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It had been a while now since Argent had moved out of the Ailward manor and into the dorms at the university, at first she had been uncertain about being away from her family but she had soothed herself in the knowledge that she could always come back and visit whenever she wanted. She honestly liked the independence and the sense of achievement she had from choosing something that was hers and exploring it. Studying fashion was interesting to her and it had allowed her to explore and create in a way she never thought was possible before, she felt like she was finally getting the resource to build a life of her own.
Tonight however, she was back here at her room in the manor, laying on her back and staring up at the ceiling, she swore her mind liked to give up on her after the sun went down and she would just be lost in thoughts. The university had set them a big first semester project which needed to mix their elective with something ego friendly and beneficial to the community, it was part of the university programme to make the world a better place while also teaching their students to be savvy and resourceful but honestly, she was drawing a blank. For someone who tried to save the world she realized she knew very little about that side of it all. She had been doing research on her laptop for the past few hours but that seemed to only go so far when it came to inspiration.
At that moment though it came to mind that there was someone here in this manor who was far more experienced in caring for the world physically than she was. Her sister Aurantia was tasked with the balance of the elements in the world, all of which relied back on an eco-friendly world. She knew how badly she could be affected by pollution or deforestation because it hurt the elements which were core to the earth. With that, Argent checked the time, it was late but she hoped she wouldn't wake Tia up. She got to her feet, shuffling through the halls before she reached her sister's room and then knocked lightly on the door, it wasn't fully closed so her knock pushed it open and she peered inside "Aura...are you awake?" she spoke softly.
Aurantia wasn't a night owl. If anything, she was a morning person. She liked waking up to the bright sun and the excitement of a new day, but tonight she couldn't sleep. It had been four hours since her bedtime came and slipped away and still she was tossing and turning. The aspect had tried her usual methods of participating in yoga and meditation, but tonight they were just making her more tense. The thoughts that usually calmed her only seemed to rile up the energy that flowed around her body and then simply...stuck. Aurantia groaned and flopped on her cast iron bed, face down. It had been a long, hard week. She'd spent Monday redirecting windstorms away from the mansion, and Tuesday reconstructing the flow of electricity throughout the powerlines that had been damaged in the same area of the city; Wednesday she'd finally caught a break and spent most of the hours with her plants, until her crocus hadn't bloomed for the first time in nearly a century. She didn't even want to think about what had happened today. Her brain was tired and her magic reserves were exhausted. The soft knock and whisper pulled Tia away from her mulling. She was awake. It had been unfortunate for the past many hours, but perhaps a little bit of company would remedy her conumdrum. "Hey, Argent." She lifted her slender hand in a half-hearted wave. "I'm awake."
The redhead pulled herself to a sitting position and patted the spot next to her on the bed. "Is something wrong?
At this point, she wouldn't be surprised.
If there was one thing she had taken from this bond she had shared with her siblings for the best part of a millennium, it was that she could rely on them to understand and share her troubles. They weren’t the same people, they all had individual thoughts and worries, they lived different lives and they tried to be as individual as they could be while also serving the purpose they were brought back to earth. Argent tried to walk that line respectfully, she believed she was owed a second chance at her own happiness. Some of her other siblings disagreed and thought their sole purpose was to stay secluded from the world.
She liked to thing they could do some really good things with their immortality and their gifts, things that made the world better but in smaller, more intricate ways than their overall goals. She shuffled inside when Tia invited her in and before long she was sitting on the edge of the bed, making herself comfortable next to the younger redhead “I was hoping I could poke your brain for some ideas” she spoke softly she crossed her legs and laid back for a moment.
“For university...I have to come up with a project that promotes world protection while also incorporating fashion...I have a few ideas but...I mean I figured I had the literally world lifeforce protector here and I thought maybe you’d have...better ones” she nodded slightly “My first thought was trying to produce clothing which minimalized carbon footprint...so...locally sourced materials...non machine creation” she nodded thoughtfully “But I’m sure that has to have been done before” she looked over at her with wide eyes wondering what Tia would think.
The bed was big and easily enough space for two to relax. There had been many nights like this over the last many years and sometimes it still tickled Aurantia that they looked the same. Their family was unique like every other. They all had their own personalities and pains and goals. The thing that knit them together was a mutual understanding of trying to make the world the best it could be, despite that it would never be perfect. Tia knew that. She knew that there would always be cracks in the way that society and everything else functioned. For the most part, she tried to help others and unite them so that they could see that despite the way the world had shaped them, hearts could beat on, together, in unison.
