2008-06-21: The Sleeping Sickness

Starring:

Lee_icon.gif Sophie_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif Elisabetha_icon.gif

Summary: Lee, Sophie, and Kory visit Elisabetha in her dreams to make her an offer.

Date It Happened: June 21st, 2008

The Sleeping Sickness


???

Lee has taken charge…well, he has taken a tiny bit of charge. Essentially he has told Kory and Sophie about his intent. The plan is to try to accomplish two things in the next contact with Elisabetha. First, establish what kind of education she needs and wants, and second, establish whether and how much assistance from Sophie is needed to make things work. Sophie is directed to read 'The Ransom of Red Chief' by O. Henry as a brief "test text" to see if her memory abilities will be able to give Elisabetha the opportunity to learn even if, as Lee suspects, she is prevented from having access to physical texts. He clearly is taking the work quite seriously despite his extremely vocal misgivings.

Sophie is nothing if not serious about her responsibilities. And rather familiar with the text. But this takes a bit of work, as she has to sort of store the memory of her reading the text in order to transfer it, since she doesn't have a technically eidetic memory.

Kory is just sitting in meditative silence. She's just the operator at this time. Lee's vocal misgivings get on Kory's nerves, and since she's taken seriously this mission Peter's given her, she is quiet rather than letting him know just how on her nerves he is. "Ready when you are," she tells them quietly.

Elisabetha has not quite fully lapsed back into her usual apathetic state. It has now been weeks since that initial contact with Kory, and she's still hanging on. Barely. Much of her thoughts are in a muddled haze, forcing her to concentrate to accomplish any deep consideration. She's not sure why she's still fighting the emptiness. She hasn't been visited again, and what her Teacher has told her since the incident made sense. There's no logical reason to WANT to suffer. But there are other things that were shown her in that dream besides suffering. Maybe it's those other things that keep her hoping that if she keeps figthing the emptiness, she'll one get to feel things like everyone else.
At the moment, she is getting ready for bed. Emily helps a little, but Elisabetha has insisted on trying to learn to do things on her own. Emily seemed pleased by that, so she interfered only occasionally, when it was clear that her friend needed help.
"I was thinking that we might go visit that Cafe Destiny again, tommorow," Emily says. Elisabetha is attempting to slip a nighty over her head, and the sudden distraction of speech causes her to have to stop one thing before she can do the other. "…Ah. Um… Sure," Elisabetha responds, and then resumes until she is appropriately dressed for sleep. Emily is getting herself ready too, but she probably won't be sleeping right away. She likes to read first.
"I wonder if that… Police officer will be there again…?" Elisabetha ponders in a sort of half-question. Emily looks up and smiles. "Yes, he was rather nice, wasn't he?" Then they both get into their beds, and Elisabetha lies there and stares at the ceiling. She feels tired, but she is reluctant to sleep. 'What if the Muse comes for me again?' she thinks. 'What will I tell her?' The blonde sighs and rolls onto her right side, to face the wall. Eventually, she closes her red eyes, and sleeps.

The dream is nothing. Elisabetha is dressed in a partially transparent white dress, reminiscent of a jellyfish. She is floating in a cold, liquid, blackness. Like the bottom of the ocean, where no light ever reaches. Despite this, she can breathe just fine. She just can't see anything except for herself. She looks around, but her eyes do not pierce the darkness. She can feel there is something below her, though. Ripples in the liquid wash over her, and she becomes aware she is not alone. There is movement down here in the dark.
She doesn't want to be here anymore, but she's afraid that if she tries to escape she'll be noticed. So she simply floats and fears what she cannot see. New arrivals might, without assistance, find themselves dumped into the liquid environment too. They can breathe normally too, but the reflex at first might be to hold their breath until they realize that they just inhaled the liquid and are still fine.

"She's asleep now," Kory says, meeting Lee's eyes. She doesn't say it. Last chance to back out if you're scared. Her own eyes sort of shift to the white, half open. "You two need to sleep, too." She should've called Benjamin, could have, but somehow doesn't want to involve him yet. Not until she's sure they will have a shot at making progress with this young woman. "Lie down, count backward from 100."

Kory made the connection while waiting for them to sleep. She senses the liquid, and it does not bother her.

"Hello, Elisabetha," she says quietly to the other woman, voice pleasant. At this point, Kory is still invisible, just a voice, as she always is when she enters a dream these days. Lee is visible, and Sophie should be showing up momentarily.

