Completed If Only In My Dreams

Holiday 12/24-12/27 Challenge

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Herein lies Xyna's Outpost, and her gift to Mizahar's people. It is a magical place full of potential and possibility where all can gather and exchange ideas and commerce.

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If Only In My Dreams

Postby Alice Weaver on December 26th, 2020, 12:14 am

1st of Winter, 520 AV

The Outpost was turning out to be a treasure trove of little interesting tidbits and hidden spots that relieved Alice of some of the boredom that everyone, living or dead, was bound to experience at a time. It crept up on everyone and struck when least expected, sinking its claws into its unsuspecting victim while leaving them with two options. Option one was to succumb to the boredom and lay about while staring at a wall. Hoping with your heart of hearts that the cracked or worse drying paint held some type of entertainment or life secrets but most of the time ended up being severely disappointing. Then there was option number two which was to go out and find a way to kill the monster of boredom. Either tracking down a friend or going where the wind takes you and seeing what you could find. The second option being a philosophy Alice heavily subscribed to. Especially with a place like the Outpost quite literally only a door away…

So that’s where she found herself. Once again twisting and weaving through the booming streets of the trading hub. Having finally grown accustomed to moving throughout the chaotic crowds without becoming smothered by the waves of people. Despite all of this the ghost wasn’t trying to spend any more time in the dense pack of people than she needed to. She sought to break away from the beating heart of the Outpost, the Bazaar, and enter into its more relaxed and quieter levels. Who knows what was sold or hawked farther from the main public eye. Anything was sold at the Outpost but that didn’t mean that it wasn't taboo and thus pushed farther away into the darker corners of the trading hub. Perhaps she could find a Spiritist or two extra to build up some goodwill with. More options was never a bad thing even if she didn’t believe she would be able to find a Spiritist more skilled than Maderia here but it never hurt to look. Maybe she would find a few exotic pets and gawk at their fluffy behinds or find some gruesome fetishes that seemed to be crafted by some tribal groups or the odd wizard?

The World, and by extension, Alice may never quite know what they could or would find in a place such as this one, and that was exactly what made it such an effective boredom killer.

Slowly but surely the ghost woman pulled away further and further from the thickening crowds of the Bazaar and more popular places at the Outpost in favor of a sort of no man’s land where the streets were still populated but less so. The transition ground from the Outpost to the underground Habūb. A place that even Alice really had no desire to enter into. The place was only to be entered in with a purpose and goal she had been warned and considering she was here just to wander? It seemed just asking for trouble that the ghost really had no intention of getting mixed up in… So this busy yet not busy place seemed a nice place to shop about and see what it had to offer.

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Last edited by Alice Weaver on December 27th, 2020, 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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If Only In My Dreams

Postby Alice Weaver on December 26th, 2020, 12:34 am

The streets were still maintained and well kept, the Keiss took pride in keeping the Outpost up to snuff, and just because an area was less traveled didn’t mean it wasn’t worthy of the same treatment the rest of the land was subjected too. Alice didn’t mind. It was a nice change of pace to no longer have to look at the ramshackle and crumbling buildings that dominated Suberthian society. It also made the stores that were open much more visible within the wide cobblestone road.

Businesses of every type were tucked away into the skeleton of the Outpost. Some proudly flew their colors out front. Doors flung wide open as sounds drifted out of their open entrances and tented structures (There might have been smells accompanying the sounds as well but Alice was lacking the needed sensors to pick those up.) One tented respite stood with a proud color of rich purple embroidered with gold thread on willowy poles. A withered man--one who looked dingy and dirty compared to the rich colors-- sat on a woven mat of reeds presiding over the collection of nick-nacks at his feet. What they lorded over was hard to make out and that is what drew the ghost closer. Feet touched soundlessly on the stone as she smoothly made her way over to him.

As she drew near and the nick nacks resolved themselves out of the haze of distance. The man seemed to not take a reaction to her approach besides a slight shift as his thickly furred brows drew together as she stopped at the edge of the mat.

Laying before her feet was, simply put, trash. Torn pages with ink so water damaged you couldn’t make out a single word turned into a swirl of lost knowledge. What appeared to be a spinning top of some type had a snapped spine and was further divided into three rough chucks. The rest of his items followed the same type of pattern, prompting the ghost to wonder aloud to the man about the quality of his...merchandise.

“Where did you get these items? They look as if they were pulled from a trash heap.” She spoke calmly, trying to keep the disappointment out of her voice, possibly sparing this ancient one some sort of dignity if he could muster a satisfactory response.

