Ghost Dancer

GM: Darius
Players: Walker, Lotus
Synopsis: Darius hires Walker and Lotus to help him deal with a haunting problem at a building site he's working on. Upon arriving, they confirm their fears that the being causing problems is in fact a ghost, and that he is one borne of the turmoil in the early 21st century leading to the great ghost dance. Pema is able to call him to manifest, and Walker is able to convince the ghost that Darius means no harm. The Ghost finally moves on, after imparting a Poignant message to Walker.
Date: Friday, November 06, 2080

Darius has messaged both Walker and Lotus with a rather strange request- he has a job he needs their help with, and has asked them to meet him at a cafe in twin forks. Darius is currently there- the place is rather upmarket, Parisian vibes with wrought iron chairs painted white in the front patio- which has under-floor heating to keep it pleasantly warm all through the year. Very little information was forthcoming from the mage, although, he does have a flare for the dramatic so that's probably nothing to worry about. Probably.

With a job out in Twin Forks, one would assume it might involve outdoors trekking. Pema actually learnt last time and is wearing trousers for once, even though they are a stiff-looking pair of skinny jeans. Winter coat is on, beret and a humongous scarf that is long and wide enough to count as half a blanket. She's learning. She arrives together with Walker, the two having taken the same train here from town. As she steps into the cafe, she has her pocsec in her hands and looks fairly occupied with it, barely looking up as she walks. Most likely, Walker's had to tell her to watch out lest she'd walk into lamp posts and glass doors on the way here. Once inside though, she eventually looks up. "Oh, we're here already?" she shrugs, putting the device away into her sling bag, and looks around for familiar magey types.

Walker actually fits in with the trendy, gorgeous tourist set better than he does most of the places he goes in Denver proper. The long coat and shirt are turned out smartly for a change, and a pair of semitransparent wraparound shades complete the snowbuck(?) image. All he needs now is a pair of skis.

With a soft chuckle, he nods to her question, "We are." Ushering her in front of him the shaman threads the two of them through the bustle to where Darius sits and gives the man a nod, perhaps wondering if Darius has ever had to steer one or more young women down a street while she pays no attention to anything around her. He doesn't seem at all bothered by it though, if anything he seems to have that same almost serene air to him that he had on the trio's trek to meet Goliath. "So what's up?" he asks as they settle down at the table, "Trouble in paradise?"

Darius has a table of his own, and he glances up as the others arrive, offering a small nod in greeting- he's dressed in his usual suit, today, so perhaps there won't be any trekking. Who can say? He gestures to the seats at the table for them to join him. "You could say that." he tells Walker, and waits for the two of them to settle in before continuing. There's a pot of coffee and (tiny) cups, which Darius pours out for the three of them. "I believe I've mentioned my building project to you before, yes?" he says, glancing between them. "Well it's hit a bit of a snag. The- very- former owners seem to have taken some issues with what I'm doing with the place. Unexplained electrical faults, workers slipping on puddles that weren't there moments ago- that sort of thing." he says then.

Pema does her jazz-hand type of wave as she comes up to the table, untangles her huge scarf and coat and then plops down at the table. She accepts the tiny coffee cup, wrapping both hands around it and uses it as a warmer while listening to Darius explaining the situation. "So… ghosts? Does the location have a history? Anything noticeable on the astral plane?" she says with interest, the spirits of the long gone being one of her favourite topics.

Smiling his thanks for the coffee, Walker removes the shades and sets them on the table before picking up the tiny cup and sipping at it contentedly. He takes in the details with a studiedly neutral expression, nodding along with Darius' words. Letting Pema speak before he adds his two 'yen, he eventually sets his cup on the table and leans back in his chair. "And I suppose you're sure that it -is- the former owners rather than some other kind of spirit?" he asks, thinking he might as well eliminate the obvious alternatives.

