Closed From Dusk to Dawn (Madeira)

Madeira's help is requested at the Dawn Tower.

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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From Dusk to Dawn (Madeira)

Postby Luminescence on March 21st, 2019, 3:22 pm

From Dusk to Dawn

51st of spring, 519 AV

As was consistent with the spring season so far, it was raining. The droplets fell incessantly, though not hard; they were cold that day, bringing a chill to the air as thunder rumbled ominously in the distance. The occasional flash of bright light lit up the dark clouds overhead.

The boy ran as fast as he could, shoes smacking against the wet stone streets with a rhythmic slap, slap, slap as he raced towards the Dusk Tower, wet hair clinging to his forehead. He burst through the wooden doors, making a sharp turn, feet sliding on the wooden floor as he took the steps two at a time; he paused only for the briefest of moments to exchange words with a rather displeased looking Alexander Mirihar, who reluctantly pointed him down the hall, before he was off running again, leaving a trail of small puddles behind him.

The door to the classroom flew open; heads swiveled as eyes turned to seek out the sudden interruption, some in annoyance, others in curiosity. The boy paid no mind to the students, instead approaching the pale blonde woman at the front of the room, panting for breath.

"Miss Craven," he finally spoke, addressing Madeira Craven, the teacher of that particular class. "Your presence is swiftly and urgently requested at the Dawn Tower by Miss Lheili Dawn." If she acquiesced to the request and followed him, he would wait for Madeira to grab her things and accompany him out of the class to explain further, not wanting to be within earshot of the nosy Dusk students.

"There's a problem with a ghost. We sent for Rostam but he wasn't available. Miss Lheili said not to bother Miss Chiona, but to come ask for you instead." The messenger boy explained, still breathless, as he lead the way out of the tower; he was still hurrying, but out of respect, was no longer sprinting at full speed. Outside, it was still raining; the boy motioned for Madeira to follow, weaving his way down side paths and narrow stairs, an apparent shortcut as they made their way towards the Tenten Peak.

In the entrance hall of the Dawn Tower, Lheili paced, her shoulders hunched and hands clasped together as she waited for the messenger boy to arrive back with Madeira, wondering if she should have just sent for Chiona instead; but even two seasons later, her lover was still fragile, despite her attempts to pretend otherwise. She would be furious to know Lheili had purposefully avoided calling on her, but the situation was intense, and Lheili wouldn't have the other woman strain herself so recently after her previous ordeal if it could be helped.

When the doors swung open, the woman would stop abruptly, straightening up and forcing a strained smile on her face as she approached to welcome her guest. "Madeira, thank you so much for coming, and at such short notice. I'm afraid we have a bit of an emergency that none of us are quite equipped to deal with." As if to prove her point, there was a loud shriek from within the building, the noise filled to the brim with anger and anguish equally.

Lheili's smile wavered, and she motioned for Madeira to follow as she lead the way deeper into the Dawn Tower; the air was scented delicately floral from the lilies that floated gently on the ponds that lined the floor, while a breeze blew in from an opened window somewhere. The walls were natural stone, and the crackling of lit hearths could be heard from classrooms; all four elements were present in a surprising harmony, a testament to the Tower's focused magical discipline.
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From Dusk to Dawn (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on March 24th, 2019, 1:37 am

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"-and that is why you never turn your back on a possessed chicken", Madeira was explaining to her clearly horrified class, when a young boy burst in. Gasping for breath and dripping like his own personal rainstorm, the kid delivered his message in perfect, word-for-word reproduction. The contents of which made Madeira raise her brows. The Dawn Tower was asking for her. No, not the Tower, Lheili Dawn herself was asking for her, by name. The implication was baffling, and immediately her interest skyrocketed.

"You're dismissed", she addressed her students as she quickly packed her things. "Next class we will be discussing how best to subdue an armed, expert soulmist projector. This will include a live demonstration, so work on your reflexes." Into her leather bag went her usual classroom tools: a flask of prepared mist, an armful of ghostnails, and ten bolts for the crossbow up her frilly sleeve. With that she swept out of the room in a swirl of yellow skirts, her many rings and magical gloves flashing in the light as she grabbed her red cloak off a hook by the door.

As she hurried along with the messenger boy, the child explained further. "There's a problem with a ghost", he said, predictably. "We sent for Rothsam but he wasn't available. Miss Lheili said not to bother Miss Chiona, but to come ask for you instead."

"And you've done very well." Madeira assured him. "I can tell you've come as fast as you could, I'll be sure to tell Miss Lheili that." While her exterior was cool and collected as the boy led her through the rain, inside her head she was not so quiet. A hungry roar of triumph was echoing in her mind as she ran through every coincidence that had to happen to get her here.

