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“Thank ya ma’am.”
Long tanned fingers wrapped around the tall paper cup, steam slowly rising from the small opening at the top as the container passed from one hand to the other. Reaching into the pocket of her denims the redhead took out a $5 bill and popped it into the tip jar, her natural pink lips turning up into a smile as the barista started a rounding chorus of cheers at her generosity. Nodding her head the tall female turned and headed for the door, bringing the cup of rich coffee to her lips. The brew was hot and dark, a fragrant mixture of roasted coffee beans and only the slightest bit of milk tinged with the bitterness of espresso. Mixed together it was a cup of heaven, the perfect pairing to greet the dawn.
Pushing through the door she strolled over to Jasper, the huge Percheron standing patiently in a parking spot with not a thing to tie him up or keep him stationary. The horse nickered a greeting, shifting from foot to foot and tossing his head for he knew what was coming. Laughing lightly Aurantia reached into her pocket and pulled out the sugar cubes the young lady inside the store had given her. Flattening out her hand she held out the offering, drinking her coffee as Jasper enjoyed his morning treat. It was one of the reasons the redhead liked coming to this particular coffee shop, it was a small independent business that employed good people. Located on the edge of town they didn't mind her riding in and from her first visit made sure she left with a little something for her horse.
Nodding at a few other early birds who smiled in awe at the sight of a gigantic horse parked in the parking lot, the southern woman took another sip of her coffee. Normally she would take a seat out on the patio and enjoy watching the sunrise, cooling her heels for an hour or so before heading out onto the farm for the second round of chores. Today was different though, today she had a purpose and a destination in mind. Sighing Tia patted Jasper on the neck, clicking her tongue once in a signal that the Percheron knew well, lifting his front hoof off the ground. In a lithe and graceful move she stepped a boot on his lifted leg, altering the flow of gravity to help her up and onto his back without spilling a single drop of her coffee. It was a maneuver the pair of them knew well, more for show than actual need as she could easily just step on the air to hoist herself astride but people were watching.
Taking a hold of the reigns the redhead tapped her heels against his muscular sides, guiding him out of the parking lot and down the road toward the manor. At this time of the morning most of the Aspects and Guards would still be sleeping, which she was counting on. The last thing she wanted or needed was another run in with Venetus. No, this morning she had her sights set on another sibling, a sister who she was hoping would help her out with a special gift.
Thank the gods she and Malva had a good relationship, the pair of them having long ago accepted each others quirks and acknowledged strengths. Mal had always been a colorful character and Tia loved her free spirit, the female Aspect of Magic had a tenacity that most saw as eccentric and even caused some to avoid her. Even fear her. Granted when you were prone to shooting darts of an experimental nature you tended to make people uneasy. Grinning as a particular memory surfaced, of a young Mal shooting darts at initiates who immediately began dancing uncontrollably. She and Aureus had died of laughter, much to the detriment of the recruits and under the disapproving stare of Venetus.
Shaking her head Tia sipped her coffee as the ride to the manor passed in pleasant silence. Once outside she slipped down, patting Jasper as he headed towards off onto the grounds to graze. Slipping a hand in her pocket the redhead walked through the house, her boots making little sound against the marble as she weaved her way to Malva’s rooms. Knocking lightly three times she paused and then turned the knob, pushing through the door, “Ya better be decent ‘cause I'm comin’in.”
The sapphire hues that was piercing the sheet of paper on the desk was unwavering. Her gaze were not at all averted from it until she had reminded herself that something needs to be written on it if she was going to work it out. It was unusual for Malva to be this quiet and blank when it comes to writing up a spell. Most of the time, she was able to complete her work. Given the proper motivation and inspiration, she was able to complete 1 to 2 spells in a week’s worth. She was what people these days called workaholic. Once she’s set her course, she finds it rarely to be completed in the given period of time. But now, the Aspect of Magic was clueless and stressed. What was once a neat and tidy room, was now no more. It wasn’t dirty, but it was by a milestone, definitely scores up the word of messy. Her spell scrolls, journals, and countless herbs were left scattered on her desk. It doesn’t help when the purple dragon was a perfectionist.
