Numb. He was completely Numb.

That was the only feeling that Ven desired currently, the only thing that kept a semblance of sanity in his head and actions, the only thing that helped him survive the reality for a little while.
Total Complete Numbness.

He couldn't count the amount of alcohol he had consumed, but judging by the direction of his thoughts, they weren't enough. His mind was still fresh with the devastating truth and his heart still raw with the pain and utter hopelessness he was still feeling, for the guards, the Aspects and for Vladimir's family. The shock and utter betrayal in he had seen in Gab's eyes made him bring the bottle to his lips and take another long drag. His eyes surprising had been dried and though he wished he could hurl abuses and cry his pain out, not even a single drop had appeared in his eyes.

He had been around for a long time. Seen a lot, experienced the worst of pain and witnessed the horrific depts to which people sank. Which was perhaps why he had kept his appearance as that of a young man. The other aspects though younger than him looked older and the only explanation if anyone asked had been satisfying his vanity. But that was hardly the whole truth. His soul had been tainted with darkness a long time ago. He simply didn't wish his face to bear the same resemblance.

Ven still remembered the conversation he had with Vladimir who had been worried about his son and the Aspect had promised him to protect the boy at all cost. How had a simple mission dismantled in this manner? He knew without a doubt that Gabriel now blamed him, hell Theodore had even accused as much and though the rational part of his brain knew not to form connections and take on the guilt, his pain wouldn't allow him to sit still.

It had been his fault.

So much for being immortal, that bitter thought flickered in his head as he emptied the bottle and hurled it against the wall, smashing it completely. The glass littered across the floor meeting the same fate that all the other bottles had met so far. He was in the process of uncorking another one when he heard footsteps approaching the room.

"Whoever you are, get the f*ck out!" Ven's furious voice resounded across the room, his angry eyes glaring at the person who had dared to disregard his earlier proclamation of wanting to be left alone. 

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It was no secret that any of the Ailward’s were far from sane. That went south many years ago going far back as to their human lives and all they’ve left behind. Yet one of the differences to back then and now is that they’ve managed to move past it in a way. Learning to put their own shields and walls up. That was what it was like for her. Yet they never talked about their own personal problems with each other, preferring not to bring it back; For the past few years Cora have been watching each of her siblings trying to deal with their own demons. Able to see that Malva was the one who was not coping well at the moment, denying help and shutting people out. One of the things that she herself was good at. Locking herself believing it would be best that way, keeping all the darkness within. That was the safest way. Only now she was starting to open up to people around her. Letting people in. Something that Cora haven’t done in a long while. Always finding it difficult to trust people. Even so, she did not trust all the guards, only her siblings and ones who have been part of the guard for the longest time. With how all the new recruits were always scared of her, not knowing why it was. Maybe it was her cold and sarcastic persona.  Although some people were starting to see through the cracks. 

Cora was on her way to the library within the manor to go and collect a few books. Even if she probably have been through reading the majority books within the library. Having lots of free time on her hands over the years. Cora knew she wasn't the only.  The sound of a bottle smashing made her stop in her tracks, turning her head trying to see what direction it was coming from. Hearing that it was coming from the direction of Venetus’s room. A sigh escaped her lips able to know what was happening. Able to know too well in this crazy family that breakdowns could happen on a weekly basis from time to time. This time it was his turn and her turn to deal with the aftereffects of calming him down. The Aspect of Darkness turned on her heels heading to Venetus’s room not bothering to knock first. Barging first instead. Almost being greeted with a bottle of booze coming her way. Managing to dodge it. “You must be kidding me” She rolled her eyes sarcastically looking to the smashed bottle beside her to him. “It’s not even midday” Almost telling him off for his day drinking yet knowing that now was the time. “What am I going to do with you?” Cora sighed crossing her arms heading his way. “You are not going to throw any more bottles at me?” She muttered jokingly. Looking around his room, Cora could see he’d been heading down a downwards spiral. With no help until she came around. “I’m here now” She reassured him softly. “You’ve been there for me in my darkest days and I will be with you in the darkest of yours” Sitting down beside him, letting Ven know she wasn’t going anywhere if he liked it or not. 

