Before her sapphire blue eyes, laid a Burmese ruby pendant on the desk, not far off from where she sat. It was a beautiful and enigmatic trinket, yet it laid there taunting the owner. The simple thing has antagonized the light haired Aspect since centuries ago, but she has yet to dispose of it. As well as the charismatic gem held its charms, it was probably what secured its lifeline, in the first place. Malva has not taken her eyes off the red ruby pendant that has been showing off its fleeting features. Long story short, the small thing held a certain form of significance towards the purple dragon, but it wasn't something others knew of. Not even her siblings, much less anyone else. It wasn't as if Malva Ailward was the most sociable person to hang out with. 

Pursing her lips lightly, she lets out a heaved sigh, feeling the small edge of the burden lifted off her. "This isn't working..why can't I remember." Oh yes, the Aspect of Magic has had difficulty on placing things between her subconscious. It didn't seem as if it was going to leave anytime soon, though. Yet another problem on her platter. It was never-ending, unfortunately for the Aspect. Standing up from her sitting position, she grabbed the pendant by its chain and made her way towards her wardrobe, pulling out a box and closed it with a huff. She had just tossed the pendant in it and began to leave it as she closed the doors. As she faced against the wall, she wondered if it was a wise decision for her to leave it lying around. Of course, it wasn't as if someone would come finding it and she didn't exactly left it out in the open for any spectator to look at. That pendant has been with her since the late 15th century, and served her many bad memories as it harnessed mainly the dark energy of every time she had to fend off for her aspect. 

Can you blame her for being paranoid? It's a powerful trinket. 

But she knew fully well why she couldn't have it in her presence, much less wear it around her neck like how she wore her amethyst necklace that she enchanted from her staff. It tempts her and those voices in her head did not help her do a better job at concealing the fact that something is wrong with her either. To Malva, her problem was only a mild one and it was one she could handle herself without involving other parties. She intends to keep it that way. Hopefully. 

Taking a hold of her bag, she then wrapped a jacket around her. Her wardrobe of choice has gone for a change lately. She opted for a more casual look instead of wearing dresses everywhere, but that didn't mean she has lost it completely. Losing her identity would be the last thing she wanted. It has been weeks long ever since she tried to find out if anything was wrong with her, and her memory wasn't really helping at all. She thought she would take a day off from stressing and pressuring herself to squeeze the truth out of her. It wasn't healthy, as Cora would say. Malva had a feeling that she might need her energy soon, wasn't sure why but if there was anything she has learned from her many years of living, it's that she could always trust her instincts. Despite it getting her into trouble most of the time. She walked down the stairs and out of the manor, deciding to let wherever her legs take her. But when it took her to a certain territory, well, the moment she realized where she was at, it was a bit too late to turn back now. 

She wasn't sure why she had traveled to Celestial territory but now that she was here, she did find some truth to her instincts taking her there. There was one person she has longed to meet ever since they found out the Wayfinder was alive and well. What she wasn't sure of, is whether it would be civil or hostile meeting. Surely it wouldn't impact the professionalism boundaries as they represent both their respective factions, but the same couldn't be said about their personal ones. Like the rest of the Ailward Aspects, Malva too, had a pre-existing relationship notion with the Wayfinder. "Might as well.." She mumbled to herself as she literally just let herself walk in the compounds of their residency, requesting for an audience with Ophelia, as she waited by the spacious lobby. "You know, the quicker you get me Ophelia, the quicker I'll leave. It's a win win situation." She rolled her eyes at the female Celestial who was unwavering but went to get her the Wayfinder nonetheless. She got a lot of dirty looks but it wasn't something new for her, considering their inbound history. It wasn't as if Malva was fazed by it too. 

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The wayfinder found herself adapting more and more to the modern world around her, sitting in her office at the heart of the celestial castle she found herself navigating the laptop Willow had installed for her. At first she had been confused about the hows and whys but once she let that go and just started to explore, it was actually pretty simple. Seeing as all the other ambassadors seemed to communicate over email and she needed to keep up to date on all the things they were doing and saying, it was only a matter of time.

Taking a breath she opened an internet browser and typed Evermore Daily into the search box before clicking onto the website. The news site was known for being pretty nosy into the lives of ambassadors and it was about time she knew what they thought they knew. After a few moments of scrolling and scanning her eyes over the page she found the search box and searched her own name before pressing enter. No surprise, there were lots of articles which popped up along with photos of herself she didn’t remember being taken.

The brunette bit down on her lip, she wasn’t sure she wanted to know what she was about to find out, mostly because she knew a lot of it would be lies, regardless she clicked on the first one and started to read. No surprise that the two pictures plastered along the top were hers and Venetus’. She let out a long sigh to calm herself as she shook her head, she knew she had to get over the anger she felt every time she saw him but today wasn’t going to be the day she did. Reading over the article it was pretty obvious the tabloid seemed to know the two of them had a history, she supposed neither of them had done well at hiding that.

The wayfinder stifled the urge to slam her fist on the desk when one of the younger celestials walked in after a small knock on the open door. Without a second thought she reached and closed the lid of the laptop before turning her attention on what she had to say. Ophelia’s eyebrows raised “Are you sure?” she responded to the news with a puzzled expression, what the hell could the aspect of magic possibly be here for.

Ophelia knew Malva well enough to know she’d likely make a scene should she not grant her request for an audience and so with a sigh she raised to her feet, the material of her dress falling into place as she did so. Ophelia still wasn’t swayed on the modern casual attire yet and while she would wear them when she went out into public to blend in, at home, she held onto her usual style. Walking the winding halls of the castle she followed the path she knew well back to the reception hall.

