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Aeryn had been in Evermore for a few weeks now and while he was still staying in a run down apartment on a short term lease, the city was starting to become more and more familiar to him. Every morning he would walk through the streets to just take in the changes in the modern world, he still didn't really understanding technology nor why humans insisted in travelling around in metal deathtraps they liked to called 'cars' but he was slowly getting used to the busy surroundings. The Nephilim however knew that Evermore city couldn't be home to him, Evermore was the eternal city and probably somewhere he would never have to leave for fear of people noticing his lack of aging, but it was also just a stepping stone to him in the long journey of figuring out what had happened in the time he had been sleeping on the isle of skye.
Today however, the nephilim's wandering had taken him to a part of the city he had never been before. Aeryn wasn't especially intimidated with the idea of getting lost, after all it wasn't like he had any particular place to be and if he needed to get his bearings he could simply fly into the air and figure it out. Instead of worrying, the dark haired half angel had taken it in his stride. As he continued to walk he noticed how the clustered buildings and homes in the city started to thin out, the houses got larger and more lavish, there were more parks and even a large castle in the distance over the hills. The south west of the city seemed to have a lot more private land, which seemed to be used for gardens and even small farms.
Aeryn was lost in thought when he felt a sharp nudge in the back of his legs from behind. Startled, mostly from the fact that he had been tailed endlessly since he had taken over ownership of the stone of El'Ar, Aeryn pulled a dagger from under his sleeve and turned around ready to face whatever was behind him. Staring back at him however was a small goat, which as if to laugh at his overreaction, bleated loudly at him. Aeryn sheathed his dagger once more before crouching down to look at the strange animal. "It's rude to sneak up on people" he scolded the animal which responded once again with a loud bleat.
Shaking his head Aeryn got back to his feet before starting to walk away from the animal. He had walked about another half a block before he heard the bleat again. Turning around Aeyrn saw the goat yet again. Folding his arms he stared at the animal for a moment before looking around trying to figure out where it might have come from. Perhaps it was lost. He had debated continuing to walk and hope the animal didn't keep following him, but he couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt knowing the poor thing probably wouldn't last a night in the city.
Rolling his eyes, Aeryn had scooped the animal up in his arms and looked around for where he could begin his good deed of the day. "I always preferred dogs to farm animals" he admitted, another bleat in response. "But you are pretty cute" he commented as he continued to walk holding the goat as though it was a teddy bear a child would cuddle.
Another half an hour and Aeryn had knocked on half a dozen people's doors all of whom had proclaimed they had never seen this goat before. Aeryn sighed gently as he set the animal down on the ground for a moment his brow furrowing "Which way is home Mr Bleat?" he asked as if it would know what he was talking about. Regardless when it started wandering down the block towards a more beaten track, Aeryn followed it curiously.
It had been a good long while since anybody beside the Vampire had been able to set her at ease and make her laugh the way she was now. It wasn’t often she met someone with the same kind of spirit that she had and Aeryn was one of the few kindreds she’d met. It was nice to feel this relaxed again around another person, the recent tension within the house of Ailwards had made her more uptight than she cared to admit.
Once they were inside the greenhouse his expression once more went slack, her smile wide as she could see how impressed he was by everything. It made her swell with pride, to know that her work was appreciated and that everything she had accomplished brought someone else a small measure of peace. Laughing Tia nodded, pointing toward a back corner where the tall stalks had room to stand tall. “Over there. Take as much as you want, there’s plenty more where that came from.” Maybe it was a little unnatural for her to have all of this growing all year round but as she saw it, what was the use of having all this power and not using it. Since the Isle had fallen she’d used her talents to feed her siblings and the Guard as well as earn some extra money. Besides, it kept her busy and made her happy.
