She knew it was wrong. How many times had she told herself that it was utterly and inexplicably wrong? More times than she could count to. Yet there she was, the now slightly flaxen haired Aspect of Magic was standing her ground on venturing off to the city of Argolis. Malva had placed all hands on deck upon deciding that she shall go off to Greece to search for any other possible answers she could be provided with, regarding the fall and destruction of their home, Isle of Skye. How could the Russian born woman forget about it? How could any one of them forget what happened? There was no way she could push it aside without investigating about it. Only, she knew she had to push the matter aside for a while as she got down and resolved other problems on her plate.

It has been at least an hour since she had let her eyes linger on the the red ruby pendant that laid prettily on the table not far off from where she stood. Malva leant against the wall of her room and crossed her arms in contempt. She wasn’t sure what to do with the petty little trinket that she has had in her possession for almost four centuries now. For such a small thing, it held a certain aura to it and it wasn’t at all near pleasantries. It held all the dark energy she harnessed for some particular missions back in the days. Sometimes, in order to best the darkness, was to overtake it using the lesser known method. One it doesn’t expect you to go for. Life did have a tendency at wanting the most twisted for everything.

Shaking her head at her own herself, she grabbed the pendant and tossed it into the drawer before closing it furiously and sat on her bed, her sapphire hues never leaving the mahogany wooden table. It didn't last as long as she thought it would though, seeing as Malva went back to grab it and pushed it inside her purse. It wasn’t as if she could avert her attention so easily without any reason to do so despite giving herself one very solid one. Which was to forget about the past and move ahead in her life. But it’s always easier said than done, per usual. The pendant might look fancy and pretty, but it was gleaming in a very malevolent light. And if there was anything Mal knew from centuries of dwelling around magic, it’s that she doesn’t go well surrounding herself with so much dark energy as it tempts her. But she needed it for this journey.

But after what Octavia told her that day, she couldn't forget about it. This is something she needed to do, she convinced herself to do it. Her touch with magic in general had been cut off, albeit not fully, but it doesn't feel like how it was supposed to feel and if Malva couldn't cope or adapt to those changes, then what's the point? Especially with the chaos incited as of late, things were hectic and it was slowly overwhelming the purple dragon to the brink of insanity. Mal had rummaged through her closet yesterday to find one particular book she kept locked away until she realized she didn't bring it with her. Keeping it in the manor should have been the safest choice but not to Malva, that book was way too important to just be laying around so she had kept it somewhere else in 1698. 

Mal didn't pack much, she literally only put enough clothes to last for a few weeks because the Citadel had their own clothes to be worn and they can venture to Athens if they want. Her hair was a lighter shade of brown and it was slightly longer, the Aspect of Magic stared at her reflection in the mirror before making her way downstairs with her luggage, to wait for Octavia at the living room. This trip wouldn't be anywhere near a luxurious vacation to Greece, yeah people know they'll stay at a hotel in Athens but Mal was going on a pilgrimage to Mycenae Citadel located in Argolis which would take all the attention away. She perched one arm on the couch and allowed her white persian ragdoll cat, Seraphire, nestle in her lap. 

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To say things had been complicated lately was probably an understatement, there was a part of her that wanted to crawl under her sheets and never come out again and there were days where it felt stronger than her and days where she felt like she could fight it. She was playing every day by ear in that sense, trying to figure out where her place was in the world now that it wasn’t alongside Vlad. She was lucky that she had her family, both her children and Theo and especially Aurelia, she knew that but right now she also felt a little lost when she looked in the mirror, not really remembering the person she had been before she met Vlad because he had been such a big part of her life for so long.

Her main way of coping had been to throw herself into work mostly, she was the first person to put her name forward for any investigation missions or anything she felt would help to figure out what happened and prevent someone else from having to go through the pain she was feeling. She found purpose in investigating every little detail that had happened, trying to figure out what happened to her memory, trying to investigate why people like Ery and Malva seemed completely unable to piece together what happened. Looking for any answer that didn’t come back to her very worst fears.

She guessed that’s why a part of her had immediately jumped at the opportunity to be Malva’s personal guard, while it meant she would be doing fewer field missions with the overall guard, the blonde honestly believed that the best shot that had at figuring all of this out was through the aspect of magic. And perhaps even though she wouldn’t admit it out loud, it felt easier for her to handle everything she was going through by losing her own involvement in it and just worrying about everyone else instead. She knew that wasn’t the most healthy way there was at coping but it did keep her distracted and being distracted stopped her from feeling like she was going to completely fall apart. And unfortunately, there was a lot to worry about when it came to Malva.

Which is what lead to this particular mission. She had already packed a bag with the essentials she would need along with one of the guard equipment kits and her own weapons. She wasn’t sure exactly what it was all going to entail but she knew they were going to a citadel in Greece to attempt to get Malva’s connection with her magic back as while she still managed to just about clutch onto the threads of it, her ability to control it was slipping and her pull to dark magic seemed to only get stronger with every passing day. Octavia wasn’t going to pretend she understood the inner workings of magic as well as Mal or any of the diviners in the guard but she did know there was cause for concern here.

