Completed [Nitrozian Estate] Dreams of Gossamer II

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

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[Nitrozian Estate] Dreams of Gossamer II

Postby Evarista on August 18th, 2016, 3:17 pm

Continuation of Dreams of Gossamer.

9th of Summer, 516 A.V.
Evarista's morning started in a better mood than usual. In such a better mood than usual that she woke up a whole three hours before noon. That was way too early for her, but it wasn't completely without reason. For the first time in what felt like years, she had something to look forward to this day. Something productive. Might as well ride the wave of optimism while it lasts, it could actually do her endeavor some good.

Having thrown down some breakfast, the girl was pumped to resume her magical adventure. In just two days, her once vague dream of spinning her own silk has progressed close to reality. For that, she had her eight-legged friend to thank. Archibald seemed in good shape and ready to assist with the continued investigation. Without further ado, she isolated herself in her room as usual, mind focused on the task at hand. Unlike the previous times, there was no doubt or confusion anymore. Now that she had a basis of knowledge to build upon, she could more easily determine what she needed to do next. She had succeeded in producing a string, but it wasn't the correct type of string. She had to figure out how to make the thread as durable as real spider silk. As far as she knew at this time, there were two possible issues: either she had improperly created the unspun silk dope, or she had improperly treated it afterwards. Or both. For now, she would start with improving the creation of the fluid.

Wearing the cardboard box majestically, Evarista assumed her usual study position, standing on her knees in front of the spider on the windowsill. It wasn't exactly comfortable, and definitely not as comfortable as it would have been to just move the jar to the table and use the armchair. However, this particular position had already become associated with auristics in her mind, automatically putting her into research mode. That equilibrium was worth a few knee bruises. She was sure that Archibald liked the windowsill more than the desk, anyway, and the alcohol-laced fumes at the desk would probably not do it any good. Moreover, having her crawlie jars on the windowsill was a dear childhood habit of hers. She no longer cared to have a whole collection, but the one specimen she did own had to be here and nowhere else. Very important.

Chasing away the stray thoughts and straining her eyes, the girl focused on the auristic procedure. The spider's aura sprung forth almost immediately, and didn't vanish when she blinked. A huge difference from her first attempts, but that had to be because she was already quite familiar with this particular aura. If she tried to examine something new, she'd probably have to jump through all the old hoops again. That was just fine, though. She was more than happy to have developed some magical intimacy with her striped friend. This intimacy could only deepen as she delved deeper into its biology, closer to a comprehensive understanding of its being. Perhaps one day, there would be enough intimacy so that she and it could become indiscernible. The girl had never felt any solidarity with her own species, and would see no shame in severing her connection to it. This was a step in that direction, not just physically, but mentally as well. It brought her a unique joy.

The auristic patterns unraveled slowly before her. The aura was much like a thick, braided rope, and each braid was braided in turn, the layers getting finer and finer as the examination continued. Trying to cheat by skipping layers was a fruitless endeavor, just like it would be when disentangling real braids. Luckily, Evarista had already come rather far on this particular rope, so finding the braids she wanted to work on didn't take long. There, the original generation of the silk, the glands where everything started. Since the owner was stuck in a jar, the glands weren't producing anything currently, but while that would have made the investigation easier, it wasn't necessary. The aura still contained the structural properties she wanted to know, or at least picture them clearly enough to mimic them. The silk dope was made of basic components, but these basic components were added together to form very complex structures. Structures that were decidedly difficult to replicate, which was evident enough in the fact that no one besides spiders could make them.

Time for a short break. Her eyes haven't started hurting or watering yet, but she already had a decent idea of when to stop. Without taking off the box, the girl looked down to protect her eyes from the dastardly sunlight outside of the window. The only thing visible through the eyeholes now were the folds of her skirt. Evarista rubbed the fabric with her fingers idly, summoning old memories of the day when her current attire was purchased. She knew that silk used for clothes was made by silkworms, and was a very beautiful, pleasant and durable material. How would spider silk would compare? Why did no one made clothes of spider silk, anyway? Was the material of a bad quality? She was doubtful that was the reason, but there was only one way to find out for sure. A thorough examination followed by an accurate imitation, and she could try making a garment of her own. Having something made from silk of her own creation was a rather entertaining thought. In the very end, maybe she would have something tangible to show for her efforts.
Last edited by Evarista on September 14th, 2016, 7:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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[Nitrozian Estate] Dreams of Gossamer II

Postby Evarista on August 18th, 2016, 3:18 pm

The resuming study revealed an impressive and daunting truth. As Evarista gradually peeled back the auristic images, she found not one, not two, but five different types of silk gland. Not only that, but there were also numerous glands of each type working in synergy to spin the same type of silk. So much for simplicity, but it was not a disappointment. Beneath the guise of a primitive creature was concealed a profoundly advanced mechanism, waiting to be discovered and appropriated. During her time at the Institute, Evarista got the impression that it was the norm for mages to seek their place and purpose in great things. Everyone was very preoccupied with gazing up at the stars, while devices of no lesser magnificence were literally crawling beneath their feet. It was a bizarre path of thought, and the girl was glad that her stay with the academia was short enough that she didn't get poisoned by it. The task of researching this natural silk workshop may have suddenly gotten much larger, but there was no reason to panic, as there were no roadblocks. Not yet, anyway.