Tucking her hands into her pockets she considered his comment concerning the stories history had told of her and her siblings. History hadn’t painted a very pretty picture of them, turning them into arrogant power hungry elemental's that cared for nothing outside of themselves. Some of the pictures that had been rendered of herself had left her horrified and with a pit of sadness deep in her gut. She’d spent hours agonizing over where she had met the author and what she had done to have herself rendered in such a harsh light. Eventually it had been Aureus that had helped her get over the sickening feeling, reminding her that most of them time people saw monsters it was when they didn’t understand something. After that she’d learned to harden her heart and ignore the stories that others spun about her, caring not a lick whether they were frightened of her or not. One thing she’d come to learn in her very long, she could control her fear, not theirs.
Sighing she shrugged, traveling around the greenhouse at a leisurely pace. “Doesn’t surprise me. Some of the things that have been written and reported about myself and my siblings makes me sick.” She couldn’t keep the slight bitterness from tinting her words. “No one cares that the power we have was given to us, that we were charged with keeping the balance by others.” Tia hated calling them gods, the beings who had chosen them hadn’t ever said a thing to them after they had sent them back to Earth with the powers they had. True gods didn’t abandon those they had chosen, nor did they leave without some sort of guidance.
The Ailwards had struggled through as best they could, making the best decisions they were capable of and yet were vilified for the majority of it. Granted a few of their choices hadn’t been the best, but they were doing the best they could. “I’m sure the same could be said about all the other species at some point in time. Vampires are cold-blooded killers, the Phoenix were psychopathic maniacs, the Initia are murdering bigots….blah blah blah.” The redhead rolled her crystal optics, encouraging a particularly droopy tomato plant into standing tall and proud. “It’s all in the eyes of beholder and in the mind of the tolerant.”
Through his long life Aeryn always found it hard to find anyone who really understood him, he supposed when everyone around you lived such short lives their mentality was completely different, not that he was judging, sometimes he wondered if a simple life where he grew old alongside someone would have been better. But then he remembered all the amazing things he had seen and people he had met and was again reminded that immortality was also a blessing.
Aeryn knew he probably looked childlike as he wandered through the expansive glass room but he didn’t care much for appearances, the nephilim was what most would describe as an opportunist and had quickly learned that saying yes more often than no lead to a much more fulfilling life. When she pointed the way he moved through the rows of vegetables until he reached the massive stalks of corn and picked a couple placing them in the previously floating basket. “My sister is going to go crazy when she finds out we’re having fresh corn for dinner” he was excited himself, it had been a long time since he and Willa had been able to eat a meal together like regular siblings.
It didn’t take him long to get more than he could need for one meal and circle back around to the redheaded immortal with a slight bow of his head “Thanks” he spoke softly “I admit I’m more than a little excited to get to sample from this little corner of bliss you have” his words were sincere as he allowed a smile to grace his lips, it was amazing how one small thing could completely turn into something you never expected. Aeryn had the feeling this wouldn’t be the last time he saw Tia either, she was the kind of person he could see himself being friends with, her relaxed and go with the flow attitude reminding him much of himself.
Aeryn could understand exactly how she felt, sure he wasn’t a species that most didn’t even believe existed but he was one of the only nephilim to have lived for longer than a century thanks to the curse that had been put on his family and while they had done everything they could to disappear from rumors and myths, they always seemed to appear anyway “I find the world likes to paint those who are different in a negative light to make themselves better” it was true, every supernatural being must have experienced those who treated them differently because of what they were “No one cares that I spent 600 years of my life protecting the world from evil either” he admitted with a sad smile, unfortunately saving the world was for the most part a thankless task.
“Precisely that” he answered as he set the basket at their feet and smiled at the redhead, he was glad there were still kind and decent people around, he had seen a lot of the ugly side of the world and sometimes it was hard to remember that not everyone was villain. Spotting a small bench in the middle of the foliage the nephilim moved to take a seat pushing a leaf out of the way as he did so which promptly rested on his head as he sat down “It can only go forwards though, I remember days where being supernatural was the last thing on the list when it came to being treated different” Aeryn had after been born to a half asian native father which had certainly limited his standing in so called society back centuries ago.
