Offerings to the Dead

A phasmonia dedicated to the dead near Brunnhold.
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Tom Cooke
Posts: 293
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 32
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Notes & Tracker
Writer: Graf
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Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:24 pm

The Ghost Town Brunnhold
in the afternoon of the 9th of bethas, 2719
The effort of concentration was wearing at his unpracticed, already-strained attention span. Being honest, he wasn’t sure how much longer he could make it. He felt something different and new – something like a presence, a sense of weight, something he imagined was somebody else’s mind – but couldn’t tell much about it; he’d expected that something else would happen, something more concrete and accessible to his own senses, and felt faintly disappointed. And hungry for lunch, come to think of it.

Then he began to feel that something was wrong. Just focusing on the ant was becoming a labor worthy of a Magister, and so he squinted, grunted, shifted in his seat – then found himself shutting his eyes, massaging them with his fingertips. There was something familiar about this feeling, but he couldn’t pin it down well enough to examine it.

Tom reckoned it was like if you’d been holding onto a thing for months, for so long that you’d forgotten you could put it down, and then somebody tried to pry your fingers off of it one by one.

He swallowed against a wrench of nausea in his gut, trying to force himself to move. Stop, he tried to say, call it off, call the little stopclockers off, but his jaw was locked, the muscles twitching; he managed to squeak something garbled between his teeth, but his throat felt paralyzed. Everything that was holding him upright had turned to water, and he sank to his side, shuddering.

Vrunta, he thought, I ain’t going to be outside, I ain’t going to forget – when I lose this one, I’ll just take the lad’s and go from there—

But he thought less and less.

He knew the watery, smeared place that was calling him back. The dormant, bare-armed trees, the little ants and skinny-legged birds, the still-blooded frogs burrowed deep in sleep – shivers of warmth in the sightless dark. If he touched them with his heart, they’d begin to die. But he’d want them, he knew; he already did. He’d need to draw everything warm into him, to embrace it until it was dead to the roots and could give him nothing more. His borrowed blood had become as sluggish as the frogs’. There was something else warm in the phasmonia, something that breathed and thought and possessed a soul, and he coveted it suddenly with a starving man’s rage.

But then the pressure ebbed. He wrangled himself back around his stranger’s body, fist full of dead grass, hissing between his teeth. As he tightened his grip on his old bones, he could feel his muscles relaxing, twitching. Becoming his again. And it was as if he’d crawled back into his own head – or somebody else’s – and he wasn’t sure what he’d been thinking about, or why; he wasn’t sure of much of anything.

His ears were ringing, and he wanted to keep his eyes shut, but he heard a voice calling for him. How long had it been calling? He pushed himself up and looked around him, but it was like looking through a dirty pane of glass. His right eye wouldn’t stop twitching and fluttering.

Silhouetted by the bright sky, a blurry, dark shape swam into focus – a young man’s face, framed by black hair. “Ezre?” The name came out slurry. “What’s the f-fuckin’—what’s happened—?” Slowly but steadily, he dragged himself upright, sitting with his back against the tree. His stomach lurched, though, and he braced himself, clamping a clammy hand over his mouth. The dirt and the stones and the bushes, the little round houses, all seemed to melt underneath that impossibly bright sky.

Tom swallowed, trying to calm the nausea. He waved a hand. “S’fine, I’m fine,” he grunted, “fine, ’s’all—clockin’ Circle. Don’ need help. Jus’ goin’ t’go back t’the Stacks an’ then—” He gagged on the word, swallowing thickly again. He blinked owlishly up at Ezre, wiping a tear away from his right eye.

“Ezre, an’ what about – are y’ all righ’?”

Could’ve sworn there was something different, some anxious susurrus stirring underneath the skin of the moment. It was a hell of a moment, though, and to him, the whole air sang of shock; if he felt anything, it was swallowed up by the thunder of his pulse in his ears.
Last edited by Tom Cooke on Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 796

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Ezre Vks
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:02 am
Topics: 6
Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
Race: Galdor
: better with the dead
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Muse
Contact:

Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:08 pm

Ghost Town
Noon on the 9th of Bethas, 2719
There had been a few very brief moments of clarity, of actual contact with a mind belonging to a person that Ezre knew was, in fact, more than just dead but also mysteriously outside of the sacred Cycle. He saw in the facets of the crystal in his tattooed hands flickers of images, tentative impressions of what the man who now inhabited a body that had not been meant for him at birth—or had it?—was seeing. It was a thrill for those handful of heartbeats, Ezre gasping in realization that such things were, in fact, possible, but also in realization that he was entirely overwhelmed by everything he was seeing, unable to entirely make sense of the jumble of sounds that felt like they reverberated through mineral structures and details that appeared in the tiny shapes that made up crystalline edges.

He hadn't known what to expect, and it was strange.

Strangest of all was the sensation that he wasn't welcome, the revulsion that had to be monic in nature that deepened the chill he'd begun to feel and bit into his bones, twisting his delicate features into a wince while he huffed a breath of hot air from lungs that ached because he'd held it too long. Even as he attempted to disengage, to recite the Monite that would close their connection and back out, he felt how slow the mona was to react. And in that brief moment, the hungry, needful nature of Tom's unliving existence seemed to stir from its roots in the body it had claimed.

Dark eyes widened in panic because in those few seconds, he unwittingly felt the brush of spirit tendrils against his living senses, reaching as if his own warm body was nearer, caressing his projected consciousness like a ripple of water in an endless dark pool.

Curiosity whispered for him to linger, to explore his boundaries, but common sense took over in the confusion and longing and the Hoxian's more self-preservationist animal brain broke his concentration and cut the Clairvoyant connection with a jolt, Ezre shuddering back into focus.

He heard himself apologize.

He stood, feeling somewhat disconnected from the small, lithe body he'd been born into, blinking because he had no name for what he'd felt but he knew he'd been touched by something none the less. Gods—what about Tom? The dark-haired boy moved quickly, crunching over old snow and slipping at least once over icy stones, scrambling for the place he'd seen through the raen's eyes just far enough away to be out of sight range from each other.

The galdor outer layer looked confused, disoriented. Had Ezre harmed him?

"I—oh—I don't know what happened. I think Clairvoyance has a very strange effect on your existence." His answer was not without emotion—Was it concern? Was it enthusiasm? Was it academic interest? Was it fear?—but his face was as calm as ever despite flushed cheeks made red by the frigid temperatures as well as obvious chagrin. He was persistent, offering the man his hand and when the older raen refused, leaning to curl fingers around his elbow and heft him carefully to his feet, firm but supportive until he found his bearings,

"I'm sorry. I've never—there's no research—I just—Did—did you feel anything? I think I felt the real you and you weren't too keen on my company. Nor was the mona too keen on yours." In his typical fashion, his delivery of his very off-the-cuff sort of theorizing was deadpan above the thrum of his pulse in his veins and the fluttering of his heart against his sternum. His mind attempted to process it all and failed, instead desperately filing away thoughts and feelings, sensations and observations deep into his mind for later back in the quiet warmth of his dorm where he'd write it all out and compare it to as many books as he could find on any remotely related subject in the Clairvoyant field.