It was best to do one thing at a time. Picking out the most familiar type of gland from the images, Evarista chose to examine it exclusively at first. This was the gland type she had originally found, having mistakenly believed it to be the only type. A continued zoom into the auristic patterns showed that this mechanism was for the dragline silk, used by the spider when constructing the main frame of its web; the outer perimeter and the spokes. It seemed like a good thing to learn first. Although, learning the way she was doing now would take a lot of trial and error, as she had to burrow very deep into the spider's aura for each scrap of information. That wasn't good for her brittle patience. Luckily, there was a more clever alternative: looking at the aura of an actual web. Satisfied with that flash of strategical thinking, the girl put her trusty cardboard box under her arm and headed to the hanging garden behind the mansion. With some luck, she'd find some decent material to study.

Since having lost her childhood interest in bugs, Evarista didn't go to the garden often. Giving the modest greenery a sweeping gaze, the girl furrowed her eyebrows. Unfortunately, it looked like the gardener was doing a good job. There were no obvious cobwebs anywhere. Maybe she'd have to go look somewhere else. There weren't many places in Ravok where orb weavers could be found. Café Fleurs was green enough, so that was a good place to start. Some of the richer neighbors had their own gardens, but asking for entry and giving people the long version of her reasons wasn't an enjoyable prospect. Leaving the house at all wasn't an enjoyable prospect, for that matter. She'd have to take a closer look around the estate's own garden to avoid the irritation of having missed something obvious.

Without much further contemplation, the aspiring silk-maker began rummaging through the plants, checking between and behind branches for any traces of webbing. The gardener wasn't there to give her strange looks at the moment, that was nice as well. Eventually, she found what she was looking for: behind a blanket of climber vines were the remains of an orb web, probably spun by none other than Archibald before his incarceration. The construction was torn in numerous places, but there was enough of it left to examine. Glad that she wouldn't have to go on a city-wide cobweb hunt, the girl carefully pushed several obstructing vines out of the way and crouched in front of the object of interest. Concentrating on the thickest string she could find, she attempted to discern its aura. After several chimes of uncomfortable posturing and eye strain, the string became surrounded by the faintest glow. She was taught that inanimate objects had scant auras, even compared to animals, so this came as no surprise. While this made such objects more difficult to work with in the beginning, their advantage was simplicity. Just as animals were less overgrown with irrelevant nonsense than humans, objects were even less overgrown with irrelevant nonsense than animals.

Yes. In that tiny aura, nothing was unimportant. She would just have to get used to the small scale. Would have been really handy to have a magnifying glass, though. She's seen her father use one at his office, but he probably wouldn't let her borrow such an expensive object without an explanation. An explanation she was not at all in the mood to give. Whatever; she'd just have to lean really close to the web and get things done the old-fashioned way. For now, she needed to take a break and stretch her legs. Squatting down for such a long time made her knees hurt. What a flimsy body. She'd have to seriously consider introducing some exercise to her daily routine, but... ehh. Maybe tomorrow.
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[Nitrozian Estate] Dreams of Gossamer II

Postby Evarista on August 18th, 2016, 3:18 pm

Spending the entire afternoon making strange poses in the garden wasn't Evarista's idea of fun, but she was willing to put up with it this once. It's not like she could bring the web to her room, and luckily, the gardener didn't ask any questions when he came by. Although the girl had a hunch that she was getting in his way, he was either too polite or too creeped out to shoo her away. Either way was fine with her. The less distractions, the better. Repeated attempts to make sense of the string's aura gradually got her used to the new mode of operation and the miniature scale of the aura itself. The djed of an inanimate object was a lot less turbulent than that of a living organism. Because a piece of string didn't have independent thought or a consciousness at all, there was next to no observable change in its djed as time passed. The constant undulation, fluidity and movement that Evarista had come to associate with auras was not present here. This made it a lot easier to sort through the information, making a thorough investigation of the structural properties.

It quickly became apparent that her initial attempt to replicate the silk had been completely off mark. The goop she made back then wasn't anywhere close to silk; it was almost embarrassing how wrong she has been going about it. Fortunately, examining a properly made webstring made her draw some interesting parallels. The fiber was made from the same thing that could be found aplenty in cheese, meat and egg yolk: proteins. This discovery made the girl perk up a little. It was nice to have something reasonably familiar as a reference point. Of course, cobwebs weren't actually made of cheese, so it obviously didn't contain the same type of protein. Heh, morphing herself into cheese would be an entertainment in itself, but it was something she'd have to leave for another day. However...