Tia could help the wide smile that spread across her lips as Aeryn dug into the corn with a zeal that she hadn't seen in a very long time. It was amazing to her how few people in the current day and age appreciated fresh food. Most took it as gospel if a package read “organic" content to spend gobs of money at pop up stores that were trendy yet easy to access. It floored her that no one questioned where the so called produce came from or that they wouldn't or couldn't be bothered to grow their own. Granted she liked to sell a good portion of what she grew at Farmer’s Market but that was different. She never claimed anything of hers was organic but she could promise no hormones or additives. Just good grown food.
Waving her hand around the greenhouse to encompass all that grew under the glass roof, “Help yourself. My thanks for bringing Houdini home safe.” The little goat probably wouldn't have made it had the Nephilim not come to the rescue, the poor thing most likely would have been run over by a car or attacked by a dog. Both outcomes would have left her heartbroken. All of her animals held specials places in her heart and to have any of them harmed she took as a personal affront to herself. Animals passing was a normal part of life, a normal part of farming but it didn't make losing one any easier to bear.
Crossing the room the redhead sat down next to him, curling her legs up underneath her. “We can hope. Unfortunately the old prejudices are rooted so deep I fear they can’t be banished completely, or stay buried for long.” Her voice took on a wistful note, reflecting on things going on in her own world. “Fear and duty do some odd things to people. Turns them into individuals that are hard to recognize, even when looking in the mirror.” As a rule the Aspect wasn't usually so deep and philosophical, she preferred what was right in front of her. What was tangible and real, the actual choices and actions as opposed to guessing and conjecture. Sometimes though, a person's past actions and the consequences couldn't be ignored.
Blinking she laughed lightly, running a hand through her hair. “Well look at me will ya? All waxing poetic and nonsensical. Ignore me. Got a lot stewin’ and too much time ta think.” Looking down at his basket she pointed at the array of vegetables he had assembled, “Ya know I gotta couple steaks in the freezer that would go excellent with all that. Ya interested?”
Aeryn laughed running a hand through his unruly curly hair as she spoke about the little goat, Aeryn had to admit despite on spending one afternoon with the little creature he held some sense of responsibility and now a sense of relief knowing that he had managed to deliver him safely home “So you got any ideas how you’re gonna keep him from running off on another adventure?” the nephilim asked with a chuckle knowing full well that the little goat hadn’t seen the last of his rebellious nature.
He naturally turned as she took a seat next to him feeling it to be rude to keep staring forward as beautiful as the view was. Aeryn agreed with her fears, he felt them too, the world might move forward but there would always be people who rejected what was different, those were the people he hated most. “I think we can all relate to that on some level” he admitted with a nod, he didn’t like the person he became when protecting the stone of El’Ar but Aeryn was also very aware of what happened to the world if it wasn’t kept safe.
Aeryn chuckled in agreement with her thoughts about being poetic, he found being around other immortals brought out that side of him, after all, they had seen so much more of the good and bad of the world than most mortals and they tended to see the bigger picture more clearly. “I blame never growing truly old” he smirked for a moment “We have to show our age in other ways” he teased with a shrug, he supposed never getting older was one of the better parts of immortality.
Tia had already been far more generous than his small deed deserved but Aeryn got the feeling her offer was less out of gratitude or obligation but more because of feeling of mutual interest in keep talking. Aeryn had to admit he never thought he’d meet an Ailward Aspect in person and Tia certainly wasn’t what he pictured from what he had heard about them. He nodded gently “Appealing to my stomach is definitely the way to get on my good side” he admitted with a laugh and a nod of his head “I’d like that” he responded as he climbed to his feet once more, eyes taking the last of the picturesque scene before he clasped his hands together before he spoke curiously “Does Houdini like anything from in here as a treat?” sure it was an excuse to see the cute fluffy animal again but Aeryn had a soft spot for animals.
