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I think I'll be starting a new chronology now. It seems best.

Day One:

It was, originally, a fairly normal day at the dig. I was chipping some encrusted mud off of the frieze in the outer chamber when I heard a terrible noise from the inner room. Actually, a number of terrible noises -- screams, crashing, and the sound of rending metal. Then the lion statue came bounding out of the room, the verdigris on its surface transforming into fine, almost grass-like hairs, and chased me out of the temple.

Then it ate me.

I'm relatively certain that I'm not dead. Whatever happened, it was bigger than death. I experienced the entire history of the world (and other places) in one moment. I haven't really made sense of it yet; there's too much there. But I can see the history of everything before me, trailing off into the past like a fuzzy caterpillar.

I followed the lion to a ruined banquet hall, where I met my companions, the other beings who recieved a part of his soul. He introduced himself to us as Prasinos, and explained a good deal of what had happened. Wallace Clemens, the Power of Cooking, provided the best meal I've ever tasted. The Power of Stories seemed personable enough; the Power of Logic is a clockwork robot. Obviously there are aspects of this new world I do not yet understand.

After Prasinos left, we proceeded to the throne room to meet a man who calls himself Hector Rodriguez. He explained a little more of the state of the world as it actually is, and attempted to insinuate himself into our favor. Koh Li-Leng, the Power of Potential, responded to his request for immortality promply and decisively -- she seems to have removed his potential to die. At the time, I thought this was perhaps a bit rash, but she pointed out that now he is in our debt, not the other way around. She looks so kindly -- I wouldn't have thought she was that devious, but with age must come wisdom. I approve. Hector's first task is to invite all the other Powers of the world to a masquerade so that we may meet them and begin to learn how we stand among them.

Things to Do:

Day One, part two

Hector is a bastard (metaphorically speaking). More on this later.

We seem to have about 4,000 normal humans left over. They're rather upset. Some of them want to stay; some of them want to go to Earth (one can't really say 'go back to Earth,' as now they've never been there). I'm going to write the diehards "back" into history, but we'd prefer that be as few people as possible. In addition to not wanting to change things too much, there's also a slight security risk in that these people will still be associated with the Chancel, even though they'll never have been here (note: must ask Logic and Potential to explain this to me again, as it still doesn't make any sense). In any case, we'd prefer that as many as possible stay, but if they'd rather not be here, I'd rather not have them. So we're going to leave them here for a month so they can get to know the Chancel and think about their decisions. In a month, we'll fix up the ones that still want to leave. Teller explained the plan to the mortals, and they seemed reasonably satisfied.

While I was exploring the mansion further, Hector turned up and requested an audience with Li and Dialecticus. Eventually, we all learned that Hector had heard Wallace declare his love for his wife (whom Wallace had gone off and collected in the meantime) and had decided that he needed paid to conceal this information. He wants to be king of Norway. We think we can handle that. But if he's going to be king of Norway, he needs to be less of a bastard. Li plans to remove his potential for malice, which we think should help.

I think changing such a fundamental aspect of his personality is perhaps somewhat questionable, but it does seem necessary if he's going to be in a position of any power. For the greater good.

Day Three

Went to Norway. Pissed off the Dane. Failed to hear symphony; succeeded in changing birth order of royal children.

The fact that this Hrothgar magical protector fellow regards us as evil is worrying. Of course, he seems to define "good" as "Catholic", which is both incomplete and incorrect, but he seems a nice enough entity, trying to do good as he sees it.

We definitely need to step up this ethics thing, or we'll get all the good guys mad at us.

The following is a summary of the last few sessions. I plan to eventually fill it in a more detailed form, but at least there's something up now. Please feel free to correct any errors of fact which may have slipped in there, or add things I've forgotten

Day Ten (winter solstice) -- Party

Road Trip!

	1.  In 1792, Eli Whitney fails to invent the cotton gin, instead moving directly to interchangeable parts (for rifles).
	2.  Therefore, cotton does not become a dominant argricultural force in the Southern U.S.
	3.  Therefore, slavery never really gets off the ground, and fails to become a major sociopolitical issue there.  
	4.  Therefore, the Civil War never happens.
	5.  Since England wants cotton from somewhere, it gets it from India.  British India becomes a major world power, industrializing quite early.
	6.  Other changes: Europe (now pretty much conquered by Germany) mostly doesn't let go of its African colonies.  China dissolves into a mess of nasty brutish warlords.  Communism never existed.  No Hitler, calloo callay, oh frabjous day!