Darius takes a small sip of his equally small cup of strong French kaff, as the two ask their questions, and addresses the first one both of them ask- "I believe so, yes. But I'm no expert on hearth and nature spirits, so it is possible it is some kind I'm not familiar with, but my impression is that it is a ghost of some kind." he says. As to Pema's follow up questions, "I've seen hints of their presence in the Astral, but they are either unable or unwilling to appear before me. As for history- well. This is North America- it has quite a long and often unhappy history." he says and offers a helpless half shrug. "I could just banish whatever spirit it is, but I would rather not. So I was hoping that you two would be able to help me come to an understanding with it, instead." he says to the other two mages.

Pema looks more excited at the prospect of hunting ghosts than she probably should, given that ghosts tend to come with some very unhappy stories. That apparently isn't enough to pull her down. "I mean, maybe there are locals who know of something particular that happened in these parts? In my experience, events that bind ghosts to this plane tend to be more recent than people imagine." she tries to take a sip of the kaf, but it's still to hot for her. She ponders for a moment. "Hmmm… but it hasn't actually manifested to the workers either, just in the form of… accidents?"

"Diplomacy is certainly more palatable," Walker comments absent-mindedly, "Of course it'll be tricky if they don't want to be found - a determined nature spirit can do a better job hiding than most runners I can name in it's own domain." An arms snakes out to retrieve the coffee cup, "And if it seems to be playing pranks and hide and seek I'm guessing that's what's going on."

An approving nod comes in response to Pema's suggestion. "Canvassing the locals is a good idea," he murmurs before giving Darius a meaningful look, "Unless perhaps you already know the story and are just trying to spare my feelings?"

Darius nods his head at Pema, "You may be right, but I'd like to show you the site first. It hasn't appeared but, it has left a mark." he says to her then, "And I certainly hope that's the case." he adds after a moment, before glancing over to Walker at his question, "But it's possible you are thinking the same thing I fear." he adds after a moment. "The Rockies in general and Colorado in particular were some of the more aggressively mined areas during the gold rush. And I have my suspicions that this ghost may hail from one of the indigenous peoples ousted during that time- if it is a ghost." he says then. "That's part of why I wanted you to come, I may be able to speak the words, but I'm not of the people." he says to Walker.

Pema makes a bit of a frown, looking down into her cup, as if impatiently wondering why the beverage is taking so damn long to cool down. "Makes sense. When there's a crime investigation, you start with the crime scene, right?" she stops, wondering if she put her foot in her mouth again. "Uh, I mean, just as an analogy." she bites her lip and goes quiet for a moment.

As the conversation continues, Walker's expression becomes gradually more serious, even sombre as he opens his mouth to speak again. "I'll help," he says quietly as he sets his cup down, his appetite for caffeine having deserted him, "Place has seen enough suffering, so I do appreciate you taking the high road on this one." With a glance at Pema, he cracks a half-smile and replies, "Sounds like something I'd say in a bad mood, so don't sweat it."

Darius offers Pema a small smile, "You're not wrong, though." he says to her, "We're just investigating it from the point of the view of the victim- most likely. There is still the possibility that it's just a mischievous hearth spirit acting out because its domain has been abandoned so long." he says- he doesn't sound too optimistic about that, though. He sets his own cup down, "Of course." and offers a sombre nod on the topic. He glances to the two of them, "Shall we head out to the site, then? I've had the workers go home, and lock it up for now, we we should have the place to ourselves."

Finally determining the kaf to be of drinkable temperature, Pema more or less downs the whole thing in one or two sips. Hopefully it's decaf, or they might have to deal with a hyper-Pema for the next few hours. "Uh-uh. Sounds good, let's go!" she more or less bounces out of the chair, wraps herself in that oversized scarf and coat and is probably standing, waiting for the old guys even before they're out of their chairs.

With a wry smile at Pema's caffeine-fuelled enthusiasm, Walker nods to Darius. "Let's," he agrees as he gets to his feet and flicks the shades back on, "One way or another we'll find out." Ducking his head a little as he walks next to the young woman he asks with a careful poker face, "Not much of a coffee drinker?"

