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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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Everything was chaotic. That's one way to put it. More people started to come in the room and in less than a moment, everyone was already expressing their feelings. This reminded her of the time when they argued amongst one another regarding the celestial issue. Her eyes wandered from her siblings up to the guards occupying their seats. Aurelia and Gabriel was already so quick on their feet, and from the pain ingrained in their voices, she knew they were acting emotionally, which unfortunately had to be debunked for time being. They couldn't act on that right now, much to her chagrin too, because as far as they know, all of that will jeopardize everything.
Following the outbursts from the family, she flinched involuntarily and sighed heavily. “Gabriel.. Do you even understand what you're saying right now? You're acting impulsively and that is not what we are. We're not supposed to be that, we'll find them” she assured, casting a look of disapproval upon hearing the diviner. That was up until Octavia set her foot in the room, the first thing Mal did was sighed in relief but then her eyes fell on the box she held within her grasp. The words coming from her made her ache, as she was sure others felt the same. “O..” Sympathy flashed across her hues as she bit down her words, refraining from saying anything. She's not good displaying those. Her condolences will have to be passed personally.
As much as Mal didn't want to push Octavia into telling them what happened, she knew it was a must, because they must once again pick up from the beginning. “I know it's a bad time, but unfortunately this question can't be avoided, so I must ask you, where have you been? Why can't I track you? You need to tell us so we can help, O. Because whoever did that to Vlad- they deserve to be hunted down and brought to justice.”
The Aspect of Death cut Cora a sharp glare, even if only for a split second, he didn't feel like bickering and let that be known through his expression. Now wasn't the time for his piss poor attitude that he held with many others. His family needed him, and well, he needed them. None of this made sense, it was pretty heart breaking to sit here helpless. Tension ran high, and anger radiated from each of them. Erythreus didn't dismiss that look he seen on Dominic's face either, he knew something was up, and with that, he gave Dom a knowing look, nodding in his direction as a way of saying he acknowledged it.
Dom being distraught, seeming to have more on his mind that he could actually speak about however, began nagging at Ery. He needed to know what was going on, but he wasn't going to put him on the spot. His gaze averted back to Cora, "I get that you're unwilling to lose anyone else. I think we're all in agreement about that, but sitting on our asses to come up with a plan is the same thing as us doing nothing.. because it's time wasted." he expressed, placing his elbows onto the table before his face landed in his palms. Frustration swept through the room, and if Erythreus ever needed a drink in his life, it was now. Arabella had finally spoken up, Ery gave her a nod of acknowledgement. At the very least he sat here going over each and everyone's ideas. They were all needed. Vir was silent, which was normal, and Gabriel radiated nothing but anger. Erythreus could understand that, considering that was his parents.
Ery had remained pretty calm, even though the entire room was full of angst sorrow and anger, But when Octavia came in, something in the Aspect of Death broke into pieces. A lump had formed in his throat, one he was unable to swallow. The news none of them wanted had been delivered followed by an urn. The brooding Aspect of Death laid his face against the palms of his hands, as his elbows continued resting against the gigantic meeting table. Part of him enraged, while another part of him wanted to go to that place of denial, even if only for a second, he didn't want to declare any of their own 'dead'. Erythreus tried, but couldn't contain himself, two were sent out, and one came back. He knew this was bound to happen to people like them, but damn did it sting to see Octavia return without Vlad.
After slamming his fist down onto the table, the Aspect of Death stood and began pacing silently behind everyone else. His attention obviously broken by the news. After Reus finished, Erythreus approached Octavia hesitantly, but placed his hand on her shoulder once he made it to her. "I'm so sorry Octavia" he expressed, feeling an emptiness settle within him as his gaze then averted to Gabriel and Aurelia, before backing off, knowing if Octavia needed anything right now, that it wasn't this, all the questions, and her personal space invaded. Knowing his outburst of anger, when he slammed his fist into the table wouldn't help anyone, the Aspect of Death seated himself once more.
