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All Erythreus could feel lately was a sense of doom. For the better part of his days, the Aspect of Death had been hanging his head low, and avoiding most people. All he'd ever really known was alcohol and brooding. Ery had been worrying about literally everything, but nothing had bothered him more than losing one of their own. Having a dark force among them, that no one could seem to figure out, meant that he'd have to take action, sooner rather than later.
Erythreus had been pondering one idea after another, going through his head, over and over again listing those he could reach out to for help. Each idea he'd came up with so far though, seemed worse than the last, which left him sitting here a bottle and a half of booze later, with nothing. Ery wasn't the type to give up nor back down when it came to a threat against those he cherished the most, but being faced with the horror of people coming up missing, yet not entering the realm of death, had puzzled him beyond comprehension.
Enraged and feeling empty, Erythreus decided to take a walk just outside the manor. Usuaully a little fresh air went a long ways for Ery. He enjoyed the outdoors a lot more than people assumed, given all the time he spent locked behind his own bed room door with a bottle of booze attached to his hand. Cemeteries were the one place he'd found the most comfort in however, and that led Ery out back, where a few graves had been dug, and tombstones planted to mark those that they had lost. Vladimir's would be the newest edition, and he wasn't sure he'd ever be ready to see it sitting among the rest.
Kneeling, the Aspect swiped his finger tips across the engraved words on the cold cement tombstone, reading each of them, before looking to the sky as though they might be there, watching over the rest of them. Fallen guards was never an easy matter for those left behind to grieve their absence, but it seemed as though Vlad's disappearance had taken a much bigger tole on everyone. Ery had only wished he could ease everyone's pain at times, but there were days where he felt it as strongly as the others, and every once in a while, he needed a moment to 'feel'. He had to be strong for the rest, and normally he did pretty good, but today was just one of those days. And, truth be told, leader or not, Ery needed someone to confide in.
Just as she walked around the corner, Erythreus gave a faint smile. He figured if anyone could talk to him about these things, that it would be her. And, at the very least, she'd be able to listen to his thoughts, and the things he felt he needed to do, to keep everyone safe now that something was happening in the city. "How's it going Tavia?" he questioned, and got to his feet, before stuffing his hands into his pockets. Erythreus knew better than to assume that Octavia would stay out of the way while the others handled Vladimir's disappearance, and frankly, he didn't want her too, with that, came the idea of him confiding in her. Erythreus knew more than anyone, that she wasn't just going to sit back and grieve.
As the Aspect stood there, he gave her a side glance, sighing to himself a little "One of those days for you too?" he asked, figuring she'd wandered out here for the same reasons as he; to collect her thoughts.
She nodded slightly, he wasn’t wrong when he said it felt random and crazed, like someone really thought they could have all the power in the world and use it against others until they came out on top, but one thing that did keep occurring to her when she went down that route of thought was why someone like that would hide in the shadows, if it was about power then surely an ego had to come with that “And yet if that was his endgame surely he would have shown face by now” she pressed a hand against her cheek as she tried to come up with anything else but honestly, she had no idea how someone could even be capable of doing the things this person had done so understanding the why was almost impossible.
When he commented about her parents and the situation she went through she nodded slightly “It was” she responded and pressed her lips together “I don’t think anything could have prepared me to watch the two strongest people I knew just...give up” she sighed softly, Octavia could never do that, even after losing her spouse here she was still fighting with everything she had. She supposed you could say that fighting was in her blood and sometimes, it was all she really knew how to do, so without it, she would be someone else entirely. “But I like to think that I did right by them, by living my life and fighting for what I thought was right, for finishing what my family essentially started” because nowadays there wasn’t a single Dragonkin in the world willing to show face.
“I don’t think there’s anything productive that comes from pushing away pain rather than dealing with it, in the end, you’re going to have to face it whether you want to or not” that was how she saw it anyway, you could pretend like it wasn’t there but then it was going to hit you at the time you least expected it and you might end up saying something you didn’t mean or incapacitating yourself. It was healthy to feel things, even if it was hard. She chuckled when he called it round three and she raised her brows slightly with an amused grin before playfully slapping his shoulder “Don’t let her hear you counting” she scolded with a laugh, that wouldn’t get him in any good books that was for sure.