Before rounding the corner to the entrance the wayfinder took a long drawn breath, rolled back her shoulders and then stepped out into the entryway with confidence. Her dark hues scanned the room before falling on the dark haired aspect of magic. Without giving her a moment  Ophelia started to speak “When they told me you were here to visit I thought it was some kind of joke” she commented dryly. Noticing they already had somewhat of an audience Ophelia jerked her chin backwards to lead the way back to her office “I’d say to what do I owe the pleasure but that would be a century ago me speaking” Ophelia was very aware of which aspects had voted for and against Aureus’ proposal and despite thinking she knew them well, their decisions still shocked her to this day.

Malva lounged around the lobby as she was eventually greeted by Ophelia. She would be lying if she wasn't at all nervous nor wary about being at an enemy territory alone without any protection. Physical ones, at least. She never really did liked taking matters into her own hands if it involved any physical stakes, it just wasn't her preference. The Celestials and them proved to be quite the two parties with history together, and unfortunately, it was one of those histories that went sour after a while. Similar to how a deal gone bad. She could still remember how their alliance was one of their biggest achievements, and was disheartened to hear it was no more. "It would probably be a convincing one if they know how to relax and act normal, they're stiff as hell." She shrugged casually, obviously wanting to erase whatever tension that was unfolded in the room earlier, much to her dismay.

She allowed her legs to follow the dark haired Celestial as she make her way to wherever she was leading her to. "And how I've missed that century ago you, Ophelia. No seriously, I missed how things were but of course, nothing lasts forever. I believe our side has a part to play in that as do you." Her tone wasn't solemn nor was it cold, instead it was more on a casual pattern with hints of seriousness within it. "I see you've made yourself somewhat- comfortable in Evermore? It's done wonders to your complexion. It's nice to see someone who preferred to dress modestly like once upon a time ago, though. A tactical reminder." Truthfully, Malva wasn't used to 21st century ways at all. Not yet. But she was a good liar though, so it wasn't surprising to see how well she tried to make herself appear to 'adapt'. "You haven't changed, at all." She indicated on Ophelia's appearance and mannerism. She didn't mean it with any hint of hostility, however. To her, it's nice to see something from the past. Even though, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. "I can see why you're slightly rigid around me, I mean, I was one of those who agreed to Aureus's proposal. I caused more damage instead of decreasing it."

Ophelia bit her tongue at the brunette’s casual comment, perhaps they were stiff because they were faced with one of the people who chose to lock them away for a century. It wasn’t the type of thing she wanted to start in front of all these people however and she she lead the aspect away. “I think both our selves from then died a long time ago” she spoke it matter of factly, back then she was optimistic and trusting and all of that had been stripped from her the moment that the Ailwards had turned their back on her.

Once they reached her office, she stopped at the door, sweeping her arm to invite the other woman inside before closing the door behind them. She had to admit she hadn’t expected to find an aspect in the castle but since coming to Evermore she had learned to also expect the unexpected. “We all made choices, yes” she affirmed the other woman’s statements, she couldn’t say she was proud of her own given the results.

Malva was making small talk, which made Ophelia raise her brow suspiciously but she played along “It seemed pointless to run to every end of the earth, we both know how far your people’s  reach goes” and yet she had been Evermore this long and Aureus was still yet to make his move, that she still didn’t have an explanation for. Upon the other woman’s comment on her attre Ophelia’s eyes naturally moved down to her dress and then over to Malva’s casual clothes “I can’t say I’m a fan of the more modern style on you I’m afraid, but then perhaps I am stuck in my old ways” you didn’t really give much thought to keeping up with the times when you had to worry about staying hidden for 100 years.

The words she spoke next were more to the point, there was no skirting around the fact that Ophelia held strong distaste for the aspects who had voted for Aureus’ proposal or the ones who had chosen to simply let it happen “And yet I have also changed a lot” she responded referring more to her own personality which had been marred but her own mistakes in trust. “So you choose now to want to talk about this?” Ophelia asked with a tilt of her head “Kinda 100 years late don’t you think?” she may feel guilt for what her decisions had lead to for the Isle of Skye but for Ophelia, her people and those she cared for would always come first.

She clicked her tongue as the words rolled off the Wayfinder. One move she usually does whenever she is irritated or annoyed, but it wasn't the case for today. There was some hindsight of truth somewhere in there. "Maybe you. I don't think mine died. It would've probably meant something if there was something there to begin with. I already died long ago, darling. There's no need to die twice. I experienced it beforehand and it wasn't pleasant. No need for any reminder of the occasion." She shook her head, her eyebrows scrunched up to form a frown. It was surprising to see how well she was bringing on the small talk, it didn't seem like her at all. Malva was never a fan of small talks. It takes too much time off her and it wasn't time she could spare. Maybe, this one would prove to be an exception.

As soon as they arrived to Ophelia's office, she took a seat on the couch no far off from where they were standing by. "Yes.. We all make choices. Not one we're proud off but if living for centuries long has taught you something, it's that not every decision you make will bring your wishful outcome. The world would've been too easy to handle if that's the case. You are given a choice, you made it and the actions followed. And like every flow of a thing, every action has its consequences. The only question that stands by within the pillar is whether you're willing to bear it." Another shrug passed her. She was in no way justifying their actions towards the Celestials, but she needed to make a point there. Ophelia wasn't a stranger to her nor was she a stranger to dark haired Celestial. They both knew how each other goes.

