the god of Asian Manses or one of his servants? That would be a good place to start since her analysis hadn’t come up with anything. The

God of Asian Manses first; she could move up from there.

With a Sapient Manse backing her it was fairly easy to get through. The Subcommittee on Geomantic Structures was even in one of the better areas of Yu-Shan. Jinkian the Monolithic, with her Secretary Obelisk, had been wanting to talk to Aikiko anyway since she’d created a geomantic disturbance around that old abyssal manse!

Given her lessons and boosts from Charles… it was fairly easy to tell that the buildings here… were all manses. They were relatively weak – mostly only rank three – but every one of them had at least one geomantic relay and they were all networked; there were probably only fifteen or twenty relay points available, but the complex would be capable of manifesting a separate power-package for each low-grade manse in it. That was potentially a lot of influence! There’d be a LOT of different utility effects and artifacts available if they powered them up. The department of Geomancy and Manses was fairly heavy on the special resources after all.

And obviously quietly provided a lot of special services for other departments. One reason why nobody interfered very much; there were too many favors owed!

(Obelisk – a powerful and imposing deity with an odd fertility-god overtone) “Ah, Miss Aikiko? Has our summons caught up with you already? The committee was wanting to speak to you about several things. Are you here for that, or is it on some other business?”

(Aikiko) “Some other business, sir, but I’d be happy to answer questions.”

(Obelisk) “I shall notify Jinkian of your arrival… If you could have a seat for a few moments, refreshments will be provided!”

And the refreshments were very, very, good!

Jinkian was a delicate goddess who reminded Aikiko of a lotus flower made of light and adamant; her robes swirled around her, trailing into the ground as tendrils of energy.

And with five successes Aikiko recognized the action of some charm that was maintaining a power link to several major manses within her domain… and something about that the way that she was standing put her in the mind of a martial arts stance. It looked like she was both competent and dangerous. Not a common combination in most of Yu-Shan’s current bureaucracy! Of course… manses didn’t change very fast, if at all. Perhaps a holdover from the Primordial War, or someone assigned to this place by the Incarnae? Since manse-building on earth virtually stopped with the reshaping, the department had seen VERY few changes since then.

In general, it had been quietly husbanding it’s resources, trying to get the remaining manses repaired, and being virtually undisturbed since then. Most of it’s functionaries were still first age assignments, and once worked with the Solar Manse designers. Nevertheless… Aikiko got the impression of fresh energy and suppressed excitement.

Charles. They’d be… just… waiting to contact him, probably building up the nerve. After all… he had been erecting hundreds of high-ranking manses around the Earth and re-energizing the entire planets dragon lines. Elemental pole manses, upgrading manses, repairing manses, more than eight hundred gate-security manses, god-making manses… lots and lots of manses. There probably hadn’t been a construction spree on that scale since the primordials had organized the geomancy of the Blessed Isle. When he performed the Song of Creation in Yu-Shan itself… it would be the greatest geomantic working that the place had seen in literal ages… It was going to EQUAL what the Primordials did at a bare minimum.Would they be bold enough to attempt a coup in the Bureaucracy? Out of all the departments in Yu-Shan… this one was filled with more energy, hope, and purpose than almost any other. The slow decay was being reversed, and they were pretty much the first to benefit. Was the only reason that they hadn’t made a power play yet that they were just too polite and old-fashioned to rush? Waiting for just a little more power? Or… at this rate… they were set to become one of the most important departments in Yu-Shan with no particular effort. If htey could do it under everyone else’s nose… And they didn’t even know that thousands more major manses are due to be networked in shortly when Charles opened up his planetary gates! Just wait until they felt the rush of raw power from THAT! Geomancy and manses… there’d be few more important topics in all Yu-Shan! Had remote manse links become a standard ability for the major manse gods when Charles started handing them out like candy on Halloween? Most of their manses probably weren’t designed for power-bestowal – but it would still be pretty useful.

Aikiko gave a VERY respectful bow to the goddess, as she mulled things over.