For the past few months, the world hasn’t been lenient on the Aspect of Magic. The case of missing journals came resurfacing back up as well as the journey in search for her hidden memories, were not stirring the tea that well, especially given the fact that she still has yet to complete those problems. Malva realized she’s been slacking off on the creation of spells, lately. That was precisely the reason why she’s stressing herself, at the moment. Okay, maybe one of it. The other being, a variable solution for her to make sure no such problem that she is encountering, would happen again in the near future. Resting her head on the table, she lets out a heaved sigh as she closed her eyes shut as she tried to ease her uneven breathing. “This isn’t going well..come on, Mal. You can do better than this.” She mumbled to herself.
She wasn’t liking the anxious feeling that was bubbling up in her. She hated feeling weak and being useless, which was exactly what she is feeling, despite not being it. Looking up from her position, she had her eyes locked on the door as she heard a few knocks coming from outside. Then, she was faced with a tall red headed woman she calls sister, Aurantia. It’s been a while since she saw her around. Given, that since she’s moved out, they were bound to be see each other less than usual. “I’m decent..ish. Would probably work better if I had slept, in the first place. Which I have not, for two days now..not that it’s surprising.” She was dragging every word from the sentence, obviously showing how unbothered she was. “To what do I owe this pleasure of your visit, sister?”
Once upon a time ago, Malva might have been different from the person she is, now. She was once free-spirited and knew the meanings of fun in life. She was natural born rebel too, and unfortunately for most, that trait doesn’t seem to go away after so long. It wasn’t as if every one of those were rid off the Russian born Aspect. But she grew more tired and exhausted as the years go by. She wasn’t prone to humane empathic values no more. It wasn’t surprising, considering it was Malva. She probably grew tired of the world itself, at some point. The only reason why she’s still standing as one of the Aspects, were due to her tiny small hope that humanity still could evolve better. Maybe she was lying to herself, but she was pessimistic. Losing sleep was becoming a habit for the light haired Aspect. She could miss a week’s worth of sleep and still look usual, when it affected her a lot. The only difference was her hair was messier and there was no emotion to her tone. “Pray tell, sister. It’s not usual for us to see you around, these days. I dare say, I missed you.”
The flame haired Aspect of Elements couldn't hide the shock that overcame her features as she walked through the door, closing the large slab of wood quietly behind her. Inside the room it looked as if a hurricane had blown through, scattering parchment, herbs, journals, pens, and clothes all over the place. There wasn't a single surface in the quarters that was unaffected, odds and ends objects littering the entire space in a haphazard and disorganized mess. Her sly blue hues drifted over to the owner of the room, her appearance matching the state of the room perfectly. The young brunette looked as if she hadn't slept in days and the clothes she had on had been thrown on in a rush.
A rush of concern flowed through Tia’s veins, her chest swelling with worry as she regarded her sister. Malva had always been the troublemaker among them, her penchant for pranks and experiments quickly labeled her the menace of the Aspects though it was always in good fun. In private the Aspect of Magic was neat and tidy, everything had its place and position and woe to anyone that disturbed the organized chaos that was Malva. As the redhead looked around the room once more and studied her sister more closely she couldn't help the frown of concern that plastered itself on her lips. This wasn't like Malva, this wasn't like Malva at all.
Taking in the tone that accompanied the words that were spoken Tia moved to the disheveled bed, picking a shirt up with two fingers and tossing it aside to clear a spot where she could sit. Sinking down onto the mattress the southern woman took a sip of her coffee before answering, giving herself a few more moments to compose what she wanted to say. “Act’ally that is quite surprisin’, surprising given how often I would find ya curled up on tha couch or tucked inta a’ corner when we were younger.” Malva had been the youthful spirit among the eight of them, the younger at heart rebel who tested patience and illicites laughter from even the most stonehearted of individuals. To see her sister in such a state of exhaustion and anxiety hurt her heart.
