|Planning to Fly|
As it so happens, Dorian enters the dining hall while the coffee pot is starting to fill. Perhaps he smelled the coffee? It is the best part of waking up, after all. Seeing the rainbow-haired woman there, he offers a smile. "Well! Hello there," he greets pleasantly. And then he teases, "Out of curiosity, if I asked to share the coffee, would I subsequently require a jemmy to prise the teeth out of my wrist?" Yes, he's kidding.
Rayne looks at Dorian, clearly not sure of what exactly he said, but she smiles, shaking her head, the overall gist of it reaching her. "No, no, no, there's no way I'm going to drink the entire pot myself! But if you try to take the first cup, then we might have problems." She winks at him, then snaps her fingers. "Oh! Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about something. I dabble in magic a bit, but I have a question I wanted to ask of an expert, involving item enchanting or something of the sort."
Dorian chuckles at the mention of not getting the first cup. "Sloppy seconds?" he teases. "Normally I would object to that, but you are a friend, so for you I'll make an exception." He offers a playful wink. Though at the mention that she is seeking an expert mage's opinion, his brows raise. "I just happen to be an expert mage," he confirms. "Though I will admit that my magic seems to work slightly differently than most other magic I've seen in Twisted. So, as they say, 'your mileage may vary'. What can I do for you?"
Rayne blushes slightly at the suggestion, clutching a hand as if preparing to strike him, but she doesn't even flex her arm muscles. "Uhhhh... Yeah. Well. See, you know how I pretty much never actually transform into my phoenix form unless it's kind of an emergency situation? Like... when that rift from your universe opened up and we had to close it? Did you notice that I didn't exactly transform in front of everyone?"
Dorian seems to sense the tension, and takes a step back. "Forgive me, that was unworthy." He bows his head apologetically. Though the half-smile is still on his face, but it's gentled, losing its sarcastic quality. It seems like he really was just kidding with her. But as she mentions her issue with transforming, he nods. "I did. I merely thought your transformation was explosive and you didn't want to catch anyone in the blast radius."
Rayne laughs a bit nervously. "Sorry, didn't mean to react that badly... Um, but no..." She shakes her head. "Though that does describe what happens with it if it's... involuntary, I'm perfectly capable of transforming without any fire, and can stifle the fire entirely when I'm in that form if I concentrate on it... It's kinda like breathing, in a way. If you think about it, you can hold your breath, but otherwise, you keep going." She shakes her head, trying to get back to her point. "No, the problem is more along the lines of... well...." She sighs, this unfortunately lining up with Dorian's earlier crass remark in an awkward manner. "...I don't get to take my clothes with me."
"That does make sense," Dorian agrees, of the holding the breath analogy. "It's only when one is forced to breathe that consequences happen." Like being forced to breathe while underwater, for instance. Though he pauses as Rayne explains the true problem with her ability to change. Surprisingly? He doesn't laugh. "...Ah." The tone indicates he completely understands the problem. "Yes, I see how that would be rather... concerning. For a number of reasons."
Rayne nods. "Exactly. Many reasons, including the obvious as well as not wanting to leave equipment behind. Which brings me to the enchantment issue... Keep in mind, I've no clue how viable this idea is at all, it's kind of a pipe dream at this point. But I'm looking for a way to more or less store what I'm wearing when I transform and put it back on when I return to human. What has come to mind is perhaps an anklet that shifts into a ring on the leg of my bird form when I transform to hold the magic itself?" She tilts her head, unsure if what's she's talking about is perfectly reasonable or completely batshit insane.
As Rayne speaks, Dorian crosses his arms over his middle, bringing a hand up to stroke his chin thoughtfully. "Well..." he begins. "Hedge witches in Thedas tend to display transformation powers as well. They seem to shift with their clothing perfectly well, so I'm quite sure it can be accomplished. I would need to study the magic in question, of course. Though it's generally easier to accomplish the effect you want on the item you want to change, rather than asking a separate item to affect the change." He pauses, trying to think of how best to phrase it. Something comes to mind, but he doesn't really have quite the exact words for it. "If I knew computer code well enough, I could probably make an analogy there about affecting a change in one machine inside that machine, as opposed to asking another machine to do it. But, it could be something as simple as 'attuning' yourself to your wardrobe, so your transformation registers your current attire as part of your body. Or you may need all your clothing imbued with enough magic that your phoenix form would 'store' it in a state of flux inside your own mana reserves."
