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 Dusk 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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    Postby Madeira Dusk 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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      Postby Madeira Dusk 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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        I'm Walkin' Here!

        Postby Madeira Dusk on December 5th, 2020, 10:37 pm

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          Madeira glanced sideways at the ghost, a knowing smile pulling at the corner of her lips as Alice casually asked about her teaching job. "Interested in magic, are you? I'm sorry to disappoint, but I only specialize in spiritism. I do dabble in other disciplines, just not at any kind of teachable level." That wasn't quite true, but her hypnotism was something she kept very close to her chest.

          As Alice went into the story of her death Madeira's expression dried up. She contemplated the cobblestone at her feet as she listened. This was a woman who longed for adventure, trapped in a monotonous life. Madeira could appreciate the feeling of being trapped by family expectations, and realizing that the world never loved her back. In the end Alice's life was cruelly cut short for the change in her pockets. She was cavalier about it, like it had happened to someone else. The ghost shrugged it off, called it bitterly unfair, and moved on.

          And for the first time since meeting her, Madeira realized she was angry. She hid it very well, but venom tinged the edges of her words by the end. Where was this anger focused, Madeira wondered. Not the attacker, or else she would be haunting him. Not her family for trapping her, or else still be in Syliras, not her 'lawless city'. Maybe it was... the world. Everything. Madeira couldn't even imagine what that kind of simmering emotion would feel like, spread thin over everything. What she didn't know yet was whether that anger was the spiteful kind that was going to propel Alice forward, or the hateful kind that wanted her to burn the world down.

          Madeira made a mental note to find out the name of Alice's brother, the one who had all the adventures. He could be a good Lie candidate for Alice, if she were to go off the deep end.

          "My condolences, Alice, to you and your family", Madeira reached out and touched her hand, weathering the bolt of discomfort at the contact. "That is a cruel way for life to end."

          "Is this it?" Spooks cut in. He had stopped so suddenly Madeira nearly trod on his tail. After nervously dancing back a step, she realized they were standing beneath a hanging sign. The Reading Room, it read above curls of wrought iron arranged artful to suggest an open book.

          "This is it", Madeira sighed gratefully. What would she do if she didn't have Spooks and Emma to ferry her from place to place? "Thank you for your help, Spooks." Madeira threw him the two kabobs. Without a word the beast snatched the meat out of the air and vanished in a puff of licorice-scented soulmist, presumably to devour his prize. Madeira turned to Alice.

          "I don't know how accepting the Outpost is of ghosts. Do you want to go in like this or try possession?" She said it so casually, with such a mild expression, that she could have just as easily been asking if she wanted to borrow her handbag instead of her body. "I'd be interested to see how well we can work together. Have you ever tried a graceful possession before?" Now the look she gave her was a little less than casual. Her pale, fishy eyes were bright with interest as she sized the ghost up. Alice's materialization was terrible, but that didn't mean she wasn't more capable in other areas. When Madeira first met Jomi he would fizzle out just trying to be visible, but he could pick up and throw almost anything not nailed down. Hurik was as weak as a kitten when trying to possess her, but he had looked so real she nearly walked right past him when he tried. She was interested to see where Alice too was keeping her talents.
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          I'm Walkin' Here!

          Postby Alice Weaver on December 6th, 2020, 1:22 am

          Alice couldn’t help but let her shoulder slump a slight bit when Maderia lightly crushed her dreams by stating that she only taught Spiritism and nothing else at a teachable level. She supposed that just because it wasn’t teachable didn’t mean that there wasn't anything Madeira couldn’t give her. Just a few pointers in the right direction possibly? A warning of a few dead ends that otherwise might stump her for years? Unlikely by possible.

          “Was I really that obvious? And here I was thinking I was being sly slipping that question in.” She gave a weak smile with a slightly downcasted gaze, playing the part of a child with their hand caught in a cookie jar. “But you are not wrong. Magic always held a great deal of curiosity to me. Yet was a bit frowned upon in Syliras...and besides, we lacked the assets to buy magical knowledge anyway. But now that I don’t really have another use for the money I thought it would be ah...neat to learn.” She switched what she was going to say last minute, not entirely lying. She did think magic was ‘neat’ to say the least yet she really wanted it because it provided a solution to her current predicament. That was her hope anyway.

          While she was espousing her reason for becoming a ghost she realized that she may have seemed just a tad bit bitter at the world, especially with her flippant dismissal of ‘what’s done is done.’ Only adding to her suspicion of that was Madeira paid a keen interest and Alice felt as if she was being analyzed for any details left between the lines. It wasn’t all that pleasant of a feeling, to be honest, yet it made sense. This woman’s goal was to help ghosts with whatever they needed help with. It was only logical that she was then good at observation and discerning what they needed and/or their current emotional states.

          Madeira then kept doing the one thing that Alice couldn’t decide if she liked or not. Touching her. It still shocked and surprised Alice despite the fact that she clearly knew Madeira could do that to ghosts. So used to going without touch that any new sensation shot bolts of lightning across her body, hypersensitive to everything.

          She jumped slightly at the touch before leaning into it with closed eyes. She pulled back after a second to respond to Madeira’s condolences.

