Title: Counsel The Dead [Post Gala]
Description: Tag: Dr. Tomkins (Others PM to Join)
Scott Arden - March 29, 2012 01:31 AM (GMT)
It was disgusting. Truly a despicable display of what it meant to be human. That was almost always how Wai-Ho viewed a 'wiping.' It took away something that no one had a right to take away. This was at least how he had always viewed things. He remembered seeing the vacant expressions and the hollow-eyes of people that had been wiped one too many times. Sure, there were claims that methods were not nearly as unsophisticated now, but it was all the same. All magic has a price, and unwilling participants should never be made to pay it. There was more than a small amount of hypocrisy in Wai-Ho's belief systems, but being a teenager forever had the advantage of never seeing your own actions in such a light. So as the envelop glided across carpet and up under the door of Dr. Tomkins Ph.D., there were absolutely no thoughts that he wasn't making the correct decision. Wai-Ho had been set into motion and there was no going back. Of course, it was with no small amount of satisfaction. After all, he'd gone more than a little bit insane after wallowing in his own death for ten long years.
The envelop was made of thick parchment paper, folded neatly like some grand invitation to a lucrative Ball. 'Dr. Tomkins' was printed across the front in a rolling penmanship that gave the impression of coming from someone who studied Calligraphy. The thick envelop smelled of Earth and something otherworldly, along with the candle wax which was used to neatly seal it. The incredibly old fashioned seal was done in jet black wax and the stamp resembled some sort of lotus flower. It was as if someone combined European and East Asian customs into a lovely invitation of some sort. The envelop sat there on the floor, just waiting, almost begging for the intended individual to open it up and read it. The parchment inside was a single sheet with jagged edges and rough texture. The penmanship was just as lovely as that which was on the outside of the envelop and the words were carefully spaced though there were no lines on such an old and yellowed looking stationary.
'Most Esteemed Doctor Andrew Tomkins Ph.D.
Your presence is humbly requested by an anonymous beneficiary. If you would be pleased to make a deal with the Devil, head to the Hart Historical Cemetery at sun-down. Come alone or your invitation will be revoked. Simply follow the main walking trail until you can go no farther. Turn South and cross three rows of headstones until you reach the tallest mausoleum near the line of trees. The door will be open for you; make sure to close it behind you.
Wai-Ho had a feeling that Tomkins would accept the invitation. Who could resist such an intriguing letter and mysterious circumstances? Certainly not someone in the doctor's line of work. That was the assumption at any rate. The ghost had paced inside the mausoleum for hours before the meeting was ever to begin. Soft music could be heard when any individual drew close enough and there was a light spilling out of the ajar stone door- casting shadows across the nearby headstones. Wai-Ho eventually gave up pacing and stood with his back to the door. The youthful figure in his black jeans, black shirt and black jacket was a striking contradiction to the otherwise gray stone and fuzzy green moss. Shadows formed all around from the unnatural glow of a huge candle before him and yet his forever-eighteen body cast no shadow of its own. He was there to the untrained eye, but even those without magical talent might get a shiver from looking upon him.
Nearly black eyes had slid closed and he concentrated on his own breathing. It felt good to draw in a breath, even if it was unnecessary and the air stale. Wai-Ho was in a complete meditative daze when a twig snapped somewhere nearby. That snapping sound made his eyes pop open and shift to look over his shoulder. He didn't see anyone, or sense anything just yet. Perhaps it was just an animal happening by? It was hard to say. Absently he reached over and turned up the music coming from a small radio sitting atop a stone casket. The song made him grin. 'Tainted Love' refurbished in thumping chords by none-other-than Marilyn Manson. The irony wasn't lost to the Revenant. Even in his madness there was a certain amount of awareness to his own instability. Wai-Ho had accepted long ago that he couldn't accept his own death. There was an empowering feeling in his chest at having taken responsibility and labeling himself as obsessed. The difference between himself and some of Dr. Tomkins more successful clients was the desire to change. The only change that Wai-Ho sought was that of flesh and blood; now he need only wait to see if the doctor would be willing to 'counsel' him in that respect.
Dr. Andrew Tomkins - March 31, 2012 06:13 AM (GMT)
Andrew had just finished preparing an Imperceptibility amulet in his spell closet, in anticipation of an intelligence-gathering expedition he was planning for the next day, when his brother's ghost appeared with a message and a smug smile. "Hey, Tommy-boy! Your boyfriend's pet haunt just left you a note." "My -- what?" he sputtered, startled, then frowned as he parsed what Michael must have meant. What in the world? Has Arden's ghost started possessing vessels? That was not a good sign, if true; it was usually the first step towards going the full-fledged dark spirit route... first they possessed unwilling human vessels, then sooner or later they began draining them. What did the body look like? Show me! he insisted, then blinked in bewilderment at the mental impression he received in response. It didn't feel like a possessed vessel, it felt like the spirit was manifesting physically... but where was he getting the energy? Poltergeist effects during moments of extreme emotion were one thing, but poltergeists didn't leave notes.
