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This was very different for Malva. It wasn't as if she hasn't done it before, but this time however, it felt different. Almost as if it's a new thing entirely for her. Malva was just going back on a small trip on memory lane while she was reading the pages of her spell journal that aged up the same age she was currently on. The spell journal has been within her grasps ever since she started to learn how to use her manifested abilities. While she does that, it's understandable to go through a lot of memories and not all of them were pleasant. But, she'll have to suck it up now, wouldn't she?
Twirling one of the dress strings that was in her right hand, her other free hand was busy making sure everything else is intact in the spell journal while her mind went off the rails and began thinking about what would happen to them. Specifically, the effect it will take on her family. It's quite hard not to think about them when your family is the kind of people that will get such intel had anything occur in the eternal city. It was starting to become her daily routine, hobbling up the computer to see any updates on a certain guard she cherished.
A few weeks ago, Malva was able to preoccupy a spell journal that she kept hidden down the catacombs somewhere in Evermore near the borders about two centuries ago. Now, has she been in Evermore before they were forced to make their residence here? The question still stood as something vague. She couldn't specifically remember the exact details but the Aspect of Magic did not recall remembering any single thing on her coming to Colorado. Ever. With the whole mind thingy tampering with her memories, now she found out that Valentine was apparently a suspect in one of the murders that occurred not long ago. And Malva was trying her best to wrap it all up.
She does however, figured out why she couldn't remember the details yesterday while she was finding a way to crack whatever that was in her head. The answer was very simple and tactful, that even the Russian born woman couldn't grasp on it fully. Of course, it's a bit difficult to comprehend the situation before her when it's such a simple move. A move most people would never thought she'd use. Hell, even Malva Ailward herself took some time to believe she even considered such move. "There's no way Val would kill someone for no reason. She's not a cinnamon roll but she's not that kind of person who kills for no reason. Who is even this guy.." She pointed at the screen, feeling obviously frustrated that the guard was still in custody.
"Ugh..fine, I'll do it myself."
There was a reason why her head couldn't remember what she did. And no, it wasn't some temporary amnesia, much to her chagrin. She made sure to keep the important stuff buried deep inside her head that when it comes to a time, even she couldn't crack it open without proper steps or instructions. How did she end up knowing? It's not really hard when it's written in bold italic letters on the spell journal that she kept hidden. The whole Celestial issue wasn't getting anywhere but she wasn't sure if it's something good or not. Considering the fact that they currently have a faction filled with celestial beings that harbored ill feelings towards them just across the city. But at least, they haven't launched any sort of attack. Not yet, at least. And Malva was hoping for it to stay that way until she could fully figure out what else she was hiding from her own self.
A walk down the memory lane was all that she needed. But in order to do so, she needed to go through a sleep. A sleep where she'd honestly be better off comatose. That is where things went complicated for her, seeing as she couldn't exactly have anyone know that the purple dragon of the house is under a comatose state and it was nothing to be worried about. The part about not worrying was partially the truth, but if she didn't do it right, she might find it harder to get back. Magic isn't something to play around with, after all.
Malva slung her bag and took the leather jacket hanging on the chair before she rushed downstairs, leaving no space for anyone to question where she is going. Pushing the entrance door apart, she closed it slowly and stared at the sky where the stars were gleaming and shimmering. What an ironic moment. The light haired Aspect of Magic loved star gazing yet now it only served her as a painful memory, where she was reminded over and over again about the pain she had caused the Celestials. Letting the sounds of her heels from her boots make on the stony pavement, she made her way to her destination. The territory she has never set foot in. No kidding, Malva has never stepped into the human territory. The closest she would get to it is the border near the end of the vampire and dhampir territory, where the General Hospital is located.