Throwing the last of her things into the bag and completing her official mission report for Ery which she dropped into his office on the way past she got ready to head back out into the world again after spending the past few months only at the castle. She hadn’t even really been out into the city all that much so this was a big step but with a deep breath, she was ready to go and face the world. They hadn’t called her intrepidus when she was younger for no reason, she had never scared easy and she didn’t intend on starting now. She headed down into the living room and placed down her bag “So from previous calculations, you have about 3 weeks total you can be away from the manor” she spoke matter of factly as she shrugged on her jacket “We should try and be done in two, I don’t want to risk it” she warned as she met the aspect’s gaze “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” she asked though she was already heading for the door before her own answer to that question changed.

She didn't pack much, which was really an actual situation if she really looked at it. Seeing as this wouldn't be her first time embarking a journey on a pilgrimage to a sacred place for spiritual connection, Malva knew what to expect and what not to expect, which was why she only brought things she needed. It wasn't even a luggage carrier, only a backpack filled with a few spare clothes and her essentials, things she'd use or probably need before or after getting out of Mycenae Citadel. She had another bag filled with her spell journals and ancient books alongside a few vials and herbal pouches. Malva had one hand stroking her white cat's fur while the other hand was busy rummaging the insides of that bag, to which she stopped her hand movements and pulled out a silver dagger and not just any simple ancient dagger either.

 It had a beautiful Greek engraving on the hilt and blade respectively, the handle was thin and light, she was so into staring at it that she didn't even realized Octavia was already down. Nodding in affirmation, she confirmed her calculations, "Yes, 3 weeks tops. I should already be feeling a bit nauseous or uneasy on my 15th day, so yeah around that time" she pushed Seraphire off her lap and placed her on the left side of the pillow instead before pulling out a silver bracelet from her pocket, extending it to the blonde, "Take it. It's one of my powerful charm bracelets. Pun intended." A small smile graced her lips as she offered it to Octavia, "I know you can take care of yourself but I don't want to risk it. That will at least enhance your already impeccable self-preservation. It will prevent you from death, if you were struck by a killing blow, although decapitation or organ loss would render this useless because it doesn't regenerate anything." 

It was actually a Swarovski silver bracelet with diamond set in. "I did that charm on that bracelet just a year ago… before my magic went to wack." It explains why it was a new bracelet, unsurprisingly from a limited edition. Malva wasn't into trendy clothes but she is a big fan of jewelry hence why she had plenty of collection on them over the centuries. "No, I'm not ready for this… when am I ever really ready for anything" she grumbled and flashed her car keys, beckoning for Octavia to follow her to the garage as she gave a farewell wave to her cat, "Did you tell my brother anything? What did you tell him, anyway?" she asked, finding it peculiar that her brother would allow only Octavia to accompany her. "Though the real question is, how many weapons did you bring?" 

Compared to Malva, Octavia looked like she overpacked, she glanced at the backpack she was holding and took a long breath before looking at her much larger one. It was better to be over-prepared than underprepared she decided and nodded slightly, after the last few missions she had been on, she needed to keep her wits about her and frankly, while Malva knew what they were getting themselves into, Octavia had much less idea. She had cased the location of course, and the people there. It was a risk but she balanced it as a risk that was worth taking. “I’m just pre-empting you to it because if it gets too close I’m pulling us out of there, understood?” she knew Mal might want to risk it for the sake of finishing the task but Octavia’s duty was to protect her before anything else.

Octavia watched the grumpy looking cat, acting less than impressed that she’d been pushed aside and shook her head slightly in amusement before she turned back to see Mal holding out a bracelet towards her. She pursed her lips for a moment before studying it “What’s the catch?” she asked as she took the bracelet from Mal and studied it for a moment, wrapping it around her wrist and then doing up the clasp. Octavia knew how magic worked, there was always a drawback to counteract an advantage and that was a pretty hefty advantage. “Not that I intend on dying of course but….I get the feeling we’re going to be messing with some pretty dark magic and I don’t trust it” Mal knew things about magic much better than she did but she had seen magic do some pretty awful things in her time. Including what she suspected led to the death of her husband.

“I’m gonna pretend you didn’t just tell me you’ve been secretly holding onto something this powerful for a year” she commented nonchalantly and shrugged her shoulders, she wasn’t surprised, the aspects always seemed to be off doing their own things nowadays and she feared, somewhat growing apart as they became accustomed to the city and their own lives. “I’ll take it” she responded when Mal said she wasn’t ready but started heading to the garage anyway “Me and your brother came to an understanding” she responded with a shrug of her shoulders “Plus there were parts he didn’t need to know” she added with a firm nod, she didn’t feel great about that but she had promised herself she would do whatever it took to figure this all out and she got the feeling that started with Mal.

When she asked about her weapons she pursed her lips “Probably better you don’t know the answer to that question” she spoke bluntly and then headed down towards Malva’s car “I’m guessing you’re driving today” she commented as she waited for her to unlock the doors and then opened the trunk to put her gear inside. They were traveling by plane because without her magic, Mal wasn’t able to make portals but the guard was hoping that they may be able to save themselves a long journey home if this all worked. “So remind me again when you actually plan to do at the citadel?” she wasn’t sure it was going to help her but she wanted to know for her own sanity.

Malva had to admit, seeing the amount of baggage Octavia was bringing with her had managed to bring a smile to her lips, a small quirk that meant she was highly amused by her actions. Even if it was the simplest things ever, the Ivakovs always did give her something to laugh or smile on. It was a refreshing thought to know that they would be here for her. Even when others would leave her. "I'm guessing you were like contemplating your own choices right now, for bringing a lot compared to me" she laughed, the mirth made an indication that she was refraining herself from breaking down into laughter, "But then again, I'm not Cora… or Argent, no offense, sisters. I don't dress up to impress neither do I find any amusement in bringing something that I'm not even interested in" she giggled softly, throwing her head back against the pillow, "Call me old-fashioned." 