The Anchoring of Northwest Smith

A Survey of Alternate Histories

Entertaining Interlude at Chancel Burgundy

The whole Familia popped over to the twin cities of Burgundy and Carthage to visit the library at the university there. We rather startled the poor girl at the visitor's center desk when we signed in. (In retrospect, I can see how it was a rather unusual visit -- "So... there... are... six of you? And you're all gods?" "Yep. Oh, and there's Roger Bacon. He wandered off somewhere. Don't worry, he probably won't break anything." "Let me call the office...") Once our presence was known, we were invited to have dinner with the powers that be.

Before dinner, Phillipe called me in for a private discussion. Seems the recent changes to history resulted in the first atomic bomb test being in Algeria in 1978... just when Phillipe happened to wander by. So now he's radioactive, which he finds irritating. He expressed a strong desire for this sort of thing not to happen again.

The Chancel is accessible via the French Revolution, but the university's campus is sufficiently modern that our cellular phones work there. The library has excellent collections of books on sorcery and law, so I took the time to acquaint myself with the workings of the Locust Court.

Matters at Home

Meeting of the Temporal Control Board


Doria's Daddy's Different

When I got back to the Chancel, Potential let me know that as a result of the recent change to history her granddaughter Doria's father has been replaced by a man called Steve. Doria was upset by that, and asked her grandmother to change him back. I obliged.

To Mars!

Twilight Locates a Reference

The World Ash


The Diachronic Library

The Book of Melek Taus

-- Session Break --

What Else We Learned in the Library

Communications from Home

As we sank into the depths of the trans-finite portion of the library, Northwest contacted me at the request of Potential and Logic. They had arrived home in time to meet all three of Dr. Mirabilis' Powers, come to discuss the Fruits of the Garden with Wallace. Apparently, while Wallace was visiting Samuel Goldstein, Power of Crime, he had offered to let them store some portion of the Fruits in Locus Mirabilis {that's not what it's called, is it?} for safe-keeping. It is not clear to me why anyone other than Crime thought this was a good idea.

In any case, Genius and Spectacle had arrived along with Crime to discuss an appropriate division of the fruits. They were extremely disappointed to learn that Wallace had in fact failed to collect them (I must ask Wallace about this when we have a free moment). They are required to profit any time they leave their Chancel; since all three of them had left, they felt only the Fruits would bring sufficient profit to justify their absence. Our brothers and sister were on the verge of swearing mighty oaths to share the fruits if the others helped acquire it. They contacted us to let us know that we would not be bound by these oaths, and would in fact be expected to work around them, denying the other Powers access to the fruits.

I did not approve.

We have no quarrel with the Powers of Dr. Mirabilis, only with their Imperator. It would be wrong to break an oath to our enemy. It would be even more wrong to break an oath to these innocents (while Crime is certainly no innocent, his sisters are mere children). These Powers were not involved in the death of Melek Taus -- they did not even exist at the time. They may not even be aware of their Imperator's past actions. They are, however, aware of his current ones. He treats them as criminals in their own Chancel, and enjoys foiling their every plan. We cannot let him have access to the Fruits, for our own safety, yet we like his Powers and do not wish them to go home empty-handed to face his wrath.

However, if they never go home they don't have to face him at all. They are not happy with their situation, so we can help them change it. They are not happy with their Imperator, so we will help them change him. We shall sever their bond with Dr. Mirabilis and establish a new bond with Prasinos. Some questions remain, however. We expect the Fruits, once acquired, are strong enough to break even the bonds between an Imperator and his Powers, but we are not at all certain how to go about doing that. Prasinos' cooperation will be required to bring them into our fold, and Wallace has told us that by the next time we speak to Prasinos he is required to have found something that will pain him unto death (this has something to do with his failure to acquire the Fruits -- I must ask him what happened!) and therefore doesn't want anyone to speak to Prasinos at all. And we must still decide what to tell Genius and Spectacle (and Crime, when he returns).