She chuckled when he commented on his cooking causing a fire “Not on my watch mister” she shook her head at him “You’ve lived for more than 1000 years, it’s about time you can use an oven without threatening to bring the place down. Truthfully there were a lot of skills the older members of the faction needed to start learning, even Octavia who had done her best to keep up with the times felt out of touch around younger people lately. “We are going to do classes and you’re going to make some amazing dishes and realize, oh, I had no idea this was so easy” she shot him a look “And then you are going to thank me by buying me a cake” she nodded, perhaps she did have a bit of a sweet tooth and enjoy a treat here and there. Tavia grinned when he contrasted himself between back then and now by calling himself the biggest hopeless romantic “Is it really so hopeless?” she asked with raised brows, perhaps she did believe in some of that cheesy stuff, though it only made her miss the partner she intended to have it with.
She glanced back to the manor and grinned “If they know what’s good for them, sleeping” she commented with a wry smile because she was implying the two of them should really be in bed rather than here “But then that’s always easier said than done” though she definitely had a certain level of respect for sleep now and would definitely prefer others got to keep theirs. She laughed when she spoke about his crazy misadventures with technology “You know, I’ve actually taken to the whole tech craze pretty well, mobile phones are definitely a lifesaver” besides if they wanted to be able to defend the peace in the world, then they needed to understand what was currently a threat to it and technology definitely fell under that. “A Businessman or a lumberjack, kinda opposite ends of the spectrum don’t you think” she laughed softly “Yet why do they both totally make sense for you?” perhaps the aspect of death had a certain sense of duality?
She pressed her lips together thoughtfully when he turned the question back around on her pondering what it was she would have done with her life if she hadn’t been a Dragonkin hunter turned Ailward Guard “You know a lot of people have told me I’d make a pretty good psychologist, so maybe I’d have gone to college” she grinned slightly, the whole college experience did seem interesting to her and having lived through eras where women weren’t allowed to learn anything other than home skills it was an intriguing concept. When he asked for a new year's resolution she pursed her lips as she considered her answer “Learn something new that no one would expect” she laughed softly, no idea what that would be but there was plenty out there right? “And you?” she returned with a curious gaze.
Octavia had also been right. If power was the situation, then why hadn't they shown their face? "I don't know, maybe it's for the sake of having people struck down by fear before they finally do show face" he expressed his thoughts, shrugging, before running his hands over his face out of frustration, huffing. "It beats me O. I think sometimes I sit here and respond to questions like that, simply because I desperately want to have an answer." he said in a saddened tone, figurng his expression matched. He'd been feeling pretty helpless to the threat against them, and it didn't help that this long afterwards, he still simply had nothing to offer the Ailwards except for a promise that he would honor, which was that he would do all he could to bring them to peace and keep them safe.
Ery ould tell that no matter how many years had passed, her parents were still a sore subject. He knew that feeling all to well. And, while he had never realized it before, he had finally figured out that he kind of missed his to death. He missed the smile on his mothers face, and the rewarding feeling that came from knowing she was only smiling because she was proud of Erythreus. Back then, he had done literlly everything by the books, never guessing for a minute his life would have turned out to be so crazy just because he'd had a rebellious streak. Running off into the woods to go hunting, had been his worse mistake. He had paid for it for years afterwards, side by side with two derranged Vampires who forced him to slaughter villages along their sides.
"I understand. I can't imagine how badly that broke your heart, but I think you're right ... they would have been so proud" he smiled encouragingly. He may not have known her when tragedy struck her family, but he knew her now, and Octavia was someone worth being proud of. She was fierce, and while she was broken hearted, she was still one of the strongest women he had ever met.
Ery glanced over to Octavia, chuckling as she slapped his shoulder "You're probably right. I gotta step my game up with the charm and such." he started off, figuring if he could ask anyone, that it could be the very one sitting next to him right now, as she had already given him so much good advice. "What do you think makes a perfect date? Am I doing too much to try and cook a romantic dinner then take the food and rent an expensive room for the night, likely one with a hot tub inside, maybe even rent the room before I even cook so I can decorate it ... candles, lights, music, rose petals.." he began listing things absent mindedly, before finding himself blushing. Nothing was set in stone for him and a certain blonde Initia, but he had often wondered what he could do to make a female happy for a first date, for the fact that he panicked so much prior to it actually happening. "Sorry. I just figured as a female, you'd know if that's over the top or if it would make her swoon" he laughed, sighing at how feminine he felt right now for all of it, and how he blushed.