Though Mal knew there were good reasons to why the Nephilim decided to bring that much, Greece is famous for its age and magic, it's a place filled with power and energy alike, it's either your heaven or hell, depending on the said individual. For Malva, it used to be her heaven, keyword, used. But now? Guess the both of them will find out soon. "I know, I'll try to get things done as soon as I can, Tavia. I don't want to stay there any longer than I actually have to, you know. Staying there is a reminder that I went there with my magic going spiraling nonsense" she winced inwardly at the mention of her magic going hazy, "I'd rather not be reminded. Besides, Mena is probably still alive somewhere there and I did set her whole dress on fire the last time I met her." It has been about 200 years since then but immortals tend to stick around with vengeance, even if they were playful banters. To say that she wasn't offended upon hearing that from Octavia as soon as she clasped on the bracelet she offered, would be a lie, okay Malva is easily offended, but it was understandable why the angel child would feel that way, it was justified.

 "We are" she confirmed, "We are going to be messing with a lot of things, not just dark… where we're going, it's a continuum. A space in between. Light and dark doesn't even matter there. You either find yourself… or you don't. I would like to find myself before it gets to me, of course. It's like playing a race but with time catching up to you with its claws" She tried not to make it sound scary but that is exactly what it is like, in reality. "I'll be mindful, I promise." Losing herself is the last thing they'd want to do anyway. "The bracelet is just for a precaution. You can never be too careful, remember? You taught me that." There was a slight glint of mischievousness hinting in her hues, somehow and somewhere, that Malva they missed, it was still inside there. "Nobody knows I had those charms. Admittedly, I have an array of them in different modes but that's a story for another day" But before Octavia could even say a word about it, she interrupted her with a sheepish grin, "And no, you may not know where I put them. That defeats the purpose of it being a secret." 

Knowing that Octavia didn't fully confide with her brother regarding her current problems made the Aspect of Magic sigh in relief, she could always count on her, of course. That was the main reason, the driving factor that led the brunette to choose Octavia as Damien's replacement. She needed someone she trusted and honestly, there weren't many of those. "Just promise me we won't need to stop for a further checkup when we pass in the airport" she jested, unfortunately due to her current status, Malva wasn't able to use portaling services so it was airplane method. "Yeah, I'm driving. The airport isn't far off, and you need your strength, I always fidget when I talk about personal things anyway, I needed the distraction, which I'm pretty sure you, like anybody else, wanted to know just what the hell happened to me until I am like this." With her, she can say it. Perhaps.

 As soon as she started the engine and got into the driver's seat, she adjusted the seatbelt and pressed her lips into a thin line, "I don't know where to start, honestly. I feel like a beginner witch trying to find her way around. I guess I'll start like that. I haven't been feeling the nature for a while now, it feels like my connection to magic itself was severed but it's not dead, just mutilated. So it's a spiritual journey to reconnect to it but you know, nothing comes without a price. Even for Aspects, they don't even give us a discount."

Octavia shrugged slightly “Well a little but then you’re not a guard so” which was her way of saying they had specific things they were obligated to bring and also Tavia wasn’t all that comfortable with wearing other people’s clothes so she liked to have her own on hand “Most of it is standard mission essentials” she assured with a nod of her head. The blonde eyed her for a moment as she brushed off the warning she made but she got the gist of it and that was all that really mattered “Good then we won’t be having this discussion again in 2 weeks time” though the green-eyed Nephilim didn’t have 100% confidence in that statement because she knew what Malva was like when she got her mind stuck on something “Well being reminded is kinda the point of this trip, I don’t think there’s any point dodging around it” besides it wasn’t like it was something she had to announce in front of the guard, it was just her and the aspect and Octavia already knew pretty much everything she needed to. When she said she set a woman’s dress on fire she opened her mouth to ask for an explanation but then she pressed her lips back together again and shook her head. Probably best not to ask.

The two of them both seemed to be aware that this was a very high-risk trip through and Octavia had to admit that it did make her nervous that it was only the two of them, not because she doubted her own ability or anything like that but because of the magnitude of what they were facing it might have been nice to have someone to refer her decisions to. “You really do have a way of describing everything in the most terrifying way possible, you know that?” she gave her a questioning look and shook her head slightly. “Well yes but I’d still prefer not to mess with that kind of magic, I have a feeling there’s a steep price to pay for it” she naturally played with the silver chain around her wrist while they talked which showed a little of her nerves. When Mal told her she couldn’t know the location of the charms she had hidden the guard smiled sweetly “It’s cute you think you can hide things from me” she patted gently on her shoulder and left it at that, Octavia wasn’t a clueless guard, she knew pretty much everything the aspects did, she had seen their vulnerable sides, she had definitely noticed when they snuck out to see their secret lovers.

Hiding things from Erythreus wasn’t exactly her favorite thing to do but she also knew how to pick her battles and ensure that what she thought needed to be done, got done. He knew enough about where they were going that she could call in backup if they needed it and that was enough for her. “No worries there, guard remember, I travel with these things all the time” plus Argent and Cora had made them charms which hid most suspect stuff from being able to be seen. “Alright, I called ahead and paid for parking so we just need to head to the overnight garage and we’re good” she nodded as she climbed into the car, closing the door behind her and putting on her seatbelt “Well I’m pretty sure that question has been on tip of most people’s tongues but most people know better than to piss you off” she spoke it frankly because the aspect of magic had definitely done things out of irrationality in the past. She was led by her emotions a lot of the time.

