Like a Bridge

Title: Like a Bridge
Time Period: April 21, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: For once, a haunting is welcomed and invited.

The spring evening is a wet one; it had rained earlier in the day, leaving pools and puddles of standing water everywhere, reflecting the sky back unto itself like dark mirrors.

One such puddle is splashed as a boot comes down upon it, marring that reflection and leaving it rippling for several minutes after; Beisdean Skye walks along the darkening road. While most of Dornie is indoors now, having supper with loved ones, he has taken this time to walk alone in the relative silence. Even his familiar is absent — the little marten that usually rides upon his shoulder or flies above him in the sky is nowhere to be seen.

Far enough away from any building where he'll be accidentally spied, Beisdean stops before one of the puddles, staring into it at the darker version of his own face below. It's a long moment as he studies his face, now and then a waver running through as some tiny unseen force shakes the earth or air. It's not a necessary ritual, just a way to meditate for a moment like a modern Narcissus, only he's not concentrating on his own beauty.

Instead, he envisions a light glowing around that reflection, and he lets it grow little by little, tiny amounts while at the same time focusing on one particular soul in all of the universe — the others become to crowd his peripheral, not quite corporeal yet, but he is able to push them back, picturing that gentle face of a mother.

Not his.

For her, it's like everything else is pulled away until she finds herself on this road with this man.

There is very little to be pulled away from, yet the tug at the back of her presence is one that she feels compelled to follow as it pulls inward. The crowd that flocks in around Beisdean is pushed aside by him, though she forces partway through as if to help him. A ghost without a driving idea, such as vengeance, has its own means of making itself forceful- even if it is something as simple as motherhood. After all, a man is always somebody's son.

The spirit gathers together on the other side of the puddle, neither abrupt nor laden; Liv Ullman shifts into sight, her manner that of a fine mist. The woman is hust as diminutive as he remembers from the first time, small feet together and delicate hands held at her sides giving her a doll-like posture. A superficial breath goes through her chest, a sigh of sound making it rise and fall under her furs and blouses.

"Hei, herra. Voice soft, Liv finally looks up at his face, her eyes having been hooded and downturned to examine either his boots, or the puddle in the road holding his reflection. A less overcast spring lets her eyes pale in the dusk, and though her heart-shaped face is mottled with the ugly bruise, there is a slight resolution at the edges of her mouth and heavily lashed eyes.

A huff of breath comes from Beisdean, exhilaration and fear mixed together in that little puff of breath that rises in the chilly air. His lips tic up at the corners in a look that says he is pleased with himself for accomplishing the feat, and he dips into a bow that is perhaps just a little melodramatic.

"Mrs. Ullman," he murmurs, eyes sparkling as he looks up into her face from his bent position, then rises again and doffs the brim of his hat. "I beg your pardon. I … it was suggested that I study a little, practice my ability so that it might be more of use and less danger to me, ma'am. And you seemed a kind enough soul to not mind a bit of conversation now and then?" The last is lilted upward into a question — it's a very big assumption he's made…. and he knows it.

The small ghost watches him for a moment, and until she speaks it almost feels as if she did not understand all of it- thankfully, she does understand him, at least generally. Hearing and understanding came easier in life than did speaking and understanding. In this slowness to answer, Jorn is reminiscent of his mother regardless of language barriers.

"You may call me Liv, I am not Ullman since Otto…" Her hands shiver, one lifting to all but shield the side of her head from a phantom blow that never exists- a retroactive flinching that sets her awareness ablaze. She primly lowers her hands, fingers latching into skirt folds. A small, forward curtsey coming next.

"Better than someone… djevelsk." Brows knit as she fails to find a term, small mouth tightening into a frown. Better that he called her than reach out into the ether and come back with a devil. "Very wise." Liv utters this final judgment in soft tones, her accent more melodic than it is thick.

"Liv then," Beisdean murmurs, though it's hard for him to call someone else's mother and someone else's wife a name other than Mrs. He even calls Mairi "Mrs. Fairbairn" and Sorcha "Mrs. Ferrier," though they are so close to his own age.

