Salem was sitting in the shared space of the apartment when Mirvalad came in. Several pistols and a rifle set before him. They'd been broken down completely into their component parts, as far as hands could take them.
"Soo... let me guess, I am supposed to disassemble and reassemble those?" Mirv said with a grin.
"Better," Salem answered, looking up, "You're going to learn how to manipulate matter and understand it while you do it."
Mirvalads face split into a grin. "THAT sounds awesome! What do I do?" sputtered out of his mouth as he stood next to Salem.
Salem motioned to the seat next to him, "Patience. Take out your gun, remove the ammunition and start dissasembling it."
With that he placed a hand on Mirv's shoulder, "I'm going to grant you the sight of the Matter Arcana, okay?"
Mirv did as he was told.
"Okay, but be gentle~" the sleuth said, half-joking in earnest, half-masking something else. Unease, maybe, or nervosity.
"It's going to look a little strange, but I need you to focus on that," Salem said as he transferred sight to Mirvalad, "Each piece, as you take it apart, is one of the greater hole. It's symbolic for a lot of reasons. In our case, pretty physical reasons- the pieces of the gun are pieces of the whole. Within that, there are building blocks. More pieces."
Mirv tried to focus on this. It looked so different from how he saw the world through his less material Arcana.
He knew that, should he learn Matter, he would see things differently from Salem, so this was as much a way to learn Matter as it was a way to learn a bit more about how Salem sees the world.
His head pounded a bit. "Well, with that explanation it's no wonder Moros tend to flock to Alchemism" he bantered, but honestly found some comfort in that: he was familiar with the concepts of alchemy, so maybe that would help him a bit with this.
Matter. The one Arcana that completely eluded his natural understanding.
So useful. So ...solid.
The Guardian paused. "Looks like some kind of fractal geometry to me. This'll get dizzy-ing. What am I looking at?"
"Everything, mostly," Salem said with a smile, "You are seeing a complete breakdown of the Matter that makes up the gun. Think of it like... seeing on the atomic level, sort of. You can see every piece and part and when you begin mastering it..." Salem took one of the pistols, and pressed his hand along it's slide. The fractals straightened near to entirely, and then he pulled... the slide started to lengthen, "You change the pattern. You're used to working with space, and this is pretty well the opposite. So it may take a little time to understand. Think of it like this: Space is a lie right? Stuff doesn't actually inhabit space- unless you say it does. Then it does."
"Space I get", Mirv said, watching wide-eyed how the pattern changed before his eyes (reminding him of those kaleidoscope toys somehow), "so I kind of get what you mean. On a sort of intellectual level. But I don't understand it, you know what I mean? It hasn't reached me. Yet.
What happens if you, like, reinforce the metal or something? Could you let me see that?"
Salem shrugged, and allowed the pattern to return to it's normal form, then pressed his hand on the table, "Easy. The pattern get's tighter. The last spell was plasticity, for the record."
The fractals on the table suddenly intensified, "But you should take that part easy. For now, it's going to be a lot to take in just getting used to seeing like this, and starting to understand what all those pieces and parts are. That's why I use guns- lots of pieces, lots of parts, all of similar materials. You focus on one piece at a time."
The table looked like it could induce an epileptic attack, so Mirv returned his attention to the gunparts.
He shook his head, trying to wrap it around this concept.
"So... stuff is not there? It not inhibiting space makes sense to me, but more from a Space-point of view. Like, there is stuff, just not all of it at this place. But this is different, right? You mean stuff is not a thing at all? How small do these even get?" he pointed towards the ever-smaller patterns.
Salem considered that, "Okay, think slower. You know how the concept of something being one or two dimentional works right? Well with Matter and space we are acting far beyond the normal 3D plane. So stuff takes up space on the 3d plane, we just... don't work like that anymore."
A nod. "Right, okay." He looked expectantly at Salem.
Salem took one his own pistols, and lifted it, piece by piece putting it back together, "Observation first. Just... learn what's in front of you for now. Focus on the details. See how your slide is formed, the grooves in it, and how that looks? Really look at that pattern. We'll work on changing it later, but for now, just keep it simple."
Mirv took the slide in his hands and looked at it. Really looked. This part was common territory: observe, remember, compare. This felt natural.
Except for the truly weird pattern thing, and the fact that he was nearly SURE this pattern is moving, this was common territory. Almost. "Is... is that pattern supposed to look like that? These parts here look so... oblong?"
Salem shrugged and took a moment to look it over, "Looks fine to me. Every pattern will be slightly different. Metal forging is funny like that. Over time we learn to alter these patterns- make them better, more efficient."