The Aspect smirked when she scoffed about him burning the manor down, but it did get him thinking, they all needed to catch up and evolve with the new generation. "Fair deal. Plus, I mean if I am to cook a romantic dinner for two, I should probably start by learning what the knobs on the oven even does" he chuckled, and smirked at her wish for a cake. "Sweet tooth huh?" he asked before continuing "What's your favorite?" he then questioned, wanting to make a mental note, because she'd been through so much, maybe buying her a cake wouldn't fix everything, but if it made her smile, he'd buy her a dozen of them.
"For me it has been that hopeless. I don't know if it's me, or just timing, but it does tend to wound a man's pride when he fails in three different attempts to fall in love" the Aspect grimaced a little, knowing this wasn't idea conversation for Octavia, who still mourned the loss of her own lover. "Sorry, O. I know this topic probably hits a little hard for you" he expressed and placed a hand on her shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. Erythreus gazed to the manor as well, before looking to Octavia and giving her a playful eye roll. "Psh, who needs sleep? Sleep is for the weak minded" he poked his tongue out playfully. But, he also knew what exhaustion felt like, so he couldn't go along with that joke without laughing. "Secretly I love sleeping. It just doesn't love me"
He laughed, and nodded at her question about the career's she'd said were both a totally different spectrum. "Well, lumberjacks get to go out into the forest and cut down tree's and such, and I love the outdoors, and lately ive been spending a lot of time in the woods, and since i'm not afraid of heights, what better job than cutting down tree's for a living?" he asked, grinning cheekily before he continued his explanation. "And then a business man, I don't even know where that one came from, because it makes no sense at all for someone as socially awkward as me. I guess I just like the suits, and the cigars, and the brief cases they carry around" he shrugged, laughing a little.
Erythreus smiled genuinely though whenever she said she would have gone to college to be a psychologist. "It's funny how that works. I guess most people wouldn't even imagine that we had other hopes and dreams before settling into the lives we lead now" he said, his smile fading a little, because he knew he had for the longest time, longed for a family of his own. "You would make an amazing psychologist. Us Ailward Aspects and Guards are always in need of counseling and guidance, maybe you could do something here at the manor" he stated, because she did have a skill in talking to people and knowing the right things to say. If she had helped him this much, he could only imagine that she would be able to do the same for some of the others. "Well, I have no doubts that you'll fulfill your New Years resolution" he smiled, and thought for a moment before answering her. "To stop drinking so much" he stated, because it had been an issue for him, especially for his siblings and past relationships.
"I often day dream about a life where i'm married, with kids, and my own home" he admitted. "Ive never said that to anyone except for Serena, and well, she left the city" he swallowed harshly, finding it still a little unbearable that she was gone now. He had told her they would never be what they once were, after she'd strung him along for so long, but to think she was gone, that his closest friend was just gone now, hurt beyond words. "I miss her a lot" he then said, surprised with just how much he had opened up tonight. "Wanna go for a walk? This time of year there's plenty of decorations and lights to see" the Aspect offered, assuming she'd had enough of his tantrums where he was literally slamming rocks into the water rather than skipping them like they started off.
“I like to think so” she responded in a soft tone when he said they would have been proud of her, her parents had always stood for fighting for what they thought was right, which was saving people and making the world a safer place, much like what the Ailward faction stood for, so she hoped she had done them justice in the way that she carried their mantle onwards. She chuckled as she looked up at him while he talked about this mysterious blonde who had clearly caught his eye “Perfect is overrated” she responded with a shake of her head “Don’t aim for perfect you’ll be disappointed when it’s impossible to achieve” she ran a hand through her blonde curls as she watched him curiously “I think renting a room might be a little too much for a first date, you don’t wanna scare her off” she gave him a stern look “Figure out what she likes and work with that, I’m sure she’ll appreciate the effort for you to show interest in what she likes over throwing money around” she found often the smallest and most thoughtful gestures panned out better than the cliche romance stuff “Save the candles and rose petals for once you’re sure she wants to stay” in her experience, first dates were to get to know one another, the more talking, the better.