There was one particular place she wanted to go to. The place where she could be granted an audience with one of the privy council's member. The city defense's general, Benjamin Vaughn. It would be a lie if Mal didn't know who the male was. His file was packed with various information that they could gather. A rather interesting man too. So far, despite residing in the eternal city for quite some time now, Mal has never really engaged a conversation, much less, be acquainted with someone from the human faction. No wonder she felt like she was missing a few people from the faction order. She heard about Valentine and considering the close bond the Dimitreus and Ivakovs had with the Ailwards, it's hard for her to ignore what was going on. Besides, she really did needed to know a few more people from the particular faction. "I'm told this is the office for Benjamin Vaughn?" She told the girl by the counter who seemed to be a secretary of sorts. Obviously, not all the members of the Organisation recognised her. She looked like some girl who just graduated from college and was looking for a job by being persistent. Oh, but she is persistent alright. Resilient too.
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Accusing a supernatural of potentially being malevolent in spirit was not a wise misstep to make but he couldn’t help but wonder. After all she herself had pointed out that people knew very little about the Aspects and Guards and he had never been the sort to only see the good in people or only the good side of things. His mother verbally kicked that out of him and he assumed that everyone had a darker sides, especially supernatural beings. “I try not to hold anything against people, especially an entire faction until they show me they can’t be trusted however given it’s of a personal nature it’s hard to put my personal feelings and questions aside and be professional.” After all she had just dropped a rather large bomb on him when he had assumed she was here to talk about Valentine.
“Malva, no offence but I don’t know you well enough to know what you might do. Hence my questions and rather obvious accusations. After all a person can voice all manner or words but that doesn’t make them true.” There seemed to be sincerity in what she was saying but that was just a guess since he didn’t know her moods or expressions. Benjamin had the feeling if he were to ask Sariah she would tell him to trust Malva and trust the Aspects but it was such a hard thing for him to do. “I want to believe you like I want to believe in Valentine’s innocence but that’s a lot to ask given what you’ve told me so far.” He admitted trying to make her understand that it wasn’t his intention to be rude or hurtful it was just a lot to take in.
The more Malva spoke of her innocence the more Ben believed her since what she said never changed, she just changed how she said it which tended to be how the truth worked. “I’d rather not find out how you or your siblings deal with your problems with other people. At this point I believe you had nothing to do with my grandfather’s demise.” He said wanting to place the subject behind them for the time being since if she did or did not have a hand in what happened to his grandfather would become clear soon enough. Since she was the only person who could help him find the answers he was seeking he needed to put aside his personal feelings since there was no evidence she had done anything foul or in the wrong.
“He learned two forms of Latin and I barely passed Spanish, apparently the gene which helps you grasp languages skipped a few generations.” For the first time since the beginning of their conversation his voice held a lighter almost joking tone to it. It wasn’t that he hadn’t tried either, it was just that languages didn’t come easy to him which included his native tongue of English which he has struggled with a bit as a kid though he hadn’t let it be known. “Trekking on through adversity and when things are far from easy is a difficult thing to do but it is an advantage and gift since no everyone can do that. Giving up is easy, continuing to push through is not.”
A sandy brow rose as he looked to Malva as she seemed to be quoting someone. “But sometimes you have to stop and take a breather just to know where you are and remind yourself why you continue on. It doesn’t mean you stop altogether, though she’s right the world is too large for any one person to carry on their shoulders. It’s a burden which will one day break a person. I’m sure even Atlas wanted a break.” He mused thinking of the old Greek myths of the Titan who held the world up on it’s axis. “Magic may be what you’re charged with but taking a few moments to breath doesn’t mean you’re failing or letting anyone down.” He couldn’t imagine the weight an Aspect had to carry but after centuries anyone would start to get worn down by it.
Listening as she explained what was to come both of his brow slowly began to rise towards his hair line. “So we’re going to traverse your memories on the astral plan with no map and hope for the best?” He knew there had to be countless better people to help with this but she seemed afraid for her siblings or those close to her to see the things she hid. After all, his opinion meant little and he had yet to form a true opinion on her so what could be wading through her memories really hurt? “I would hope no one in the mansion would have a reason to try to kill either of us but I do appreciate the fair warning.” Though as she explained the accidental effects of the connection being broken or interrupted he did become a little nervous. “If that happens is there any way back out or will we trapped in the memory on repeat like a live action version of Groundhog’s Day?” That was something he’d liked to avoid at all costs and given the mansion was full of Guards sworn to protect the Aspects he knew he shouldn’t be too worried.