Heaving another sigh Tia looked into the bright eyes of her sister, stating quite blatantly what she had come for. “Well I came ta ask ya fer a favor but it seems we have a lot more ta discuss than what I'm after.” She knew she hadn’t been around as much, preoccupied with handling the farm and dealing with her feelings for a certain vampire. Things had changed drastically in the last few weeks and now she was moving out of the mansion altogether in order to be with Clay. Which meant she’d be spending even less time in the home of the Aspects and up until this moment the redhead hadn’t felt a single twinge of guilt over the decision. While she wasn't incredibly close with many of her siblings she did have a close bond with Malva and Aureus, which made seeing the state of her dear sister hard.
“Ya wanna tell me wha’s goin’ on with ya? Or am I gonna have ta beat the truth outta ya?” A slight smile touched her lips, her hand raising to allow her to rake take another long gulp of her coffee. The brew was beginning to cool and once it got to certain temperature Tia couldn't drink it anymore, if there was one thing she hated it was cold coffee.
The southern accent that traveled alongside her younger sister's words made Malva smile slightly, though it was a weak and brief one. "I always liked to keep to myself, didn't I? Always so reserved and quiet..until you prod and poke me, then that other side just jumps out being your clown." Aurantia was right that Malva used to be the life, and youthful spirit among the 8 siblings. She was the young child at heart, especially given the actual age she was when they lost their lives. She knew however, that the Aspect of Elements would not come venturing into the walls of their so called 'home', without any proper excuse on doing so. It wasn't a shocking matter, sibling rivalry exists for centuries long, and they were not immune to it, per say. She knew of Venetus and Aurantia’s brawl. If living with the same people for centuries long have taught you one thing, it’s that no matter how tedious it gets, it won’t leave. And if it does, it will definitely leave a marking scar over it, so you’ll forever be reminded of it.
When the redhead asked her, well more to actually demand her to tell her what was going on, she couldn’t help but to let a slight chuckle escape the reins of her mouth. She wasn’t in the mood of any verbal interactions, but she would not be able to deny her sister the audience or company that she seeks. She had too much of a soft spot to do that. “It’s the usual, Tia. I think it’s just the age finally coming up. It’s been held on bay for far too long, don’t you think? All these unnecessary questions..it kept bombarding my mind and I don’t know how to answer them. I don’t think I have any answers left. And you know how much I despised the state where I’m rendered helpless at any case. It makes you feel powerless..and useless. I thought I got rid of every empathic values and sympathic scenarios, over centuries ago. It came back..tenfold.” She sighed heavily as she pushed the clothes off the bed and took a seat next to her sister, facing the dragon herself.
“You know I don’t do well with empathy. It’s something I got rid off so long ago, and for a good reason. I can’t comprehend any of my state, sister. I’m clueless and dumbfounded. For once in my life, I don’t know what to do. And it’s affecting my work, which is infuriating as you can see.” She didn’t even need to point out where the mess came from, as her words were enough to indicate every evidence to it. “If I don’t get a hold of myself soon, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to.” Malva was never one to confide in anyone, especially not her siblings, because she detested the feeling of being so helpless at anything. An unfortunate trait she seemed to carry in her due to the past teachings of her parents.
Tia listened to her sister with a placid expression on her face, giving her full attention while reserving her feelings and conclusions. It was rare that Malva opened up, always pushing things off with a well placed joke or just walking away with an enigmatic air. Which was why the redhead let her talk, processing everything as her sibling took a seat next to her on the bed. Shifting, moving one leg up so that she was turned toward the brunette she kicked her boots off and set them aside. This wasn't going to be a simple conversation that they could be done with in a matter of minutes, no, she was going to be here awhile.
