Aerema: Founding of A Kingdom
Author: Artesian Different

Chapter 7
Cat's Eye Marbles

color

exercise # 1


This is intended as a simple exercise on changing the features of your object. The fundamentals presented here may be used to change color, size, consistency, odor, texture, etc. But, as color is the easiest to master, the adept should begin with that.


checklist

  • Object with an obvious lack of color, or a pure color. Avoid feathers, objects with patterns, and edibles.

  • A good night’s rest, as always.

  • Some colors in mind.


tips and tricks


    • Hold it in your hand or paw when you attempt the magic.

    • Colors are relative. A simple command will not work. Imagine objects with the shade of blue you are aiming for when changing it. For example, to change a piece of cloth to pure, snowy white, imagine paperwhites, newly-fallen snow, ivory, sun-bleached bone, and white fur.

    • Control your mind’s path. If imagining pink, do not let it jump from your thoughts of a rose to a rose bush to a garden. You’ll end up with a muddy shade of brown.

    • Deep breaths help.


Common Problems


    • My item will not change. I’m thinking of colors and pushing my magic, but it either just sits there or shatters.


Make sure you are thinking of relative colors. Red like a rose, like lava, like fire, like blood. Oftentimes, our conception of red is not detailed enough or rooted in the tangible world to be useful.



    • My item is always brown! All I can do is vary the shades of brown towards different colors, but not change it to any true, pure color.


Your mind is wandering, and you lack focus. Direct your thoughts along a path that is entirely the same color.



Bronze pushed his book to the side. Its brown leather squeaked across his table. He picked out a small glass sphere from a coarse cotton bag and set it on his desk. It rolled a little, but he put it on a square of green cloth. The sphere seemed to drink in the rich green hues, and gleamed a pale green. That will help with my visualization. I’ll turn it green. He rubbed his temples with his paw pads, and glanced out the window. He had started reading at about seven-thirty this morning, by the winter sunflyers, it appeared to be about eight now. He had almost four hours before his shift began. Plenty of time.

He closed his eyes and emptied his mind. He breathed deeply and grasped the feeling of warm wax that suffused his bones. It filled his mind and body with a heady joy as he began to think about green. The sunlight filtered through leaves, and patterned the ground with verdant color. Grass sprouted up and filled his mind with endless fields of emerald green. Peridot, jade, and emerald glittered. Bane’s eyes drifted up through the leaves. They gleamed a pure, deep green. Sola’s eyes prowled into view, a pale green. He quickly shunted his other thoughts about her to the side, and focused on where she was now – the elven forest, home to ancient trees of green leaves, long life and good health…

He opened his eyes and picked up his newly green marble. “Green!” He yelped in excitement. On his first try! And he’d managed not to think about Sola… Well, not too much, anyway. He again suppressed his feelings and started again.

Two hours later, he had seven marbles in every color of the rainbow. Orange had been very tricky. There weren’t many objects that were orange. Purple was easy though. Purple grapes were stunningly potent color thoughts. In another hour, he had made twelve more marbles. He had more control now and his last marbles were pale pink and shiny gold, brilliant lime-green and blue-black. He also had a headache.

Alexandra knocked on his door after he had finished the twelfth marble.

“Come in!” he called.

She peeked into his room. “I came to see how you were doing.” She glanced at the rainbow of sparkling marbles.

“Quite well,” he replied, setting the last marble down on the pile. It was pale gray green with speckles of silver. The speckles hadn’t been intentional, but it was pretty anyway. “Color isn’t too hard, for some reason, it’s almost as easy as telekinesis.”

“Uh-uh. Remember, last moon you stuck a feather in my desk,” she said with a grin.

“I pulled it out, didn’t I?” he protested.

“Yes, that’s true,” she conceded. “But go easy on the magic. I’d rather not wake up after a nap with orange fur.”

“It wouldn’t be orange, it would be purple. Orange is much too hard. And I am, I’m about to call it a day,” he retorted.

“Good,” she replied. “Your temper is getting shorter.”

