(2018-03-28) Searching For The Color Blue
Searching For The Color Blue
Summary: Dreamscene: Callisto explores Ariel's dreaming mind. She gets more than what she bargained for.
Date: 2018-03-28
Related: NA
NPCs: Various.
Scene Runner: NA

TP Room 4
Wed Mar 28, 2018

Ariel's mind!



Ariel doesn't sleep. Just ask her and she'll tell you. Hasn't had to since the change. Of course, that's not the same as can't sleep. But while there was a time that Ariel lived sleep, that was a long time ago. Sleep used to be a time for her nerd-ass self to have all the fantastical adventures she read about in comics and books or saw in movies. These days… these days she sits on her iPad all night and watches entire runs of TV shows or kills off a novel in an evening rather than sleeping. If she runs out of internet or her iPad dies she'd rather break curfew and go downstairs in the dead of night to play on the PlayStation in the billiards room than chance sleep. But sometimes sleep catches her unawares. If she's hurt or particularly exhausted, physically or emotionally, or sometimes… sometimes just for no reason at all. Sometimes the things that want her attention in her dreams will grab her when she's just the right degree of bored.

Which brings us to tonight. Ariel has bounced off of Sense8 like four times but she knows there's a show she wants to see in there damn it. She finished Santa Clarita Diet the day before and Travellers before that and a complete rewatch of Game of Thrones, even the really bad season, before that. She has no excuses! So she turns it on, gets past the intro and is dead to the world in minutes.

<FS3> Callisto rolls Psychic: Good Success.
<FS3> Callisto rolls Dreamweave: Success.

Sleep translates differently, too, for the school's resident dark fae girl. Callisto is capable of deep, deep slumber… but it's never truly restful. Oh, her body rests, provided the dreams aren't turbulent… but her mind? Rarely. So Callisto had been awake in her bunk in the girls' wing, where students have been temporarily set up while waiting for the new school. Whenever that will happen. Who knows how/where it's happening? So many questions! But anyway, students are — like it or not — privy to the comings and goings of one another and Callisto, stretched out in her bed, resting but not entirely, noticed Ariel taking her leave to indulge in some nocturnal binge-watching.

Never one to judge, Callisto drifted in and out of a doze. The past few days had been hard on her, with nightmares having arisen unexpectedly in most of the student body (post 4/42) … this had rocked the fae girl more than she could let on. It was not her mother's doing, however…

When Ariel returns in the wee hours and keels over flat into her bed, Callisto's cerulean eyes slit open briefly. What makes a girl so restless, so given to wiling away hours of awakeness? Callisto knows little of Ariel… she's a curiosity. The shapechanger's bed is not too far off from Callisto's and therefore… psychic threads reach out; she will only take a peek. What harm could it do? Callisto has become surprisingly protective of peoples' minds, since her mother accosted Daxton's. Like submerging her head into a warm pool… or something equally relaxing… Callisto's lashes flutter closed and she 'eases' her subconscious mind into Ariel's sleeping one.

It is a curious sensation and entirely unlike slipping into a human mind, all centered and together even as it races around all the time. Ariel's mind is … spread out. Not like it's big or exceptionally smart or anything, just that it doesn't sit in her brain, since she doesn't have one. The way her body works means her whole mental experience has changed. But on top of that, even above this sensation of Ariel as a plural noun, there is a sensation of multitude. In there is the very familiar feeling of a teenage person, all feelings and confusion and uncertainly and extreme certainty, the flaws of anger and lust and righteousness doing battle with the virtues of ignorance, nativity and other, better things. A teenager. But surrounding that is something ancient, something vast, but hollow. An id with nothing backing it. A set of instructions written by someone three thousand years dead. It values strength and the willingness to use it and nothing else. The teenager is Ariel, but this has no sense of self, no care for an identity. And then shot through both of them, like an oily black web, is the third thing, a grime soaked corruption that only wants to replicate, divide, spread and repeat. It has no mind of its own without Ariel's there to live on, in, in a near perfect symbiotic unity. It doesn't know what it is, but without knowing to whom she speaks Ariel provides the answer. It's the cancer.