She would have to give that slimy little petcher Rothsam a kiss of gratitude for being one of those cowards who closed their doors to the Towers. And shake the hand of the timely ghost causing trouble at the exact right time. As for Chiona, Lhelil's secret lover, Madeira agreed she was still too delicate for such a task as exorsism. As for herself being called specifically, that was either because she was the only spiritist in Dusk without the name, and therefore no rivalry with Dawn. Or because she happened to be the best spiritist in Dusk. It was like the gods themselves had lined everything up, one by one, to make sure Madeira had her shot at not only endearing herself to Dawn, but making the aquaintence of little miss Lhelil as well.

Because as much as she wanted Dawn to look favorably on her, for the benefit of her career and her standing in Lhavit, Lheili Dawn had something she wanted more.

After an age of walking, the two approached Tenten and the illustrious Dawn Tower. The thing was spectacular, as nearly every building in Lhavit tended to be. Yet it was inside, as the boy threw open the heavy wooden doors, where the real magnificence was. Like Dusk it was opulent, but was also strangely thematically appropriate, with fresh spring air wafting in from outside the natural stone walls, and the sound of a fireplace crackling in the distance. The Avalad inside Madeira was also delighted to see the river running lazily from room to room.

Lheili herself was waiting for her, obviously having just stopped her nervous pacing. The woman looked much the same as the last time they met, abite covered in less blood and tears. She was of similar age with Madeira, she guessed. A pretty, freckled woman with soft brown hair and beautiful dark eyes. If rumors were to be trusted she was also Dawn's hot-headed wildcard. Though the way she was looking now, with stress between her eyes and a paper thin smile on her face, Madeira was not sure she believed it.

Her own answering smile looked much more relaxed, even as an anguished scream echoed around them. This was not her first haunting, and she was confident in her abilities, she saw no reason to worry. Whoever that poor soul was, she would do her best to see it moved on to it's proper death. Every soul deserved as much. She muttered a prayer to Dira as she felt the familiar spiritual sense of undeath close at hand.

"Madeira, thank you so much for coming, and at such short notice", Lheili greeted her guest. "I'm afraid we have a bit of an emergency that none of us are quite equipped to deal with."

Madeira considered her words before she answered. There was a part to play here, a performance to put on to gather the desired reaction from the audience. What kind of character would endear her to Dawn and Lheili? Someone one doesn't need to have their guard up around, surely. Someone somewhat removed from the Towers and their drama, certainly. And above all something who doesn't overreach themselves.

Hopeful, humble, grateful, capable, she decided. She could manage that. Today she was going to be the Dusk's harmless little pet.

"It's no problem, really. With what's happening this season, your Towers should stick together. I'm just glad you know you can count on the Dusk's and myself", she waved off Lheili's worries and followed the woman deeper into the Tower. A perfume of lilies and woodsmoke followed them as they made their way. "More importantly, tell me about your ghost", she continued, her voice dropping into more serious tones. "Do you recognize them? When did they arrive? Has anybody tried speaking with it? Be as detailed as you can. Trust me when I say every little bit helps."

"Oh, and... It's a little embarrassing to say, but I'd appreciate it if you'd stick with me throughout. Anyone will tell you I have a uniquely horrible sense of direction. I'd hate to get lost here."

She shrugged her shoulders, her cheeks pink with feigned embarrassment. Though it was completely honest that her sense of direction was obliterated in Alvadas and never recovered, her goal was not to have a guide, but to have Lhelil as a guide. The more time she spent with the woman, the better. She didn't want to be foisted off on some servant or student.
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From Dusk to Dawn (Madeira)

Postby Luminescence on April 14th, 2019, 12:33 am

Lheili was acutely aware of Madeira's momentary pause before she responded to her greeting, but she put it aside for the moment, not having the time to analyze what it might mean. The Craven woman seemed nice enough; polite, speaking of camaraderie and offering herself as an ally.

Lheili didn't trust it for a moment. The games played between the Towers were constant; every interaction had something behind it. There was never a rest from the politics, it seemed, and even as an outsider Lheili did not doubt Madeira was any different.

She tired of it, sometimes; she wished she and Chiona could take a break from it all. But there was work to be done. The past seasons had been stressful, and it was beginning to wear even on her. Lheili listened to Madeira's questions as she escorted her through the tower, up a flight of stairs; she arched a brow as Madeira admitted to her poor sense of direction, but smoothed out the expression after a half-tick, offering a smile instead.

"Of course, I'd be happy to." She hadn't been planning on leaving Madeira in any case; she didn't trust the woman to wander alone in the tower, but if she thought it was her idea that Lheili accompanied her, then all the better.

"As for the ghost, nobody has gotten close enough to exactly speak with her. She's quite distraught. I managed a few moments in the room to get a look at her, but she wouldn't listen to anything I had to say."

Lheili slowed as they approached the doorway to the classroom where the ghost was present; it had gone quiet for the moment, but the air was noticeably chill. "I believe it's one of our students, actually. There was an accident earlier this season. Melanie Lyter fell from one of the upper windows; it seems she was trying to practice her water reimancy with the rain, but it's hard to say for certain since nobody else was around. It was quite tragic, but wholly an accident from everything I saw and heard, so I'm not sure why she might be back with such a vengeance."

