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"Here's what I don't understand." Venetus finally spoke as one of the members of the rescue team finished briefing the rest of the Ailwards on their failed mission. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he leaned forward frustration bubbling just beneath his skin, "Two of our oldest, and perhaps finest Guards have been missing for months and not only do we have no clue where they could be, but there's nothing we can think of to find them?" It wasn't a question as much as it was an exasperated statement. Venetus didn't know what to do or how they could've just lost two whole people. They had been in this meeting for what felt like hours now, trying to come up with a solution but drawing a blank.
Venetus turned to the Aspect of Magic, "And there's no locator spells that have been successful at at least hinting where they could be?" Drawing in a deep breath, he looked back to the Guards who had joined the Aspects at the meeting, "Do we have any leads on the Diviner massacre?" He asked, referring to the mission that was the reason the couple had been sent away in the first place. Someone had slaughtered an entire coven of Instar Diviners and Vladimir and Octavia had been tasked to find out who it was.
Rising to his feet, Venetus unbuttoned the front of his suit, pushing the fabric back to place his hands on his hips as he paced away from the table, trying to think of what they could do. "Two of our own are unaccounted for. Two of our very own." He repeated, his tone much different to the calm and composed leader he was known to be. "And gods forbid, if something has happened to them, every minute we waste is a step further away from bringing them back home."
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It's been a while since Malva tried to forget delving into her memories to recapture the elements she missed previously. Her head was still a mixed up space, and the owner herself didn't even know how to unlock a few doors here and there using a few tricks up her sleeves. No matter how many times she tried it, not one trickery or attempt could pass through the veil that covers her depth. It was until a few weeks ago that Malva decided to put a stop to the ingenious plans of hers and take a break from it. There was only so much she could do afterall. The brunette Aspect of Magic was sitting by the balcony of her room, with a journal in her grasp, clearly not bothered by the cold wintery sight even though she'll most probably need to clean her room and rid it off the snow particles flying around.
24th February 2019.
Yet the splattered ink still stayed dry on the pages, with no more content written further. Just the number of the entry and date of the day. It wasn't until she glanced over to the clock that was hung across her room, the arrows indicating she should get down to the meeting that Venetus organized. It was a huge one, from what she heard. It's been a while since they had any meetings whatsoever, and to call even Tia who lives outside the manor, it must be something major. She did hear that it was regarding their two oldest and possibly the best guards ranked, how Vladimir and Octavia has not returned from their mission for months long. To say this meeting was long overdue would be a clear understatement considering even she couldn't pinpoint their exact location, which was just odd. She hated not being able to do anything, especially when she is supposed to be able to carry them out.
Closing the covers of the journal, Malva closed the doors to her balcony and placed the vintage book on the wooden desk before exiting the room herself. Making her way straight to the meeting room at the ground floor, she noticed she was one of the firsts that arrived. Sitting by the edge and end of the long table was Venetus, looking stoic as ever, clearly aggravated by the fact that no one has been able to find the couple. It worries them, to know that the oldest guards they had suddenly went MIA without any notice. Surely there would be repercussions to this. Taking a seat just next to her older brother, the Russian born Ailward could only spare him an apologetic look upon being asked if she could locate where the two have been or could possible stopped by at.
“I've been trying various ones, Ven. It was too messy. One minute they're in the Middle East, the next they're in Northern Europe. It was as if someone tampered with it or knew they'd be located. That.. Or they're cloaked. Which doesn't make any sense because neither one of them would ever use that charm unless truly necessary.” Ven wasn't the only one stressed over this matter, Malva too was frustrated that she's tried plenty of locator spells but to no avail, there were no actual result other than a burned map at the end of everything. “And even if they did cloak themselves, they wouldn't be able to cloak themselves from me.” she mumbled distantly, tapping her fingers on the mahogany table. The tension warping the room was real, and it made her feel useless.
There were of course, thoughts that there could be another force or party cloaking them or making a mess of Malva's attempts to locate them, and since she didn't know who it might be, the endless possibilities someone could trick her was scary. “The last locator spell I did on Octavia this morning said she's in North America but no idea where.” Unfortunately, Octavia's necklace could only provide her with so much connection until it died down halfway.