Rayne seems a little crestfallen. "I see... well... huh." The coffee done, she pours herself a cup of the stuff before setting the pot back onto its heating plate and stepping aside so Dorian can access it. "I was thinking a separate item to make it work for any of my clothing... But I suppose if it were just my armor that were enchanted, that would work. I'd be most likely to need to transform while wearing this stuff, and I can always consider it my 'transformin' clothes,' so to speak." She nods, then tilts her head as she adds sugar and cream to her coffee. "As far as attuning myself... huh. Maybe that is a thing. The only other phoenix I've known is my father, and he has a... thing... that can transform into clothes along with him, and into something else when he's a bird. He's not really talked about how things were back in the days before the Punic Wars, so I'm not sure what phoenix life was like back then." She ponders this for a bit before sighing. "Not that I've anyone to talk to about how to do that if it's a thing... Again, not met another phoenix but my dad."
Dorian does indeed retrieve a cup of coffee when Rayne has gotten hers. He doesn't have a specific cup, he just uses what coffee cups are there and clean. While Rayne adds cream and sugar to hers, Dorian seems to prefer his without either. He leans against the counter near Rayne, sipping his coffee quietly as she explains. "It would depend on how your magic works," he replies. "If your magic is sympathetic, it may take cues from its outside environment better, and an item would work. Though if your power is merely self-contained, you may only have to attune to your items of clothing. If it's completely non-sympathetic, you'll need to enchant whatever wardrobe you expect to transform in." As for Rayne's father? Dorian perks a bit. "Are you still able to speak to him about it? He may have some answers."
Rayne says, "Huh..." She leans back on the counter as well, taking a sip of the steaming liquid. "Not sure on the nature of it. I've not looked into how it relates to magic before thinking about this other than knowing the fact that it boosts fire magic." She then looks to Dorian and raises an eyebrow. "'Talk to him about it'? Please. We're in Twisted. Unless he's in one of the linked worlds around the building, I'm afraid I'm a bit S.O.L. on that one."
Dorian nods. "That will probably need to be the first step," he notes. "Determining if your abilities are sympathetic or non-sympathetic, whether they're actually magic or not, that sort of thing. Not all energy is magic, even if it's close." That's something he's learned since coming to Twisted, actually. The mention of her father not being in Twisted gets a raise of his browns. It's not of surprise, it's of exasperation. Not at Rayne, though. At the situation. "Of course," he mutters, more to himself than anyone else. Then he draws a breath, and explains, "To put it like this, sympathetic magic can generally be 'asked' to alter its function, so long as you phrase it properly. If yours is sympathetic, you probably won't need much more than to ask it pretty please. Non-sympathetic magic, though... that you tend to need to make it alter its function. That-- or if it turns out not to actually be magic at all and more an intrinsic ability-- will very likely need an outside stimulus to function. Of course, I could just try to enchant an item to 'absorb' your clothing when you change and then return it to its proper place when you change into a human. That might not take any involved study into your magic. Which admittedly, would likely be less prying into the hows and whys of your powers. An item would probably only need a 'trigger'-- which the energy shift between forms could easily provide."
Rayne shrugs. "Well, I'd need someone to study it, I suppose. Shall we do that later tonight? I've got a robe I can transform in... I actually bought it for that purpose, it's loose enough that I can transform inside it without damaging it, and I can wiggle my way back into and transform back. I've done that... once before." She frowns, thinking back to just how rarely she's taken to her bird form. A grand total of twice... three times if that wierd dream counted. "But from what I know... It sounds kinda more on the 'intrinsic' side." She then blinks as Dorian mentions the 'absorbing' item idea. "Yeah, that sounds a lot like what I was thinking."