The blonde leaned back in her seat and gave Mal the lead on explaining this however she wanted to, Octavia had no idea about any of it, she just knew that the aspect would likely go and do this mission with or without her and she wanted to ensure her safety in doing so “And you have no idea why you’ve been...cut off?” she commented as she glanced over towards her, having seen the most powerful things come from her in the past, the Nephilim found it hard to believe it would have just faded on its own. “Was it maybe ...connected to Skye?” she knew no one liked to talk about it but a lot of things felt like they changed since they had lost half the ranks including people they all really cared about. Her eyes remained out the window, watching the cars rush by in the city and planes take off in the distance, telling her they were getting close to the airport “And are you ready to pay the price?” there was something nagging in her stomach telling her that none of these events seemed to be individual and that all the strange things that happened, seemed to come all at once, over the past 3 years.

Malva rolled her eyes playfully at the blonde when she said she wouldn't understand the sentiment because she wasn't a guard, "Fine" she stuck out her tongue childishly and shook her head,  hey this was still fine for the Aspect of Magic. It wasn't often for Malva to smile or laugh, especially last of late, when her life has been a stick of nothing but filled with misfortune and heavy sighs due to the imbalance that struck the nature. It was the sole reason why she even opted for this trip anyway. Had it been up to her, she would not want to go back to the Citadel, there were good memories sure but there were also, undoubtedly, less pleasant ones too. "Well, I hope whatever is inside the standard mission essential bag would not contain anything that would prevent us from passing the airport security check" she narrowed her blue hues towards the other female, knowing very well that she would carry weapons on her, and it was probably right for Mal not to know where. 

"Sorry that I can't use a portal for us, this time. Mine would be a bit woozy and god knows where I'd end up transporting us to. I'd rather be on the ground with my two feet instead of having to fly back" she grinned sheepishly, Malva was not in the mood to fly to Greece, it wasn't as if she remembered the precise coordinates to aid their journey anyway. Seeing the look on Octavia after Malva quite literally said that she once burned a lady's dress off, the Aspect of Magic refrained herself from giggling. The Nephilim's facial expressions are always such a rack. "Is that terrifying? Sorry" she pressed her lips together and apologized briefly, she didn't mean to make it sound like that, "Though I'd say it's better than you having to hear the sugarcoated version" she quipped, wait did she even prepare one? "Not that there is one, anyway. You know me, Tavia, I don't sugarcoat. Too much effort." She could understand why the blonde felt reluctant to resort to such protection, magic is still so volatile, you can never be too sure of it. Even Malva knew that.

 "Let's hope nothing will happen where you may need to use that" she pointed at the silver chain wrapped around her wrist, god, she hoped not. Malva widened her eyes in surprise when Octavia patted her shoulder and left, but not before telling the brunette Aspect that she can't hide anything from her, "Wait-what do you mean by that?! O, do you know where I keep them?!" She trailed behind the Nephilim and tried to catch up, for a while there, it seemed as if Malva is just that girl, no burdens, nothing. How much she would like that to be true. Malva didn't usually like to drive, to her, it was tiring, but since she was their coordinator and guide today, it was inevitable. "You are well-prepared" she pointed out, a small smile playing on the corner of her lips, indicating that she was impressed, per usual. Octavia just had this professional air about her that she was sure many noticed. 

"Am I really... " she pursed her lips slightly and bit her bottom lip before continuing with her question in hand, "Am I really that scary? Do you think I was too much? Too harsh on the others?" The tone in her voice felt like it belonged to a timid girl, it sounded soft and there was reluctance accentuating them, it sounded as if she was being vulnerable. Shaking her head at her question, she sighed heavily, "Unfortunately, no. I tried reaching out but the result was the same. Whenever I tried, it felt on a short end, even if it worked, it didn't even last half as long as it should. And when I tried to push myself for it, I get nosebleeds. I haven't had them for centuries, Tavia." No wonder she was so bothered. 

When the Nephilim tried to link it to the fall of their home, Malva found herself staring at the road intensely, "I don't know. Maybe. Nature has this calling, most families or covens if you may, practice a certain type of magic. My mother's was ancestral while my father's was traditional. When you reach out, they usually respond. But mine didn't. Not anymore." Losing a grip on her element like that, it made her worried, "I'm scared." When was the last time she showed such emotion? The car entered the parking lot soon after and she found the spot that was reserved and parked it at the overnight garage, when she successfully parked it over, she turned to face the blonde to answer her question earlier, "Anything to get my magic back." And she wasn't sure if that makes her dangerous or not. "Come on" she beckoned and pushed the door open, "Do I even have a choice, anyway? I need my magic back."

Octavia gave her a look that pretty much said ‘Do you think I’ve never been on a mission before?’ and rolled her eyes slightly “You just worry about getting us to the right gate and not losing anything” she commented with a shake of her head “It’s fine, not like we normally travel by portal anyway, not all of us have dragon powers” she laughed softly and shrugged her shoulders, besides she was impartial to flying, there was something relaxing about being above the clouds and watching the world fly by below you. Octavia laughed when Mal asked if the story was terrifying and she nodded slight “Yeah, you know, just a little” but then Octavia was known for not scaring easily too so the idea of it only spurred her on rather than made her recoil. “Well good, because neither do I and we’re probably going to work together better like that” she wasn’t one for niceties or lying to protect someone’s feelings, she wanted to just tell them how it is.