He gestures, to walk, and takes a few steps though he'll stop if she stays rooted in place. "My name is Beisdean," he tells her; it's more than he tells most of his spirit visitors, though he's the one who called her this time, and that makes all the rules new.

"Your son," he begins, "is a good man. I would count myself lucky to have the half the respect some day that others have for him."

Beisdean nods to her. "I'm sure that's much to do with you, ma'am." So much for calling her Liv.

Even now, Liv picks up her skirts before crossing over the puddle towards Beisdean when he moves. He did call her, and it appears she treats this with submissive respect, whether or not he intended it so. She follows, fingertips finding the curling ends of her long black hair. Ma'am is fine and well, and she does not force the issue, instead adopting quietness in an inspection of the wooded road.

"Kalma needed me before I finished raising him." And Otto Ullman probably would have never bothered, had Jorn not left him behind. Liv dips her chin and looks along the dusty road she fails to feel under her heels. "We were not to stay in Fosnavag. I wanted to go home to finish." Raising him. Something tells Beisdean she did not make it to wherever 'home' was.

"A good man is what I wanted him to be. Thank you." Liv nods once to Beisdean, hands folding in front of her small waist.

The young man is quiet and listens, shortening his long strides to match her smaller ones. "And I left mine before I was raised completely, I think. I do not think I give my mum as much cause to be proud as Mr. Wartooth does you, but perhaps by the time I am his age, I'll have made some headway on that goal."

He looks to her profile, studying it while they walk, taking in the bruises though nothing on his face shows more than polite curiosity.

"How old was he, then?" he asks, avoiding the words 'when you died.' Even the most self-aware of spirits can be upset by such phrasing, he's learned.

Nothing in her profile belongs to Jorn, save for the tune of her expression and the wintry eyes. She lifts her head once she notes his watching her, only to rescind the look when he treads onto the ice.

"Thirteen… fourteen." Time is not as slavish there as it is in Dornie. The fact that the north has light in seasons does not help the cycle of telling one week from another, and it has been a long time since Liv has had to summon her memories, however phantom they are.

"He did not love his father. He feared his father."

The tall man beside her nods his understanding. "I'm sorry," he says quietly. "That's when I left my mother as well — at 14, that is. I didn't see her again, however, so in some ways it feels like I lost her then, too — even if I was the one who chose to leave."

Beisdean reaches to touch a tree branch along the road, little budding flowers on it waking for the spring. Long fingers touch the wee petals but he doesn't pluck it from the branch, just admiring it for a moment in passing — or it's just a way not to look at the woman's sad expression. "I haven't talked to her yet, like this. I'm not sure I wish to. Maybe that's why I chose you to call, of all the spirits I've known."

"You should." Liv, as quiet as she is, can find something to be firm about if given enough time. "If she was good to you." She amends, knowing that sometimes a mother is not worth calling one at all. It is fortunate that she does not contest being used as a totem for Beisdean's own mother, slow to find the right way to say it. When Liv does speak again, there is something knowing in her words. "Calling me is alright, if it soothes you."

Beisdean is no longer completely alone with the dainty female ghost, but the masculine figure in a white mantle that crests across the wooded road is far from them- much further than is near, at least.

A few steps continue in silence before Beisdean murmurs, "Thank you," to the spirit; there's a furrow of brows that suggest he might be weighing the pros and cons of seeing his mother instead of all of these strangers. "Perhaps when I'm stronger with this aspect of my magic. And she has not come to me, and so I'm…"

A sigh cuts off the rest of that statement, whatever it might have been, and Beisdean stares up at the sky, squinting at where dark patches of sky between the gray clouds are beginning to twinkle with stars. He heaves another sigh and then looks back to the road, a nod ahead at the figure he doesn't recognize. "If I stop talking… I'm not ignoring you, ma'am," he murmurs. "They all know what I am, but they get nervous when they see me talking to what looks like thin air, aye?"

"I would too, unless I thought you were praying." Her sincerity and his predicament as one is amusing, her lips curling up at the corners. A tiny smile. Liv moves ahead of Beisdean, wandering across his intended path, feet steeping soundlessly and weightlessly into one of the bushels of spring flowers along the road. "Knowing what you are, and understanding what you are, they are different things."