A smile touched her lips at last, turning up at the corners as Malva spilled out words that made no sense because they had no context. She tackled the most obvious piece first, the words she imparted laced with amusement. “Ya can’t jus’ stamp put yer empathy Mal. Its apart a’ ya, like yer heart and mind. Besides, I think bein’ an Aspect means ya gotta have empathy otherwise we can’ do our jobs.” Unfortunately it seemed many of her siblings were trying to do just that, distancing themselves from all feeling in order to make decisions and get by. Tia had even attempted to do so, the farm had been just the project she had used in order to make that happened; wrapping herself up in work to insulate herself from everything and everyone that might come into contact with her. Thankfully she had met Clay and try as she might that cowboy had opened her up to all the possibilities and taught her that hiding wasn't a way to live. Life was going to happen regardless and you could let it drift by or you could grab the bull by the horns and ride it like a champ.
Swallowing her cobalt hues drifted back around the room, once more observing the physical manifestation of the Aspect of Magic’s mindset. The chaotic mess leant to the brunette’s confusion, desperation, and agitation. Pressing her lips together the Aspect canted her to the side, regarding her sister coolly. “Wha’ exactly do ya not know wha’ ta do with?” There had to be a specific something that had Malva all in a tizzy, she wasn't the type to stress over nothing. Which meant that an event or person or situation had caused distress in the Aspect and if Tia knew who or what she could offer more advice.
Chuckling softly the Aspect of Elements reached out and took her sister’s hand, letting spirit flow through their physical link to help soothe and relax her frayed nerves. “Ya ain't goin’ off tha rails as long as I'm around. We already gotta drunkard, a shut in, and an antisocial in this family. We are full up on crazy.” Adding in a wink to her attempt at lighten up the conversation, make things a little less heavy so that they could get to the heart of what was really bothering the young Aspect.
Malva felt much more at ease knowing she could spill everything to her youngest sister. Though youngest, Aurantia was very wise, but then again considering their age, of course they would mature over time. The redheaded Aspect of Elements had this aura that just screamed fine to her. While Argent gives off the calming aura of serenity and peace, Aurantia gave the same, but naturally. She knew she wasn't in that much of a good term with their brother, Venetus. It was impending, and Malva was sure everyone else could see it if they had not sensed the tedious tension between them. It was almost as if the whole world is against them at the moment, seeing as they have been arguing more and more between each other these days. Even she had gotten into a few arguments with Aureus and she was the closest to him out of all the brothers.
For once in her life, Malva felt lost. And she hated that the feeling was familiar to her, as if she's felt it before. Because she didn't like it. She never did. "You know how I am with empathy, sister. I kept it dormant for a reason." She reprimanded softly, her soft sapphire hues glancing at her sister. Emotions were a huge part of her life, even before. But it was also because her magic was driven by her emotions and so, in order to keep it in check, she always kept herself calm and collected emotionally. Of course she could be the usual sister that scolded her siblings occasionally, but her mental state was very calm. It took her centuries to practice it but in time, she managed to get a hold of it. After she went through her memory lane with Benjamin, pieces by pieces were starting to get back at her. Due to her vulnerability, she was an easy target.
She, out of everyone and more than anyone, knew that emotions are a great charade in magic. And too much magic is never good.
She was sure her siblings had a great memory of the few times Malva had lashed out back then. Her mental breakdowns and how much of a crying mess she was. She thought she got a hold of it, but maybe she thought wrong. "Feeling is so much harder, which is why I chose to keep that side dormant and locked. I'm unstable. Aureus says so, and deep down you know that too. I'm like a Pandora's box, just awaiting the right time to be unlocked. It will be chaotic, and we can't afford to have more problems on our plate. We have enough." The Aspect of Magic knew they were easily tired out and she had a feeling whilst she might be the only one contemplating her existence, the others had so much as a problem as she does. They are linked, after all. There was bound to have a few similarities by the very least.