At Rayne's mention of getting started later that evening, Dorian nods. "If it's convenient for you," he replies. He's not being snide, he's serious. Rayne does work quite a bit. He tilts his head back thoughtfully at the note of the power possibly being intrinsic. "Ah. If that's the case, it's likely it'll need an outside influence, yes. Having magic and actually being magical are both very different things. The latter tends to involve a lot more instinct, and less room for flexibility. Like bending the elbow. It only bends one way, and all the training in the world won't give it that ability."
Rayne nods to Dorian. "Yeah, I should be free in a couple of hours. I could head home and get the cloak." She doesn't seem to think he's being snide... She knows damn well how busy she's been lately. "But yeah... It's definitely a case of being magic rather than having it. The guy I trained in spellcasting for a year under said he'd never heard of it and didn't have any clues... so there's that, yeah." She sighs and looks at the clock. "I've got to get back to work... Where do you want to meet up later... Integra Arms' roof? The Park? The beach? Not sure I wanna do it here in the courtyard in front of all the officers..."
Dorian nods once more, this time firmly. "Ah-ha," he intones. "Then yes, an item is probably the easiest wat to accomplish what you want to do. A very powerful mage could possibly alter your transformation, but that would probably require both a ritual AND a Somniari. And it would change you, which could go wrong in more ways that I care to count." As for where? "Hmm... well, since there's a possibility of you being in some state of undress, even if a mild one, where would you feel the least uncomfortable?" Here again, a completely normal tone. He doesn't seem to find it disturbing or exciting either way.
Rayne seems to ponder this question for a bit, walking back and forth. "Hrrrm. Well, I guess the rooftop... not as nice, but usually there's fewer people. It's where I went the one time I di transform for fun's sake." She then looks up to Dorian and nods. "You know where that is, right?"
"I've gone there once, while I was exploring when I first came here," Dorian replies. "I admit I don't usually have reason to go there. I should really bother someone to try and get a laboratory built. Minu has apparently been experimenting in the kitchen, and I need somewhere to work as well. But..." He waves a hand, as if to say that part's irrelevant. "I'll meet you there in about two and a half hours, how does that sound?"
Rayne looks at the clock again, then nods. "Sounds like a plan. I'll see you then, okay?" Then with a wave, she heads for the door.
APPROXIMATELY 2 AND A HALF HOURS LATER:
Dorian has moved a folding card table, some books, and a few gems and crystals to the roof in question. He's making notes in one of the open books, from the looks of it. He's actually wearing something casual now, a white button-down shirt and a pair of khaki pants. There's a green vest over the shirt, and he's wearing a pair of sneakers, of all things.
The roof access door opens, and through it steps Rayne. She's wearing a rather voluminous dark robe... really, she almost looks like a cultist in this thing. When her feet poke out from under the hem, sandals can be seen on her feet. She looks a bit red in the face as she looks around, and she lets out a sigh of relief when she sees that Dorian is the only one here. "Hello!" she calls before walking over. "Been waiting long?"
The sound of the door opening gets Dorian's attention, and he looks up from the book he's writing in. "Ah, hello there," he offers. He finishes what he was writing and places the pencil down on the table. He turns to face Rayne, and takes a few steps towards her. "Not too long, no," he replies. "I've been making notes for most of the time. Organizing the observations I'll need to take down, that sort of thing."
Rayne nods. "Good, then... Are you ready now, or do you have a few notes left to make?" Well, she looks mighty nervous right now. This is quite possibly because of the fact that she's not wearing anything under that robe. "I can do this at any time, or I can be patient..."
Possibly unbeknownst to Rayne, if there was anyone in whose presence she would be safe in any state of undress, it's most definitely Dorian. But he notes her nervousness, and offers, "Nothing to worry about. Think of it like a doctor's checkup." He smiles. As for needing notes? "I was just making the observational categories." He picks up one of the crystals and holds it as though looking through it at Rayne. Then his fingers and the crystal glow with a pure white glow. "I'm ready whenever you are."
