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Slipping passed the guards weren’t very hard. Everyone was so busy with their own problems, their own lives. Problems that were partly Erythreus´ fault. Some of his decisions had lead to the fall of Skye and many of the guards death. It was years ago but since then things had only gone south. The aliward and their guards found a home in Evermore where the supernaturals activity seemed to thrive and the peace hanging on a loose thread. The moody aspect isolated himself more and more feeling that his presence only burdened. The people he called his family suddenly felt like acquaintances and his duties that hadn’t been very joyful to begin with felt undoable.
The faint ghost with its empty judge eyes stared at the aspect of death, as it had done the last few days. Ery couldn’t seem to keep up the barriers to keep him from seeing the souls of the dead still seeking redemption. ”Go away” the giant harshly muttered trying to wave it away but without success. From a by stander the beardy male must look like he had one to many mumbling and gesturing to himself like a crazy person. None dared to say anything tho and he still had ladies throwing themselves at him if he was in that mood. One night stands had lost its charm but relations were even worse. Memories of his last still hurt to thing of threatening to tear a big hole in his heart if he gave it too much thought.
The blonde drowned the last of his booze, which didn’t exactly help with keeping the ghosts away rather the opposite, before throwing some money on the table and leaving the bar before any of the guards released he wasn’t in his room mopping or whatever they believed he did in there. However he wasn’t ready to go home just yet. The only thing awaiting him was his messy room and more booze. So he found himself wandering around aimlessly around with the ghosts as his only company buzzing around his head making it hard for him to concentrate. ”Hey leave me alone I can’t help you” The aspect had come to an alleyway and heard footsteps approaching causing a sigh to slipp out, but it was a familiar face that had caught up to him. ”So you found me Dom, Points to you I guess. Sorry for going out unannounced … again” he chuckled a stiff joyless sound.
It had been over an hour of searching. First Dom has started with all the usual spots, but it was slow going. Finding the Aspect of Death wasn't exactly easy when he didn't want to be found. Reus had been worried as it seemed Ery was sliding down a slope of despair that would eventually fall out from underneath him and crash. Dominic wasn't exactly sure why he would be the best option to pull anyone out of a shit mood given his own temperamant lately, but he was assigned to him still obviously. Duty above all. It was something he believed in wholeheartedly at one point, but given how his life had turned out currently, he wasn't so sure it was a motto he could keep marching to.
The chaos of the bar he'd just walked out of dulled slightly now that he was outside with still no sign of Erythreus. His eyes landed on a strip club much further down the road, but he knew that wouldn't be the place Ery would go now. His mood was far too low for even that. Dom put his cell to his ear and figured he would try the number again, but still, it went straight to voicemail. "Goddammit, Ery," he grumbled when a voice drifted from the alleyway.
He decided to be far more nosey than he should've been, but finding the Aspect was dire. Being one of the most powerful things on the planet meant making sure everything was in working order or at least some form of functioning. Functioning being a loose word when it came to Erythreus. Hell, when it came to himself too. The further he walked, the more powerful the familiar scent was that came to him. His therian senses were of some use it seemed when he finally saw the familiar form of his friend in the darkness. He looked like shit and was clearly well into a few bottles given the smell coming off him that was tied in with the usual scent.
Dom leaned against the opposite building from Ery and sighed. He didn't reply right away and instead pulled a bottle from his jacket and shook it as an invitation. Unscrewing the cap, he took a long swig of the whiskey before offering it over to him. "Believe me, I mostly can't stand being in that manor either," he finally replied, smirking. "Can't imagine living there." The therian put his head back on the brick and spoke after a few moments of silence between them. "Talk to me. What's going on? No bullshit either. Not with me." They were too close to try and sugarcoat anything going on in their lives like they would to most others who would ask.