It didn't always work. Sometimes she had days like today, where every energy had been expanded and it still came back with little reward. Every effort could sometimes be put into a project or a person and they could still choose to reject the good. It made her sad; it was why she relied on people like Argent to help remind her that the good was worth fighting for and everyone deserved a second chance to be better. Aurantia truly believed that. There had been some people who were long gone that if she had the chance today, she'd treat them differently. She'd try her best to understand why the reacted the way they had to certain circumstances and even caused her pain. Most people didn't try to be bad just like weather didn't mean to cause destruction. It was just a side effect of existing. It simply happened.
Aurantia stretched her long legs out on the mattress and listened as her sister talked. She'd often come to her older sibling for fashion advice many years before she started to study it. It was just one of those things that Argent was good at doing, while Tia didn't mind wearing her ducky rainboots and flowy dresses to every event, even if it wasn't going to rain. "You've always been good at that stuff, Argie. It just flows to you. The way things mix," She said, staring up at the ceiling fan, watching the way that the clever piece of electronics harassed the wind. "I think all that's missing is finding a personal moment?"
She sat up, trying to think of the best way to connect her thoughts. "I've come to think of the earth as a friend. Just like in any other relationship, plenty of people treat someone badly because they've got no time, they don't care, or they just don't see the impact; but small things matter. Sometimes all you have to do is help other people realize that." Tia said. "I worked all week trying to restore parts of the community that were impacted by the recent storms and it was more disheartening than usual. The sector of the city worst affected is already poor and many of them can't afford common decencies, let alone know what to do power companies say their bills have to be paid before they'll get to work."
"I know businessmen aren't all bad. They're just trying to keep themselves afloat, you know? But I do wish that sometimes people who had more were more willing to give to those with less. Sustainability doesn't mean anyone has to suffer. It just means looking out for the little guy."
Tia frowned and reached for one of the throw pillows, hugging it to her chest. "Maybe, we could organize a benefit of some kind. Perhaps some local artists would enjoy being able to help you with creating eco-fashion, if they knew it was benefiting their neighbors. Sometimes, all you need to get people excited is the right sketch or plan."
Argent laughed and shrugged “Probably cause I try to be good at it...I swear my brain never wants to rest, it’s always for looking for the next and the next next thing to do” she was quite excitable and high energy which meant she didn’t often enjoy sitting still and doing nothing, she would even get bored halfway through movies if they didn’t have enough in them to hold her attention. That’s why she always seemed to be picking up something new to do, a new hobby, something to research, something to fix or improve.
“University is challenging...they want me to come up with things that are new...fresh...but as someone who has seen 1000 years go by, it’s very hard to create something unique” maybe she was being a little dramatic considering that if someone did it 500 years ago then she probably wasn’t going to get in trouble for doing something relatively similar. “So the most important way to help...said friend...is to find it more friends...so to speak” she responded thoughtfully, Aura did have a point, the best way to help the world and encourage a greener future was to get more people on board.
“You work so hard” Argent commented, noting that Aura was always trying to make the world a better place in small ways “So the storm victims need help with rebuilding their homes right? Surely there is something we could do to help them” their family was wealthy enough but they didn’t have money to be throwing around into every charity in the world. A lot of them helped out with their time instead, like volunteering or supporting community projects.
She raised her brows thoughtfully “True...in fact even some of my fellow students might be interested in helping...if we could make sure people don’t go cold of hungry...that would be even more important than the project itself” she was excited now because it gave the whole thing more meaning than just another assignment she needed to do “One problem though, I don’t really know any local artists” which meant they were going to need to do some research.
"That's the easy part, in this day and age." Aurantia lounged across the bed and reached for her galaxy phone, to pull up the neighborhood app. She used it often to keep track of what was going on, especially the events, or the missing pets. Tia had a bit of a way with stray cats, it seemed, and bringing them home was always preferable to letting them go hungry or to shelters that were already overwhelmed. There had been a lot of those lately, but what she was looking for were the freelance posts that often had information attached to them or links to different galleries throughout the city. "Here we go."