"When in doubt, always trust your instincts. And I bet your instincts told you that we'll be able to locate you wherever you might find yourself at. So instead of basking in futile attempts to hide, you made your presence known. It's a clever move, really. You're smart and wise, though not wise enough before. But I can see you've matured more as the century goes by." She pinpointed aimlessly. Crossing her legs as she leaned against the soft cushion, her sapphire hues never averted itself from the Celestial. However, it didn't mean everything needed to hold a serious air to their conversation. Chuckling softly at the Wayfinder, she shrugged casually as she stared at her clothing style. "I'm not a fan either. But I don't think wearing dresses so out in the open like it's the 18th century again would help in keeping a low profile. You know how we feel about attention."

Malva wasn't dense enough to know Ophelia held a clear distaste towards them. Quirking am eyebrow at her, the Aspect of Magic couldn't help but to find herself asking as she answered her question. "Of course, so have I. A lot of things happened and change seemed to be the only thing that was plausible. Considering we didn't actually have time to find you a century back, I'd say this is one of the days where I'm not burdened by my duties. So why not talk about what we both want to resolve. It's hard to keep a track of the personal ones in this said 'problem', isn't it? I guess we're both glad it's not Aureus nor Venetus that came here today instead of me. God knows what would've happened. I'm sorry you had to wait for 100 years. But we were quite the busy bunch. It wasn't like fixing the world was something that we could accomplish overnight." With that, she leaned forward and ended her words with a smile. "I can tell you it took us almost a century to get everything working again." To say she wasn't furious would be an understatement because she truly was. They didn't expect the blow, and once they were hit by it, they were rendered weak. It wasn't an enjoyable feeling, per say. She wasn't trying to make Ophelia feel guilty, but was trying to tell her what happened afterwards that resulted the captivity of her kind. 

Ophelia stifled the urge to roll her eyes at the way Malva explained death, way to twist her words and take away the meaning she was getting at. This had always been one of her issues with the Aspects, they acted, were treated like and in some cases she was sure actually believed they were above everyone else in the world. Ophelia certainly wasn’t in the mood for being reminded of that “No I forgot most of you aren’t capable of human empathy” she spoke it matter of factly, it was always the world first, people second with them and it probably always would be.

Ophelia nodded softly, her decisions had been misguided and she had felt the consequences of it in full force, from nightmares, to dreading even seeing Aureus’ face ever again. The only difference with her decision was she hadn’t known what it had actually been at the time and she wouldn't have been able to follow it through had she known the full extent of the people she had been making a deal with. The aspects however had known they would ruin the lives of every single one of her people the night they made that decision and yet they had done it anyway. “I can find some peace in knowing there was never intent for harm in my decision, I wonder how you live with not being able to say the same” she raised her brows, it truly made her curious to know, considering their intent was to hold her people for the rest of eternity.

“They’ve kept me alive this long” she quipped in return, much to their disdain she was sure, she knew the Ailward Guard had scoured the world for her after she escaped that night, it was only thanks to her natural instincts and her in depth knowledge of the way they thought that she managed to evade them for so long, most other of her people were not so fortunate. Coming out in the open in Evermore had been bold, but hiding a whole faction of Celestials was impossible, it would have only been so long before someone got wind back to Aureus or Venetus on their whereabouts and they would be caught off guard. “I’m not looking to start a fight” she clarified, her gaze not wavering as she looked back at the aspect she once called a friend “I never was” she added as she pressed her lips into a hard line, she was just simply doing her best to keep her people alive and free, and for the past year it had seen some success.

Ophelia wrinkled her nose, Malva didn’t really even look like herself when she was wearing modern clothes, it was odd for the wayfinder to take in. “Yet another reason I take distaste in this modern era” she commented with a sigh, she was much of the same opinion as William when it came to moving forward with the times, she didn’t feel like she was ready to and she wasn’t sure when she would ever be. The brunette sat back as she allowed the aspect to talk, taking in her intents behind being here, Ophelia even sensed a little guilt in the way the aspect spoke, though it was behind the usual front that Malva gave off “Venetus and Aureus know better than to show up here alone” she answered almost matter of factly, they may be powerful but she knew certain members of her faction would go insane at the very sight of them, she was a little surprised they had been so refrained when Malva had showed up.

“You’re bold, I’ll give you that” she commented as she tilted her head, part of her was tempted to just push aside Malva’s attempts to make amends but Ophelia knew her best chance of ever getting her amulet and of ever seeing a real sight of peace was to play nice with the aspects, all of them. “I don’t think any of your siblings dare to even face me” that wasn’t technically true, she had seen Erythreus since returning to Evermore, but the comment was mainly aimed as the main instigators.”I’m not sure whether to be worried or thrilled about that” til now she had been standing a little restlessly but now she sat herself down in a chair as she looked back at the blue eyed aspect.

“So none of them know you’re here?” she asked with raised brows, she found that hard to believe she had to admit.