There had been a time when Erythreus and Dom would confide in each other about everything. Fight every battle together. They used to hang out as friends and stir up trouble even when both were off duty. Dominic had join the guard after the fall of Skye and quickly became a loyal and cherished member. Most of the aspects had an assigned guard who had the over all responsibility for their security and Dom had offered and been assigned to him. Which he was grateful for. It would’ve been awful to be forced to be followed around by some nosey rule follower.
However as Erythreus got more and more drawn back Dom did as well troubled by his own problems which lead to the duo slowly drifting apart. Resulting in them not talking for months both wanting to spare the other from their hell. ”I know they just mean well” Erythreus sighed ignoring the bottle the terrain offered him. He’d had one too many already and the world was spinning. The other residents at the maner had given him concerned looks and friendly advice , Erythreus shouldn’t you guide souls, Ery why aren’t you…, a while now and he really had tried but he couldn’t. So keeping away, being drunk was the easy way out. He knew it was the coward way to flee from his problems, and he hated himself for it.
”Why don’t you tell me what’s going on with you instead, brother?” Erythreus countered with a raised brow. His town just a tiny bit accusing. It took two to tango but Erythreus couldn’t help but feel a little bit let down by Dom whom he’d considered one of his closest friends for not reaching out when he saw him starting to stumble after both breakup and ghost problems. The broody aspect could’ve done the same he realised and tried to remember that and not be too hard on his guard who also had had a rough couple of months.
Dominic shrugged when his offer was refused, so instead, he took the sip for the Aspect instead. Lowering the bottle to his side, he raised a brow right back at Ery after the taunting retort to spill his guts instead. The therian only smirked back before lightly bumping his head against the brick a few times in some poor attempt at psyching himself to share. "Okay then...." He wasn't one to give up the deep feels he was dealing with, even to the closest people in his life. However, if it would help Ery let out some of his griefs, then maybe it would be worth it.
Clenching his jaw for a few quiet moments between them as if it was a betrayal to release the admission, Dom finally let the words out which had been bottled up for weeks. "We can't find her," he said matter-of-factly with a shrug and shaking his head in frustration. He knew he didn't have to say her name for Ery to know who he was referring to. There was no other her that was so important. That and she was someone close to the Aspect too. He couldn't even say her name if he wanted to. "No magic from some of the most powerful people on Earth can find her and it's killing me. At least if I knew she was okay on the other side of the world, I could deal, ya know? It isn't like her to do this. I know something terrible happened and I thought I was doing the right thing by ending it, but..."
The anger he held for himself began to rise and he quickly put the bottle to his lips again in order to do something else besides turning around and punching the wall until his hands bled. "I feel so fucking useless. I have no goddamn idea where to turn. We retraced her steps and nothing. It's like she vanished which isn't completely unheard of given the world we live in." Dom's gaze met his friend's then showing the anguish that could make him burst at any moment before closing his eyes and shaking his head. The worst case scenarios that were stored in his head began to play out then and it was nearing the tipping point of him losing it completely. He took a breath and let it out then, burying the turmoil again under layers of self blame.
Dom placed his head back against the brick again after quieting himself to a simmer. "So, come on," he began, beckoning Ery with his free hand as an invitation to continue the road of sharing. "Out with it. Do I gotta start punching ghosts in the face or what?"
For any bystander the duo, two over average sized men standing a few feet appart in an alley, would look suspicious. However it was probably not the weirdest thing one would see at night in Evermore City where supernaturals lived and flourished. Erythreus was too drunk to care about if the surrounding saw him as a freak. The people at the bar he had visited earlier could witness about it. Hopefully Dom had better track of possible eavesdropper than himself, it was a part of his job to keep him secret. The aspect saw the therian lower the flask he’d offered protegé and then taking a sip himself. Maybe hoping the liquid would help him open up.
The emotional aspect could see that his friend had a hard time sharing but really tried to, for his sake. It was warming to see that his guard even after not being so close to him still did this for him. Ery nodded appreciatively, letting Dominic see that he had noticed the sacrifice behind the gesture. The blonde listened quietly but attentively when the guard spilled his heart. He knew the woman, the only one who could make his best friend feel like this, a blonde just like his preferred company. However Ery´s own love life was non existent for the moment. Him and Dom used to be waned bachelors together and then both fell for blondes who complicated their lives. At least the race wasn’t totally over for Dom.