          “Thank you.” That was all that was needed. A simple response to a simple gesture, but one that felt so right to have happened. She didn’t think anyone had ever stopped to ask her how she felt within all this mess so it was extremely nice to have it finally happen.

          Then the moment was broken as the cat creature came to a sudden stop and Madeira nearly crushed his tail underfoot, having to take a quick step back. The serious conversation brought to an abrupt halt by the cat was just jarring enough that it caused Alice to let out a laugh, soft and wispy, but a laugh of joy at the little things life throws at one before it tapered off. Madeira thanked ‘Spooks” for his help before she threw two greasy-looking kabobs at him which he deftly caught before vanishing in a puff. A confused look flashed across Alice’s features. “Is he like me?” She wondered out loud having only seen herself disappear like that and nothing else, “That's not a ghost cat is it?” Said in half jest, half seriousness, maybe the cat was just as perturbed at the world as she was. If any animal would stay on the world just to spite it, cats seemed like the perfect creature. Independent little bastards they were.

          Anyways, they were stopped in front of the Reading Room before Madeira questioned how accepting the Outpost was of ghosts and whether Alice wished to try a ‘Graceful Possession’ whatever that was. Possession was never graceful, it involved the pitting of one will against another, both doing their best to strangle one another into submission, but perhaps this was something that only mediums could do?

          “I haven’t been bothered for the little while I have been here. But who knows? And you have piqued my interest with saying that you are ‘easy to wear’ no matter how degrading I find it to equate a well-composed woman like yourself to clothing…I would like to try it.”

          And she would wait for some sign of affirmation from Madeira before initiating the possession. She drifted closer to the well-dressed woman, slipping into a natural instinct that was awakened by becoming a ghost. Putting on an award-winning smile, while she tilted her head to one side allowing the hair to spill off her shoulders, a mischievous sparkle in her eyes as she wrapped her arms around Maderia’s neck, hovering just above the skin, sending ripples of cold energy that crawled frost along the valleys of cloth. She drew herself and face closer, closer...closer still. Then she reached a point where a kiss almost seemed inevitable before Alice’s body erupted into strands of gossamer threads that rapidly winded themselves around Maderia’s throat and joints, competently sinking through her skin and entangling the soul below. The threads sought to string Madeira like a puppet, restricting her to move only when Alice willed it. Alice, expecting some resistance or struggle, almost comically fell into the Spiritist willing soul, slipping into a groove that was worn from many possessions.

          This is so strange… She thought as she finished winding her strings around Maderia’s soul, realizing that with no small amount of concern that Maderia’s iron-hard will would most likely eject her violently with just a thought...
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          Alice Weaver
          Crafting A Second Chance
           
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          I'm Walkin' Here!

          Postby Madeira Dusk on December 6th, 2020, 3:07 am

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            Alice agreed to the possession, and Madeira turned her palms inward as if to invite her in. But as the ghost drifted towards her, Madeira became suddenly hyper aware of that slight tilt of her head. Her thick hair had spilled over her back and the long line of her delicate neck was exposed. It was such an innocuous gesture, but a sudden, uncomfortable feeling flashed in Madeira as she recognized that she was having inappropriate thoughts. She took half a step back before cursing herself for the visible lapse in her composure. Alice wrapped her arms around her neck, and leaned in as if to kiss her. Gooseflesh erupted across what little of Madeira's skin was exposed as the static charge of the ghost's shroud hovered just above touching her. Only Madeira's breath hovered between them

            And then Alice exploded into filaments of soul. This, finally, Madeira understood. Alice's possession wasn't as brute force as Jomi's, or slick and seeping like Renee's, but something in between. The soul sank into her and she felt the ghost weaving through her bones, and tasted her decayed dijed as it filled her body.

            This is strange, the ghost's thought projected weakly, barely detectable in the back of Madeira's mind. The ghost must not realize it was speaking to her.

            That's a rude thing to say about someone's body, Madeira spoke internally to the ghost, projecting the thought a little too loud as if to demonstrate how it's done. They could speak quite clearly to each other like this, a method of communication she had perfected over years. Now, for the love of gods, stop. This is a dance, not a death match. Madeira ran a gloved hand over her face, feeling the uncontrolled rolling of her eyes as they confusedly tried to circle around the back of her head. So that's Alice's secret talent. Madeira had definitely underestimated the bite of her possession, and that snake charmer routine just before definitely didn't help. Stretch out a bit, take your time. See if you can move my fingers.

            Madeira shook and stretched out her arms like a pianist. Nobody understood possession until it happened to them, and never questioned the sanctity of their soul until it was violated. But Madeira's soul, used and abused as it was, simply made space for the invader. There was not an ounce of defensiveness in her. She found the edges of Alice's soul against hers and tried to guide it down her muscles, wrap it around her joints, and to lay tight against hers. She tried to take up any slack of Alice's inexperience, and keep that delicate balance of a graceful possession.

            Slowly, trying not to overwhelm the two of them and tip the balance, Madeira opened her mind to the spirit. Her skills and knowledge began to leak into their shared experience. Together they blinked hard and flexed, testing their fine motor control. This was no longer her body, but theirs. The line between where each soul started and ended blurred as mind and body were shared.

            "Are we okay?" they spoke aloud. While inside Madeira was trying to judge the state of the soul with her. Are you okay?
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            Madeira Dusk
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