“And what if they were!” He snapped back, gums flapping in the breeze. “You don’t like! You don’t buy! The dead don’t carry valuables anyways.” He finished with a harrumph.

“Ah… I shall just...continue on then. I wish you the best of luck.” The ghost still not quite sure what she expected beat a hasty retreat from the interesting individual placing her back in the middle of the wide cobble road. Perhaps she just made the biggest fool of herself, she mused, maybe that man happened to be sitting on a powerful artifact? One of supreme power!

A baited pause ensured as she mulled over the thought before the ghost broke out in laughter.

“HA! Hahaha!” The ghost doubled over on herself, wrapping her slender arms around her shaking stomach, taking in unnecessary breaths in an attempt to stop the cramping soulmist. After a few more shakes and an exhalation, Alice stood back upright and wipe away an imaginary tear. “I think I’ve been having my head too high in the clouds. Magic isn’t around every corner.” She chided herself casting glances over the nearby shops seeing what else could catch her interest. “No matter how unusual the seller is” As she cast a glance back at the man at the end of the street before continuing drifting down the street, her eye caught on one tent in particular and made a snap choice.

That one. She decided so suddenly that the turn to propel her towards it caused a delay from her head and body causing the soulmist to lag behind briefly leaving her head disconnected from her shoulders before the two pieces twined themselves back together. The little accident hadn’t gone unnoticed as she heard a girlish scream and a snicker. She whipped her head around to catch a quick glance of two children, a pigtailed blonde toddler, and a pre-teen brunet boy, both wrapping their fingers around the edge of a building at the end of a street who were stealing peaks at the ghost from a distance. Their eyes were large and round in interest and surprise. Feeling just a tad bit of embarrassment from being gawked and laughed at she sheepishly gave the children a three-finger wave before diving through the flapping cloth entrance of her destination.

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If Only In My Dreams

Postby Alice Weaver on December 27th, 2020, 12:41 am


The tent Alice dove into was a small affair with its burlap walls encompassing barely a ten-foot diameter. A stout wooden table sat in the center of it with two chairs facing towards its center on opposite sides. One of them was currently occupied by what appeared to be a lithe man with serpentine eyes that tracked the ghost as she entered. Though ask Alice to recall the exact features of what she assumed to be a Dhani male or at least a mix of the snake-like race and she would not be able to tell you. The more she tried to pin down his features the more they seemed to run away from her mind. Was his hair black or brown? Cropped or long flowing? Did he have a sharp nose or was it almost nonexistent? The only thing that seemed to stay consistent with the frustrating shifting of features was the silver necklace that hung on fine chain links weighted down with an elaborate inverted triangle that seemed to fall into itself for eternity.

“It iss ssslightly rude to sstare no?” The Dhani male spoke with a deep voice that rumbled out betraying his smaller form. “And you are sso hard to ssee but I can tell you are trying to pin me down. Not ssso easy is it?”

Shook from her intense scrutinization of his form she cleared her throat.

“No, it's not. It's quite frustrating actually.” She remarked with a raised eyebrow before she decided to stop being rude and manifest herself for a more solid form better suited for the conversations she desperately wanted to have with this person.

She reached out from the center of her core to her wispy, gossamer edges of soulmist and clamped down on the errant threads with her mind. Ordering the soul stuff to crush itself down and take on the illusion of solidity. First, the false mass blossomed from her chest before flowing down her arms and dress, bringing more color to the ghost's hazy form. Though the materialization was far from perfect with her smugged, imperfect edges it worked well enough. The whole time she was pulling her form together the Dhani’s slitted eyes never blinked or flicked away from her as he took in every detail of her amateurish form. Throwing the feeling of being stared at off with a twist and ‘crack’ of her neck as she spoke, “Would you be willing to enlighten me at what you are doing here and why you keep changing your appearance? Is it some sort of elaborate joke?”

The Dhani let out a sibilant chuckle causing his broad...no. His thin shoulders to go up in a shrug as he held his hands up to his side.

“There isss no joke. An Artissst just hasss to keep practicing hisss ssskills, no? Asss for what I am doing here I wisssh to sssimply tell ssstoriesss to people who would lisssten. Would you care for one, wandering dead?” He questioned as he extended his hand in a smooth motion to gesture at the chair that was sitting across from him.