”Why didn’t tell me?” The aspect asked softly guilt tainting his voice , embarrassed that he’d felt betrayed and even left out by his guard when he stopped coming by even when Ery had been angry shouting that he just wanted to be alone. Of course his fellow aliwards had listened. What he really had wanted was for someone to stay force him to open up listen to his problems. A part of why he hadn’t told anyone about what was on his mind was this. Everyone else already had a heavy baggage of own problems they didn’t need to carry his as well.
Erythreus knew his friend well, you had to if you had to spend a lot of time together and guard each others secrets, he saw him push away the feelings behind a collected mask again, and he didn’t like it. Wasn’t this why there was a wall between them?
The ghost had been almost quiet fainting to the back of his conscience when he focused on Dom´s story. Now when mentioned it demanded attention. The therians joke had been awfully point on. ”I’ve lost control of the ghosts, because I haven’t fulfilled my duties to lead them right and now there is too many of them” he admitted with a sigh. It was hard for him to admit but also a relief to share with someone.
Dominic gave a half shrug at Ery's question. Anyone that knew him knew that the therian was someone who hated asking for help and for the first couple of days in which she was gone, he told himself that it wasn't anything more than Siobhan needing some time away from everyone and everything that might've happened to her. He had to so it wouldn't seem like he was jumping into her life again when it could've been an innocent reason for her not showing. However, deep in his gut he knew something was wrong and it wasn't like he didn't trust Clarissa's judgement either. Siobhan and trouble were hand in hand.
"You know me," he simply said with a saddened smirk. "Plus, the manor was going through hell as more and more shit kept happening. It was one of the reasons I broke it off with her. I didn't want all the things chasing me to come home where she was. I feel like that's all our relationship was.. me not being able to protect her from anything." He raked a hand through his hair and stood up a little straighter from his leaning on the brick wall. "Anyway," he let out an audible sigh. "Come on, what's up?"
It was a few silent moments between them. Dominic tried to read the aspect's expression which seemed strained as the gears were turning in his thoughts. Once Erythreus confessed to what had kept him going back into his reclusive ways again, Dom gave a short whistle. "Well, shit." It was the only thing he could think to reply as that's how surprised he was. Another few moments passed and Dominic glanced around the space as if he could see the ghosts which were probably lingering around Ery. He couldn't imagine having more voices in his head other than his own which was plenty enough.
"What's causing it?" the guard asked, his brow furrowing in thought. Erythreus was broody like him, sure, but both of them held their duties in high regard. He knew something serious must be going on if he wasn't able to help the dead as he was stationed with. "The fall? It seems like the arrival of the aurazin has caused more than a few problems. I imagine there's some kink in the factory line that's out of whack since you and them deal with death and the passing of their souls."
Being bad at asking for help was something the duo had in common. Ery himself wasn’t the best at sharing his problems. Drowning them in alcohol or meaningless one night stands hoping they’d go away. Sadly so was rarely the case. Why it was so hard venting his problems was still unknown. He didn’t see people who asked for help as weak. He had learned a long time ago that it was just the opposite, that it took a lot of strength to ask for help. If anyone in his family would need assistance the aspect of death would want them to come forward, but when it came to himself it wasn’t that easy. Not wanting to burden anyone with problems himself had caused. Erythreus guessed the same went for Dom, who was always the first to lend a hand or support a friend in need, but not as good at looking after his own interests.
”You don’t think Sio can decide that for herself” The aspect asked raising an eyebrow. ”She is a tough cookie” If anyone who knew how to handle herself it was Siobhan. The blonde had gone through a lot and seemed to be a trouble magnet but had always come out stronger on the other side. The brody male hadn’t always had an easy relation to the nephilim but he respected her and knew she made his guard happy. ”Keeping that girl from trouble is impossible” Ery chuckled. He’d tried that method himself to break things of with people he actually like to protect them from spiralling down with him but it usually had the opposite effect which Dominic had got to experience first hand now.
