The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CLXVII – The Helical Storm

At the Fair, Aikiko was considering that weird waiver… “expression of unconscious desires”? With a whole bunch of Neverborn memories in her head at the moment, that might be VERY problematic! She’d… have to store them somewhere in Aden to make sure more weirdness didn’t happen like at the last concert! She’d been lucky with that one, but who wanted to rely on luck? She’d pick them up later.

Perhaps the Underworld Communication Manse would be able to handle them? Maybe with some help from Kyrema Mindsage… even if that particular Guardian always DID make her feel a bit like she was back in fifth grade she was a top expert on mental and spiritual healing. Those were pretty hard to come by, and she might be able to help some more now that the Raksha had transformed their memories of pain in some ways.

(Kyrema) “The memories of subsouls of the neverborn? What HAVE you been getting into young woman?”

(Aikiko) “I couldn’t just leave them in there, burning like that!”

(Kyrema) “No of course not… No one with any compassion at all could. But just as importantly… memories by themselves are mere information, passive. The deaths of the Primordials might have been enough to violate the rules – but it’s worth asking… who is hosting those memories and providing an informational substrate for them to act in?”

(Aikiko, thoughtfully) “Oh. So let me get this straight… I’ve given them a fetter to attach to, which would be me.”

(Kyrema) “Yes. You’re anchoring them to the living world, and you’re helping them change – but you aren’t giving them all room in your head. You just don’t have enough!”

(Aikiko) “Yeah, that would be a bit much to ask.”

Wait, would that be the Monks – and by extension the human racemind? And was that why the Neverborn had been so determined to wipe out humanity? Because it would bring their memories peace? Was that why the Underworld was so closely tied to humanity?

Gah. She was DEFINITELY catching some of Charles’s speculation-mania.

Still, Charles was pushing his way ever-closer to becoming a cosmic principle of healing. Was Kyrema close enough to being a third circle for her oath to let her speak to her or not? The only way to know would be to test – perhaps dropping a hint; if there was no resistance… than Kyrema and the other Guardians should be close enough to satisfy the oath!

Since Charles had been installing his elemental poles, she was quite close enough.

(Kyrema) “Now that’s quite a project! And, I think, one showing humanity at it’s best.”

(Aikiko) “I thought so too. I’ve got to check on the winners sometime. .”

(Kyrema) “That’s likely to be interesting!”

(Aikiko) “I hope so. Anyway, thanks for taking care of them!”

(Kyrema) “You’re welcome; this is a burden that no one should have to bear alone!”

Aikiko said her temporary goodbyes to the memory-devas – and gave out a whole lot of hugs. They’d been traveling together for a while now, they could certainly use them, and some of them had almost gotten to be good company.

Well, she’d be back soon!

Back at the fair, the concert would be early tomorrow and it was getting late… Well, it wasn’t like she was lacking for resources at this point and there were ALWAYS ticket scalpers! Charles – and hence Lytek – had all the Celestial Salary that they could possibly need at this point – and even her own Salary was plenty for Creation!

At five time the base price it was easy enough to get a ticket. Besides, it sounded like it would be the kind of concert she’d have loved even as a mortal. Huh! The scalper got into mild trouble! It wasn’t really against the rules, but it was considered REALLY bad form. Well, that was no concern of hers

And the concert was extremely well attended by… fairly normal people. Were they not aware that the venue was quite literally connected to Faerie, or were they slumming like her? Time to kick in a few of her investigative talents… It looked like they were aware of Faerie to some extent – but wanted to attend anyway. Apparently word of mouth advertising.

Good on them! People needed to be aware of the supernatural, what with the gates scheduled to be popping up in less than a month. They might be in for more than they expected, though.

Talking to them… everyone she spoke to was a serious misfit. Most of them had serious body image disorders too – and some idea of what was likely to happen. It seemed to be why they were here; many of them felt trapped between the wyld lands and plain old England, with no real place in either. This way… they would finally firmly belong to one or the other.

Well, hopefully they’d get what they came for, then… as for her, she had her mission and the band was coming on the stage!