"I'm alright, zjai. Embarrassed, if I must be honest. Please allow me to walk back with you to make sure everything is safe for you—I just need to gather my things and—by Bash's immovable patience, I'm very ashamed I allowed my excitement to take over my better judgement."

Here, the Hoxian took over for the boy and he bowed his head, staring for a long time at the frozen ground at their feet before looking up again, dark eyes sincere as he searched the face of a stranger he'd probably trusted too soon and who'd trusted him just as quickly perhaps purely out of their mutual desperation for the supernatural connections.

"I should have been more careful. You are young—uh—as a raen." How ridiculous such words sounded from the lips of someone who was hardly an adult. The wind blew and ruffled hair, snatching at the edges of their clothing and biting into their exposed skin, but this time, on the breeze that gnawed at their ears was a sound. It was low and drawn out, but definitely a voice. Like some whisper of paranoia or some memory replaying itself through the mind right before falling asleep, the voice was faint:

Wait.

Ezre had begun to turn, wanting to gather his things, but his dark eyes widened and narrowed in the same heartbeat, slowly moving to glance at Tom as if for a moment he wondered whether or not their thoughts were somehow entangled by his misuse of Clairvoyance. No, definitely not. His delicate lips drew into a thin, tight line and the man would feel him gathering his field, pulling it all in like he sucked in a breath.

Audible but gibberish, a keened hum filled the air with the next breeze, definitely not just the wind in the trees or through open windows of miniature phasmonia houses.

The Hoxian was having a full day. He tilted his head toward Tom's moa and the beautifully intricate gates to Ghost Town as if telling him that they needed to begin walking, shifting his feet only slightly.

Finally, as the air became still again, he looked around.

And saw nothing.

He frowned, field ramscott and almost generating its own heat on such a freezing afternoon, "Despite my usual interests, we should go. I have no frame of reference for your company in the presence of other spiritual phenomenon."
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Tom Cooke
Posts: 293
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 32
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Notes & Tracker
Writer: Graf
Contact:

Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:40 pm

The Ghost Town Brunnhold
in the afternoon of the 9th of bethas, 2719
He’d pawed away Ezre’s proffered hand, of course, almost petulantly. But when he felt the lad’s hands at his elbow, gentle but insistent, he didn’t protest; he held onto the galdor’s arm as he pulled him shakily to his feet, leaning on him for awhile as he got his bearings.

The earth tilted underneath Tom, and he fought his gag reflex at another mighty lurch in his stomach. Much as he’d been looking forward to lunch not a half hour ago, he doubted he’d be keeping anything down this evening. He kept his jaw clenched, snorting sharp breaths in and out of his nose and trying to focus on Ezre – blank-faced, wide-eyed Ezre, who swam in front of him, whose mouth was moving and shaping words he couldn’t seem to understand. Wasn’t exactly like a ringing in his ears, ne; more like he felt pressure from the inside of his head, and it washed out everything else.

He felt a little wetness at his lip and reached up to wipe away a nosebleed. As he leaned there, squinting at Ezre, he started to make sense of his words. Soon as he could wrap his head around them, he let out a brittle bark of a laugh. “Fair fuckin’ strange,” he breathed. He was too tired even to attempt proper Estuan; he reckoned Ezre could take him however he damn well wanted to talk, at this point, given the circumstances.

As the lad went on, his brow knit, lip twitching down. The real you repeated itself in his head, seeming like it wanted to unfold; it made him feel warm, suddenly, like it meant something, like it meant proof, but he didn’t have the energy to think through it right now. “Aye, I felt somethin’,” he snapped instead, slurring, “somethin’ like the mona wedgin’ theirselves into me an’ tryin’ to take me apart at the floodin’ seams. What the fuck? He was starting to regain his balance, though, and hearing his own words, strained and sharp as they were, made him second-guess.

He studied Ezre’s bowed head, and then met his gaze steadily as he raised it. When the young man apologized, his eyes softened. Bash’s patience is immovable, huh? He waved a hand, trying to smile, though he knew it must’ve looked sickly.

“Epaemo. Don’t be embarrassed, Ezre. I offered t’ help,” he pointed out, raising his eyebrows, “an’, hell – judgment – when I was your age, I didn’t have judgment at all, leastways not the better sort. An’ we learned somethin’, didn’ we, ’bout magic an’ green raen?” Shakily, he started to stand on his own, but his hand lingered on Ezre’s shoulder. “Don’t be – don’t need ne help, got Clary—”

Wait.

It’d been a buzz before then, something he’d thought might’ve been part of the rush of his blood and his pulse in his ears. It’d been like whispers just at the edge of his mind, fuzzy and constant and layered like the voices he used to hear in the middle of the night when he was a boch. Tapping at the back of his skull like clammy-cold fingertips from the dead at the bottom of the Mahogany.

His face went slack with surprise; he glanced sharply at Ezre, wondering if he’d said something, only to find that Ezre was looking at him with the same expression. Then the lad tilted his head, indicating the gates, the poor mung moa over in the dappled shade – waddling in a slow half-circle, straining to preen at her tailfeathers, utterly oblivious. Tom felt the galdor’s field go sigiled, heating the freezing air. It seemed to give him strength.

He gritted his teeth, nodding once, abruptly. He tried to take a step on his own, but his legs felt like they’d gone to jelly; he tottered unsteadily, fingers tightening on Ezre’s shoulder.

He grunted, glancing around at the empty phasmonia. Empty, my erse. All the hairs on the backs of his arms were still standing up; he couldn’t hear it anymore, but he felt sure it was still there. “Needapinamannahelp,” he mumbled through his teeth, resigning himself to using Ezre for support. For now, it was more important to him to get the hell out of there than to walk on his own.

It was slow, shuffling-slow; his heart hammered in his ears with the thought of that voice veiled by the afterlife, that voice like the bloated dead’s tongues. Still, it wasn’t far down the winding path, round all the little houses – houses Tom wondered, now, what lived inside. He looked at them as they passed, stared as long as he could into the miniature windows and doorways. With the sun right overhead and the shadows thick, they were all dark as pitch inside. His vision swam with motes from exertion, and by that trick of his strained vision he swore he could see something shifting and curling and moving in the dark.

Maybe they were his dead, he thought, irrational and bang moony, swallowing a sudden surge of panic. Maybe they’d seen him, now, recognized him – he’d cotted so many men, so many bodies sunk in the bay, tangled up in seaweed. Their bodies were tangled and sunk, but their souls weren’t.
Last edited by Tom Cooke on Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:41 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 953
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Ezre Vks
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:02 am
Topics: 6
Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
Race: Galdor
: better with the dead
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Muse
Contact:

Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:18 pm

Ghost Town
Noon on the 9th of Bethas, 2719
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It wasn't as though Ezre hadn't heard such colloquialisms so much as he simply wasn't used to them. His lips turned downward in a frown instead of remaining in their delicate resting position on his otherwise emotionless face, but he said nothing. He planted his feet as if he was confident in his center of gravity, a motion that would reveal to someone with experience like Tom Cooke once wielded that the Hoxian had perhaps some kind of combat awareness. His fingers curled supportively into the Incumbent's elbow and his other hand produced a square of silk cloth from in the fold of his thick wool coat, dark eyes on the trickle of blood from the older galdor's nose instead of meeting his blue-eyed gaze.