Aurelia had been recovering after being ambushed on a mission with Tatiana. At this point all that was left is a scar in the center of her chest as she stood int he back of the meeting watching with darken eyes as Venetus lashed out with his words over the fact her sister and brother in law were gone. In any other moment she would have been spatting with Ven about the fact that she was the best guard just to get under the skin of those around her, but she knew it was true Octavia and Vladimir were one of the finest guards to pledge their life to this order. Her mind was racing to dark places, how could her sister be lost - if not worst. Aurelia swallowed hard as her gaze fell upon the guards who were to lead up on the what happen to her sister and Vlad.
Aurelia pushed herself up off wall she was leaning on and walking out of the shadows over to the table they were all sitting around. She looked to Ven with heavy eyes for a moment trying to keep her emotions pressed down not to let them all at the table know how she was feeling. It had been her weakest moments the last few months with almost losing her daughter, almost dying herself and now losing her sister was up on the block. It was beginning to be far to much for the Valkyr to bare. "We will find them, and if something has happened to them I will not stop till I know..." she cleared her throat to push down the lump that started to form.
She started to walk around the table slowly, She couldn't sit still it was to much swirling inside of her to do so at that moment. "Well lets think why they would not be in one location Mal. The only species we know that can travel like that are Valkyr through the shadows, and Diviners." She said as she let out a soft breath raising her hand to her to her necklace around her neck playing with the charm that rested there. "Back when I was on the run with Tatiana we came across a diviner that hexed other diviners for a little game known as gladiator games. Could this be a modern time version of that? and now Oct and Vlad are being held captive?" She moved between two of the chairs not paying attention really to who was sitting in them. "Why have we not let me tried teleporting to find her?! I could track her! why are you keeping me her!" Aurelia slammed her hand on the table her breath becoming ragged for a moment raising her hand to her head for a moment to stop it from swirling, lowering herself onto the arm of the chair next to her.
Clearing his throat, the Aspect of Death didn't have much to say, not anything that'd help the rest of the Ailwards and guard with what had happened to Octavia and Vladimir. "I'm going to throw something different onto the table here,being the Aspect of Death and all, the moment those Diviners were slaughtered I was there, or at least felt as though I was there and this doesn't seem like the workings of another Diviner" he stated eyeing Aurelia who knew of a Diviner who'd ran around hexing other Diviner's for the fun of it.
"Even if it was, what motive do they even have to do this to one of our own?" the brooding Aspect questioned, for once being serious with things and being right here for the present moment, completely alert and aware of all that was going on around him. "I have a feeling that it's something bigger than we're expecting. Diviner or not, this 'being' doesn't strike me as one who resides in the city, we should probably start looking at new arrivals to the city. I'd be happy to go check things out myself, if anyone would like o join me?" he stated in a questioning form, wanting a guard to escort him; Dominic was his guard through everything, but since he wasn't in this meeting, not yet anyways, Ery would settle for whoever could go.
"Like Ven said, every second wasted is a further step away from bringing them back home. Malva, you said North America, but their location is bound to change before we can even get half way there.." Erythreus shook his head, in disbelief, but the one advantage he had himself was being the Aspect of Death and if Vlad or Octavia happened to ..pass away, he would know before anyone did. So far they were still alive, Erythreus wanted it to stay that way, and he couldn't deny that panic had consumed him. "What if I could speak to them... those who were slaughtered?" he then asked, figuring it might be a long shot, but it was worth a try.. right now anything was worth a try.
"Being the Aspect of Death allows me to reach out and speak to the dead; I'm sure it's not going to be as easy as saying 'who slaughtered you lot' and they simply point us to the direction, but it's ..something" Erythreus knew that if they all worked together that they may just accomplish bringing back Vlad and Octavia in one piece before it was too late. But, Ery also knew his siblings well enough to know that this meeting wasn't going to be had without disagreements and people smacking the table, angered that Vlad and Octavia were even in this situation, such as Aurelia. A smirk danced on the Aspects features as she slammed her hand onto the table, he was angry himself, as he sure every last person in this meeting would be.
