My favorite place to enjoy an evening when I visit Magnisi is a small night club in Columbia. The food is good, the dancing is fun, and the music is beautiful. Most nights, Fantasma comes out to sing a few songs with the band around 7:00 pm. She sings a mixture of swing and blues, but she does more than just sing. She has the ability to bring the songs to life, as if the story were happening to you at that moment. I’ve tried to get recordings of her songs, but they never live up to her performances. In fact, on tape she sounds average at best. This leads me to believe that she might be one of Magnisi’s few remaining mages.
Fantasma does not talk much after her songs. She will often linger in the club either acting like a hostess for the manager when he has special guests or drinking at the bar, but she does not interact with anyone whom the manager has not introduced her to. Amazingly few people even try to talk to her, especially considering that she is pretty on top of singing well. On the nights when I have observed her after her show, she and the crowd seem perfectly happy ignoring each other. It is as though she turns invisible to those close to her.
My final hypothesis is that Fantasma is some form of telepath. This could explain the projection of the songs and also her invisibility.
Fantasma’s drinking concerns me, however. There are very few planets where magic and alcohol mix well. In fact, on Chaldor it is illegal for mages to become drunk, or for telepaths to drink at all. This is because natural magic users, such as mages, cannot control their powers when drunk, but neither can a natural user stop using the powers. I compare it with drunk driving: a wizard or technomage can choose whether or not they want to drive (or cast spells) when drinking, but a mage is always driving, so to speak.
It is possible that Fantasma does not realize what she is, or how dangerous drinking is for her. After all, the majority of Magnisi’s mages are unaware of their powers. One of the effects that alcohol can have on a telepath is a muffling of the voices that she hears in her head. Because of this, many telepaths are prone to becoming alcoholics if left unchecked. I have tried to warn her, but whenever I get close she disappears. My mind shield is apparently no more useful against her than the rest of the crowd’s. This is promising because it means that she may be controlling how much she drinks so that she can remain invisible. Then again it could mean that invisibility is her natural state of mind.
In my talks with the locals, I have found surprisingly little information about her, considering that she lives in a small town, and in all worlds small towns are infamous for their gossip. They know that she and her father always kept to themselves, and that after her father’s death (9 years ago), she has been living completely alone. She used to sing on the corner for passing tourists until the Nightingale’s manager found her and hired her. Now she is very rarely seen outside of the club. Some of the locals say that her spirit died with her father and she is now little more than a ghost herself. This is where the name Fantasma came from. They have forgotten what she was called before.