-- Session Break --

The Sealed Stacks

The Duel

The Preparations of Others

An Unpleasant Incident

The Duel and its Immediate Aftermath

In Which We Learn that Others Can Take Advantage of Chaos, Too

Tanit informed me that she could not contact Fate, Computation seemed to have disappeared from the world, and Twilight's little friend from their Chancel called her in need of rescue. We decided on the strength of this evidence that we should probably go see what was going on in Chancel Burgundy, and whether anyone there was still alive.

Since the entrance to Chancel Burgundy is via the French Revolution, which is a bit more difficult to access these days, Stories led Twilight, Logic, and me through a copy of A Tale of Two Cities in our largest carriage (to allow for the removal of refugees). On the road to the University, we encountered a vast horde of revolutionaries, who called for us to stop the carriage. Stories, who was driving, refused to stop. The revolutionaries fired upon us, and actually shredded the carriage, killing half the horses and knocking everything over. We leapt from the carriage, and Twilight used her Gloriousness to confound the soldiers' sense of purpose and prevent them from shooting at us any more.

We waded through the crowd, and got some of them to take care of the remaining horses. In the distance, we could see the University burning. The other half of the Chancel was missing -- replaced by a gaping hole into Uncreation. Logic went to see what might remain of Phillipe Vilmorin's villa.

As the three of us approached the University, I summoned the rain from the Galveston hurricane of 1900 to put out the fires. However, something increased the power of the storm, and lightning began to set fires just as fast as the rain could put them out. We raced towards the source of the disturbance, as Twilight's gift calmed the soldiers chasing down the panicked students.

At the center of the storm, an Excrucian shard was directing the mayhem. We stared at it for a moment. It stared back (and tried to kill us). We ducked, and Logic contacted Twilight via the Realm's Heart and informed her that (a) the villa had been crushed, (b) there was a full Excrucian present, (c) it had been torturing Phillipe, (d) Logic was next, and (e) could we come rescue him please?

Also at this point, Tanit appeared in her hovercar. Stories and I hopped in and zoomed off to the villa, leaving Twilight to deal with the shard, which suddenly seemed much more manageable.

We arrived to find Logic in the grip of the Excrucian, a terrible blade buried in his side. Recalling the Guardian at the Gate's promise to retrieve us from any harm we might have come to in our adventures outside the Wall, we yelled to Logic to call the Guardian, who could reach through the gaping hole in Creation and retrieve him without setting much of anything on fire. We were hoping that, as Logic and the Excrucian were grappling, the Excrucian might be removed from the Chancel as well. Such was not the case, but its weapon was removed, embedded in Logic's side.

This left the three of us (and Phillipe, who was in no condition to do anything more strenuous than breathe occasionally) facing a horror from beyong Creation. A disarmed horror, but a horror nonetheless. The Excrucian, lacking the weapon it had intended to use to complete its ritual sacrifice, began to carry Phillipe toward the hole in Creation to finish elsewhere. We burst into a flurry of miracles to impede its passage and try to break Phillipe from its grip, to no avail. Somewhere in the activity, Tanit collapsed. We didn't have time to worry about her -- our activies were having very little impact on the Excrucian.

However, our combined Words of Command and various lesser miracles managed to distract it long enough for Stories to steal Fate's heart and eat it, thus keeping the concept of Fate in Creation. This angered the Excrucian. But before it was finished tearing Stories limb from limb, our relief arrived. Logic had managed to warn the angels in Heaven, and one of them had come to deal with the incursion.


The angle appeared from above, every beat of its great wings creating the thunder of cannons. The Excrucian decided that discretion was the better part of valor (or perhaps that non-recklessness was the anti-worst less-than-wholeness of anti-meekness) and retreated back into the void, leaving Stories and I shaken, wounded, and vaguely stunned. We looked up the mile-high angel Zenaphiel, who wanted to know who we were, why we were there, and just what we thought we were doing. So I told him.