Mirv nodded, not really thinking about when this will be the case, and looked more at the grooves. "The grooves kind of fit with the pattern? Like, its not exactly right, but almost regular enough to look like it could, I dunno, grow or break like this?"
Salem smiled, "You're getting there. The pattern's never perfect- well not without perfected materials, which is a sidebar conversation on 'why I want to make some'."
Mirv snorted. "Heh. We'll get back to that one later. So... the pattern probably would tell me something about how that stuff works? Like, if I'd look at, dunno, porcelain, it would look more fragile in the pattern?" He looked at the metal. "This one looks tightly hugging, I guess?"
Salem nodded, "Yea the pattern has to do with what the stuff actually is, though strength, hardness, toughness, ductility, and a load of other pieces of information matter. That's a forged piece of steel in your hands, but a piece of say, aircraft aluminum? Looks similar, but not. Then a piece of a coke can? Another similar pattern."
"Okay, that makes sense, to a degree. Kind of like if you look at people's minds - the more alike they are, they more alike their minds are." He inspected the steel in his hands. "You said forged steel - so with training you could differentiate how something was made? Like, whether that iron came straight from a meteorite or was galvanized through a lightning bolt or forged?"
Sale shrugged, "Sort of. It's more like 'what is the base material', and 'what is it's current state'. You can infer or learn alot more, but some of that is actually from mundane science. And then there is 'I turned a piece of paper into diamonds' stuff."
Mirv laughed dryly and said "God, that would've been useful on a few cases." He looked some more at the metal while saying "might sound strange, but I am more interested in learning about where that thing comes from, how it's made up, what it can do, that kind of thing. I don't look to ever master Matter, since I am smart and know I won't ever be able to" he said with a grin. He looked at Salem. "But for detective work, this is a god-send. Can you identify different types of poison with Matter? By looking at it like this?"
ArchonAres: Salem nodded, and laughed "Yea, trust me. Imagine learning death while working as a coroner, right? That's why I close cases my friend."
"As to learning about where things came from, and that is... harder. Time has a better time with that. But learning any piece of the mysteries of matter requires learning to observe first."
Mirv nodded. " No wonder you are akin to their secret weapon at work" Mirv laughed.
"It's frustrating when Mind and Death can't help any further, that's why I want Matter, too. Time is already on my list, actually learned some by now, but with Matter and Time, I could think up a few nice things to help with figuring stuff out."
He knocked on the metal to see whether that would do something to the pattern.
Salem watched his knock, and laughed, "Hey, remember it's still supernal to do magic. You need focus, a little pressure of your gnosis, and high speech goes a long way."
Mirv stuck out his tongue." I didn't want to do magic, smarty. I remembered that metal vibrates in a certain when you knock on it, I wanted to see whether I could see that in the pattern." He turned it around in his hands again. "I guess that would only work if I had like a thin steel rod or something. "
"Ah. No, vibration is technically forces. I could show you that some time."
Mirv shook his head. "I know a bit about Forces. Enough to listen in on Radio's I really shouldn't listen in on, but hey, what's a man to do if he wants information?" He grinned. "So the pattern does not change, right? If the metal was bend or broken, it would stay the same, because that's just what form it has, not changing the material itself, right?"
Salem wobbled a hand in the air, "It changes slightly sometimes. Metal has a habit of hardening and becoming more brittle the more you work it. This is one of those 'science' things, honestly."
Mirv made "Ah"
He took the other parts and very slowly assembled the gun
"I know a bit about chemistry. The bits and parts I need for my job, anyhow."
Salem did the same quietly, right next to him- though his actions were smooth and quick, and he had far more guns to work through, "Yea, chemistry is important. It's a piece of the big puzzle of how you can make things interact. Things that want to react naturally in the fallen world are easier to push around. You don't need near as much mastery."
"I see." Mirv looked with fascination how the parts of the gun fit together. "Is it just me or is the whole different from the sum of its parts?"
"Very true!" Salem said brightly as he started on the next gun, "Supernal nature. Sum is greater than the parts. Very antithetical to math, but true."
"That is something I can wrap my head around" Mirv nodded. He had a sudden idea: "If the whole is kind of one thing now, is it still possible to target only part of it? Is that just harder?"
Salem swayed a little at that, "Yes and no. That's typically more 'life' magic orientated, I think, but think about this: When perfecting, you cannot perfect tissue attached to a living creature, but the tissue to perfect must also be alive."
There was clattering, mumbling, laughter and occasional sighs to be heard as the Moros tried to make the Mastigos understand Matter. This was going to be an exhaustive series of lessons. It did both of them good.
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