The Dawn woman frowned as another shriek ripped through the hallway, accompanied by a thud of something hitting a wall within the classroom. "Perhaps it's best you see for yourself," Lheili suggested, leading the way to the door of the classroom.

An abrupt, eerie silence descended over the classroom as Lheili turned the knob and carefully cracked the door open. Peering in, she opened the door wider and stepped in. The classroom, like the rest of the building, had a small pond lining a wall; the back of the room had a hearth, the faint embers and smell of smoke wafting from it suggesting it had been put out recently.

The windows on the far side of the room were open, letting in rain and chilly gusts of air. Papers, ink sticks, and even a few books were scattered across the floor. A chair lay upended near the front of the room, and a desk nearby was on its side. Lheili sighed, making a 'tsk' noise in her throat. "What a mess," she grumbled, stepping further into the room.

There was no sign of the ghost, but she could feel it in the way the hairs on the back of her neck prickled. "It seems she's playing shy, now," Lheili said, turning back to Madeira.

"Melanie," Lheili called, "Come out, please. We just want to speak with you." Not wanting to disrupt Madeira's work, she glanced to the spiritist and inclined her head, motioning for her to enter the classroom and do what she wished. Lheili took a seat on the large desk at the front of the room.

Silence hung in the air for another beat, then two, and then the door slammed shut. The gust of wind that resulted from it seemed stronger than it should have been, blasting both women in the face, whipping any loose strands of hair around their heads.

By the windows, something shimmered, a vague and transparent figure beginning to form. After a few moments, a young woman stood there, though she still wasn't entirely opaque, the windows visible through her form. Long dark hair stuck to her face, neck, and arms, clearly soaking wet; the dress she wore was in a similar state. Her neck was at an odd angle, the bone bulging visibly through but not breaking the skin of her throat.

"Go away," the woman seethed, and another chair went flying. Lheili barely batted an eye as it hit the wall with a bang, the wood splintering. She bristled, ready to reprimand the ghostly student, but after a moment of struggle held her tongue, allowing Madeira to do or say what she would.

Melanie turned her dead eyes on Madeira, narrowing them; the ghost felt uneasy, uncertain in the new woman's presence, though she didn't know why. The steely gaze of the petite blonde woman made her hesitate to attempt to scare her away, as well; besides, she could feel herself running out of energy.

Deciding to hold onto what she had left for the moment, Melanie faded slightly, circling around to get a better look at Madeira, but keeping her distance. "What do you want? You're just here to get rid of me, aren't you," the ghost spat at Madeira, clearly still furious despite the momentary lapse in activity. "Typical," she muttered, with a snarl, muttering to herself as she began to pace near the back of the room.
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From Dusk to Dawn (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on April 22nd, 2019, 10:04 pm

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As they walked Madeira contemplated all Lheili said about their unwanted resident. The ghost of Melanie Lyter was potentially a victim of an accident while she practiced reimancy alone. She was extremely distraught, and between screaming and throwing things it sounded like nobody could get close enough to speak with her.

Soon enough they reached a door in the hall, behind which the ghost was shrieking. Something heavy thudded against the wall, and Madeira felt her first hint of unease. She had plenty of spiritual strength and could even fend off incorporeal attacks, but she was physically weak. If this ghost was as fond of throwing things as it seemed...

Lhelil cracked the door, took a quick look around, and stepped inside. Madeira followed her in, and had to raise her brows at the carnage. Inkpots and quills and precious books littered the floor, the furniture had been overturned, and the tall balcony window was wide open to the wind and rain. Soulmist, left like fingerprints from the ghost's projection, was everywhere, though invisible to the layman. If this had happened to her own classroom she would have been furious. She noted that there were still embers smoldering in the hearth. Had a class been using this room recently?

"It seems she's playing shy, now," Lheili was saying, hands on her hips as she surveyed the suddenly eerily quiet room. She called for the ghost by name and then retreated to the back of the room to sit on the overturned desk.

The silence continued a couple beats. Madeira deposited her rucksack by the door and stood in the center of the room, hands crossed primly behind her back as she waited.

Finally the door blasted shut. The Avalad, jaded to such forms of shock, didn't flinch, but the strong buffet of wind snapped at her hair and frilly skirts. Finally, Melanie showed herself. Her wet dress clung to her legs, her black hair hung in ropy tangles about her face, and her neck was clearly broken. Poor girl. It seemed she was killed by a fall.

"Go away", the woman hissed, and soulmist projection picked up a chair and whipped it to the other side of the room, where it exploded into splinters. Madeira blinked. This girl was incredibly strong. Even so the Spiritist did not react, only leveled the woman with a steely stare. She wasn't about to let herself be threatened, and she wouldn't respond to violence lest she encourage it.

Eventually the ghost faded and circled her, keeping well back from arms reach. Madeira followed her with her eyes but did not move.