He was irritated at first that Michael hadn't told him about the other ghost's arrival at the time, but on second thought he realized that he had a standing order for his brother's spirit not to disturb him while he was preparing his spells unless a clear and present danger existed, and he supposed a ghost leaving him a note like a character in a Regency romance hardly qualified. That left him irritated with himself for the instruction, but honestly he'd had no choice in the matter, as otherwise he'd never have been able to get through his ritual preparations without being interrupted. As he mused over these matters, he picked the envelope off the floor and examined it. He didn't open it at first, just looked it over, sniffed it, ran his fingers gently across the surface of it. It did not appear to be mass-produced, but rather hand-folded out of thick parchment with an unevenly textured surface. His name on the front of it was elaborately calligraphed, the wax seal on the back was old-fashioned and Asian in flavor... entirely consistent with the Wai-Ho whom Arden had told him about, and whom he'd subsequently researched. The smell of it intrigued him more, however, musty and instinctively disturbing in the way of all traffic with the other side.
He took the envelope into his spell closet, giving Michael instructions to let him know if anyone approached his office door, and pulled down off the shelf the necromantic grimoire he'd had with him since his parents' house had burned down in his childhood. Unlike the spells he'd learned from his subsequent mentor, these were not rituals he'd committed to memory, nor ones he often had recourse to; he did not entirely approve of the effects such magics had on his mind. His soul he was less concerned with, as by this point it was no doubt stained irrevocably black with sin, but that made the practice of necromancy no less unpleasant for him. Nothing for it, though, he thought resignedly as he flipped through the book for the desired spell, then began pulling ingredients from his cabinets as he read off the ritual description. It was a relatively simple spell, primarily intended to detect necromantic traps, and within a few minutes the cloud of white smoke rising off of the envelope made clear that there was no magic embedded within it. It was just what it seemed to be: an old-fashioned envelope. A spell of psychometry, much more comfortable to cast, confirmed that neither it nor its contents had been crafted with overt hostile intent.
"And you are an old woman, brother-mine," Michael chimed in contemotuously. "If you'd been this slow and cautious when I was alive, I'd have stayed that way." Which was true enough: back then Andrew -- he'd been Tommy then of course -- had been operating on instinct and terror and a few snatches of magical lore he'd managed to steal from secret glances at this very book. By rights he should have died along with the rest of his family when he disrupted that final ritual, it was only his great good fortune that had preserved him. He'd learned better since; fortune was an unreliable ally at best. Still, there inevitably came the point where further precautions were no longer cost-effective, and action had to be taken. Carefully, he pried up the wax seal, taking care not to damage it in the process, and shook the note out onto his working surface. A moment later he'd unfolded and read it.Hm. That's... evocative. There was no doubt that he would accept the invitation, of course, but sundown was still some hours away. That gave him time to make some additional preparations before the appointed hour. And when the time came, he followed the ghost's directions, protected by the amulet of Imperceptibility he had been fortuitously preparing when the message had arrived. It was a complex spell, which took hours to cast, but an extremely useful one. Inside the mausoleum, whose door was open as promised, he was startled to see the ghost of the student who had died shortly before his own arrival at St.Valentine's, still more startled to find him listening to the radio.
He took advantage of Imperceptibility to establish a few additional protections. Finally, as confident as he could be under the circumstances, he set aside the spell and left himself entirely visible as he closed the mausoleum door. "Well, that was certainly the most novel invitation I've received this year," he observed mildly. "So, what can I do for you?"
Scott Arden - April 1, 2012 01:16 AM (GMT)
Given that Tomkins had just sort of 'appeared' out of no-where, someone might assume that the young man before him would be startled. However, Wai-Ho didn't so much as bat an eye to the doctor's sudden appearance. "Only this year?" He said with no small amount of disappointment to his voice. Turning around the ghostly youth moved to jump from the stone floor backwards, one hand upon the stone coffin lid. He hopped right up into the air and came to rest upon his butt in a seated position. Absently he turned the radio back down a bit and crossed one leg over the other. "I'll have to try harder next time." His voice still held a bit of an accent, but was not to the point of being difficult to understand. "Be that as it may, I'm glad you saw fit to come. I was beginning to think you might stand me up. There's a first for everything, as they say." He couldn't help but smirk, leaning backwards slightly so that his hands rested against the cold stone slab.