“So I’ve noticed,” Bronze snapped, then sighed wearily, rubbing a fluffy orange paw over his cheek. “I’m going for a walk; I need it,” Bronze said, pouring his marbles into a cotton bag.

“Wait, before you go,” Alexandra said, “Darius has written from his new post; he’s already dealt with a river pirate for us. The supply line is just a little faster.”

“Hmm, good. Snow is coming,” he replied and pulled his tan squirrel-fur coat off the wall. His winter coat wasn’t in yet, and the wind off the waterfall was frigid. He padded through the hallway and out the side door. It slammed shut behind him, blown by a particularly forceful wind. He pulled the hood on tighter and braved the weather.

Not many people were out on this cold late-November day. At this hour, Nrael city was generally bustling with creatures of all sizes, but the biting winter gust had driven them all inside. He briefly caught the sour taste of woodsmoke before the wind whisked it away.

Back home, winter was a time for family. His father, Thyme dé Menthe, had devoted the chilly, short days to teaching him how to hunt the rats that plagued their friend’s barn. Generally, his father was always out hunting the family’s meal, and couldn’t have a kitten tagging along. Rats were different though; his son could keep up with him. Rats were the one meal that his mother cooked. For a small hungry kit, there was nothing nicer than the scent of roasted rat.

Over dinner, his family had discussed life, love, and Junior’s rat catching skills. When he had his first crush, on a small white cat, he had talked to his mother about it. When she dumped him six moons later, his mother consoled him. He was sure she would know what to do now, though she’d probably shake her head in amusement. Imagine falling in love with a cat you’ve never spoken to and met only once, whom you won’t see again for more than three moons!

He felt a wave of homesickness sweep through him, and he stopped and glanced around him. Somehow, he’d made the trip to the pathway up to the half-completed Aerema castle. The waterfall’s roar shook his teeth and the cold fog chilled his bones.

He sighed, and continued walking. The pebbles ground beneath his feet as he entered the castle’s gateway. The hard gray stone walls towered above him like silent sentinels. Stationary, lifeless symbols for strength, endurance and banishment of fog and gloom were visible in the stone. Ryath obviously hadn’t activated the spell yet, as mist still swirled around the massive columns of stone and piles of pale gray marble.

The fog was becoming colder and thicker. It nipped at his ears and paw pads as he climbed the western lookout tower. He could hear the waterfall clearly here as it thundered somewhere far below him. He put his front paws up and peeked over the wall, fighting a sense of vertigo. He couldn’t see the falls though; the fog shrouded his view.

He sighed and let his paw slip off the wall. I can’t let it stop me... It might really be love this time, it might not be. Maybe she’ll return my affection if it is love, then again she might not. There’s nothing I can do about it until the spring, there’s no use dwelling on it. Others are counting on me. Alexandra needs my help – the whole army is depending on me. This winter will be harder than usual. I have to concentrate.

He stared at his paw, thinking. He blinked. A snowflake was nestled in his fur, a pure sparkling crystal, and more were falling around him. The first snow of the year had arrived. He shivered, and drew his jacket around him tighter as a gust of cold wind battered at his back. Winter is here, with a vengeance.

He turned and trotted down the winding stone staircase. Despite his best intentions, he couldn’t help wondering if it was snowing where Sola was.


Sola gazed up at the enormous oaks that surrounded the guard post. Their leafy crowns, so far over her head made her to feel very small and humble. The smallest trunk took her almost a minute to circle. They felt so old, but so healthy!

“Wow,” she said. She gazed up at them, mindless of the snow that fluttered down onto her face and slid down her neck into her thick jacket. The grove of kingly trees seemed to watch her with infinite calm and serenity. “They’re amazing!”

Her host, a lynx with the deep rainforest green eyes of the elven people, smiled. She wore no coat, so her thick fur was dusted with snowflakes. “Yes. This tree here is Yailn. She is near five hundred years. She will live many, many more time. The oldest tree in the forest is a Mayorna in the palace of the queen. She is as old as the elven people, ten thousand years old, less or more.”