Darius pushes out his chair and stands up, too, and moves out after the other two of them, he is neither as young as Pema, nor as Elven as walker, so the poor old man must content with hobbling behind the other two. He pulls his cloak on as they head out the doors, and then leads them to his Americar- the shiny red one parked in the (frankly extortionate) street level parking outside the cafe- "I'll drive us up there." he offers. Of course, by drive, he means tap the address into the vehicles autonav. But it's the thought that counts.

"I drink plenty of tea, but coffee? Not really," Pema says, before heading out the door into the crisp outdoor mountain air, walking around a bit in circles at the outside lot before everyone's out and they head for the car. Knowing well she's the kid of the trio, she gets in the back seat. It does not take long before that pocsec comes out again. "So when did this presence first make itself known? A couple days ago?"

"Well this will be an experience on multiple fronts then," the elf mutters under his breath as he follows her out, his shades quickly darkening in the sunlight until they're almost black. Settling in the passenger side, he contents himself watching the scenery as they head out of town, letting Darius answer Pema's question before he adds anything else.

Darius, of course, takes the entirely redundant driver seat. "Hard to say, for certain. We had a couple of electrical faults last week, which the team initially wrote off as just being faulty equipment or a surge, but when they kept happening…" he says, glancing back at Pema playing with her Pocsec in the back of his car. He smirks a bit, "I think you'd get along with Bri." he muses, before looking back at the road ahead as the car pulls off and begins heading out of the town and up the highway which skirts the edge of the mountain park before heading west away from Denver. "I initially consulted with a Talismonger I know, who suggested I make an offering, which I did but- well, I don't think it impressed." he says. The drive isn't a very long one, the road is relatively clear and the site isn't far outside of the town. They pass a number of building sites on the way, various projects in various stages of completion, before they eventually arrive at a two story brick and mortar building, currently dark and foreboding, locked up as it is. Darius parks the car and gets out.

Whatever it is Pema is reading on that pocsec, it must be interesting, because she's having a hard time taking her eyes off it. She eventually does realise she's being rude, though, and sets it aside on the seat next to her. "I'd guess it's more likely they'll need us to remove something for them, rather than give them something. Ancestral spirits can get angry if they don't get them, but if they're ghosts… we might need to find their bodies and bury it, or get of some cursed item, or something like that. But, we'll see…" she says, putting her hands on her lap. Unless the other two decide to chat more during the ride, Pema eventually begins to sing in the back seat, some Tibetan song. Not loudly, but at least she has a pleasant voice to listen to. When they arrive, she bags her pocsec and hops out.

With his head turned to look out the window, the others might miss Walker's fond smile and soft chuckle at the byplay between them. As he watches the countryside through the glass turn steadily more rugged he nods along with Pema's commentary, but doesn't see the need to add anything of his own. When the young woman begins to sing he absent-mindedly begins to tap out an accompanying rhythm against his leg with his fingers.

Upon their arrival, as he unfolds his tall frame from the passenger seat, the elf gives the slightly ominous building a quick once over before glancing across the car to Darius. "Just out of interest, what kind of offering did you try?" he asks quietly, "And by unimpressed, do you mean you got no reaction? Or a negative one?" As his head turns back to the building, he pulls the shades off and his eyes glow a soft gold.

Here, outside the city, there is no permanent background count- even the construction projects are too far between to really disrupt the astral space, and likely the PCC keeps it that way with restrictions on working hours and emissions. That said, the aura of the earth shows that it has been disrupted recently- likely excavations involved in the construction project, with dull lines of concrete in places where once the diffuse glow of gaia might have been. By and large, though, the astral space is quite calm, and typical of the area. Though something does catch Walker's eye- down in the basement- or he would hazard a guess it's the basement- there seems to be an astral footprint of some kind, though it's hard to make out through the haze of the natural earth between him and it, from where he is standing

Darius nods his head a bit, "Tobacco." he tells Walker then. "I burned some in an incense bowl, that was what my talismonger suggested, I'm not really an expert." he admits. "And I'd say a negative one- the tobacco went out and the incense bowl cracked." he adds. "Maybe it was the wrong brand?" he walks up to the front door, pulling out a keychain- since the power is out, he uses the manual override key on the maglocked front door, which opens with a dull thunk.