"She may be too scared to come to you." Had he considered that? Liv's questioning look asks this of him.

He huffs a soft chuckle through his nose, that puff of air rising like steam into the dark sky now the sunlight has faded but for a paler blue goal in the west. "I don't pray," Beisdean says a little flatly. "But you're right. They are two different things."

The question regarding his mother is mulled over, and a few more steps taken before he shrugs. "Perhaps so. But it's not a normal thing, for such as her to be able to speak so easily to their survivors… it isn't something I think she'd feel missing, wherever she is…" his voice trails off as they grow closer to the figure up ahead, and he murmurs, "It is your boy" in a soft and solemn voice.

"Yes, it is…" Liv glances to her feet passing through the flowers, looking sheepishly back up before she flits back to Beisdean's side for supposed security. "If you do not want to see him, you do not have to." Her hand moves as if to take him by the sleeve, the gesture halting when she wonders if it would even be felt.

Jorn is oblivious to anything going on down the road; it only looks to him like a man walking alone, admiring the Spring scenery along River Road on the way to wherever he is headed. Jorn has less time to sightsee, on his way from one end of the road towards the other- without Kuu, as it stands, for he left her at the stables to stretch his legs. Near enough to be recognized, but just far enough that Beisdean can't see Jorn squinting directly at him for at least a few more paces.

Beisdean shakes his head. "It doesn't bother me. The question is, Liv," he somehow manages to use her name this time without a ma'am, "do you wish me to speak to him on your behalf, to foster some form of communication between the two of you? I can act as an intermediary, if you like."

He continues his walk toward the man, not hurrying his pace, nor trying to hide the fact he is speaking to what seems to be himself. Jorn knows better, Beisdean is sure, but he will pause in the conversation if Liv wishes to hide her presence from her son.

"How do you do this? Start?" She brushes her hand over Beisdean's as she lowers it from nearer his sleeve, looking between him and the oncoming Jorn. What does Beisdean say with something like this? Her hands knot, fingers wringing about. Liv grows quiet again, watching, and giving the mage a soft series of nods.

"Evening." Jorn is only the first to say something out of courtesy. It would be rude to not at least greet the young man- especially when there is literally nothing else to pretend to take Jorn's attention from him.

The nervous hands noted, Beisdean reaches to pat one, then squeeze it — it's an odd gesture, to be sure, for Jorn to see, the younger man reaching out with his long limbs to tap at the air.

"Good evening, sir," Beisdean murmurs, a glance to his right and then back to Jorn. His brows furrow; he's not entirely sure how to do this, either — he's done it so rarely. The moment might pass, along with Jorn on his travel, if Beisdean doesn't speak, and he clears his throat.

"I've… a guest," he begins. That much was probably clear to Jorn already, only the older man was too polite to say anything about it. "One that you might wish to… speak with." A glance to his right again, as if to say is that all right? though the woman there is as uncertain about all of this as he is — even more so.

There isn't a reason for Jorn to think twice about passing by before Beisdean clears his throat; of course, he pauses and looks over when he does. The first admission garners a flattening shift of Jorn's mouth. A guest, yes, he surmised as much. As Beisdean continues, Jorn's expression is increasingly torn between nausea and something vaguely disgruntled. His glance to the left- Skye's right- lands him nothing but the sight of thin air.

But by the time of either glance, Liv has stepped away, and towards the taller man in white pelt. She skirts around him like a sad little pup, only coming up to around his elbows. She looks back to Beisdean from her position between the two men, gently nodding her assent of this honest approach.

"If it is anyone I killed, I do not wish to hear it." Jorn makes his stance on vengeful ghosts quite plain, eyebrows knitting low on his forehead.

The woman is watched, and Beisdean's brows dip in something like sympathy, a touched and soft look, but Jorn's words bring his attention back to the older man's.

"I would not do so. They sometimes choose to speak through me, but it would not be my doing," he replies, his tone a touch dry compared to the more cordial one he'd taken with Liv. He turns to regard the woman again, and gestures to the space, as if introducing a real person in the flesh.

