Jun 15, 2019 5:27 PM
in this world where time is your enemy, it is my greatest ally. this grand game of life which you think you play in fact plays you. to that i say... (margaret in azeroth)
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Higher-magic items give more dust, and a more skilled enchanter can get more from a given item.

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"Then if you enchanted something really small with a lot of magic, you could get dust that weighs more than the thing?"

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Theoretically that would be possible, though in practice it's difficult to get that much magic into such a small space.

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Well, it was mostly a fun idea for theoretical reasons rather than practical ones, so that answer doesn't make it much less fun. What's the next thing to learn?

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Hmm. Well, let's see... They're probably old enough to start learning shapeshifting. Does that sound interesting?

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That is possibly the most interesting thing that has ever been suggested to Maragosa in all of her admittedly rather short life!

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Everyone else also shares this opinion!!

The first step is picking what form you want to turn into. A good first choice is something humanoid: humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, trolls, goblins. That body plan is different enough from a dragon to have advantages at some things and is useful for blending in to mortal society.

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Dwarves seem neat! She'll try one of those. 

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Dwarves are a short, thickly-built people, with powerful arm, chest, and back muscles suited to mining out the underground caverns which are their natural habitat. Both the males and females of the species tend to have heavy beards covering the lower halves of their faces and spilling onto their chests. They're not noted for being especially innovative, but their solid and reliable machinery is prized by all, though they don't do much trading with outsiders. There are three main factions of dwarves, the Bronzebeards, the Dark Iron, and the Wildhammer. A civil war between the three clans was recently concluded and the Bronzebeard now control the dwarven capital of Ironforge and are beginning a tentative alliance with the Wildhammer to the north, while the Dark Iron have been exiled to the Redridge Mountains to the south. The blue flight knows about this because the Dark Iron attempted to summon the Firelord Ragnaros, an excessively powerful and dangerous elemental. The act of doing so created a new volcano which the flight set a watch on, but it seems the Firelord failed to manifest fully in the world and no action will be required.

Most of the rest of the clutch would rather be an elf (graceful and pretty!). There are a couple who want to be humans and one who wants to be a gnome. Older dragons stop by to demonstrate the forms that the whelplings want. They'll have to carefully study so that they can create the whole form in their minds, adjusting the appearance to suit them.

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Is shapeshifting going to affect their minds, or just their bodies? Do they need to learn about the anatomy of the target form beyond the surface appearance? Will using magic be different in dwarf shape than in dragon shape?

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They'll still be the same person regardless of the form. Having a deeper knowledge of the target will make the shift easier, but it's not strictly necessary.

Other (read: lesser) flights find that using a humanoid form helps them interact more delicately with magic and perform more complex spells, but that's not really an issue for the guardians of magic on Azeroth.

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It's good that shapeshifting won't mess with her brain; she likes her brain. She likes her body, too, but trying out a different one is still very exciting. She starts studying everything she needs to know for that, plus a little dwarven anatomy for convenience and a little dragon anatomy since it would be weird to know less of that than the dwarven kind. 

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Dwarves, like most creatures, are bilaterally symmetric. Two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs. Major muscles groups, bone structure, organs, et cetera. One dwarf is pretty much like another. Dragons, on the other hand, have a couple sub-species known generally as dragonkin, all of which start off as whelplings. First are the whelps, which don't ever grow beyond that initial state, and live for only about fifteen years, when the others would be entering adolescence. At that point, there's a differentiation between the drakonid and the dragons proper. The drakonid, like her teacher Kharmeena, lose the ability to fly with their wings as they stretch and grow into hands and arms, and their lower body thickens and lengthens. The dragons proper continue growing on the same bodyplan as they were when they were whelplings, slowly getting bigger and bigger over time.

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Only living fifteen years would be really sad. But that's still good information to have. Study study study . . . shapeshift?

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It feels like her body is being pulled inside out and sideways from everything. Unfamiliar muscles grow and stretch in new limbs in new arrangements. And then...

She's a dwarf. Standing on the ground with her two feet attached to her two legs attached to her torso atop which sits a head with curly hair and a fluffy sky-blue beard.

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Ohhhhh woah that was weird. Okay. She's got this. It's not nearly as cool as being a dragon, and she already misses her wings, but the novelty is interesting. She swings her new limbs around experimentally, walks a bit, then tries enchanting a rock to see if it feels any different.

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She finds it very slightly easier to do the little swoops and to get the magic to go just so.

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That is nice. And she'll definitely be better at fitting in certain buildings like this. She practices going back and forth a few times to make sure she's got the hang of it. 

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It doesn't really stop feeling less weird, but it does start to come more easily.

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Yeah, she doesn't expect being anything other than a dragon will ever feel good. But practice is nice. Eventually she gets sick of that and goes back to practicing enchantments; that's really her favorite.

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Time passes. Maragosa and her clutchmates eventually drift apart, as she's the only true dragon among them. The others are funneled into the various jobs that need doing around the Nexus. Maragosa herself is encouraged in her various interests, and tutors are available to help her learn almost anything she desires. She can even access certain books in the Nexus Vault, as Azuregos has gone on an expedition to the western shores of Kalimdor and the new Keeper, Tarecgosa, is much friendlier.

Maragosa's body grows along with her knowledge. She's fifteen feet long and ten feet tall at the shoulder. As a young drake, she need fear almost no creature on Azeroth, and her innate magical prowess cuts that list even further. For all the treasures of the Nexus, much still awaits in the world at large, and she's in a prime position to go see it.

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At first, Maragosa's desire to learn everything there is to learn keeps her at home, where books and tutors abound. But in time she starts looking to broaden her knowledge, and learn the kinds of things that only come from seeing the world. She packs for a long journey, bids goodbye to her family and to Tarecgosa, and sets out to cross the length and breadth of Azeroth and seek her fortune.

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Wyrmrest Temple would make a good first stop. It's east of the Nexus, near the center of the southern shore of Northrend and just south of Galakrond's Rest, the grave of the ancient proto-drake. It's considered a meeting point for the various flights, so it might be a good place to meet someone new.

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Meeting new people, especially other colors of dragon, sounds exciting! Eastward she goes, flying low enough to enjoy the scenery.

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Across the small channel that separates Coldarra from the rest of Northrend is a wide expanse of tundra scabbed over with hardy plants and grasses taking full advantage of the brief summer. A herd of caribou flees from underneath her shadow, breaking wide around a sulfurous hot spring. Further on, the Icemist River thunders down the mountains of Wintergrasp, runoff from the glaciers of Icecrown even further to the north, and spreads into a thousand half-frozen fingers to grasp the Great Sea.

Beyond that is a small forest dotted with half-ruined buildings carved of smooth white stone, now pitted and cracked with age. Highborne ruins, she recognizes, remnants of their civilization before the Sundering. To the north is a small taunka village. The taunka are bovine humanoids, cousins of the tauren of central Kalimdor and more adapted to the cold climate of Northrend. When the forest ends, she can see Wyrmrest Temple rising from the plains and a handful of red drakes circling. That's a good sign that Alexstrasza the Life-binder, leader of the Red Flight and Aspect of Life, Dragonqueen, is currently in residence.

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