Completed One Breath at a Time

Autumn joins her dearest friend at the Catholicon in hopes to help her through an illness

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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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One Breath at a Time

Postby Autumn Rose on November 30th, 2019, 7:13 pm

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Fall the 70th, 519 AV

    Just after dusk
Underneath the twinkling stars, a sinister shadow slunk across the mountaintops of Lhavit. It was an unnatural shadow, not moving with any pattern of the light, and even Akajia’s shadows regarded it with caution. It was a thing that existed but in a way things should not. It could be seen in the same way the creatures could be seen, but like the shadows it couldn’t be touched. There was no substance to it, and while the shadows moved in an odd way due to the presence of the skyglass and the light of the stars, this shade moved in a way even the shadows found distasteful. Alive with color the shadows couldn’t conjure, the shade drifted like a cloud but against the short gusts that managed to stir themselves into being. Then, as if the world it moved through stopped existing, it disappeared, only to reappear an instant later much farther down the unseen path if followed. Unheard messages passed between Akajia’s shadows, and the general consensus was observe and report. No need to interfere just yet.

In her brief moments of happiness, Autumn missed all of this, though even if she had been paying attention, the word and language of the shadows would have escaped her notice. She wasn’t Goddess-touched. She would never be, not in her current state of death suspended, but none of these things mattered. It didn’t matter that shadows watched. It didn’t matter that shadows talked. It didn’t matter that the subject of these observations was herself. Happiness, true happiness, drove away the darker thoughts that came with death, and very little made Autumn happy that was left in this world the way her friend baby Candace did. In order to reach her friend’s house more quickly, Autumn was cutting the distance by blinking.

There was a thrill that came with blinking, as if the ghost who did so was momentarily ripped from time and space and existence before being suddenly submerged in the torrent of that trinity again. Somewhere along the way, she had begun dancing though she didn’t remember where or when. White dress in stark contrast to the darkness of the many shadows, Autumn poured her joy into the materialization, and for it, her mists bent to her will a little more readily. As she spun to the rhythm of a music only she could hear, she materialized the hem of her dress, letting it twist and sway around her ankles.

In the middle of another twirl, Autumn blinked, but she had been facing the wrong direction and stopped, disoriented by the sudden backward change of her surroundings. Realizing what had happened, that she had blinked the wrong way, she looked up and down the path several times, then laughed at herself. In the still, quiet night air, her laughter carried and disturbed something she couldn’t see. Looking for whatever it was and not finding it, Autumn shrugged, picked up the tune in her head once more, gave a lavish twirl, and blinked, this time not doing so until she saw her path in her view. Finding herself headed in the right direction, Autumn smiled and worked nonexistent feet to the beat of the music, occasionally humming a few bars of the parts she remembered well.

She was a good way to her destination when the sound of voices stopped her. Disappearing in an instant, Autumn waited for the people to pass, but before they even reached her, she recognized who the voices belonged to. It was Candace’s parents, but the couple didn’t have their usual jovial tone. Their voices were heavy, weary the way they had been when Autumn had first met them at the Catholicon.

If Autumn had blood, it would have frozen. Only one thing made them this way. Candace. Drawing near, her pale materialization invisible in the low light of night, Autumn watched the bundle in the mother’s arms breathe, and her heart, had she had it, would have fallen even more. She was no doctor, but even she could tell that Candace’s breath came too fast and too hard, even for a baby. In a moment, she was by their side, hurrying along with them to the Catholicon once more.

“It was just a cough,” Candace’s mother tried to reason to herself why she had waited so long to take her child to be seen by the physicians at the Catholicon. “A day ago, she didn’t even have a fever.”

With the one hand around her shoulder, her husband squeezed her reassuringly. “This isn’t your fault. We both thought she was fine.” Shivering at the sudden cold of the night air, he pulled her even closer. “When did it get so petching cold?”

“Honey, language.” His wife admonished him.

“What? It’s not like she’ll understand it right now.” He caught her glare and apologized. “Sorry. I’ll do better.”

Realizing she was the reason for the cold, Autumn surged forward, leading the way to Lhavit’s hospital. Mortal pacing was too slow for her. It wasted the precious time that Autumn was sure Candace needed. In an attempt to hurry her parents along, Autumn would blink ahead, then turn around, and rush back to them. It was all a futile effort, she knew, as she wasn’t materialized, though her materialization would have likely only slowed things more. So she jumped and returned the entire length of the trip until they reached their destination.
Last edited by Autumn Rose on April 19th, 2020, 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Autumn Rose
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One Breath at a Time

Postby Autumn Rose on November 30th, 2019, 9:21 pm

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A familiar Eypherian face greeted them as they walked through the door. “Is it Candace again?” Rasika asked.

“Yes. She’s not breathing well.”

Rasika was by their side in a moment, and by the look that flashed across the receptionist’s eyes, Autumn could tell that even her untrained eyes could see the child’s breathing was bad. “Come with me.” The finesse that Rasika usually showed was gone as she rushed up the stairs with the couple and their child in tow. Before she even reach the second floor, she was shouting for their head physician. “Alessia! I need you. Now.”

Alessia had trained her staff well, and they had learned to never sound urgent. So when one of them called her this way, she came running. Her agile Symenestra frame ducked into the room just behind the couple as they entered.

Seeing who it was, Alessia held out her arms, “Give her to me.”

Candace’s mother did so quickly, and the doctor unwrapped the child from the blanket she had been swaddled in, watching the small chest rise and fall. “No, no, no. I don’t like that, Candace.” She put her ear to the child’s chest, moving about after a few breaths in each place. As soon as she had done so, she snapped quick instructions to an assistant who was waiting nearby with instructions to gather several herbs.

Candace’s mother began crying. “What’s wrong with my baby?”

Alessia’s eyes didn’t leave her patient. “There’s a sickness in her lungs. When did she begin coughing?”

“Two days ago.”

“And when did she start breathing this heavily?”

“Today. A few bells ago is when I noticed, though it may have been getting worse before then. I don’t know.”

“And the fever?”

“She didn’t have it this morning.”

“Good.”

The assistant returned with the requested medicines and a few additional supplies for mixing them. Alessia went to work and soon had a pungent liquid mixed together. The assistant returned with a fresh bottle of Okomo milk.

“Thank you, Silas.”

He nodded and went about to other duties while Alessia mixed a small amount of the medicine into a small amount of milk. Rasika, with her warmer personality and multiple arms, cradled Candace in two of her arms and began feeding her with another while a fourth hand dabbed the sweat off her forehead and brushed stray strands of her black hair out of her eyes. The final two hands rested one each on Candace’s parents’ shoulders as she gave them a reassuring and confident smile.

For her part, Alessia didn’t give them hope. “That’s just a beginning. We’ll need to make sure she gets more of that every four bells. I’ll be by in a bell to see how she’s doing. We may have to do begin other therapies.”

“So she’ll make it?”

Alessia shrugged. “It’s out of our hands for the most part. The medicine can take care of an infection like this, but it needs time to work. The illness will get worse, before it gets better. It depends on Candace now. She needs to fight long enough for the medicine to do what it does.”

At the worry in the couple’s eyes, Rasika reassured them. “We will do everything in our power to help her along. She’s in good hands.”

And so the three of them, mother, father, and ghost, hovered about and waited, waited for the medicine to do its work, waited to see how Candance would respond, waited. Autumn was patient, but this waiting was insufferable. Candace’s breathing did not ease up. Rather, over the next bell, it began to worsen. Rasika fetched Alessia before the bell was up.

Examining the child again, Alessia held Candace to her chest and began to smack her back with a cupped hand. “She isn’t coughing. We need her to get some of the phlegm out, give air some room to move in there.”

After several minutes of the coupage, Candace coughed twice, but the cough barely caused her chest to spasm. Continuing, Alessia shook her head. “That’s hardly enough. Come on. Cough for me, Candace.”

Something in Autumn reminded her that this wasn’t just in Candace’s hands. If Candace wouldn’t cough, Autumn would do it for her. Unseen by everyone around her, Autumn slipped through the ether and into Candace, her soul filling out the body like an old coat that never quite got broke in. Even with Autumn’s frequent visits, Candace’s body hadn’t adapted to possession, and Autumn could only wish that she had dedicated more time to the art. She wasn’t well-versed in it, and even short times in control of another body would have left her winded if she had a body of her own. As things were, possession drained her, and whatever stores of soulmist she had were rapidly depleted. That didn’t matter now though.