All is that is experienced in a heartbeat while joining into the dream, and if it's what Ariel feels when she sleeps it is no wonder she would rather watch The Wire for the sixth time. Then they're there, here, in the girls rooms. Ariel sits up, yawns, gets to her feet. She knows the names of the girls around her, Janessa is over there, Aisha is up there, but when she looks Janessa is her and Aisha is her and they're also awake and smiling. They have their own faces, but in the dream Ariel has the certainty that they are her. She touches Janessa's face and there is a moment of perfection, then they turn to head downstairs, her and all these girls who are her.

… no wonder the girl can't bloody sleep, and has to watch the entirety of GoT. As Callisto pushes her awareness into the 'surface' of that which is Ariel, she finds — immediately — that she is met with anything BUT a standard-issue teenage psyche. Callisto thinks herself a connoisseur of puzzles but this… this.

Her entry into one's sleeping mind is subtle; unless she wills it so, Callisto is neither visible in sight, sound, or touch… she's an observer. IT takes her a moment to adjust to the 'climate' of Ariel's mind… the sleeping mind, no matter how you cut it, is different to that which walks around her, daily. Callisto likes to think that when one is asleep, they are not only at their most vulnerable physically… but mentally.

Present there in this miasma of multiple awarenesses, Callisto.. waits. Waits for it all to take shape. As per the norm in any dreamwalk, the fae girl is outfitted in gossamer folds of some sheer, ancient fabric to which no human term has been assigned yet. Of course she's decent where it counts but the deep mauve gown — interspersed with black and silver threads, embroidery — speaks of a decidedly 'fey' feel. Her hair flows and trembles around her in a white nimbus, and her eyes work to take in what is around her.

Of course, it's the cancerous presence that catches Callisto's attention… nefarious and cloying as it is. It's funny how Callisto sees and feels so much in the beat, the bare seconds that it takes to enter Ariel's mind proper. As Ariel 'awakens' in the dreamscape to look upon those who surround her, Callisto is there.. unseen. She has settled upon a bunk with her long, bare, pearlescent legs crossed at the ankles in front of her. She is watching only Ariel, what Ariel does here… and as the girls rise to go downstairs, the fae girl glides after them. She recognizes neither Janessa, nor Aisha. Not to know them.

For a time it's hardly even a dream, the imaginings of a top ordered mind where this realm of the fantastical and unreal is instead used to live out a life that is lived every day, tough there are differences, to be sure. Oddities. When the boys join the girls coming down the stairs they are also Ariel, behind their normal faces. They all have the same curious smile as the girls wear. Now and again two students will touch in a decidedly deliberate act and when they do there is this faint buzz that only the dreamwalker can hear. The smile always broadens slightly, as if the touch itself were pleasurable, and then they move on.

The students fall in for breakfast, piles of bloody, red meat for most of them, though some of the students eat cereal and cooked sausages. One student takes a bite of his Cheerios, makes an odd look and then smiles. Every student looks fit to cheer when he sets his cereal aside and serves himself a plate of ground beef, licking his fingers as he goes to sit back down. The students talk, but sporadically and as if they've all agreed beforehand on some order or rhythm. The sound of the buzzing rings out over and over as students intentionally prod or bump one another. The teachers have come out and they, too, are Ariel. They have their meat and share buzzing touches. Someone eventually turns on the television and on the screen are two blandly attractive anchors, both of whom are Ariel, reading the news at an odd pace. This being a dream and the news being nothing there are no real recognizable words, but the sensation is understood. News is being conveyed, but in a way that suggest the viewer already knows 90% of the story.

There is a point during the meal when all of the students touch one another at the same time and the moment is ecstatic. Not orgasmic, nothing that basic or physical, but a sensation of rightness and perfection that few people ever get to feel. The absolute knowledge that things are as they should be, that the world is the best world and that every second they are working together to make it even better.

As she follows the troupe, Callisto focuses.. tries to embed herself further into the dreamer's mind. In this act of bearing down she sees, for an instant, what Ariel must be seeing here. The span of a heartbeat reveals to her all of these young men and young ladies, all wearing Ariel's face. Beat. Callisto focuses; keeps up. All of the students present here, now, resemble a great many Ariels.

Callisto still does not interfere; it is not her place, not her desire to do so. She is yet the observer, the moving bodies actually passing through her projection, going to perform their peculiar but… somehow fulfilling act of touching one another. Breakfast is served and Callisto, being Callisto, cringes at the sight of so many helpings of raw, red meat. She's not a vegan, nor is she a vegetarian; she just… isn't naturally fond of red meat. But there they all go, dining, trading good ol' wholesome Cheerios for meat.

