8 Resplendent Air, Realm Year 769
The Circle has returned to the Sea of Gears, with the intent of speaking to the Xi-Mi-Taxi about matters of some import.
The setting sun casts a brilliant orange glow over the puddles of oil and strange machinery that make up the Sea. None of the strange beings which call it home are visible, however.
<Zahara> "Marku, please... let me do the negotiating this time."
<Cerin> "I wonder where they are." he carefully tests the water with his finger
A ripple moves slowly out through the oily liquid from the location where Cerin touches. For a few moments, nothing stirs; then, suddenly, a metallic head rises to the surface.
<Markuran> "There they are."
<Zahara> "Hmmm interesting. I am curious as to what payment you recieved for these."
<Zahara> "Is there one I could speak to with such authorization?"
<Zahara> "Thank you for that information. Please bring First Container of Sixteen Truths to me."
<Cerin> "Can we be taken to that one then?"
<Zahara> "Ah," she surveys the oil, gears, and wires that make up the sea. "Then would you convey my request to First Container of Sixteen Truths, then? Give First Container this message: I wish to find out more about the channelcages, including the price paid for the ten million you have already created, and the speed with which they can be manufactured."
<Markuran> "I want some of those shiney soul-widgets on our side."
<Markuran> "Since you're doing all the talking, I think I'll just sit over here by this nice long-destroyed wreck of an artifact and get some rest."
<Cerin> "Perhaps we should find out what else they can build. We will need more than just exalts."
<Markuran> "Get some good weapons! Or a way to break the soul-widget effect!"
<Zahara> "Marku, instead would you please work on completing more of the Manse? Once that is done, we will be able to redirect the energy to them more efficiently. I haven't had enough time to do much... I will join you when the negotiations are complete, however." she makes it clear that this is a request, not an order in her tone of voice.
After a few minutes more, the being surfaces.
<Zahara> "Does First Container suggest a method with which to communicate directly?"
The tinted glass of the dome begins to unfold in an elaborate geometric pattern, tiny droplets of oily water splashing off of its surface as it does so, until the hollow interior is revealed.
<Cerin> "I'd like to come with you, if I may."
<Markuran> "Is that a turtle with a bubble on its back?" the big Solar is apparently awake, though his eyes are closed when Cerin looks at him
<Zahara> "It seems the answer is no, my love." she observes.
<Cerin> "Perhaps I will meet First Container another day, then. See you soon."
The strange glass refurls itself back into an impenetrable bubble, and the two creatures begin to sink beneath the surface.
Zahara sees the cold, black waters descend over the surface of the bubble, and finds herself seeing nothing but the Essence flows around her -- the unusual signatures of the two creatures, the strangely regimented flow of Alchemical Essence through the water....
<Zahara> "I am comfortable for now, thank you."
<FirstContainer?> After some time, she begins to see some sort of structure appear amongst the Essence patterns in front of her. A moment later, her conveyance comes to a halt with a gentle thump, and she sees the front half of the dome seems to be looking out into some poorly lit chamber, absent of any water.
<Zahara> "I am here to speak to First Container of Sixteen Truths," she announces to the chamber in general.
The chamber Zahara finds herself in is dark, with only a few tiny, weak lights providing any illumination. The walls are built from thick cables and plates of bronze and black metal; the floor is uneven but walkable. Everything around her seems to veritably buzz with Essence. To one side of Zahara, she sees a sudden influx of Essence. Some of the pipes and plates begin to slide out of place, and a brass arm extends itself from within the wall, clutching a solid black pearl within three thin claws. Suddenly, a red circle appears on the surface of the sphere, and it turns to look at Zahara intently.
A strange, satisfied humming sound floats through the air around Zahara. The lights shift color subtly, cycling through pale blue and green.
<Zahara> "I am pleased to speak with you directly, First Container of Sixteen Truths. I have come with questions, and perhaps a bargain." she says smoothly, watching the lights that surround her as they change color. "I have heard that you had dealt before in the things called channelcages. These items are of great interest to myself and my companions. I wish to know who you traded them to, and what you recieved in return."
The lights begin to flicker in red and yellow tones.
<Zahara> "Is Jade the material that is most useful to you?"
<Zahara> "Interesting. How long did it take to manufacture the channelcages?"
