Baltasar felt it. A low large thud. That is how it felt and sounded to everyone in the tower with a well tuned spark, sensitive to the primordial flow. Every few hours, at regular intervals, for more than a thousand years. The machine whirled to life, sped up and the tower released its soothing big wavy influence on the primordial flow.
From all across the realm reports flooded in of pre-planned and unplanned spells, both large and small. Those reports where processed by a small army of Scribe caste members. They calculated and collapsed the reports into a single large all-encompassing algorithm that told the primordial flow stabilizers what frequency, wavelength, strength, direction and duration the next "thud" had to have. Most of the time the answer was pretty much the same. More spells during the day, around densely populated and high income areas. The natural flow of activity was easy to predict. As long as the Thaumatology caste filled in the proper forms for their large rituals and the military caste reported their battles and drills, the stabilizer could handle anything Asgardian society threw at it.
But Baltasar remembered the siege of Ul-Targash. Things had been more interesting to say the least. Of course, most of the time reports from the fledgling mage guilds of Midgard were spotty at best. They did not realize the importance of proper primordial flow maintenance. For all its promises of taxing negative externalities, the elite of Midgard could not care less about the warping and at times unnatural environment, as long as their favourite brothels were not in it. So anything magic related ended up in the lower income areas, where any effects were ignored and anyone complaining about it was equally ignored. Baltasar hated the Midgarian system.
That said, even some Asgardian magic use fell trough the cracks and went unreported, but this was within acceptable parameters as those generally got washed away as noise. Just like the ever present background hum of the words of creation, bouncing around from the heavens. But the siege of Ul-Targash, with the proper equipment, was felt all the way to the most northern of stabilizer stations as a statistically significant, if diminished, event. Baltasar personally oversaw those calculations as somewhat of a curiosity.
And there was the event that happened months before Ul-Targash was laid to waste. Something that needed the fast calculations from Baltasar and his team of scribe caste members. As usual, reports came in, the next thud was meticulously calculated, checked and double checked, then the thud was sent out to again stabilise the primordial flow. The echo of its momentous power was once again checked to see if it had had the desired effect.
It did not. The offset was caught within minutes by several different scribes. At that point the primordial flow was somewhat unstable for a whole thirty minutes while Baltasar ordered an emergency spooling up of the tower. Several panicked scribes recalculated their initial findings a third; and then a fourth time, if nothing else to prove the offset was not their fault. The emergency thud was fired. All was within acceptable parameters and the primordial flow rested once more. People began to breathe normally again for a few minutes... Until the political finger pointing started and scapegoats had to be found. Soon Baltasar would have to answer to the higher ups, unless the cause could be established outside of his team. Outside of the tower itself.
Either some very large or a lot of smaller events had not been reported. The only way to know for sure was to communicate with one of the other stabilizer stations. Baltasar sent messengers to several nearby stations to see if they had an offset as well. One of them responded positive. They had also performed an emergency thud in response to an event in the same time window, albeit of a smaller magnitude.
More scribes scribbled away and with the help of the final two ranges and simple circle intersection two possible locations were suggested as possible sites for these supposed large rituals. Baltasar immediately dispatched two teams of highly skilled primordial mages to investigate the two locations but their efforts soon proved fruitless as a third stabilizer now also reported a minor offset, which had not needed an emergency firing of the stabilizer, but was still significant.
With three ranges and the help of trilateration only one of the two locations would have to be searched. But neither location popped up as the proper answer. Assuming the offset was caused by a singular event, which nobody in Baltasar's team really doubted, the distances pointed again to two possible locations. One deep inside the crust of Heimr and one high above their heads. This brought the entire event to the attention of people way more important than him and Baltasar stood by as others started to finish the puzzle that his team originally had stumbled upon.
Astronomers where called in to calculate where and how to look at one of the possible spots. Dig teams were gathered to see if it was even possible to follow the render cave networks to get anywhere close to the other spot. The teams were very adamant: nobody knew how deep the render caves were but the spot laid deeper then any mortal had ever ventured. If the renders had somehow caused this large a ripple in the primordial flow the entire world had reason to be very nervous.
The astronomers, on the other hand, warned that even if the spot was found in the sky, if a large primordial flow influencing event had taken place there it had probably been done by an extraordinarily strong angel or daemon in flight, possibly during battle. If so, the primordial flow distortion would probably be long gone by now. Of course, this didn't stop anyone with a functioning telescope from actually calculating the exact spot and taking a look, just to be sure.
It was still visible. Baltasar was transfixed as he could clearly see light rippling in an unnatural way around almost the exact spot. Even a week later it was still visible.
Header image by Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons