Open I'm Walkin' Here!

Alice realizes crowds are no fun.

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I'm Walkin' Here!

Postby Alice Weaver on November 15th, 2020, 3:19 am

30th of Fall, 520

The sun was hanging overhead with noon in full swing. Fat, downy clouds drifted above, casting cooling shade at random intervals that provided a minor respite from the glaring sun. None of that mattered to Alice as being dead did have its perks. She was, however, experiencing another struggle, one that most living folks didn't have to worry about in their day to day lives.

She found herself surrounded by hundreds of tents, booths, and vendors, a riot of colorful cloth and clink of items filled her senses. It was overwhelming to the woman who has spent a decent amount of time in Sunbearth, where these displays of wealth were a death sentence. The worst part, by far, was the crowds. Shifting and flowing, never still, moving throughout these streets with practiced ease. The ghost could only imagine how they knew how to get anywhere in this damn place. Every corner she turned led to more brightly colored booths, each containing a merchant hawking their goods aggressively. And, if the people would stop WALKING THROUGH HER, it would be tremendously helpful in her attempt to figure out where she was.

Inclining her face up to the sun, as misty, unformed red hair spilled down her back, she tried to discern north from south, east from west. The light turning her already see-through form even more translucent, barely visible in the glare. Just as she was squinting through the beam and was reciting a childhood mantra in her head, did a heavyset merchantman, densely cloaked in finery, blaze through the exact spot she was standing in. Admittedly she was in the middle of the road but it was still rude, in her opinion.

"Never. Eat. Sea- GAH!" Her thoughts disrupted by a sudden occupation of her space. It disturbed and tangled her loose soulmist as it got pulled along with the man. The mists began to latch onto his soul, attracted to him like iron to a loadstone. "No. No. No!" The translucent woman's panic would have looked comical from an outside perspective. Alice almost appearing to be dragged along the ground by the wisps of her shroud. What was not funny was the fact that she didn't care to violate this man's soul, who did nothing but simply walk past.

In an effort to not possess a random stranger, Alice gave her soulmist a violent tug, ripping the few 'stuck' strands off and condensing them around her core, spinning the strands faster and faster 'till the appearance of solidity spread rapidly across her form. Taking a few larger than normal strides to reset her momentum from the sudden tug, she habitually brushed off her flowing, black dress and puffed a bit of hair out of her eyes.

Instantly Alice noticed her flickering but solid form attracted more attention than her ethereal body, which must have looked similar to the heat haze. Already people were making an effort to move around her, allowing a brief respite to glance around and realize she was now even more hopelessly lost.

"Damn."
Last edited by Alice Weaver on November 20th, 2020, 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I'm Walkin' Here!

Postby Madeira Craven on November 15th, 2020, 10:51 pm

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    "Are you okay?"

    Madeira was smiling beatifically, having stopped dead in front of the ghost and forced people to part around her. And they did, running to either side like a river around a rock. Perhaps it was because she was so visible, dressed as she was in the exact kind of bizarre, ostentatious finery that would get her instantly mugged in Sunberth. Or maybe it was something about her presence, with her back straight like god's puppet string, the set of her narrow shoulders and the fold of her gloved hands giving off the same untouchable energy as a decorative plate. Most likely it was the enormous, magical, cat-adjacent thing standing silent and sullen in the shade of her skirt that they were giving a wide berth.

    "You're not a terribly easy person to find, are you?" Madeira continued conversationally, like the ghost had skipped out on their lunch date. Her gaze dropped and she began patting her pockets, looking for something. "There's lots of conflicting energy in a place as busy as this, and you've managed to tuck yourself away something fierce. Where is it... Ah."

    She surfaced with a much abused silver flask, the front embossed with a stylized version of Dira's scythe. Inside, untraceable by a living sense of smell but powerful to a ghost, was a small quantity of master-level soulmist.

    "I don't mean you any harm. I'm just a spiritist, passing through, when I noticed your presence. I thought maybe we can have a chat." She unscrewed the lid and offered the flask out to the ghost, giving it an inviting little shake. A peace offering.

    As she waited for the ghost to take it or refuse her she took the opportunity to discreetly look her over. They could have been sisters, both pale and slight with light eyes. But despite being dead, the ghost looked much healthier. Thick ringlets of reddish hair tumbled around her bare shoulders, and her freckled skin was fresh and lush. She wasn't a terribly powerful ghost, her form was flat and blurred like a charcoal drawing smudged by a clumsy artist, but there was something terribly lifelike about her that said she could be one day.

    "Alright, we found it. Now we can get some food", the beast beside her grumbled. His wandering eyes and the impatient flick of his tail seemed to imply he was much less invested in this interaction than his master.

    Madeira sighed the sigh of the long suffering, but didn't dignify the comment with a response. "I'm sorry about him. I'd say he means well, but he doesn't. We should introduce ourselves. I'm Madeira Craven, and this is my pet, Spooks."

    "Pet?"

    "Companion."

    Madeira's eyes never left the ghost through the short interaction. She never skipped an opportunity to acquaint herself with the dead. Even if it meant derailing a simple shopping trip to track a spirit across the entire Outpost and putting up with Spooks' bad mood. The Eiyon in her demanded it. Knowing more about a spirit was the first step to helping it pass on.
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    I'm Walkin' Here!

    Postby Alice Weaver on November 16th, 2020, 12:23 am

    As Alice was recovering from her unwilling, partial possession did she hear a voice speak.

    “Are you ok?” Snapping her head up she was greeted by a pale, blue-eyed woman who, in her opinion, looked just about ready to collapse under the weight of her own finery. But yet she had an undeniable presence with a straight back and hands folded as if she had all the power. Which she did in this scenario, Alice supposed, with her being lost within the crowd and no discernible way home. The other object that caught her attention was the large, very large, cat sitting within her shadow. Alice's eyes widening slightly, locking onto the cat, so enthralled she almost missed the next thing the woman said.

    “You're not a terribly easy person to find, are you?" She spoke casually and she continued on about some conflicting energy or something, but Alice could care less.

    “Someone? Looking for me?!” Her thoughts flowing a million miles an hour, “Who would look for me. I haven’t even been here that long!” The woman’s next action answered a few of her questions with them pulling out a beat-up flask embossed with a scythe, the scythe of Dira. The symbol could have mattered less compared to the scent that was pouring out of it’s opened neck. It was intoxicating, like the sweetest pie fresh out of the oven. Alice caught herself extending a hand towards the flask before she snatched it back with the other, pressing it tightly to her chest. “‘Don’t accept drinks from strangers’ mama always said.” The ghost admonished herself lightly with a shake of the head. The unnamed woman continued to further explain herself, branding herself as a spiritist, a special kind of person that dealt with the dead. Just the person Alice was looking for. She only wished it was more on her terms and not a stroke of fate that had the two meeting.

    "Alright, we found it. Now we can get some food?" The cat...thing spoke, Alice’s eyes going even wider at a talking cat! What next will this woman pull out? Perhaps she has a legendary sword hidden underneath the folds of her dress?

    "I'm sorry about him. I'd say he means well, but he doesn't. We should introduce ourselves. I'm Madeira Craven, and this is my pet, Spooks." Finally, a name to her face and one to the snout of the black cat. The animal’s ‘it’ comment did sting a touch as she took a step back in the small pocket afforded them in the crowd, and tried to compose herself. Taking a slight gulp, lowing her hand from her chest, and a small rise of her chest as she did the ghost equivalent of taking a calming breath.

    “Lovely to meet you, Madeira. Spooks.” Giving Maderia a small curtsey, scraping her foot behind before giving Spooks a curt nod. When she rose from the curtsey her face has lost its surprised and startled expression, becoming cool and calm as she flicked a glance up and down Maderia again, trying to get some aspect of the woman’s measure, while also making sure the crowd is still flowing by. The wash of people being something that would block Maderia but not the ghost. The reason for this slight caution was the scant rumors Alice had heard about spiritists and what they can do to a ghost. Some of those things Alice had no desire to find if they were fact or fiction.

    “My name is Alice. I would give you a handshake but my hands are elsewhere at the moment.” Alice gave her name in turn while cracking a meager joke, a faint grin on her face, before it faded. “You said you were looking for me? Why? Just to chat and that is all?”
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    I'm Walkin' Here!

    Postby Madeira Craven on November 17th, 2020, 6:52 am

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      The ghost, Alice, was lucid and surprisingly polite. Once it was clear she wouldn't take the soulmist the spiritist lowered her arm and held it to her belly. She would try offering it again later.

      Madeira laughed genuinely at the joke, and held out her free hand to shake anyway, though the ghost had stepped neatly out of arms reach. The spiritist had made so much soulmist over her career that she had started to exude the substance herself. She had no problem touching the incorporeal.

      "Wherever your hands may be, I think you'll find mine are there too." She paused, gloved hand still poised between them. "How long has it been since you've been touched?"

      It was a cruel question, a sly probe. It was running yours hands over the edges of a bruise and asking 'does it hurt here?' She wanted to give the ghost something, or have it take something from her. Soulmist, a caress, an affirmation, anything. As soon as she did there was a chance they could open a rapport, a conversation, some kind of back-and-forth, or exchange of favours. If she could just find something tantalizing enough...

      "Why was I looking for you?" she repeated, surprised. "I'm a Spiritist, it's what we do. Or..." Her finger tapped at her lip as she considered how to answer. "I guess it's more what I do. I felt a ghost, so I followed. You're not hurting anyone, or causing anyone any trouble, so I thought maybe we could talk. I just wanted to let you know that I'm here to help."

      She shrugged, an embarrassed smile pulling at her painted lips. "That's probably a weird thing to say to a stranger, but I mean it. It's not easy being a ghost, is it? I'm a good spiritist. The best you'll ever find. If you need to be replenished I can build you up. If you need a body you'll never find one as easy to wear as mine. If you need protection against other, less... understanding spiritist, I can shelter you. You don't have to be alone. I'm just", her head tipped back and forth, as if the right words could be shaken loose, but in the end she just chuckled helplessly. "I'm just here to help."

      She let that stand for a moment. Shoppers bumbled past, eyes catching warily on the ghost before moving on to the plethora of goods that surrounded them. Madeira had had this conversation with ghosts before, with mixed success. Jomi excepted the partnership suspiciously. Hurik and Emma had leapt at the chance. Autumn had refused. Madeira never knew what to expect. Her mouth opened, ready to say that, when Alice was ready, she would be there to help her pass on. But remembering how Autumn had reacted to it she swallowed the words. That wasn't important for Alice to hear right now. She needed to actually get the woman on her side before convincing her to kill herself.

      "This isn’t a great place to have a conversation. Want to move somewhere else? There’s supposedly some beautiful gardens around here.”
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      I'm Walkin' Here!

      Postby Alice Weaver on November 17th, 2020, 3:26 pm

      It seemed almost too good to be true. Someone that only wanted to help? Bah! There had to be some ulterior motive at play but, at this precise moment, that didn’t matter. The opportunity Madeira offered, if what she said was true, Alice had to take the chance. It would be her best opportunity to advance her own goals and ‘live’ again, mostly. Death wasn’t going to be that easy to cheat she assumed.

      “How long has it been since you've been touched?” The simple question rocked Alice to the core with its implications. The statement implied that someone could touch her? That Madeira could touch her? She wasn’t entirely isolated from the world as she once thought?

      “Six years…” Alice whispered, barely above the din of the crowd, as she hesitantly moved back in, reaching out a flickering, smudged hand, letting out a small gasp of...excitement? Joy? No. It was relief at being able to touch something with her own form and not some borrowed meat sack. Unbeknownst to her, a tiny bit of the misty shroud that created her had beaded at the corner of her eyes was rolling down her face, a solid touch was something she never knew one could missed so much. “It’s just like magic.” She muttered through lidded eyes.

      Alice continued to hang onto the hand like a lifeline, as if it would disappear if she let go, while waiting for the woman to finish speaking. Madeira painted a picture of safety, a place to grow strong, and a blazing path that, if followed, could be Alice’s ticket to having the best of both worlds. Having spaced out for a scant few seconds, mesmerized by Maderia’s words, she realized she was still clinging to the woman’s hand like a babe, letting go and once again assuming an established distance between the two that made her feel just a tad bit more comfortable.

      Madeira had an...aura about her, two conflicting auras to be precise. On one hand she had the ‘smell’ of a ghost and felt like someone who understood, yet underneath that there lurked another scent, one that caused a sense of unease for whatever reason. Alice marked it down as butterflies from this chance encounter or the fact that Madeira so casually displayed a symbol of death, and tried to put it out of her mind.

      “A garden sounds like a wonderful place to chat.” She smiled, brushing a palm against the cheek before clasping her hands in front of her, “I have so many questions. Build me up? Wear you easier? Why would I need shelter from someone? I haven’t done anything wrong, even in that damn lawless city. Why would-” And she cuts herself off with a sheepish grin, “Ah. I might be getting ahead of myself. ‘Tis just very exciting is all. But you’ll have to lead on to these gardens as I have no idea where anything is in this city. Hence me being here and not over in a library searching for a few things.” Her flat, smudged form flickering more rapidly, the soulmist disturbed by her racing thoughts, on the verge of collapse. “Apologizes if I break apart during the trip there. Staying like this gives me such a headache, it's pitiful really.”
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      I'm Walkin' Here!

      Postby Madeira Craven on November 29th, 2020, 4:25 am

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        The ghost’s touch was so cold it burned, and it carried a static energy Madeira could feel in her teeth, but she didn’t let it show. She tightened her grip and smiled, not letting go until the woman had dropped her hand herself and moved back again.

        Got you, she inwardly purred, even as she massaged the feeling back into her fingers.

        "You were looking for a library?" Madeira caught the innocuous mention in the midst of Alice’s very Moritz-esque babble. "Why didn’t you say so? We can talk there. Spooks will show us the way. My sense of direction is even worse than yours, I'm afraid.” She turned towards the beast beside her. “Can you?”

        Spooks stared silently up at her.

        “I’ll bet there will a meat vendor on the way”, she prodded.

        With a grumble the beast got to its feet and led the way. Madeira motioned Alice to follow.

        “If you’re worried about breaking apart, Alice, are you sure you won’t take my soulmist? It’ll help.” For the second time she held the flask out to the ghost, willing her to take it. "Lets see if I can answer some of your questions on the way. And I have a few of my own, if you don't mind.”

        The ghost's excitement was infectious. Madeira caught herself watching Alice from the corner of her eye, watching the way her shroud reacted to the light, how her dark dress moved as if she were really walking. Finding a ghost young enough to be lucid and old enough to have outgrown the worst of their anger or vengeance was incredibly rare. And finding one like her, affable and intelligent, was completely unique. She was something very special. Madeira felt like a child again, looking into the window of a shop at something lovely and thinking, I want that.

        "By build you up I mean I can help make you stronger. I’ve brought a few ghosts under my wing over the years. I'm nothing special as a teacher, but I make an excellent practice dummy and soulmist dispenser, at the very least”, she laughed at herself. “I consider myself a medium, an envoy between the living and the dead. But some Spiritists don't think of themselves as mediums but ghost hunters. Exorcists. Even if you haven't done anything wrong I would stay far, far away from them, even in your”, she smirked to herself, "damn lawless city.”

        The afternoon was getting hotter and Madeira was sweating under her heavy gown, though the top button of her dress stayed determinedly fastened. She followed the flick of Spook's slim black tail through the throng, the thousands of things for sale nothing but a blur top either side as she focused on the ghost.

        “I guess I should tell you more about myself, shouldn’t I? Sorry, I’m a little over eager. I came in from Lhavit, where I live with my small found family. I teach magic over there at one of the schools,” A long ingrained habit had her looking behind her as she said it, though magic was nothing unique or taboo in the Outpost. “But I’m originally from Alvadas. I come from a long, exhausted line of Spiritists.”