Rayne nods her head, and crouches down low. She's clearly concentrating on something, then... She kinda just shrinks into the robe. There's definitely still movement in the robe, and after a moment, a large red eagle's head pokes out from under the robe. She makes her way out, shrugging off the thing as she steps out, then over to Dorian, to whom she looks up before making a bit of an odd screechy noise. She then looks up to the table, then to Dorian, then to the table again. This is, of course, the other reason she rarely takes this form. It really sucks not being able to talk.
Dorian watches the change through the crystal, with interest. "Ah-ha. Yes, it looks like it's just as we thought," he replies, putting the crystal back on the table. He offers his arm to Rayne, so that she can hop up on it and then to his shoulder if she wishes. that way she can see what he's writing. Whether she accepts or not, though, he goes to the table and starts to write in the book again. As he does, he notes, "The energy from the change is coming from inside you, being channeled directly into the change. If it were a spell, the magic would be coming out of you, to act on your body from outside." He puts the pen down. "So it does look like the enchanted anklet may be the best option."
The bird is still Rayne... she does not take the offer to be carried. Instead, with a flap of her wings, she jumps up onto the table herself. She continues to flap a little, making sure the table can hold her weight before settling down. She does tilt her head to look at what he's writing now, however. At his words she nods, an action that looks a bit odd on an eagle. She lifts her left foot up, shaking it slightly while she balances on her right foot. Good luck trying to figure out what she's trying to mime out there.
The book has several of Dorian's notes from the previous conversation, as well as his observation of the energy behavior that he glimpsed through the crystal he'd been observing her with while she changed. Most of it's understandable, but there are a few mathematical formulas written down, as well as a bit of lexicon that might be a little unclear. Though when Rayne starts to pantomime, he blinks. "That could be a problem," he observes. "Can you write in this form?" He turns the book he's writing in to an empty page, and places the pen down where she can reach it.
Rayne looks down at the pen, then looks back up to Dorian. She tilts her head again, then switches which foot she's on to her left, and she picks up the pen in the talons of her right foot and writes out, in incredibly sloppy and a bit too large writing, 'I can try'. What, you expected nice penmanship? How well can you write with a pen held in your toes?!
As long as it's understandable, Dorian's not going to complain. He reads the letters, and then nods. "What were you trying to say a moment ago?" he inquires. And then a thoughtful 'hmmm'. Under his breath he mutters, "...Wonder if I could also put some sort of speech-granting mechanism enchantment on it...?" He's figured that the anklet is probably going to be the best bet.
Rayne looks at him with a bit of an exasperated look as he asks her to write something more complicated than three words at no more than three letters each. It takes some time, but she eventually writes out 'show I' before pausing a moment. With an audible sigh, she starts writing out 'understand. show ankle'. Really, this does take quite a while for her to write out. It's clearly not easy for her. In the middle of this, when he mentioned the speach granting mechanism, she nods quite enthusiastically before going back to writing out the words.
Dorian looks at the words written out in the book. He understands them, just not exactly what they mean. Then he gets an idea. He does have a great deal of magical functionality that doesn't get shown in battle. "A moment, I have an idea. Just an experiment. This won't hurt a bit~!" he says in a sing-song voice. Mind, he's just messing with Rayne. Then his hand glows with a neon green light, and he aims the palm at Rayne. He starts to speak slow words that sound very much like earth Latin, but ever so slightly corrupted by German somehow. The incantation last about ten seconds, and then a ray of green light shoots at Rayne. Mind, it IS a ray, and thus can be dodged. But if it isn't dodged, Rayne might feel warmth for a moment... and then nothing. "Try speaking now."
Rayne indeed trusts Dorian enough to not be expecting an attack, and just stands there and lets the beam hit her. "Try speaking? Just like-" she says with an oddly screachy voice... well, she is still an eagle. She blinks and recoils slightly at the sound of her own voice now. With a tilt of her head, she looks back to Dorian again. "It worked." She's definitely not talking as much as she usually would, still.