“Yes, you absolutely should, us guards aren’t your maids you know, you are perfectly capable of getting your own food” she shot him a stern look because she often ended up being the one who made food for the whole manor and while she didn’t mind, it would actually be nice if someone made her something in return sometimes to save her the trouble. She pressed her lips together for a moment when he asked her favorite kind of cake “Oh that’s a little like choosing a favorite child” she teased with a slight laugh “But I think I’d choose raspberry cheesecake, though it has to be one of the ones with the crispy base” she nodded firmly, she was definitely a big fan of sweets, she would always opt for dessert over a starter. She nodded slightly when he said he did believe it had been pretty hopeless “I mean for the age you are, I’m actually surprised the tally isn’t higher than three” she teased with a slightly grin “Maybe you need to ease your expectations on what falling in love looks like, it’s not gifts and grand gestures really, it’s talking to that person about anything and everything and wanting to stay up just a little longer to hear them say one more thing” her tone was a little sad because she did know from experience and she missed it greatly.
“It still hurts but...I think it they may be right when they say time heals all wounds, I can talk about him more without feeling like I’m going to fall apart now” she admitted with a slight nod of her head, she knew he wouldn’t want her to be sad forever, she knew he would want her to continue the Ailward cause and take care of their children. “Oh I love sleep, I swear when I was younger I could sleep in til gone midday and be happy” nowadays she was lucky to sleep at all and if she did then it was at weird times and often more of a nap than a full rest. “I think there might be some environmental conservationists who might still disagree with you on not having a better job for a living” she answered with a slight chuckle “So basically you like the idea of the job but not the practicality of it all” which sounded like most people when it came to work honestly.
“Well while some people might not see it as exactly that, I think choosing this life was choosing a career path of sorts, we’re out here to make sure that people are safe in the world, that there’s not going to be some crazy war between humans and the supernatural” she found that work important because it went to prove how any species could overcome the lines of division that history had created and create a better future. She smiled when he said he thought she would make a good psychologist “It would definitely be a lot of work but considering that I have more spare time than I thought I would have, maybe it’s not the worst idea” there was a university in the city, after all, she could take some classes and see how things went. When he spoke about his new year’s resolution she nodded slightly “Now that one is going to be a challenge for you” she jested slightly knowing many of the aspects turned to booze for coping with everything they dealt with.
She glanced up at him for a moment and he talked about the life where he’s married and had his own kids and home “It’s a fulfilling life I’ll give you that but” she pressed her lips together “It’s also not the only thing you should want for yourself, if I’ve learned anything in the last few months it’s trying to figure out my place in the world as me, just me” there were corny statements about loving yourself before loving someone else but there was certainly truth to it in her mind. She softened her gaze as he spoke about missing his friend “Missing people is truly an awful feeling” she admitted as she nodded when he asked if she wanted to go for a walk “Sure, I’m still not feeling even close to sleepy so might as well get some exercise in” with that, she started walking up the hill to front of the manor.
The Aspect smiled when she responded by saying she'd like to think so. He was sure that before his streak of rebellion, that he had made his parents proud as well. It's just that in Ery's case, he couldn't help but feel like his rebellious nature had been the very reason they were slaughtered by Vampires. Erythreus still found himself crippled by that event, and as much as he loved hunting in the woods, he hadn't been back ever since.
Octavia's words seemed to become gosepl to the Aspect, and he kinda hung onto every word she had spoken so far, even as she told him not to aim for perfect. "I shouldn't. We all know i'm the last thing to perfect, I drink and brood way to much, my social skills suck as much as my humor does, but I guess Ill always have charm on my side" he rolled his eyes, because he wasn't even sure that his charm was something to woo a girl. His only true skill that he knew of, was what he could do behind closed doors. And that, he wouldn't speak of, because it definitely would have earned him a slap in the face.He chuckled when she told him that a room may scare off this particular woman, and she was right. Sofi likely wouldn't even step near a motel, much less sleep in a room with him on a first date, not that he planned on staying in it the whole night, he just wanted some where private. A place that wasn't at a cheap bar. He sighed to himself when she told him to think about what she liked and to go with it, "Thanks O, your advice is golden. She's really not even a hard woman to please from what ive learned. We acidentally bumped into each other, and turned it into a full night of conversation and drinks, I didn't think I could even convince her to go to the bar. She makes me nervous" he admitted, chuckling at how sad that sounded.