“I would agree with that assessment.” Nodding her head the redhead slipped off her ball cap, wiping the back of her hand across her forehead to catch some of the sweat that accumulated there. “I don’ thank tha’ anybody really un’rstands wha bein’ immortal means until they have ta live it. Definitely not wha’ I thought it was gonna be.” In the beginning she had been ecstatic, her romanticized idea of what being an immortal Aspect had given her rose colored glasses. Everything had been rosy and perfect for a few years, all the fun of discovery the full extent of her abilities and enjoying her new life had been in the forefront of her mind. The pink tinge had slowly faded however, as she had been forced to take responsibility for her realm of reality and send good people on missions they hadn't ever returned from. So many people had come into the scope of her life and she outlived them all. It was a sobering thought.
Aeryn’s light hearted comment about his stomach made her laugh, pulling the ratty old baseball hat back onto her head. “I've learned tha’s the best way ta anyone’s good nature. Good food and good conversation.” Rising to her feet the redhead paused, fixing her blue eyes on the Nephilim before they scanned around the green house. She took a moment to think about his question, remembering some things that might be helpful. “Actually now I think on it the bugger really likes green beans.” She pointed a long finger towards the center aisle, tucking her hand back into her pockets as she waited. It seemed the kid had made a new friend on his excursion which had landed her a friend as well. That was never a bad thing considering how much time she spent around just animals. Clay of course was the exception.
Leaning against the door as she waited her shoulders lifted into a shrug, realizing she hadn't answered his query concerning Houdini and curving further jailbreaks. “I'll probably have ta raise the fences another couple feet and reinforce the gates. I may put Major on the goat pen at night as an added precaution.” Tia had been raising goats for years and had plenty that had broken out a time or two, but none as persistent as Houdini. That little goat was in a class of his own.
As she watched the Nephilim wander towards the green bean plants she tilted her head, watching him. “So wha’ brought ya ta Evermore? It's not exac’ly a tourist spot.” Her curiosity has gotten the better of her, though given how deep their conversation had gotten she didn't feel it too outside the scope of conversation.
She was right, the idea of living forever was romanticised by literature, mostly the idea of living with someone forever, the problem was that most immortals didn’t fall for other immortals and inevitably set themselves up for grief. “Nobody tells you how hard it is to watch everyone you care for eventually die, that’s for sure” as depressing as it sounded, it was the hard truth, he was lucky his sister was also immortal because she was the only constant he really had in his long life. He didn’t even know how she managed to cope when she believed he was dead, much as he didn’t think he would cope well if he ever lost her.
“You’d be right there” he admitted as he slapped his hands down on his knees and pushed himself to his feet after the redhead had done so. Aeryn couldn’t stop the laugh that escaped him when she called the little goat a bugger, he had to admit it was a fitting description and he imagined there had been many other curses place on the troublesome animal. “Green beans” he repeated with a chuckle as he went where she directed, picking a few of the stalks and tucking them into the basket. Who knows, maybe it’d convince Houdini that sticking around wasn’t so bad.
Aeryn was amused by the fact such crazy measures were needed to keep the little kid in check but then of course, being small, the imagined he managed to squeeze through any little gap he managed to find. Stepping out of the greenhouse he followed Tia in the general direction of the farmhouse allowing a quick glance over his shoulder back where the goat pen was. A wry smile crossed his lips and continued walking.
Aeryn wasn’t too surprised by her question, he had actually been surprised he ended up in Evermore himself. “Curiosity mostly” he answered honestly before following it up “I think every young supernatural is told about the legend that is the Eternal City” he admitted with a laugh “Never really appealed to me but I met one of your guards, Marianne about a year back and when she told me she was going to Evermore I decided I wanted to see it for myself” he shrugged and smiled “Several months later and I’m still here”. He tilted his head to the side a little “So what about you, the Ailward planning on keeping Evermore as it’s permanent base?” he could understand why they would, immortals had much better protection in Evermore than they did in human overrun cities.
Once outside Tia secured the door to the greenhouse, making sure the latch was secure before turning and heading in the direction of the large barn. Keeping her pace slow and leisurely the redhead smile as her companion detailed out what had led him to the Eternal City. Sooner or later all Supernatural beings ended up here, even if for a short while. There was something magnetic that drew them, a beacon that elicited curiosity that couldn't be abated until one set foot in the city. It was a phenomenon that interested the Aspect greatly and yet being in the city she could draw a conclusion as to the reason. Evermore had a little bit of everything, a niche that even the most obstinate of individuals could find a place where they belonged. There was drama and intrigue, community and art, and even crime. All in all Evermore was the epitome of a city for all walks of life and had become a hub of life and living.