"What do you want? You're just here to get rid of me, aren't you," the ghost spat furiously. "Typical".

What should she do? Compassionately insist she's not? No, the ghost was too riled up for that. She would just call her a liar and start throwing things again. No, the first thing to do would be to level her fury out. You don't throw cold water on an oil fire, you smother it. She still seemed fairly lucid, so maybe some frank, honest reasoning would work. Maybe pepper in some small, unflappable type of intimidation so she knew who was in charge.

"You could say that. You're being quite the pest to your professors, Melanie. They don't want you here anymore, and its clear you don't want to be here either." she motioned to the damage around her with a pretty wave of her gloved hand as she picked her way over to the balcony. "I just want to make sure both of you stay safe. And if that means moving you somewhere more hospitable, I will. My name is Madeira, Melanie", she smiled over her shoulder. "I'm spiritual pest control."

She wished she had kept her cloak. The rain was soaking into her yellow silk, making it uncomfortably heavy. She looked over the railing, and felt her stomach drop. The ground was a long way away. She pulled back but kept her right hand over the banister. Inside her glove she could feel the pulse of her Eiyon mark. For the second time in her life she tentatively reached with her soul to tap into its power. If someone did die here, she would be able to see their last moments.

"Tell me how you died, Melanie", she had to shout to be heard over the rain. "Why do you insist on staying?"

Perhaps there would be inconsistencies with how she remembered her death and what actually happened.
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From Dusk to Dawn (Madeira)

Postby Luminescence on July 8th, 2019, 3:19 am

Lheili watched Madeira silently from her perch, sharp eyes taking in the composed form of the spiritist, the way she didn't flinch at the ghost's tantrums. She stayed where she was even when Madeira strode out onto the balcony in the rain, only shifting her weight to lean forward in an attempt to hear better over the loud drumming of the rain.

Melanie returned to circling Madeira nervously as the spiritist responded to her calmly. She could feel the anger still simmering in her, hot like fire; clouding her judgement, but not making her entirely irrational. Pest control. A scowl crossed her translucent face at that, and she clenched her ghostly hands against the urge to throw another chair.

"Why should I believe you?" Melanie spat, but almost without realizing it, she drifted after Madeira onto the balcony, still keeping a distance. She was like a moth to the flame; Madeira was entrancing and strange and frightening all at once. Intriguing but undoubtedly dangerous.

"None of your business!" The shrill shriek from Melanie cut harsh and sharp through the air, heard clearly even with the rain. The ghost's hands reached out as if to shove Madeira, a demented but gleeful thrill running through Melanie at the thought of sending someone else careening to their death the same way she had; but even if she had been capable of doing so, she stopped short of touching Madeira, and moved away again, not wanting to get too close to the Eiyon.

Madeira was a very, very long way up from where Melanie had actually died; but after a few moments, the vision came to her regardless. For a moment, the spiritist would be hard-pressed to realize the difference. It was still raining, the sky dreary and grey, a chill in the air; she seemed to still be standing on the balcony, still soaked to the bone.

But the ghost of Melanie was gone, and the scene was no longer from her own perspective, as instead she looked out from someone else's eyes. The hands of Melanie, alive and well in a warm, physical body, were cupping a small sphere of water; it was slowly growing as she focused herself and dragged droplets of rain into it, expanding it in her hands.

The sound of the rain and her focus on her reimancy drowned out the world around her; it was just her, her djed, and the water. The shove was sudden, unexpected, startling her, two firm hands against her back; her stomach hit the railing of the balcony, and the breath left her. There was panic as she dropped the water cupped in her hands, soaking her feet further as her arms windmilled; she made to grab the railing to steady herself, but the weight of someone hit her back again, and then she was falling.

She's not sure if she screamed; she twisted in the air, and as she looked up, she saw a figure leaning over the balcony, watching her fall. He had short, black hair plastered against his pale forehead; Melanie locked eyes with him. They were a cold blue, and the grin on his face was as sharp as a knife. Her body hit the ground with a crack, and the world tilted sideways.

Madeira was still standing on the balcony. Melanie was standing a few feet away, staring oddly at Madeira. The spiritist had suddenly gone silent, and rather than enraging her, it only made her curious. She was slightly more solid now, and watched warily as Madeira's gaze came back into focus abruptly.

"I was pushed," Melanie said suddenly, having no idea what Madeira had just seen and experienced. "I was going to be the best reimancer they'd ever had, and he pushed me! He killed me! I want him gone!" Her voice pitched with fury, her form wavering slightly.

She seemed to vanish a moment later as she wailed suddenly. "It's not fair!" When she reappeared, she was closer to Madeira, as close as she dared to get, looking the Eiyon right in the face. Her anguished expression changed in the blink of an eye to a savage grin as she stared at Madeira, jerking her head to one side to crack her broken neck. "I'm not the pest," she hissed. "He is."