"But yeah, I suppose I should just stop over thinking this. Hell, she may not even agree to seeing me again" he shrugged. But, after how well they had clicked, he had just a sliver of hope. Erythreus shot a look back to her, besides Octavia, he probably had never even allowed others to do things for him "Hey, you're talking to likely the only one who runs the maids away, especially when they come in trying to clean my room. I guess I need to stop that, because it's their job, and i'd be mad if I were them if someone was telling me I couldn't do what im paid to do" he started and sighed softly "But it gets a little monotonous" and truth be told, he imagined his attitude towards things did as well, but he was who he was, and no one was capable of changing him. Not yet at least.
Erythreus arched a brow at how specific she was about her favorite kind of cake. Most people just said rasberry cheesecake, but Octavia made sure to mention that she even liked the ones with a crispy base. "I will do my best to remember that,I do know that there's this cheesecake ice cream that's almost better than sex. Really, you should give it a try. I'll pick some up the next time i'm near that store. The first time I went in, was an absolute embarassment, I had no idea what i was doing when it came to buying food. I wanted chicken cassarole, and one of our maids gave me a list of things she needed to make it for me, but yeah, that was just a sad shopping trip.. I found the ice cream though, and now I go back every few days just to get that" he chuckled, and shook his head remembering just how pathetic he felt when he had asked a female for help.
The Aspect held his head down when she told him love wasnt' about gifts and money, reflecting on all the little things he had done to make Serena happy. "I tried it the other way around. But maybe she was just unappreciative.. my past love interest, It wasnt ever about money .. and trust me, I did the most gentlemenly things a man could do, walks in the park, bringing lunch to her job just to see her on her breaks, calling her at night to remind her to set her alarm, just to hear her voice before i slept, and to tell her she'd be in my dreams. I ran out of ways to make her happy, hence money" he shrugged, and shook his head, completely angered by how much time and effort he put fourth, just for it all to be thrown away in the end. "With her .. it was specifically about how i felt about her, money didn't mean jack, because I was happy .. and I guess the issue is, is that she never was"
After venting, he looked over to her, awkwardly scratching the back of his neck before looking back to the ground and grimacing a little. He hated reliving his time with Serena. Even to this day, it sucked the life right out of him. Moving on was a gift, but there were still plenty of moments where he missed the friendship they'd had before they decided to try a relationship. Ery smiled when she said that she believed now, that ime healed all wounds. It was nice to see her moving forward, even if she never moved on, at least she was going forward with life. "Im sure he would want you to live, and it seems like you're doing your best" he gave the slight nod of his head when she mentioned how much she used to sleep. "I guess we are one in the same with that then. I havent really slept since becoming ambassador however" he added, as much as it stayed on his mind to be a good enough leader, there had been no room for him to sleep lately.
"Right. You kinda nailed it" he chuckled when she mentioned that he just didn't like the practicallity of the job. "I'm grateful for what we do to make this world just a little better" he stated, shrugging at the what if's and why not's of his life. He couldn't live like that, especially as a leader. He was what he was, and he was honest when he had told Octavia that he was grateful for all the good they did in this world. And without Guards, he knew there'd be no Aspects, so they were quite literally a package deal. You wouldn't have one without the other. And beyond that, they were his family. He nodded when she said that becoming a psychologist wouldn't be the worse idea, "Youll never know unless you try" he smiled genuinely at her, because he knew she'd do a lot of people some good if she talked to them the way she had with him tonight. He felt ten times better than he had before their conversation started.
"It's actually an impossible thing for me, and i'm sure many others. I don't go a moment without drinking" he shook his head, chuckling at the truth of that. "Ive had many fuss at me for it, but I tend to tell them, i'm too immortal to die from it" he quipped, and then he listened intently, smiling at the words she spoke to him "I suppose you're right. And until right now this very second, I never imagined what my purpose is and where i belong in this world as just me" he stated, and found himself putting a lot of thought into that, because it certainly was a good question, one he'd like to figure out someday soon. "Yeah it's been hard. While we didn't make it as lovers, we were the best of friends, and I just miss my friend. But, I don't guess there's a shortage of those these days" he referred to having friends, since he considered Octavia as one now. She and Ery hadn't really been all this close before, and he was grateful that they were now.