The ghost who’d been quiet while Erythreus focused on the therian guard demanded attention again. He still didn’t say anything just waving his arms around pointing accusingly at the death aspect. ”I CAN’T HELP YOU” he shouted frustrated, letting out a deep sigh. ”I don’t know I thought it was me wasting my powers being drunk at first but now I’m not so sure” He wished to believe Dominics theory that for ones everything wrong in the world wasn’t because of him but odds hadn’t been in his favour ever. After his last crashed relation, which he had only engaged in to forget the one he crashed previous to that. Ery had decided that booze where the only company he was suited for.
As Ery shouted at the unseen entity, Dom jumped in response from the scare. He could completely understand wanting to drown out the voices if all they were doing is lingering around him every waking moment. Hell, he had the feeling the aspect probably wasn't getting much sleep anyway unless the alcohol finally did the job for him to blackout. His eyes moved from the empty spot in which he imagined the lost soul must have been that Erythreus was yelling at back to his friend. Dominic didn't think he'd ever seen him so miserable.
A sudden sound made his head snap around to the entrance of the alleyway where two men appeared. Instinctually he prepared himself for some kind of confrontation in order to protect the aspect as was his duty, but then he really looked at the newcomers. They were in tattered clothing and smudges of dirt covered their faces and pretty much everywhere else. They were no threat. They were just curious bystanders who probably frequented this backstreet often if not possibly scouring for food in the dumpsters. "Come on," he said quietly, clapping his hand on Ery's back for a moment of comfort before physically lifting the aspect up by tugging the back of the collar to his jacket.
Putting a hand on the aspect's shoulder with the bottle of whiskey in the other, Dom guided Erythreus back out towards the main road, ignoring the stares by the pair of men that stumbled upon them. The noise of the city seemed to rush at them all at once as the chatter from the nearby bars and restaurants, traffic, and music hit them. It only made dodging through the crowds that much more of a nuisance since he wanted to be out of there with Ery in tow as quickly as possible. Making it back to his truck felt like an accomplishment all its own.
Instead of driving back to the manor which would probably do nothing in helping his charge, Dominic drove back to his place in therian woods. He pulled up to the darkened cabin and turned the rumbling engine off which only added to the silence that had fallen between them for the entirety of the ride. The absolute quiet of this territory was the reason he moved out here soon after coming to Evermore. "Come on. You can crash here. We can head out to the lodge where the aurazin are and speak to Lucien. Maybe he can at least help connect the dots here. It's worth a shot."
Erythreus didn't move right away, but the therian exited the vehicle and headed inside. He would come along when he was ready and Dom would be there like he always tried to be.
Being a spectacle wasn’t something new for the shabby Aspect. Even when he was more put together and groomed he was used to getting curious looks from strangers. That people in town gossiped about him wasn’t a bother. He was pretty good at tuning that out, his other problems overshadowing the potential that he was the talk of town. The aspect of death wasn’t totally immune to the opinions of others even tho it what he was letting on. The ones he cared about their opinions mattered, but lately it had felt like non of them cared for him. After months of abusing his body, not shaving and consuming way too much alcohol the male wasn’t a sight for sore eyes.
Erythreus had completely missed that they had gotten an audience, but of course Dominic had caught up on that. Not letting him reveal himself as the aspect of death was a big part of guarding him. It wasn’t that Ery wasn’t careful he was just so caught up in himself and all his problems that he often missed spectators. ”Ey let me down, I have legs, not in the mood to fly or I would’ve used my dragon form” He growled under his breath as his friend dragged him with him away from the prying eyes. However of course the guard didn’t listen and continued to guide him with a firm grip at a pace Ery hadn’t moved for many months. It was only Dom who could do such thing being even bigger than the tall aspect. ”What’s the rush, give me a break will ya I am not in any condition to run a marathon” The grumpy Aliward complained trying to figure out where Dominic was taking him. To his car it seemed.