Conflicted and guilt-stricken, Ery didn't have many words right now, nor ideas that would be helpful, so instead of blurting the first thing that came to mind, which was them leaving in bigger groups to go get this figured out, he pulled his flash out, and took a large, needed swig, but he'd done so discreetly, not wanting the other to feel like his focus wasn't where it should be. Unfortunately Erythreus understood everything going on around him, and it made him feel like utter shit. "Like Malva said. We'll find them" he spoke simply, his gaze directed at Aurelia, Gabriel, and Octavia; especially Octavia. It was hard to tell what she'd seen. That thought alone horrified the Aspect of Death. And, while he knew she needed space in this very moment, they all needed that one dreadful question answered 'what happened' but since others before him had done asked, he wouldn't apply the pressure.
Octavia kept her head down as they all took their time to speak their condolences, this was the part she had really been dreading, she had just about managed to get a hold of her own mind but to have anyone tell you they were sorry just made everything worse. That was why she had gone against protocol and asked a diviner to block tracking for a while, she needed space to process and to understand before she could speak the news to anyone. And honestly, she needed to accept that he was really gone and that there was nothing she could do to save him.
Her eyes lifted as she felt Aureus’ hand on her shoulder and she nodded slightly in appreciation before his presence was replaced in Aurelia and Octavia felt herself stiffen a little from the hug followed by burying her head into her sister’s shoulder. She let out a long breath but she refused to cry, she had done so much crying the past few weeks that she was starting to feel like there weren’t any more tears to give. The resounding question everyone had was what happened and she knew they weren’t going to like her answer.
“I don’t know” she responded, her voice sounding about as steady as could be expected of someone barely holding things together “Something screwed with my head, I don’t know if it was a poison or some kind of spell but all I remember is a dark room that I couldn’t get out of” she admitted before her eyes dropped to the floor “When I finally got out Vlad he..” her voice faltered and she paused for a moment to stop herself from sobbing “He was gone” and when she said gone, she meant gone, ashes on the floor, like every part of him had evaporated from existence.
She continued, though her green hues were still affixed to the ground “I tried everything, I waited for him to rebirth, I spoke to valkyrs and diviners but” she pressed her lips together “All anyone could tell me was that he was gone” she took a shaky breath as she looked up at Ven “I know protocol is immediate notification and I’m willing to accept my consequences for that” she nodded a little, she just hadn’t been able to and she knew she would have to face up to her choice in that respect.
Arabella watched as the room grew anxious and sadness delved the room. She sighed for a moment as her own heart felt like someone had stomped on it. Vlad was dead and likely not to return to them. She watched as Octavia tried to control her emotions and fell into the routine of reporting a death. It did not however help. Her greif was clear as she clutched the box in her hands. Arabella honestly felt such empathy for her. She had been in that position more then she would like to recall. She crossed her arms in hopes to control her own emotions.
She watched as Vlad's brother spoke out. Quickly she felt the guards anger from his outburst. So she did something very unlike herself. She went over to the man that was falling apart from the death of his brother. She did not know him very well or at all. But she placed her hand on his shoulder in a way to comfort him. "Attacking your loved ones wont bring Vlad back. " she said to him before removing her hand from his frame. "Octavia will tells us what happened as soon as she is able." she said to the room. "Pressuring her will do no one any good whatsoever. " she spoke in a cold tone.
The heightened emotions of everyone in the room was making Dominic antsy. His senses were coming to the point of overload and it was like he was drowning within them. Everyone's back and forth between anger, despair, and helplessness was utterly draining and he did all he could to push them away for his own sanity. Factoring in his own feelings on top of everyone else's was just going to land him in a position to explode in frustration which no one needed right now.
As the doors suddenly opened in the room, the noise level was immediately hushed when they all laid eyes on the one reason they were brought together that day. A sense of relief washed over him when he saw Octavia, but then it was quickly diminished when he eyed the box she clutched to herself tightly. In an instant, the guilt he'd been feeling for so long in not being able to find their trail made him go numb. He'd failed miserably and soon the numbness began to rise into anger.
