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Feb 03, 2023 9:39 AM
A new magical girl!
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Because Ophelia has been feeling a little bit left out, and wants to see if she can teleport.

After all, if she is in a shadow, it is not like even the universe can be sure she is still there - she is unobserved.

 

That said, this, and other, experiments...

They likely should have a spotter.

 

Bah.

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Still, she does wish to test if it feels possible to Push in that direction.

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This effort of will doesn't seem to ... Do anything? There's a vague sense of endless-possibility but also a sort of muddledness.

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She doesn't exactly say "Then what, exactly, are you expecting from me, then?" in response, but it's a close-run thing.

 

"Bah.  Really, I should have expected such a formless intent to have formless results.  Onwards, then."

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In this case, onwards to home.  She has homework to do and enchanting(!!!) to prepare for!

 

(Are there recommendations online for what to bring?)

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Riley's email confirming the tutoring session included a pamphlet. The pamphlet says you should bring knickknacks or craft materials that call to you, especially if you do arts-and-crafts or serious fabrication of any kind. Mechanics, sculptors, welders, electricians, the kind of people who put stuff together with their hands, tend to make good enchanters.

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...or circuit boards...

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...or proper art supplies, that one would use to sketch with?

Admittedly, the medium the collective most prefers is pencil on cardstock, but it is certainly a medium of art.

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But enchanting seems to be akin to a science, or rather, akin to an engineering, in that the implementation matters.

 

They'll bring...

Hmm.  You know what, she'll just pack a bag with everything but the kitchen sink.  Just in case.

 

...Well.  Everything she can lay hands on on short notice, at least.

 

(It's actually a surprisingly large amount of things, considering that most of it is 'sacrificial' Christmas gifts, or summer-camp projects.)

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And given that Diana does her car's routine maintenance, she'll bring that kit as well.  Perhaps she'll see if the robotics club has spare parts they didn't use last year and can't use this year.  That should be pretty useful.

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Ophelia packs a pack of index cards and a pencil in the bag as well.

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Walking into the SA office with a full duffel bag does attract a bit more attention than usual. There's some stares. A few giggles and smirks and whispered words, in the SA itself.

The room her crafting tutoring is set for resembles an empty school Chem lab. Shiny blacktop work benches, clean white floors, sinks and basins every so often, the faint scent of something chemical on the air. There's a fume hood, cabinets, banks of neatly organized gear here and there. There's a sign-in sheet and a notice that damage to the workshop will be penalized. But it's empty, nobody's here.

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Until her tutor walks straight through a wall without seeming to disturb it at all, metal clinking on the floor.

What she's wearing is armor. Not like Sylvia's raiment armor, just a couple of simple pieces, basic metal in basic shapes. Old Wardess's armor consists of thousands of tiny scales shimmering in the light, flowing and rubbing over each other with soft noises as she moves. Some small and delicate, hundreds around places that need range of motion like joints. Some large and solid, with various patterns - runes? - painted on them in softly-shiny light. Some of the scales are matte, some shiny, and some changing color with the viewer's angle, rainbows, all arranged in a color and pattern that makes it almost look like an ordinary outfit from far away. Well, 'ordinary', more like a glimmering ball gown full of filigree and lace, layers of armor falling over each other, full coverage and elegant, with an additional vest in darker metal overtopping it and a metal collar guard of interlinking chains almost evoking a full suit, and a glimmering tiara on her head actively putting out some sort of glow or halo. To top it all off, she has a black cape, lined with silver metal and more runes.

"Hello... You're new." She frowns in thought. "Hrm. Very well. Enchanting. What do you want to make?"

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The stares in the DC office are met with a single raised eyebrow, and the words "Would you not bring all the tools you thought might be useful to the place you plan to use them to break the laws of nonmagical physics over your knee?", if the giggling persists.

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But that is not important.

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What is important is what is this armor she wants to know how it works and what it does and how it was made.

 

"That's actually a very good question.

"I can't say I have a singular answer.

"However, a good tool either gives me a capability I lack, or serves as a force-multiplier to an important skill.