The page loaded and Aurantia plopped the device into her sister's hand. "A few local artists and photographers. An artist named Caleb with a gallery opening, a photographer named Artemitra with an ad for her business, and a few others." She rattled off the list of local artists, hoping one of them would sound interesting to her sister.
"I try to donate money where I can, but I've been warned about being irresponsible with giving to others before," Aurantia sighed. "I think that I try too hard sometimes when what people what most is encouragement. We can't fix everything or right every wrong, but sometimes people just need to know that you're in their corner, right? That you care."
She hoped that was true. "I'm sure some of the younger girls in the area would love to be models for your collection once it's complete. You could use the photographer to get a story in the paper and an artist can help you and some fellow students finish the designs and I can...find materials." She offered. "The recycling plant always has leftovers or items that were rejected because of ordinance codes. They could use some cleaning, I'm sure, but that could be a great way to reuse items. Plenty of cloth and fabric can be found inside other items. Like couches, or pillows. You're creative. " Aura scrunched her nose. "You'll have more ideas for them than I ever will."
Tia was always more studious than Argent ever was so she wasn’t surprised the other girl was able to find things so quickly. Honestly it surprised her that her sister hadn’t enrolled in university herself because it seemed like something which would appeal to her. She pursed her lips as she looked over the screen “Wow...they seem really talented” she commented softly as she took out her phone and started to write down the contact emails for these artists. It was a good starting point and she liked the initiative it would show to do something real with this opportunity.
“It works two-fold, for one we do something good for people but also it helps these artists to get new fans...which will hopefully mean more people are interested in their work” it seemed like a good idea but it seemed like a big challenge too. She had limited means and sway which means she was going to need to rely on people’s good nature to pull it off and while Argent loved to see the best in people she was realistic enough to know most people wouldn’t do anything for free.
Argent pressed her lips together and smiled softly, leaning her head against Tia’s shoulder when she spoke about trying to help others “I think what matters is that you’re doing something, most people just...let the world spin by around them and it’s rare for people to...reach out and try and affect others” they were lucky enough to be able to do something meaningful with their time but she understood how hard it could be for the average human to split their focus between the life they were trying to build and making others better.
She smiled softly, Tia was pretty much a genius when it came to bringing people together and things were starting to tie together in her mind “Sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without you” she teased with a slight grin before she started jotting down some notes on her phone, there was suddenly so much work to do, from getting in touch with the charity involved to seeing if she could recruit the local artists and media to get involved and also finding models for the clothes “Oh it’s pretty exciting...there was so many ideas I can come up with...we could find a way to spin plastic into fibres and then use it to make fabric” she bit her lip thoughtfully, there was so much they could put together “Though I’ll have to do some research on how we can make fabric with minimal usage of machinery...eco friendly and all” she smiled softly “You should run a charity or something” she commented with a soft voice.
Helping people was one of Aurantia's favorite things. She was a mediator at heart and hearing people argue was on her list of do not likes. Still, when people disagreed, she liked to talk to them and see what she could do to help them see eye to eye. There was almost always something that people who disagreed had in common, even if it was small. Starting from square one usually meant that there was a square two, even if it was hard to find. Her siblings often came to her for advice on dealing with or collaborating with people. She was naturally friendly and liked understanding how emotions and relationships worked. They fascinated her in the same way that plants did; which was not unusual, as the best relationships were ones of mutual growth or healing. People were always becoming and Tia loved being a facilitator of that. It inspired her to see the wheels in Argent's head spin, especially as her older sister added more ideas that she hadn't even considered.
Even as much as she loved the environment, she hadn't considered the fact that every design would have to be hand sewn and constructed. It would be a very big project, for sure, and needed a lot hands on deck. She was confident in Argent, though, if anyone would be able to pull it off, it would be her.
"I won't lie, I have thought about it." Tia nodded, with a bit of a yawn. "I don't know where I'd start, though. I'm passionate about a lot of things, but the poverty gets to me a lot lately. I want to do more than volunteer at the local women's shelter, but I know that I am only one person. I don't always know how to inspire people to join me. Sometimes it feels hard to ask because people are on their last string and asking them to give can sometimes be too much. I never want to presume that people have when I know that I am better off than most." Her pink lips creased into a frown as she thought. Evermore needed this kind of art and brightness that had been missing for the majority of the year, while sickness and crime rates seemed to rise out of control. The most powerful antidote to fear was hope and the city needed it more than anything else. "Do you remember when Evermore was smaller and we used to have monthly gatherings, of people from every faction? We may not have all gotten along, or even known each other, but it was a chance to show good will and transmit that...that effervescence to the common people."