Melanie backed up, suddenly retreating back inside. "And so are you!" She accused Madeira, her form vanishing once again. Lheili watched her disappear, and tensed up slightly, keeping her guard up as her gaze flickered around the room. "And so is everyone trying to get in my way," Melanie's voice hissed in Lheili's ear; the woman jerked in surprise, standing and whirling around, but there was only empty air behind her.

Suddenly, a wave of cold hit Lheili, leaving her breathless; it was as if a wave of frigid water had punched her right in the stomach. A moment later, she felt the same coldness inside of her mind like a mist. She may not have had any practical knowledge of spiritism, but she knew enough from talks with Chiona to recognize what was happening.

"Madeira," she called out, her voice firm, trying not to sound alarmed; she was brave. She was strong. She could take a pesky ghost of an ex-student. In her mind, Melanie laughed at her, then rammed into her mental barriers. Lheili clutched at the desk she'd been sitting on, furrowing her brow as she concentrated on the internal struggle.

A few moments passed, mere ticks since she had called for the spiritist still on the balcony, and then Lheili slowly straightened up. "Madeira," she called again, this time more slowly, taking a few hesitant but purposeful steps towards the open windows. Lheili's hands were held out away from her sides, and there was something shimmering in her palms, a strange, almost liquid substance.

Suddenly, Lheili's face broke into a savage snarl. "I'll show you pest control! I'll get rid of you first, and then I'll go track down the real problem here, and he'll get what he deserves!" As she spoke, she raised her hands, the motions clumsy as Melanie fought for control of Lheili's body. Res shot from Lheili's hands towards Madeira, jets of water that quickly solidified into points of ice, but they were clumsily aimed and poorly made, most of them easily soaring past her and beyond into the rainy sky or simply melting back into water before they could reach her.

"You say you want to make sure I'm safe, but I'm already dead," Lheili's voice shouted Melanie's words. "Nobody even asked to help me, they just tried to get rid of me! Even if you wanted to help, what could you do?!"

Lheili's arms fell back to her side, her figure swaying as inside her mind, she lunged at Melanie's presence, the two struggling for control, leaving the poor ghost's words hanging in the air. Res pooled and dripped from Lheili's hands, stopping and starting periodically as Melanie regained and then lost control, the flow gradually stemming as the ghost began to tire.

OOC :
If you could roll acrobatics in Discord when you have a chance and let me know the result, I'll tell you if any (and if so, how many) of the ice spikes hit you. I can't make this too easy for you! :P
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From Dusk to Dawn (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on September 7th, 2019, 2:36 am

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The shift was so subtle that a first Madeira didn't notice it. The patter of the rain, the wetness and the bone deep chill were all the same. She was on the same balcony of the same classroom. She could smell the stone walls and the smoke from the dying embers in the fireplace. But she blinked and her orientation had changed, like god had picked her up and turned her around without her noticing, which, in a way, she supposed they had. She was facing out into the rain, and her hands that were not her hands were stretched before her collecting water in an unnatural spherical shape. Every ounce of her concentration was focused on that strange sphere of water and the energy needed to maintain it.

Then there was a shove, hard between her shoulder blades, and Madeira could only watch as a horrified passenger as Melaine was forcefully pushed from the balcony. She did not recognize her killer, as Melaine twisted in her freefall. But the image of this man with black hair, blue eyes and a cruel smile emblazoned itself within her memory as the last thing Melaine saw with her living eyes.

The moment of her death forcibly ejected the Eiyon from the vision, leaving her disorientated and not a little bit panicked. She mentally shook herself as the ghost herself explained what happened with an indignant fury. The ghost flickered ominously and blinked forward, her grin eerily similar to her killers, her broken neck crackling like tinder with the movement of her head. Madeira, unmoved by the threat, held up a gloved hand to keep her back as she caught her breath. Jomi was fond of threatening her in much a similar way, but even he knew to never get within arms reach of her. The bracer crossbow under her full sleeve fizzled and sparked, sensing the tension perhaps, but stayed unlit.

But she knew she had made a single, terrible mistake when the ghost disappeared again, and Madeira heard a voice from the other side of the room.

"...Madeira."

Lhelie was calling for her with a cold, forced calm.

Perhaps an entire year away from the professional practise of Spiritism was enough to make her rusty after all. It had been so long since she investigated an actual haunting, and even longer since she had brought a layman with her. How could she- how could she have possibly- forgotten to protect Lhelie?

When she heard her name again it was from the Dawn sister's mouth, but it was not her speaking at all. Madeira raised her hands, palms out, in a gesture of submission as she tried to edge inside. For the first time since being called her confidence plunged, and she knew without a doubt she had lost control over the situation.

"Melanie, stop", she faltered as Lhelie stepped closer to the balcony, blocking her way. "Think about-"

Some liquid-like substance was pooling in Lhelie's open hands. A thrill of fear shot down Madeira's spine.