“You’re nothing if not the eternal optimist Mal” she spoke sarcastically noting the way she kept coming up with the worst-case scenarios, now Octavia was no sunshine and rainbows girl herself but Mal did have a way of bringing this eerie mood over the conversation when she talked about things. She gave a playful look back to Malve when she asked if she knew where she hid her trinkets and most valuable possessions “Wouldn’t you like to know” he commented as she tapped against her nose slightly and grinned. It was hard to hide anything from one of the eldest guards in the manor, she noticed everything, she knew everyone’s temperaments and tendencies too. “I’m always well prepared, better to over-prepare than to find yourself in a situation you can’t handle” she liked to think she was a good guard who fulfilled her duty to the Ailward cause.

Octavia bit her lip when Mal asked if she was that scary, she shook her head slightly “You’re not a scary person but you are someone who is very heavily driven by your emotions which means sometimes you let them get the better of you” she nodded slightly “Which isn’t a bad thing, showing that you give a damn, that’s what keeps you in touch with your humanity but” she shrugged slightly “I can be a little intimidating to those who don’t know you better” Octavia was probably the opposite, it was easy for people to assume she had really thick skin and can handle anything because she gave the impression that nothing bothered her that much but that was pretty far from the truth. “So do you remember any specific event or time when it stopped or was it a fade over time?” she was trying to pinpoint the reason for it outside of what Malva suggested.

The way Mal explained her access to her magic “I don’t think it would just happen Mal, it doesn’t seem right for the balance of the world to just shut you out like that” Malva had been chosen as the person to take care of that element and maintain the balance so it seemed completely counterproductive for magic to turn it’s back on Malva now. “I know” she said softly, she was scared too, though she rarely admitted that because it just wasn’t in her nature to feel fear or let it consume her, if she did that then she literally wouldn’t be able to get out of bed most mornings. “Alright, well if you’re in then I’m in” she spoke without a second thought, she was probably going to be lost as hell when they actually got there and constantly asking what was happening but she would be there regardless “You should know you do have a choice though, I don’t care what that aspect intuition of yours says, you have a choice” she was firm on that point as she got out of the car, opened the trunk to grab her things and headed towards the airport.

They headed into the airport which was busy like it always was in the mornings and quickly found the check-in desk for the airline they had booked, after checking in one of her two bags which passed the weight limit by only a few grams she took their tickets and held one out to Mal before they went to security. She showed her passport at the gate before heading through security, shooting Mal a smug gaze over her shoulder when she got through without a hitch and then headed through to the departure hall. They had about an hour before their gate would be called so she found a couple of seats in front of a screen and sat down, propping her smaller bad up alongside her “I guess you don’t get to use an airport too often huh” she commented to the brunette as she crossed one leg over the other.

Malva quickly held both her hands up in defense as soon as she received the scrutinizing look from the Nephilim, as if she was acknowledging her own defeat in this, only to give Octavia a sheepish grin in return when she exclaimed that the Aspect of Magic should focus and worry on getting them to the right gate instead, "I know I don't fly often, but I'm not that… inexperienced, jeez, Tavia." Okay, maybe she did have a point. It's not as if she likes flying via airplanes anyway. "Ugh, now that you've said it, I actually miss portalling. You know when they say we should never take things for granted, yeah that's exactly what I'm feeling right now. I miss portalling" she murmured and covered her face dramatically, this was saying something considering the Ailward Aspect usually likes to screw others by giving them another experience of being portalled.

 When she said the story she told earlier was a bit off the edge, Malva pressed her lips together and chuckled sheepishly, "Well, you know me and sugarcoating… we never had the best history, like… ever." One of the many things she liked about the Nephilim was that she doesn't only talk, but the actions tells a lot. She doesn't sugarcoat, for instance, which is quite possibly, Malva's biggest pet peeve. Brutally honest? Not quite, she just needed honesty, and Octavia delivers exactly that. "Why, thank you for that half-hearted compliment" she rolled her eyes playfully and chuckled, at least Octavia knows how to make her laugh. That's more than what she could say for most people. "True, you do you, Tavia. Keep me safe and close. Make sure I get back fully intact, I'd really appreciate that part. And for my part, I will try not to get myself into trouble with any vengeful spirits of witches who ever got their satisfaction with me." That doesn't sound too assuring which made her wince briefly. At least, she'll try. 

Unsurprisingly, she does have her fair share of making people moody throughout the centuries, especially witches in comparison. She knew sometimes she could get a bit too over the head when it comes down to emotions, which was the major reason why she opted to keep most of that locked up somewhere in her so that it would not hinder her progress. For a brief period of her life, Malva was quite emotionless. Which was the exact opposite of what the purple dragon was. "Maybe I do that so that people would keep themselves away from me. A safe distance, you know? I've never been that good when it comes down to making friends." It was clear that she didn't want that to be her exterior forever, but when do you really get what you want? The more people she got attached to, the more dangerous she poses a threat to herself.