It looked like… several feybloods and either a very powerful feyblood or a full Raksha – and a lead singer who looked like a powerful god-blooded at a glance. The performance included a lot of illusions, some really good, as well as some really very good performances – and geomancy. With her essence-senses running it looked like… one mind within, mutagenic geomancy under control of mirrored subconscious impulses. Most of the audience did indeed wind up being transformed. Of course… And such an effect was definitely appropriate for a Guardian. Not too surprisingly, it seemed to be coming from their lead singer.

Even if the shaping effect hadn’t been blocked, despite a momentary fantasy of becoming a Kaiju and going out for dinner with Mechagodzilla, it looked like… she was more or less happy the way she was. There were a few others like that in the audience – but not many, and most of them were pretty shocked; it was hard to believe that people could just CHANGE like that!

The transformed people were… being mildly surprised (it actually happened!), looking at themselves, and enjoying the music. From what she could overhear… it looked like most of them were planning to leave through gates, although a few were planning to stay on earth in the wyld zones. Hard to blame them for wanting to escape the mundane world!

On the bands side… it looked like they were more or less on a rotating tour; as audiences were exhausted in one place, they moved on. Sneaking backstage might be best – and security was only moderate; a few guards – half-fey at best – but nothing major in the way or wards, alarms, or such. The crows was quite dense enough for Easily Overlooked Presence Method or Mental Invisibility Technique – and there were some others who wanted to get back there keeping the guards busy.

Getting past them wasn’t hard. Given her talents it mostly amounted to ducking past while the rest of the crowd masked her presence.

Backstage was mostly just some tents – where there was something of an after-the-concert party going on. A limited number of the more interesting fans were getting passed through to join the party anyway, and a modest number of servants were serving drinks, food, and similar items. It was about the opposite of a proper English party; as informal and bawdy as possible. “Interesting” fans seemed to be a mix – really exotic types, really good-looking types, and ones who manage to impress the guards with their personalities. There was a slight preference for quasi-avians or those with really good voices – although one with iridescent crystal scales had apparently gotten in on sheer gorgeousness, while another seemed protean.

Aikiko settled for wings (courtesy of the behemoth cloak) and a dramatic song! Her training at Toho was quite helpful! “Every Rose Has Its Thorns,” – with dramatic billowy illusions of rose petals and thorns – it was!

She did pretty well at it too – more than good enough to get her an interview with some of the performers. They could always use backup groups and opening acts. Far more importantly… it let her take a close, careful, look at them all with essence-senses. The lead singer… Was definitely radiating the geomancy, as well as a certain amount of solar essence; she appeared to be actively using some boosting-charms, which the veil did not conceal. Less hidden than Charles, then – but it wasn’t like she had a whole city of supernatural beings trying to determine what she was either.

Probably not too many artifacts either; she seemed more the Charm type – although some fey treasures wouldn’t be surprising. She seemed to have a LOT of fey influences, and was using solar charms to channel and amplify geomantic and wyld effects. Rather neat, if potentially quite dangerous! Still, it was probably less dangerous than the stuff that Charles was messing around with.

Outside of greeting Aikiko and the others, it looked like the girl was pretty focused on doing a little partying – and THAT looked… all too familiar! Rebellious sixteen year old girl, now on the loose! It wasn’t like SHE hadn’t had to get it out of her system, although the Celestial City was not short on opportunities for that!

She was drinking one of those appalling multilayered liqueur things, with vodka chasers. Her capacity was pretty high though – doubtless the Exaltation of course. That seemed kind of likely to be “yuck”, but… oh well, Aikiko had what she was having.

It actually did turn out to be interesting. there was a bit of magic being used to keep the layers from mixing, and they were flavored with various fruits, mints, chocolate, nuts, and more. Each sip was different – not to mention highly intoxicating. Kind of neat at least, even if the sticky stuff wasn’t exactly to her taste.

(Aikiko) “Great concert! Are you sticking around for a while?”

(Salera) “At least for the night! It looks like you enjoyed it too!”

(Aikiko) “Yeah, that was really cool how you transformed everybody! That takes a lot of skill!”

(Salera) “They mostly do it to themselves really! We just open a way for it to happen!”