Ery glanced to Ven last, who held a different tone than usual, for a moment, the Aspect of Death couldn't help but frown; to see Ven of all people this distraught bothered him beyond comprehension. "We'll find them.." he finished off, but in a very unsure tone, and optimism was out the window at this point. Swallowing harshly, he grabbed the glass of water in front of him, washing down the lump of pain forming in his throat to the horrific thoughts and very vivid images playing in his head about Vlad and Octavia.
Dominic parked his rumbling truck around the side of the large manor and noticed all the other vehicles belonging to the various tenants that resided inside. It occurred to him that he hadn't seen this many people occupying the home like this unless there was some celebration going on... or a serious threat. Sadly, this massive gathering wasn't for some lighthearted party where everyone was having a good time. Two of their own were missing and no one could seem to locate them no matter how many experts were put to the task.
Stepping out of the truck, he pulled down the rubberband that was holding back his soaking wet hair to let it dry properly. As soon as he'd gotten the text message from Venetus asking everyone to meet at the manor, he was out of the shower and getting dressed as fast as possible. He knew how serious the matter was and the quiet, underlying panic that everyone was trying not to show was beginning to crack among the guards and Ailwards. He walked up to the massive front doors and glanced quickly at the enchanted vines that surrounded the house which wouldn't allow anyone through that hadn't been screened by Malva. Dominic headed toward the meeting room and felt the sudden guilt he'd been dealing with over the last couple of days begin to rise in his chest. After the couple had gone missing, Venetus had sent Dominic out with a small number of guards to their last location; where the murdered diviners were found. He was considered the best tracker in the faction when magic failed and when he had to give Venetus the news that he couldn't pick up a single spark of their trail, he felt like a huge disappointment to everyone.
His gaze fell on the meeting room door and he could hear the voices of the people inside begin to rise through the hallway from the frustrations that everyone undoubtedly was feeling. He pushed open the door and slid inside of the room as quietly as he could, but gave a short nod in greeting to Erythreus who had seen him enter. It looked like they hadn't gotten any closer to finding a solution to either the missing guards or the slaughtered coven. Pressing his back against the wall, he folded his arms over his chest and let out a breath. The tension in the air was palpable and he already needed a drink.
As he listened to everyone's points and ideas, Dominic could hear the nagging idea he'd been considering begin to ring in his mind. How could some of the most powerful beings in the world not be able to locate the guards? It seemed like whoever had taken Vladimir and Octavia always knew the steps they were about to take before they'd even begun. Every instinct in him was screaming that they had a mole among them, but that wasn't exactly something you could say out loud without some kind of proof. He wanted to confide in Aureus or Erytheus, but he had kept the idea to himself. They had taken in a lot of new guards in the last few months, many of which he still hadn't formally met, but what if one slipped through the cracks? What if one had tricked all the magic they'd created to infiltrate their ranks? He was beginning to think the coven that was killed was an elaborate distraction for something worse which was closer to home than he'd like to admit. This meant that whatever was happening was far bigger than just the person in this room who was possibly fooling them all. There was only so much he could do for now, so he let his senses push out among the occupants around him. Everyone had their own scent and when someone was under stress, it would change dramatically. The only problem was that all the people in the room seemed to have heightened emotions which made the task a lot more challenging, but maybe this could be a step in finding out if his theory was right.
Cora was watching as the guard was starting to crumble before her, everyone have been through so much over the last few years. Losing too many good people, all afraid of it happening again. It's been months passed since two their best guard members were sent on what thought to be an easy mission for them but it seems not. As the weeks past the more frantic that the Aspects all were, waiting each day for them to return but no sight of either of them. The pressure was getting to them all, especially her brother Venetus. All blaming themselves equally for sending them on the mission in the first place. Here they all were gathered in a meeting with number of guard members. With the Aspects at the head of the table trying to figure out what they could do to find them. Already having tried tracking and other spells with no luck. Cora watched as her siblings were starting to get agitated, near to losing their tempers. “It’s like they disappeared in thin are” She sighed heavily, looking to her siblings. All have tried all they could do to track them but nothing was working, aiding her own helped all she could but nothing was happening.