Responsibility of any sort always came with consequences. While most people may enjoy the idea of power, the burden the one having it bears is a dark story in itself. It was like a fancy holder for a dangerous weapon and Ven had encountered that emotion many times in dealing with the Ailwards and the Guards. He had almost become used to the stress of having his words change destinies and rip or mend fences and he had his fair and not so good days of best and worst judgements. But nothing, nothing at all had ever come close to this level of despondency.

They had been so sure of their success.

Was that what had caused the downfall?

The failure, in this case, hadn't simply been the mission. They could have all easily come to terms with that, perhaps even laughed it off with food and drinks, made it into a funny tale to be retold to other- 'Remember when we have tried to go on that mission- ' He himself, had countless memories of such stories, of situations, not working in their favour. But this was something more than that.

They hadn't just been unsuccessful, they had been shattered to the very core of their being.

Vladimir...the immortal Vladimir was dead.

The urge to smash the bottle in his hand was great, and he would have too, had Cora's voice not sounded within the room. Her words made his shrink further in himself. He hated being weak, disliked any display of excessive emotions and yet here he was- doing both and unable to don a mask to protect it from being seen by others.

"Bury me along with Vladimir..that's what I'd like you to do with me. That'd be nice and easy" he lifted the bottle to his lips again, drowning the liquor before swinging it and smashing it in the opposite direction of his sister. "You might be here..." Ven finally raised his haunted eyes towards her "But Vladimir is not. And it is killing me! He didn't just die...I think we all did a little with him. I.." Frustrated he got up, angry that he wasn't sufficiently tipsy enough to be unconscious and walked to the end of the room, his hands tugging at the strands of his hair "I don't know what to do. I don't know how to face anyone. Especially Gabriel. Hell! we should have never asked this of them! I should have known better! 

Lately Cora thought that it may be best if she distanced herself a little from the others. It seemed that lately her siblings have been doing it too. With their own lives and own secrets too. They’ve always been secretive but it what comes with what and who they are. Nothing never changed in the thousand years although lately Cora have become more worried for how all her siblings were. More so Venetus. Noticing in the last few months since Vladimir’s death that Venetus have not been taking it so well. Slipping down into a dark path finding it herself on first hand now stumbling across one of his breakdowns. The one of many lately, knowing that someone had to pick up the pieces and today it was her. Pushing open the door and stepping into the room, her eyes fell upon The Aspect of The Realms drowning his sorrows with a bottle of booze. Seems like his only coping mechanism these days. Hearing how he was already telling her to go away but Cora chose to ignore it never listening anyways. “I’m just going to ignore everything you just said” She warned shooting him a stern look that he should no better not to joke about death. 

A sigh escaped her lips knowing that this was not going to be any easy job to sort out Venetus’s drunken state. To figure out why he’s drowning his sorrows. Whether he likes it or not. Soon finding out the reason why, that he blames himself for Vladimir’s death. “He’s dead Venetus, he’s gone and we can’t do anything to bring him back. Something we all got to accept” Cora couldn’t help to be blunt not wanting to make light on it all, stating all the facts and truths that in the last few months they’ve all had to accept. “His death is on all of us, you can’t blame yourself on your own for what happened” It was hard truth. The Aspects were the one who chose to sent him a mission something they all did was to decide which one of their guards they would send on each mission. Cora watched as Venetus got up to go across the room hearing how he was still blaming himself. Following in his steps, Cora went after him even when others would think you should be distancing yourself in this type of situation. “Every guard who joins knows what they are in for, knowing the risks. All prepared for if something was to go wrong, they all swore their life to our organisation” Letting him know he should stop blaming himself for all this happening. “You will get past this, we will get through it together. Venetus you are not alone” She reassured softly placing her hands on his shoulders trying to comfort him, dropping down her guard around him. 

Wondering how many bottles of booze he’d gone through in the last few months. Choosing to bottle it all up rather for him to come to any of them. Now she couldn’t help to feel that she was part to blame that if she weren’t so blinded with what was happening in her own to life to think of how others may be coping or not. “You know you could of come to me rather than keeping to yourself” She pointed out softly looking to see how how would react or he’d push her away again when she’s trying to help.

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