"Melaine stop", she commanded with force. Her soul shuddered with pain as dijed was ripped from her core in a panic, the magic slathering across the one word. The soft parts of her mouth tingled as the magic burned across it, as an emotional surge of calm was sent roaring across the space between her and Melanie. She focused on the ghost, twisting her will into unnatural shapes as she fought to smother that woman's thoughts with the artificial feeling. But it was too late.

The ice reimancy was inexpertly but forcibly cast. With her sodden silk skirts hanging heavy around her she couldn't get out of the way in time. The ice shards that did hit her hit her hard, battering the frail Spiritist. Her boned corset protected her soft torso to some small degree, but it did not protect the wind from being forcibly ejected from her lungs with a spray of spittle, or from a shard to cut deep above her eye and hit her hard across the boney knees. Her back hit the stone railing and she slithered to the floor, lights popping in brilliant colours behind her eyes. Her right knee sang with pain, it had to be either broken or bruised, and she was gasping to regain her breath.

"You say you want to make sure I'm safe", Melanie was screaming, her voice warped coming from Lehlie's unwilling mouth, "but I'm already dead! Nobody even asked to help me, they just tried to get rid of me! Even if you did want to help, what could you do?"

Madeira groaned as she tried to stand, holding tight to the balcony's slick railing. Lhelie had gone quiet and still, leaving the ghost's words vibrating in the air as more res dripped from her palms. Sensing the shift in control Madeira stumbled her way past the ghost and inside, limping on her damaged leg.

"You're not safe here", Madeira wheezed, her voice making efforts to stay level and reasonable as she recovered her breath and made her slow progress across the room. "There are worse fates than death. If you keep going like this there are people in this city who will do terrible things to you to keep everyone around you safe. You need help, and I am truly the only one who can give it to you." Her lumpy leather rucksack by the door jangled as she flipped it open, and from inside she surfaced with a gently glowing jar.

"They thought you had an accident, but that's not true, is it? You were murdered. I believe you. I want to help you get the justice you deserve. He has to pay for what he did to you."

Lhelie knew this ghost by name, and recognized her as a student. So the murder could not have happened long ago at all. And since Melanie was murdered in this exclusive Tower, it stood to reason Lhelie would know the killer too, if only she could only see the memory. The image of the black haired boy rattled around Madeira's head. How could they find him? Would Melanie be satisfied with having this boy be recognized as a murderer and handed to the authorities to be executed? How should she handle it if the ghost demanded personal vengeance?

Shaking back her sodden sleeve, Madeira aimed her bracer at the ground. The weapon, sensing it was being wielded, almost eagerly burst into flame. Sickly greenish flame surrounded her suddenly clawed, skeletal arm, but she squinted past it. She shot one bolt into the ground, immediately reloaded, and shot another. Once she had a nice, slightly lopsided circle of six bolts she shook out her sleeve and the bracer extinguished. That should serve as an acceptable safe space once she could pry Lhelie and Melanie apart. She made a mental note to have another set of soulbeads made, as she stepped outside the circle and glanced at the last four bolts still attached to her wrist.

"I can be on your side, if you'll let me. I see you're waning. I can revitalize you in a tick. You can barely control your host, but my body can be as receptive and responsive as your old one. Reimancy using my dijed will feel just like using your own. See, I was sent here to take care of you, but that means more than just getting rid of you and your pesky ways. I can really, truly, take care of you. I can be a tool to make sure you get what you need to find some peace, some rest. Please, you don't need to fight me, I have no intentions of getting in your way."

Putting the jar purposefully on the ground in front of her, she let the ghost see the wealth of soulmist inside. It was bait, admittedly. And a risky one at that. A full powered Melanie would be a force to be reckoned with. But the most pressing problem was getting her out of Lhelie before she had the chance to hurt her. She could deal with the consequences later.

"Let Lhelie go", Madeira persuaded gently. "You're exhausting yourself. I don't need you to trust me, I just need you to come out and talk to me. Who is it you want to track down, what does he deserve?"

Her leg was still throbbing. Wincing, she leaned against the wall and waited. Perhaps, if she could get Melanie to tell her more about her murderer, there might not be a reason to track him down at all… If a combination Lie and hallucination can work on a Desolate One there was no reason it couldn’t work on this little spirit. .
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From Dusk to Dawn (Madeira)

Postby Luminescence on September 16th, 2019, 2:36 pm

The forcible djed that Madeira spewed from her mouth, laced into her words, still hung in the air. It had been too late to stop the shards of ice from flinging towards her, but the hypnotist's words were powerful; the djed from them wormed its way inside Lheili's ears, into the mind of both women occupying the body, the silent command of 'calm' grappling with the unearthly force of ghostly rage.

Lheili's body panted as she - Melanie - stared down at the form of the fragile spiritist, her rage forcibly quelled for the moment, though more heated words lurked just under her tongue. Res continued to drip from her palms as Madeira staggered to her feet, the steady drip, drip, drip lost among the noise of the heavy rain pattering down outside.