Callisto has since lowered herself into a chair that is soon to be occupied by a teacher!Ariel. The older figure, eating the ground beef, resembles an overlay upon the watchful fae girl.

THe buzz concerns Callisto briefly… but she then realizes it's part of the dreamscape. IT does not foreshadow the arrival of her ghastly mother… how could that be anyway? Callisto looks around her, at the many Ariels, her smooth expression not betrayed in the least by her deeply perplexed thoughts.

For a moment the television comes into focus and the words of the presenters can be understood. They report on a bloom in a Japanese subway station, saying that the number of collected in Tokyo is now over forty percent and that soon Japan will be part of the one flesh. Then note that since collection in Syria exceeded sixty percents hostilities have ceased, a reminder to uncollected nations that collection is unity and unity is perfection. They go on to remind the viewer that uncollected citizens are precious and to be converted through understanding, not through force or threat of violence. At the end of the news the reporters affirm, "We are one flesh." and the students repeat the mantra as if in a religious service.

As the meal goes on more students break away to attend to themselves, classes seemingly replaced with self-instruction, though the first Ariel, the one that looks like Ariel, sits in her seat and looks at the teacher where Callisto sits. Accepting the dream, going deeper into it, could it cause one to join in the unity? Or for their lack of unity to stand out? Ariel, the original, pushes herself to her feet and crosses over, but no, she speaks to the teacher briefly, then they touch hands. This close the way that their skin changes, turning into tiny grasping gray tendrils which latch on to one another and briefly join, buzz, before letting go. Then the teacher is standing and walking out the front door and the dream is going with him. He walks into town and is joined by strangers, but these strangers are Ariel, so they are only strangers to the uncollected. They touch hands with the teacher, though one says he is too new to collect with his hands and his face opens up, turning into a mass of teeth and tentacles and eyes and mouths. The teacher's does the same and the pseudopods touch, merging as did the tiny feelers. Buzz.

Another stranger comes up the road and stops when he sees the three, sees what is happening. All three turn to look at him, their faces turning human once more. The two strangers no longer are, but this new stranger? He is uncollected. He looks at them, terror, confusion, discord. They look back, eyes like a child's when looking at a terrarium full of potential pet gerbils.

Alas, 'lo, all that the first — the true, the one Ariel to rule them all! — .. yes, the first Ariel shall see the teacher, though there is a… faint ripple around said teacher's outline. Ariel approaches to touch and Callisto, seated behind and.. in the way of dreams, in the shade of the teacher… tenses. The ripple in the dreamscape is barely noticeable as Callisto is startled, briefly. She squashes it down, eyes glancing down to watch this touching of hands. But it's too late: the spike in Callisto's emotions there, the need to not be 'found' and the worry surrounding it… calls across the aether.

She.. she hopes she caught it soon enough.

The tendrils.. Callisto considers these, as the minuscule occurrence happens between those hands… she remembers Ariel, in a boy's shape, having had that small girl on his shoulder. How they seemed 'meshed'; could this be—

Callisto focuses. She can feel the dream shifting even before it happens, and when the teacher rises to leave… so too does Callisto. She 'follows', unable to shake this feeling of heebie-jeebies…

.. yeeaaahh, that's only going to worsen. They're in town now and the peculiar, creepy interaction between strangers is not lost on the faerie. Oh Gods, Gods above! Their faces—-

Callisto does not 'scare' easily but that sight stirred her some, which will not help her other cause. Rapidly, desperately, she contains herself… but then the new stranger has to show up and get scared. That is enough. It's more than enough.

A 'weight' begins to settle upon the dreamscape; a heaviness. While nothing is outright being done to alter Ariel's dream, 'something' shifts.. an emotional current introduces itself. Callisto's eyes widen in her face.. «No.. no no… please, no.» She begs, mostly unheard by the dreamer.. save for a vague, mournful woman's 'cry'.

The three who are no longer strangers, the three who are one flesh, begin then to approach the one who is not. The separate. The other. The uncollected. Callisto (and this new, unexpected guest) can feel now that something doesn't want to see what happens next, scrambles to get away from it, but it is for naught. Like fleeing on a loose carpet or a spill or oil, the mind finds no purchase with which to make its escape. There is only this thing to see now.