Dominic's eyes moved about to the different families of the room that were deeply rooted within the Guard. The Ivakov's and Dimitreu's had been an integral part of keeping the Ailwards safe for countless years and seeing them shattered like this was utterly defeating; but it was also fuel. It gave him a renewed purpose in his anger to finish the fight that someone had dared to start with them.
The therian pushed himself from the wall when Theodor lost control over the death of his brother. He couldn't blame him. Dom knew exactly what that feeling was like and acted out at the time in a way that only landed him in jail. Taking a step forward, he moved towards Theo in case he needed to remove him from the room, but quickly voiced his opinion as well as his hues moved to his mentor. "I think Aureus is right," he began, his voice heavy before looking to the grieving widow. "I know it's hard Octavia, but we need to see what you went through. The fact that Malva and I couldn't track you down and Ery couldn't see Vlad's death... We need to figure out what the hell is going on and now."
Malva didn’t know how to make of this situation, she really didn’t. She wanted to spare Octavia from reminiscing the pain that she felt the first time she found out about Vladimir but if they didn’t get to the bottom of this, then there was no telling when it would be solved and as harsh as it sounds, they didn’t have the time nor luxury to sit around idly by and wait for the inevitable. It doesn’t work that way. Her eyes darted over to Ery and soon to everyone else in the room, making sure none of their tempers would crawl out of that shell anytime soon because that is the last thing they wanted to happen. When Theodor came rushing inside, she had a crestfallen expression marring her features. He didn’t know he lost his brother, yet another would feel the pain of losing someone they care about, someone who had blood relation.
Vladimir and Theodor were brothers, they’ve been by one another’s side for as long as she could remember and for them to be the first guards that ever came into their service, that’s quite a period. Was she considered emotionless and cold-hearted to be doing this? To act as if they needed to put their emotions aside so they could reach a consensus? Perhaps. “Theo… I urge you to please calm down” she was more sympathetic over Octavia who stood before them with her head hung low. Despite their order being one of the things they look up to maintain an organized state of affairs, Mal could understand why Tavia felt the need to ask for clarification before everything else but said nothing about it. There’s no point in taking anyone’s side in this. Upon hearing that he didn’t rebirth, however, that did cause her to arch her eyebrows in a questioning manner. Was that possible?
With the charms they wore, especially the effects of the Ailward tattoo alone, should set them aside from any violation of sorts but knowing that another could manipulate someone who’s experienced in this field for so long, it worries Malva. Was everything finally setting into place? Stepping forward as she makes her way to the blonde, she pressed her lips into a thin line before extending her hand out. “Do you mind if I read you? I mean, if any magic was used, perhaps I can trace what’s left of it. It always leaves a mark.” Something inside her desperately wishes that perhaps, there is an answer to all of this. The fact that she couldn’t track her down after countless tries, of course, it was frustrating. “And I know that everyone is upset, we have the right to be, but acting solely based on our emotions when we need to be strong is not going to do us any good” she murmured, casting a frown towards everyone. The tension in the room was slowly increasing and honestly, it’s overwhelming, even for her.
Hopefully, no one will need to be removed from the room. It's really the last thing they wish would happen. Be clear minded, she murmured to herself.
Aurelia wasn’t sure how Ven kept himself together, The pair had been close. She noticed the shake in his hand as he took hold of the urn. One she was sure earned a special place among the Ailwards. She swallowed hard unable to think of anything other than what could have happened to Vladmir, and her sister. She knew Octavia was the one who was always more poised out of the pair of them. She always knew what to say and do when others felt lost among the noise.
Everyone speaking up in confusion to what could have happened. She sat there as everyone let their opinions fly around the room, even her own mouth asked what happen. Her blue eyes resting heavily on her sister as she buried her face in her shoulder. Aurelia held onto her sister protectively as it to let her know that it was okay. “Something messed with your head?” her gaze went to Malva in that moment as if to see if she had any clue if it was something magical. She swallowed hard at her sisters words and looked to Ven as she did.