For a moment he was simply fascinated that the man's body worked, just as his mother's body had worked, had grown children in her womb, despite having once belonged to another soul entirely. Well, one child anyway. Only Ezre had survived, though she’d wanted to give him siblings. Apparently his soul was the one chosen by the gods and that was simply his burden to bear in the world while living in it. Anatole was warm and full of breath instead of cold and unmoving like empty bodies in the morgue on campus where he spent far too much of his time to ever admit out loud, and as he followed the trail of red before Tom wiped it away with a hand and a sniffle, he didn't realize he was staring.

Ezre blinked, looking back up to the other man's face when he snapped in confused frustration and obvious fear at him, this time the boy visibly wincing but still not shying away, taking in the strange sensation of the raen's scattered mess of a field even as his own willingly mingled with the chaos. He didn't seek to tame it so much as to simply sooth it, but the words slurred at him weighed him down with more regret and he couldn't help but apologize some more,

"Epa—what?" His unfamiliarity with Tek left the dark-haired boy unsure whether he was being mocked or apologized to, admonished or complimented. His rhakor faltered and a mix of emotions flickered across his face behind the thick cloud of his breath. It didn't matter, brief as it was. This had all been a surprise and he would have to analyze the results of their experiment later. It had not been a failure so much as not the right kind of success, "I know now that such things are, at least, theoretically possible, which is interesting."

He agreed quietly, beginning to release the other man to let him attempt to walk on his own with obvious reluctance, stopping short of saying anything else when the wind blew and bit through his clothes, when the wind blew and he felt more than heard things that should not have been on the wind at all. The Hoxian made his suggestion to move with haste and Tom staggered, muttering something that the boy with the Deftung accent didn't linguistically comprehend and yet totally instinctually understood,

"Zjai. Here." He reached not for the older galdor's arm but instead tangled their fingers together, holding the man's aged hand with his inked one, tight and confident as he gave his surprisingly strong support to navigate them both away from the circular clearing in the middle of the tiny houses of stone. He turned, however, watching over his shoulder, glancing into the frigid shadows of small buildings, attempting to see the source of the sound.

"Take me with you."

This time it was a real voice, clear and well-formed. This time instead of the tickle of a cold breeze, there was the shimmer of movement, the dancing of shadows, and then in their path between their two warm bodies and the lazy, dappled moa stood a less than entirely opaque form. It might have once been galdor, bent with far more age than Tom's borrowed Incumbent body was by at least fifteen or even twenty years, white hair matted, skin loose and wrinkled. It looked wet. It looked drowned but not yet bloated. Its bright green eyes glowed and its mouth moved and it made eye contact with both of them, slowly, one at a time,

"Take me with you, please."

Ezre seemed to snap to attention and moved to position himself between Tom and the ghost, the raen able to feel the rushing tide of his Clairvoyant-laden field as he gathered it to himself, as it seemed to heat the air between them again with so much unseen but very tangible motion. He did not, however, release the other man's hand. Instead, his fingers curled tighter.

The boy who was fascinated by supernatural phenomena was still very capable of being afraid.

He raised his other hand, first two fingers pressed together and thumb raised next to them while the others curled into his palm, the tattoos on his fingers converging in a pattern, holding the specific position in front of his chest, arm extended, prepared to cast. He knew the Warding spells, and he’d spoken them before—

But Tom.

Ezre had seen what effect simple communication attempts had on the raen; it had gone poorly. What would a Warding spell meant to expel ghosts do to him in the runoff, even if he wasn’t the intended target? Oh, by the Circle. This was not a time for another experiment. He couldn’t risk harming the man he’d just met. He couldn’t risk anything at all. The Hexxos acolyte’s jaw clenched, aware of his duties and of the expectations laid upon him when he accepted the faithful service his family had continued for generations. He was a Keeper of the Dead, and that meant caring for more than just corpses or serving bereaved families. His heart fluttered wildly in his chest as thoughts ran through his mind, pulse roaring and palm against the older man’s already sweating. He licked his cold-numbed lips and stood firmly, voice wavering only a little as he swallowed his fear, words thick against his tongue,

“Take you where? How can we help you?”

The ghost’s gaze shifted and it seemed to float closer, walking and dripping but leaving no wet trail behind it. It’s visage rippled as if the motion set invisible waves dancing on the surface of a pond, “Back to my watch. No. Not that watch. My watch over this precious little city. But also … I followed my watch here—my watch! Do you have it? Give it to me! And take me back!”

The creature’s face became a hideous sneer and it loomed closer still, Ezre inhaling sharply,

“Do not come nearer unless you are prepared to return to the Cycle!” He hissed, field pulsing in threat with a force that probably made Tom more nauseated than he already was, “I will do what I can. We both will. Where are you interred? Where is your watch?”

“You don’t have it?!” The thing moaned and the sound of it rang out far louder than it should have, startling the moa who squawked and desperately rugged at its reins, tied though they were, “Give it to me! And take me back there. The sweet pond where the benches look over all of Ghost Town, where my bones are finally quiet. I just want to go back there. Everything looks so different.”

Ezre did not release the hand he now squeezed very tightly without knowing, his other still raised but trembling. For a moment, his dark eyelashes fluttered heavily as if attempting to play out possible scenarios in his macabre-aware mind. Far too knowledgeable about these things, his shoulders finally sagged and he began to lower his hand, field relaxing as if he’d made a decision,

“Show me where you followed the watch to. I will help you.” It was with great reluctance that finally—finally—his hand slipped away from Tom’s, but he turned, fingers still brushing the other man’s, whispering furtively, dark eyes sincere despite the hint of panic that frayed the edges of his tone of voice, “If anything happens, you’re to find Madame Exudus. Stay back for a moment just in case I have to cast—I don’t want—I don’t want anything to happen to you. This is my duty, however. It should be a simple matter … I think.”
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Tom Cooke
Posts: 293
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 32
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Notes & Tracker
Writer: Graf
Contact:

Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:03 pm

The Ghost Town Brunnhold
in the afternoon of the 9th of bethas, 2719
Starting to wind down, he was. That barmy field of his’d strained his nerves more than he’d accounted for; it was always there, prickling and pulling, so he didn’t realize how bad it was. Not until he felt Ezre’s mingle with it, quiet and matter-of-fact, like a towel you’d wrap around a drenched and hissing cat. He let a few deep breaths shudder in and out of his lungs, trying to push everything else out of his head. Up close and personal, the clairvoyant mona were organized and calm. It grounded him, along with the young man’s firm, unyielding stance. A fighter’s stance.

With the hand that was still on the galdor’s shoulder for support, he patted his back gently, an unspoken thanks. As he started to move away and staggered, he felt the most unexpected thing of all: instead of catching him by the arm, Ezre reached for his hand. They were both cold, numb-cold, but the lad was surprisingly strong.