 "The last time I hit the rock on my magic was about 400 years ago, I eventually got a wind of it and ever since then, I started to channel here and there. So I don't get overwhelmed… but those things could only last long. A practice wasn't supposed to last forever, you see. It's a temporary thing. I was wondering if this was the same as that incident, when I got a bit too close to the taste of ancient magic" she bit down on her lips and sighed heavily, "I may have dwelled around the books a few times, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle... " Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, maybe Mal did lose control for a quick while. "I'm not sure if this is nature or if it's me. You know the mind can do some pretty powerful stuff to you. The will is stronger than we think. But it doesn't make sense that I wouldn't want to reconnect with my magic." Which is exactly what's leaving her at the question mark. She has a choice, that's what Octavia said. It made the Aspect smile silently because it's been awhile since someone told her that. 

The process didn't take them long despite the airport bustling with people in the morning, as she was waiting for the Guard to finish her security checkup, Mal scoffed at the smug gaze given by Octavia who passed with ease, "Now I'm curious where you store those weapons at but I have a feeling I shouldn't ask." She shook her head in response to her remark, "No, I don't get to use the airport often. You know I don't like being tailed by others whenever I go anywhere, it's been that way for centuries. I only ever brought my personal guard with me-" her breath hitched as she halted halfway because she didn't part ways with her former guard before Damien, that well. "Have you ever went back home? The home… where you were from?" 

Octavia found it entertaining how defensive Mal could get when it came to pretty much everything “I’m just saying missing the plane because we got lost would definitely not be the best start to the trip” she laughed and gave a mock roll of her eyes. Listening to Mal talk about portalling she nodded slightly “It’s definitely far easier than waiting several hours to get to your destination but then most people in the world don’t have the luxury” only Diviners really and even then it took a lot of magic and energy to make one so most of them only saved it for times when they really needed one. Portalling always made Tavia nervous because of the whole risk of getting stuck in limbo thing but she’d traveled that way several times before and it was definitely a massive time saver.

Her green eyes watched Malva carefully as she talked about sugarcoating “Well at least everyone always knows where they stand with you I suppose” Octavia was pretty direct but Mal was on another level when it came to her demeanor and she could understand why some people might mistake the way she acted as pretty intimidating. Octavia had to laugh when Malva quite sarcastically thanked her for her half-compliment and she gave a sweet smile “You are so welcome” she teased back and shook her head slightly because she had a feeling it was going to be a lot of this back and forth between them. She eyed the aspect when she spoke about vengeful spirits then narrowed her gaze “Why does that sound more like a disclaimer to save yourself later rather than an actual promise?” actually, she really didn’t want the answer to that because the idea of having to face up against ghosts or something equally creepy wasn’t on the top of her priority list.

Thankfully Octavia wasn’t easily annoyed, probably part of being a mother and experience 2-year-old tantrums in her life, she was pretty much at ease with most other things and not all that bothered by sarcasm or people being grumpy. Something she had noticed that Mal tended on a lot but she didn’t take it personally, it seemed like it was more just a part of who she was than anything. “Well how’s that working out for you?” there were other people like her who were pretty stubborn and wouldn’t let those metaphorical walls hold them back and Tavia was pretty sure she wasn’t the only one who felt that need to push past them. “Cause I’d say not much good comes from pushing everyone away, especially those you know for a fact could be positively impacting on your life” she glanced over at her for a moment and nodded, she understood the fear of losing people too well so she got it but she also didn’t see much good coming from building the walls so high no one could get in.

Hearing Mal talk about the process of her magic was interesting because despite being supernatural herself, Octavia didn’t really have much experience with the flow of magic or how it all worked, she knew about ley lines and that diviners could get their power from many places, some found it in ancestral lines, others in nature, some in mystical objects. “I’m going to guess that ancient magic is ancient for a reason” she commented in a somewhat flat tone but raised her brow slightly curiously about it “Well if your powers were adversely affected I’d say it was more than you could handle” she pointed out with a furrow of her brow, just the mention of this kind of magic was actually giving her the shivers and she felt a little uncomfortable about it all “You don’t think you might be subconsciously afraid of the kind of magic you would let in?” she was stabbing in the dark really because Mal was the expert on magic and not her but it sounded like perhaps she was being punished for using a kind of magic she shouldn’t.

She was glad once they were past security and could just relax for a bit “Well you know, a magician never gives away their secrets and all” she commented and winked, she listened to the way Mal talked about using an airport and it set the guard on edge a little for her to mention being followed by others. She understood what she meant, usually, these trips meant bringing several guards along because no one could afford for something to happen to one of the aspects. It was a risk, agreeing to do this trip just the two of them but it was one she would take if it meant bringing one of their strongest players back into the game. Malva’s question did surprise her though and she glanced over at her before shaking her head slightly “No can’t see why I’d want to go back to a row of graves, after my sister was taken it was like my whole family died on the inside” and she couldn’t stand to sit and watch that so she had taken off to find some purpose of her own. It had been hard, but she didn’t regret it.

"You're silently mocking me, I know" she shot playfully, narrowing her blue hues on the Nephilim, making a gesture with her hands that pretty much says 'I'm watching you' with her two fingers, "But that's okay because you're you. And the fact that my magic is woozy, that too." She does miss portalling now that Octavia had mentioned it, no other people bothering her and they can go back and forth without a problem, "Ugh, I want a portal so bad now." At least she won't have to deal with a kid kicking her back seat. "I can't believe the day would come where I would hear myself saying I miss conjuring up a portal." She better believe it. There were times when Mal tried to muster up the effort to portray herself in a much more delicate manner but the only thing delicate about the Ailward Aspect is basically her heart and hair. "I try not to be so… abrasive but Reus says I sound like I can't be bothered to deal with another minute of that" she murmured sheepishly, rubbing the back of her head awkwardly.