Taking the bait Alice decided to humor the snake. His words carried a reverb to them that seemed sweet and enticing as well as the fact that he was an oddity in of itself. Besides, a story sounded like the perfect way to pass the ghosts' boredom. So she stepped forwards while she maintained her physical form, neatly stepping around the already pulled out chair and gingerly sitting on the rough wooden planks so as to not accidentally phase through it and tumble to the ground….

“You’ve intrigued me I must say. I’d be more than glad to listen to a story if you would oblige me. I’m sure whatever thread you can weave it would be...fascinating to listen to.” And maybe while he was spinning his tale she would have a chance to pin down just what exactly he was doing. She was sure it had something to do with the symbol around his neck though she was struggling to place it as she was sitting there being distracted by his changing form.

“Wonderful, Misssss Alice. Pleassse sit back, relax, and enjoy. My ssstoriesss have a tendency to become quite vivid to ssssome but I assssure you that you should feel no fear and that you should trust me to deliver you safely. Jussst let me know if you are willing

What an odd warning...wait I didn’t tell him my name did I? I must have…that's the only thing that makes sense But unbeknownst to the ghost the djed in the air was thick and something was afoot as it twisted to an unseen hand, curling around and licking at the undefined edges of the ghost as her shoulders relaxed. Followed by her leaning further back into her chair with a contented sigh.

“Yes, I am willing to go along with whatever you wish to do to tell your stories. And I will trust you to guide me through your stories...don’t worry too much, however. I am quite difficult to damage.” She chuckled, still locked onto the Dhani’s silted eyes, one of the few things that wasn’t shifting about the man.

“Let usss begin then.” And he leaned forward with an excited twinkle in his eyes, chair creaking under the shifting weight.

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If Only In My Dreams

Postby Alice Weaver on December 27th, 2020, 2:18 am

As he leaned over the table, almost dragging himself across the flat surface, his words were spilling out of his mouth rapidly, spinning a tale about a child walking on a street alone in the snow. It sounded vaguely familiar but nothing she could place her finger on. Besides, it wasn’t like the story was easy to pay attention to either as there were more interesting things twisting throughout the air around the pair.

She actually felt the temperature dropping. A physical sensation that swept through her otherwise senseless body as she found herself grasping at her uncovered arms, prickled with gooseflesh she shouldn’t have and breathing a shaky breath that steamed the air in front of her face before it crystallized and fell to the ground as a fluffy white substance.

“Snow?” Concern crept into the ghost's voice as she began to stand up, alarmed by the anomalous appearance of the flakes. Something that shouldn’t be possible since the disappearance of Morwen. But before she could complete the motion the Storyteller's voice rang out from behind the small cyclone of ice that was contained, swirling and churning, atop the table.

Ssssit and Lissssen! The force that lurked behind his words slammed into Alice’s mind like a sack of stones, smashing her back into the chair and she actually bruised her lower back against the hardwood. The sudden shock parting her from her breath as pain for the first time in six years spread like wildfire across her nerves, throbbing and angry, as she started wide eyes through the snowstorm that was spinning through the entire tent. A storm that was thickening by the moment with biting snow and ice. With an abrupt moment of clarity, she realized she could still make out the shadowy form of the Dhani man that rippled behind the snow, eyes seeming to almost glow a burnt yellow from behind the sudden gale.

I didn’t lie when I sssaid my ssstoriesss were realissstic. The Dhani chuckled, voice cutting clearly through the roaring frost as the ghost was buffeted, digging her nails into the chair with her suddenly physical hands, hair whipping around her face, obscuring her vision even further. The biting cold numbed her dead flesh and sent her eyes watering from the drying wind. Now where wasss I? Ah yesss. Enjoy your ssstory. I assure you that you will find it quite nosssstalgic… His voice still reverberated through the storm that was localized within the tent. And at his words, the pace of the blizzard picked up its pace to an even more terrifying level as it threatened to pluck Alice from the chair in toss as it whited out her vision and she felt her stomach drop to the soles of her feet as the world fell out from under her…

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If Only In My Dreams

Postby Alice Weaver on December 27th, 2020, 3:59 am

A gentle thud rang out among the snow-covered streets followed by a puff of powdered snow that was kicked up by the impact of a smaller body.

“Pah! Pffffft. It’s in my mouth!” A higher-pitched child-like voice bounced off the stone walls of the buildings that surrounded the ramrod straight city road. Mittenened hands pressed into the fresh snowfall that cracked and squealed as they pushed themselves up off the ground. Thick locks of red hair clumped together with frozen snow occluded their sight. After a few slips and struggles, the view finally stood up wobbling slightly before stabilizing and whipping around in a whirl of colors. “That was a cheap shot, Hawk! My back was turned.” The indignant voice shouted towards a well-muscled, red-haired teen boy who had a mop of hair frosted with snow and pale skin the same color as the coated surroundings stood, casually tossing and catching another snowball from hand to hand.