The uncollected man holds up his hands plaintively, as if showing off that he is harmless, but Ariel knows that he is harmless. Ariel has been around these single form human creatures all its life. Even the ones with powers, skills, intellect, might, are weak when compared to the one flesh, though they make the flesh stronger when collected. Ariel, Ariels, the strangers who are Ariel, Inferno who is Ariel, keep coming and the stranger who only has himself, only has one name, one shape, backs up.

"You aren't allowed to hurt me," he says, trying not to sound afraid. Failing.

"It will not hurt," says the stranger who is Ariel, the one who was too new to collect with his hands.

Inferno who is Ariel nods. "To be collected is to be perfected."

The stranger who is no longer a stranger laughs, enjoying the rhyme. Then his throat starts to bulge like a bullfrog, expanding grotesquely until the skin is thin and its contents, organic and moving, can be seen as shadows. Inferno who is Ariel moves forward quickly, face splitting open into a mass of teeth and organic horror. The uncollected man tries to run then, but arms that are not arms sprout from the mass hat was Inferno's face and capture his feet, dragging him back. The new stranger looks at the one with the expanding face curiously. The uncollected man screams as he is dragged back, then flipped over onto his back by Inferno as Ariel's regular human arms. He is held steady as the grotesque stranger moves to lean over him.

That scrabbling again, desperate to get away, to deny this. A strong, pounding desire to wake up that goes unheeded. Ariel does not want this. Does not want to experience it again and again.

<FS3> Callisto rolls Dreamweave: Success.

The fae girl recognizes these signs too, sure as she realizes that her mother is trolling the nightmare, trying to get her pound of flesh… to sample the horror and the fear. This feeds Malachite; through the sorceress' many children she is fed nightly. Some children willingly go forth into peoples' dreams, holding fast to their mother's consciousness like gleeful kids trailing balloons. They feed her happily and willingly, knowing the rewards. When Malachite is pleased, she loves freely.

But then there are those like Callisto, or who Callisto is rapidly becoming: resistant. Malachite honing in on Ariel's sleeping mind is one of very few last chances that the elder fae is giving to her renegade daughter. «Let me feed, Daedhelwen..» The whisper, flowing in and around the dream. It's at this point that the uncollected man is scrambling for his freedom. Callisto watches him being hauled back, flipped, prepared.

Beyond the scene, standing lone and broodingly, is Callisto's mother. Terrible, beautiful, hungry. She works to make every moment, every scream and sound… extra clear, vibrant. She wants this dreamer to REALLY see this grotesque, ghastly scene.

The feeling of resistance and 'not wanting' is rife in this dreamscape. Callisto's heart throbs and her anger comes to bear… she tries to interfere with her mother, buffet her away. «Get away, go away, leave her be!» Is cried mentally — unheard mostly, save for more of those fearful-sounding, feminine wails. Callisto feels the desire to 'wake up' but she, herself, cannot will it. Instead, Callisto does much as she had done in the culmination of the speedster's nightmare… she begins reaching.

For anything, everything… any thread that she can grab at, try to catch, pull forth. Any glimmering hope of a good memory or feeling…. and if she finds it, while distracting her hateful, gluttonous mother… she will try desperately to bring it to the forefront of Ariel's dreaming mind, to blot out this horrible moment.

The bullfrog throat tears, then bursts open and spores, tens of thousands of fungal spores come pouring out of the stranger who is Ariel's throat. And these spores? They are also Ariel. She has said this to people, described, in loose terms, this part of the dream, and they thought she was kidding. (Though Grayson did note that she sounded like a villain and she did not disagree.) The spores pour over the man, but they also catch a breeze and those that don't go into his lungs float up and into town, riding the wind.

The dreamer starts to experience, now, being the spores as they go down the uncollected man's windpipe, but everything slows and stops and the dream fades away, transitions. Something better. Still the meat, Ariel does love her beef smoothies, but no. That's a daily pleasure. And yes, Conner, her boyfriend. And this transition is a little too graphic for a log, but Callisto doesn't seem the type to blush. And though that sight does linger, the two of them enjoying one another extensively, it too passes on and transitions away from the school. Away from this strange world of super teens entirely and off somewhere not too far away, but long enough ago and different enough in content that it might as well be as far as the stars.