Sophie has gotten to sleep on time, so she finds herself pulled out of her own dream, just one of her usual ones involving taking a test in a class she hasn't attended all year, and dunked under water. There's a moment of panic, before she realizes that she can breathe. Blushing, she takes a place beside Lee. For once, is dressed, for once, in casual clothing, including shorts and a tank. Apparently, some wish fulfillment about fashion is involved in her dream.

Lee's oh so exquisitely-shot French cuffs are immediately soggy, but, well, he's been reading up on his dream archetypes and being underwater doesn't exactly shock him. He lets Kory take the lead, at least at first, though he does have a book under his arm - that's how he sees himself, someone who has books with him. Tall, lanky, he looks ridiculous underwater. His perfect hair!

Elisabetha flinches from the voice. Not because the voice itself is bad, but because it was unexpected, and she is presently terrified. Wide, wine-red eyes dart back and forth in search of the source of the voice. When she does not find it, she dares to move her head to look around. She looks up and sees that there is some man she has never met before, along with… Some lady she has never met before! How about that.
The ripples in the chilly liquid are getting confusing now. They're not just coming from below, but also from the two visible people, as they float around. Elisabetha decides that the presence of others, even if they're strangers, is preferable to have if she is facing something terrible, and unseen, rather than doing so alone. So she unfolds from the ball she is in, and tries to swim with her legs and one arm up to meet the two strangers. She doesn't try to speak until she is closer, because she doesn't want to wake up the unseen thing below them all.
Considering the semi-transparent nature of the white dress Elisabetha is wearing, Lee may be getting an eyefull, but that's probably less important than why he is here. Elisabetha swims closer and closer, struggling against her own perception of weak limbs, in this bizarre liquid medium. When she is about ten feet away, she asks quietly, "Who are you? Was that… Is the Muse with you?" She looks around worriedly, but is glad that her voice, when she speaks seems to be muffled somewhat, as though being listened to underwater. Still audible, but it does not carry very far.

Lee says, well, blubs, "Yes, she's here. That voice you hear, that's her. I'm Mr. Jones. I hope we're not interrupting anything." He hadn't actually thought of how to start out, so it's awkward - and he insisted that he would use his real name. He looks down, looks up, looks at Elisabetha. If he has an eyeful, he doesn't acknowledge it. "The uh Muse…is a good friend of mine."

Sophie offers the girl a warm, reassuring smile. "Hello there. I'm.. Neme." using the short version of Kory's nickname for her, "I'm a friend of the Muse, and just here to kind of help Mr. Jones."

The Muse shows up as a statue, poised at the bottom of Elisabetha's 'sea'. Her lips do not move, but that doesn't stop her words from being clear. "I thought you would perhaps like another perspective. Or an opportunity to learn from a different teacher. So you could make an enlightened decision about your future."

Elisabetha is still scared of that unseen something, but the fear is wavering in the face of these calm others. Do they not realize there's something here with them? Or do they know and are unafraid? "Nice… To meet you." She looks down and sees that the statue of the Muse is down there resting on the invisible bottom of the blackness. She eyes the statue and says, "You shouldn't be here… Any of you… It's dangerous." She looks up at Lee and then Sophie, and says, "It is nice to meet you Mister Jones, and Miss Neme… But I don't want any of you to get hurt." Air bubbles suddenly begin rushing upwards from the 'ground' a dozen feet or so away from the Kory-statue.
They float up past everyone, and vanish into the darkness above. Elisabetha looks tense. "It's sleeping right now… But I don't want it to wake up."

Lee says, with a calm, cool authority, THAT much he's practiced, "It's a dream, you can't get hurt in a dream. Whatever it is, it's just a dream. I heard through the Muse that you had some interests that perhaps I could help you with. That maybe your current teacher wasn't covering everything you were interested in?" He's prompting, and…well, since he doesn't belong here, he's confident that the Muse can protect him, or at least kick him out if things get crazy.

Sophie nods, fairly confident about that. "I'll try to keep quiet, if that helps.." said softly, quietly. "And it is nice meeting you, too." said warmly. She stays to the side, letting Lee take the lead, as the teacher. She's just.. a walking textbook, really.

"If you are speaking of the encounter we had last time? I am prepared now, Elisabetha." Kory's voice is peaceful. Even though she looks like stone, she is moving, and moving like she is aware. "You are safe." Even now she is bulwarking her strength against that thing, that Thanatos, that threw her out before. Meditating beforehand was definitely part of the process. Catching her once by surprise only, dark thing.