As soon as she was inside of Candace’s body, Autumn searched for the familiar holds, anchor points that would keep her attached to the body she was inhabiting. It wasn’t a highly necessary step, as Candace never tried to kick her out, but it did help to give her more control. In her hurry, Autumn wasn’t concerned with much of anything as far as Candace’s body went, and anyone watching would have seen the baby’s eyes go empty. What Autumn was looking for was control of the breath, and as her soul filled Candace, it found her belly and her diaphragm and demanded control of them from their host. Candace relinquished them without a fight.

Autumn made to draw a deep breath but found Candace’s body minimally responsive to the command. Not Candace’s body, their body. It was a dual effort now. There was something their lungs were working against. Pushing all of her focus and effort into a single action, Autumn urged breath into their body. Their diaphragm drove downward, and their belly expanded, making plenty of room in the chest for the lungs to expand. Air, the most precious jewel of nature, rushed into their lungs. Autumn tensed, bracing their body, then driving the air back out with a concerted effort from the belly and the diaphragm. The result was a deep, forceful cough, wet with the mucus that it brought up. Repeating these motions again and again, Autumn didn’t stop until she felt the breathing come a little easier.

She was vaguely aware of Alessia’s face smiling as the doctor wiped mucus and spittle from their face. “That’s more like it.”

Reassured by those words, Autumn left their body and entered the oddly colder world outside of a space inhabited by another soul. There she was with someone. Out here, she was alone.
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Autumn Rose
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One Breath at a Time

Postby Autumn Rose on December 2nd, 2019, 4:45 am

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The night was long, and each few chimes that passed seemed to bring more difficulties breathing for Candace. Autumn and her parents hovered over the child, giving her little peace, though Candace was barely aware of their presence. After another bell, Autumn couldn’t stand watching the child struggle any longer.

Once more, her soul slipped into the body, and Candace’s soul seemed to make room for her. Gripping at familiar points that let her hold her possession more securely, Autumn concentrated again on the lungs, on the breath. She forced the child’s shallow breaths to lengthen slowly into longer, deeper ones until she could breathe deeply enough to cough up more phlegm. Then, once the breath came easier, Autumn continued to breathe slow, deep, regular breaths for the child.

Weak. Everything about them was weak. Autumn’s possessions had never been impressive, and they always required the utmost concentration and effort from her to maintain. Candace was weak. The child was fighting hard, but she had had to do so continuously for several bells on end already. It was tasking, and the child was losing what little will she had to keep up the fight. And so it was left to Autumn. She was Candace’s last strength, a strength from without, but it was a fleeting sort of strength. As Autumn breathed for the child, she could feel her soulmist dissipating away until her grip on the possession slipped completely.

It took Candace several ticks to remember to breathe for herself. In a way, the possession had bolstered her, in that she hadn’t had to put forth the effort to breathe herself, but all possessions were taxing on the bodies that were hosts. If Autumn had lungs, she would have breathed a sigh of relief in the little improvement she saw in the child’s breath. Part of her also knew that her strength would be needed again, but she had nothing more to give, not right now.

Hovering and watching, Autumn rested as well as a ghost could, keeping her mist in close to herself so no more of it would evaporate into the air, and searched for whatever stray mist might have remained in the world about her. It was an interesting thing. The world was inhabited by souls, and through reincarnation, these souls were constantly replenished. Where these souls traveled, small strands of mist were left behind. Where there were people, there was mist, though most of it too negligible to be of use. Still, if she waited, occasional strands came along that added to her essence, some of these being own parts of herself that she had unknowingly let slip away. She gathered as much mist to herself as she could while waiting for Candace to require her intervention again.

It wasn’t an immediate change, and perhaps that was what made it so deadly. She wasn’t fine one moment, then awful the next. The change was more insidious than that. That was what had allowed it to get so bad in the first place, what had kept Candace’s parents from bringing her in sooner.

It wasn’t until the assistant from earlier came in to check on Candace that Autumn realized how bad it had gotten again. Immediately, the assistant picked Candace up and began to coupage her once more while he called for Alessia.

When Alessia arrived, the man informed her. “She’s turning blue.”

Though Autumn hadn’t regained enough strength to be of much use, she was willing to do what she could. Soul sank into body, soul into soul, and the possession began anew, Autumn going to work as quickly as she could, so she would waste none of the precious time that she had in control of Candace’s lungs. Several deep coughs expelled thick mucus that, this time, showed some color. Autumn had only coughed four times before her grip on the possession slipped and she found herself trying to breathe air without a body, without any lungs to fill.

