3 Ashan 715 | Mathias Blackwood and Sylvia Lockson | Rharne Area
"No, that is a different lesson. You need to generate a field of ether that will act as your work space. You'll put whatever you're altering into the field and then try to weave the qualities your spark has memorized into it. Now it is important that you focus throughout the three steps because if your focus breaks, so will whatever you are attempting to transmute." Sylvia explained as she grabbed a few of the wood blocks and set them in front of Mathias. "Iron and idalinium may be a little bit too much for your first try so commit the wood qualities to your spark and then do the same with the stone. After you are done I will explain the steps." Sylvia said before standing and walking over to close her tent so that no one would be able to look in on them.
Mathias watched her for a moment and then picked up the closest wood block. "You're being too paranoid about Perseus. He is still in the city." Mathias told Sylvia as he turned the wood block over in his hand. The understanding was coming to him slowly. With every turn and every time he ran his thumb along the grain Mathias's ether churned just a little more and he learned about the wood he was holding.
It was a block of hickory wood. It was a reddish brown color with a moderately coarse grain. Mathias held the block in both hands and tried to bend it slightly, not that he expected it to bend or needed it to... he just wanted to feel it resist the force he put on it and his ether seemed to understand the rest. It was dense and stiff wood.
"I'm just being cautious. Who knows who would rat us out to him?" Sylvia pointed out as she walked back over to where Mathias was sitting and began organizing the things they'd taken again. Mathias gave a small nod because he knew Sylvia was right and set the hickory block down on the ground. He reached for the copper dagger but Sylvia clapped her hands together quickly to stop him. "Stop! Grab a rock or something. Keep it simple for the first."
"I don't think copper is all that complicated but okay." Mathias said as he reached into his shirt and pulled the obsidian arrowhead he wore on a necklace out. He pulled the necklace off his neck and held the arrowhead in his hand while running his thumb over the glassy black rock. Mathias felt the heat that had been quenched so suddenly to form the stone and he felt the labor that someone had put in to chipping it down to a weaponized size. Mathias held the obsidian arrowhead up to his eye and looked at the color.
The color of obsidian was black but that was not what Mathias sought to impress upon his ether as he examined the rock. He wanted to capture the gloss that came with it- the overall glassy appearance of the material- and he did. With the quality chronicled in his ether, Mathias put the arrowhead back around his neck.
"Alright now you will attempt the steps." Sylvia began as she put the rest of the materials they had snagged back into the bag. "First you will put the wood block into a field of your ether. Your ether will... well... it'll break down the wood block into an almost ether-like state so that you can put in new qualities. You'll need to start slow so just focus on one quality and try not to mess up. Once you've finished imparting a new quality you'll have to reform the wood block. Don't try to change it's shape either. While you will eventually be able to do that-"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm not ready for that. I got it. I'll take it slow, Syl, don't worry." Mathias said dismissively as he picked the hickory wood block up off the ground with his left hand. He took a deep breath and held his right hand out in front of himself slowly. Mathias focused on the energy he felt in his body- the energy he had become more and more aware of since being initiated into Transmutation- and he called it into his hand. A few bits passed before the field of blue ether began to glow into existence. The field took the form of a sphere just large enough to hold the wood block Mathias slowly lowered into it.
Once the block was in the ether Mathias saw the point where planning and acting diverged. Nothing Sylvia had told him could prepare him for the way it felt to deconstruct the wood block. A corner of the hickory block began to shimmer slightly as Mathias's ether pulled at the wood's very existence, suspending it somewhere between Idalos and Emea that Mathias would forever consider his 'workshop.' It was like his own pocket of space to pull things apart and put them back together again... but how did he want to put this wood block back together? The shimmer spread down the block like a flame but as the shimmer passed over the block rather than turn it to ash, all it did was make the block take on a transparent appearance. Within a few bits the entire block had become suspended between Idalos and Emea, trapped in Mathias's ether workshop.
Mathias thought about the obsidian arrowhead. He thought about how smooth and reflective it had been. It was reflective but not shiny. It was glossy but not glass. Transparent to a degree. Mathias wanted the wood to take on a similar glossy appearance. He tried to imagine what the wood block should look like with the aspects of obsidian infused but he struggled to come up with a real image. It began to frustrate him and his ether field flickered.
"Careful, Mathias! You're ether field!"
"I know!" Mathias snapped and his ether field dissipated completely. The wood block fell to the floor in a dew dozen splintered pieces and Mathias smacked his hand on the ground. "Talking doesn't help me focus!"
"I know, I know, I'm sorry. Here, try again." Sylvia said as she reached into the bag and pulled out another block of hickory wood and held it out to Mathias. He sighed and took the block in hand with a somewhat embarrassed look on his face.
"I'm sorry I raised my voice."
"It's okay. It is frustrating. I get it. Just try again." Sylvia pressed as she set her hand on Mathias's knee. She gave him a comforting smile and he grinned back at her.
"Alright, round two. Here we go." Mathias conjured another ether field between his hands and lowered it to surround the new wood block. Once again a faint shimmer overtook the corner of the block and spread through it like a sickness spread through a body, destabilizing it. The block quickly became transparent again and when it did Mathias thought back to the obsidian once more.
This time he focused only on what he wanted to impart upon the wood. He thought about the glassy appearance of obsidian and willed the quality into the wood. He couldn't quite tell that his change had been implemented but he could feel the wood in his ether field changing to adapt to his will. It was empowering and almost enough to break his focus again but Mathias didn't make the same mistake. This time he focused on the final step, bringing his finished product back to Idalos.
Restoring the wood block's physical form felt similar to filling a balloon with air. Mathias's ether field shrunk slowly into the shape of the wood block and began to glow brightly as he funneled his ether into solidifying the shape and when the glowing finally began to fade Mathias found himself holding a particularly glossy piece of wood- not that it still looked completely like wood. He'd been somewhat successful in transferring the glassiness of obsidian onto the hickory wood block but unfortunately success looked a lot like a glossy piece of wood no matter how you sliced it.
Sylvia applauded softly with a wide smile on her face and a look of admiration in her eyes that made Mathias forget how dumb he felt having struggled so greatly for such a small reward. "Ta-da, a glossy wood block." Mathias mumbled to himself.
"Progress, Mathias, it is progress."