Aurantia knew that the holidays were rapidly approaching and with them usually came either a sense of light and joy, or a sense of darkness and deep sadness. "What if...even if we couldn't do that again. I know that may be unfeasible, or unsafe, but what if we just started a community group or people who did things like paint murals and bring dinner to the sick? Surely, there are others who want to remind each other that life isn't always bad."
"I know that I do."
This city had been through a lot, anyone who he been here more than a few years knew that. But in time it had become their second home. The isle of skye would always be their first love but Evermore had become the shelter they needed after they lost their home and in time she had come to respect and appreciate the city at face value.
Argent had always been the more charismatic and loud one, she had an aura that drew other people in closer to her and she naturally knew what to say to others, Tia you could say was quieter but they reflected one another in different ways, where one lacked the other made up so to speak. That’s what made them a good team. “People are always looking for someone they can look up to, someone who shows them the path to be better” she nodded her head slightly “Like it or not, our job is to lead when it comes to all that” that was what they had been chosen as aspects for after all “Not everyone will follow...but even if only a few do, that’s better than none” you couldn’t win everyone over but you could try and the trying was what mattered in her mind.
She nodded thoughtfully when Tia talked about how when they first came to Evermore to diffuse the war they’d held gatherings in attempt to restore the peace. There had been a collaborative effort among the factions to protect the city they were from, regardless of who they were or what others had done to them “I remember those being tough times too...fights...disagreements...I mean one faction had to be ousted from the city because they couldn’t agree” the point she was making was that you couldn’t win every battle but you had to continue down the path anyway.
The city was under scary times again now, there was a threat out there which seemed to be biding their time and picky at unsteady foundations. She could see the tension in the way everyone held themselves because they honestly had no idea what they were up against “I think that would be nice...people could use something good” she nodded her head solemnly “There’s too much bad news...too much heartbreak” even the guards themselves had suffered huge losses since their home fell.
By now, Aurantia's brain was wide awake, but at least it gave her body somewhere to stow all of the excess energy. She reached for a yellow pad of paper from her nightstand and a number two pencil, starting to make lists of the different things that the community needed. She wanted to help and Argent may have just pressed the gas pedal on something she'd been wanting to do for a long time. It had often been like that with them, whether if was confiding in one another, sharing plans, or trying out different fashion in many different eras. Typically, Aurantia needed Argent's input in order to commit to something. Tia had never been the boldest of them and she wasn't exactly quick to embrace change and the aspect knew that as quickly as the world rotated, sometimes having another person bring you new perspectives was necessary.
She bit her lip, tapping the long pencil against the paper and creating a spatter trail of led marks, which could resemble the most minimalist of art. With a long, single, winding line, she wound them all together into the doodle of a dandelion. Drawing helped her think. She wasn't an artist, by any means, but it was relaxing and helped her neurons fire in a way that connected. "You know, maybe helping others is like spreading seeds...." She said slowly, imagining how dandelions spread in the spring. So many people said they were weeds, but to her they were flowers, just like every other blooming thing. "Perhaps, not every problem can be solved. That's impossible, but if you can lift people just enough that they want to help others, then the task becomes smaller, because there are more people involved."
"Think of it like Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs. If we can fulfill the food need for a few people, perhaps, in return, they can take a turn providing shelter for the people who are missing it. Those who have food can share and those who have shelter can contribute."
It should work, logically, if people wanted to share, but Argent was right that differences often separated people no matter how small they were. "We just....need something that brings people together. Helps them have fun or be able to forget the hard stuff. What is something almost everyone likes?"
What was universal among all species? What could unite people, even temporarily, to bring some light?
A lightbulb went off in her brain. "Christmas. I know it's a stretch, but even those without things usually find ways to celebrate, don't they? What if we just offered a place for it to happen. A large gathering place, some security, warmth or food, and a tree."
Aurantia groaned, hiding her face in a pillow. The more she listed, the more impossible it seemed.