Reluctantly, Tom let himself be guided along the old path. He wobbled and shook, but he let Ezre take some of his weight, and he didn’t fall. The embarrassment’d drained out of him, mostly; now, he was just grateful for a lifeline.

Take me with you, please.

They stopped in their tracks, breath steaming in the chill air; Tom’s blood ran even colder, and he froze. He’d never’ve admitted it, wasn’t even aware he was doing it, but he squeezed Ezre’s hand tighter all the same. “What the fuck?” he hissed under his breath, barely audible. His eyes flicked up and down the figure in front of them, strained to focus – it was as if it was made out of the mist, like a body glimpsed at the bottom of a river, or something that’d crawled out of the godsdamn—

Tom found he couldn’t breathe for a moment. It ain’t – it can’t be. Drowned things. Bodies in the bay. But they were in Brunnhold, he reminded himself, and this thing – he was barely registering what he was seeing. He forced himself to see straight. It was an old, old man, those scraps of wet white hair barely clinging to its mottled scalp, and it must’ve been a galdor. Still, when it looked at him, he felt those eyes digging into his soul like twin flames.

When Ezre addressed it, his eyes slid sideways, watching his face. He watched him raise his hand. Then the ghost stepped closer, and Tom found that every muscle in his body – drum-taut – wanted him to move backwards, to scramble away. Wasn’t like another man, this thing, wasn’t like having a knife at your throat. Wasn’t…

I just want to go back there. Everything looks so different.

Tom’s brow furrowed, and his grip on Ezre’s hand relaxed. He studied the phantom’s hazy face, his own a slack, pale mixture of fear and now sadness; when Ezre let go, he fumbled a little, but managed to stay upright. The young man’s dark eyes finally tore his attention away from the thing, and, meeting them, he listened intently. Then he nodded once.

As Ezre advised, he took a few shaky steps back, then paused.

He had to force himself to look at the ghost; he couldn’t keep from wincing at the sight of the wan, water-logged thing, but he forced himself to look it in the eye. “Aye, it’s all – it’s godsdamn unbearable – I know. But we want to find you this watch,” he said, “an’ get you back to restin’ where you feel safe. It ain’t easy, bein’ alone out here in the cold, but it’s this lad’s job to help you, an’ you got to let him.”
Last edited by Tom Cooke on Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:42 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 696
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Ezre Vks
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:02 am
Topics: 6
Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
Race: Galdor
: better with the dead
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Muse
Contact:

Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:09 am

Ghost Town
Noon on the 9th of Bethas, 2719
When Tom's thin, aged fingers curled tighter around his delicate hand, Ezre could only imagine the sorts of things that went through the raen's mind in the same moment his own heartbeat picked up its rhythm in his narrow chest. The contact filled him with a sense of focus, with a protective need, even as the dripping, groaning ghost in front of them threatened to steal that focus with every hot cloud of breath that escaped his chilled lips.

The restless spirit spoke in confused ramblings, but it was clear it was focused on one word: watch. Whether it truly meant an actual watch as a time-keeping device or whether it actually meant somewhere to keep watch over a place, the Hexxos acolyte felt as though not even the ghost knew for sure. Somewhere in death, it had clearly become obsessed with something in particular and simply refused to let go and slip away into the Cycle. Whatever it was, whichever it was, Ezre wanted to help.

It was his duty to help.

He felt torn, however, concerned for the raen he stood in front of and yet also eager to bring peace to the confused manifestation of monic memory that blocked the path between the pair and the moa. The dark-haired boy reluctantly released the other man's hand, whispering his instructions urgently before turning to face the dripping, wavering spirit. Ezre took a step forward,

"We will both help." He spoke so softly, though his field was still taut and ready, the Monite for any number of possible avenues of protection burning against the back of his teeth like the heat of his rapid breath. He hadn't changed his mind so much as he was worried to leave the raen alone. Perhaps he should have just told the man to flee.

The glowing, near-amorphous thing was suddenly closer—the Hexxos and the raen would have felt as though they blinked and then it was upon them—far too close to Ezre than he felt he was ready for. There was a sensation of interference to it, the static of its existence not at all dissimilar to Tom's frayed field only stronger, almost nauseating or intoxicating or both. Definitely both. He was fascinated and terrified at the same time, dark eyes taking in the way the ghost's features shifted and changed, faded in and out of recognition, dribbled and oozed as if still submerged beneath a body of water and then dragged out again.

He wanted to touch it, but instead he bit his lip and held himself still. He wanted to ask it questions, but instead found himself without the right words, heart against the back of his throat, a strange yearning stirring unbidden in the catacombs of his busy mind.

"Yes, you will. You will help me find it. My watch. Watch—" The ghost's voice was shrill suddenly, and it reverberated in a gurgle through the frigid air, hands reaching for the Hoxian, gnarled by age when alive and by time in undeath, fingers so close to the boy's golden skin that his hair danced as if on a breeze. He didn't flinch, however, didn't lean away, eyes wide in his surprise. The restless spirit seemed drawn to living student as if it wanted something more from him than just assistance, as if it was definitely planning on devouring him whole, and yet it tilted its head to look up at Tom, hollow features staring vacantly but searching for something it desperately couldn't find in the raen's galdor features,

"—just like the pond where ice reflects the sky, flowers bloom even in winter here because they are made of stone. A garden that never grows, but time ticks by without me, leaving me to watch. Alone." Groaned the ghost, suddenly morose, tilting its head toward Ezre and leaning even closer, brushing against the boy's field with a very visible shudder of discomfort. It whined, blubbering, "I just want—"

"—your watch. A time keeping device? You lost it by flowers?" If he could have mustered the reasoning to reach out and touch the thing, the Hexxos acolyte might have, but again he stood so still, ignoring the thunder of his pulse, "Can you take us to the last place you saw it? Whatever it is."

"No! Yes! I lost it—here—here. I must watch it. All the houses. One a home." The ghost attempted to step closer as if it wanted in Ezre's personal space but recoiled instead, pushed back when the young Hoxian flexed his field in warning. With a long moan, the ghost began to walk, leading the way through what felt like the entire phasmonia, leading them through sunlight and fading in and out of visibility as if it was a candle actually affected by the frigid wind as it blew. The route was shambling, seemingly random, and the ghost cursed and whined, screeched and moaned, complaining about everything and rambling on about seeing. Ezre offered his support to Tom, but it was also very clear that the dark-haired boy didn't want to be far from him, that he was perhaps more frightened than his emotionless exterior at all betrayed. This ghost was stranger than any he'd thus far encountered.

It muttered about water, about how its lungs had burned without breath, and it gurgled about how quiet the city had become here, how no one seemed to want to visit the beautiful capitol any more. Had it died here? Or was it really from Vienda?

Its words were so disjointed and confused. It soon became obvious that they'd all walked in circles more than once, the ghost taking the same paths over and over again.