(Jinkian) “Ah, Ms Aikiko? I am most pleased to meet you! You and your… associates have attracted a good deal of notice here; there has not been so much excitement in several millennia… Did you have some business of your own here? I do not think that our request that you visit us will have reached you as of yet!”

(Aikiko) “Yes, ma’am… I recently discovered an Illusion-aspected Manse in Earth’s Japan. If you have any information on that place, I’d appreciate it.”

(Jinkian) “One of the more ambitious recent constructions there! Built on the site of an old Freehold that had long since converted it’s demesne to a Wyld aspect and still shows some traces of those energies… It’s been being used in a Weaver project to record martial arts; a fair number of the more obscure styles are close to being forgotten by everyone except their gods, and those gods can’t practice some of them – but they have been able to produce instruction “films” using the illusion-aspect of the Toho Manse. It has… become a spot of considerable importance!

(Aikiko) “Weaver?”

(Jinkian) “Ah, the Sidereal Exalted… for a time there it was considered appropriate to refer to them with euphemisms!”

(Aikiko) “Huh… because they were spying? I know a little pre-First Age history. That’s pretty neat though! So, by watching one of those movies…”

Wait. She could instruct other Solars in Solar Hero Style that way!

(Jinkian) “Well, there were some weird problems with records that referred to them directly getting lost…”

(Aikiko) “Oh…”

The breaking of the Mask? Most likely! So euphemisms worked… like with “the fair folk”?
Plus, of course, the Tenders acted like manses when they were in their pods… so there was a link. The Manse Gods were one of the biggest legitimate sources for information on the Tenders.

Jinkian was busily pumping her for information about Charles’s manse-building. Even a vague outline of his plans would be nice. A “what to be ready for” would help. What he is and how he builds manses so fast would be nice to know. How many he plans to build and link up – or even a clue – would help.

Aikiko knew more about Charles’s plans than Charles thought; she spoke to him a lot and DID have relevant excellencies. And she thought that it wouldn’t hurt to let them have a little information.

(Aikiko) “He’s got plans for Heaven. I can’t tell you too much – I don’t want to risk what he’s doing – but you and your department are going to become even more powerful soon. But you HAVE to keep quiet. It’s really delicate!”

(Jinkian) “Hm… will it be requiring geomantic support?”

(Aikiko) “He can probably use all the help he can get, yeah! It’s THAT delicate.”

(Jinkian) “We should probably get in touch more directly then. Is he receptive to that sort of thing? The Sidereals… have been keeping most people away.”

People? Oh, gods of course.

(Aikiko) “Very! Those Weavers probably want to keep him for themselves… but I can get you into contact with him.”

(Jinkian) “I would be most obliged! You must let me return the favor sometime!”

(Aikiko) “Of course, ma’am. And… I’d guess you and your people are curious about Manses on other worlds, aren’t you? He can help you with that too.”

(Jinkian) “Ah, that would be fascinating!”

Even if less useful, since they were out of touch

(Aikiko) “What are YOUR plans for the future, if you can share them? Charles has inadvertently given you a lot of power; you’ve got to have some ideas for using it.”
Obviously “get more power in the Bureaucracy” would be on top of any Celestial god’s list, especially in the Bureau of Humanity… Still, were they actually farsighted enough to realize that becoming utterly indispensable was one of the best routes to influence? They seemed to have more patience than most gods – perhaps because Manses were meant to stand the test of time.

(Jinkian) “Well… there is a great deal of geomantic work remaining! Once that is done, and Yu-Shan is back to full functioning… we will have to supervise things to ensure that it remains so!”

(Aikiko) “So you know that the way it is now, with the (finger quotes) “greater deiphages” (end finger quotes) taking over… is probably what it was originally intended to be.”

That was a bit of a gamble – but surely a bunch of geomantic gods would understand that.

(Jinkian) “For a time… it seemed that the Celestial Lions alterations might succeed! But the new pattern persistently decays despite all attempts to maintain it, and the deep levels are decaying. Unless something is done… there may be no more than a few centuries left before we will have to abandon Yu-Shan, which would never do!”