“She was just trying to find a solid answer before…” Aurelia paused at Theo outburst and a growl ripped from her throat as she moved placing herself between Octavia and rest of the room besides Ven who was behind her also. “I suggest you take it down Theo before you burst us all into flames.” It was rather rare for the initia to have an outburst. “She is allowed all the time she needs to cope over her lost. We want answers. We all do, this is unheard of, one of us just vanishing with no trace. The fact that Deus, Ery, Mal, all of the aspects can’t find him means that this isn’t something normal.” Aurelia crossed her arms “but it doesn’t mean we can lose our heads in this time of lost.” She knew it was strange coming from her the words she was speaking as she had always been known to want to fight first ask questions later yet this time it was closer to home for her. This was her family being messed with.
“Be angry, be hurt but don’t lash out on the one person who doesn’t deserve it.” her eyes searched the room resting on Reus a little longer, before looking back over her shoulder to Oct for a moment. “You said everything went black,” her eyes went to Ven, then to Reus as if he was reading her mind he spoke of looking at her memories. It was the only thing she could see them being able to do to get answers. “Only if you want him to Oct, it may bring answers to something you are suppressing and don’t know you are.”
It wasn't that Venetus hadn't thought of death as the only answer for Vladimir and Octavia's disappearance but when the latter confirmed it with her solo entrance inside the meeting hall after months of radio silence, the reality hit him harder than he had anticipated. His heart sank as everyone came forward, expressing their condolences because each of those words made it sound more and more real. But he held himself together, for the sake of the Dimitreu-Ivakov family. He needed to be their leader at this crucial time, emotions had to take a backseat.
Swallowing back the lump that formed in his throat, The Dragon's Head took the urn from Octavia with a deep breath, cradling it close to his body with one hand while the other was gently placed on the widow's shoulder, in a desperate attempt to comfort her. "We will think of a suitable consequence later, if there is at all a need for one. But right now, what's important is how we're going to deal with this tragic loss." Venetus had seen many losses in his lifetime, losing Guards especially wasn't a new phenomenon but it pained him everytime. However, with the close bond he shared with Vladimir, his own personal guard, Venetus couldn't help but feel like the ground was slipping from under his feet. He clenched his jaw, keeping his face neutral as tensions rose in the room, everyone dealing with the news their own way until Theodor barged in through the doors.
He had anticipated the outrage, he was almost ready for it. Rising to his feet as the male punched the wall, lashing out at Octavia, Venetus winced before pulling Theodor into a tight embrace, "We will avenge him." He whispered, gesturing for the male to let his feelings go as he turned his head just enough to let his gaze fall on the Therian Guard, "Dominic." He started, "I want you to track down Thea Dimitreu and extract her from her current mission." Taking a deep breath, the male continued, "She should hear what happened from her family first."
Walking back to Octavia, Venetus placed the urn on the long table before crouching down once again, his gaze shifting from Malva to Aureus. It was true that they needed to find out what had happened, especially after how the female described it, but also understood this was a delicate situation and needed proper handling, "Octavia." He breathed in, "I think it's necessary that Aureus and Malva take a look but I do understand if you need time before they do so. However, the faster we get on this, the easier it'll be to understand what has transpired and thus, bring whoever did this to justice." He looked around the room once more, and closed his eyes to push back the tears that threatened to roll out of the corner of his eyes, "It's your call."
To say she felt overwhelmed by everything was an understatement, she had tried to prepare herself for today and the people she would face but nothing truly prepared her for seeing the look on Theo’s face as he came into the room and realized what was happening. She was physically shaking as she watched his reaction and felt the pain he was feeling at the loss of his brother. Out of everyone, they probably knew Vlad the best, along with Ven who had spent a lot of time with him as his paired guard. After Rei released her she went quiet to let everyone say their piece but mostly her eyes were on Ven, trying to gauge where he was at. She could see the emotion he was holding back too, which only made it harder for her to keep swallowing it down.