So when Tia took a hold of her hand and gave a small wave of spirit flow through their physical contact, she smiled gratefully. She was glad she had a family to lean on. "We've always been crazy, a little bit insane, Tia." The small glint of mischief came across her bright hues as she chuckled. "I'm torn, that's all. I've been feeling too many emotions all up in one time and it's overwhelming. And not the good kind. I broke my vase just because I was trying to calm myself down. I would go to Reus and ask him to maybe wipe those memories off but I don't want to let it go at the same time. You know I'm foreign to such concepts, what do I do? If I don't get myself stable soon, I might end up hurting the people I care." There was a clear line of her being frightened by such thought.
The longer her sister spoke the more certain Aurantia became of just what her sister needed. It wasn’t healthy to keep things bottled up, especially for them. With the powers at their fingertips and the looming prospect of forever they all needed a way to stay on an even keel. Malva hadn’t done that, her coping mechanism was to shove everything she was feeling into a box and now that box was straining at the nails. If that box wasn’t allowed to air out it would explode and that wouldn’t be good for anybody. Least of all Malva.
“Righ’. Git up and put yer shoes on.” Rising from the bed the redhead grabbed her discarded boots, searching the floors until she found a pair of tennis shoes which she handed to her sister. Sitting on the bed she slid her feet back into her boots, “It’s not healthy ta keep all tha’ bottled up. So we are gonna empty tha’ box a’ yers.” Once they both had shoes on she grabbed Malva, pulling her out of the dark room and down the halls of the manor until they were outside. Clicking her tongue she called Jasper, the large Percheron trotting over with a wicker of greeting that made her smile. There was plenty of room out on the farm and with her own abilities she would be able to contain any backlash.
Using gravity she mounted the big gelding and held out her hand to her sister. “Then, once we have ya balanced back out we are gonna find ya a hobby. A job or somethin’, somethin’ to git ya outta tha’ dark building and out inta tha world.”
When Aurantia suddenly jumped off her bed, Malva admitted that she was a bit taken aback by her youngest sister's actions. However, the moment she got a pair of tennis shoes given to her, she looked at it while being so clueless and confused as ever. "What am I supposed to do with a pair of tennis shoes? Wait I don't even remember owning a pair of these.." Which could be relatively true because the eldest Ailward sister didn't exactly go a way to spare her time into buying stuff. She never did have time made for it. It was probably one of those Cora has taken the liberty on stocking the wardrobe of hers.
The Russian born aspect did wear the said shoes since her sister had insisted. Truly, she was still in the dark on what the Aspect of Elements could be planning ahead. Up until she was dragged away by the redhead. "Tia, where are we going.." Trying to keep her pace neutral to match the latter's, Malva made sure to trail behind her though her hand was still within the other's grasp so she couldn't exactly flee even if she wished for it. Since her room was at the highest floor in the manor, it did take them quite a while to get downstairs and to the outside. Once they were outside, they were greeted by a Percheron. "Is that a Percheron horse.." It didn't strike Malva weird to see such a horse before their eyes, because as far as she knew, Tia did own a farm. She's always had her way with such animals whilst Mal tends to be surrounded by felines.
Placing her hands on her hips, she scoffed lightly at her sister. "Balanced out, really now?" But nonetheless, she accepted the hand and got herself up. "I already have a job before, Tia. I was a pathologist, a doctor in the General Hospital of Evermore once upon a time ago, remember? When we first came here to intervene.. although that was now a former since I took a hiatus. And I do have a hobby.." The Aspect of Magic retorted, narrowing her cerulean blue hues at the sight of her sister. "Somewhat, at least. We're not really given such privilege to be living it out, sister. I keep it bottled up because there's not really anywhere else I can pour it in. Thought it could withstand it.. But maybe I underestimated the level of conviction it had." Pursing her lips lightly, the light haired Aspect stared at the view in front of them. "There's not really much of a choice to go around.."