One of the people who was not taking it all so well was Aurelia, Octavia’s sister. Watching as she was pacing up and down the room, almost enough to give the Aspect a headache. “We can’t go to North America, it’ll be pointless when we get there” Cora sharply cut off Erythreus’s words knowing that it’ll be waste of time if they’d go to where Malva had last found a connection. “Locations aren’t strong enough, we haven’t had an accurate location in weeks. Why would this one be any different” Sounding like she was being cold but was stating the truth, she was saying what everyone else were all thinking. “We’re not sending anyone out without having a full proof plan thought out, we can’t afford to lose anymore people” The last part was hitting home for all of them, directing a heavy look to Aurelia who was eager to go out searching. All ideas floating around were not thought about properly. Just what they had come up with, what their best bet was. Cora was experienced in figuring out and coordinating full proof plans. Thinking about all the aspects that goes into it before going through with it. “We’ll just be going in blind if we don’t come up with a proper plan of action” Why the meeting was being held in the first place, for a decision to be made.
Arabella awoke in her dark cold room to the sound of her phone ringing. She quickly got up in a sitting position to answer it. Her neck ached from sleeping in the odd position that she was in. She said hello to the caller as she tried to gather her wits. "Ara,Its me Aly. So I looked into that couple you asked me too. There's nothing. There is no trace of them in America or Canada. I mean there so small amount of information about about them but that was years ago. " her friend said. She sighed on her side of the phone. "Thank you Aly for looking. Listen just keep a eye out for anything out of the ordinary anything that looks to mundane or to bizarre. " she said to her before hanging the phone up.
She looked around her room as she got up and went to her bathroom. She looked into the more saw her smeared eyeliner and mascara along her hazel eyes. She groaned to herself before taking a hot shower and getting dressed. She was only of the many new recruits that were still living in the manor. Although she was new anymore but she didn't really know anyone either. It was mainly her fault. She is a cold person and hard to get to know. But she was trying to be different. She was worried about Octavia and Vlad. She didn't know Octavia very well. But Vlad had showed her the ropes and taught her the ways of being in the guard when she first joined. He reminded her of her father. Someone she would most likely see ever again.
The tension in the room had risen so much that it was thick and hard to breathe if you had to that is. The angry and hopeless was getting to everyone that was obvious. Arabella crossed her arms around her frame as she tried to keep a calm head among the many people in this room. It was suspicious that every thing that we have tried has turned into nothing as if someone knew exactly how we would react to missing guards and how we would handle trying to find them. Her brows were knitted as her mind worked and went over every aspect of the details of the information that she had been given. And she wondered if the missing members was related to maybe to someone that been kicked out of the community or fell out with someone here. "Maybe we should start looking at people or groups that would to see Ailward community distraught and distracted? People that want to hurt either Vlad and Octavia or are planing for us to be distracted so they can do something else.?" she spoke out loud. She didn't know much history of the guards and who they had made enemies over the years.
The weeks had been troubling to say the least. People missing. Investigations leading nowhere and searches turning up nothing were troublesome to say the least. The fact that the pair missing were two that were important members of the Ailward Guard, forget that they were family, was the hardest part. Vir, who slept little as it was on a good day, had been barely sleeping the past weeks and he was nowhere near as deeply involved in what had been going on as others.
The main purpose of him attending this meeting was to serve as mediator if needed. Tempers were hot in the mansion lately which was fair, there was a lot going on. Vir checked his watch, noting the time, he quickly finished the whisky in his glass before slipping on his jacket and leaving his quarters. His stomach squirmed uncomfortably as he headed towards the council room. This wasn’t going to be a pleasant meeting but it needed to happen. They needed to come up with a plan that would provide answers. They needed to find their missing family members.
Vir wasn’t the first to arrive, in fact it seemed he was one of the last despite being relatively on time. He took his usual seat, his eyes roaming across the other in the room before settling on his brother as he started the meeting. Ven’s words were simple but they hit home and a small frown crossed Vir’s brow. He was more of a listener than a speaker so as Malva spoke to how her magic was, for the first time failing them and not able to locate Octavia, he remained silent.