On their way up the hill, Erythreus looked out into the distance, every so often his gaze catching Octavia's, wondering where her mind was, as there was so much going on around them lately. "Do you ever wish you could go back and redo certain things? I know most mistakes are good to be made, because we learn from them but" he kicked at the rocks under his feet, knowing if he could, he would definitely go bac in time to fix a few things he had messed up. "Look up" he stated, hoping she didn't miss the shooting star currently whizzing past their head.
“You really should” she responded honestly and rolled her eyes slightly at him, he seemed to have this idealistic picture of what a relationship should be but in her experience, none were the same and what made one person happy didn’t another, you had to read the person you were focusing it around and if you had a real connection with them then you should have some idea of what they would like. “You’d be surprised how many people actually don’t let the maids to their job actually” she grumbled because their rooms were always messy and cluttered with stuff and it made her want to avoid going into theirs at all costs “Here’s a thought, maybe you should just let her do her job, then she might leave you alone” she widened her eyes as though she was suggesting it was a crazy idea before smiling.
Hearing him talk about his trip to the store did make her laugh softly “I mean the first question I have is why didn’t you ask one of the guards who do all the cooking in this place for help, second, why were you even trying to make a chicken casserole and third, how the hell did you end up buying ice cream while looking for chicken casserole ingredients, pretty sure they’re not even close to one another” she was still chuckling and shaking her head, that sounded just like Ery though, he definitely had these random whims which came by and ended up with him doing some crazy things. The type of thing which made you smile and shake your head because it sounded utterly ridiculous “I do feel like I have to try this trophy ice cream you found now though” she added with a slight grin.
She softened her gaze a little when Ery talked about his approaches to love and she shrugged her shoulders a little “There are going to be some people who take advantage of your good nature but have no actual interest in committing, some people are selfish and they just want all the attention but they’re not interesting in an actual relationship” she reached out and squeezed his shoulder gently “But you also can’t believe everyone is like that either” she gave an empathetic smile “You give so much that I think sometimes you might be blind to the fact other people aren’t giving back, it shouldn’t be you just making her happy, she should be returning the sentiment and if she isn’t” she made a gesture to cut the tie because selfish people would always be that, selfish.
She dropped her gaze for a moment at the mention of Vlad and what he would want, honestly she knew the answers to all the questions and yet she still found herself asking them “I know he would” she responded and shrugged “But knowing what he wants and actually finding a way to make it a reality are two very different things” one was much harder to achieve and would take her time and patience to get there. “Me too, whenever I feel truly lost in my own purpose, I remember we have a joint one and that fight is far from over” so even if she felt difficulty to get out of bed for herself, she’d do it for the Ailward cause. “True, maybe I should take the first step and get some information about it or something” that would feel very real though and she wasn’t sure if she was ready to actually start that chapter yet.
“Well, one thing worth noting is that you are actually, in fact, in control of your life, which means if you want to stop, you can” she gave him a pointed look that spoke the words that she didn’t buy the whole impossible thing, if she could keep on living after losing the love of her life then she was sure anyone else could do whatever they put their mind to. “Well maybe you should think about this, take it from someone who learned the harsh truth recently, if you can’t love yourself, you’re going to find being alone very hard” it wasn’t easy for her and she definitely didn’t have it down to a perfect art but she had managed to cope the past year and she would continue to find ways to cope. She could tell he was still hung up on this person who it didn’t work out with, the one who seemingly took everything she wanted from him and then disappeared “A best friend doesn’t just disappear from your life one day Ery” she sighed softly “I know you miss her but I think you have to recognize that you can and are doing this without her” she nodded slightly.
She didn’t pay much attention as to where they were going, she was enjoying the conversation enough that the setting of it didn’t matter, her eyes trailed over the endless seeming darkness, there was a certain beauty in the night, she thought, seeing the way the city lit up in the distance “Everyone does” she answered honestly and shrugged “If I’d have known what would happen on that damn mission I never would have let Vlad leave” she glanced up at him “But hanging onto what-ifs is very dangerous” she spoke with a pointed look and when he said to look up, she did so, catching a glimpse of the star as it shot across the sky “They say to make a wish right?” she grinned and closed her eyes making a silent wish that things would feel less broken in time.