She didn’t blame Theo for his outburst, despite the fact that his reaction scared her a little but what really hit her was Ven asking for the guards to bring her daughter back off mission, she didn’t know how she was going to break the news to her and she knew for a fact that Thea wasn’t going to take it well. The blonde was filled with emotions which weren’t helped by the fact everyone kept coming in close to her. She felt herself clamming up and not knowing what to say, her eyes darting around for some kind of solution or what she was supposed to do in this scenario. She knew she needed to show Aureus what happened but she also knew that showing him meant reliving what she saw and felt in those moments and she couldn’t do that in front of all of these people.
When Theo came in to hug her she stiffened for a moment before she rubbed his back gently “I know” she assured softly, she knew he didn’t mean to react like he did, just as she knew everyone else didn’t mean to be pushy or overbeating. She took a deep breath as she patted against his shirt a couple of times and then let him go. She made her way over to Aureus and nodded a little “Do you mind if we leave the room?” she looked up at him with a questioning expression, it wasn’t that she had anything to hide so much as she wasn’t sure she could live through that again and not completely fall to pieces in front of the room. When he agreed, she headed out into one of the connecting rooms and closed the door behind her.
She gave him a slightly nervous smile “I really hope you can handle my worst” she spoke hesitantly before she placed her hand in his and closed her eyes. The moment she did, the memory was there again, she watched it all over again, starting from the moment she started to feel dizzy, tripping over the end of the couch and Vlad reaching to catch her, the moment his hands touch her everything goes dark and she’s there, alone, in a dark room with no windows and doors. She could feel that something was very wrong but there was nothing she could do, she tried to break the walls, searching desperately for any crack or weak spot. She became panicked, screaming loudly for a way out. It goes on for an extended period until she collapses completely exhausted.
Her breath hitched as she felt herself awake, there was blood all over her body and Vlad was nowhere to be found, all she could see was ashes on the ground. Her green eyes were filled with tears both in and out of the vision as she replayed the moment she realized her husband was dead and an emotional scream racked through her ears. She relived the way she collected his ashes in denial and waited hours for his rebirth only for nothing to come and then her quest to find someone, anyone who could help her. In the end, she found nothing and her breakdown was very raw and very real.
By the time she came out of the vision she looked up at Aureus with terrified eyes, she had no idea what it all meant but she was the only person in the room with Vlad both when she fell and when she woke up and now he probably understood what she suspected happened “I have no idea how, but there’s…” her voice cracked as she teared “there’s no one else there” she spoke before trying to catch herself and calm down. Crying was all she had done for the past few weeks and she needed to move past it. She wiped her eyes, took a long breath and headed back out into the room. This time she approached Malva and offered her hand out to her “Do what you need to do” she spoke softly as she bowed her head a little.
Time seemed to have stopped, at least for Ery. Seconds turned to minutes, minutes to hours, and hours to days; and the days now drug past them slowly, leaving each of them satiated. Or maybe he spoke for himself on that, but truly he'd had enough of the questions, possibilities and so on. The longer they did nothing, the more Erythreus felt a part of himself dying. Ironic enough for the Aspect of Death. Erythreus continued to sit there calmly, but he was weary. So far he'd seen just about every emotion played out that a being could possibly feel. And, while he felt it all himself, he knew there had to be a bigger picture. When someone died, they didn't just simply vanish into thin air; especially someone like Vlad. The fact that he was utterly confused was what pushed the Aspect of Death completely off balance. There were no signs, no feelings.. no smokey presence between the two realms.