(Aikiko) “This is a serious question: what do you think Yu-Shan actually is?”

(Jinkian) “Well… a construct of the Primordials, like Creation – and thus with vulnerabilities; if it is too badly compromised… it might collapse back into elsewhere. This department could endure that for a time, but even we would eventually be forced to abandon our stronghold and return to Creation.”

(Aikiko) “After what happens happens… attempts to manipulate Yu-Shan’s geomancy might run into opposition greater than ever before. Would you still support Charles knowing that?”

Would they get what she was implying from that little tidbit of information?

(Jinkian) “Well of course! If it reverts entirely… the full-powered pattern will be interlocking and self-protective. After all, it took the Celestial Lions with the backing of the Incarnae centuries to change things the first time around.”

Well, at least she hadn’t panicked… she’d even picked up on it in the first place, which was not likely.

(Aikiko) “I’ll put in a good word for you! Be careful, okay? Things will get hectic around here when he gets going!”

(Jinkian) “We do little here without careful planning… it is the nature of our department! But I will recommend even greater caution!”

(Aikiko) “I’ll get that to him…”

(Jinkian, with a slight – and exceedingly graceful – bow) “My thanks!”

And Aikiko bowed respectfully to her – and departed. That had been more informative than she’d thought that it would be!

And now that the simultaneous projects are out of the way, meanwhile, at the end of creation, beneath a spectacular view of the universe, Charles had discovered that his Grandfather was a Deva, that the Primordial that he was there to see might be upset that he’d exalted as a solar, and that the spike he sought, and that her fetich was guarding, was deeper within the ringworld-body she was.

A shame that he wouldn’t be able to see the view from within the techno-organic interior.

Still, he took a selfie with Gramps!

And got him a transdimensional cell phone and things.

Gramps was delighted; he had really meant to ask Charles for that stuff before, but there just hadn’t been time. Maintaining a position that most of the Bureaucracy didn’t acknowledge existed, and actually paying attention to the interstellar ley lines it involved, took so much time – even for a deva.

(Charles) “Do any of the other Deva’s need anything? And would you mind if I assigned you some bodyguards? There’s a Deathlord out to kill Primordials and recreate Oblivion, and that’s very bad!”

(Gramps) “The Lady Gauderis provides all we need for our observational duties. Still, doing things quickly is not part of her mythos! I suppose I could take a few orders. And I know EXACTLY who you mean, my boy. I believe that sad, misguided fool thinks he can BECOME Oblivion. A Primordial of complete annihilation… I think I would like some bodyguards. I’m so rarely in here, and even I can be quite vulnerable in Creation!”

Charles provided a hundred and twenty, in a very wide variety of types – the better to make them hard to bypass. Gramps helped him pick out the best ones – focusing on maneuverability; it just wasn’t a part of his progenitor’s mythos. He was happy to take the manse attunements, the make-it-especially-awkward-to-kill-me adjustments, and help with the split-off-a-spark-to-hide-in-the-racemind trick.

That probably wouldn’t work on a primordial directly – but if you could give it to most of the Deva’s, the effect should be much the same. Charles set it up so that Gramps could offer the benefits to the other devas.

(Gramps) “You’ll have to offer it to Teranzia Fidalis personally, I fear! None of us are allowed near the fetich! Not since Rametheus rebuilt himself, returned to Creation, and never came back.”

(Charles) “Well, I will if I see him! Er… Her?”

(Gramps) “Her, my boy.”

(Charles) “OK! Is there a way to recognize her?”

(Gramps) “A statue of a beautiful woman, heavily-armored and with a greatsword – much like the ones lining this ring. That’s not actually her – all of us have been sealed in our statues for ages now. But at least my fellows and I enjoy this wondrous view.”

He looked over the visible portion of Creation, with an expression somewhere between wistfulness and sadness on his face.

(Charles) “Well… I hope at least all your avatars get out and about a bit! It is lovely, but it could get boring eventually I think!”