Eventually they would find themselves having gone around the same circle of sidewalk, the small mock-houses in this area unkempt and overgrown, but a few of them with stone flowers carved delicately in stone window boxes. Glancing in the open windows revealed that the interiors had been meticulously decorated at one time—tiny furniture, painted wallpaper, even paintings on the walls. Food offerings had been left on the miniature doorsteps, and some galdori had even left food inside of the houses in the form of perfect, tiny feasts. Dried flowers, faded spectographs in glass frames, and various mementos crowded these houses more than any others.

The ghost had become agitated, loud, finally turning on the pair, shifting for a brief but obvious moment to a size far larger than expected and attempting to reach for Tom's face, only to pull its twisted, bony hands back with a hiss as if in pain, as if getting close to the raen's field caused it to feel things it didn't want to or to remember what it wasn't.

The next blink and it was literally touching Ezre, hands tracing over his clothing. The old, gnarled form of the ghost half-whispered, half-shrieked in the boy's ear, and he closed his eyes at the strange sensation of contact with the etherial being, aware that there was a strange compulsion to draw closer still, aware of the pull of ghosts and how it was said they wanted to consume the living, "Yes, here. Find it! Give it to me!"

The oozing thing finally drifted into the entropy of Tom's vicinity, and, strangely enough, in the buzzing sensation of his frayed field, the restless spirit appeared to grow larger, clearer, more focused. A hand hovered near the man's chest, just over his heart, hissing in a voice that could only be described as full of wrathful envy, full of accusation, and yet perhaps also full of a clue, "Tick. Tick. Tick. I hear it. You have my watch! Give it to me! Or is that just your heart? How can you keep it wound when you are dead?"

Did it know what the raen was so easily? What could it see that others could not? Were they looking for an actual watch? Or something special and dear to the ghost's now long-rotted heart?

"Tom, I don't see it. Do you?" Ezre admitted with a tone that sounded both distant and yet also ashamed, peering in houses, dark eyes lingering on all of the fixtures. He finally looked at the ghost, field relaxing in a way that would seem dangerously inviting, but instead of standing still, he shifted listlessly. He began to carefully sort through the offerings, one house at a time, unable to resist the urge to keep looking, unable to walk away now that the ghost had captivated his attention in a way he wasn't sure he was even entirely aware of.

Finally, he held up a pocket watch and the ghost squealed in unearthly triumph, formless body brushing against Tom and leaving behind a dripping, oozing slime on his coat. It felt more solid than before. Gnarled hands reached for the tarnished silver, reached for Ezre's tattooed hands that had curled around a surprisingly well-kept pocket watch that he'd found on a table in one of the houses, nestled in with tiny books and a miniature inkwell and pen,

"My watch! It is dead—oh—dead—nooo—look what you did to my watch! How can I know when it is time!"

Ghostly fingers wrapped around the Hexxos' wrists and he looked up in surprise because he could feel its touch, because its grip was tight and greedy. The restless spirit spoke again and as it did, the boy's lips moved with the words—"I cannot hear it!"—and then slowly mouthed wind it as if he was suddenly unable to speak.

Tom could see Ezre through the still-translucent ghost, but the dripping, ugly thing seemed to be changing. It moved forward and the boy's hands passed through the drowned old galdor's thin body, his arms impaling it while its hands cupped the Hoxian's face, growling greedily, "Tick. Tick. Tick."
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Tom Cooke
Posts: 293
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 32
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
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Writer: Graf
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Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:12 pm

The Ghost Town Brunnhold
in the afternoon of the 9th of bethas, 2719
The thing was closer, now, close enough for you to feel the fetid breeze, and no amount of compassion or empathy or even pity’d suffice to keep Tom from stiffening. He stood his ground, swallowing ice-cold spittle in his near-paralyzed throat. Watching as it got closer to Ezre, close so that it stirred a few strands of his dark hair – watching as it raised those glistening, emaciated fingers like it wanted to touch his face. Tom clamped his mouth shut against the urge to shout.

He’d never once doubted that Ezre knew what he was doing. The whole time they’d sat and talked, he’d accepted as unspoken truth that the lad’s knowledge of the ghosts and the mona and whatever the hell else you could come up with far outstripped his own. ’Course, that wasn’t hard: you couldn’t quite fill a thimble with everything Tom knew. He’d been more than happy to let this patient, soft-spoken young man from Kzecka tell him about raen and the Cycle, because it’d been news to him, and also because Ezre’d seemed wise beyond his eighteen years, wise beyond even Tom’s thirty; whether he knew it or not, Tom had been clinging to warmth of that wisdom and stoicism like a drowning man to a raft. Wasn’t much more than an hour ago, after all, that he hadn’t even known what a raen was.

For the first time today, Tom wondered if Ezre might not be flying by the seat of his godsdamn pants.

He wanted to ask him what the hell he was doing just standing there, staring at the ghost with – hell, what was that? It was hard to read his expression, as it always was, but he would’ve sworn he could see something like wonder in the galdor’s eyes. He stayed silent and listened, though, and when the ghost turned and began leading them at Ezre’s entreaty, he met the galdor’s eye with nothing short of deep concern in his.

Still, they set off after it. Tom moved shakily back to Ezre’s side, keeping close and clasping his shoulder with a hand for support. They were a strange procession, the three of them, winding off among the gnarled, bare trees and the stone benches, the little houses with their little furnishings and cold offerings. He would’ve sworn he’d seen the same tree more than once, and he knew it was so when he saw the same house for the third time, but they kept walking.

He squeezed Ezre’s shoulder. “I hope you know what you’re doin’,” he muttered underneath the ghost’s rambling. It might’ve sounded harsh, but if there was any anger in his voice, it was eclipsed by fear. He couldn’t hide it anymore: his face was slack with it, blotchy from the cold but paler than parchment. He studied each house as they passed it with wide, haunted eyes, mouth drawn into a deep frown.

He’d seen these before. He’d been in a place like this. He wondered what all these baubles, that pretty painted paper, all the little food so lovingly-left – he wondered what it’d feel like to a ghost. Could they still feel the warmth of their loved ones’ fingers on the frames of the spectrographs? Were they confused, surrounded by everything familiar except for people? Why are they so small? thought Tom irrationally, absently. Do the dead take up less space?

When the ghost turned, it tore him away from his thoughts. There was no not looking at that thing.

Tom gritted his teeth tightly the first time it reached for his face, resisting the urge to jerk his head back. He wanted to stand his ground, but everything in him wanted to turn and stumble away; he felt like a panicked animal. It seemed more real, more solid than it’d seemed before, and when it spoke, he stared at it long and hard. How can I keep it wound when I’m— Despite the terror – his chest ached with it – something’d started to take shape in his head.

It’d left some kind of residue smeared on his coat, but he barely registered it. He didn’t join Ezre in rifling through the houses. He didn’t even answer, chewing through it in his head. He worried that if he knelt, anyway, he wouldn’t be able to get up, and his head was spinning. There was something else going on. Even if there was a physical watch—

Ezre rose with a silver pocket-watch in his hand, and then, without warning, the ghost was so close that it was practically melting into him.