Elisabetha looks doubtfully down at the Kory statue, but decides to believe her. For now. "Alright…" She turns her crimson eyes back up at Lee and says, "Thanatos is not just a dream, but… If the Muse can keep it from hurting you all… Then we can talk. If it starts to wake up, please leave immediately. I don't want to kill anymore." Bubbles trail from her lips as she breathes out. Then she says, "My Teacher is teaching me what I need to know… I know that you want to help, but sometimes we have to give up what we want for… The greater good. What I want is unimportant. All that matters is what I can do to help others live in a better world."

Lee says, "Very creditable." and doesn't even sound sarcastic. "But in order to make a better world, it would help if you knew more about the world, and how it's situated, and how people live in it. Everyone should work to make a better world. That's one thing people have always said was the aim of education, to give people the tools to do that. Best to have all the tools in your toolbox rather than just a few, right?"

Sophie nods at Lee. "Precisely. The last thing you should be giving up is the very means you need to understand what is, what should be, and how to bring it about." she doesn't even add 'if you even should'. That realization may, hopefully, come later.

"As you like, Elisabetha," is the Muse-statue's assurance. "We do not wish to cause you undue alarm or distress. We are here to help." And once more, she falls silent, concentrating on monitoring the dreamscape for the first inkling of the danger that could throw them all into wakefulness.

Elisabetha nods slowly. Well, that makes sense. As long as they aren't trying to turn her away from what she needs to do. "Alright… What do you want to do? Should I meet you somewhere… When I wake up? I'm allowed to go where I want during the day. But it is dangerous at night… Some men tried to mug me once." She shakes her head at the memory, hair floating about in the process, and getting in her face. She brushes it aside with her hand, and says, "What do you want to teach me?"

Lee says, "That depends on what you want to learn, and what you already know. How far have you gone in school? Have you gotten any diplomas, or certifications of any sort? Any favorite books? If you're free to meet during the day, you can be part of the summer classes I'm presenting."

Sophie looks pleased, though she keeps quiet as she listens for Elisabetha's answers.

Kory just remains calm and vigilant. The dreamscape likewise remains the same. Peaceful and unruffled.

Elisabetha says a bit embarassed, "I've never been to school… I had private tutors back in Italy, but after awhile I stopped caring about what they were trying to teach me. I think that was when Thanatos woke up… It ate up my emotions and made me not care. About anything. I can do math, and I know how to read… But most of what I know has come from experience. Seeing different places in the world, and being taught by my Teacher. I'll try to attend your classes, though…! They sound important."
She smiles at Lee. Then the ground beneath the Kory statue quakes for a moment as the 'sea floor' shifts. A huge rush of bubbles pours out of an invisible opening, as though the grand canyon had just sprung up out of nowhere, but couldn't be seen. Elisabetha looks down fearfully, but though there is a deep rumbling that comes in waves, sounding like breathing, no danger seems to be evident. "…Just tell me where to go, please. I have more control when I'm awake."

Lee says gracefully, "Brubaker Secondary. Look for Mr. Jones. It's fairly empty in the summer but I'm there most mornings. It sounds like you have a few areas to work on, and definitely some analytical skills to practice, but we can discuss it more when you're awake." He seems relieved that she can discuss it in real life.

Sophie takes a breath, and then smiles, "I suppose.. I won't be needed for that part, then." as she glances downward, a little worriedly.

There is a sudden blueing of the water, and the bubbles begin to slow. Oh, no, beastie. Stay asleep. The Muse's brow furrows a little in concentration, but otherwise, there is little indication she's even expending any effort. This must be why the Muse hadn't visited again…marshalling her resources. Developing strength enough to hold a monster back. "It's all right. We have a few moments yet."

Lee says, "Looks like not…not at first, anyway. It still might be useful, for catching her up." meditatively enough. "This Thanatos…do you know why it's called that? I mean, why not Atropos? Why did the Greeks have a Thanatos and an Atropos, and a Moros, and a Charon, and a Hades? First assignment?" he prompts with a challenging smile.

Elisabetha shrugs and shakes her head. "I don't know. I think it might have named itself that. I just woke up one day, knowing its name." Then she blinks. "Wait… Greeks? What do the Greeks have to do with anything?" Does she really not know that's where the name originated? She looks to Sophie and tries to say supportively, "You're welcome to help in any way you can. If you have something to teach me, I am willing to learn. I just don't want to risk anyone getting hurt using this method."
She hmmms and looks down past her chest, at the Muse. Then she looks up at Lee. "Alright, Mister Jones. I guess that's my first assignment. I can visit a book store to look up the Greeks, and… Thanatos. I didn't know anyone else knew about it. I just thought it was an evil thing that lived inside of me alone."