Lheili didn't move when Madeira made her way slowly and painfully back inside, but her eyes, slightly glazed over and unnaturally flat, followed Madeira's every move. Inside, Lheili raged at Melanie, but even tired the ghost wrestled her down and held her there, keeping a wavering yet steady control of the body.

Melanie watched Madeira cross the room, bared her teeth at the spiritist's words, but she knew them to be true. Spiritism had not been her forte as a living student, but she knew enough to know that ghosts, especially troublesome ones, were not welcome among the living in Lhavit. Lheili's fingers twitched when Madeira rifled through her bag, and Melanie took a swaying half-step towards the waifish woman; but she did nothing else, the artificial calm that Madeira had commanded making her mull over the words from the spiritist.

"How can you help?" She scoffed, finally, Lheili's voice that wasn't quite hers full of scorn; but the unbridled rage had quieted, and beneath it all there was a hesitation, a reluctant curiosity, and a desperate plea for help. And Madeira was offering it.

Her next words sent a visible shudder through Lheili's body, the ghost faltering as what Madeira said clearly struck a chord. The pause was enough for Lheili to attempt to wrestle back control, and her body swayed on the spot for a long moment before Melanie snatched the reins back, blinking to focus on Madeira again.

"Yes..." Lheili-Melanie muttered; the res had stopped dripping from her hands, and now they clenched into fists, hard enough that Lheili's nails dug crescent grooves into her palms, blood springing to the surface. "He has to pay. I need to make him pay. You'll help me do that," she said, her head snapping up to focus on Madeira from where it had lowered, a fiendish spark in Lheili's dull eyes; it was somewhere between a command and a question. A wide, wild grin stretched across her face, contorting her features; it looked more like a pained grimace, the smirk of a madwoman.

The crossbow braced to Madeira's forearm suddenly bursting into eerie green flames, however, startled the ghost; she jerked, the grin falling off her face as she stumbled back a step, hands flying up, res beginning to pool in her palms, though sluggishly. When Madeira shot the bolt into the ground, Melanie slowly let the substance fade, though she still edged away a few inches in nervousness.

Melanie-Lheili eyed Madeira warily as she stepped into the makeshift protection circle, and her gaze jumped to the glowing jar that she set down as she spoke. Soulmist, silently but explicitly offered to her. How had she missed that? She had been so focused on trying to keep control and speak with Madeira at the same time...unwittingly, she edged forward just a little bit, towards the jar, like a moth seeking a flame. It almost made her mouth water; she could practically feel the energy through the glass.

"Why should I believe you?" Melanie finally managed, tearing her gaze away from the jar; but her voice was wavering, as was her body. Madeira had won; it was just a matter of Melanie admitting it. Madeira could see the ghost struggling, a physical grimace of almost pain on her face, torn between keeping possession of her host and abandoning it in order to snatch up the soulmist.

"Him," Melanie hissed, taking a few wobbling steps closer. If she could just snatch the jar and get it open with Lheili's hands...her fingers flexed involuntarily. "I don't...I know him. But I don't. His name..." Frustration lined Lheili's face. "It doesn't matter. He deserves the same as he did to me," she spat. "He deserves to die. I want to see the life leave him like it did me, and I want to be the one to do it to him." Her fingers flexed again, this time at the sickeningly delightful mental image of wrapping her hands around her killer's throat and squeezing until he went limp.

Lheili's body dropped to its knees, Melanie reaching out for the jar. Even through the glass, she could smell it; cool like mint or frost and powerful, promising energy and strength. When Madeira didn't move, instead leaning against the wall, Lheili's body snatched the jar with trembling hands.

"Fine," she spoke, gripping the lid of the jar. "I'll let Lheili go. I'll go with you. But only if you swear, swear on your life, that you will help me find him and give him exactly what he deserves." The last part was said in a snarl, the ghost's anger rearing its head again for a brief moment before Lheili's wrist turned, uncapping the jar.

A moment later, the faded, blurry form of Melanie appeared beside Lheili, echoing her kneeling position. The jar tumbled from Lheili's hands as she gasped, coughing, her body spasming slightly involuntarily as she was suddenly given control of it again. She saw Madeira leaning against the wall, within a circle of crossbow bolts embedded in the floor, and instinctively understood it as safe. Half-crawling, half scrambling to her feet, Lheili practically threw herself into the circle.

Melanie didn't pay attention; she was too busy with the jar. Soulmist began to leak out as it clattered to the floor on its side, the glass cracking but not breaking. Melanie eagerly slid her hands under the mouth of the jar, concentrating and using some of her own soulmist to grip the base of it and tip it upside down, letting the rest flow out and absorb into her palms.

The ragged, blurry edges of her form became slightly more coherent, her body more opaque and bright as the soulmist seeped into her, and she let out a long, soft sigh of contentment, eyes closing for a moment.