Malva knew it wasn't the first thing she felt every time she was thrown a remark such as that. She did admit she possessed quite the sensitive heart. She definitely did not look the part yet she could prove herself to be quite the vulnerable witch that she was. All her years from a young age, she was taught by her parents to never show any form of weakness, because there will always be eyes watching. And once they pinpoint the exact weak spot she had, her Achilles heel, they will strike faster than she could say the word 'why'. Even if she did ask them why they would do such a thing to someone who hasn't done any wrong before, would she get an answer? The definite answer to that vague question would be a big NO.
"Funny. That's what your grandfather said to me the first time I met him. Very strange. But then again, you are his grandson, you should possess a few of his traits. Though it seems like multilingualism is not one of your fortes. I'm sure you do however, received the multitude at his end. Chivalry at its finest, cautious and careful, untrusting and whatnot. Although his multilingualism helped him a lot, his vices were the ones that spoke a lot about who he was. Worry not, as it seems like you relate more to your grandfather rather than his son instead." The corner of her lips formed itself into one genuine smile. Now, Malva Ailward does not smile often, neither does Malva Arguarde. Basically, easily said, Malva does not prosper in the advantages and luxury of having any slight bit of happiness in her life. One she should smile upon.
"He also learned French, and a bit of Russian and Portuguese. I'm not sure if he had Spanish bagged but he is quite the surprise. I could remember his traits and how he is as a person, yet I couldn't find my way around the events that went unfolded decades ago." Which was indeed the truth that sums up her current situation at the moment. She felt like she knew him but she couldn't find her way to wrap her mind around to actually pinpoint the series of events that came alongside it.
She did find it in herself to take a breather and listen to what the male had to say. He seemed quite wise, which was very similar to his grandfather. A trait she was very amused and impressed with. She looked no more than her early 20s but she has lived the world longer than most. Even if she was mature back then, she wasn't wise. She was what a rebellious teenager would be. The usual stuff. "Maybe you are right, on the skipping generations thing. Your father was different from your grandfather. He wasn't that much different but I could see a clear contrast." Benjamin's father did not look much like his grandfather in her views, however, the current general himself does. Too similar, it feels like she was seeing his grandfather instead. With a few missing ends of course.
But then again, it's not something that couldn't be worked nor sharpened on.
"He wasn't a genius, you know. Do you know how long it took him to learn modern Latin? It took me years to get him to be more acquainted with it. He didn't have to, but he said he needed to have the knowledge. Which was quite the advantage of course, if you could read both forms, with a few siphoning, even you could cast a spell. He was diligent though, that's why he managed to eventually grasp the language. He had the passion. That's all that you need in order to successfully run something."
Malva couldn't help but to chuckle at him when he displayed his feelings on them being ambushed. "We will be trapped, yes. It might be like Groundhog's Day..seeing as you have to find your exit door and we have no idea where that might be. It could be anywhere in any of the memory door. It could be in my worst memory or it could be in my most beloved memory. I guess we have to hope that if we ever get interrupted, it'll be in one of my good memories. Because, well..I have a lot of 'action' memories."
“Hesitancy and caution must run in the family I guess. Though ironically it was my mom who taught e not to trust easily.” Though that was a subject that he would rather shy away from, a small chuckle left him in regards to her comment about linguistics since despite his hours of study his ability to use Spanish began and ended with asking where to find the bathroom though it was doubtful that he would be able to understand the answer without pointing being involved. “I only remember good things about my father but he was a good man from what I remember.” Losing him had destroyed Benjamin’s family in a way he had never expected taking his once happy life and ripping it to bits.
Benjamin definitely felt like a slacker in comparison since he couldn’t read or write anything fluently other than English. “If you speak to me in anything other than English I’ll likely just stare at you very confused. It’s not that I’m not smart enough to learn another language, I’m just not very patient and a perfectionist.” Which made learning anything difficult since unless he managed to learn it and do it perfectly he often gave up or pushed it to the back of his mind.