"Where's dear Michael? You didn't send him away did you? I do so enjoy hanging out with your brotherly specter. I think he's one of the few people left in the world that understands me." Wai-Ho's mouth dropped open into a perfect 'o' shape and he let out a little yawn. Even in death, the youth seemed like he was a ball of flirtatiousness. "You can do a lot for me, and hopefully I can do a lot for you as well. I like for relationships to be mutually beneficial. Or at least somewhat anyways. My lovely presence is enough for most...but I'm not so sure you'd be happy with only that. After all...you've had Scott and I know from experience how hard it is to compete with his body." Wai-Ho let out a chuckle, black eyes sliding closed and his head hanging forward a bit. "Oh but Doctor, you haven't asked how I got this way. Surely you're curious as how I've gone from a shadowy haunt to a nearly-resurrected piece of flesh. Isn't it positively wondrous?"
Wai-Ho suddenly jumped up from his spot, moving at inhuman speeds, almost gliding towards Tomkins and settling to stand directly in front of him. Wai-Ho's hands were clasped at his back and his head tilted to the side just a hair farther than what would be considered comfortable. Though he was more flesh and blood than previously observed, it was obvious from his motions that he was still very much dead. "How much knowledge do you have a Necromancy, dear Doctor? It's a favorite subject of my father's. I must admit that I never really paid much attention to it. I always enjoyed the flashier magics, but then again that's how I ended up in my unfortunate predicament." He offered a shrug and then an exaggerated sigh. "As you may have guessed, I'm in the process of reinventing myself and I was wondering if I could enlist you for a bit of aid. I'd be willing to return the favor of course..."
Dr. Andrew Tomkins - April 3, 2012 02:54 AM (GMT)
"Sorry, I don't mean to slight your efforts," Andrew replied, not letting his amusement show. He wasn't sure amusement was entirely justified in any case; the level of energy Wai-Ho was manifesting, both in his behavior and in his casual ability to manipulate physical objects, was remarkable, and in Andrew's experience remarkable occurances were rarely good ones. "But I don't exactly live a simple life. Granted, yours was among the most intriguing invitations I've ever received... not to mention the only one of those that was actually a literal invitation, for what that's worth," he added, fishing the card out of his jacket pocket and tapping it with a smile.
Wai-Ho asked after Michael, and Andrew shrugged. "Alley-alley-oxen-free," he called, "Come on out, Mikey! You have friends asking after you." He'd ordered his brother's ghost to stay out of sight, keeping the maximum possible distance between them to avoid giving him away, but there didn't seem much point to that now. His brother's ghost didn't appear right away, though, and he wasn't particularly inclined to order him to appear faster. "He's never very far, really." He still wasn't clear what exactly Wei-Ho wanted, but he wasn't concerned; it seemed that despite a decade of independent ghostly existence, the man hadn't really changed much since he was a teenager. Andrew knew what that was like; Michael was the same way. Being a ghost did not seem to allow for much emotional growth. "Rather like you and Scott, no? It would appear you've been stalking him for rather a long time. And now it would seem you've developed the wherewithal to do so rather more effectively," he added matter-of-factly. "So perhaps it's less a matter of competing with his body, and more a matter of competing for it?" Not that Andrew was serious; while his interlude with Scott had been enjoyable, he had no intention to make a soap opera out of it. Still, he was curious what Wai-Ho's reaction to the idea would be.
"You're right, I am curious," he agreed. "I know something of necromancy, though it's not my preferred magical domain, and what I know doesn't allow for a 're-invention' of the sort you're apparently experiencing. So perhaps you have something to teach me, then?" He had no idea what 'aid' Wai-Ho wanted, or how he intended to 'return the favor', but he didn't doubt that the young man would explain in his own time. Wai-Ho seemed to enjoy playing games, teasing with his knowledge, but at the same time seemed to have no patience at all; if Andrew refused to play, he had no doubt Wei-Ho would at least change games.
So of course Michael's ghost chose that moment to drift up and join them. "Hey-ho, Wai-Ho! How're they hangin'?" He blinked twice, then poked at Wai-Ho's not-quite-ghostly body incredulously. "Holy crap! They're hanging heavy. How'd you manage that?!?"
Scott Arden - April 3, 2012 03:42 AM (GMT)
Wai-Ho waved a hand absently in the air and then started to rock back and forth upon his heels. He hummed along with the music before speaking again. "I just like for anything that I do to match my personality. You know when I was alive, I was quite 'larger-than-life.' The life at any party...and not inclined to keep secrets. Can you imagine how devastating it is to have saved the life of a dozen people and yet only one or two actually recall exactly what happened the night of my death?" Wai-Ho's black eyes slid mostly closed again and he started to pace back and forth in front of the doctor. "It's no wonder that I became an unsettled spirit. It's not entirely because of Scott, though obviously that's a large part of it." He clicked his heels together, making the sound echo as he spun to look towards the doctor again.