They sat in silence while Dom drove. Ery just hoped his guard wouldn’t drop him off back at the Aliward manor, but Dominic drove towards the woods instead and parked infront of his cabin, confusing. He didn’t follow right away letting out a sigh. What was this good for? Having to speak to other people even tho Lucien wasn’t on his hate list, wasn’t very appealing. Hell he had tried to avoid exactly that senario, but going on an adventure and reconnect with his guard, potentially helping him for once was tempting. So he exited the car and followed Dom inside.
”Okey fine I’m in but I need a glass a whiskey first, or make that a bottle”
"Fine by me, boss," he said over his shoulder with a smirk before sliding the key into its home and turning the lock. Dominic reached over and flicked the switch on, turning on the nearby lamp before making a straight line for the cabinet in the kitchen. "Make yourself at home." The open concept of the small cabin hadn't changed much over the years since he'd made it his own or at least that was until Siobhan came along and added her own touch to certain parts of the home. Despite how everything ended, he hadn't changed much of anything since she'd left. He would say it's because he's rarely there anymore given the circumstances happening around Evermore. That he was always away and on a mission or training the new Guards. Really it was because he couldn't pull himself together enough to discard all the things that reminded him of her.
His hand wrapped around the neck of the whiskey bottle still tucked away in his coat that he'd brought to him in the alleyway when finding the Aspect. Grabbing two glasses from the cabinet, he walked over into the living area where Erythreus had wandered to the couch. Once they both had a cup, he poured to the brim for each of them and carefully clinked the glasses in a silent toast. Downing half of it was simply a chemical release in his mind and body. A poor coping mechanism he couldn't shake. The slow warmth filled him up and made him smile dryly as he closed his eyes in sarcastic enjoyment. "Not many better ways to make the pain numb."
Dom looked to his friend as they shared their palpable pain for a moment before moving over to the fireplace. He tossed some of the wood he'd cut some time ago into the hearth and lit it, finding his way to the worn leather chair that was next to it and across from Erythreus. He would stare at the flames for hours and let his thoughts wander which he hated, but there wasn't always a new lead to follow and keep him busy from the rising concerns of what was happening across Evermore. Down time was his greatest enemy. "So what happens to them?" he asked, lifting his legs up on the wooden table to sink further down into the chair. His eyes stayed on the dancing flames which began to heat up the cabin while his voice was low and somber. "If you can't get them to their bodies?
The cabin wasn’t a place he’d visited often. He’d been there a couple of times mostly to sober up after a rough night. Otherwise the duo tended to end up in various weird location during their mischiefs. Doms cottage wasn’t anything fancy, the typical man cave. A few interior details witnessed about a woman’s touch a gentle reminder of what could’ve been. Erythreus had thought about getting his own place. Somewhere were he could mope in peace without the constant concerned looks from his fellow faction members, or admonitory advice. However who would he be without his family? The grumpy aspect loved them even tho they drove him crazy most days. Without his brothers and sisters he most likely would never leave his room.
Ery laid down on the couch, he was tired it had been a long night. Normally he would fall asleep somewhere now and then be dragged home by the poor guard who had had their bad luck to be assigned to bring him home. The drink the guard had handed him gave a comforting burn on the way down. ”Couldn’t agree more brother” He agreed putting the now empty glas down. He’d tried to stop drinking many times but always found his way back to the flask when life gave him lemons.
Watching the flames was somehow very soothing and didn’t help keeping him awake. A yawn escaped his lips, the blonde had almost fallen asleep when his guards question came. ”The ghosts?” He asked drowsily. ”They don’t have bodies while dead” Erythreus chuckled. ”You need to help them find peace and fully let go of this world and into the next. Otherwise they will cause chaos and destruction becoming more and more in despair.” It was a common misconception to believe that the lost souls needed to reconnect when all they needed was to let go. Often it was the grieving friends and families that kept them tied to this world unable to find happiness in the kingdom of the dead.