Again, she slipped back into Candace’s body, took hold, and started to cough again, only to drift free from the body after another few coughs. Again and again, Autumn began a new possession, each time she did so pulling away more of the mist that made up the core of her, the mist that was central, the mist that contained her sense of self. But after several chimes of these slipped attempts, Autumn had coughed enough mucus free from their lungs that their breathing was freer once more. Several more attempts were necessary to set Candace breathing deep and regular on her own.
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Autumn Rose
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One Breath at a Time

Postby Autumn Rose on April 19th, 2020, 8:08 pm

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It wasn’t long before Candace needed help again, and now, Autumn wasn’t sure she had the strength to do anything that mattered. This time, she waited and watched longer than she had before, hoping the ministrations of the doctors and their assistants would be enough. It wasn’t.

Despite the heavy hands expertly applied to the baby’s back to break mucus free, Candace’s breaths were not coming any easier. Each one came more labored than the last. As Autumn gathered what little of herself there was left, she thought for a moment about what she was doing, really thought. Several frightening ideas came to mind. It would be easy enough to let little Candace continue on as she was, fight until there was no fight left in her, fight until breath would no longer come and she was free from mortal grips. It would be a long many chimes, perhaps even a bell or two before she passed, but then it would be over. It would be even easier yet and more merciful for Autumn to possess her again but, rather than give Candace breath, take it from her. It would be simple enough, even though Autumn was at the end of her strength, because Candace was even closer to the end of hers. It would be so easy to enter her, take hold, and hold her breath. All Autumn needed was a chime. It would be quicker and more gentle than what the child was facing now. It would be so easy to-

Autumn had gathered as much of herself as she could. She entered Candace’s body and took hold.

But she didn’t hold their breath.

Instead, Autumn did what she had done the rest of the night. She fought for Candace’s life, driving breath into the body and phlegm out. Autumn fought until she could fight no more, and then, as all mothers seem to do, she drew on stores of energy that didn’t even exist, reached into a part of herself that shouldn’t have been reachable. She rent her soul for the survival of a child. At first, it was the last shreds of soulmist that hovered about, vestiges of a soul that had existed and yet still did, but even those stores ran dry. And then Autumn did the only thing left to do. She tore her soul, the core of her, the thing that made Autumn Autumn.

Agony accompanied this tearing, and it drove out of the pair of them in a cry that only Candace could give voice to. Those watching witnessed it with a mixture of relief and terror, relief for the strength of the cry but terror at the wrenching pain that it carried. That was the cry of someone who had gained the world only to lose it. There was no way a child should have made such a cry. With the tearing, Autumn’s possession gained a strength it had never had, and with the tearing Autumn lost another memory, something important, something she knew she shouldn’t live without. She couldn’t remember what it was, only that she had cherished it, held it remarkably dear, but that didn’t matter. Candace was breathing now, deeper than she had all night long.

Breathing for the child as long as she could, Autumn knew she couldn’t maintain such a possession again. She needed help, help from without. She needed soulmist, some that wasn’t her own. When she couldn’t maintain a hold any longer, Autumn barely took a look at Candace to see how the child was doing before she drifted out of the room. There was only one place Autumn knew to go.
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Autumn Rose
Even weightless, I'm a burden.
 
Posts: 136
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Joined roleplay: July 20th, 2019, 12:12 am
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One Breath at a Time

Postby Autumn Rose on April 20th, 2020, 1:59 am

Grades!


Autumn

Skills
● Materialization +1
● Possession +3

Lores
● Blinking: Cuts distance quickly
● Materialization: Made more vivid with more emotion
● Candace: Had a bout of pneumonia
● Possession: Controlling a host's breath
● Possession: Pushing past the limitations of the body
● Possession: Weakens the host
● Ghostly Rest: Gathering stray mist
● Medicine: Slow changes are harder to detect
● Medicine: Coupage
● Possession: Limited stores of mist makes it difficult to maintain
● Mercy or Murder? Autumn considered ending Candace's life
● Ghostly Overgiving: Loss of parts of the soul core lead to loss of vital memories
● Ghostly Overgiving: Tearing of the soul

Comments

Keep writing. Make up weird things. You can do this.
User avatar
Autumn Rose
Even weightless, I'm a burden.
 
Posts: 136
Words: 202208
Joined roleplay: July 20th, 2019, 12:12 am
Race: Ghost
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)


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