Ariel stands at a glass terrarium at the Museum of Science in Boston. He is a small boy, shorter at ten than his brother Moshe is at eight. His skin is darker than either shapes Ariel wears now, a light brown, and his hair is a pitch black poof of curls, an epic jewfro that makes him look like a defective cotton swab. He is a boy, certainly, though in the dream the person inside can be experienced, where he isn't certain what he is, but four years away from powers, three years away from the cancer that will kill him, Ariel can feel that this body isn't his. He doesn't like being a boy a lot of the time. It's not who (or all?) Ariel is. But right now he isn't concerned about any of that. Now he's in th butterfly garden at the museum and he's staring anxiously, excitedly, surrounded by kids his age from Devotion Elementary School, as a chrysalis is opening. There is a photo nearby of a caterpillar, the grubby thing that made the protective shell before it started its change, and Ariel looks from it to the beautiful, iridescent chrysalis and feels something in his stomach that he could not explain. As the shell breaks and a wing, black and blue, a blue bluer than the ocean in Boston Harbor he can see through the windows, bluer than the sky itself, comes through, that feeling of pure joy explodes, for just a moment shattering Ariel's heart in the best way. He can't breathe because to do so will be to ruin this moment. He wants to cry with joy, but there are too many boys here who already call him names. Though surrounded, he knows that this moment, this sight, is meant just for him.

<FS3> Callisto rolls Dreamweave: Good Success.

The dark fae seems to be battening down the hatches, preparing for what is to come next. Did her efforts find purchase? Brilliant eyes — now a silvery glacial blue as she works her craft — flit from Malachite's baleful presence .. back over to the—-hold fast, Callisto. Hold! All she can do now is hope, hope, and hope some more that this shifts lest Malachite get another upper hand and will the dream back into nightmare territory. But no, Callisto feels and sees her mother dissipating. Feels the wave of rage washing over the dreamscape and specifically, aimed straight for the heart of her daughter.

….. then there's something altogether different, and unsurprising.

… and what a relief.

No, Callisto is not a blushy sort. She has seen and experienced the moreso, uh.. carnal aspects to life. She does have the decency to look away though, lashes fluttering as the landscape of the dream shifts, shapes… her eyes close as she exhales slowly, brow furrowed. Her gown ripples and trembles at the hemline, as if she herself is floating.

Two young boys. Callisto stands head over shoulders well above them, her peculiar attire pooling beneath the boys' feet but still unseen and untouched. She looks down upon them as she is yet catching her breath, her hair swaying and trembling in the 'current'. This can only be…. well. Callisto isn't given to revealing sentimentality or emotion, but the corners of her lips twitch and her eyes focus. She gives the boy Ariel had been the softest of looks… few see this look upon her face; the most recent had been in 1985. That is an entirely different story.

The joy spikes and Callisto catches hold of it, uses it to bolster what she does next.. her second, final intervention. Joy keeps Malachite away. She kneels alongside Ariel and Moshe, touched by the former's rather adorable fro. Her hand passes through the fluff, not touching, but pausing in front of the three of them, aimed at the terrarium. In conjunction with the joy, Callisto heightens the clarity of the dream, much as her mother had tried with the 'bad stuff'.

The fae girl enhances the beauty and wonder of it all, makes the blues stand out stronger, so much so that they could glow. An already beautiful moment could, perhaps, become even more beautiful. And that is when Callisto eases out of the dream; out of Ariel's sleeping mind… she cannot risk seeing that ruined. She rolls over onto her back in the waking world, in their wing, and stares up at the ceiling with wide eyes.

Ariel doesn't have good dreams anymore. The boy in front of the terrarium, he dreamed of being Iron Man and Daenerys Targaryen, but now Ariel is all the super she needs to be and finds she doesn't really know what to do with it. But when she sleeps the cancer and the golem, they're stronger than the teenage mind that rules during the waking hours. The cancer wants to spread and the golem wants to conquer and between them they give Ariel the dream, the nightmare, where she improves the world by becoming the world. So a good dream? She almost doesn't know what to do with that.

The boy stands and watches as the butterfly frees itself, stays standing there long after everyone else has left, long after their teacher took them away in the real world. He sits there and watches the wings straighten and dry and shine. And he gasps as the butterfly takes flight.

Ariel doesn't do a lot of things. She doesn't blush. She doesn't sweat. And she doesn't cry. So when Janessa's alarm goes off, waking her and the other girls in her room, she is surprised to find tears on her cheeks and she rolls over, pulling the pillow over her head, desperate not to forget that blue.

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