"Of course he's not far. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that he's bound to you. He doesn't talk against you, but his attitude is clear enough." Wai-Ho held up his left hand palm first. "Do not get defensive. I haven't the slightest idea what happened and I'm not sure I'd want to know. I don't want to get off on the wrong foot. Especially when we can probably be better together as allies rather than enemies." Wai-Ho offered a shrug and then grinned almost in a manic way. "If we were competing for Scott's body, I would have already won. It was you that pointed out to him that I was around. You saw how he reacted from just speaking words such as that. He still loves me with all his heart and soul and he always will. It's a blessing and a curse for me. Do you think I LIKE seeing him suffer the way he does??" A chilled wind suddenly kicked up within the crypt and swirled about before dying into nothingness.
"Ahem, where was I?...Oh yes!" Wai-Ho wet his lips, watching as Michael appeared and beaming a large smile. His eyes flashed with a truly happy sort of brilliance. Wai-Ho loved to be special, to be adored and have people fawn over him for various reasons. Michael's surprise made Wai-Ho's chest swell with pride and he immediately assumed that Michael was jealous and interested in perhaps claiming the same sort of fate. "Not so much a pathetic poltergeist now am I? It's amazing to think about isn't it? A second chance for those of us who should never really have died..." Wai-Ho took a few steps away, putting a bit of distance between himself and Tomkins, just as a precautionary measure. He did not think the doctor would attack him, but then again he wasn't certain of why Michael hung around the way he did. If Tomkins were to feel threatened, he'd no doubt have a problem on his hands.
Speaking of hands, slowly Wai-Ho produced his right hand, holding it up with the back towards the older gentleman and his ghostly brother. Pin-pricks of green light started to appear and then grew brighter until the entire hand was nearly engulfed in a pulsating green glow. "They're hanging green and slightly to the left." He winked and then let out a chuckle. "Ancient Necromantic artifact. I'm afraid I only have a few shards of what was once a large orb of magical power. However, said orb was able to feed dozens of undead specters and now it feeds me. It was quite by accident I assure you. I was only trying to help some unfortunate young men that got on the wrong end of a poorly cast spell. But the side effects are...magnificent yes?" Wai-Ho drew in a deep breath, feeling the stale air fill his lungs and push his chest outward. "I want to live, Doctor. But there are not very many people in this world that would appreciate a ghost managing to manifest fully. It raises a lot of questions that so-called 'leaders' of the magical world would rather shrug off than try to answer."
Wai-Ho took a few steps closer, daring to bridge the gap between them. His stare was intense and incredibly deep. It wasn't so much magic as there was just an apparent natural allure about the young man. It was no wonder he'd been so popular in life. There was an androgynous beauty and a theatrical thrall that sucked in people if they weren't careful. Of course, the doctor was probably more cautious than the average Joe off the street. "I think you know where I'm going with this. You've seen glimpses of the magical world and how people are held hostage and used as puppets. What if this could be changed? Is that something you and your brother might want to 'live' to see? What I want from you...is help unlocking the mystery of my partial resurrection and hopefully making it much more permanent. It's ambitious to say the least, but...if not for me or even Scott, consider what it might mean for yourself. Are you finding yourself starting to slow down? Need your glasses to read a bit more than before? Do your knees ache after a good work-out? The Fountain of Youth Doctor...and it's standing in front of you."
Dr. Andrew Tomkins - April 5, 2012 07:09 PM (GMT)
"I can, actually," Andrew replied drily. "Well, not the 'night of your death' part, granted; I'm rather hoping to put that part off a while longer." But the frustration of saving lives of people who would neither remember the event nor, in most cases, even credit the theoretical possibility of it, was something Andrew had decades of experience with. That was the primary reason his mentor had encouraged him to specialize in mental magics in the first place; there were simply too many events in their line of work that ordinary people ought not see, or having seen ought not remember. That Which Mere Mortals Were Not Meant To Know, he used to call it scoffingly when he was first starting his training. And after his first encounter with such an event, he still called it that, but he no longer scoffed. He'd lost count of the number of witnesses whose memories he had altered over the years. That said, some people took to it better than others, and it would not be too surprising to discover that Wei-Ho's claim, about his continued existence on the mortal frame being due primarily to the desire for recognition, was entirely accurate. "If you wish, I can arrange a party for you, have an accounting of your grand deeds recited, perhaps an ethereal ticker-tape parade or a small trophy?" He was mostly joking, but truthfully it would not be the oddest thing he'd done to encourage stuck spirits to move on to the other side.