When Octavia pointed out that it wasn't much of a hopeful wish other than a future disclaimer for what's about to happen soon, Malva shrugged and grinned bashfully, "You said you like being prepared so I'm telling you all of this… in advance." That's one way to word it. "Let's just say I don't always get along with some covens, or people, in general… but that's beside the point, they don't like my ways and I don't like theirs. Once upon a time, I called them out because they worked things up for no reason and blew things out of proportion throughout the entire time I was at the citadel" It was one of the biggest factors why she tends to 'shy away' from diviners. "Don't worry, they're dead. I hope they'll stay dead. And even if they mess up, I'm sure the priestesses there will aid us when it comes down to it" she reassured lightly, patting the blonde's shoulder softly. God, she hopes so. When asked how well that's worked out for her, the dragon pursed her lips and sighed heavily, "I think I stopped caring a while ago. At least that's what I tell myself. But we both know that's far from the actual truth." Octavia knows her better than most people, considering the Aspect of Magic never allowed a lot of people to approach her.

 But she wasn't always like this, when they first started out, in the early few centuries in, Malva was quite carefree despite her sarcastic ways, it seemed like all of that was either fluttering away or kept hidden after so many incidents occurring. "I'm starting to open myself up though… I… allowed people to get close to me, not many but they exist" The human Defense General is one of them. "Ancient is ancient, Tavia. That's the kind of magic I've been using 1200 years ago. My coven specializes in traditional magic and that's all I've been working on for the most part of my life. I only ever branched out after I was Aspect of Magic, it's ancient to others but not to me, it's the only connection I felt that's actually me." Every diviner usually had their own preferred methods, it was what differentiated them from one another and this was hers despite being the Aspect of Magic, it's that fact that she learns every single day. But the more she talked about it with the other female, the more Malva could see the probabilities behind it, could she be right? Could that be the reason why she was so hung up? Because she was subconsciously afraid of it?

 "I think so. Things back weren't so… categorized. It's volatile and unpredictable now but it's nowhere near half of what the early centuries provided us with. It's why ancestral magic stopped being practiced almost 400 years ago, it doesn't fit with what the covens envisioned and when people try to play and tamper with something they don't fully understand, it snaps back" She remembered that became one of the many reasons why she grew distressed back then, because everyone wants change but they're not willing to weigh in the chances. "I admit… I've been revising? I guess you can say that, yeah, revising… one of those books are on blood magic. It's another branch of connective magic and it's very… connected. The connection doesn't break off until that blood ceased, aka until that person dies and gets buried in the ground or their remains are scattered back to nature. I tried to read up on it because it's been a while since I even thought about them, people are practicing dark things, Tavia." 

Her words were slowly turning into a whisper, "They're playing with something they shouldn't. I can't prevent things if I don't understand them… so I tried to get used to it so I could understand them better. But it rejected me." Malva remembered distinctly that Argent once found her crying in blood because of it, it had severely traumatized the brunette but she doesn't know how to give up. Their flight is due in a while, so the Ailward Aspect paid attention to the clock displayed on the screen not far from where they were at, "Home doesn't usually bring back good memories" she mused softly, "I actually miss going back. But I don't think I can. I don't think I'm ready to go back." The clock was ticking down and soon it was their time to board the plane, to which Mal tugged on Octavia's sleeve so they could make their way to the boarding gate, "Why did you agree to come with me on this trip? I know you're my personal guard but there must be something else. Not that I don't cherish your company, I do. Better than 10 of our guards too."

Octavia sent her a look for a moment when she said she was warning her in advance to be prepared “You’re not filling me with confidence about letting you take this mission solo right now” though people would be sorely mistaken if they underestimated the blonde and her ability to protect the aspects. “More of that abrasiveness working for you huh?” she commented with an expectant gaze as Mal talked about covens that didn’t like her but she swallowed at the mention of them being dead and hoping that would stay dead “You really every word you say is just adding to my migraine right now right?” she eyed her for a moment and sighed exasperatedly. “We all care more than we let on, some are just better than hiding than others” if they didn’t care they wouldn’t be here after all.

Octavia had noticed the shift in Mal lately though, she had always been the kind to go it alone and that hadn’t changed, her first thought when talking about going to the citadel was how could she minimize the number of people that came with her. In some ways, Tavia understood because she was the type to go things alone but then on others, it was incredibly frustrating, especially because it was the blonde’s sole responsibility to make sure Mal was safe. “Ancient is a word I have found never leads to good things” she quipped back at the brunette and narrowed her eyes for a moment “So basically you need to connect with an old kind of magic you haven’t truly been connected with for years” she nodded and pressed her lips together “Got it” she spoke gently, she had to admit being the personal guard for the aspect of magic might turn her hair gray before long.