(Aikiko) “That’s a neat trick… and the drinks? Mine should have blended by now! That’s really cool! You’ve got to show me how you do that!”

(Salera) “Oh, the guy mixing the drinks is more than happy to demonstrate that! I can show you a few of the tricks perhaps! But it does take a lot of energy!”

(Aikiko) “Would you? I’m mostly a performer and an athlete…”

Honestly… she got the feeling that they were invoking something built deep into the structure of creation with music. Something akin to the higher sorceries really. Perhaps an alternative method of using the Salinian Working? It might be celestial circle though; it was just one audience.

(Aikiko) “That’s some powerful magic! I could never affect an area that big.”

Well, not without more essence and study anyway.
Still… Salera was pretty obviously enjoying running amuck and being away from her (likely) straightlaced parents. Evidently she also rather enjoyed giving the misfits of the world a second chance – likely on worlds where they’d feel that they fit in – and that she liked being the star. She was like Charles in at least one way though; there was no apparent desire to rule.

Aikiko could definitely support that!

(Aikiko) “You know… you’re a lot like my friend Charles! He does this kind of thing too! Not as… entertaining as you though!”

(Salera, obviously more than a bit intoxicated) “Really now! How does he do things?”

(Aikiko, who was feeling the effects herself) “Lots and lots of Manses and geomancy! In his soul!”

(Salera) “Hur! I’ve got a bit of that sort of thing!”

(Aikiko) “I should put you in touch with him! He’s a LOT more goody-goody than you!” (Snickering) “Still sleeps with his teddy bear…”

(Salera) “Whaa? What is he, eight?”

(Aikiko) “Uh… fourteen!”

Although… for a moment she’d almost agreed! Charles DID act a lot younger than he looked – and anyone in Aden – in him – did not age. It was… awfully hard for her to picture Charles as a fellow teenager, even a younger one! And he DID put thaumaturgic shapeshifting into his artifacts, which made it even harder to tell the age of the wearer, or their real appearance.

Gah! Maybe he WAS eight!

(Aikiko) “But I’m not sure when he stopped aging…”

(Salera) “Hrm… you know a LITTLE KID running around with these kind of powers? What’s he do, run around collecting pets and chocolate?”

(Aikiko) “Nah, peanut butter! He’s crazy about peanut butter! And he terraforms planets too!”

(Salera) “Thas a big project! How long does it take him?”

(Aikiko) “You’ll think I’m nuts… but less than a minute.”

(Salera) “Whoa! That must take some serious power!”

(Aikiko) “I know, right? That’s what lots of geomancy will get you, I guess! And lots of working with the fey, and making his own fey, too!”

(Salera) “Whaa? Making People? Is that a good thing to be doing?”

(Aikiko) “He likes to have the help! You should consider it! That’s how he does a lot of his big projects: get the Coatl and the Djinns, and everybody else to help out in the big Manses! Do you want artifacts? He’ll just GIVE them to you!”

(Salera) “Yer drunk!… Me too!”

(Aikiko, even drunker than she realized) “No, dude, I’m serious! I’ll call him up right now! He gave me this totally awesome phone that crosses dimensions!”

(Salera) “Thas cool!”

(Voices) “I got the phone! I got the phone!” “I want it! No, me!” “Find Charles!” “Not here! Not over there!” “Ask the computers!” “Oh yeah!”

(Aikiko) “Whoa!”

It seemed like possession of the phone was being contested by a crowd!

(Aikiko) “Who is this? Where’s Charles?”

(Voices) “Tommy! Leggo! I’ve got it! You find another errand!”

(Voice) “Charles left his phone here, and he’s in conference with someone here, so we’ll run it over to another place where he is! It will just be a minute of so!”

(Aikiko) “Thanks dude!”

(Voice) “You’re welcome Ms Aikiko!”

(Charles, a minute later) “Oh, hello! What’s up Aikiko?”

(Aikiko) “Heeeey Charles. Guess what I found?”

(Charles) “Not another batch of neverborn soul-memories is it? Gothmug finds them inspiring!”

(Aikiko) “Good! No, it’s another person like you! I’ll put her on.”

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