"Do you think I LIKE seeing him suffer the way he does??" Privately, Andrew thought precisely that. Not that the boy enjoyed it, necessarily, although he wasn't ruling that possibility out either, but that there was a payoff to it, that it made him feel important and valued and attractive, and that it was more rewarding than the prospect of moving on to an unknown and possibly nonexistent future plane of existence. His response to Michael's query further reinforced that suspicion; truthfully, Wai-Ho was reminding Andrew more and more of the stalkers he'd counseled in his residency. He wondered idly whether he had a moral obligation to warn Scott about what might very well turn out to be a threat to him, an unholy combination of narcissism and necromancy, but that was a problem for another day. "To judge from the accounts of ghosts I've met over the years," he commented matter-of-factly, "very few of the dead should have died. It's rather like convicted felons, most of whom turn out to be innocent when you ask them. We apparently live in a very unfair universe." But before he could continue along his ironic track, Wai-Ho produced some truly remarkable necromantic power sources, and the whole timber of their conversation changed. Andrew had read about these artifacts, the necromantic Soul Orbs, though he hadn't known that the shards remained potent even after the Orb was destroyed... that was a useful thing to know for future reference.
It was, however, not the most important issue right at that moment. So, Wai-Ho wanted to destabilize the current magical power structure to clear the path for a new necromantic world order? That was... interesting. Not that Andrew had any particular interest in returning the dead to life, especially not his personal dead -- well, perhaps with one exception, but his mentor had gone on to his no-doubt-well-deserved reward almost as soon as he'd died, and Andrew did not doubt that he would be appalled by any attempt to return him to mortal existence. But then, he also rather doubted that Wai-Ho would ultimately be capable of it. What was far more possible, though, was that in attempting to do so he might destabilize the local power structure, the Cabal, and perhaps even -- but he backed hastily away from a line of thought that his geas would no doubt respond to with debilitating pain. And all of that aside, the Soul Orb was itself a fascinating artifact to have the opportunity to study. "That is... remarkable. Where did it come from? Spectres, you said? Who were they attacking?" He took a step closer to Wai-Ho and the glowing shards, though not close enough to touch them, and inspected them more carefully. "Fascinating," he purred, tilting his head to one side as he listened to the tell-tale whispering sounds that evidenced a prying open of the veil that separated Life and Death. "Oh, crap," Micheal muttered. "Now he's fascinated. May as well grab a beer and take a nap, Wai-Ho, he could be hours. Or, hey, share a hit of that stuff? I'll make it worth your while," the ghost offered with a suggestive leer.
It wasn't nearly that long before Andrew looked back up, though. "Well. I won't deny that you've uncovered something intriguing," he said cautiously, "I might even say unheard-of. Nor that I've had my own problems with, as you say, the existing magical hierarchy. That said, I would require a lot more information before I was prepared to commit myself against it. In the meantime, though, ... well, unlocking the mystery of your current condition, that I can certainly commit to, and is as good as place to start as any." He chose to disregard the revenant's not-at-all-subtle offers of eternal youth, although the idea certainly had its attractions, and instead changed the subject. "Speaking of our conflicted Mr. Arden, though, have you revealed your presence to him?" Seeing as how Scott was part of the magical hierarchy that Wai-Ho so disparaged, Andrew suspected it would be a complicated revelation.
Scott Arden - April 9, 2012 07:05 PM (GMT)
Wai-Ho gave the good doctor an expression that clearly stated without words, that he wasn't too amused about the suggestion of a parade for his deeds. After a moment of black-eyed stares he cleared his throat. "There is a certain manner of 'dissatisfaction' when you become a ghost, Doctor Tomkins. In life, memories can serve as comfort to a person, don't you think? Especially memories of accomplishments. While bad memories might haunt someone if they don't work through them...good memories are what shapes us into happy people. As a Psychiatrist, do you not occasionally help people visualize 'happy places' in order to ease anxiety and depression? Therefore, if someone had saved some lives, even if people didn't necessarily throw them a party over it...a person could focus on the good feelings and thoughts of having done the right thing. I mean that sounds pretty good doesn't it?" Wai-Ho swung his gaze to Michael, and locked eyes with him. "It's not like that when you're bound to ghostly form. All memories are hazy and confusing at best. The memories of good things spawn a sense of loss and an emptiness that grows in a being's chest. There is a reason that people refer to ghosts that walk the Earth as those of 'unrest.' It's not a very restful or happy existence. The happy ones go on to other things."
Finally he broke the gaze with Michael to look back to the doctor once more. "Doctor, I like you. I really do. You're level headed, devious, and work towards your own ends. You're highly intelligent, witty and have an enjoyable body. I've seen you in the throws of passion and I wouldn't mind having you betwixt my thighs. However, I would like for you to give me a bit more credit than comparing my sentence to that of convicted felon's won't you? A sentence of death has nothing on a sentence of eternity and while I'll agree with you that death is seldom 'just' as it were...dying and being STUCK is a whole different story from just dying. Many people can find rest and if and when they do, it's because it was their Time to go. Those of us who get STUCK are STUCK because it was NOT our Time. If it was...we wouldn't be stuck. Not to hit too close to home, but I do not see much resolution in the eyes of your brother. His death was unnatural and I'm not talking car accident unnatural, I'm talking UN-NATURAL." Again he looked to Michael and gave him a sympathetic, almost flirtatious smile before looking back to Tomkins. "Forgive me, I'm being rude. I cannot expect you to turn your entire world-view about on its head just because of a few words from me. Instead, I should be using deeds to show you my side of things and hope it might sway you in the future. For now...let us simply to agree to disagree like a few men trying to form a friendship?"