Dorian looks pleased with himself when Rayne speaks and is understood. "I knew that spell would come in handy!" he says triumphantly. He turns the pages of the book back to where he'd bee writing, since Rayne probably won't need to do that now. "Mind you, it's temporary. It will only last a few hours. Though putting that on the anklet shouldn't be too difficult, either. The hardest part will be to make it change size itself, quickly enough that it won't harm your ankle, but slowly enough that it won't drop off." He makes a few more notes in the book-- these are pertaining to the material and the enchantment he might have to use to make the anklet change size at the right speed. "What were you saying before?"
Rayne nods again. "Don't forget that the anklet also needs to be able to withstand high temperatures, as well. We should get an IR reader thermometer to see what temperatures it needs to be able to take. And I'd rather not get a set of clothing destroyed by me melting the anklet on accident." She looks at the book as he's writing his notes, then looks down as he asks what she was trying to say. "I was just trying to show that I understood what you mean... And was trying to suggest an anklet to show that. Gods, I hate this voice..."
"Ah, yes... phoenix is a bird of fire," Dorian remembers. "That was the one thing I'd not thought to bring. Still adjusting to all this technology, I'm afraid. At least I've not blown up any eggs in the microwave. Even if I did threaten to immolate it when it ding-ed at me that once." A smirk. Dorian is, it seems, not above poking a bit of fun at himself, particularly when he notes Rayne's displeased with her voice. "It's better than having no voice at all," he points out, that smirk still there.
Rayne nods again reluctantly. "Yeah, that's true. Don't be too surprised if I don't talk much if you get this done... do you have what you need? Am I good to go back to human and speak with my own voice now? We can get an IR thermometer later, but I'll tell you now, it can get hot enough to start melting steel. I've not checked against other metals, so I don't know exactly how hot it gets."
Dorian nods to the question of changing back. "Yes. Though I must say, you have beautiful plumage like that." A smile. But he does get back to the mention of the heat. "That will mean a bit of tinkering will be needed, then," he notes. "A metal strong enough to withstand it tends to be... 'impure', for lack of a better word. The less 'pure' a metal is, the harder it is to enchant. So it'll likely need to be made of a magical material. Failing that, I could add resisting fire as an enchantment as well."
Rayne jumps down from the table. "Really? I would have thought platinum would have been a valid metal... that has a really high melt temperature." She crawls into the robe, and asks, "Do you want to observe the return transformation?"
"With the crystal, I mean! I'm staying under the robe!"
"That's possible," Dorian says. "If it's a 'pure' metal. Mind, I don't mean..." He pauses, circling his hand in before him. He's looking for the words. "'Atomically'? Is that the word? As in, not what the metal is made of scientifically." Still getting used to that whole 'atomic elements' thing too! Then she asks about the return transformation. He nods, and he'd been about to pick up the crystal, when suddenly Rayne blurted out the further explanation. He can't help but laugh. "You're quite safe," he assures her. Picking up the crystal, he asks, "Can you get back under it, or will you need some help?"
Rayne manages to get herself into the cloak again. "No, no, I'm fine..." She then shifts a bit under the cloak, and soon her head pops up out of the appropriate hole in the hood for it. "There we go!" she says, back in her own voice. "And I'll admit I don't really know what you're talking about, but I'd kinda figured it's a precious metal rarer than gold... so eh, should be good for magic, right? But how would mithral be? I can possibly get my hands on that, from Muradin... he made two sets of armor from it. Otherwise, yeah, it'll need another enchant to keep it from melting..."
Once more Dorian looks through the crystal at Rayne as she transforms back, under her robe. "That did confirm what I first thought. The change is a direct one." He nods to the mention of the metal being rare. "It has to do with the metal's ability to hold magical energy. There are a number of factors that affect a metal's ability to do that." Mithral is mentioned, and he rubs his chin. "It's possible. I'd have to see. But I think I have quite a bit of information to start with. Thank you. I'll get to work as soon as I can."