The sudden remembrance of human empathy being mentioned in their conversation couldn't help but to strike a small cord in Malva. She hated when people talk of it towards them as if they, the Ailwards, were emotionless and incapable of feeling anything humanistic. "I'd tell you to watch your tongue but it wouldn't mean anything, considering you." She scowled lightly, obviously holding a clear disdain at such subject. It was a sensitive topic for her, given that she has been trying to find her way back and in search with who she was, at the moment. However, she didn't make it very much known that she was going anywhere with it whilst being offended. "We're not soulless. But you're right, in some way. If I had to put the world before everyone else, I would be the same way too. You see, that's the thing with us. We are not granted with such luxury of thinking for only ourselves and a bunch of people. The balance of the world is what scoured our very existence in the first place. If we would've been the other way, I wouldn't even live this long to even talk to you or meet you. That's why we lived so long. Empathy is what we could relate to, like many. But not something we have to take pride in. We have our duties. We were sworn to it."

That moment was by no means necessary having any hint of justifying themselves. The Aspect of Magic's gaze was unruly and unwavering. It was almost as if it was cold. "Ophelia, I know how it must've torn you apart to hear what happened to your people. I'm guessing it's a change to see how we acted on the other side. We're not saints, I can attest to that for the very least. We're peacekeepers, not guardian angels. Sometimes, desperate measures are taken for drastic times. We had to consider every option possible. We're supposed to be able to do the hard choices. If not, what's the use of us actually standing by and not being replaced after so long?" She didn't think it was something other than her faction truly understood, despite holding a mild friendship with them. She never liked to sugar coat her words, it feels as if she was only delaying the inevitable. "You're shocked to see what we were capable of doing when we've shown you nothing but kindness, or friendliness if you want to call it. But it's all a respite, was it? I didn't see it as one but you might."

Yet again, Malva was not surprised to see the card Ophelia played out on. She knew she couldn't possibly know what would've happened if she went along with it. But that's what occurred , it happened. "And you think we intent on harm when we voted for the option to lock your kind away? I'll say this with all my heart, it might just me or not. I can't defend my siblings nor can I defend myself. But it does clash with your idea of empathy as if we can't feel anything." Clasping her hands and placing it on her knees as she adjusted her seating position, she stared at the wayfinder before her. "When you left without saying anything in the middle of the night, no one knew.. But I didn't and I was sure the rest didn't, either. The next morning, so early of the day, I went to Aureus's room, and then found him staggering, trying to get back up on his feet while struggling to even keep a simple stand. He was in pain, and I couldn't handle seeing my brother in such state so I went to get help. But just half way across the hallway, I staggered myself. I fell down to the floor and felt as if I had the worst aneurysm a witch can ever give anyone. Soon enough the rest of my siblings were in the same state. Writhing in pain, while being so helpless. I felt useless. Because I wasn't able to do anything to help them or myself. The pain subsided after a few days give or take, but subsided is only what it did. It didn't leave altogether. There was still fragments of it and believe me, even the tiniest fragment of that shard could scar us till this day. It was something we've never felt all our lives. And we were hit by such wave whilst we were vulnerable. No one could help us. The guards didn't even know what was happening, let alone could they help."

"And that was the last day I vowed to ever feel such pain. Then, we found out, the reason for our pain was because an event changed the course of the world. Our respective aspects were affected and so did we. Physically and mentally. I feel as if I was stuck in a limbo feeling the same searing pain all over again. I wanted nothing more but for it to stop. You felt betrayed by us? How do you think we felt when we found out it was all due to one person we came to care for? I was angry, I admit that. My family got hurt because we let ourselves be vulnerable. I didn't believe it at first but what was I supposed to think when you didn't show up even after waiting? The suspicions of you not being able to cross the barrier was proven the truth and I didn't know what to think anymore. My mind was boggled up with desperation on not ever wanting for the people I care about to feel such pain again. I didn't want my siblings to go through that ever again. Because they don't deserve it. Neither did your people too. When we had that meeting, all of us were still struggling with trying to maintain a healthy precedent, much less work on fixing what was broken. We were hurt and felt betrayed. But we had to come to one decision that would secure it all. We desperately needed to make things right again." She lets out a heaved sigh as played with the helm of her top.

"Aureus suggested it. I'm guessing it's because he had the worst out of all of us. Considering he's the Aspect of Time and you are aligned with such element. It was not logical at first, I refuted it. I was against it. Until I found out the damage it inflicted. I was torn on what to do. You may see me as a cold and non-bothered woman, but you knew me once upon a time ago, Phe." She didn't even notice she let out a slight slid up of a nickname they used on her. "You know I'm always bothered with this notion called emotion. You know how sensitive I am. But then again, you probably thought it was all a facade. I'm not surprised, I would too." She nodded, her eyes lingering on the glass centered table. "When I looked back at the terms, I felt like it could be a temporary edict. We haven't recovered and we need the time to focus on fixing the mess, where we won't have time to use on taking care and making sure a Celestial was not hunted down by those who wants their power. So I agreed. I agreed because we needed to do something that time. It was inhumane, I know. It wasn't as if I never felt being locked up before. But it would keep them safe from harms way. It wasn't ideal but it was the best we could offer given our state that time. Casting the memory removal spell for any trace of any other Celestials' existence so long they are on the Isle was the hardest thing I ever needed to do. We couldn't risk them going after you nor could we risk them rising up. We couldn't risk having another you, Ophelia. You're stubborn and headstrong. It's an admiring quality really.. But not a quality we can afford during that time."