(Gramps) “The others are not as fortunate as I am, I fear… thanks to the reason for my existence, I at least get multiples. There is another with that capability, but we don’t discuss her.”

(Charles) “Oh dear! Would they like some remotes with links? That way they can at least get their viewpoints out and about a bit!”

(Gramps) “If you could guarantee their security, certainly. You would need to discuss it with the fetich if you wanted them to leave… but it has been a long time, and I think they become jealous sometimes.”

The expression was full sadness now.

Charles set those up… Security could be fairly well guaranteed with the perfect links of course. Senses, communications, amusements… no reason they should be bored!

Gauderis, Primordial of Security, had been pretty gravely affected by what happened to her siblings in their shelter – especially the one that explicitly rebuilt himself as a weapon of war and STILL didn’t win. She had forged a new soul to see what happened to him – and it had not been pleasant to learn that not only was there a weapon that could kill Primordials within that place, there were seven hundred of them and a potentially infinite amount of auxiliary ones. Something like that… had to be contained. It had been a great relief when some of her siblings had escaped during the reshaping – but, ever since then she had been TREMENDOUSLY concerned about her components’ safety.

Charles made sure that the bodyguards knew when to call for help! He probably couldn’t defeat a Deathlord, but he could probably stall one for quite a while. With the Guardians ability to channel defenses to him he could play perfect-defense turtle for a LONG time against a single attacker.

(Gramps) “Shall I open the way, my dear boy? I have a surprise waiting when you come back – so you had better return soon!”

(Charles – giving his Grandfather a good hug and getting one back) “OK! You stay safe now!”

Gramps – well, Richof Haldane – tapped the ground with the tip of his blade… which caused a portion of the ground to dilate. It was just big enough for Charles to jump in – although he could hear grinding noises down there.

(Gramps) “Bother… the internal defenses are already active. Still, I suppose you can deal with those.”

(Charles) “I guess! I did make a lot of defenses!… Are there any kind of route-markers?”

(Gramps) “Look for things that aren’t basalt and crimson, my dear boy – and you should really hurry!”

He grimaced, as if in pain (he had been told not to admit any Exalts!) – and Charles hurriedly jumped down. The hole sealed up behind him, although the material was not the basalt and crimson of the ground above, but adamant. He could hear the sound of a blade chipping against it.

Well… he couldn’t do much about that! Onwards!

It was very warm, and the basalt glowed with a red light that somehow failed to illuminate anything further beyond it. The grinding sounds got closer and closer. Spikes, more chitin than metal, lashed out from the walls towards him, dripping with a liquid that somehow smelled of anxiety.

Charles projected “calm and soothing” – and also got shield-type defenses ready and offered chocolate. The projection palpably clashed against the anxiety – some sort of world-body perfect defense.

The spikes were dodgeable – so Charles used Chaffri the Traveler’s perfect-evasion-while-moving against them – while awaiting the bottle labeled “Drink Me!”!

It took a good deal of Charffri’s personal essence-stores to run the gauntlet making near-constant apportions to where the spikes weren’t at the moment – especially considering that the walls were starting to contract. There was an open space beneath him now, filled with some kind of oily liquid – but it looked like the walls were about to close in completely.

Charles expanded his indestructible extensible staff, jammed the walls open – and then collapsed it to let it fall into his hand once he was through.

He caught it right before he hit the oily liquid… and promptly sank into it. It too smelled like anxiety, and there was an awful lot of that pinging off of Dudael’s perfect defenses against mental attacks! It was murky to the extent that it was impossible to see with normal sight… and it was vibrating in a lot of places at the moment.

Liquid Worry? Someone had been stewing on things WAY too long!

He started sending out probes… The walls were, of course, basalt and crimson, perfectly indestructible at the moment and extending filaments; one of them snared a probe and sliced it clean in two. Others were currently under attack by bugs resembling the razorcarl he’d met on the way in. There were several tunnels below him though.

Hm! It looked like nothing could be immaterial around here; the probes had, after all, been minor spells…. The grinding had spread down here, too.

He looked for a tunnel that WASN”T entirely basalt and crimson.