Deus listened in silence as Aurelia and those after her spoke. He nodded in agreement with Aureus however. His brother was right, they needed to be smart and not make any rash decisions. This wasn’t something they could afford to make a mistake over.
Broken. That was how the blonde Nephilim felt as she walked the final steps up towards the Ailward Manor, her hands trembling as she held on to the urn which held the final ashes of Vladimir Dimitreu, her strength, and her soulmate, the one person who had made her want to feel again. And now he was gone and all she was left with was broken. She had been searching desperately for weeks for a way to reverse what happened but every supernatural solution she came up with ran short, the diviners couldn’t find his spirit to raise him, his shadow was gone so he couldn’t become a valkyr, it was like he had been erased from existence entirely.
When she finally reached the entrance hall she was met with the stern eyes of the person on guard but when they recognized her face they stepped aside and let her through. Octavia had weeks to prepare herself for this moment, purposely concealing herself from the magic they would use to track her just to give her time to breathe. She knew she would get hell for that but she didn’t know how else to cope.
The room she entered into was met with her standing there, clutching the box to her chest and her eyes doing their best not to make eye contact with anyone there. She took a long and shaky breath as she stepped through the crowd of people, she could tell people were already beginning to figure out what she was going to say before she made her way to Ven and then met his eyes, there were tears in her green hues but she did her best to hold her voice steady as she dropped down to her knees and placed the urn in front of him.
“It is with the deepest regret I must report the fall of Vladimir Dimitreu” as soon as the words left her a sob threatened to wrack through her entire body but she did her best to hold it back as she waited for the silence to end. It was too quiet, too painful and she knew she had to be strong, she’d had her time to grieve, to all of them it was brand new pain.
Deus listened as the meeting continued. Everyone spoke their peace while the Aspect of Life remained quiet and brooding. People were getting fired up about this, as was to be expected, however emotions could only get them all so far. They needed to look at everything logically and to look for the subtle clues that he was certain had to be somewhere. Someone had snuffed out an entire faction of Diviners. That simply did not happen with no one knowing something somewhere.
The moment all those lives had been ended Virindeus had felt it like a shattering in his heart. He had known this would be the start of something. After the guards had been sent to investigate his suspicions were confirmed when the pair disappeared and now here they were, meeting to discuss what their next options were. The ancient let a sigh part his lips as he ran a hand through his hair.
The door opened quietly, almost as if all sound had been muted and Ophelia passed through to door, a box in her arms. Deus's stormy blue eyes widened in surprise as he met her gaze. Anyone speaking in the room fell silent and the entire room looked at the woman before them. When she spoke, confirming what they had all feared, Deus's eyes closed and he ran his hands over his face. "What happened Octavia?' he asked, his voice quiet. "And thank goodness you have returned to us," he added, sincerely happy she had made it back.
Aurelia was lost among the roar of all the people in the room between her nephew and the other guards, and the aspects. It was easy to get lost among it, her own mind was swirling waiting for an idea to come up that would be remotely helpful. Sitting on the arm of one of the chairs that was Now holding her Nephew. She hadn’t even bothered to focus her attention to him, she was too consumed with her own darkness to be helpful to him. Her head raised when the sound of the door scraped along on the floor.
She rose to her feet slowly as she met the green wounded gaze of her sisters. She stood there as she watched Octavia move through the room, clinging to the box as if the longer she held onto it the less real what she was about to say would be. Aurelia watched her sister, the strongest of all the guards fall to her knees and inform that her husband, her soulmate had fallen. Her gaze shot to Ery with confusion in her eyes before looking back to her sister.
Aurelia gaze went from Virindeus to Aureus. She stayed quiet, the silence in the room thick before she moved from where she was standing towards her sister. It was true that Vladimir and Aurelia bumped heads often. It was in their nature to give one another a hard time but this wasn’t something she would wish on anyone. She knew what it was like to lose a soulmate, just like how many she was sure in the room knew.
