The blood on the map slowly began to trail around the North America continent, going zigzag every few seconds which was starting to make Malva go crazy at the mere sight of it. Her icy blue hues was trying her very best to keep up with the updates but it kept going around and it was slowly frustrating the Aspect of Magic. It was granted that Malva Ailward was never the most patient when it comes to anything, but her tolerance still had its own level that she still hasn't played with the top. She's been spending her entire day trying to track where Octavia and Vladimir might have gone to before all of this. Before she could even pinpoint any actual location, the trail of blood stopped and the map burned itself, which caused her to step back slightly and groaned out in distress. “What the hell, this is like my 6th map I've used today.” she grumbled to herself and averted her eyes away from the burning map and to a dozen more maps rolled up, standing idly by at the corner of her bed.

To say she was stressed would be an understatement, because she wouldn't even be surprised if she grew crazy because of this one thing. As she watched the map slowly burned itself to ashes on the table, she sighed and massaged her temple before lowering her touch to the bridge of her nose and mumbled a few words of profanities under her breath. Thankfully the fire didn't eat up her mahogany desk, just the map. Which was weird. But since they live in a highly questionable supernatural world, nothing comes as a surprise anymore. Malva decided to do one more try before giving up for today. Yes, for today. She threw the ashes into her dustbin and spread a map on the table.

Taking the silver dagger she usually used for her ritualistic spells and ceremonies, the brunette Ailward made a clean cut on her right palm before letting the blood drip on the map for a while. Slowly inhaling the air inside her room, she wrapped a cloth around her palm, which had unfortunately suffered at least 6 times, from her attempts to conduct a locator spell using blood magic to find out where their two finest guards could have been during their mission. Octavia didn't remember anything and she couldn't get anything that would truly help her with this search, so it was up to Malva to see if she can retrace their steps back. Though her attempts were always futile since her first try. Closing her eyes briefly, she mumbled the spell and fluttered them open once she finished. The blood once again trailed to another continent, this time the same as her first try; Middle East.

Without thinking much of it, due to her repressed state, the map caught on fire, but this time it came from the frustrated Ailward Aspect. She threw the map into the dustbin, leaving it to burn to all its might and plopped herself on the bed, covering her face with one of the pillows. It wasn't until a few minutes later that she jolted back up to sitting position, and mumbled one name and rushed to exit her room to god knows where. Really, that was just her going to get some coffee in the kitchen because her head couldn't take the pressure without coffee to aid her day.

What the Aspect of Magic did not expect to find was a rather particular blonde sitting by the greenhouse while she was halfway pouring herself a cup. She got herself another cup and poured the same amount before she make her way to the location. Pushing the glass door to the greenhouse, she pursed her lips slightly and frowned softly. She hated seeing her so sad. “I planted those carnations a while back.” She stood by the corner, with two mugs in both hands. She was itching to offer the drink, two reasons why; Octavia looks like she's in need of one, and her right palm was still wounded due to her reckless action earlier. Malva took a seat next to the nephilim on the bench and offered her one. “You look like you need coffee.. And someone to talk to.” Her tone was soft, which wasn't always used around, but when Malva cares, she shows them. 

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Vladimir had never been Octavia's single reason, she wasn't the kind of person to revolve her entire life around someone else but Vlad had been her partner, her teammate and without him she felt like she had a lost a lot of her strength, like a piece of her had been taken away with him and she wasn't certain she would ever get it back again. Part of her didn't even want to because the pain was the only thing that was keeping her from going entirely numb. Octavia knew she would survive this, she was too strong not to, but she knew there would always be a scar she carried with her now.

And as sadistic as it probably sounded out loud, having a major threat to face up against was probably a good thing for her because it afforded her no time for sitting in her bed for hours and wallowing and it gave her someone or something to hate. She knew holding on to negative emotions was dangerous but it was all she had at the moment. Figuring out the truth behind what happened was all she wanted to do.

“Unfortunately I don’t think it matters what we want the world to be, it just is” she commented with a shrug of her shoulders, it was a waste of time to wish things were different if you couldn’t change them “We just have to make the best decisions we can with the information we have and hope that we didn’t royally screw it up” and considering all the factors there were, the likelihood of that happening was very high, but they were people, not Gods and if the Gods wanted perfect decisions they should have done the work themselves.