Pema slips up behind the others as they approach the ominous-looking construction site. Funny how ominous even a regular house under construction can look without power. It could just as well be an ancient tomb. "Clearly they're not interested in some simple offerings, then. Tobacco and alcohol are, like, universally beloved by spirits. At least spirits that used to be metahuman once." she says it half-jokingly but she's probably not making it up. "Anyone got a light? Don't think even low-light imaging is going to help in an unlit building." she touches her pockets, but only manages to find a lighter. Which is funny, because as far as they know she isn't a smoker.

Darius glances back to Pema, and he pats his own pockets a bit. "Blast." he complains in an eminently old-fashioned way, "I knew there was something I'd forgotten." he complains, on the topic of light. The lighter, he doesn't comment on. Never know when you might need to light an incense stick, after all. "Well, we can turn the power back on for now, when we get down to the basement." he says, "Just turned it off for now, in case any of those little 'accidents' caused a fire while no one was around." he tells the Asian girl.

"Tobacco can be a little tricky," Walker murmurs absently as his glowing gaze sweeps across the building, "Like you said: a troubled history." As the glow fades and his eyes return to their normal emerald green, a frown creases his forehead. "There's an odd… impression of some sort in the basement," he offers with a curious glance at Darius, "That the offering or something else?"

Darius' fabulously anachronistic exclamation draws an amused smile out of the elf, who simply shrugs. He doesn't say anything, but there's a definite 'who carries lights?!?' vibe to the movement.

It gets even more old-fahioned, when Pema reaches for her bag and takes out a candle. "Good thing it's not too windy today," she says, but nonetheless gets close to the wall and lights up the candle. It's all very quaint, but it does make a different together with low-light vision. "For now, I guess?" she shrugs, and looks like she's about to join a choir or something with her little candle.

Darius frowns a bit, "That's where I made the offering." he tells Walker, "But I don't recall an astral signature- at least, not a particularly strong one- when I last visited." he says. He finally leads the duo into the front room of the shop- it's dark, as predicted, empty synthwood display stands with glass covers taking up much of the space, a counter with exposed connectors for PoS equipment, and another door. He leads them to the counter, folds it up, and then pushes against the door. It doesn't move, and he frowns a bit. He pushes again. "This one shouldn't be locked." he says, and begins fiddling with his keys. As he does, the front door slams shut behind them.

"It's not quite a signature," the elf mutters, clearly a little puzzled by the oddity, "Might be worth looking at though…" He trails off as he follows the pair inside, looking a little surprised at Pema's candle but grateful for it nonetheless. He frowns as Darius finds the door that should not be locked, spinning around with narrowed eyes when the door slams.

Pema jumps a bit when the front door slams shut, her candle flickering a bit from the sudden move. It doesn't go out, though. "Whoa," she pants, putting her free hand to her chest. Rolling her eyes at her own skittishness, she finds a suitable place to set down her candle, looking about the room. "So… since there's nothing else of note in the house, I suppose we'll start with the basement?"

Darius turns back to look at the door as it slams shut behind them, and he frowns a bit. "Well, this is rather more theatrical than it had been." he admits. He looks back towards the locked door, and tries the key which- thankfully- does work, even though the door wasn't meant to be locked to begin with. He opens it up to reveal the narrow hallway, a door labelled restroom on the right, stacked stairwells headed up and down on the left, and another door at the far side. "I'd say that seems the best bet. If nothing else, we can get the lights on." he suggests. He begins to head towards the downwards stairwell.

In the near-darkness, an attentive observer might notice a flicker of light from beneath Walker's shirt, but it's gone in a flash. Nodding his agreement with the others, he nods towards the stairwell, indicating he'll bring up the rear. With his eyes glowing, the elf extends a net of protective astral threads over the others like a shimmering dreamcatcher, likely imperceptible even on the astral plane, but hopefully enough to keep them safe.