Tom didn’t know much about ghosts from an academic’s perspective, but being as he was something like one himself, he didn’t much like the way it was getting close to Ezre. Reminded him a little too much of the way he’d tangled himself up in Anatole. When Ezre’s lips moved and nothing came out, his distress doubled. He stared at the glitter of silver nestled in the lad’s tattooed fingers, head suddenly emptied of thoughts.

Fuck, fuck, floodin’ fuck, I should’ve – Stop! His voice sawed into the thick, heady silence, unexpectedly loud. He took a step forward, staring at Ezre’s face through the dead thing’s wispy presence. “I keep it wound ’cause it ain’t mine.” His enunciation was clear; he bit off the words. His voice was thick with pain and pleading. “Understand? It ain’t mine. My ticker stopped a year ago. Yours’s been dead for more. Dead. You hear me? We’re dead. You don’t need your watch; you need to let it go.”

Another step forward. With hesitance, with something almost approaching gentleness, he reached out and placed both hands on Ezre’s. He pressed them. “Listen to me,” he said softly. “This lad’s been wound, and his watch has a whole, long life ahead of it. It won’t wear out for a long time, gods willing.”

Slowly and carefully, he tried to work his thumb underneath Ezre’s cold fingers, wincing at how tight they clung to the tarnished silver. Tried to start prying off fingers, to start working the old thing free.

“But if you take that away from him, you won’t have your watch – you’ll just have somebody else’s, and you’ll be miserable. I know – it’s warm, and the blood runs, and the heart beats – but it’s not home. I’m in somebody else’s home, and I regret taking it. You don’t want that to happen.”

Tom broke off, snarling a curse under his breath. Those tattooed fingers were locked around the godsdamn thing, and his own hands were weak and shaky. Maybe it was because of the cold, but he could feel something prickling at the edges of his eyes.

“You say you want your watch,” he breathed, yours. You got to let go so you can let Alioe wind it back up. There’s more life, but you’ve got to let go to get it. Please.
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Ezre Vks
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:02 am
Topics: 6
Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
Race: Galdor
: better with the dead
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Muse
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Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:50 pm

Ghost Town
Noon on the 9th of Bethas, 2719
"I have only theory. Not tested fact. Remember, the great majority of academia denies the existence of anything paranormal." Ezre managed to riposte to Tom's muttered worries as they followed the ghost in its seemingly repetitive, confused meanderings. It was, of course, a euphemism, the filling of the cracks in his own confidence with gold, and while his whisper was without any particular emotion, the dark-haired boy's expression was far from deadpan. He was simply too curious to be too afraid, but perhaps he should have been.

They searched and the ghost ranted and oozed, but even the Hoxian born of a raen was not prepared for when the restless spirit came so close. It poured itself into his field, the sensation of it thick and strange like falling into a puddle of slurried ice in the high altitude spring of his homeland. Its touch was cold, as if he wasn't numb enough already from the frigid Bethas air, and because of the differences in temperature, it felt more like being burned than anything else. He hissed, but instead of wresting away or backing up, Ezre studied the elderly, translucent visage in front of him. He met the ghost's glowing, greenish gaze and—

It felt like drowning.

—staring into the empty, residual monic leftovers of a soul not willing to return to the Cycle as it moved closer still, his arms felt thoroughly frozen solid as soon as the restless spirit filled his personal space with its now imposing presence. Strangely enough, he thought of the embrace of his mother. Rare though physical affection was from Lreya once he was of age, her arms were always welcoming and warm. They were never harsh. Never this cold.

It felt like floating.

There was a strange compulsion to feel welcomed as if he was wanted, to feel as though the ghost meant him no ill will, to feel as though he was helping. Surely, right now, he was helping someone lost find their way. Wasn't that what he was called to do? He didn't need to struggle or move. He needed to relax. He had been made an approved offering—the ink beneath his skin said as much—and he'd been told his duty was not only to comfort and guild the living but also to comfort and guide the dead. He heard Tom speak up, he heard his words and tried to hang onto them as an anchor, the Hexxos acolyte finding it difficult to gather his field when the ghost's presence felt like so much static, when the ghost's presence seemed powerfully able to deny him the desire to concentrate at all.

The raen's hands were far warmer than they should have been in this Bethas weather, but Ezre couldn't focus on his worried, angry, frustrated face because the ghost was oozing closer, pouring towards him, pulling his attention away like the tide. Tom's entropic lack of a true field seemed to disturb the ghost, causing it to ripple and writhe, but it was also so close to its prey, to the warmth of a willing body, that it simply moaned. Ezre's mouth opened and he attempted to say the words he heard in his head—no, don't—run away—but nothing worked as it should. The former Incumbent began to uncurl his fingers from the pocket watch, and he would find the dark-haired boy's grip tight and resistant as if he was paralyzed in place: one finger off, two fingers, almost the third! Then they'd tighten again, one snapping back around the watch with infuriating speed and he'd have to start over.

"If I let it go—how will I know it's time?"

By immovable Bash, the dark-haired boy had never wanted to give into anything more than he wanted to in this moment! It was such a strong, insatiable desire to offer himself to this ugly, confused, starving thing, and yet as he stared through it into Tom's face, he longed to know the difference. These creatures were memories, selfish repetitions, monic memories unable to entirely unbind themselves from the physical life of Vitan existence while raen like Tom were somehow accidental, slips in the smooth fabric of the Cycle, a lost memory that should not have been found again. These creatures were hungry, longing to devour the energies of anything alive. Raen were adrift without an anchor, longing for something to hold onto.

They weren't the same, and yet, there were just enough similarities.

Ezre blinked, once again self-aware instead of so blinded by the spirit's overwhelming sense of twisted, warped greed, "It is passed your time. You have stayed too long." He whispered, but his voice was very distant, able to hear but unwilling yet to move, "Let me take you—"

The ghost was noisily morose at the thought of leaving everything behind but seemingly affected by Tom's admission that it was, indeed, dead. That they were both dead—that much it clearly knew about the raen—but that this boy, this delicious boy with his thrumming pulse and glorious field, was very much alive.

"Yes! Wound so tightly! I hear it. I hear it now. I want to feel it."

It felt like it took hours when it only took a few seconds, but the restless spirit squealed and growled, berating Tom as he worked, its screeching objections ringing in Ezre's ears but not shaking him from the hungry creature's purposeful stupor:

"I want to feel all of it. Tick. Tick. Tick. In my hands."

The ghost warbled, sounding as though it was gurgling words through a mouthful of water, the hands cupping the boy's face unmoving even though now they were chest-to-chest, the ghost holding his gaze and the iciness of its touch completely overwhelming. Ezre inhaled as though he'd been denied breath against his will, as though he'd been under water too long, and his dark eyes widened,

"Hold both, but know you cannot keep either. Wind your own watch and understand that it does not tell time for you any more here. Feel life and recognize that mine does not belong to you. He is correct—you must let go. Or I will force you to." Tattooed fingers dropped the watch into Tom's hands, and the Hexxos acolyte's body visibly relaxed.

There was a brief moment of stillness as if all of Ghost Town was given one last opportunity to fill metaphorical lungs that had long since rotted away, and then everything happened with incredible speed.