“Is running away from problems normal?” Octavia questioned rhetorically as she pondered it for a moment “I guess it is, it’s always easier to focus on something else instead of the root of the problem” she shrugged a little, it was why people always went around blaming others for their own sadness. The green eyed female shook her head when Malva said she couldn’t afford to make mistakes though “What you can’t afford, is to do nothing, if you make a mistake, you fix it, but not trying is the real crime” she was adamant about that, people who sat and watched the world pass by them because they were too afraid to do anything about it were so much worse than those who made mistakes while their intentions were in the right place. Seeing the way the aspect was trying to shrink herself down Octavia shook her head pressing a finger under her chin and forcing her to look up at her “Malva if I can take the sourest lemon life has to offer then you can get through this” she nodded softly. The aspect was stronger than she gave herself credit for.

When she heard the aspect talk about leaving her expression faltered for just a second though, Octavia had lost a lot, more than most people would be able to handle normally but she wasn’t just anyone, the Nephilim had always been told she had a will of steel and no matter how hard she got kicked down, she somehow always found a reason to get back up “We all have our selfish moments, I doubt there’s a single immortal out there that hasn't experienced it” she admitted with a half shrug of her shoulders, she had, but she had always been reminded of reasons she was needed. “I don’t think this place would feel the same without the chaos that comes with it” she admitted with an amused look “I know you were chosen to be one of the 8 protectors of the world Mal, but it’s okay to admit you’re not superwoman, it’s okay to need help” Tavia nodded, hell she wasn’t either.

Octavia rolled her eyes a little, she’d had this discussion so many times with so many different people and every time it came down to the not wanting to be burdened topic “I want to be burdened, I quite literally signed on to this cause to be burdened, I, myself, made a choice to do this, same as Vlad did, same as both my children did” her green eyes were stern “None of us need you to protect us, we need you to treat us as a teammate, because that’s what we are” she hated the us and them mentality that somehow snuck in, everyone here was an equal member to the Ailward cause, everyone here dedicated their life to it, aspect or not. “You just have to let people be here for you, as you are for them” she nodded, the Ailward cause and her family was all she had to cling to at the moment so she knew the feeling well.

Octavia laughed when Mal made an attempt to threaten her, she could tell it was lighthearted, she knew Mal’s sense of humor pretty well now, it was dry and harsh at times but then so was Octavia’s so it kinda worked for them. The words she spoke caused the Guard to shrug her shoulders a little “No, I don’t think that’s bad” she answered as she pressed her lips together “If anything it’s just honest” she admitted with a half smile “I’m not happy either” she confessed with a sad look in her eyes, how could she be with everything she had just lost “The question is whether you can see yourself being happy again” and the possibility of that was what got her out of bed in the morning, because she had a son and daughter who still had so much ahead of them.

She could see the frustration evident on Malva’s face and she couldn’t even imagine how it might feel to lose something that you felt like was such a huge part of who she was “No I get it” she stated with a soft nod, but ignoring the message the dreams were trying to tell her was only ever going to make things worse right. It was a really bad time for the aspect of magic to be losing her magic but she didn’t Malva for that, how could she. It was amazing anyone was functioning at all after all they had been through. “I’m not sure what else I can suggest, it’s not like I’m having much luck with my own sleep after all” she pursed her lips a little.

For some reason, Malva was able to resonate better with people who’s known the pain of the world than those who still have yet to receive the ultimatum. It wasn’t that she didn’t know how to interact or talk to those people, she does. Despite her abysmal bedside manner, the Aspect of Magic is nurturing in her own right, it was the better part of her vices; which was understanding and caring. Unfortunately, after a while, only a few managed to see them, most, if not all hailing from one similarity neither one of them differ from, originating from the Ailward faction. The other friends she had outside her own faction would’ve either kicked the bucket centuries ago or they’re off somewhere in the world doing their own business.

So now the only company she had around was that her pet tiger cub, Constance, who sometimes intimidate everyone else from approaching her even more, and the flowers growing in the greenhouse. Her room became messy most of the time so if it wasn’t the library, it’s easier to find the Ailward Aspect in here, instead. Finding Octavia, there wasn’t surprising, seeing as the entire glass-made dome was built on the sole purpose to give them solace. It was a place no one could interrupt their train of thoughts. There were aesthetically pleasing decorations to look around, alongside the plethora of colorful flowers blooming from each corner, and plenty of oxygenated air to go around; the perfect place to rest your mind after a long day.