"Kind of cosy in the candle-light though," Pema says with a wry smile. "We could bring an ouija board next time. Anyway, a bit of power would be nice." Although the candle light ought to provide quite a lot, combined with low-light vision. She picks up the candlestick again, "I use these candles for ancestral rituals," she notes. "They're consecrated but not magical per se, hopefully the spirit won't take offence to them."

In the dim light produced by the candle, and with the assistance of low light vision, navigating to the stairs isn't a problem for Pema or Darius- but the candle light only extends so far, and so the bottom of the stairwell is about the limit of their vision at the moment.

"Spirit on your foot Darius!" Walker shouts in warning as the mage begins to descend the steps.

Darius looks back as Walker calls out to him, just in time for his foot to slip off the step. Darius's hand snaps out and he catches himself on the railing before he tumbles the rest of the way down the stairs. Though his elbow struck the wall painfully, he manages to escape with no more wounds than a bruised ego. "Thank you." he says to Walker after he regains his footing.

Nodding to the mage, Walker remains quite still as he peers down the steps. "It's gone," he reports, "Shoved itself through the earth and vanished." Glancing around, the elf muses, perhaps a little more loudly than necessary, "I would call a spirit to protect us, but given that we're want to talk that might send the wrong message."

"Clearly we're not welcome here," Pema notes, looking a little hesitant to even continue down those stairs now. She presses a hand to the wall and walks slowly, holding the candle far in front of her.

"Or I'm not, at least." Darius replies to Pema, as he continues down- keeping a hand on the railing, himself. "But that's what we hope to change." he adds after a moment as they descend into the darkness of the stairwell. Once they reach near the bottom, the light of the candle is thankfully allowed to spread a bit further into the basement, though it's a large and voluminous one.

In the Astral, Walker is now able to see more clearly what the source of that astral footprint he saw before it- in the astral, there is a memento mori, some kind of animal skull, picked clean and sun bleached, resting on the ground. In the flesh, it's less visible- a smear of ash across the floor. "That's where I tried making the offering." Darius tells Walker, indicating the smear of Ash.

Descending the final steps to stand near the others, Walker's eyes narrow at the astral oddity. Pointing to the dark powder scattered on the floor, he murmurs, "What do you two see when you assense that? Maybe try it one at a time just in case?" After a moment he glances to Darius and murmurs, "I'd say it's a pretty strong indication that your gift was not well received."

Darius frowns as Walker draws his attention back to the offering place and asks him, his eyes grow glassy for a moment as he observes it too, and his frown deepens. "That wasn't there, before. I see a Ram's head." he says, pauses, and then explains the significance of it, "A symbol often associated with funerals and mourning in Islam." he adds. He glances to Pema then, "Quite a few." he tells her then. "There's a number of small creeks that run out of the park, and a couple of larger rivers to the south." he says then.

Waiting until the others conclude their own examination before turning his own gaze back on the residue. "Strange… I see a buffalo skull." He takes a moment to think before adding a little uncertainly, "I think the connotations are similar, but it looks like it's been out in the sun forever. Almost falling apart, like it's just been discarded or something." With a thoughtful frown still on his face he glances to Pema, "What did you see? Is that why you're asking about water?"

Pema rises from her squatting position and turns back to the other two mages. "I saw… a paper lotus, sinking into water. Also a funerary symbol. I suspect the spirit is trying to speak to us, using what symbols our subconscious associate with funerals. Or rather, our subconscious interpreting it according to our cultural biases." she shrugs, "For me it spoke of burial in water, though. I would guess we have a body dumped somewhere in a river or reservoir or something here."

Darius nods his head then, "That's how I interpreted it as well-" he nods to Pema, "It's a funeral symbol- at least, from the part of the world my family originally hails." he adds as he glances back towards it and rubs his chin. "It might be, but we may be looking at it too literally." he says to Pema after a moment. "What is typical funerary practice, in Tibet?" he asks her. "I'm afraid I wouldn't know." he adds. He seems rather stumped, "Perhaps…" he says and pauses for a moment. "Maybe we should simply ask." he finally suggests.