He gave a short nod in understanding of the aspect's words. "I assumed maybe you needed to show them they were actually dead sometimes to get them gone," he replied, staring into the flames almost trance like while his mind wandered to the idea of it. Dom wondered if he could just let go then. Assuming he didn't make it to some ripe old age as most people expected their lives to go, anyway. Being who he was, his position on the Guard, Dominic didn't necessarily believe he would make it to a time when he'd be frail and wrinkled with someone else looking after him because he couldn't any longer. Of course, who would even be taking care of him at that point? He didn't really have anyone in his life that would take the job. Regardless, a person like him and what he got himself into regularly wasn't really someone who was looking very far into what the future may look like. It gave point to the argument that many of the guards wore the magical ring which gave them immortality offered by the faction, but he didn't know if he was ready for forever.
The thought made him sigh shortly as not to get caught up in the emotion and he took another sip of the whiskey. He hazel optics fell to the liquid inside, the comforting yet unhealthy friendship he had with it mellowing out the tension from the night as he let himself relax more now that the aspect was here with him. Safe. It felt like the whole of the Guard was trying to keep the aspects together since their individual abilities were all out of sorts. Ery and Malva appeared to be affected the most so far, but maybe it was only a matter of time before each of the siblings spiraled as well. He noted Reus was also beginning to become more and more stressed with each passing day and no answers for their strife. Whatever higher power that deemed them all worthy of their gifts wasn't reaching out now to help, but Dominic knew it all linked back to the arrival of the aurazin. It wasn't a coincidence that their falling from another realm lined up with the strange events in Evermore.
The therian downed the rest of the drink and despite his impossibly comfortable feeling just then, he forced his body up from the chair and headed over to the small hall closet where he pulled out a pillow. Coming back, he tossed it towards Ery and nodded in invitation, grinning. "Crash, man. You need to rest if you can." Dom's eyes glanced to the bottle, but didn't say anything. It was more of a silent understanding that if it took the rest of the contents within for the aspect to get that much needed sleep, so be it. He was far from one to judge when it came to that practice. "In the morning we'll head out." Turning, he headed towards the furthest room, his bedroom, but then stopped and spun back around to the aspect. "Or afternoon if the gods are so generous." He smirked to his friend and then disappeared behind the door to attempt the much needed practice of sleep that came so easily to others. But not them. Definitely not them.
”That could help some” Erythreus mumbled. He wasn’t used to speaking of his duties not even with his guard or brothers or sisters who fought their own battles with their so called magical elements. ”Most know deep down that they are dead and have a hard time letting go of their loved ones or getting revenge” Ery had been there himself, during his time as a valley before becoming an aspect, letting vengeance lead his life. He’d learned that revenge always came with a price and after chasing it you’d sacrificed everything and there was no life to come back too.
It was a wonder that he’d made it so far in life. When he grew up centuries ago people died of the cold. You were old if you reached your twenties and ancient if you were lucky enough to turn thirty. And then came his valkyr years which were just years of bloodbath and slaughter. Now he was immortal and could only die if he choose to leave his role as aspect. The broody male wished he had had someone bedside him through out eternity and who could support him though thick and thin. He had always envied old couples who had lasted through life. The aspect were a true romantic even tho this rarely showed. Plenty of heart breaks had caused him shield his heart a bit more than before when he’d worn his heart upon his sleeve.
”Thanks” Erythreus said rolling his eyes at his friend and grabbing the pillow before turning over and try to get a few hours of sleep. He’d never been blessed with being to fall asleep anywhere any time. And couldn’t understand todays teenagers who could sleep trough a day. Himself was lucky if he got a few hour in a row. His mind wandering to his past decisions guilting him for everything he had or hadn’t done. It had been one of the things that had bonded him and Dom when they first were teamed up. That and their love for liquor and adventure.
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