"She knows you by the name of Ullman," he begins, stepping back one pace in case Jorn decides he's playing some sort of cruel joke. "'Tis your mother, sir, and happy to see you."

If the ghost picks up on the stiffer tone being used with Jorn, she does not question it. Standing there in the path looking up at Jorn, she can see why Beisdean might be wary about being anything else. The only thing that saves mister Skye from getting knocked in the dirt is that he states something that he decidedly should not know- and could not find out from just anyone. That Jorn Wartooth was once Jorn Ullman; even coming out so innocently into conversation, the name is acidic in his ears.

Fists form out of the gloved hands at his sides, the leather creaking. His eyes dart around over the portion road Beisdean effectively introduces, and Jorn is somehow more disturbed that he searched, rather than that Beisdean gestured towards a spirit. He knew he wouldn't see anything, but the notion of finding his mother there is something Beisdean can likely empathize with.

That done, Jorn isn't sure what to do next; this is not something he has done before, and a lack of experience morphs into a mild panic that draws across his eyes.

"Si noe, Muna…" Liv has a moment of it herself, looking back to the medium and to Jorn again, hands twined against her stomach.

The fists make Beisdean step back again, and he holds his hands out as if to gentle a stampeding horse. "It's all right," he says quietly, seeing that unfamiliar look of fear in the other man's blue eyes. "She's …"

But then she gives him words to say, and he draws in breath, to repeat them. Pronunciation is not bad, simply because he is imitating the sounds as sounds alone. "Si noe, Muna," he repeats, not knowing what he speaks. He clears his throat and offers something he has never in his life offered another:

"If you wish to use my voice… you may. It will only be a few moments," he murmurs, giving her permission to //possess/.

Jorn is as close to a horse as a man can get, considering. There is no stamping, but there is a flaring of his nostrils when Beisdean attempts to calm him. Despite the plead of what he presumes to be Liv's words, he forces nothing verbal; if Beis thought that the panic was unfamiliar, the misting of Jorn's otherwise watchful eyes and the slacking of his mouth is even moreso.

"Just a few moments…" This is the singular reason that Liv hesitates before returning to Beisdean, reaching up and out to embrace him in her arms.

It's an odd thing to watch, from Jorn's point of view. One moment Beisdean's stance is his own — that tall, lanky grace that is so aware of its self — and then it is not. As Beisdean's body is taken over by the long-dead ghost, his posture changes into something alien on the young man's form — demure, unassuming.

Likewise his expression shifts. It won't be Liv Ullman's face that turns to look at her son, but neither will it be entirely Beisdean's. The features will be the man's, certainly; the eye sare not the right shade of blue but they hold the right amount of love for Jorn when they turn upon him.

If Beisdean went up in flames, Jorn would assume that was part of the trick; he is watching with the same expression one might when indeed expecting combustion, or anything like this at all, rather. Something of a readied flinch, a half-shift in his boot on the ground. Seeing his mother's gaze in Beisdean's face does little to change his nervous posture, and the rabbit heart in his chest. It isn't so much fear, anymore, as it is uncertainty. Unprepared is an understatement.

"Muna." Not her voice, but the way it comes from the chest- it is sincere, and Jorn feels it. "Nar du er trett, foler liten, med draper er i dine oyne…" Liv murmurs this to him when she steps Beisdean's body closer, holding out one hand for his in a supplicant gesture. Blue eyes hood themselves and look down in such a way that it is unmistakable as her movements. Jorn has not seen them for many years, but he would never forget. Possession is a strange experience from both sides- and when your kind little mother offers her hand, you had best be a good son and take it. He does. "Jeg vil torke dem alle. She finishes the hushed words, Jorn's tension now gone from his shoulders and spine.

"Det er virkelig deg." Jorn slouches his weight onto one leg, though it is not far down that his gaze has to go, to meet the man's height. Even as a boy, she was so much smaller than him. "Jeg beklager-" He chokes out, only to be cut off early. She knows what he is attempting to apologize for, and Liv will not have it. The spirit lifts her new eyes, maternally reprimanding.