Chuckling Tia looked over at the Nephilim, “Marianne has a way ‘bout her that's fer sure.” Every member of the guard has a little something special and Marianne was especially effervescent about all things Evermore. “I'm su’prised she didn’ drag ya here back then, she gits her claws in a person and you can hang it up. Yer Marianne bait.” She laughed as they approached the barn, circling around to the back door that led into the tack room. Stepping through she navigated down the isle of carefully tended riding equipment to the interior door, opening it and waving Aeryn in.
Once inside the supply room the Aspect willed the lights on, electricity flowing into the bulbs to heat the filaments that glowed to provide light. Walking to the corner she opened the large deep freeze, the cool air dissipating to reveal a healthy supply of steaks and other assorted meat cuts. “Take yer pick and don’ be shy, I know a guy.” Winking she once more stepped back to give him room as she considered his question. Tucking her hands in the back pockets of her denim jean's Tia shrugged, “I guess so. Our last home was destroyed and here is where the most disturbances to our realms are, so as long as things continue down this road we’ll be here.”
They had been stubborn and blind. In their hubris they had believed that their mistakes wouldn't ever have consequences, that they were free of repercussions. Instead they had been building and building, stacking up like a dammed up river with no spillover. Once the dam reached full capacity it had taken a little thing like a star to bring everything they had ever know crashing down around them. The crash had been hard, claiming dozens of lives and leaving those still living with permanent scars. Not a single one of them had been unaffected, the mental and emotional toll had changed them all in ways that were irrevocable. It would take time to find out just how deep the wounds were, and even more time before they would begin to heal.
Aeryn had for most his life, avoided going to Evermore city, being an immortal always on the run, the idea of a place you didn’t need to was far too tempting but because both he and Willa could never be in the same place, it seemed unfair to settle down and start a life when the other couldn’t, therefore there had been a silent agreement that the eternal city was off limits until they found a way to break the curse. Now that chapter of his life was finally over and he could do what he wished, and so here he was, in the place he had always wanted to go.
Aeryn laughed, Marianna was definitely a spark that was for sure, much like her older brother Mikael whom he’d gotten in a fight with a few weeks back. “That girl has her head in the clouds most of the time but she sure was right about this place” he chuckled “A fighter though, much like everyone I’ve met from your guard” he’d never really seen such a large group of people so tightly knitted together, at times it made him a little envious of what they had built but then he remembered how much he valued being alone too.
Aeryn had just been following Tia around without much attention to where they were going, he had to admit it had been a long time since he’d felt like he could just get lost in conversation with someone, she was interesting and thoughtful and a rare kind of light you didn’t see so much anymore. As the lights flickered on his eyes blinked a few times to adjust before noting the large collection of food she had on display his eyes widened and he smirked “You certainly don’t go hungry” he mused before he picked out a rib eye cut and pointed it out to her, doing his best not to drool at the thought of a good steak. “The isle of Skye right?” he asked with a raised brow “I uh...I was there” he went silent realizing he’d just told her the start of a pretty lengthy and crazy story.
Aeryn hadn’t really told that story to anyone because it meant explaining about the stone he wore around his neck as a pendant, an ever present reminded of the dangers in this world. Realizing he couldn’t just leave what he said like that he cleared his throat “About 100 years ago my ship was sunk by a storm” he explained as he continued to follow her “Being immortal when the current dragged me down and my lungs filled up with water I didn’t die but ended up asleep in a cave on the Isle” it sounded crazy but crazy seemed to be his life he had decided.
“When I woke up the sky was ablaze and the whole island was tearing itself apart, I couldn’t see anyone moving and so I was about to make a run for it when I spotted Marianna reaching up out of the rubble” it was a hard day for him but it was an impossible day for them, Aeryn had seen the carnage of the fall of Skye first hand and the sheer amount of power he saw that day terrified him.