Walker nods, and approaches the residue cautiously, almost reverently Walker removes his jacket and folds it on the floor before settling down cross-legged. Casting his astral gaze around the room, he speaks in Ute in a loud, clear voice, "I am here if you wish to speak, cousin. I do not wish you ill, nor do these two." Speaking in Ute, the elf's voice takes on a deeper, almost melodic tone. (Ute)

The Asian teenager takes a few steps away from the former offering site, allowing Walker the space. She steps up to Darius, having an awkward expression on her face. "Tibetan burials are… eh, very unique," she says. "Bodies aren't buried, they're taken to a high place, chopped up in pieces and given as sacrifice to birds. The final sacrifice for all living beings." she speaks, her voice low. "I believe the ancient Persians did something similar, once," then she quiets down as Walker tries to speak to the spirit in his own language.

And the room is left in silence after Walker says his peace, Darius remains quiet for some time, just in-case something happens, his eyes still seeing both worlds- but nothing does. Eventually, Darius speaks up again, "Pema. I believe you've mentioned to me before, that you have studied the spirits of the departed." he says and glances at her. "I brought you along, in-case we needed to use those talents." he adds then. He heads on over to near where Walker sits, and he sits, himself, Indian style, and beckons for Pema to join them. "I know you are of a differing tradition, but perhaps it will be more willing to answer your call?" he suggests, and indicates an empty spot of the ground so the three of them can form a loose circle.

"I think that's wise," Walker agrees, waving the others in, "Summoning the spirits that normally dwell here will probably only exacerbate the spirit's feelings of abandonment." His expression seems troubled, the skull that he continues to see clearly a reminder of the troubled history of his people and their home, a history that has repeated itself quite recently.

Pema looks a little nervous, as if now the pressure is upon her to prove herself. "I suppose I have," she says timidly. Nonetheless, she sits down and completes the circle, joining her legs in a lotus position, setting down the candle perfectly in the centre of the circle. She pulls her sling back forward from her back so it ends up in her lap. "Would you like me to try to communicate with it, in a manner as one does with ancestral spirits?"

"Just try calling to it, for now. We don't want to bind it, or for it to believe we're trying to harm it." Darius says to Lotus then, as he rests his hands on his knees. "I'm afraid I'm a bit of a third wheel, here, but I want to be able to assure it that I mean no harm- it seems like it would be disingenuous for me to leave." he says.

Walker nods his agreement. "I can speak the words if it doesn't speak your languages. Language doesn't normally matter for Spirits of Man, but I don't know how different the spirits of the dead are." He sounds genuinely curious to find out though.

"Very well," Pema says, and opens up her bag. She takes out a couple of ritual implements, including a Tibetan hand drum and a bell. She also takes out a few sticks of incense, then puts the bag away. "Communicating with the dead usually takes a while, so make yourselves comfortable."

Lighting the incense, she sets it down, then takes the drum in one hand, holding it high, and the bell in other hand, then starts to induce a rhythmic drumming sound not too different from shamanic drums, only enhanced by the metallic ring of the bell. And then she begins to chant, sacred syllables uttered to the dead in the Tibetan language.

Some time passes- in the candle lit dimness of the basement, well insulated from the outside world, and with only Pema's chanting to keep the time, it's hard to say how long as the moments seem to merge together. As Pema pulls on the astral threads that bind the spirit to this place, they pull back, and her limbs seem to grow heavy and her throat tight, a dull throbbing which starts behind her eyes telling the effort the girl exerts. But eventually, the spirit returns- it is an emaciated human, not much more than a boy- probably in his late teens at most, with hollow eyes.