“Never run away from the enemy, Alice! An adventurer knows to never give their back to an enemy!” The laughter in his voice clear as the night sky as his eyes twinkled before he gave a deep magnanimous bow. “Would the fair lady like a chance to arm herself? Or is she going to pout and hope a strapping knight would save her?”

Bleh. Cheeks puffed on her face while flushing a bright red as she stuck her tongue out at her grandstanding older brother before bending down to scoop at the powered, sparkling snow. Intent to gather some ammunition of her own to get a shot downrange! To show him whose boss! Just because he’s larger doesn’t mean she can’t take him down a peg! Thoughts of glorious victory rang through her head and she could almost hear the trumpets blaring victory through her head as her gloved fingers dug into the snow.

Pfft The gentle sound of snow impacting snow drifted to her ears from behind her.

“Damn! You’re too short Alice! When you bend down you almost disappear.” Hawks laughter rolled across the empty street between them. “I don’t think I was ever that small? You’re what? Eleven summers now? I wasn’t that tiny at that age haha!”

Fwooosh! Thunk!

“Argh! That one had a stone in it Ali!” He shouted still laughing as he staggered back, shaking the snow from his eyes and giving his head a shake from the impact. Blinking open his eyes at the sound of crunching snow and fast approaching footfalls just in time to see a winter dress fluttering in the breeze and a child-shaped rocket with a mane of red locks barreling into his stomach. Fists full of snow along with eyes declaring that vengeance shall be had!

“Wut oh…OOOF.” The air leaving Hawk’s lungs in a great burst as the two siblings collide with one another with one at their top speed! His leg flying back to arrest the backward moment but with him already disoriented by the rocky snowball and the full-on tackle his sister just gave him his leg slipped into the snow and comically flew into the air. The leg drawing a perfect half-circle as he fell backward into the thick layering of snow with his sister riding down with him, cushioned from the impact by his chest as he wrapped his arms around Alice to keep her from striking the cold cobbles.

The combined weight of their impact created a minor flurry as they disturbed the snow resting peacefully on the ground both sprawled out. Alice was the first to recover and pushed herself up from her chivalrous impact shield looking down on him with wide, grey eyes full of concern.

“Hawk! Are you ok? I’m so sorry I didn’t mean for you to fall like that I just wanted to…” Alice blubbered on over top of him, concern for her brother bubbling up.

“...I’m fine….Its….ok.” He gasped out to her, a half-grin crossing his features. He said one thing but his face was saying another with it growing flush and bright red. A sheen of sweat breaking out across his forehead.

“My gods Hawk what’s wrong! You’re not ok!”

“Can’t...breath…”

“What?”

“Get...off!”

“OH!” Quickly she rolled off his body into the cold, dry snow. As soon as she got off of him he drew in an earth-shattering breathing, gasping and choking a few times before flopping limply onto the snow, starting up at the pale sky.

“Sweet Dira. I thought that was gonna be the end! Suffocated by an angry sibling!”

“Not funny…”

“It’s just a little funny, you have to admit it?” His joke ran into the flat gaze of Alice as she towered over him with a cocked eyebrow.

“So are you going to get up or not? Mom is going to be pissed if we aren’t cleaned up soon and back at home. Even if they won’t be back home tonight she always knows! I think Mr. Trevor rats us out…”

“Fine. Not like I just about died or anything…” He sighed out with great exaggeration before accepting the hand his sister offered to him. Both working in concert to pull him up out of the snow that was starting to melt around him. “Let’s go get warmed up eh Ali?” And that was punctuated with a quick ruffle of her hair that set the snow trapped there free and drifting on the cold breezes that meandered by.

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Alice Weaver
Crafting A Second Chance
 
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If Only In My Dreams

Postby Alice Weaver on December 27th, 2020, 4:44 am

Soon after their departure from the small side street were they having their importune duel in the snow they arrived in front of a modest stone home. A single story with a few windows and a stout oaken door was the only decoration present. The home was tidy enough with clean stone and no trash rested across the side of the building. That wouldn’t be tolerated as the Weavers had a business to run out of their home and it wouldn’t do to have a state of their home driving away businesses. Their mother would have their head if that was the case… but the Hawk cracked open the door and quickly shoved Alice through the door while giving a wave to Mr. Trevor who was watching from across the street, so the older man didn’t see Alice sticking her tongue out at him.