The arrogant prat had the temerity to suspect us of collaborating with the Excrucian to destroy Computation, Fate, and their Imperator. I made it clear (*snap*) that such was not the case. Next he wanted to know what was wrong with Tanit. We thought that was an interesting question. When we managed to shake her awake, her first words were "My children! That bastard --" but upon sight of the angel she fell silent. Zenaphiel seemed to take that as sufficient explanation for the time being. He instructed us to leave the Chancel before it finished collapsing into nothingness. So we left, following Stories back through the book into our Chancel.

There, we asked Tanit for a more complete explanation of this uncharacteristic fainting-and-cursing behavior. She explained that her children, the Nephilim, had been killed by something -- something powerful enough to destroy the army she'd left guarding the city. The only being in Creation powerful enough to do that was Sen -- or rather, Sen's swordsmanship, which was still on loan to Lysander. She concluded that Zenaphiel and his Powers were behind it, and announced her intention to create serious harm to someone, anyone, involved while they were all distracted. We didn't quite understand why she was so upset, since the Nephilim had wanted to die anyway, but she wouldn't listen to reason and charged off to do something rash.

I thought I should probably do something about that, so I had Northwest (who was conveniently in London in 1820) relay a warning to Lysander via Robert Owens. Lysander did not seem particularly concerned, but wanted a message relayed to Tyke Yard to the effect that "the plan is in motion and time is running short". He had no idea where to find Citizen Yard, suggesting only that he was probably "in or near Earth".

I decided there were more important things to do immediately, and with the help of Stories and Logic (who had just returned to the Chancel after doing... something odd... in Heaven) managed to relay a short warning to Calligraphy via the lovely page of Logic's name Calligraphy had drawn for us. Unfortunately, Logic reported that, although he had made contact with someone, presumeably Calligraphy, that individual was not Sen. We concluded that we were too late, that Tanit had already been rash and that Logic had been speaking to the confused new Power of Calligraphy.

Having nothing better to do, we decide to pass along Lysander's message to Citizen Rat. Since we have no idea where he might be, Logic wants to go deliver a completely different message to the Imperator of Progress, and we don't want to go wander aroud in our weakened and ouchy states, we decide to be a little unorthodox. Stories creates a rat from NIMH, and we have it pray to Tyke Yard until he notices, at which point we pass along our message and give the rat some peanut butter as a reward.


===A speech to the Temporal Control Board===

"I'd like to thank you all for coming to this meeting so quickly. There are just a few items I'd like to discuss.

"First, no one who is not in this room is authorized to meddle with history any longer. It would be nice if you three could discuss any changes with me before you make them, but if there's an emergency just let me know about it when you can. If you find anyone else meddling, refer them to me. Mortals may look but not touch; if you run across any of them trying to alter anything, send them straight to me and I will deal with them. I expect I'll be aware of any problems more quickly than any of you, but it would be nice to have some backup.

"Second, Lord Entropy will lose this war. I would like to see that happen as quickly and decisively as possible, with as little loss of life as possible.

"Lastly, you'll have noticed that Philippe Vilmorin is not here. This is because he is dead. Please allow me to introduce the new Power of Fate."

===In the Middle of the Night===

"Dr. Hawkins. Dr. Hawkins, you need to wake up."


"Dr. Hawkins."

Suddenly he was awake. Clara slept peacefully beside him; otherwise, the room was empty. "Oh, it's you," he said. "What time is it?"

"It's three a.m. Get dressed and find your passport."

"What? Where--"

"The night bus to Heathrow should stop down the corner in ten minutes. You need to be on it."

"What night bus to Heathrow? There's never been a night bus to Heathrow!" He finished pulling on his pants and went looking for the belt.

"The route's been there for three years. Well, it has since two minutes ago."

"But I can't leave now! I have a class tomorrow, and there's a departmental meeting I have to chair, and--"

"Look, the fate of Creation might depend on this. It's not likely, but I need someone on the ground to check things out for me. You should only be gone for a week or so."

"A week? Gone where? What do I tell my students? What do I tell Clara?"

"If you work fast, you can probably leave her a note. Have her call the University for you; she can explain that you were suddenly called out of the country."

"Where am I going?"

"The lost city of Ubar. What do you know about botany?"

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Last edited June 7, 2004 4:51 pm by Theresa (diff)