When Vanyel is ready for the mad science tour, he shows him the monkeys. "They're monkeys," she feels it necessary to clarify. "I know they look very human at this point, because the whole point of them is that I'm going to move into one if I ever die, but they're not people, and I have forbidden the staff to name them. I could move into one now if I had to but I'd like to get one actually looking like me in particular first, and I want to stick more Gifts into them, I got Fetching out of some Changesquirrels but further work is needed." She shows him the mice, too. "Do you suppose Jisa'd like a winged mouse? What's her favorite color?" She shows him all her microbiology eggs. "That's a flu sample from the recent plague! I remembered to take one. Those there are other flus. The white eggs have more-alive microbes and the brown eggs have less-alive kinds - there's a cold one of the staff mages had a few months ago, there's food poisoning, there's the most common kind from healthy intestines - you could get your Sight this fine, you know, I don't do heavy Healing-Gift use apart from Sight for this work."
"You are! You're both brilliant."
It takes Leareth a while to calm down enough that he puts Belrun's feet back on the floor. "I love you. The gods do not know it yet but they should be even more terrified of you than of me."
"All right. We should sit down and discuss this and figure out how long we would need to prepare for it. Belrun, you saw Vanyel in the lab, in Foresight - I am concerned that other Powers might also see this in Foresight, and I do not wish to give them any more time than I must to move against us."
"Right - how did you guys make out discussing the Heartstone, by the by -"
"I'm really terrified of the prospect of actually doing this, but Leareth thought we could pull it off."
Leareth nods his agreement.
"Okay, so, food poisoning - I should name it something else, it'll be weird to have huge vats of food poisoning and run a ton of magic on it and still be calling it food poisoning - here's what I know about it, anyway -" She pulls out all her notes on it to generate estimates of what conditions it will need, how much food, what temperatures.
Leareth sketches out the beginnings of a plan. "I think we could manage everything for the first two stages of a god in the north, in terms of space and supply logistics. The difficulty is going to be training all of my mages to use their Sight in the appropriate way to even locate the power, which I think means that first I will need to learn to do so alone, without your trained Healing-Sight to guide me. It is much more - diffuse a release of energy, which makes it very difficult to capture without that precise aim."
"If we can get the Heartstone," Vanyel points out, "will we be able to work in Valdemar too? If we think Shadowgod isn't opposed to this? ...Honestly it makes a lot of sense for Them to be less opposed to this version!"
"I'm less opposed to this version too! Yeah, I think we should assume that working in Valdemar sans Heartstone is safe."
"Inconveniently, I do not think we can channel the power needed for the Heartstone takeover from the other side of the mountains, and I also doubt the Star-Eyed will allow us to get away with staging a large number of vats of slime onsite."
"Inconvenient. And I assume it would be too risky to just get it out of the Heartstone itself."
"Ideally we will also get the power in the Heartstone itself, afterward! They have an enormous capacity to hold energy, and that part of the container should remain. However, at the start it is under Her control, and we will need an amount of power nearly equal to what it contains - a hundred people worth of blood-magic, or the equivalent in vats of slime, in order to push Her out."
"How much of that can you get from nodes?"
"Maybe five to ten percent. The nearby network of nodes is just not going to be dense enough."
"Okay. You've got units, right, for how much mage energy something is?"
"Yes. We need at least fifty thousand aellae and it would be good to have more, for safety; the usual range for an Adept skilled with blood-magic is five hundred to a thousand aellae. We will need to do some calibration on how much can be obtained from a vat of your microbes; the quantity in the egg was not large enough for me to be confident that I can estimate it better than 'not zero.'"
"Okay, I'm going to go get some raw chicken from the kitchen and infect it and see what I can get."
"Just to check, none of us are at risk of becoming ill from this unless we eat it, correct - or touch it and then touch something we eat later, I suppose, we are probably better off making sure not to touch it at all. Do you want some sort of container to put it in?"
"My protocol is never touch it at all but that's an abundance of caution and me happening to be a Fetcher. The gas it gives off smells bad, I didn't get sick from being near an exploded egg but that could have been luck, it'd be a good idea to have better ventilation for large amounts - but again, this stuff grows on any food left out long enough, if you wouldn't expect being near old raw chicken to hurt you under normal circumstances it still won't when I'm just doing a smaller-scale exploratory investigation. A container'd be good."
Leareth gets her a glass container and a wooden lid to go over it.
She puts a few slabs of chicken in there, draws a diagram of where she's placing initial colonies, puts up a sign about NOT EATING THE CHICKEN. "I'm putting ten to start in each spot, this end will be warmer near the boiling water, we'll see what it likes best."
Vanyel watches curiously. "You can see what you're doing? I can't see anything there at all, yet."
"Yeah, I can. Though you'll be able to see big colonies before you can see individual ones. You might find your progress more encouraging if you looked at, oh, bread dough? Because that has a pretty high concentration of all one kind of microbe so you'll be able to see it before you're down to single cells. Or your intestines but I remember you're a little squeamish."