Once inside the modest home, the pair picked their way across a few piles of unfinished and half woven cloth, stumbling slighting in the darkness of the home as the weak light from the window was rapidly fading and the cold was setting in.

“Alice, start a fire. Mom made a pot of something and all it has to do is start cooking. I’ll make sure the shop is locked up ok?”

“Mhm. Remember to close the blinds as well.”

“I will. I promise.” He waves away her concerns while he continued to pick his way across the storeroom their home had become, tripping over a few piles of cloth and tangling in a bit of thread with a curse before reaching the back door that separated their home from the front of their small clothing shop. After listening to his footsteps echo through the closed door and the rustle of some cloth she started to work on getting the fire started.

Kneeling in front of the fireplace with a full pot hanging over it she reached for a bit of tinder that they kept on hand, the fire thankfully already stocked with wood for the cooking fire. She’d have to remember to thank her father when he came back from his trip this was something he would do. Her mother would never do that for her despite how much she hated building a fire… But the point was it was a simple matter to shower the nest of tinder with their stumpy piece of flint and catch the sparks. Gentle blowing on the glowing particles cupped within her hand before they burst into a small flame. Hungrily devouring the wooden shavings that they were birthed on.

Moving with haste she shoved the bundle into the heart of the stacked wood and watched as it licked hungrily at the larger logs as she moves a few smaller sticks on top of it. Leading the fire through a learning process, almost like one would teach a dog. Slowly working up the size of the fuel until it caught the larger logs and the fire roared. She took a few minutes to stare into the flames and imagine if just for a moment she had some control over them and could make them dance across the room under her command. But no matter how much she screwed her eyes shut and focus the flames did not respond. Disappointed but not disheartened she leaned back and sat in front of the fire. Waiting for the pot to heat up for a warm meal while Hawk finished closing up the store.

After a few chimes, Hawk came back and picked his way through the fabrics littering the house, snagging a blanket along the way and sitting next to his sister waiting by the fire.

“Nice job of the fire you little pyromaniac. What’s cooking.”

“I think mushroom stew? At least that what we bought when we last went to the market this morning.” She responded, ignoring the pyromaniac comment. She did notice the way Hawk’s nose wrinkled at the response. “Stop being a baby. Mushrooms are good.”

“Yeah. Good for tasting like dirt.” She just huffed at his unreasonable hate for the fungus and both sat in silence next to one another while watching the fire turn itself to coals as the pot heated.

Once it was steaming and bubbling the two siblings produced two wooden bowls and a ladle to portion it out. Alice ate happily humming as she did while Hawk held his nose and force only one bowl down and watched with mock disgust as his sister went back for another bowl. Once the meal was done Hawk collected the bowls and went to clean them out using the snow sitting outside their door while Alice poked and prodded at the fire. Wanting coals to keep them warm throughout the night.

“If you keep poking it like that it’s gonna bite you ya know?”

“I’m going to make the fire bite you if keep saying that every night.”

“Yes, Wizard Alice.” Hawk laughed as he entered back inside, moving back to the fireplace and sitting next to Alice, wrapping a blanket the family wove together around them as she leaned her head on his shoulder.

“I like it when Mom isn’t home.”

“I know Ali. I know.” He sighed

“I wish she didn’t come back”

“I know Ali. But she’s not here right now so don’t worry about it ok?”

“Fine.”

“Good”

And the red-headed brother and sister sat in comfortable silence, watching the fire die down, bellies full of warmth and hearts filled with the knowledge that they’ll be there for each other as long as they lived...

Suddenly, jolting up, Alice snapped back aware within the tent, now silent and empty, the Dhani gone along with the howling storm. Shaking hands flew to her face as she no longer felt the warmth of the fire on it or the smell of her old home.

“It was just...just a dream?” Her hands still shook and her voice quavered as it all felt so real. The only knowledge that is wasn’t all false was the core of warmth that was fighting against her cold soulmist, that burning with a heat that rivaled that the fireplace, within her center. But it was fading and trickling away. Taking the vivid memories along with it. Reaching towards her center she tried to hang on to fragments of its warmth as it slowly slipped through her fingers. But those that break the natural cycle so seldom get to keep any warmth or happiness. That warmth? That is only for the living….

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Alice Weaver
Crafting A Second Chance
 
Posts: 121
Words: 145803
Joined roleplay: November 7th, 2020, 11:42 pm
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