“That’re supposed to do this and that, but the circumstances aren’t helping either. How are you able to succeed in shaping it if neither element would assist you in this said ‘endeavor’?” she asked, it really didn’t make sense to her, in quite a literal one. Octavia wasn’t wrong in any of it, it’s just frustrating for the brunette to think how the world doesn’t seem like it wanted any hand in helping them, even though they were a literally manufactured species created by them. The sudden mention of screwing up did send her spiraling downstairs though, the idea of something going wrong just irks her, and it was more than her perfectionist self jumping out of the bag. “What if we do screw up, though? No, what if we already did? Is there any closure to that?” There were so many questions running through that head of hers, mixed with other stuff she wasn’t even sure if it’s important or not.

Between juggling between her Aspect duties and managing her element, it’s becoming a bit tiring and it’s slowly eating Malva up from inside. Hearing that it was fine to run away from their problems, Mal felt slightly relieved that there was someone else who thought the same. After all, at the end of the day, they were still just people, blessed with a few supernatural abilities that would later become their advantages, but still just yet people. They were immortal, but not expendable, unfortunately. Trying, there were times when all the Russian born female could think of, as other possible solutions to solve from one problem to another. But then again, there was only so much one could do, and from afar, even she could see that her siblings and guards alike were slowly deteriorating. They feel burdened by something, and with the platter getting piled up, there’s only a matter of time when they’d explode.

Being treated as more than the Aspect of Magic does remind Mal of the life she currently leads, and especially hearing them from a maternal figure, it means so much more. Most people forget that the Ailward Aspect is still a child, in so many ways, and whilst she doesn’t display any childish antics, that’s only because she wasn’t able to. Malva had to grow up faster than she was supposed to, and maybe once there was a time when she’s lounge around and follows her guard into the world, behaving much like an estranged teenager. But the past is the past. “Let’s hope I can. I don’t want to leave my work undone...That would’ve been awful.” Is it okay to admit she’s not cut out for this anymore?

Mal knew to talk to the younger nephilim was a good remedy, but never once did she think it would be them talking to one another regarding their ‘problems’, but Malva is closer to the Ivakovs and Dimitreus than other guards, so there wasn’t a surprise in that, seeing as they’ve worked alongside each other as one family for a millennium. “I think I do… need help, I mean,” she murmured faintly, her tone barely audible, making it sound slightly more squeaky. “I don’t feel like myself as of late. I thought it’s the whole sleep-deprived state, but turns out it could be more than just that. It’s very likely that it is, and the mere thought of losing control scares me, O.” This was the first time she expressed her worry over her element after 400 years, which the lot of them knew to be one of her darkest time in her life, with Theodor as the living proof of it.

She admittedly nibbled on her bottom lip as she heard Octavia talk how they didn’t need protection, of course, they didn’t. They were one of the strongest people the Ailwards have met, and to survive in this faction and world, it’s not easy. The fact that they were still alive and kicking is more than enough proof to show around. “Other than you guys, everyone that’s known fled, O. It’s hard to open up when you know they’re going to run away after a while.” The upsetting tone she was wearing indicated on the recent fallout between her and Tatiana. It really did affect the Aspect of Magic a lot, seeing as they’ve been this two peas in a pod kind of duo for almost nine centuries. Was she bitter because of it? Yes. Was she able to see things in a new light and be happy again? Just like she once was? Perhaps the idea wasn’t so repulsing once you’ve heard more of it.

“I’m not sure, but there’s definitely some prospects going around to lead into that direction, so can I hold on to it and hope for the best?” Despite her mature physical appearance, there was this a certain youthful air around Malva that everyone can easily pinpoint if they knew her. The brunette had usually been quite free-spirited in the past. “Can you?” Of course, she wonders if Octavia would find the path to be happy again. Vladimir was a huge part in all of their lives, most importantly, in the blonde’s, but Mal also wanted others to recount those happy days again. What’s the use of living if you’re not going to cherish it, right? Following the revelation on her sleeping troubles, a concerned look came across her face, a slight frown creasing her features as she tilted her head to the side. “I can give you a few herbal remedies like what I did with Reus. I’d refrain from giving you sleeping draughts since they’re good to block nightmares and the likes, gives you a good booster sleep, but they’re also addictive. My stuff helps others, but never me, so… I can find the irony in it, sometimes” she chuckled.