There was one with a silver nail in it, protected by a Chrysalis of Perfection-equivalent effect – but the probe that had spotted it had been sliced by multiple filaments, which were now tracing outward from it.

Well, “no immateriality” went both ways! That meant that he could twine them around his staff!

Hm! They actively grabbed it – and started pulling it, and him, towards them.

Cool! That was the way that he wanted to go anyway!

The filaments kept the staff straight, pulling him ever more swiftly towards the wall… Ah, the joys of “raiding” a world that was alive and sapient! He was going… between openings, and downwards, the opening he wanted on the left, another on the right.

Once he was close and had plenty of speed, Charles collapsed the staff and simply veered down the route with the silver spike. He had to dodge filaments again – they tried to snare him as he passed through – but Chaffri had more than enough power left for that – coupled with a few blocks and pushes with the staff. .

Oddly, the wall cracked as he pushed off from it. Hadn’t those been indestructible a few moments ago?

There was more silver in the tunnel, although it was badly corroded. The liquid worry pressed against him oppressively; it was a good thing that his clothes were ambrosial, or he would definitely have needed new ones after leaving! Razorcarls and creatures resembling spiked centipedes popped from the cracked wall, and began crawling after him
He kept moving along, pushing off the walls, quickly; he had a free movement hearthstone, a gem of perfect mobility, and other boosts. It still took awhile though!

The tunnel eventually led to the surface of the oily liquid. It was coated with superficial worries though, floating in the sea of anxiety.

Just in case something was waiting, he swirled it with the staff to make a little whirlpool to look up through. Up above… was more crimson-streaked basalt, glowing with that red light. There was an arched entrance. Like much in here, it appeared more grown than made… And there was a faint gleam of silver from within an entrance. It was up on the ceiling, and off in the distance… Looking in, the corridor was segmented, with holes seemingly in the walls at random. There always seemed to be one per segment though – and the silver is flashing from within one of those. He’d have to climb to get in…

He pole-vaulted instead.

The room beyond… wouldn’t have looked out of place in Yu-Shan. It reminded him of some of the hotels for Sidereals who didn’t have Manses and didn’t care to maintain residences in Heaven; the decor was certainly generic enough. Apartments usually didn’t have artifacts sustaining the room’s reality, though.

(Charles) “Allo!”

There was no response.

Then he got a message – but it was from within Aden, and not from a babysitter… It was… Mr Clearwater (they’d met when the Sidereals were investigating his, Gri Fels, and Terapishim’s, Quintessence and Ambrosia sources.

(Mr Clearwater) “Ah, hello again, Charles! I understand you’re busy, but could you do me a favor? I believe you’re someplace I need to be at the moment!”

(Charles) “Uhm… Several places really! Where is it you need to be?”

(Mr Clearwater) “Ah, evasive… there is a space outside Creation, but much like Yu-Shan, that I need to be in at the moment – and take a picture in. Strange, I know… And are you quite all right, if you are in that space?”

(Charles, doubtfully) “I don’t think that would be right! It’s not my place, so I can’t really invite other people in. Could I take a picture for you?”

(Mr Clearwater) “I fear I would need to be-wait a minute.” (And there was some chuckling there.) “That would work, yes. I would need you to keep quiet about this, of course, but I would be indebted to you nonetheless! “If this works… a major political favor for your services. If not, I think a minor one would be suitable-something along the lines of having a minor indiscretion ignored.”

Hm… there wasn’t much directly dangerous that could be done with a picture of a room.

Still… He broadcast a query about whether or not it would be all right to anyone who was around.

Weirdly enough, that got him an answer from a Machine-God Envoy.

(Charles) “Allo!”

(Envoy) “Hello, initiate – ah, not an initiate. You are Charles Dexter Ward, yes? I am designated Adamantine Burrower of Liberation. Is something the matter? Gauderis Athelstane is more agitated than usual, so I would advise moving quickly.”
(Charles) “Oh, I got a request for a picture… would that be OK?”

(Envoy) “No.”