The ghost had been given permission.

The boy had released the watch.

The raen had made his point.

Before Tom could even begin fiddling with the pocket watch with cold-numbed fingers, the restless spirit made the strangest of satisfied noises, melding into the mere child before it and leaving a smear of ooze dribbling down the Hoxian's thick wool coat and delicate cheek.

There, just like that, it was gone from view, but Ezre's immediate growl of surprised pain made it crystal clear that it was not, in fact, gone from existence. He sobbed, wavering on his feet as if there was some kind of internal struggle that the raen before him would have been both intimately familiar with and yet completely not privy to. Eyes wide and breath hot, quick bursts of cloud, two voices escaped his lips when he spoke, one inked hand reaching up to hold an open palm toward Tom's chest,

"My watch! Let me wind it!Let him have it.So much life! I feel it!Hurry. Our time is limited. Trust me."

Fingers waggled greedily even though the face that looked at the older galdor was one contorted in inexplicable suffering, no longer the stoic example of Hoxian endurance,

"Give it to me!Take meYes! Take us!to the pond."

If Tom surrendered the watch, Ezre's now-familiar body would move in unfamiliar ways, disjointed and broken, eager to snatch the silver circle and trembling to turn the tiny peg and wind it. The dark-haired boy was crying, muttering in excitement, eventually getting the old, weathered thing working again because it had been sheltered by the tiny painted house for gods only knew how long. With a triumphant whine, tattooed fingers brought the watch up to one ear, but the smile that should have been there never came. Instead, a disappointed scowl creased deeply into a face that was far too delicate for such an expression,

"This is not the sound I remember!My body is not yours. Please!Nothing feels the same. I was wrong! I have wasted so much time!Hurry!"
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word count: 1522
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Tom Cooke
Posts: 293
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 32
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Notes & Tracker
Writer: Graf
Contact:

Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:09 pm

The Ghost Town Brunnhold
Afternoon of the 9th of Bethas, 2719
Every time he pried a finger or two off, they’d clamp back down twice as hard. Every time he thought he’d wrestled the watch just a little bit free, the grip of those greedy hands would tighten twofold. He was fumbling at what might’ve been a statue cast from iron. Numb from the cold, the hands that scrabbled at Ezre’s had never felt less like his. Tom couldn’t help but feel that all his pleading had just made the mung wretch keener for a warm body, had just reminded it that the young galdor was exactly what it wanted.

But then Ezre spoke again, staid and strong, and the watch fell into his hands. Tom staggered back, shocked. He was so busy fumbling the dust-caked thing open, fumbling to start winding it, that he didn’t see what was happening in front of him. Then, he heard a snarl and a pained sob, and his head jerked up. The ghost was gone, leaving a thin dribble on Ezre’s coat: he took all this in through wide eyes, unable to make sense of it. The Hoxian’s clear, youthful face had wrenched itself into shapes he’d never seen it wear before. When a tattooed hand reached out for him, he staggered back, clutching the watch tightly to his chest.

Horror flushed through him like a high fever.

“Ezre, lad,” he breathed, “Ezre,” but he didn’t have enough breath for it to make a sound. Right now, he didn’t even know if it mattered. He didn’t even know if it was still Ezre he was looking at.

He remembered this well enough, in his way, but he’d never seen it. There’d been the briefest space where he’d wrangled with Anatole’s spirit, not knowing what it was, not knowing what was going on; he’d already coiled himself around the galdor’s bones, but he’d felt another man’s voice in his throat, snarling and spitting and sobbing for control. But then he’d been empty, hollow and shaky. As if he’d exorcized himself of a ghost, except it hadn’t been himself, and he’d been the ghost.

This struggle was taking longer. When Ezre’s mouth opened, two voices wrung their way out, tripping over each other. Tom stared at it, still pressing the watch in his hands. He didn’t know that he trusted the lad, not now, but he was right: there couldn’t be much time. Struggling against the urge to bolt, he moved near Ezre again, shoving the watch into his grasping fingers and then scrambling back a few more steps.

He didn’t want to watch this grotesque display, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away. Was this what I looked like? The thing was pawing at the watch as if it didn’t know how to use Ezre’s hands. It took what felt like an age for it to get the thing working, but Tom clung to the feeble hope that once the watch was ticking again – tick, tick, tick, like the ghost kept saying, slavering, incessant – they’d be in the clear somehow. That it’d just fade away, wither and slip out of Ezre like a bad dream.

That didn’t happen. Instead, Ezre’s face creased bizarrely in a scowl. He – no, they: he heard Ezre’s voice, too, interspersed with the awful thing’s pleading – they were asking him to bring them to the pond. Unsteady and weak, everything in Anatole’s body screamed against it, but he knew what was at stake, and he couldn’t see as there was anything else to do. He met Ezre’s eyes one last time, swallowing thickly.

Wordlessly, he turned and began to lead the lad and the ghost away. If they’d been an odd procession before, they’d only gotten stranger, weaving painfully slow among the miniature houses and bare trees.

A pit of guilt nestled at the bottom of his stomach. He’d seen the way Ezre’d hesitated when he’d come face-to-face with the ghost. He’d stopped himself casting something, and Tom had a feeling it was on his account. All this moony chroveshit was because of him. He should’ve seen the lad for what he was; he shouldn’t’ve encouraged it, shouldn’t’ve offered himself, should’ve put his foot down. He’d had a bad feeling about the whole affair, but he’d blundered ahead as always.

Blundered ahead like he was doing now, he couldn’t help but think. He was leading a lad possessed by a drowned ghost toward a body of water. He didn’t reckon himself to be the smartest kov on Vita, but he could put two and two together. He didn’t like it none. With each shaky step, he felt like there was a weight on his shoulders, getting heavier and heavier. The thought of that thing shambling behind him in Ezre’s skin made the back of his neck prickle and crawl, but he couldn’t bear to turn around.

The ghost’s rasping ramblings assaulted his ears, but he couldn’t get Ezre’s earlier words out of his head. The great majority of academia denies the existence of anything paranormal, he heard, like a broken gramophone spitting out the same line over and over. They were alone, he thought. This thing would bleed Ezre dry in the phasmonia, bleed him dry and leave him dead, and nobody’d be any the wiser.

When he stopped, it was beneath the bare, twisting boughs of a small tree. He grabbed at the trunk for support, the bark slick with frozen dew. He gestured roughly ahead.

The pond lay in front of them, dark and still; a thin, feeble skin of ice stretched itself out over the waters. The walkway wound down toward the edge of the water, round another stone bench that perched near the bank. With a deep breath, Tom pushed away from the tree, hobbling the final distance to the bench and holding onto the back of it with a white-knuckled grip. Only now did he cast a glance back at the Ezre-thing, a wince spasming across his features.