Grinning Aurantia nodded, “She's a livewire tha's fer sure. One a the good ones.” Marianna was a special young lady with a fiery streak a mile wide and a penchant for looking on the positive side of everything. She reminded the Aspect of Elements of another spitfire Guard who had been more than willing to take an assignment, lobbying hard for it, and had never returned. The members of the Guard were some of the toughest around, they trained constantly against one another and against the Aspects to stay at their sharpest. Nodding her red head the memories sobered her mood for a few moments, though thankfully she didn’t have to cover her reaction as the Nephilim went digging into the deep freeze for meat.
His comment of course made her laugh, looking over the wide variety of cut that filled the freezer she shrugged. “Like I said, I know someone.” Tia didn’t want to reveal her meat connection, as Clay wasn’t really one for allowing too many people into his inner circle. His farm wasn’t big enough to get the word out that he had fresh meat, especially with the wave of fresh and organic foods. A smile touched her lips as he seemed almost overwhelmed but began shifting through the options laid out in front of him. His next comment caught her by surprise, bringing about some memories that she thought had been buried.
Silently the redhead listened to the story as the Nephilim unfolded it, spinning a tale of terror and woe from the day that tore her life apart. From the moment she had been reborn Skye had been her home, her place of solace and the one place she felt safe. When it fell her entire world had been tossed upside down, dozens of her friends lost forever in a night of chaos and carnage. A deep sigh escaped her lips, “That night was one of the worst of my life. We are no strangers to loss but that night everything we have been built on was lost.”
Tia had tried to run back several times before the entire island had been swallowed by the sea, her last trip had been waylaid by Aureus himself who had held her back from running into the disaster zone one last time. Nightmares had plagued her dreams for months, making her afraid to even shut her eyes lest she have to relive that horrific night. Throwing herself into working on the farm had helped and without knowing it Clay had helped out as well.
“Thank you for helping Marianna. We couldn’t afford to lose even one more Guard.” They had lost more than half of their population that night and were still working on bolstering their numbers.
Aeryn chuckled and nodded in agreement with Tia’s words “That’s certainly one way to describe her” everyone he had met from the guard or the aspects seemed to have their own spirit, unparalleled to other people he met. They were all so incredible dedicated and passionate, devoting their lives and sometimes their entire existence to the cause. He knew he couldn’t do it, that was for sure. Running a hand through his tousled hair he picked out his steak with a chuckle, Aeryn wasn’t fussy, he would eat most things put in front of him without complaint.
He nodded softly in response to her words about knowing someone, he didn’t need to know who someone was really, wasn’t like he was planning on learning to cook any time soon. You’d think an immortal nephilim would know how to cook right? Wrong. He wasn’t sure whether he should have mentioned Skye, he knew how much of a touchy subject it was after all, he didn’t even know how someone would find a way to move on from a tragedy like that.
“I can’t even imagine how hard that must have been” he admitted, a look of empathy in his eyes, to him it had simply been the island he awoke on but to them it was home, the place where they had spent the majority of their existence, where they had built their lives. “How someone could even live with themselves knowing they were the cause of it” he’d heard the rumors, everyone had. There was no way the fall of the isle was an accident.
Aeryn shook his head in response to her words, it wasn’t even a question in his mind “Anyone would have done the same” sure he had been scared for his life but he had lived a whole life of his own, if he could save someone he would, regardless of the danger to his own life. “Somehow it feels like the universe keeps bringing me back to your people” he spoke with an amused half chuckle, from saving Marianna to almost brawling with Mikael to now meeting an aspect themselves by chance.
He shrugged it off, he was sure if someone was trying to tell him something he’d get the message eventually. Evermore was becoming somewhere he really saw himself want to stay in and that very thought terrified him more than he cared to admit. “Alright” he said as he clasped both his hands together “I can’t cook for the life of me but you’re gonna let me attempt to help right?” he definitely wasn’t gonna sit around and do nothing anyway, he wasn’t that kinda person.