Dashing to the pantry, Evarista nicked a small piece of hard cheese and brought it to the garden. Holding the cheese close to the webstring she has been researching, she attempted to compare the auras, shifting focus from one to another and back. The objective here was to find what they had in common: the proteins. After that, she had to find what made these proteins different. Much like the webstring, the cheese didn't have much in the way of auristic complexity, so picking apart the modest aural images wasn't any harder than she was already used to. Good. So, it seemed that the building components of the web were much longer and more advanced than those of the cheese, and were designed specifically to make the silk fiber as tough as possible. Moreover, they seemed to be arranged together in a much more orderly fashion. What would happen if they came under stress? It was time for a hands-on approach. Slowly pulling the piece of cheese apart in her hands, the girl examined its aura meanwhile, until the piece finally broke. Nothing had really changed. Not that she could notice, anyway. The building blocks abandoned each other easily. Evidently, the cheese proteins didn't much care about sticking together. Would the webstring be different?

Briefly raising the cardboard box from her face and throwing the two cheese bits into her mouth, the aspiring silk spinner chewed on them thoughtfully. Shame to vandalize the already damaged web, but hopefully Archibald would forgive her. After finding a string of the thick type that was fairly out of the way, she could yank it out of the construction without destroying it further. Great. Now, to put some force on this thing. Holding the wire by its ends tightly, she began to pull, eyes focused on the thin aural corona. It stretched. And stretched. And stretched. Not only the physical material did, but the djed as well, and very noticeably so. The long building blocks in the string still maintained the same orderly arrangement, locked tightly together, stretching without breaking. That was it. That had to be the secret. First, a tight composition, pieces fitting together with no surface left unused. Second, an extreme flexibility, absorbing any incoming force without letting go of the tight arrangement, returning to normal and remaining pristine even after harsh abuse. Amazing. This was the silk she was after.

Speaking of silk, the girl realized that she had another excellent point of reference. She was wearing it. Grabbing the hem of her skirt, she focused her gaze until she found the watery-thin aura. This was commercial silk, collected from silkworms. Peering closer, she could see many similarities with the piece of cobweb. In fact, nearly everything seemed identical. As she tried to stretch the fabric, the girl found the same aural reaction as the webstring displayed. The same elongated blocks, the same tight construction, the same strong flexibility. However, there was something not quite as spectacular about it. The resilience wasn't as profound. If subjected to higher forces, the fibers of her skirt would most probably break sooner than the fibers of the orb web. In other words, spider silk was the stronger material... but that was beside the point. The most important thing was that now, after these comparisons, she knew exactly what she had to do. It was time for action.
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[Nitrozian Estate] Dreams of Gossamer II

Postby Evarista on August 18th, 2016, 3:19 pm

Evening. Having lazed around a few hours after dinner to be rested, Evarista was back in her room, mentally recycling the auristic images of the afternoon to burn them into her memory. Time for round two. Now that she was much better prepared, yesterday's failure could not repeat. The rebuilding of the distilling apparatus was something she was already familiar with, and there seemed to be nothing wrong with it in itself, so now she just had to do it again as she did last time. Licking the back of her teeth anxiously, she prepared for the second attempt to turn her mouth into a silk factory. The containment bladder came first, then the funnel, then the bendy tapering duct, and the valve at the end. The duct and the gland were the most important parts, and it would have been wiser to examine the spider's duct more closely as well before attempting to practice, but the girl was too impatient. The gland had to be tested without delay, so that the lessons could be cemented. It would have been unfortunate if she forgot the details of the revelations by the next morning. To avoid that, she needed to materialize the abstractions.

Sitting down at the desk, she assumed her usual relaxed pose to avoid passively straining any other part of the body, minimizing distractions. Closing her eyes and once again forcing the aural memories to the forefront of her mind, she slowly generated the metabolic machine that would be necessary to produce exactly the needed type of material. The oblong building blocks, designed to fit perfectly together, separated by only a minimal amount of liquid to allow for smooth motion through the system. The reservoir filled with the jelly, but it wasn't the same as yesterday at all. She didn't even need to compare any auras, it was easy to tell by the texture. Let the plasma flow down the funnel, through the duct, around the hyperbolic bends and turns. As the substance reached the exit, Evarista put her fingers in her mouth, grabbed the tiny semi-liquid fuse poking out of the spigot, and pulled. The resistance of the bendy duct sheared the substance as it was pulled, forming a fiber. She was now holding the end of a wet string that had freshly emerged from her mouth. It's the same picture as yesterday, but would the creation stand up to scrutiny this time?