"I believe that the substantial versatility I already bring to the table covereth quite a lot of force to multiply - so I would think that the most effective tool I could develop would be one that helps me determine where to most effectively use that force, starting out.

"That, or one to aid in denying the enemy the capability to bring their skills to bear.

"This suggests a general theme of pre- or peri-cognition, and battlefield awareness, as I don't believe there's much the elements I can wield will lend themselves to, there.  Not without seemingly-prohibitive effort.  I have written up a brief list of the concepts that feel immediately resonant, magically speaking, if that helps.

"You, however, are the expert in enchanted items; is there something you'd recommend, or a different approach to this decision that you think I should take?"

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"Hmm. Learn this and learn this well: Enchanting is not engineering, or tinkering.

You're not following a blueprint, you're not working with just the material. You must tinker and build to enchant, but tinkering and building is not, itself, sufficient. The missing component is will, imagination, psyche, art, intent, connection, understanding... A spiritual, emotional thing, difficult to summarize. Enchanting projects rarely turn out precisely how you first envisioned them. Think of a toy you've always wanted, or a story that makes you grin. Something that excites you."

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"...Hmmm."

"Then let me take a different approach."

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A brief walk around the table suffices to clear their mood, raiment almost fuzzing between the aesthetics of 'scientist', 'dark elegance', and 'bright-burning flame' as Ophelia and Diana - the most dramatics-sensitive people available - blend their wills into a single coherent thought: "Lightsaber."

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"Heh. Okay, that's a bit ambitious for a first enchanting but we can get something in that direction I'm sure. There is a balance to these things. We can work towards that, but the very first step is to take an ordinary base material, and make it magical - if ever so slightly. You'll need something energetic, for certain. Let's get out the bunsen burner and beakers. You should do as much of this yourself as possible."

She can get the gear out with a collection of small, shiny disk-magnet-looking things that fly about with high precision, though.

"We're going to burn or boil something, but it has to be an infusion. You're going to be adding magic - adding your will, intent, creativity. You'll need close focus, and possibly a ritual of some sort. A chant, or circles and runes drawn in chalk or salt or any number of other things, or rhythmic tapping and stirring. And yes, you can make healing potions if you're good enough. I think..." She purses her lips at the closed duffel bag. "A small coil of copper wire, or a bit of paint, would be good candidates to try. We're going to need lots of tries."

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"Ssh, don't tell me I won't succeed - I might believe you, and then where would we be?"

 

An energetic reaction.

What was that formula about copper sulfate crystals she vaguely recalls as a plot point in one of those schlocky "dumped into another world with different magic" books...

Cu2SO4 - and the blue crystal is *...5? H2O.

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Copper, sulfur, water.  Copper, sulfuric acid, water, in fact.  Those are her reagents.  Now, she shall make her product.

A simple heat engine, assembled by her hands and magic (- Sylvia conjures a single piston with a vent for heated air, before humming, reconsidering, creating a piston with no vents and asking Diana to Push for the ability to draw heat back out of things; Ophelia intends to synchronize the cycle to their breath -) powering the motion of a magnet through coiled copper wire to produce electricity, is the core of her process.  The wire is in turn affixed to the flask within which her reaction will take place.

In one hand, the right hand, she holds the flame and engine close.

In the other hand, the left hand, held wide and askew, she holds the reagents.  She holds them with magic, but they are still held, and stirred to even consistency.

 

All her attention, all of their attention, is on this process.

She closes her eyes for a second, and focuses.

Dream.  Imagine.  Resolve.  Create.

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Old Wardess sighs slightly and sets up her own workstation, occasionally glancing over, while Ophelia spends a couple of minutes fiddling with the little heat engine.

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She comes close and pays attention when they begin the process.

Floating in her hand is a large, lumpy, cloudy blue crystal. Wardess peers closely at it.

"A good first try. You have succeeded- This is a magic crystal. If a weak one. No ordinary copper sulfate, it now has a faint affinity for energy. What that means in practice is that it's more conductive to electricity, and has a higher heat capacity now. Sort of like a magic heat pack. It's also unstable. You're putting too much emphasis on the process and not on the ingredients."

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