Every once in awhile Benjamin had to remind himself to just shush and breath, to let go of everything that filled his mind and take the weight of the world or in most cases, the city from his shoulders. It was something he had learned back when he was still living with his mom and shouldering her drunken weight. “Well from what I know, my grandfather definitely had better and wiser taste.” Which was why his grandmother had mourned the lost of his grandfather until she died. She didn’t drowned herself in booze or pills, she just took the best care of Ben’s father that she could. “I guess we all have pros and cons from our family.”
A smirk spread across his lips, “Less time than it took me to decide Spanish wasn’t the language for me. I did well in most courses in school but a secondary language was not something I did necessarily well at.” It did make him feel a little lesser than his grandfather since he had learned more than Benjamin had so far in his life. “Might be something for me to aspire to but I can’t imagine that I’ll be needing too much knowledge of Latin in my life, though I could be wrong.” It wouldn’t be the first time he was wrong in his life but time would tell.
“When exactly are you wanting to attempt this trip down memory lane with the potential of leaving us in Groundhog’s Day? I’m not in a rush but I’m not trying to avoid it either.” He said trying not to sound like he was a little weary even though he was. Asking someone to dive into your memories was one thing, telling them that they might not make it out was another. “Oh well as long as they aren’t boring memories we get trapped in, that’s all I’m worried about.” The sarcasm was obviously dripping from his voice at this point since he had feeling an ancient Aspect was not someone he wanted to trapped in the memories of.
"Though your grandfather was an exceptional man himself, don't lower yourself on the expectations. Your father took a few of his good traits, making him a good man just as well. And I'm sure you will also follow up, if you haven't already." She reassured him lightly, knowing well what expectations meant and how much of a weight it truly is. No one should have to suffer under the burden, ever. She was so close to ask him regarding the death of his grandfather, how it occurred and so on. It was mostly because she knew she didn't get the chance to find out how he died and why. Of course, unless they told her he died from natural sickness, which she hardly doubted since he wasn't that aged up at the time of his death.
She somehow had a feeling, a tight knot in her stomach, telling her that wasn't the case. It wasn't from something natural and if there was one thing that Malva knew she's very good at, it's on trusting her instincts. She could be quite the paranoid person but that was what gave her the advantage. Her supposedly 'self-preservation' skill. Whether it was a tactic or just a mere sought out tinge, it helped her throughout the centuries long worth of her journey. She feared that her suspicions would come true again. She didn't want to have to find out that the cause of his death was possibly due to her. Malva wasn't good at attachments. She calls them 'trivial stuff' that was too petty and wasn't worth a second of her life.
That's what you get when you've been practically raised up to fear attachments. And that fear will soon transition it into one of hatred. And the hatred will eventually become the sole reason to everything that goes in her head. "Then, you would be as similar as my youngest brother, Virindeus. I swear he's like an antelope caught in the headlights whenever he had to hear us speak a foreign language that was not English and Spanish. It gave us the advantage to tease him about it if we ever needed to communicate secretly without him knowing." The light haired Aspect snickered as she recalled the past memories. Their sibling bond is as strong and tough as it is vulnerable and soft.
Seeing how he was slightly down and discouraged by the small fact that his grandfather 'might' be superior on every aspect, she didn't know why but she wanted to ease him, even if it was just a little. "You respect and admire your late grandfather. You look up to both males of the family too. But I think you're more civil and equipped. He was at a disadvantage when he didn't know what I am, and his physical skills were still no where to yours. So, I think you still got a few aspects higher than him? Cheer up." Her electric blue hues wandered off to his figure that sits comfortably in front of her. Yet, she could still sense and see the small tension in the room. It was radiating like a sun to her. And Mal does not like the sun. She'd tolerate light, but she's not a particularly big fan of the sun.