Wai-Ho watched the doctor admire the relic with no small sense of satisfaction. Licking his lips slowly and in an exaggerated way he tilted his head, again going just a hair farther than one would consider natural. "Ah poor Doctor, you missed the fireworks. Not but a few days ago, someone in Hart cast a spell. I know not who or to what ends, but it rose several dead individuals and called upon some rather nasty specters. Half the high school was caught up in a battle to the death and many lost their lives. Surely you don't believe this nonsense of waste from a tractor trailer accident. And this is another reason I do not like how certain individuals mess in the heads of others. You have several dozen individuals in your school walking around with HOLES in their minds and while I'm sure some of them are happy not to remember their chums being eaten by zombies...those memories never fully go away. You can sap and sap and sap someone's mind, but things leak through. You're going to see an epidemic of horrible nightmares and a sea of pubescent young men with sudden fears they never knew before. Doctor, I'm going to give you some knowledge that I'm willing to bet no other has thought to inform you." Wai-Ho leaned in a bit, his eyes barely open and lashes kissing his cheeks. "Dreams are not just random bits of information in your brain from half-baked memories or what you ate for dinner the night before. Forget everything they've tried to teach you...Freud was right. Dreams are your unconscious mind speaking to you, and it speaks through magic. Even the most ungifted normal human can gain knowledge through their dreams. If you have people that come to you with nightmares or terrors they don't understand, TRULY think on them, Doctor. They could be erased memories, memories from early early childhood, or even past-lives."
Wai-Ho rocked on his heels and then smiled, his countenance suddenly changing. "I'm so glad you'll help me. I knew you would, I just knew it." He leaned forward and wrapped arms around the doctor, giving him a rather gentle hug. Wai-Ho's body felt strange. It was warmer than any normal human, but also held a chill at the same time. He felt solid, but also sort of squishy. He smelled of Earth and something that tickled the nostrils like fresh ripe hot peppers. "I can tell you many things about those who consider themselves the 'magical power' of the world. Their goal is not altruistic and if they found me out...they would seek to destroy me and take what I have. I never conformed to their ideals and it mocks me that they've taken my Scott." Wai-Ho pouted out his bottom lip and leaned back a bit. "Doctor Tomkins, working for them is not an honor or a privilege. They enslave the people they take and in the end, they can take your free-will from you. Please, believe me doctor...with a wave of the right person's hand, Scott could be turned into nothing more than a mindless puppet." Wai-Ho reached up with his hand, using the one that did not hold the artifact and gently brushed his palm against the doctor's cheek. "I know you care something for him...even if you do not know exactly what the feeling is. In your eyes I can tell, if Scott were to disappear it would not sit well with you. The feeling is mutual with him, I assure you. Scott is a giving sort and believe me when I say, he would die for you without hesitation."
Wai-Ho leaned upwards on his toes, looking as if he might actually kiss the doctor. However, right before their lips met he pulled back and focused his attentions on Michael. "I do believe you asked for a 'hit off this' didn't you Michael?" Wai-Ho was quick to side-step, in case the doctor thought to stop him. The hug was for Michael this time, Wai-Ho's arms stretching out far too long and wrapping around the young ghost, drawing him towards...something..."Just relax. A friendly hug between fellow ghosts yes?" Wai-Ho looked over his shoulder to Tomkins. "Don't worry, I won't hurt him. Nor would I do anything that might jeopardize your bond." Truthfully, Wai-Ho wasn't sure how to work the artifact perfectly as of yet, but he had a general idea of how to make the energy flow. What he'd done to suck out the energy of souls he reversed, just for a split second. It made his chest feel heavy to let go of even a tiny bit of that energy. He would have go to searching for more energy later. He knew he was growing addicted to the feeling of being 'alive' but at this point he didn't much care.
Dr. Andrew Tomkins - April 13, 2012 12:39 AM (GMT)
As the ghost (or perhaps it would be more appropriate to call him a former ghost?) further explained his own position, rather self-servingly in Andrew's estimation, Andrew schooled his expression into one of nonjudgmental interest. He'd had decades of experience doing that, and he did it well. Privately, though, he was increasingly concerned. The more Wai-Ho spoke about his condition, his plans, and the world around him, the clearer it became that the boy was not psychologically stable. Not that this was a surprise, really; after a decade spent in the half-life, half-death condition stability was hardly to be expected. As Wei-Ho himself had indicated, it wasn't a pleasant existence, nor one conducive to continued sanity. Especially given that he'd apparently spent most of that time stalking his former lover and nursing his grievances. Grievances, Andrew had found in his career, had a way of growing strong and fat on that kind of nurturing.