Almost the moment it appears before them, it is clear the form is afraid, and angry. And it leaps towards Darius. Suddenly, in the flesh, Darius sucks in air horsely, and his fingers grip his knees hard enough to turn his knuckles white. And then all at once he seems to relax. His skin creaks and shrinks against his bones, and he opens his eyes, white and dead. He speaks, but when he does, it is not with his own voice- he speaks in Ute, in the boys voice. "W- Why. Where am I? I want to go home." the voice says, and looks around the room frantically

Walker settles into wait, eyes observing the astral patterns that Pema's ritual creates with interest as the time slips by. When the spirit appears the elf smiles, but his expression turns to alarm when it leaps for Darius and talks through him. Turning to the embodied spirit and trying for an empathetic expression, the elf replies in the same tongue. "You are perhaps five day's walk northeast from Mount Ouray," he explains gently after racking his brain for a place the boy might have a chance of recognising, "Where is home for you?" He puts a hand over his heart as he adds, "They call me Walks-with-Spirits." A subtle gesture indicates Pema, "This is Lotus. What's your name?" (Ute)

By the time that Pema's ritual finally grabs hold of the spirit and practically drags it to the room, beads of sweat have already begun to glisten on her brow, and she occasionally slips, biting her tongue before quickly resuming the chant. Her voice quivers a bit in the end. But then, as the spirit finally appears, and the conjuring is complete, she slumps a bit, that perfect lotus posture slipping. She sets down her ritual instruments on the silk cloth they came wrapped with, and she pants, wiping her brow. Not speaking the language, she takes the opportunity to rest a little as Walker does the talking.

Darius's body continues its frantic looks around, moving back away from the pair a little until Walker speaks again. Hearing his native tongue, the spirit inhabiting Darius's body seems to relax. "I know Ourey." he says, as Walker speaks of the mountain. He looks to Pema for a moment, but then back to Walker. "I am…" he looks down at his hands, hands that are not his own. He touches his face, finding sunken cheeks, a beard he didn't have. "I was… I was Daniel." he says then, as though struggling to remember. "I lived… in the valley. I lived near." he says then, finally seeming to calm down, but still seems to be clawing at gaps in his memory. "But it's changed now." he adds after a moment, and frowns again. "I saw- the dance, and the fire. It was beautiful, and terrible." (Ute)

"Daniel," Walker begins gently, "Why did you take this man's body? You know you can appear without it, yes? He does not mean you harm, none of us do." Taking a moment, he gives Pema a reassuring smile before going back to Daniel. "Have you been here long? Can you tell me about the valley, or the dance?" He hesitates for a moment before adding, "Lotus does not speak our language I'm afraid, can you speak the Anglo's language?" (Ute)

Pema looks like she could use some water; unfortunately, her bag of tricks does not seem to contain any of the sort. She looks a little worried at how the spirit seems to have possessed Darius' body. Her gaze shifts between him and Walker, frowning a bit at her lack of understanding. "What's doing on?" she asks, putting her hands nervously in her lap.

Darius's dead eyes look to Pema again for a moment, and then back to Walker. He looks uncertain, but whatever Walker is saying seems to be calming him, little by little. "I… I speak it." he says, uncertainly- in English, now, although he's still speaking with the spirit's voice. "I don't know…" he answers to Walker's question. "I was afraid. You are Ute, She called to me. He is… he is the one who disturbs this land." the spirit says then, and his expression hardens. "The white man still churns our land, still takes from us." the spirit says then, and stands up. "Our cousins died for nothing, /I/ died for nothing." he says then. The room grows cooler as his temper flares.

Walker's eyes follow the young man in Darius' body, but the elf's body remains perfectly still from the neck down as he fixes Daniel with an intense stare. "Our cousins did -not- die for nothing," he states, still gentle, but in the way the sea is, with total conviction, "They fought the white man at his strongest and they -won-."

A sigh follows that, and a long pause before he adds, "The land is still in a bad way yes, but it is -our- land again, our cousins made everyone acknowledge that." A tiny nod motions to Darius' body, "This man is rebuilding the land as the tribes who call it home want, that is something, is it not?"

Pema looks down at herself, wondering if she looks like a native in the ghost's eyes. If he died a long time ago, perhaps he never got to see someone from Asia. No doubt finding the subject touchy, she bites her lip at the exchange of words, the switch to English not making things any better. She nods in agreement to Walker, but refrains from saying anything, knowing she is nowhere the negotiator Walker is, especially not on Native matters. She is, after all, the biggest stranger to this land of all of them.