Argent liked to think that any combination of their sibling group could be a powerful team but there was something about her and Tia that just clicked, they were both the ones who were always full of bright ideas though Argent could be pretty hasty in the execution while Tia tended to be more reserved out of the two of them. “I like that analogy” she responded to the idea of sewing seeds out which would eventually grow and then be able to sow seeds of their own until there were so many flowers you couldn’t even count “Exactly...small...seemingly meaningless things can mean something once they come together” that had been their whole analogy.
Originally the Ailward cause for supernatural equality came from 8 people only, 8 people willing to die for what they believed in. People who were willing to die for what they believed in. Argent liked to believe even if they stayed dead, their cause would have lived on somehow in the hearts of those they inspired. “I like to think people will do good things when they are shown good things” it was just hard to get started which is why they were struggling to bring it all together right now.
Argent lit up the moment that Tia mentioned Christmas, breaking into a wide smile “No it’s perfect, the timing is good...everyone is in a better mood over Christmas...we could even tie in the whole clothing thing and donate them...make them warm and practical while still showcasing fashion” she nodded.
She laughed and nudged Tia when she groaned “It’s okay, let’s start by listing out all the people we need to contact and then we can half the call load and see what people say” it was a short deadline she would admit but Argent loved a challenge and this whole process made her feel very inspired to get out there and do something. Not just for university but because she hoped it would inspire many people.
Spending time with Argent was always encouraging. Whenever Tia burned out or felt discouraged, her sister was always there to pick her right up again and help her see the best way to do things. They'd spent many times over many years flopped on various beds while engaged in deep conversation and today was no different. Aurantia wouldn't have changed anything about her life, not when she could look back through a lens of perspective. When she'd been young and lost the love of her life, she'd felt a despair like no other, but standing up for what she knew was right hadn't just been a choice, but for her, a moral necessity. If she hadn't been able to take on the pain or anger of someone else to protect the person that she loved, what was love meant for? It had been many years since Tia had even considered dating again. She felt quite fulfilled by her work and her time with family. As a shy young woman in a very loud world, it could be difficult to find connection that was worth her time. There was a lot of beauty in the world and romance was only one of those options. Still, she couldn't say it was something she would leave on the back burner forever. She'd seen so many find love and even helped her siblings orchestrate a good romantic gesture from time to time. The gift of ensuring lovely weather and being good with flowers did give her a bit of an advantage.
"You may be the aspect of light," Tia smiled, "But you are also simply a sunshine." She giggled, moving the large yellow pillow to her chest and giving it a hug. "I try not to have favorite sisters," She reached over and booped Argent's nose. "But, I like you."
Aurantia reached for her cellphone and started writing a list of numbers underneath the doodles. After a moment, she tore the paper into two pieces and handed half to her sister. "Here. I think that's a good place to start."
However, as excited as Tia was -- she knew that most sane people and businesses were closed at 11:59 pm. It was getting late and the real work would have to be resumed tomorrow. "Would you like to watch a movie? I still have a lot of the older ones on DVR."
She plopped the remote in Argent's hand. "Here. You can pick."
Argent was quite a whimsical and positive person, she tried her best to stay above the path of negativity no matter how much she went through. It wasn’t always easy but she found comfort in knowing others looked to her to lead the way when it came to getting back on their feet and trying to push forward. For that reason she was always looking for the next thing she could occupy herself with, it meant she was always busy but she liked being busy because it left less time to be worrying or dwelling over everything she had went through.
She giggled and scrunched her nose playfully when Tia said she was simply sunshine “I try” she responded and shrugged slightly. She could understand why other people couldn’t be quite as positive as she was, it wasn’t easy when you lived forever and had seen so many bad things come and go. But they committed to bringing good things to the world and that was what she focused on “And we all know I’m the favorite” she jested with a smile.
She looked down at the list and nodded a few times as she read through the names “Hey I know this Caleb” she commented with a bright smile as she pointed out the name on the list. She had found him when he first came to the city and that had gone on a little journey around the city “I wonder how he’s doing” she pondered with a wistful smile, it was a reminder she should check in on some of the friends she had made in the city.
She practically lit up with excitement when Tia mentioned watching a movie and handed her a remote “Well you know it’s coming up to Christmas, that means it’s acceptable to watch Love, Actually right?” she grinned playfully, cheesy choice she knew but she had a soft spot for thag movie.