It wasn't a memory Malva wanted to lounge around. It reminded her how cruel measures could be sometimes. "And maybe in some way, we needed to make an example. How every action has its consequences. They weren't going to be locked up in captivity forever, I told you it took us almost a century to get everything working again. Then the Phoenix and Initia issue came where we were forced to intervene here. We were going to discuss the matters of the Celestial when we get back. I guess we were too late." The tragic occurrence on the Isle of the Skye wasn't something the purple dragon wanted to remember it by. It was the only place she felt home to. "But I can understand, being punished for being what you are. It's absurd. It felt like nostalgia all over again. Because we lost our lives due to being what we were, long ago. How do you think that made me feel? I take no pleasure in locking them up but I couldn't let my emotions cloud myself. I needed to think what would've happened if they were left free to go search for you when we don't have the means or grounds to do it. We were afraid. So much for lack of human emotions.. "

She couldn't help but to let a small smile make her way on her features hearing Ophelia talking how she wasn't looking for a fight. How she never intended to have one. "You and me both. But I am not only a leading figure for my faction, me and my siblings are tasked with the responsibility of the world instead of one faction.. Or one city. Hell, even one country. You and I.. We were both trying to keep our people alive. But my people, how long does it far fetch? Who are my people? I'm not a Fae no more, so everyone seemed to be my responsibility as it does to my siblings. I think you out of all people would know, how some decisions are not one you're proud of." She hinted on the Isle of Skye tragic end. "We might not have to actually be nice to each other to play nice to ensure the peace between our factions, but because it's you, I hoped that it wouldn't come to that." Malva didn't have many friends, she never did. She often felt left out and had no sense of belonging anywhere. So she tried to keep those she had close to her. Shaking her head, Malva shrugged. "I know it's hard to believe but no one knows I'm here. My days of sneaking out has taken up a notch, Phe. I wasn't as terrible as I used to be on that. Everyone thought I'm busy in my room working up something, and it wasn't as if anyone dared to venture there anyways. They knew better than to disturb me considering my mood swings are not the best thing to suffer from."

Ophelia gave an amused chuckle to Malva’s words about holding her tongue “If you wanted silence you wouldn’t have come” she stated matter of factly, they both had their own rights to differing opinions after all and Ophelia wasn’t the kind of person who bent to another’s will just because they disagreed. “At what point does sacrificing the few for the many make you a monster?” she asked, she didn’t expect an answer to that question, Ophelia personally didn’t feel like any one person should have such responsibility and she thought it reckless of the Gods to entrust that.

“Kindness?” Ophelia asked with raised brows, she’d hardly call it that “That night I was almost on my death bed from being stabbed in the back and while I was laying there fighting for my life you were all voting on whether to lock me and my people away” she spoke it as if it was as simple as waking up and brushing your teeth in the morning “I’d hardly call that kindness” if it hadn’t been for the fact that Mikael helped her escape the isle, she would likely be still in one of those metal cages. Her only grace after that night had been the fact that everyone believed she was dead, that was why they never came looking for her and how she was able to stay on the run.

“They were waiting for me and I almost died, I am so very sorry that didn’t fit with your grand plan” she spoke it shortly, some anger showing in her voice, the way she spoke of it like Ophelia had intended to cause the time lapse and for the Initia and Phoenix war to erupt was infuriating. “What gets me is that you all had me on your side” she shrugged a little “A naive decision now but back then i trusted you and the promises you made about keeping my people safe” she let out a soft breath “After what happened I would have been on board with stopping free travel from the isle for a while, I would have explained to them how it would protect them” she still didn’t understand to this day why they had chosen to go behind her back after everything she had done for them “But instead you all took the choice away from me and forced me into running for a century” for protectors of people they made some pretty drastic and harsh decisions, she had to admit.

“And now you have an entire faction of people who hate every single one of you” she stated matter of factly with a tilt of her head “Did you think you could keep them locked away like rats for years and then expect them to fall back into shape when you let them go?” she asked it knowing there was no way they were really that naive “I don’t believe for a second that Aureus had an intention of freeing my people and that is the reason I took matters into my own hands” she straightened up, running a hand through her dark silky hair, she was probably the most sympathetic person to the aspects in this castle which given their current conversation, wasn’t a good sign.

“And now here I am, caught between my own better judgement and a faction of people that want to go to war” she didn’t hear much other than excuses in Malva’s explanation, the truth of the matter was that the aspects never really trusted Ophelia and her leadership and the moment they had the opportunity to topple it, they did. Ophelia would never understand the way they had handled things but now here they were. “I take no pleasure in the fact so many people died as a result of me breaking the barrier 2 years ago” she spoke it to echo the sentiments of Malva’s attempt to explain her results “Though if your people are smart they will know already that I wasn’t the one who sought for the fall of Skye” whoever it was that had passed down that spell knew exactly what it would do and she was afraid to think of what else they were capable of.

The small smile from the aspect’s lips calmed the wayfinder a little, in her heart of hearts, she knew Malva always tried to make the decision she saw as the lesser of evils, she always had. In her mind it had been a last resort, a way to prevent another massacre and Ophelia couldn’t say for sure she would have chosen differently given the same options. “That night I not only lost the man I thought I loved, the people I was supposed to protect and a little piece of myself, I also lost people I saw as friends, my time on Skye came to feel like home and it was a such a realization when I was left in the dust, I would never matter enough” she paused, falling silent for a moment, letting the realization of what she said set in. “I don’t want a war”she reiterated, she didn’t want to see more of her people fall, it was her job to protect them “But it feels as though that is where things are heading” and that terrified her more than facing Venetus.

“I think we can probably agree on the fact that neither of us want that” and if she could find middle ground with enough aspects, perhaps there was hope yet.