It was, of course, the same position his brother Michael was in, as Wai-Ho had pointed out. But knowing that only served to exacerbate Andrew's concerns, since he knew perfectly well that Michael's continued existence on this plane was an ongoing torture to his brother's spirit, and that if the binding's that controlled that spirit's actions were released it would perform all manner of atrocities. That's one reason those bindings existed in the first place. The other reason being, of course, that his brother deserved every moment of that torture and more. Which led to yet another concrete concern: that Wai-Ho's sympathies might well lie with Michael. Right now, that meant little; the necromantic binding spells were preventing his brother from communicating at all, which spoke volumes about the kind of communication he had in mind. But the kind of necromantic power Wei-Ho now seemed to command made it foolish to take the permanency of those bindings for granted.
Speaking of necromantic power, the spirit's account of recent events made certain things clearer than they had been. Andrew had been vaguely aware that some major necromancy had taken place in Hart recently, although in all honesty that wasn't entirely uncommon; St. Valentine's in particular always stank a little of necromancy. And he'd been more-than-vaguely aware of the recent deaths, although the details had been decidedly unclear. Wai-Ho was claiming that lack of clarity was due to mental tampering, presumably on the part of the Cabal, which was entirely plausible. Of course, Andrew didn't object to it the same way Wai-Ho did; in many cases memory-editing was a far better alternative than leaving witnesses, or victims, with their memories intact, and had fewer ramifications than killing them. He'd done it himself any number of times, come to that, not that he intended to mention that fact. He did, however, make a mental note to follow up with Scott some day to get his account of the events of October 8th.
"Please, believe me doctor...with a wave of the right person's hand, Scott could be turned into nothing more than a mindless puppet." "Oh, I certainly believe you, Wai-Ho. I've seen it happen to others." Indeed, Andrew had done it himself more than once, though in his case it required rather more than the wave of his hand. Actually, turning Scott into a mindless puppet was not without its own attractions, both personal and professional, but he supposed that both Wei-Ho and the Cabal would take exception to that. In any case, though, the spirit was certainly correct that Andrew would prefer the man intact. "I take it, then, that you haven't revealed your new status to your former paramour, for fear of being in turn revealed to his employers? Well. I will honor that preference for the time being, until I know more about the situation... but I expect you in turn to do what you can to correct my ignorance, Wai-Ho. What do you know of the Cabal's operations?" Not that he particularly expected the spirit to know all that much, but he had little patience with posturing or vague oracular pronouncements; they made his teeth ache. The ghost's flirtatiousness also set him on edge, admittedly. Not that Wai-Ho wasn't attractive; quite the contrary, under other circumstances he'd find the attention extremely pleasant. But he'd established a convention in his twenties of not dating anyone crazier than he was, and it had served him in good stead; he wasn't about to set it aside now. It didn't eliminate very many candidates, really, but he was fairly sure Wai-Ho qualified.
Andrew was even more irritated when Wai-Ho used the artifact on Michael, but he clamped down on his own impulse to intervene; the truth was it was an experiment he would likely have performed himself given access to the Soul Orb and he was curious to see the results. "Woah, you could at least buy a guy a drink first?" the ghost quipped, apparently the first thing he'd attempted to say in some time that didn't violate one of the ground rules of his binding. (That amused Andrew, albeit somewhat cruelly, as the results of that binding often did. From time to time, Andrew had attempted to research a variation on the spell that bound Michael that would record the things it prevented him from doing, to evaluate them later, but hadn't yet come up with a safe way to do that.) Then his eyes widened. "Whoa." Andrew concurred... for just a moment, Michael's ghostly form coalesced into solid form, before going ghostly again.
"That is... remarkable."
Scott Arden - May 5, 2012 10:27 PM (GMT)
Wai-Ho licked his lips just a bit. The doctor's reluctance to enjoy the little flirtations from the ghost was starting to set him on edge. Wai-Ho didn't like it when people were reluctant to respond to his advances. He didn't much care about the reason, it just made him feel inferior and that was never a place that the ghost ever liked to go. "It is not only because of those who hold his slave leash that I do not reveal myself. I'm also not doing it because I fear for my beloved's sanity. Think what you will of how I have kept by his side all these years, the truth of the matter is that he and I were MEANT to be together. You know Seers and Fortune Tellers and other such in your travels I'm willing to bet. A man in your position has all kind of contacts hmm? Go find something from the school and have a looksy into what SHOULD have been for Scott and I." Wai-Ho held up his left pinky finger and around it appeared a little red string tied into a bow. The string shimmered in ghostly fashion and stretched out across the crypt, disappearing through the wall and somewhere towards town. "You can see it now...if you let yourself see it."