“Here,” he said, gesturing again. “You do a damn thing to endanger Ezre, an’ I’ll – I’ll jump out of this body an’ cot you myself.” He looked down at the grass at his feet, cursing vividly. It sounded bad even to him.
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Last edited by Tom Cooke on Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1147
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Ezre Vks
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:02 am
Topics: 6
Location: Brunnhold, Anaxas
Race: Galdor
: better with the dead
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Muse
Contact:

Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:13 am

Ghost Town
Noon on the 9th of Bethas, 2719
It was unfortunately impossible in this exact moment for the young and astute Ezre Vks to fully explain the intricate and completely academically unverified details of the differences between possession by ghost and the total spiritual takeover of a raen on a body.

But, gods if the boy didn't wish that he could. It was fascinating.

It was also, unfortunately, quite painful.

In all honesty, the boy had perhaps fantasized about this experience previously in his young life, and while the Hexxos had been quite explicit about the details of both forms of possession in their religious writings and collections of memoirs, the young acolyte was the sort of personality to believe himself not so much an exception as someone different. Reality was, as always, cruel and unforgiving when shattering such immature ideals. Ezre's optimistic imaginings were stretched and pulled, nerve by nerve, the sensation of ley lines flayed by an aberrant spiritual entity rebelling against monic power in its most unfiltered form settling with great discomfort, invisibly, upon his entire existence.

His body was no longer quite his own and his mind was still very present in a trapped sort of way like he was some insect in a jar, but in the frigid Bethas air, someone—something—else was making it all move. Muscles stiffened in objection to the unearthly compelling of the restless spirit who'd pressed itself against his synapses, forcing the Ezre to move with unsteady motions. Instead of sweating, however, thick beads of what must have been ectoplasm rolled down from his temples at the opposing exertion. The ghost even commandeered his ability to speak, and the alien sounds that left his throat were deeper and ragged as if the very act of making words took incredible effort.

He wanted to sob, but the creature gave him little reprise, speaking out of turn whenever it felt like the boy wanted to say something himself,

"Why is everything so different?"

Bemoaned the creature from within the young galdor, Ezre wincing, struggling to answer,

"Because time has passed, andNo. Be quiet, child!you are outside the Cycle, like I said—" The pair seemed to gurgle in pain and growl in helpless undead rage at the same time, and his dark eyes turned upward to Tom at the older man's warning, wide and wild. Did the dark-haired boy believe the threat? Or did the restless spirit think it an idle jest? It was, quite frankly, impossible to tell on the Hoxian's face. He simply exhaled a shaky breath in some hot cloud, the rumble of familiar words ground out against his teeth in unfamiliar tones,

"Tick—tick—tick. It sounds wrong!" Clutching the watch to the warm layers against the student's narrow chest, the greedy, disoriented ghost could feel the motions of the gears as well as the beating of a living heart. Tearing their gaze away from Tom once they stopped stumbling along the phasmonia's mostly maintained paths—both of them a pathetic sight of young bodies and old souls or old bodies and young souls or both or something completely ridiculous like that—Ezre's face turned slowly to look out at the pond.

"Ah." The sigh was drawn out, long, and raspy like some last breath.

Shuffling toward the bench while its currently borrowed body whimpered and whined in discomfort, every nerve now positively on some kind of arcane fire, the body of the boy slowly sat.

"No! This isn't the same. The water is stillFrozen. It is BethasRoalis, child!Bethas!" Tom would feel it, the stirring of Ezre's field, a sort of tightening as if all the mona that clung to him had been drawn into a bowstring and pulled taut,

"What are you doingggg—" The ghost shouted in some warped version of the Hoxian's voice, "—stooopp—my watch!go get it yourself!"

Blinking slowly, with a harsh, jerky, clearly difficult but desperate act of motion, the boy's tattooed hand moved with surprising swiftness to toss the watch out on the ice. It hit the frozen surface and slid across it, toward the middle of the thick, still thing.

The boy gurgled and howled, the mixture of voices both a sound of horrified offense—of the invading ghost—and horrible pain—of the poor host. Ezre had hooked a foot around the bottom of the bench and his other hand had curled inked fingers against the edge of the icy bench's stone seat. His whole body jolted and spasmed, curses and all kinds of things spilling from his cold lips that weren't at all of his own volition.

The young Vks was resisting.

Slowly and with great effort, the Hexxos acolyte looked to Tom and clearly fought to have total control of himself, voice wavering, "Back away, Tomnoooo get my watch!I need you to move, pleasetake us down there!do not listen to anything else."

Closing his eyes tightly, willing his body to be as still as it could be, the restless spirit that had possessed him was displeased and it showed in the way he trembled and huffed, both because everything hurt and because it was madly attempting to use his nervous system to make him move! This was, unbeknownst to anyone of course, the old ghost's first body, disintegrated by time and obviously insane, some terrible monic disturbance slowly wasting away while obsessing over some precious heirloom, and it wasn't going well. Not that Ezre felt it was going terribly, too afraid to at all know what to do other than try one last thing. He had learned that even his simple attempt at a Clairvoyant connection had disturbed Tom's existence, and so he attempted something a little more complicated.

If it didn't work, well, he wasn't sure he had any other ideas left to try.

It felt like moving through that icy pond below to gather his field. He didn't open his eyes again to see if Tom moved, but very quietly, very purposefully, the young galdor began to sing. It was his voice, strained and desperate, and, for a few precious moments, it was only his voice that was audible. Monite in a cloud of breath, not spoken but put to song.

He didn't know all the words. He didn't know the whole tune. He'd heard it before and he knew what it meant but he was no Elder. His training was incomplete. But he knew what such spells were capable of and he was desperate.

He knew it would brail—he wanted the backlash, counting on the ghost to squeal in anger and pain and the mona to respond accordingly.

Barely making it into the invocation of his Warding, the Clairvoyant mona in the air building like some summer storm, agitated and utterly disgusted with the restless spirit's very existence outside of the Cycle, there was a brief moment that everything could be said to have been perfect—if destruction was what one was aiming for. Ezre's casting was interrupted by a rage-filled howl, everything unraveling in a mere heartbeat:

The dark-haired boy slumped forward into the snow with a hiss, shuddering or convulsing. Even Tom's ears would ring and that wave of nausea, no matter how far away he might of been, would grip him far tighter than it had before, tenuous existence wavering as his spirit tendrils were forced to grip tighter one more time as if washed over by some tidal wave of pure monic will.

With a growl, a writhing visage of the drowned ghost crawled its way from the young galdor's warm body, yanked unwillingly or shoved forcefully. It keened, twisted on itself and disoriented, pulled by those unseen particles in far too many directions at once all while reaching for that watch on the ice.

Glowing eyes fell on poor Tom, burning with confusion and envy, and then, like living breath in the Bethas cold, its vapor-like existence disappeared on the breeze.

Gone.

Then again, so was, just as suddenly, any sensation of the mona, the sentient particles fleeing the vicinity instantaneously. Probably for hours, if not a full house. Ezre was still, crumpled in the hard, crusty snow, but his dark wool coat rose and fell with the promise of air in his lungs,

"It will be a long walk back to Brunnhold." He sighed weakly after a silence that almost felt like too long, hoarse and distant, not opening his eyes. The boy attempted at humor, though the raen couldn't see his smile.

"I am assuming I succeeded—well, no. I failed correctly."
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