"I would like to begin it as soon as possible if you're okay with it. My guard, Tatiana, she's beginning to suspect that I'm hiding something from her. I could fool my siblings for a bit longer because I don't usually confide in them until I truly needed to. Tatiana makes it harder, seeing as she could see and hear what goes in head sometimes, due to the blood tie we had. Something I thought was brilliant once upon a time ago. It enables her to protect me very effectively. But now, it's a burden for her since I have to be mindful while warding off the section she cannot stumble upon. And that is quite difficult when you are occupied and lost track of the restoration time." With a heaved sigh, it was clear that the bright eyed Russian was distressed and frustrated.
"Oh trust me, pretty boy. I hardly have any boring memories in me. Unless, you mean being trapped around the isle for centuries long boring. I do sneak out at times so it's not too boring. If anything, you would find yourself to be in the presence of more action. The imprisonment of the Celestials, the way we Ailwards felt immense pain when everything came crashing down etc. I'm anything but boring, kind sir. I'm pretty sure my head if way too content to be keeping and holding on to such figments." Rolling her eyes, she scoffed lightly at the male. She would be distrusting but she didn't think she needed to worry much about him. If he couldn't find it in himself to keep a few details a secret, then she'll just have to find a way to seal his head and possibly mouth, preventing him from speaking a word.
She's a stern woman. And if she wants it done, it will be done. Quite like what Aureus always quoted. 'If an Ailward wants something, they hardly find difficulty in attaining it.'
Ever since his father’s death Benjamin had been living in the shadow of dead men, first his grandfather and then his father. His mother had always made it clear he didn’t stack up to his father and the old Defense General told Benjamin on countless occasions that he was softer than his grandfather had been. Of course all the previous General had been able to go off of was the stories from his father who had served with Ben’s grandfather. “It’s a little hard to believe that’s true when so many seem to think I don’t stack up or add up to much, especially in comparison to the males in my family before me.” He knew Malva wasn’t trying to make him feel like he was less than those who came before him but it had been driven into his brain for years. Which was why he had agreed to come to Evermore since he had believed no one here would know him or his family but he was wrong.
Benjamin was well aware it was insane to resent death men and the truth was he didn’t really resent them, he resented the way a few saw him in comparison to them. Coming from two generations of military men who were also genuinely good people was not a bad thing and he knew that. It was a good thing to rise to and he reminded himself of that every day as he tried to be a man they would be proud of.
As Malva spoke of one of her brother Ben couldn’t help but smile a little since he liked the idea of siblings even if he didn’t have any. It was probably better than way since the idea of his mother tormenting another would have made him snap since he was rather protective of those he cared about. “So you’re telling me that even an ancient Aspect has an issue wrapping his mind around languages?” Some how that did make him feel a little better since sometimes it didn’t matter how much time and focus you devoted to something, it just wasn’t yours to have or learn.
Malva seemed to be reading his mind on the subject of the males in his family, he did love and respect them for what they accomplished in their lives but being forced to hold yourself to that standard wasn’t easy and you could lose yourself. All Benjamin had ever wanted to do was follow in his father’s footsteps as a child but he had never realized what that meant back then. Now all he wanted as to be himself and lead his own life and not be help to a level or those before. “Life isn’t a contest and I know that. I’m not trying to be better than anyone before me, I just want to be me and do right by those that count on me.” Which was what drove him to train so hard with the Organisation and learn what he could about the supernaturals of the city. No one could say he wasn’t a fair Defense General that was for sure and that was all he cared about being known for. “I appreciate your words though, it’s not often someone who knew the two generations before me has kind words to say.” It did help his current mood a lot even if he didn’t say it, he wasn’t a mopey teenager by any means but it was another accidental reminder of skills he lacked.
Benjamin imagined that it must be hard to hide something like that from someone so close to you and bound to you. Those were things the General had never had to worry over since he had no one he was that close to in life, it was easy to keep distance as not to be let down by others. Of course Tatiana had likely been with Malva farther back that ten generations of his own line. “Going to guess that really doesn’t give us much time. Then again anything involving a dangerous spell book is probably something we should put a rush on if my grandfather thought someone else was looking for it.” It was clear that hiding things from her guard wasn’t easy for her and weighing heavily on her mind. “Hiding things from people we care about is never easy, even if it’s for their own good but we’ll figure this out.” He wasn’t really sure why he felt the need to try to ease her mind but she had done the same for him.