Leaning back and crossing his arms over his chest, Wai-Ho's eyes narrowed to dangerous slits. "I know much more about the Cabal than your average mage. I'm not at liberty to say HOW I know the things that I do just yet...but perhaps in time I can trust you with that information as well. At any rate, a few fun facts. The Cabal markets itself as this 'white knight' organization that's trying to keep checks and balances in place in the world of magic. But that's not the truth of it. There are those who do it for altruistic reasons, mostly they're grunts or field operatives with no real power and no idea about what's really going on. Like Scott for instance..." He waved a hand in a 'there ya go' fashion before continuing. "Those who show promise, who are of magical birth and with considerable power may eventually be taken into the fold of the higher ups. It's no less of a political game than what you see in the mundane human world. The men in shining armor are not the ones that rise to power, no...it's the Dark Knights and the Evil Wizards. What THEY want...is no less than everything."
Wai-Ho actually frowned a bit and then shook his head. "Lots of men wish to live forever, or to have so much power they can rule the world. These are just a few of the things that the Cabal want to accomplish. They wiggle their fingers into everything, and steer the axis of the world towards war or peace depending upon their own needs. If someone loses a lot of money in oil, well let's get the United States to invade a country and capture oil rigs so said mage can make his money back. THAT is the true face of the Cabal, Doctor Tomkins." Wai-Ho closed his eyes for a moment and then continued softly. "And every underling carries a mark, a magical tattoo if you will. It gives those who are truly in power, the ability to invade the bodies of anyone in their magical network. When I say that Scott could become lost to us with the wave of the right man's hand, I'm being very serious Doctor Tomkins." His black eyes opened once more. "And many of these young men and women do not even know that they are cursed in such a way."
Wai-Ho shook his head and then drew in an unnecessary breath. "You think I'm just some insane teenage ghost, looking to reunite with his lover because I cannot move on...but I know more than you're giving me credit for..." Wai-Ho turned his attentions back to Michael, smiling sweetly and even batting his lashes. "I don't like to mince words. Why spend so much time fiddling about dinner when we can skip straight to...dessert?" Wai-Ho leaned in again, letting his body meld just the slightest bit with the other ghost. It made a strange sort of sparkling appear in the air and there was a sound, almost metallic like metal wind chimes in a Summer breeze. Wai-Ho removed himself after a moment, letting out a shudder and rubbing his hands up and down his front. "Mmmm, your brother is quite yummy, Doctor Tomkins. Now then...I do not expect you to agree with everything that I say or do, but I hope you agree that the world as it is just cannot remain. The world of magic is even more segregated than man kind as a whole was during the Dark Ages. There are children born every day with magical abilities they do not and will not ever understand. And if they don't destroy themselves, they cause some catastrophe that the Cabal comes and sweeps under the rug. Isn't education the cure for ignorance, Doctor?"
Dr. Andrew Tomkins - May 8, 2012 12:50 AM (GMT)
Andrew listened carefully to Wai-Ho's tirade, his expression encouraging, and made attentive noises from time to time to show he was interested. This was, of course, a skill he'd mastered years ago, and it had served him in good stead many times. He showed no sign of anything but intrigued curiosity. Privately, though, he was becoming increasingly convinced that the boy's extended haunting of his former lover had left him more than a little unhinged. Still, that didn't mean that everything he was saying was monomaiacal delusion; it was not uncommon for people to weave real facts with self-serving fictions.
Andrew was not especially impressed with the red thread of fate the spirit manifested, which he fully anticipated would link Wai-Ho's spirit to Scott's, and to the futures that had been foreclosed when Wai-Ho had died. Of course, the boy no doube believed that such a manifested bond was somehow more significant than the actual events of his life; that was a not-uncommon belief among those whose romanticism exceeded their common sense. Nevertheless, he cast his perception along the thread's length, curious to see what particular fates had captured the spirit's attention. He was far more interested, though, in the boy's account of the Cabal. It coincided well enough with various other accounts and incidental evidence he had collected over the course of his magical career that he was inclined to give it credence. Whether Wai-Ho's claims about his additional secret knowledge would prove equally well-founded, he had no idea, but it was certainly plausible enough to make it worthwhile to explore the relationship further. Even worthwhile enough to tolerate the liberties the ghost took with Michael.
"I am of course in favor of educating the ignorant, Wai-Ho. It's the primary function of a therapist, after all, helping people come to know themselves and their capabilities. And working where I do, that often involves helping people come to terms with their magical abilities... precisely to prevent the sorts of catastrophes that caused your untimely death," he agreed. "So, my ethereal friend... what do you intend to do about it?"