The spirit in Darius's body still seems uncertain, looking at Walker. But eventually he seems to relent, and relaxes a bit. "I see his mind." the spirit says, "I will test the truth of your words." he warns the Shaman, and then settles to sit down again- albeit, a ways from the other two. His eyes close.

And he falls silent again, Darius slumping over as though unconscious- and remains that way for some time. Eventually, however, he draws in another hoarse gasp of breath and sits upright again. He opens his eyes, and the colour and elasticity slowly flows back into his skin, his white eyes returning to normal, and a rivulet of blood flowing from his nose. He blinks, in confusion.

The spirit manifests again, this time appearing in the physical between them. It looks to Walker, and speaks in their shared language again, "Your words are true. This man is not the men who our people fought." he says then. He sounds vaguely apologetic, but certainly much more serene. "Will you take me down to the valley? I want to go home." he then asks, in English, looking at all three of them in turn.

If he has any concerns about the spirit's 'test', Walker certainly doesn't look it. He nods once in languid acknowledgement, watching the Darius' body as it sits back down and slumps. Perhaps his eyes narrow fractionally as the silence extends, but the slightly predatory look vanishes as the mage draws breath again. A silent nod is sent Darius' way with a reassuring smile.

When the spirit manifests between them the elf smiles serenely and nods again. "Of course," he replies, glancing between the other two to see if they feel up to it.

Looking as if she's not going to be needing any of her implements any longer, Pema ties up the silk cloth and puts it back in her bag. She looks nervously between the two, "So… are we heading up and out?" she looks like she doesn't trust the spirit, but dares not speak up, lest it might get enraged and do harm to the body it has possessed. She picks up the candle, which by now has been reduced to just a tiny stump likely to burn out any moment anyway. "You sure about this?" she says to Walker.

Darius groans slightly as he comes to his senses, and then looks over to Walker, catching the nod he returns it. He slowly hauls himself to his feet. "I'm fine." he tells Pema then, trying to offer her a reassuring smile. "We're just helping him finally rest." he says, quietly, to Pema. Seems he was at least somewhat aware of the conversation taking place in his body, while he was possessed He heads over to help the girl up, "Thank you." he offers her, "And you, too. Your trust means a lot." he tells Walker.

The spirit fades away from the physical, but remains with them astrally, for now.

Glancing to Pema before Darius wakes up, Walker looks a little mystified as he replies, "Of course." The idea that he might not be sure about something doesn't seem to quite register with the elf. He gives Darius a solemn nod at the thanks before coming to his feet himself. "Are you two all right to walk?" he asks with a concerned expression, conscious that he's gotten off lightly compared to the others so far.

"I'm alright, might need another coffee though. And some water." Pema says, and is just about to get up when she's offered a hand by Darius. She accepts, and is easily pulled to her feet, feeling so light he could probably lift her with one hand. She brushes dust off her jeans, then looks to the door. "The candle is about to go out, so I guess we better go soon. No fun being in a pitch-black basement, right?" She squats own to pick up the candlestick, then looks to the staircase. "Shall we?" And then begins to head up, leading the way with her light.

Darius nods his head at Walker, "I can walk." he says then, he pauses before following Pema, to speak to the spirit that is still with them astrally. "I am sorry to have disturbed your land, and caused you offence" he offers. The spirit doesn't answer, but given the lack of slamming doors or slips or trips as he follows Pema up the stairs, it's safe to assume he has- at the very least- accepted that the generations that came after him have the matter in hand.

The sun is low in the sky once they emerge back outside, and Darius will lock the building after them as they head out. He fetches self adhesive chemical cold packs from his car's glove box, applying one to the back of his neck and offering another to Pema, if she wants it.

After that, it's a short hike to the valley, the spirit's astral form leads the way- There's a road running through it, now, built about fifteen years ago. But the group eventually find their way to a stream, which seems to be winding its way down from the mountain park, and the road roughly follows it, the snowmelt stream preserved despite the development. The spirit appears before the three of them, but addresses Walker, "It is good that they are our lands, be sure they remain so. The chosen people must always have a home to return to." he says to Walker. He steps down into the stream, and begins walking away from the group, fading out of view as he does.

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