"Det var ikke din feil, Jorn. Han slo meg fordi jeg onsket a forlate med deg, ikke fordi du var ikke der for." Jorn seems ready to question her words, confusion flickering in his eyes. "Det er ikke din feil, Muna." Liv says again, more firmly, shared blue eyes beginning to weep onto shared cheekbones. "Jeg er glad for at du forlot ham, du var alltid en smart barn."

Seeing her cry, even in a body that was never hers, is enough to tilt Jorn off of that edge himself. The body she shares becomes secondary; it may be awkward to think about later on, that Jorn pulls her in and wraps his arms around shoulders too broad and too tall. Even moreso because of his silent tears pressed between jaw and opposite neck, and the press of mouth to dark hair. The fur at his shoulder cushions thickly against Beisdean's face, and his body feels the shudder inside of Jorn's chest.

"Jeg elsker deg, mor."

"Jeg elsker deg ogsa, Jorn. Hold vaere en god mann." Liv pulls Beisdean from Jorn's shoulder, presses a timid kiss to Jorn's cheek. She steps back, and away, reluctantly prying her hand from his. A promise is a promise, and she cannot be selfish now.

As Beisdean's posture and expression fill his body once more; he swallows, growing pale and ducking his head to wipe eyes wet from tears that were not his own. His eyes drop to avoid Jorn's, knowing that he is in the midst of a very tender moment — even if he could not understand the words spoken while he was there and yet not there… his body shared and taken over by Liv.

He turns to find her, eyes on her feet first before he draws his eyes slowly up — able to meet her gaze where he isn't quite willing to look at Jorn's. He smiles and nods once, but then slumps to one knee, the mud there seeping in through his pants.

Liv's mottled features are inexplicably further mottled by her weeping, although she is smiling brightly back to Beisdean. It is easily the most extreme emotion that she has portrayed in his short time of knowing her.

"I owe you as much as a I can. Thank you." Liv's soft voice is flooded with breathy gratefulness as her image mists away.

Beisdean feels the arm under his own even though he does not hear Jorn's footsteps. The northman pulls him back up onto his feet. As far as he knows, his mother is right there- Jorn can't exactly walk away in good conscience, especially not with his eyes still damp.

"You owe nothing," Beisdean murmurs to the fading ghost, and then he looks up into Jorn's face when he's pulled to his feet. The younger man is pale, sweat dotting his brow. Clearly unwell, he waves a hand vaguely.

"I'll be all right, mate," he says in a thick voice, though his attempt to walk forward is a lopsided one, and if Jorn's hand wasn't still on his arm, he'd likely topple a second time.

"She's gone, now," he adds, in case Jorn is wondering.

If Liv thinks it, Jorn is bound to do the same- he owes Beisdean, even if he does not say so. His other hand sloppily wipes at his face, knuckles dragging there while the medium attempts to move on his own. Luckily his face is not in the mud, nor bound for it.

"You don't look alright." And Jorn could not expect any less, even if the process did not hurt him afterward as much as it does. For all his blustery understanding, it is not often that Jorn faces mage abilities so closely. He keeps his hand under the younger man's arm, holding him vertical for the moment.

The young man chuckles weakly. "It makes me dead tired, a little queasy for a bit. 'Til I can get a good sleep in, anyway. If you can just… y'know. Walk with me back to town, maybe, make sure I don't fall on my ass and get eaten by a wild boar or something, that'd be much appreciated," he says, voice a little thin but attempting levity.

He begins to walk, assuming Jorn will continue rather than let him stumble along the wet road. "She makes me miss my own all the more," he says quietly.

The boy's words implicate that he has not seen his mother again, so to speak. Jorn wonders the same things- why hasn't he already? But it is not voiced out of courtesy, and concern that talking about it so soon after the fact will cause that veneer to crinkle again.

"I was heading that way eventually." Jorn accepts the suggestion with grace. It is the least that he can do. "Thank you. It must be a terrible burden." Not only the physical burden, but the one that puts him between spirited and the living, and reflects results in the red and blue of the warrior's eyes. Jorn helps Beisdean back along the road, keeping slow enough as to not overtax him more than is necessary.

"Let's get you back."