Colors, by Pascal Q. Porcupine

Story name: Colors
Author: Pascal Q. Porcupine
Publication date: April 5, 1998

Date: Late March to mid-April 706 CR
Location: Metamor Keep (Pascal's lab, Deaf Mule, courtyard)

Overview

Scratch is in love with Pascal, who falls in love with Michael. But while Scratch doesn't mind becoming oddly-colored, Michael does not take his new plaid coloration well.

Summary

Scratch interrupts Pascal's dye experiment to deliver a rose and to invite her to dinner. At the Deaf Mule, Pascal is uncomfortable by an angry-looking beaver at the counter; Scratch informs her that he is the newly transformed Michael. Pascal regrets the first impression she made on her.

The next morning, Pascal's attempt to reactivate the experiment causes an accident, temporarily dying Scratch purple. To Pascal's relief, Scratch is not mad, and the water he bathes in can be used to finish the experiment. When they arrive at the Deaf Mule to have breakfast, Michael laughs at Scratch's new colors, and the two have a heated discussion about tolerating their differences.

Back at the lab, Pascal finds herself distracted by her animal heat, and when Scratch leaves for the day, she creates a concoction inspired by a meditative vision of plaid. While wearing ordinary fur colors, she visits Michael and tries to apologize. After some hostility from Michael, he relents and decides to begin a romance with her.

Scratch doesn't want to admit his jealousy to Pascal, so he gradually disappears from her life, as she and Michael have fun around the Keep. They prank Channing's poetry meeting with morph rings. He takes a potion to change his fur colors, just for her, with the promise that she can change him back, before inviting her to the Gnawer's Support Group. They share a bed together.

Some time later, Pascal heads to Scratch's place and apologizes. She realizes she doesn't want a commitment with Michael when he's still new to his form. She admits she wants someone who can handle her love of colors, and confesses that Michael's new colors will be coming out in a few weeks, to Scratch's delight. Scratch then tells her about his pact with Akkala, to be her servant and abstain from unholy pleasures for five years. All three of them meet again at the Deaf Mule to enjoy breakfast.

When Michael's colors do appear, he is furious. He is convinced that the lumber crew are laughing at him, just as Pascal and Scratch are laughing at him. A few days later, as Scratch is excitedly clarifying that unholy pleasures does not include sex between married couples, Pascal informs him that a tree fell on Michael because he was distracted. She tries to make it up by offering to turn it black, but Michael finds that idea even worse. They both apologize for wanting to be in love badly enough to make these decisions, and part ways on bitter terms.

Characters

Main Characters:

  • Pascal: The Keep's court alchemist. She was born in June 669 CR. Not only did she gain the animal and gender curses, but she also has a bit of the infant curse, giving her the physique of a twenty-five year old. She is revealed to have come from the East, under a different name, who moved to the Court when she was young.
  • Scratch: The newest arrival at the Keep, and Pascal's lab assistant and love interest. The curse struck him nearly instantly after the required time. He is serving a five-year geas to the goddess Akkala, and so is prohibited from sexual relations. This drives a wedge between him and Pascal, until the end of the story when the terms are clarified. Scratch is dyed purple near the start of the story; after two weeks his skin will be back to normal, and in a month his fur will also be normal.
  • Michael: A new arrival at the Keep, newly transformed into a beaver morph. He is bitter about losing his humanity, and at the start bitter at Pascal for involving him in an experiment. He falls for Pascal, though, enough to take her experimental potion, which turns his fur plaid.

Cameo:

  • Charles Matthias: A headmaster of the Keep, and a rat morph. He appears at the Gnawer's Support Group, and is surprised to see Pascal there, and that both Michael and Pascal are naked.
  • Dr Channing: A headmaster of the Keep. He holds a poetry contest at the end of the month to celebrate the beginning of spring.

Mentioned:

  • Magus: He helped to make Pascal's coloration permanent.
  • M'koy: The Keep alchemist when Pascal arrived. He taught her all he knew, and she soon surpassed him in ability. He died from a heart attack in the night.
  • Akkala: The Lothanasi god of healing, whom Scratch is in service to.
  • Lindsey: A fellow lumberman. After his fur change, Michael saw him wearing a plaid shirt, which he took as a mockery.

Points of Interest

  • This is the first official appearance of Scratch in canon, although he appeared earlier in the non-canonical story "From the Shadows", which had established that Scratch is staying with Pascal as a lab assistant in return for a place to stay. It also established Scratch's contract with Akkala, which is the same .
  • The dye not only absorbs the color from Scratch's body, but also his tunic, leaving it pure white.
  • While Scratch's coloring is temporary, Pascal's is permanent, thanks to modifying her inherent traits with Magus's help.
  • The people of the "Northwest" past the lutins dress in plaid.
  • The story of the tree falling on Michael is gone into greater detail in Battling a Tree.
  • Lindsey will explain why the lumber crew wear plaid shirts in Clothing.
  • Michael and Pascal will meet again in Bark.
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