Aurelia lowered herself next to her sister moving some of her blonde locks back behind her shoulder. She stared at her for a long moment before speaking softly “You are not alone.” she moved holding her sister face. Moving into a hug, holding her sister there swallowing the lump in her throat as she looked up to Ven for a moment her eyes pleading for words to say. “Deus and Reus are right through. What happened? How?” she swallowed hard “Ery said that he hasn’t seen either of you die. How has he fallen? Without a trace?”
As he walked away from the table, Venetus let out a deep breath, letting his mind wander off to the different ways they could incorporate to bring Octavia and Vladimir back. He tried to address everyone gathered and hear the ideas but it seemed like they were hitting a wall. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he was just about to speak when the double doors of the meeting room opened, forcing his gaze to land on a familiar blonde with a box in her hand.
It was in that moment he knew. And a sob threatened to part his lips. He had not only lost a loyal guard, but one of his closest friend. However, the brokenness in Octavia's hues as she approached him reminded him that the Aspect of Realms needed to be strong, for the sake of all those present in the room. He pressed his lips into a thin line, waiting, waiting for the news to finally leave her mouth and bring to reality a day he had never hoped to see.
As she dropped to her knees in front of him, Venetus gently wrapped his fingers around the urn, nodding as a single tear rolled down his eyes. "Vladimir Dimitreu was one of our finest." He spoke, gently lowering himself in front of her. "The Ailwards deeply mourn this loss." His hands shook as he took the urn before placing it on the ground beside them.
The questions raised by the room were obvious, everyone wanted to know what had transpired to cause this and so did the Aspect of Realms. But if Venetus knew anything from the many people he had lost in his lifetime, he knew bombarding a grieving widow with questions wasn't the best way to go about it. "I understand this might be too overwhelming, Octavia." He spoke gently, his gaze flickering between the attendants in the room and the blonde, "So we can wait till you're in a better frame of mind to answer questions."
Cora had always hated group meetings. Never been the one for social interactions even when it came to being with her family and close guards. This was a different type of situation. A meeting that they’d all been putting off for slow long. Almost in denial almost. They were at blame for it all, one by one. The ones who sent 2 of their longest serving and best guards on a mission that they never came back from. Cora could feel the atmosphere and tension of all those in the room building as the meeting was going on. No way to resolve it, to go back and change it. It’s happened now and they have to face all the consequences. Cora thinking of the truth, all the faces. What everyone was thinking but didn’t want to say. 2 months is a long time with all contact cut, with them not knowing what happened. “We should of done something sooner, not to left it this long till we decide to act” She admitted agreeing with Aureus, all of them were at fault. They all knew it. Since the Isle of Skye was destroyed they’ve all been low in numbers. With less and less guards. No new recruits. Barely at what they were before it all happened. It was a hard truth that they all may have to come to terms with was that they couldn’t afford to lose anyone more. Going in blind would be the worst thing, not knowing what they were up against. Something that they all feared but were thinking about.
In worse situation as they were all like family, all cared for each other. Cora felt bad for both Gabriel and Aurelia most of all. Potentially losing their close family not knowing what had happened. The two of them were barely holding it together. The sound of the door opening made all their eyes look over to the door. Curious to see who it was. There stood Octavia Dimitreu, she's returned to them. All of them were waiting almost looking for Vladimir but he was nowhere to be seen. Cora could see how broken the blonde Nephilim looked, in a bad state. Almost sensing and knowing that it wasn’t good. Looking down to see a box in her hands, knowing the hard and sad truth of what happened. All of them were lost for words hearing Octavia telling them that Vladimir had died. “Octavia… I’m sorry for … everything” She confessed showing her support and condolences. Not knowing what to say. Tears welling up in the raven haired eyes. Cora was always the one to never show emotions but it never meant she didn’t care. Aureus was right, they all needed to give her time. Not to dig into a still very open wounded. It was the worse thing all of them could do.
None of them knew what to say next, there was no better way that they could move forwards. Not wanting to seem incentive or say the wrong thing. Cora turned to look over to both Gabriel and Aurelia too not knowing what they were feeling too. Looking at them with a heavy heart. All of them were feeling the loss. No better way to move on.