So far, most of the Mortalborn’s casting had involved studying qualities and conjuring ether missiles and orbs of light – he had reshaped those – he had destroyed, but he had not created or made something whole again which was what the objects that surrounded him were for. He reached for the stone first and let his fingers run across it, felt the cool, smooth surface for a few moments before he let go of it again. His skill as an artisan was lacking compared to his skill as an alchemist. The ultimate purpose of this exercise was to familiarize himself with a new technique and advance his magic, but the idea of creating something imperfect did not appeal to him particularly.
He picked up the sword. It was a simple blade, made of iron, with a blackened handle. After a moment, he set it aside as well though. He would begin with something softer and gradually transmute harder materials, he decided. He was not sure if any of the normal rules applied when it came to magic, but it made sense to him that it would be easier to reshape and repair something that was easier to affect with conventional tools. He reached for the wooden sculpture and held it in its hands for a few moments as he looked at it – it portrayed some sort of bear in mid-attack, with one of its paws raised high – or it would have, had said paw that was adorned with sharp claws not been broken off and was lying next to the main part.
Whoever had made the sculpture, had possessed some skill and paid some attention to detail. The bear’s features were fairly realistic in his opinion, it was definitely recognizable as a bear, and its maw that was wide open was filled with sharp teeth. He wondered where Elias had gotten the sculpture from and if it had already been damaged or if he had had to ask someone to damage it for a moment before he decided that it didn’t matter. It was perfect for what he had in mind; that was all that was important right now.
He let his fingers run across the wooden surface – it was smooth to the touch – to get a feel for it as he wondered how to best go about it. Should he submerge the sculpture entirely in a field of ether - or just the part where the breakage had occurred? Would focusing on just a small part of it rather than on the whole object affect the result negatively, or would it be enough?
He decided that there was only one way to find out for sure. Once more, he decided to start small and work his way up as that made the most sense to him, everything considered. He would focus his ether on the breaking point rather than submerging the entire sculpture in a field of ether; he would have to expend less ether that way and likely be able to work more precisely than if he had to affect the entire sculpture at the same time.
He placed the two parts of the sculpture on the floor in front of him, so that they were touching, one hand on each of them; he positioned them as if he were trying to glue them together rather than repairing the sculpture with magical means (Although, come to think of it, was magic not comparable to glue in that case, a glue that was far more effective than any other?). At first, he only channeled a small amount of ether into the wood, a miniscule amount in fact, pausing momentarily before he used just a little more.
His ether, he noticed, was still crimson. In the beginning, after Llyr had initiated him, it had been silvery-blue, but sometime after he had received his first two Awakenings (he had come to the conclusion that his apparently mutating more than most people was most likely a consequence of his divine heritage) it had changed color, to match the markings on his chest and the crimson lines on the backs of his hands. When he had first noticed the change, he had wondered if it was a common occurrence. It did at least not seem to be particularly unusual …
Slowly, ever so slowly, the parts of the sculpture that he had submerged in ether began to change. They began to grow translucent, they lost a little more tangibility with every passing trill, and finally they faded. Doran was utterly concentrated; he would not allow anything to distract him. If something went wrong at this stage, if his focus was interrupted, there would likely be irrevocable damage. It wouldn’t matter much where this sculpture was concerned – it had been relatively cheap and could be replaced – but there would come a time when he would work with expensive materials, with magic items, even …
Once the first step – the books that he had read called it Deconstruction – was completed, Doran turned to the second step – Alteration. He thought of what the sculpture was supposed to look like, of what it had looked like before it had been broken, and held that image in his mind as he worked before he finally turned to the third and last step Reformation – and brought the sculpture back to Idalos, slowly and carefully, his mind still focused entirely on the task at hand. For a while as he worked, time seemed to lose its meaning – or maybe it simply stopped, he did not pay any attention to the passing of time at this stage.
Eventually, there was another change, a change that he had expected but that took him slightly by surprise, nevertheless. Before him, the sculpture that had been broken in two, the sculpture that had lost tangibility and faded, lay whole again. He dispelled the field of ether before he bent over it in order to inspect it. It truly looked as if it had never been … no, it had didn’t look exactly as if it had never been damaged. It didn’t look exactly as it had before. A shimmering line could be seen where the breakage had occurred, a thin, glimmering crack.
He looked at it for a moment as he waited – it was important that you always let transmuted objects rest a little – before he finally traced the shimmering line with a finger, concluding that it was likely one of the flaws that transmuted objects often had – and abruptly turned to his notebook that he had brought with him in order to write down what he had observed during that particular session. Llyr had told him to take notes about his magic and his magical evolution, and he had found that advice to be exceptionally useful thus far. It would allow him to better understand how his spark and his mutations developed – and maybe even figure out why he had gotten the mutations that he had gotten.
As he took notes, he wondered what he was supposed to do with the sculpture that he had just repaired. Should he put it on display somewhere, or give it to Elias as some sort of gift – or would it eventually deteriorate and break again, like so many transmuted objects?