It wasn't that Malva haven't had the chance to see everything Ophelia said. Or maybe she did, and was just going down the path of denial. For a while, it's been bothering her how easily the Isle fell. Whilst it wasn't the Celestials fault directly, they seemed to see it as a partial way for them to ease any other suspicions. But like Ophelia had said, Malva knew the day would come when the question of the spell would come resurfacing back soon. The Aspect of Magic had quite on her platter as of this moment, she was battling with herself between the matters of the Celestials, the personal and private case of her partnership with the city defense general, Benjamin Vaughn, and now this. It seemed like another Friday for her. The fact that it was too normal seemed to bother her a bit. It shouldn't be normal, no matter her position. She was slowly feeling the aftermath effects after being bottled down by herself for centuries.

How long until she finally loses it? 

And who's to say she hasn't?

She knew she was fault, that was why she didn't try to find words to fight off the argument. It wasn't as if she wished for one too. It was mainly her impulsive nature sometimes that she reminded herself to tone it down. "I'm glad we're at least standing on that matter." She said, implying on the matter of not wanting war to break out between their two factions. They were the two most mysterious factions in the supernatural haven, Evermore. The council seemed to know what the Ailwards worked for, but there was still so much secrets that has not yet grace their knowledge. "Neither do I. But there is only so much I could do, Phe. I'm only 1/8 of my siblings but if it would make us feel better, Argent will stand on this just as much and while all of us do not wish for more trouble to come between us, I can't vouch for the others." And here comes the ugly truth. One she wished she would never have to disclose to anyone, yet found the courage to divulge in it with the dark haired Wayfinder. 

"We're not on our best terms, Ophelia. It used to be harmless banter and teasings but never this. We fought a lot and I could almost count the arguments we had. You said that there is one more force darker, wanting our fall. I can't reiterate the spell nor can I try to track it down, because there was nothing for me to track. There wasn't even the slightest hint of magic left for me to figure things out. I feel like the spell was familiar but I can't put my hands on it. But then again, I've forgotten a lot of things." She was terrified that she would no longer be of use because she could not figure that out. Being useless and helpless as she was abandoned; that was Malva's deepest fear. "We're not the most likable people around, as I'm sure you know. But that end for the Isle, that was what fueled us for an impending war despite not wanting one. We're still emotional beings. Ironically.. The people that used that spell knew exactly what was getting to us. I fear that it might be yet another catalyst to trigger us to the Celestials. It seems that we have bigger worries. At least, we do. I think it's best for me to stay out of this matter between our two factions and begin my search on the mystery surrounding the fall of my home." However lethargic she may come across as, she needed to do it. They didn't have the numbers they used to and she wanted to be sure that they had other alternatives. She didn't want her faction to crumble down after they have tried to build it for so long.

"I am sorry, Ophelia. For what we've done. You may not be able to take it as a word coming from an Ailward but take it from me, Malva. Just Mal."

Ophelia knew she was simply ranting at this point, to be honest it felt nice to be able to get it off her chest with someone there in front of her. She enjoyed just for once not simply shouting helplessly into the void. She knew that was probably selfish and that Malva didn’t deserve to be the person on the receiving end of it all but somehow once the words started they just kept rolling off her tongue. It still hurt her now to think about the moment she had found out the aspects had chosen to lock up her people. She had been too weak to do a thing about it and had been forced to run, she wanted so bad to just get a few minutes with them, plead to the better sides she knew they had but the moment they turned on her people the isle turned on her and she was locked out.

Ophelia nodded softly, she had slowly been making her way through contact with each of the aspects, mostly from them showing up out of nowhere. She didn’t know if it was a guilty conscience or an agreed need for peace but she felt like things were starting to progress “I know that” she responded honestly, nodding her head gently “I’m working on that, talking to your siblings one by one but” she trailed off and shrugged “None of it really matters until I speak to Aureus and I’m just not there yet” how did you even face the person who had suggested the fate the Ailwards had given her people? “Argent always did have a soft spot for my kind” she commented with a gentle smile, she was probably the most approachable out of all the aspects though none of them were particularly cuddly.

Ophelia had seen many things in her long life, but she had never seen the aspect of magic truly afraid, she could tell that Malva was really concerned about this unknown entity who sought the fall of Skye, Ophelia knew that feeling. She knew now that whoever it was, was simply using her desperation to get exactly what they wanted and that meant her people were in just as much danger as the aspects were. Someone out there really wanted a war to happen. “I really wish there was more that I could tell you about them” her voice was honest, she might have her qualms with the aspects but to purposely seek out to kill hundreds of people, that was a whole level of evil she wanted no part in. “But I never got to meet them, it was all through backend contacts, I don’t even have a name” she let out a long exasperated sigh at her own lack of sense in this whole thing.

Her apology however caught the wayfinder by surprise, her breath catching in her throat for a moment before she nodded softly “I know you are” she responded, the fact she came here knowing the potential consequences proved that “And I am too, I never wanted any of this, you know that” she would have lived her entire life on Skye given the chance and she would have been happy there, no one wished things were different more than she did. “If there’s anything I can do to help you track down who brought down the Isle, you can ask me” Malva was right, there were so many more important things.

If Malva said all those words coming from Ophelia didn't hurt, then she would be massive liar, because in truth, it did hurt. For the Aspect of Magic, she was experiencing a major series of her emotions bunched up in one place stirred in a twister. She wasn't sure why that has decided to occur again but she's been trying to get it under control since a week ago but to no avail, it wasn't bearing any fruit at all. And she was visibly upset with her slow progress. For a perfectionist, she tends to overlook every flaw that existed because she couldn't see it through. Despite flaws being quite the essential piece to every creature, she finds it hard to tolerate it if it was coming from her considering the expectation she placed so highly above her own self. 