Blood pumping with apprehension, the girl held the string at the base, which was still attached to her body, and pulled with the other hand to test its toughness. It didn't break. Nice, so there was some progress. She pulled harder, feeling the string stretch a little, but still no breakage. This was starting to look interesting! Wrapping the string around her fingers to better secure the grip, she then pulled with real force. The fiber stretched slowly, but did not break. Hardly believing what was happening in front of her, Evarista clenched her fists and pulled as hard as she could, feeling droplets of sweat forming on her forehead. The string dug into her hands until it hurt, and just continued stretching. When it became almost twice as long as it was originally, she gave up and let her hands drop to the desk, breathing heavily. The abused fiber was still hanging from her mouth defiantly. Wiping her forehead with a sleeve, the confounded silk lover tried to collect her thoughts and evaluate this unexpected turn of events.

To start with, there was no doubt that this was silk. Or at least something as good as it. While her upper body strength was nothing to brag about, she didn't expect to make a fiber that she couldn't pull apart. The piece of cobweb she had experimented with in the garden was also rather tough, but would surely have broken if she pulled it with all her might. Although, now that she calmed down and examined her creation more closely, the answer was obvious: the thickness. Of course! She was quite a bit bigger than the average spider, and without thinking about it, she had made a silk gland of massively up-scaled proportions. The fiber she was holding was about as thick as a fine wool thread used for sewing, which had to be many times the radius of anything an average-sized spider could spin. So, her product wasn't necessarily as strong as the real thing on a per-weight basis, but her advantage in body mass allowed her to cheat a little. No problem with that, though. This wasn't anything short of a success.

More importantly, how would she get rid of the string now? Having to ask a slave for scissors with it dangling from her mouth would be somewhat awkward. Right, perhaps her natural scissors would work. Trapping the base of the thread between her index and middle fingers, she flattened the digits into a pair of chitinous knives. The thread resisted even the sharp edges at first, but with some effort and the assistance of her other hand, she finally severed it. Holding up the liberated string towards the window proudly, she watched the remaining moisture glisten in the light of the newly emerged moon. This little fiber was definitely nothing to laugh at. However, it wasn't the end. Oh, almost forgot something important. Focusing on the shimmering thread, she located the aural corona, examining the tight and elongated building blocks she had tried so hard to replicate. There they were. The same shape and arrangement as the cobweb in the garden. The construction of the proteins was indeed the key to making silk. She had made them arranged correctly already in liquid form, so somehow, they could flow through all the twists and turns of the tapering duct without scrambling. That had to be the whole point of correctly generated silk dope. Considering the results, it seemed that there was no problem with the tapering duct, besides an inability to absorb all the moisture. Still, that was an insignificant detail. The improper creation of the liquid had been the real culprit yesterday.

Evarista couldn't explain why and how it worked, and wasn't really interested in that. She was no scientist, and didn't care to do any analysis beyond what was needed to make things work. Even so, there was definitely some work left to do. She didn't forget her auristic discovery of Archibald's five types of silk gland. Today she had only learned one, so there were four left. Who knew that some crawlie could be such a bottomless well of mysteries? Mysteries that she wanted for herself. Tomorrow, the ride would continue. Not forgetting to give the jar on windowsill a goodnight hug, the girl went to bed sober for the first time in weeks. Clutched in her fist was a slimy, stretched, and battered thread of genuine silk.
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[Nitrozian Estate] Dreams of Gossamer II

Postby Hwyn on August 31st, 2016, 1:30 pm

Hwyn
Grades!
Character: Evarista
Exp
Auristics: 4
Morphing: 3
Research: 4
Observation: 4
Biology: 4
Animal Husbandry: 1

Lores
Biology: Spiders have Five glands
Auristics: Inanimate object have simple auras
Research: Comparing similar objects
Morphing: Silk Model

Penalties: So not really a symptom of overgiving but more literal, After creating Silk Evarista will discover that the process makes her quite hungry.

Note: So I'll get the negatives out of the way before the positives! On the topic of proteins you've done well so far in not using particularly scientific words or knowledge so far so I think the word ill befits the rest of Eva's vocabulary, that said I've no idea where Miz stands in Scientific knowledge so it's more a personal qulm than anything else that you can feel free to ignore. As for you web vs cheese comparison, I found it quite amusing and unique, however the issue of proteins is now that Eva knew that cheeses and meats were made of similar things, it's simply a matter of assuming knowledge, not necessarily bad but something that I'd have liked to see more lead up too.

Anyways the good stuff. You are playing quite the unique little scientist in these threads and I feel like I've learned more about spiders than I'd ever planned to so thanks. With that i've decided to award exp to you in the skill of research, I'll be editing my previous grade as well to add research to that grade as well since I believe it to be well earned


Also, please edit both of your grade requests to note that they have been graded!
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