Sophie hmms, 'Then I would probably recommend a good book on Greek Mythology. Bullfinch is pretty common, Frazier's Golden Bough can be an interesting read." she looks intrigued, glancing to Kory and Lee, "I don't know if talking about it is a good idea, but.. you just knew its name, and you never, that you can remember, heard of that name, or anything else with that name before then?

"It isn't awake yet," the Muse says quietly. "But we don't have long. I am happy that my friends have been of help to you, Elisabetha. I will see that things you need are prepared for you and left at Brubaker."

Lee grins a bit wider. "I think you'll be surprised at what you find. I don't think it named itself. That's not how things get names. You must have heard the name somewhere before." He nods to Sophie. "All right, I hope to speak to you outside your dreams soon." he tells Elisabetha. "Sorry things aren't working out here, but nightmares do happen."

Elisabetha nods and smiles. "Thank you, all of you. I appreciate the help. I am glad to have… Made friends? If you want to be friends, I mean." She adds this last hurriedly. "And… Teacher does not want other people in my head. I think he's afraid that someone might try to hurt me, or change me to be something else. Something they want. He told me he met someone like that once. Someone with… Tele… something." She frowns, trying to remember, but then decides it's not important. "I will see you as soon as I can, Mister Jones. And thank you for coming Miss Neme. And you too, Miss Muse!"
Elisabetha says to Neme quietly, "I don't remember hearing it, no. I might have, and just forgot. But I'd never told anyone it even existed until the Muse visited me."

Lee says wryly, "That's a danger for all of us these days. That's the other reason you need to learn as much as you can, so you can make your own mind up about things."

Sophie nods to what Lee says, first, saying, 'Well, that is true. Adam named the animals, God named Adam, and didn't give a name until asked, quite some time later." thoughtfully, "And many tribal people had no name for their own group than 'the people', in their own tongue, and where they lived was just 'land'. You name something to distinguish it from other things, you don't need to do that for yourself.. Oh.." she blushes, "I'm sorry, kind of rambling on there. And yes, it is possible that you don't remember hearing of it. I think it is 'telepath' he was talking about." she frowns a moment, 'Though they don't change people's personalities, they just can communicate mentally. Hmm.. and yes." she smiles, "I hope we can be friends, and I'm available even if it isn't for lessons, but just cocoa and talking."

"Indeed. Your father warned me to stay away from you. I believe he feared that I would do you harm. But that is not my purpose. Harming people is not in my nature." The Muse becomes flesh and blood, returning Elisabetha's smile as she floats gently toward Lee and Sophie in preparation for easing them back into their own dreamspaces. "And I would be delighted to have you call me a friend, and call you one in return."

Elisabetha nods, listening wide-eyed to everything everyone has to say. "Well, my Teacher seems to think that a strong telepath can rewrite someone's mind. Make them into someone else. If he met someone like that… Then I can understand why he wouldn't want me around people who can—Wait." She blinks. She looks to Kory and says, "…My father? Why would my father warn you? He doesn't even know I have a gift. Is he here in New York City? I haven't seen him in years!"

Lee listens with curiosity. "Anything's possible these days." he says noncomittally, as his contribution to the telepathy conversation. "It's probably not worth worrying too much about." he says. The rest he doesn't contribute much to…he doesn't get too friendly with his prospective student, not too close. That's not his role.

Sophie has no such prohibition, but she nods, "I suppose that's possible, but I don't think any of us can do something like that." she pauses at Elisabetha's question, looking toward Kory for the answer.

Kory arches a brow at Elisabetha …or perhaps, at herself. "Did I say father? I meant your teacher." She cocks her head thoughtfully as if uncertain how she conflated the two, and visibly chalks it up to stress and stretching herself too thin. "Either way, I am not capable of rewriting anyone's mind. And even if I were, that's unethical." She begins to rise, drawing Lee and Sophie with her. "Your dreams will be peaceful tonight, Elisabetha." This much she can guarantee. She's been concentrating.

Nodding eagerly, Elisabetha puts off the confusion of words to just that. Surely there couldn't be any connection. "Alright… And thank you again. I'll see you soon!" The deep breathing noises from below have stopped. Maybe it's going back to deep slumber again, just as Kory promised.

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