As she talked about Aureus, Mal could see herself shrinking at the mention of the name. Aureus. Now, when was the last time she had spoken to that brother of hers. She couldn't even recall. It was that bad. Everything has been so hectic as of lately and there wasn't any time given for them to actually bond through each other. It wasn't helping that both of them were not really parting with good terms the last time they tried to talk and resolve whatever it was between them. But Malva being the quick tempered person she was, could prove to be quite the obstacle when it comes to reconciliation. Now that she's thought about it, she wondered when she would be able to rekindle her relationship with her eldest brother. She missed him dearly and cherished him just as she would with the rest of her family members. But now, didn't seem like the right time for the Aspect of Magic. As Ophelia had stated before, they had more pressing matters to attend to. Especially regarding the tragic incident that befell the Isle of Skye close to two years ago. She still could not believe it in her heart that it was that easy to defeat their wards. Not when Venetus worked so hard to make sure it was stable and standing. Malva herself even took it upon herself to strengthen the boundaries by another layer from inside.

How was it that a spell was able to bring all of that down, much less destroy the entire island? It wasn't as if she had lined the island's longevity to the lives and captivity of the Celestials. It was a mystery she still has yet to even find a clue to. But perhaps now, she could start. She's been avoiding that topic for over 2 years already, it was time she stop evading it. Because if the same thing were to happen again, she wasn't sure she would even be there to stop it. If life was willing, she would be there and if fate has it, she would find out the perpetrator soon enough. She knew one thing for sure, whoever it was, they weren't going to stop. It was pointless if the destruction had only taken half of them and whilst they were immensely devastated by the loss, the Ailwards stood with their chins up high and moved on to make sure their foundation stays to live on. Obviously it was a futile attempt if her siblings and her came out unscathed and still lives on to this day to continue their duties. 

"Well, Argent is Argent haha.." The dragon lets out a small laugh as they described her younger sister who was the Aspect of Light. She was truly a ball of light despite being quite the opposite sometimes. Just because she associates herself with light, does not mean she could not knock you off the table. Since Argent was a former Nephilim, it was surely due to her past experienced trainings and even after they became Aspects, Aureus made sure everyone was well off to defend themselves if needed. It wasn't as if they could rely solely on their abilities as it would be tiring themselves out. Then, she remembered something now that the Celestials had made their residency in the eternal city. "Have you decided to be included in the Peace Treaty? The one we all had agreed on? You know that is the only thing that could truly protect your people from harms way. At least, while you reside in Evermore. I heard you had an alliance with the vampires. That's need all the protection you can get because believe me, my family would be the last people who would want harm to befell your kind. I don't think we can afford another rupture..neither can we afford another war. Which is quite unfortunate seeing as whoever planned the destruction, is out to get us. And what better way than to use a Celestial to achieve their ends. And while you have no guarantee of protection in this city from other factions, you'll be open to threats, Phe. The vampires could only do so much as their numbers are not vast as their strengths are. And if they have a strong diviner coven with their side, what is a few spells to use on the children of the night if they could bring about the destruction of our haven. This doesn't sound like a force to be reckoned with.."

Ophelia was right about Malva being utterly afraid by this matter. "We don't have the numbers we used to after the fall of the Skye. And unfortunately, not all of us are up to par these days. I can sense something is finally catching up to us. I can't even control my own emotions, hence my magic being deterred. Which makes me out to be unstable, indecisive, undetermined and dangerous. But if things are really brewing, I don't think it's a one night action, they must've planned this for long." At the moment, Malva felt as if she was being useless since she couldn't even see herself through when she desperately needed it. "Aureus will come around, I'm sure of it. It's because none of us intended for this path to go on, that is what will back everything up. And we needed to resolve everything as soon as possible so we can come down to a conclusion and way to ensure proper obstruction of justice is delivered and prepare ourselves..for the impending attack. Because it will involve everyone in this city.."

"I will try to sought out a few contacts out, and maybe venture there in a few weeks, but if I find anything, I'll let you know. I'm glad we're able to talk again, Phe. Truly." 

“She certainly is” Ophelia responded with an amused shake of her head, there was no real way to explain she aspect of light, she was a firecracker and a sweetheart rolled into one and that made her pretty unpredictable but Ophelia had always appreciated her steadfast support for the celestials, Phe knew she could rely on Argent, unlike a lot of the others. Ophelia heard Malva’s words and let out a sigh of exasperation, the peace treaty was a whole essay of its own she had to admit “If only it was as simple as it being my choice” she admitted with a shrug “As you can imagine there’s a certain…” she didn’t know if there was a good way to phrase it “Lack of trust, between some of the ambassadors” she sighed softly “Well none of them take particularly well to strangers either and until I figure out where my people fit in that mess” she didn’t know a good word for it really “Then being a part of the treaty isn’t possible” the politics of all of this made her head hurt but she had to understand it in some part, why would they want to lease a section of their city to a strange species they didn’t even know existed until a year ago and that the only information they really knew about them was that they destroyed the isle of Skye.