As Octavia and Reus dismissed themselves, for probably the hardest part of this yet; Erythreus took that time to walk to where Vald's ash's were. After standing before everyone, the Aspect inhaled "I need less noise, please" he stated before reaching out and placing his hands on the urn. With his eyes closed, he knew people would be awaiting a better response than what he was about to give; he knew a few of them were on the same track he was, but he had a feeling there would be a couple in hopes that he'd say he could feel Vlad. That would have meant he was dead, but then at least they'd have an answer. "Strange." he expressed, perplexed at what he felt. "Nothing. I feel nothing" he added, hanging his head low. But, he decided he'd reach out again. "This can't be right" he continued, placing his hands to the urn again, but again, nothing.
Three more times, nothing. Erythreus shook his head, swallowing harshly as Octavia rejoined; her eyes holding sorrow. She looked like she had just seen a ghost, and Ery wasn't about to blurt out that he simply couldn't feel Vlad, there had to be something wrong with him, right? Something was impairing his abilities; magic, it had to be magic keeping him from sensing Vlad. That's when his gaze averted to Malva, then to Deus. If Deus could sense a life gone, then why couldn't Ery feel it on his side of things? The questions piled on in his head, and he knew those who'd witnessed him trying to get a feel of Vladimir's presence before Octavia returned would be just as confused as he was. Stepping aside as Tavia made her way to Malva, the Aspect crossed his arms, deciding he'd wait to say anything else until after Malva did whatever she was about to. Although, he couldn't shake the feeling of denial, confusion and anger. All three evident on his features as he shifted from one foot to the next, occasionally gazing out the window. In a world of his own now, the Aspect of Death began pacing; muttering to himself each time he turned a heel to walk the other way "Nothing, how can there be nothing?"
Everything was so overwhelming, there were many people huddled in the spacious room, and the emotions they emitted were not exactly pleasant. If not anger and distraught, they were filled with confusion, as did she. Malva couldn't comprehend the situation before her the same way she usually could, everyone's thoughts and energy were too much for her, at the moment, so much that the Aspect of Magic wasn't able to shake herself out of her own shell of cluelessness when everyone gave their condolences to the blonde while she kept a comparable amount of distance from the Nephilim. When Aureus and Octavia went to the next room for more privacy, Malva took her respective seat and let out a heaved sigh. The brunette waited patiently for them to reemerge from the room while she fiddled with her amethyst pendant; which served her as a trinket after transforming her staff into something small.
The looks etched on everyone's faces, however, did not escape her attention. Her gaze lingered a tad bit longer on Gabriel and Theodor, her blue hues searching desperately for any hints of other emotions burying the dark diviner, across the room. Her former apprentice had been very conflicted for the past few months, following her fallout with Tatiana, and he had been the one to receive the hostility from the purple dragon. Her concentration broke the moment Octavia came out, Malva make her way towards her and stared at the extended hand in front of her skeptically. It's been a while since she had even displayed that ability and with the state the female was in, there wasn't any confirmation to measure the authenticity in the data she received.
Inhaling the pent air inside the room, Mal slowly took a hold of her hand. This was strange, she definitely sensed magic. But not quite on what kind was used. Octavia wasn't a diviner who practiced magic, so she never read to worry about any other lengths that covers the particular department, unless it was used on her. But seeing as she couldn't identify what it was, all Mal could focus on was the debris left behind. That was until she gave a knowing look at Ery who was pacing around back and forth, which usually wouldn't bother her but since she was trying to focus on reading Octavia properly, everything else should be shut out from her personal plane. "Ery, if you would please," she mumbled almost incoherently before returning her gaze on Octavia.
Her sapphire hues stared her green ones as she pursed her lips and shook her head softly. "There's magic used. But I don't know what kind specifically. I can't narrow it down, it's like the polarity stretches out. Either I had no knowledge of the type being used or whoever did it was powerful enough to block any tracking" looking back to her siblings who also seemed to be in deep conflict, she shook her head once again with a confused look marring her face. "I don't know where it came from. It's not a familiar signature." Well, that's surely a stent in her plans. What puts a diviner aside from another is always their signature. Almost everyone had their own, which does make her work easier when it comes down to apprehending them for violation of law. But there's nothing here that she can say for sure. She didn't recognize it, and that is a problem.