<Zahara> "Does the material with which you make them, make a difference in how they work?"
<Zahara> "Did 'designation Misuna' tell you what he intended to do with the channelcages?"
<Zahara> "Have you considered the use of these artifacts on your own kind?"
<Zahara> "Please provide this list to me"
<Zahara> "Now that I know your location and that you are immobile, I shall redirect one of the Essence flows to you directly." she pauses, "And if the information you give me here is what I need, I will strike a bargain with you, with profits exceeding that of Lai Misuna."
One of the other walls begins to shift and move, and a thin slab of metal falls out, to the floor with a loud clang.
The slab is light and thin, perhaps three quarters of a foot on each side. Etched into its surface are what look like handwritten characters, along with various small designs and sigils along the borders. Upon it is what seems to be a list -- beginning with "Channelcages of Xi-Mi-Taxi manufacture" and continuing on through an increasingly bizarre list of strange items and materials.
The items are truly and stupendously odd -- "Gold from the Heart of Autochthon," "Feathers from the lords of Elysion," and others. They seem to originate throughout the worlds. None sound particularly easy to obtain.
<Zahara> "Is this a list of items you have procured for Misuna?"
<Zahara> "Intriguing. Do these items relate to the channelcages?"
<Zahara> "Did he indicate how far along he was at obtaining these items? When was it that you contacted him last?"
<Zahara> "And had he obtained any others of these items?"
<FirstContainer?> "No such information was proffered. However, after the delivery of the first shipment of channelcages, during the time it is believed Misuna completed the list, this unit recognized a substantial shift in his Essence field structure, in keeping with the pattern engraved within the channelcages."
<Zahara> "He increased his ability to channel Essence?"
<Zahara> "He was mortal, then, when he came to you?"
<Zahara> "Did you recognize what god's essence flows within him now?"
<Zahara> "Could you show me the process with which to activate the channelcages?"
<FirstContainer?> "The channelcage can create a freestanding pattern of Essence through committing the necessary motes for approximately six hours. Producing the effect apparently created for Misuna is beyond the understanding of First Container."
<Zahara> "Could the pattern be altered?"
<Zahara> "Could a pattern be created that would enhance an existing set of Essence flows?"
<Zahara> "The flows in question would be of similar power to mine."
<Zahara> "What would happen if such a cage were to contain my Essence flows?"
<Zahara> "What of those of someone less powerful than I?"
<Zahara> "What of a cage made of purest Orichalcum?"
<Zahara> "I have brought some of this material with me, it is above. How long would the construction and testing take if I were to provide you with the materials?"
<Zahara> "You may keep the excess Orichalcum for your time."
<Zahara> "Excellent. Then I shall return when one sun-cycle has passed to view the results. Any other artifacts you may have that would help us fight a battle against ten million new exalts would also be appreciated."
<Zahara> "I appreciate your time, First Container. I will give the Orichalcum to The Thirteenth Matrix of Progression, to return to you."
The eye bobs up and down in seeming appreciation.
<Zahara> "Has the experiment progressed well?"
<Zahara> "What is the result?"
<Zahara> "Can you project the result of using such a thing on an Exalt of power equal to mine, in a similar fashion as what you saw with Misuna?"
<FirstContainer?> "Possible to produce a moderate increase in Essence flow strength, resulting in slight improvement of basic functionality. Ability to implant still beyond the knowledge of this unit, however."
<Zahara> "Excellent. Was payment for the first sufficient?"
<Zahara> "Then I shall pay in kind for four more." Once I consult my companions, I shall let you know how many of the regular cages we will require. You have been most helpful. Did you have anything else to show me?"
<Zahara> "When shall I return for the other four? I brought your payment with me."
<Zahara> "I will indeed wait for them. While waiting, I shall work on furthering the design of the Manse above, and the Essence line I promised you."
The lights flicker a brilliant green color, with the slightest tinge of gold, and the eye moves up and down excitedly.
Within four hours, the channelcages are finished.
Within four hours, significant progress, and a nice lightshow, have been applied to the Manse. A revitalizing stream of Essence now feeds the First Cage directly.
Tags: (:tags Sea of Gears, Xi-Mi-Taxi, Lai Misuna, First Container of Sixteen Truths, Thirteenth Matrix of Progression, Channelcages, Exaltation Checklist:)