When she finally opened them again, she looked calmer even than when Madeira had forced the emotion onto her with hypnotism. Lheili watched, breath held, as Melanie rose from her kneeling position, empty jar now forgotten.

"I'll go with you now," she spoke to Madeira. "If you promise. If not..." The threat was left unsaid, hanging in the empty air; if you don't promise, if you lie, I'll be furious. I'll fight you again. And if Melanie had been a dangerous ghost before, imbued with a jar of Madeira's soulmist, she would be truly terrifying.

Lheili wrapped her arms around herself, silent as she watched Madeira, gaze occasionally flickering back to Melanie nervously; the silence weighed heavily in the classroom as both Melanie and Lheili awaited the spiritist's response, the rain outside the only noise.
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From Dusk to Dawn (Madeira)

Postby Madeira Craven on September 16th, 2019, 9:52 pm

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Madeira held her breath as she saw the indecision waver on Melanie's borrowed face. Her own expression was cool and composed, her hands spread as if to indicate all her cards were on the table. With a patience that rivaled Dira's herself she gave the impression she was waiting for the ghost to make the right decision. It was rather lucky nobody could see her heart pounding away in her chest.

Melanie's rage was bone deep, but her memory was fragmented. She knew her killer but not his name. That was fine, Madeira had seen his face and could thus recreate it, but without the name she wouldn't be able to get any information about him out of Lehili. She had every intention of handing that murderer over to the Shinya the first chance she got.

Finally, unable to let the temptation go, Melanie shed the possession and let Lehili's empty body slump in it's kneeling position. The Dawn woman's astral body struggled to regain control then, coughing and spasming as it tried to realign itself. Some instinct in her saw the safe zone of arrow bolts and she scrambled into it's border. Madeira seized her by the collar and hauled her the rest of the way inside once she was within reach.

"Breath, Lehili, you're okay. It'll pass", she pulled the Dawn woman into a rather soggy hug, vigorously rubbing her back and arms, stimulation being the easiest way she knew for a battered soul to find the edges of it's body.

Melanie, the edges of her shroud standing crisp and sharp in the light, stood over the empty jar. Reinvigorated with master level soulmist she looked calmer, but her madness was seeping through the cracks. A ferocity unique to the unquiet dead burned in her eyes. She might have been a sweet girl in life, but that was long gone now.

Carefully, Madeira let go of Lheili and acted as if she was struggling with the weight of the promise the ghost demanded of her. She had no intention of letting the Melanie murder a living person. He deserved it, certainly, but that was what the Shinya were for. If she were to swear vengeance with every ghost she encountered she would have left quite the trail of bodies behind her. No, she was going to agree with the ghost and her undisguised threat, and then find a way around it. She had no qualms about breaking promises. Her only goal was to exorcise Melanie and keep everyone around her safe.

But there was a balancing act here. Agreeing too quickly would seen insincere. While promising too late would make her look untrustworthy. She let her expression break into a kind of resignation. You win, she willed her expression to say. As long an Melanie thought she was in charge she was unlikely to get violent again, and as long as she thought Madeira had no choice but to follow she might trust her motivations.

"I promise, on my life, on my death, that I will help you find this boy and give him everything he deserves", she parroted, her voice low and defeated. "But him, and only him. If you attack another person, be it me, professor Lheili or another student, the deal is off. Remember, It's not safe for you here without me."

She stepped out of the circle, testing her weight on her throbbing knee. It still hurt, but in a deeply sore way that made her think it was bruised rather than broken. Thank gods. But now what? Where were they going to find this boy, and protect him when they did? Melanie made it clear she wouldn't be satisfied unless she saw the light leave his eyes. Madeira wasn't about to risk someone like that... Unless....

A hazy, undefined plan started to form in her mind. It was dangerous. Stupidly so. But what could they do when the choices were between potentially fatal and certainly fatal?

"Okay, let's go. I recognize that boy, I might know where he is. But I'll need you to come too, professor." Turning her back to Melanie for a tick she made a point of looking Lheili directly in the eye. "I know you're rattled, but you promised to be my guide didn't you? I need you to trust me right now."

Indicating they should both follow her, she lead the way out of the classroom.

"I remember passing him on my way in. He was heading to an unused classroom..." She mused aloud, giving Lheili another darkly significant look, pretending her hobbling gait was slowing her down so the Dawn woman could steer them in the right direction. "I'll go in first to check he's alone, then I'll call for you. Remember, nobody else can get in the way."

It was simple, really. When Melanie walks in to find Madeira, alone, Lying with her killer's face... At that point she could try and placate her by begging for forgiveness. But somehow she knew that wouldn't work. No, it would probably come down to Melanie possessing Lheili again. And if she could bait her close enough, get her to try and choke her or beat her with those hands she seemed so eager to use... Well it was a gamble, but an induced hallucination at the right moment, to show her with her own eyes her killer dying at her feet... It could be enough to get her to move on. As long as the attack didn't kill Madeira too.
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