“Really? What a tree! Such a tree would have seen so much. If only they could talk, with so long a time to think about life, they must be so wise,” Sola said quietly, studying the comparatively young Yailn. Her lynx host smiled. It was unusual to meet such a wise young outlander.


Dawnskipper, Boat Three of Unit Twenty-Three, coming into dock for the night,” Darius called.

The stocky otter on the dock nodded. “Aye! How long will you be a-staying?” he asked.

The brilliant blue dragon shook a few raindrops out of his face. “For the night. But we will head out in the morning, if weather permits,” Darius replied.

“Ah, that’s unlikely. The wind’s turning to the north.” He paused, remembering his duties and manners. “But, welcome to Cremtom anyway.” His fur was streaming with the wet as he slipped back into the harbor’s choppy waters. The rain was falling in earnest now.

“Tie her up,” Darius said to his first mate, his Yataran accent strengthening. The large muskrat leaped off the boat to obey. Darius called after him. “And tell the crew that we’ll be staying here for the night, and unless something happens, we’ll be off at seven tomorrow morning. They have to be back on board and ready for duty by then.”

The sleek, wet muskrat nodded. He turned to go, but Darius stopped him and added, “Probably a good idea to remind them that means no grog.” His first mate nodded reluctantly. He hated to break the bad news to the crew.

The rain changed abruptly to sleet and the little dragon cursed as the frigid droplets trickled down his scales. He called back to the muskrat. “Never mind, we won’t be off in the morning. I think we’re stuck here.” Well, better to be stuck in Cremtom than in some tiny fishing village.

Cyrus clamped another stick of wood in his teeth. He dipped his antlers to avoid hitting the low ceiling of the wood house, and nestled it carefully in the pack that Sycamore had strapped onto his back. He wondered idly who had built the Lakeland guardhouse and why they had built the woodshed with such low ceilings.

The guardhouse itself was an unusual structure. As so many of the people of Lakeland were water-dwellers, the building was constructed on stilts over Lake Nessie. On stormy days, like today, the waves splashed against the windows. Sycamore was watching him from one of the front windows. The glass was foggy with the little fox’s breath. He whisked his tail around and wiped it away.

Cyrus delicately used one prong on his horn to close the pack. The wood wouldn’t burn if it were wet. He walked carefully back to the guardhouse over the swaying wooden walkway, opened the door, and tossed some more wood on the fire.


Arius’s tail wagged furiously. He was almost home. Plainsland was beautiful, with its endless seas of grass. He didn’t care for craggy Nrael isle. It was too cold, wet and enclosed. Plainsland stretched out forever. The boat sailed lightly into port and he leapt off. He could just feel the expanse and empty space. He closed his eyes and breathed in the deliciously familiar Plainsland air.

“Arius tu Meteoric?” He turned. A small gazelle with legs like sunflower stalks was behind him. Tawny and white speckled his coat, but his eyes were deep, dark liquid pools. Arius nodded. “Welcome. I was sent by the unit to bring you to our headquarters. The Explorer Patrol should arrive any day now,” the little deer trilled. “Follow me please.”

He smiled and ran after the swift-footed gazelle. Ah, it’s good to finally stretch my legs.


Septimus stared out his new room’s grimy window. Manicured palace gardens stretched out almost as far as he could see. Rain pattered down on the tropical leaves and hid some of the flowers from view. He hissed.

At least he was home; away from that icy pit that furred creatures loved so much. But his new quarters were simply intolerable. His new status as an elite warrior wasn’t worth five moons study if it gave him so little. His tail twitched in annoyance.

And his mission! He was to be a guard for the King of Swampmurd, and be treated like dirt consequentially. And he was to spy. Oh, how scary. He thought sarcastically. And write letters back to my captain. What a waste of my talents! They should have made me a lord, like the benub and the cat, and the dragon… Or at least have given me something exciting. He unrolled his body, and slithered up to the window. I’ll show them, he thought. Holding a snake by his tail is dangerous. A spy can bite both ways.

 

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