And here is the haunted marsh. A distant, quiet voice can be heard singing, but the singer never pauses for breath.
A light comes into view from behind a tree.
"I'm Makji. Hey, are all wisps nice, or just you?"
"...We're just dead people, I don't think I'm worse for being dead but I'd be surprised if I'm better. And it's nice to meet you too."
Makji blinks. And blinks again.
"I said it's nice to meet you too and I don't think dead people are all that different than live people."
"Wisps are dead people?"
Valen is dead. Valen is dead and everyone is too afraid to go near him.
"I'm sorry, I didn't...no one..." Good job, Makji. Good job.
"I guess if you're too afraid to talk to any you wouldn't know anything about us. You know that ritual you do to kids? It's to keep them from being wisps when they die."
"...That. Makes sense. I always thought it was some sort of metaphor, and no one ever says what exactly it's preventing..."
And everyone knows that wisps are malicious and inhuman, in the way that everyone knows...well, anything that they don't really know.
"Valen?" he says, and then catches himself, wincing at his own insensitivity.
"Nothing. Nevermind. I don't know. What's it like, being a wisp?"
"I hate it. How's life?"
"Hard. Confusing. Everything wants something different from you and there's only so much you can do about it. Sometimes they just take what they want. Sometimes they just convince you you're in the wrong for not having it to give them." At least if he were a wisp, everyone would want the same thing from him. But he's not going to say that.
"I'm sorry. What would it take to fix that?"
He shrugs. "I don't think it can be."
"Does anything ever make it less bad?"
Another shrug. "This is less bad. Being a witch might be less bad. I'm sure there's other things. I just wanted to figure out what somewhere else."
"And now you're somewhere else. How many people are there who are confused and have people wanting contradictory things from them? Can we get all of them here?"
"To the marsh?"
"Yeah, if coming to the marsh would make things better for them."
"But they...wouldn't. Not if they had any other option."
"Okay. Then I guess we won't try to do anything about them for now."
"I'm sorry," he says reflexively. "I mean, there's a lot of them. All of them. And all of them want something from other people, too. It's not something that can be fixed just because you want it to be."
Maybe he'll be more interesting when he's talking to the witches.
".....So. The witches?"
"Over this way."
Makji keeps his sight mostly in his head, this time; if wisps are people, then they deserve the same respect as anyone else.
"Why marshes?" he asks, on the off-chance that it's not a horribly upsetting question.