“Pretty boy?” A chuckle left him, he was sure some of base called him that behind his back but none had been brave enough to say it to his face. Honestly it was amusing and a bit refreshing. “If that’s all people see when they look at me than boy are they in for a surprise.” He mused rubbing at the stubble which covered his jawline. As she spoke of the potential memories they might be thrust into he frowned slightly since those were far from happy memories. “Do you have any memories of unicorns and happiness? Because that’s my preference for getting stuck in.” That was a total lie since he was more accustom to action or war, physical and emotional pain but he didn’t feel the need to say as much. “I definitely have questions about the Celestials but we should probably finish putting out one fire before I worry too much about satisfying my own curiosity.”
A soft rumbling came from his stomach as he felt it roll in hunger, “We’re not aiming for tonight are we for all this? Because I’m going to need to eat before doing this whole memory spelunking thing.” And potentially some sleep before coming face to face with memories he was sure he couldn't even imagine.
Sensing his sarcasm being all over the place, the Russian woman couldn't help but to let out a snicker at his remarks. He's quite the witty person for someone who had a short circuit. That trait had particularly made a standing resemblance to his late grandfather. "You know, I'd like to think we have more in common rather than the opposite. I mean--aside from all the different species and whatnot. You'd be surprised to see how much you are similar to your grandfather after all. That's a mission go, isn't it? You looked up to him and you finally found out that you are more similar than you think. Coming from someone like me, or me in general..that's quite the feat. I don't give out compliments so easily nor do I use my words to encourage anyone. My brothers would have the right to feel immense jealousy now."
That particular thought made her laugh because the amount of truth it held on wasn't little. She wasn't a people person, and she wasn't much of what you would call 'optimist' too. So, this was one of her rare moments. "Since I didn't have anything to fear from you, nicknames were the least I could give. Now, you don't see people like that everyday, savor it." She teased, a small grin playing itself on her lips. The contrast between her first meeting with his grandfather and him were clear. And it definitely went from 0 to 100 in a short while from the beginning. She had a hunch she could put her trust on him when needed. Hopefully, it wouldn't betray her as well.
She cherished and loved Tatiana with all her heart and it wasn't any different with the rest of her siblings. However, sometimes, she had a hard time keeping details from them as they seem to know her quite well. "I should get going now. Although night is where I work best, not tonight. You should get some rest. You're gonna need it, trust me. Where we're going, it's not gonna be 100% pleasant. That's the only thing I could promise you. Have a good night, Benjamin." She slightly bowed her head with a smile before excusing herself. Stopping at the front of the door, she peeked her head once more. "You are as competent as he was, be proud of that. Your father and your grandfather would have been very proud of you seeing where you are today."
Benjamin had to admit that it was nice to hear someone talking about his father and grandfather and the added benefit of Malva boosting his confidence was great. The fact of the mater was that no matter how confidence he acted, it was almost all for show since he had deep seeded insecurities thanks to his mother who he had never been good enough for after his father’s death. “That’s a mission go and thank you for the rare compliment. Probably means more to me than it would to most anyway.” It was also a rather good start to the odd team up which would hopefully bring them both the answers they sought along with keeping a potentially dangerous spell book from the hands of those who might use it for harm.
“Good point, what am I going to do in repercussion? Drop and make you give me fifty? You don’t answer to me so I don’t see that happening.” He mused since Malva was the only one to voice a nickname such as that other than Valeria who gave no cares and called him whatever she wanted to and what that might be depended on the day. “I can honestly say I’ve had much less interesting meetings that have ended worst.” A chuckle left him since that was very true, especially these days.
Standing from his seat as Malva said she needed to be on her way he grabbed one of his business cards from a drawer before handing it to her. “Here, this will make it easier to get in touch with me since I doubt you want to stop by the office every time you need or want to talk to me.” She took it from him as she spoke, “Have a good night Malva and I’ll eat and rest up. Not sure how one gets ready to embark on the sort of quest we’re going to be taking but I’ll do my best.” He promised her as she made her way out of his office.