“It doesn’t help that every trace of my kind was erased from their minds, meaning to them we are complete strangers, in a city that was barely healed from it’s previous wounds” she really wished it could be simply because she honestly thought signing this treaty would finally give her people the chance at the lives they deserved. Ophelia hoped that with time the others would come to believe her intentions and her people would move on from their vendettas and be able to start their lives in Evermore without fear. She just wasn’t stupid enough to believe that would ever really be a reality. The raven haired celestial had seen far too many of people fall and far too many greedy tyrants get their way to believe any different.

It concerned Ophelia to hear of how Malva had been struggling with her magic. If the aspect of Malva was struggling to keep a handle over her own abilities then what hope did every other person have? Malva was right to terrified of whoever had set off this chain of events and Ophelia felt that same pit of dread in her stomach every time she thought about it and the deals she had made. “And if they managed to plan that, who knows what other twisted things they have planned” she finished off the statement Malva started, her expression showing concern. Whoever this person was, they really seemed to want to watch the world burn and didn’t care who or what they destroyed to get it. Someone with nothing to lose. It was enough to make the hair raise on the back of your arm.

Ophelia had to wonder what the endgame was, did this person want to kill all of the Ailward faction? What would make someone want to do that? There had been times when Ophelia had been so filled with hate and anger for the things Aureus and the aspects had done that she’d lashed out but never once had she wanted every one of their people to die a painful death, It truly scared her what some people seemed to be capable of doing “Sounds like Aureus is the least of my worries” she answered pressing her lips together and that was a bold statement.

Ophelia nodded softly, whatever qualms she had with the decision Malva had made, she was smart enough to know she wasn’t the real enemy, but not knowing who was frustrated her no end “I can send you the chain of contacts I had but I already chased them up after I realized what happened, for the most part it was a complete dead end” she wished there was more she could say because maybe that would help to save someone’s life. Ophelia still felt a lot of guilt for the part she played in the fall of Skye and wanted to do what she could to make things right. “Unless ‘The Darker of Two’ means anything to you” she added, though she had already looked at every book and online article there was and came up with nothing.

Truthfully, Malva was a bit taken aback when she heard Ophelia said there were still a bit of an issue working around the ambassadors of the eternal city. She was aware that their supernatural population has exceeded any other countries or cities. But she was never aware there was such tension brewing in between the faction leaders respectively. The Aspect of Magic heard about the vampire and celestial alliance but that was about it that she knew. "Oh wow, I wasn't aware there was something such as that brewing between one another.. I guess I should pay more attention next time. Only Ven attended those meetings but nonetheless, all of us should know the predicament that stands with it." She mumbled, suddenly feeling the guilt take over her as she felt as if she should have never withdrawn herself away from society so soon. 

"The peace treaty is all that kept us well and alive in this city. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, of course. But it's by far, the best city we've ever came across. Hence why we placate ourselves here eventually. It was the center of our kind. And humans react better with the likes of us. They seem to be more welcoming- okay maybe not the word I would use but really.. It's definitely a better treatment here. At least we know for sure there would not be any witch hunts or any other hunts. Lest not legally. Hostility between us will be natural. The first time we came here to intervene between the Phoenix and Initia issue, they weren't exactly welcoming. Everything was chaotic, it was almost less stressful back in the Isle. What with the 'secret' identities we had to occupy ourselves with, in fear for others knowing our true and real identity. It's quite overwhelming but I'm sure you'll settle yourself here with your faction with better terms come near future." Malva wished the best to go for the Celestials. She might never be able to make it up to what she has done to them in the past. Her crime. But the least she could do is try to build another set up for a better and civil relationship.

Like it or not, the Ailwards were still so prone to mistakes despite seeing themselves as a group of meticulous perfectionists. Nothing can go wrong every time, obviously. They were not given a task they could dally around. "Trust doesn't go around easy, I'm guessing at least both of us can say that." A bitter laugh erupted from her, who tried her best not to reminisce the old memories. Upon hearing about the memory removal incident, the slightly flaxen haired Aspect bit her bottom lip as she shook the memories off. She was responsible for that just as much too. It was a big spell that definitely took a toll on her since it was widespread across the globe, not leaving any nook nor corner to spare. They figured it would be better off if no one had any existing knowledge of their species as their existence meant power, a power anyone can get a hold on. Around that time, the Aspects were still shaken and was regaining their previous strength to maneuver everything as if nothing has changed. They didn't exactly have much of a choice other than to force their hands into the best possible option they were currently offered.

It came down to both women talking about the mysterious force and party that set off the chain of events that rattled their world. This ominous presence would definitely do anything to watch them destroy each other. "You'd think after a millennium long of controlling magic would at least give you the upper hand." The Russian born Aspect chuckled softly, shaking her head at her own self. It was truly surprising and absurd to see that she wasn't able to keep a track of her own aspect that she has been guarding for over a 1000 years long. It wasn't as if she started yesterday. "But it never gets easier. It doesn't help when I felt as if I had a chunk of my own memory hidden somewhere I can't even begin to look. A malevolent force is rising, Phe. And I'm not sure we're ready to face whatever it was. We're not exactly the best qualified bunch these days. It's taking a toll on one by one for us. I'm not stable enough to perform dark magic, that's a huge disadvantage. It's not as if you could fight dark with light all the time. It doesn't work that way and I'm sure all of us could sense something is wrong. We just haven't the root of the problem yet." Hearing the name from the wayfinder, Malva pondered for a while to what it could mean. "I don't think I've ever heard of that.. It could mean anything. How are we even certain it's even supposed to be English and not other language.. But at least it's a start. That's better than anything else."


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