Tia had to admit, she had fully expected to have to fight with her sister to get her outside. As it so happened the Aspect of Magic came quietly and even climbed up on Jasper with minimal effort. “Malva meet Jasper, Jasper Malva. He is indeed a percheron and a handsome devil to boot.” Much like his breed the horse stood incredibly tall at nearly 15 hands and was a velvet black. His eyes were even black though they held a spark of intelligence that was rare in most animals. It had been the main reason she had chosen him over all the other available. Once the pair of them were settled astride his back he set off towards home, needing no direction or prompting from her. Sometimes she suspected the horse of being clairvoyant, at least where she was concerned.
“Yes balanced out.” The red head parroted, glancing over her shoulder at the brunette. “Then ya should go back ta work. Got outta tha dark house an’ out inta the world!” She spoke with conviction, convinced that being cooped up in that large house was the last thing she needed. Her brow furrowed and she gave a very inelegant and decidedly unladylike snort. “Hog wash! Tha's exactly tha opportunity we have now and ya should take it! The Isle is gone an’ our lives have changed. It's high time you and some a’ our other siblings git out and do some actually good in tha world.” Her voice rang with feeling, sounding oddly like her mother had when she was trying to get an important point across to her father. Shaking her head at the strange timing of remembering such a memory Tia put that away to examine later.
Malva had continued talking, making another excuse as to why she was in the state she was now in. “Well ya done it yet way and yet in a sorry state ‘cause of it. Now ya try things my way.” Giving her head a firm nod they lapsed into silence as Jasper turned down the dirt road that lead to the farm. City buildings and paved roads gave way to orchards and picket fences. Taking a deep breath she pulled in the sweet scent of nature and smiled, “Whatcha think?” She waved around them with more than a little pride, a little sister showing off her accomplishments to her elder sister.
Malva was sure her sister was taken aback by her current repressive demeanor and state. She was surprisingly being simple and easy after all. Submitting in her sister's wants became her main priority. After all, she did come here to see and visit her, for whatever reason it may be, she was immensely grateful for it. Visitations were not colloquial for Malva; who preferred solitary above everything else. It was a wonder how she still managed to stay sane despite all of the pent up emotions bottled up inside her that was threatening to spill, one of these days. When Tia introduced the percheron to her, she allowed a small smile to grace her lips as she caressed the horse softly. "He is a handsome one, I agree." She quipped and was wondering where she would take them. But decided against it as she just allowed wherever the Aspect of Elements wanted to take them to.
However, when she suggested that she make her uneventful return to being a doctor at Evermore General, she tried her best to refrain herself from stifling. "You're not serious, are you? Me? Return to work? That's not sitting anywhere near serenity and tranquility practicing my magic? Being a doctor is considered normal and you know it's rare to see me do them." While it might be true that the Aspect of Magic had her on fair share of being closed off from society itself, it wasn't that she preferred it most of the time. She wanted to know what it was like to be able to socialize with the people around her. Especially in a city that populates so many different species deriving from different age, race, and personalities. She probably figured it's that side of her that was suppressed inside. And she had allowed it to happen.
"Why do you think I actually went with you without having myself tied anywhere? That's exactly why I'm currently on this handsome horse called Jasper, instead of flipping you off, little sister." Narrowing her blue hues at the red haired Aspect, she shook her head slightly as she lets out a soft chuckle. As the Aspect of Elements brought them somewhere, Mal's eyes were wandering around wildly, looking over her shoulders to examine each and every detail that was there to behold. She pinpointed orchards. Until at some point, it occurred to her that her youngest sister was actually bringing her over to her place. "It's beautiful, Tia. I swear the air here seemed so much fresher. Did you do all of this?" She was amazingly surprised by her sister's accomplishments on the state before her eyes. It was a sight to cure any sore sights. For someone who grew up in meadows and tending to crops and animals back in her days, she really liked looking over to places that was almost a refreshing part in her memories. A sight she rarely witness in the modernized 21st century.