        With Spooks as their guide they made it out of the Bazar, breaking out into the dry desert air and the bright blue sky pinched in by tall buildings and sandstone walls. At the very edge of the market Madeira spotted a vendor that sold skewers of meat he browned over a brazier. Remembering her promise she held up a hand as if to gently pause the conversation and tapped her way over to the man. In moments she returned having traded two jade coins for two blackened skewers.

        “They’ll still be hot once we get there”, she cut the Spooks off before he could speak, holding the glistening, dripping meat away from her expensive clothes. The line of drool in the corner of his mouth made her wonder if opening his jaw would release a flood.

        Spook’s ears flicked with impatience, but he didn’t argue. “What’s it called again?”

        “The Reading Room”, Madeira remembered dimly. The beast stuck his nose in the air and cast about before deciding on a direction. Madeira fell in beside Alice again.

        “Now it’s your turn”, the Spiritist continued playfully, as if she never interrupted them. “Tell me about Alice. Who is she? Where is she from? And", her congenial smile soured into something more sober, "I know it's a personal question, you don't have to answer, but I would like to know how you died.”
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        I'm Walkin' Here!

        Postby Alice Weaver on November 29th, 2020, 4:21 pm

        As soon as Madeira offered to take her, well for Spooks to take her, to the library she smiled at the offer. After a bit of a push on Madeira’s part to the...cat? And the promise of meat the cat creature grumbled and got to his feet, apparently being better at navigation than either of them.

        Shown up by a cat. How humorous. She thought to herself with a small smile. At her mention of almost breaking apart, Madeira once again held out the flask with the wonderful smell in it. It was hard to describe in words what it was but all she knew was that it was very very attractive. Alice decided to give in to her desire and curiosity. She reached out a hand and passed it through the metal flasks dented walls to the substance inside, giving it a ginger poke, letting out a gasp as the substance merged rapidly with her body, sending waves of solidity and strength throughout her smeared form. Quickly she gathered the offered bounty of energy she sent it scattering throughout the weakened sections of her that were faded, akin to a painter laying on a thicker coat of paint to cover a mistake. Appearing more solid than she had their entire meeting. Alice let out a sigh of relief and pleasure, feeling better than she had for, dare she say, years. The spiritist claims now looked all the more valid…

        The Spiritist motioned for her to follow, leading the trio in the direction of the Reading Room while taking the opportunity to explain further about who she was and what she did. Clarifying what she meant by ‘building up’ and that she had already helped many other ghosts and taken a good few under her wing, an experienced caretaker it would seem. Madeira also offered a distinction and warning. She was what she called a ‘medium’ one who worked directly with a ghost to help them while others like her were ‘exorcists’ who deigned only to hunt and rid the world of people with her condition.

        When Madeira mentioned the fact that she taught at a magic school at Lhavit the ghost ears perked up.

        “Do you only teach spiritism there or other...disciplines, if that is what they are called?” Alice casually probed, mostly sure of the response that she would get. It would only make sense for a Spiritist to teach spiritism and not how to throw fire with her mind…

        Of course, Madeira would expect something back from the information dump she had just given the ghost, asking in a playful tone who Alice was before her face became more serious and asked how Alice had died.

        “Well,” The ghost started hesitantly. “I was just one of the plain folk when I was alive within the walls of Sylias. My father worked odd jobs and my mother was a seamstress that worked a small business. One that I got pulled into helping run while my brother fled the walls and went out on grand adventures who knows where doing who knows what. He would then come back at random intervals to regale us with tales of epic moments that I so desperately wished to be a part of but I was stuck. I couldn’t leave unless I wished to make my family fall poor and disappoint them. So you could say the alive Alice was trapped.” Finished, she wrinkled her nose in preparation to answer the other part of the question.

        “I died because the World decided it no longer wished to have me. I was going to pay for a new supply of wool and such to spin into a string but I was… accosted along the way. It was silly of me to think myself totally safe within the city and I paid the price for my naivety. I got my throat slit, a large chunk of our savings lifted, and, for good measure, stabbed a few more times on the ground. He must have not been satisfied with the amount he risked everything on.” She shrugged. “As I said, the World no longer wanted me yet still had so much to offer. Bitterly unfair if you ask me.”
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