“So much like most people don’t have use for film cameras because we have digital nowadays, Diviners don’t need ancestral magic because they’ve found new sources for power” she commented trying to rationalize what the aspect was saying with things she actually understood. Octavia listened to Mal as she talked about her ‘revision’ and the blonde had to admit that worried her because she knew they were starting to get desperate and turn to things they normally wouldn’t consider and while she was first in line to throw herself into this investigation and getting justice for Vlad, she knew risking the aspects was the last thing they should be doing “I don’t even need to understand it to know that kind of magic is dangerous Mal” she eyed the brunette for a moment and pressed her lips together “Do you really think dark magic is the key to defeating this?” she knew they had few other options but none of it was sitting all that well with her, such dark things didn’t seem right to be fed with more darkness.

“The question I have to ask is if they shouldn’t be doing this and it goes against nature, how are they still managing to do it?” she raised her brows curiously because she wasn’t sure either of them had an answer for that question, at least not one they wanted to speak into existence anyway. Octavia nodded when Mal said she wasn’t sure she was ready to go back home, it had been all this time and still wounds could remain for so long in the pit of your stomach “Maybe there will be a day when that changes but if not, home is where everyone else is right?” Skye had been their home at once point and now it was gone and while they were still hurting over everything that happened, it did make her realize that home wasn’t the place itself.

Before they knew it, time had passed as they chatted away and now it was time to go to the gate, Octavia followed Mal through the airport, keeping her eyes alert as they walked just in case anyone had overheard any of their conversations or recognized the Ailward aspect. She was so focused on watching the people and following the brunette that she didn’t really take in her question at first but after she realized what she was saying Octavia shrugged slightly “I couldn’t stay in that manor any longer and have everyone stare at me like I’m about ready to break” she spoke softly “I had to do something” she nodded a couple of times “Besides, you annoy me the least out of most people there and you need someone you can trust” and Octavia was willing to bend the rules to ensure what they needed to do, got done.

They were at the gate for about 15 minutes before they started boarding onto the plane and she followed the aspect onto the jet, making their way through the streams of people until they reached their seats, she had to admit she was always thankful that the Ailward faction could afford business class seats because the economy always looked so small and cramped to her, she placed her bag into the overhead compartment before taking Mal’s and doing the same and then sliding into her seat “Do you have any interesting travel stories?” she asked with raised brows as she laid back against her seat and attempted to get comfortable.

She had to admit, as soon as those words flew out of Octavia's mouth, telling the dragon how the Nephilim herself wasn't filled with the confidence to be allowing the Aspect to go on a solo mission, it placed a smile on her lips which seemed so genuine it makes her feel a bit lighthearted considering it's been awhile since she laughed. "Sorry, sorry" she apologized impishly and held both her hands up in defense, "I'll stop on the whole adding more migraines to your head." For now. That's right, people care more than they would like to admit, Malva wasn't excluded from that either. She would never admit she cares but she does, greatly. Why else would she go through all the trouble to go on a spiritual pilgrimage amidst all the chaos? "Don't look so confused, Tavia. You're smarter than you give yourself credit for, you would keep up with me and my magic better than anyone else. Dare I say, even the diviners in the Guard, yes." She also knows that if they get a wind up that Malva was going on a spiritual pilgrimage at the most ancient citadel on the world, they would want to tag along and she didn't need to worry about them more than she needs to worry about herself.

 It's a tough journey filled with temptations and she wasn't sure if bringing diviners with her would be better because they would get distracted easily too hence why she only wanted Octavia, who wouldn't let her out of her sight. Octavia's capabilities aren't to be questioned, anyway. The blonde js a seasoned Guard who is an expert in all things mattered, nothing is new to her. Not really. "True, they no longer meddle with ancestral magic because it takes time and they don't have the patience for it either. Sucks that you also need to uphold a good relationship with them too. It's not a sanctioned source so it meddles with nature while also not breaking the rules of it. The new sources, however, people don't usually know where they originate from. What they were created with, why they were created… questions people can't answer and yet turn to because it's the easiest way. And if something happens?" she mimicked a boom and shrugged, "Chaos happens. No path is secured, we're basically walking on a thin thread while dealing with something we don't know about. Thankfully, people know better than to meddle with something they don't know much about so there hasn't been any cases of that. But us beings are very reckless…" 

Mal shook her head when Tavia asked her if she thinks dark magic is the key to defeating this, "Of course not. No one can name a better person who has a deep and profound hatred for dark magic than me. But I also understood that after evading it for centuries without thinking of balancing it just because I personally thought I couldn't, it would eventually take its toll. Basically, I'm afraid. But I shouldn't be." When asked how people are still doing it when they shouldn't, the brunette shook her head, saying she doesn't know, "That's a vague question. We send guards out to right the wrongs and prevent any injustice from occurring but you, out of all people, know that we don't always come back successful at every mission." They couldn't stop or save everyone, unfortunately. And some people can be so deviously cunning. Mal nodded in agreement, home is where everywhere else is at. She accepted that recently. 

Once they passed the inspection at the boarding gate for their tickets, they made their way to board the plane. "I annoy you the least? I'll take that as a compliment I can totally shove in my siblings' faces" she quipped humorously but she could understand why Octavia felt the need to get out. Thankfully, the business class for today's flight wasn't at all occupied. It's not everyday people take flights to Athens from here. So she wasn't surprised to see it was only them in the section. Hopefully it was, privacy is something she needed. After placing her hand carry bag at the compartment, she settled down on the seat across Octavia, leaning against her seat as she contemplated the answer to the Nephilim's question, "Define interesting. It's about a 15 to 16 hour trip if I'm not mistaken so… I'm going to need a specific. " she beckoned playfully, as they have about 25 minutes left for take off.

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