The blonde rose and then dropped her shoulders for a moment as she looked back at Malva “Asking questions like that really will drive you insane” she commented with a gentle sigh, she’d learned a long time ago that sometimes you just had to accept a situation for what it was and then figure out if there was anything you could do about it. It was a really big topic to talk about, they weren’t just discussing what happened in their home, after all, they were talking about the whole world as a whole, all the magic in the world. There was no such thing as small when it came to the Ailwards, everything was drastic and important. Octavia had learned that one quickly, you had to think broad and big when you were a member of the Ailward guard, meaning there was little time for people as individuals “Then you screw up Mal, if you live in fear of screwing up then you’re never going to get it right” they couldn’t afford to be afraid right now, being afraid was what they wanted them to be. Whoever was orchestrating all of this, they wanted the Ailward faction to act on impulse.

Octavia wasn’t the kind of person to let anyone wallow too long, she’d just lost her husband and she was even harsh with herself about letting herself get too upset. She missed him, she missed him so much that it made her heart ache, but she knew exactly what he would want her to do and what he’d be doing if things were reversed. He’d want her to find out who was responsible and bring them to justice, which was exactly what she was trying to do. In that sense she supposed that made her an optimist, unlike the aspect of magic who tended on the side of worst case scenario, Octavia had pretty much lived the worst case scenario now so there was nowhere to go but up for her. Things had to get better from here, they had to. The only thing that was allowing her to keep herself together was knowing that.

Unlike all the people in the world who saw them as figureheads of saviors, when Octavia looked at each of the aspects she saw a real person, with a real past and real struggles, she had always seen that. Knowing them in their younger years she saw the personalities they all had, the family they built, she was a part of it herself. She’d always felt like she belonged with them and they’d never made her feel any different. She wasn’t chosen to protect the worlds by the Gods but she had offered up her life to the cause and to her that meant just as much “Don’t talk like that Mal, you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for” the younger version of Malva would have never coped with so much stress and heartache but the woman she saw today, was managing to just about hold herself up under the weight of the world and that meant a lot.

The blonde nodded her head when the brunette admitted she needed help, Octavia knew that she could see it in the aspect’s eyes, she was screaming for it behind that steely gaze, her voice was quiet and weak but the Nephilim heard her clearly and she understood. No one was in their best place right now, losing Vlad had shaken the community to the core, especially because it was only two years before that they had lost most of their ranks “Okay” Tavia nodded “We can figure it out, you’re not alone okay” she commented as she reached out to squeeze her arm, honestly, having something to focus on was good for her, because it took her mind off her own reality “Then we find something to counter it so that you don’t” O didn’t know everything about magic but she did know you could balance it out with mystical objects “Tell me what you think you need to do Mal, I know that you know it up there” the green-eyed Nephilim pointed towards her temple for a moment.

“Every guard who walked through those doors swore themselves to this cause and some even died for it” it was a blunt way of phrasing it but she wanted to jog the aspect’s memory on the sacrifice people had made, the same one her husband had no doubt made “And if we don’t keep fighting and working together then everything they gave up? It’s for nothing” that’s why she couldn’t give up, no matter how much she wanted to crawl under a rock or just tell everyone to leave her alone, all she had was the need to honor her late husband. A drive inside her that told her she needed to keep fighting and standing up for the things he believed in, the things they believed in “And I’m not going anywhere, neither is Tatiana” the green-eyed female gave her a stern gaze, she knew the two of them weren’t seeing eye to eye lately but the aspect had to know her niece would be there for her in a heartbeat when it came to down to the wire.

That statement was probably the most positive thing that she’d heard Malva say in a long time so the blonde took it, a slight nod of her head in agreement, trying to hold onto whatever happiness was all they really had right now. Things were at their worst but Tavia still had a fighting spirit burning inside her, it never really left, no matter how hard life tried to kick her down and silence her, she always seemed to find a reason to get to her feet and fight another day “I have to” she responded honestly, a determined nod following the words “I have to or losing him was for nothing” did that mean she was happy or okay right now, no, of course, it didn’t. But it did mean she would always keep looking forward to a better day. Of course as soon as Octavia mentioned her sleeping troubles the subject was turned over to her, she shook her head a little, she was being dramatic, it wasn’t any worse than anyone else who had suffered a loss “That’s okay” she responded and bit down on her bottom lip “Really that’s the only time I get to see him anymore and I’m not ready….to move on from that just yet” maybe that was unhealthy but it was how she was just about managing to cope.

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