(Charles, looking around for exits) “OK!” (to Mr Clearwater) “It doesn’t look like photographs are allowed. I don’t know why. Maybe I can sort it out a bit later?”
There was an exit, leading outward to more contracting chambers – and more dodging. There were some close scrapes and scratches near the end; Chaffri was getting tired… Time to switch out some defenses!

(Mr. Clearwater, sounding oddly unsurprised) “Oh well! It was worth a try! Thank you for your assistance there; I suppose I’ll just have to do it the hard way…”

(Charles) “I’m sorry about that!”

(Mr Clearwater)  “Sigh… do put in a good word for me when you get there, will you?”

(Charles) “OK!”

And Charles emerged in a room teeming with razorcarls, the noise was deafening… and got even more so as they headed his way, crawling along the walls with their bladed limbs. Even more were coming and taking flight to stop him!

Charles looked for the way onwards – and spotted a gateway ringed by silver, with a vaguely anthropomorphic figure inside.

Well… one pole-vault and a short-range travel thaumaturgy jump to get past!

They got his staff though! Even shrinking it didn’t pull it free and their jaws were very strong!

Oh well. If they wanted it that much, they could have it. He had more anyway.

The passage opened into an intensely hot chamber containing a statue of a woman with a greatsword and heavy armor in the center, with a bunch of filaments and a whirling wall of basalt surrounding it. Its eyes were of moonsilver, and they seemed to be tracking Charles as he entered. There… was actually a little fear there.

(Charles) “Hello!”

He could hear someone trying to shout over the sound of the debris, but… the rattling and roaring of the wind increased. The eyes displayed mild frustration. There was more shouting.

He tried the mental level.

(Teranzia Fidalis) “Nng… I can’t shut her out forever; eventually I’ll have to block you. Still, I’m glad you made it this far, little one of little Haldane.”

(Charles) “Uhm… Would you like the manse attunement? It will make you safer!”

And there was a scream!

(Teranzia Fidalis) “Ow… she pays the most attention to me, you know. Otherwise, I’d go the way of Damaskenos”. (Sensing the mental confusion) “I think you know him as the White Ram? Can you… force the attunement through?”

(Charles) “I think so!”

He could – which, incidentally, gave them all al multi-aspect aboard Aden, where they could at least access the communications network, and media library, and all that sort of thing!

(Teranzia Fidalis) “Now… what would bring such a young apparent Exalt all the way out here?”

(Charles) “Well, Yu-Shan is very sick and needs healing up, and Gaia says that help me do that she’ll need the Spike of Pole Unbinding – and she sent me out to ask if I could pick it up for her.”

(Teranzia Fidalis) “She wants THAT? Oh, this will become awkward for you fast…”

The statue… convulsed, and then twisted, and it’s feet popped off the ground. The Filaments all around the place quivered, and then retracted.

(Charles, thoughtfully) “Well, I was considering if I needed to add some elemental poles to myself to define my personal structure as distinct from everyone and everywhere else… but that’s a project for later!”

He got an odd sensation that the whole world was focusing on this point, and gathering. The look in the statue’s eyes changed from that vigilant observation to something more haunted and fearful. It picked him up – and he fit nicely in it’s hand. The grip was firm, but not uncomfortable as it lifted him to eye level and started a geomantic probe…

Well, there was no reason not to allow it! After all, the sidereals had probed at him a lot… It was a little different. Filaments extend edfrom the hand; they look edlike the others, but were much gentler. They didn’t hurt much – and if they tried he could just activate a soak charm – so he let them in.

They attempted an… interface with Aden. It looked like a sped-up tactical analysis. It was still really slow by most standards though! It took an entire day! A good thing that he had many other aspects with lots of things to do!

The analysis couldn’t reveal the veiled exaltation – but Teranzia Fidalis and Gauderis Athelstane were not stupid. If Charles had that kind of power, and wasn’t a true primordial… Solar was about the only other possibility.

His great-grandmother, currently possessing her fetich’s statue/fortress/prison, trembled and – gently! – put him down.

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