As one of the oldest members of the guard, Octavia found herself feeling somewhat responsible for them all, at one point in her life she had taught all of them something or another and been on missions with most of them. She enjoyed the diversity of the role and who she got to see everyday and work alongside, she felt proud to represent the Ailward name and to fight for their cause. And she had felt this way for a very long time. Despite every heartbreak and setback, the guard was her home and the place she always returned to and she didn't think that would ever change.

Over the past few years they had been trying to recover from the tragedy which happened that night on Skye, there wasn't a single guard who could say they hadn't lost someone they cared about that night and even after that, they still continued to scramble to find some truth when it came to what happened. By now she was sure of one thing, there was someone out there and they hated the supernatural. They had been toying with the communities, causing havoc here and there but their focus always seemed to be on targeting the Ailward guard. Which made sense when you considered everything they stood for was equality for every species. Hardly lined up to someone who wanted everyone gone. 

And every time things seemed to quieten down, it all seemed to happen all over again. This time, it was the Aurazin, a species she had never even known about who didn't belong on the earth, they had been cast from their home in the veil with no way of returning. Which led them to today, where she was reading over the mission papers she had been handed. They wanted them to head to both of the exit points where the Aurazin had arrived on earth, kindly provided by their new guests, so they could figure out what kind of magic was at play. Octavia had been apprehensive to take the mission given it meant she would be away from the manor but Mal had assured her she would stay put while she was gone and Rei offered to keep watch for her. 

She glanced over to Henri who had been assigned as her accompaniment for this mission and she pursed his lips, she had been there when he had first come to the guard, he had seemed so lost back then but now he was a senior guard member and an aspect's personal guard much like her. They hadn't gotten the chance to work together for a while but they usually got along okay, both very mission-focused and sensible but maybe they could use the time to get to know one another a little "I can't be the only one feeling a little antsy about leaving the manor given everything" she commented under her breath as she glanced over at him "We'll leave in about an hour?" which would give them enough time to grab their things before being portalled to their first location. 

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It was always the same old and same old when it comes to his Aspect but lately, it’s gotten better for both of them. Ven no longer dwells around the ill spirits of his own and drinks himself to sleep, he’s actually getting better and sober. Henri was more than happy to aid him through recovery in that sense, he’s also been running a few casual missions here and there, mostly to track a rogue redhead Valkyr he’s been researching for the past decade but never actually received a green light to go after her. He had nothing else to do but scour and patrol as of late. Until today. They found out that there were another species that came to the city, a group of people called Aurazin. It’s the name they fashioned themselves and honestly, Henri couldn’t say that he’s heard of them either. It was clear that their existence was kept a secret to a lot of people and perhaps, for the better. He only ever knew more about them and why they were here because he had overhead Venetus talking to their ambassador. 

After that, he had poked his Aspect for more information, to which he spilled, surprisingly. Apparently, their world, ‘the veil’ had been locked out from any access, which led to their fall on earth and now they’re here in Evermore because it’s the closest connection they have to the Aspect of Realms, the only person who knew regarding the other world. He had known there was bound to be other worlds but it’s still surprising. Seeing is believing. He was assigned to work alongside Octavia to find out what’s wrong with the doors locking the Aurazin here, coincidentally he needed something to work on and was more than enthusiastic to know he’s been given another mission. Henri wasn’t particularly close with anyone, not enough to call them a close friend, but Octavia had been his mentor for a while when he first joined the Guard. It was ironic. Aurelia brought him there and Octavia trained him. It seemed like the two sisters had a significant part in his life, after all. 

He was slightly apprehensive to leave Ven alone for more than a few hours, honestly even though he doesn’t stay in the manor longer than he needed to, he was always at his Aspect’s beck and call. But Ven had assured him that he’d be fine and it was as if the latter knew how much the therian has been longing for a mission. Before long, he had joined the Nephilim by her side with his bag slung over him, “I’m still worried about leaving my Aspect behind, not gonna lie… But, we need to do this right? Or else, it’s only going to cause more anomalies and I don’t think the Aspects can take more on their platter. It’s hard enough balancing what was already there… now to add another world’s problem? Yeah, that sounds like a big headache.” He also wondered if a parallel universe was also a plausible theory. “I’m all set, I just have to take a few weapons… and we’re good to go. Do you want to go over the mission first? Because this one is completely out of our expertise… we know nothing about them, I didn’t even know the veil existed until… Ven said so, which was very recent.”

It was admittedly not their usual pattern to send personal guards on missions and she definitely had her apprehensions about leaving Mal because over the past few months she felt like the aspect had come to lean on her a little and open herself up and she feared she might slip into bad habits without her there. Octavia had decided that Mal was a grown-up and she could handle herself though, besides this wasn’t just your average mission, this was a chance to try and find out what was happening when it came to the dark magic in the city, which may lead them to some real answers. Henri wasn’t someone she got to work with often, the nature of their roles meant they worked pretty separately but she was extremely proud of the way he had risen through the ranks and reached the point of personal guard, she was confident in his abilities and glad to be supported by him on the mission.

She had taken the time she needed to get ready and plan everything, she had the coordinates of the exact spot where the Aurazin had informed them they came through from the veil, she had done enough research to know the spot laid between a point where two ley lines overlapped which she was sure wasn’t a coincidence. If she had learned anything about magic in her time with Malva, it was that anything could be turned into a power source. “Someone has to” she responded a little bluntly to his words and shrugged her shoulders slightly “The Aurazin are the first clue we’ve had related to dark magic in weeks, it’s literally the only lead we have” and their existence did admittedly bring around the possibility to her that maybe that’s what happened to Vlad, maybe he’s in the veil.

“I think that was the point, the whole point of the veil is that it’s a secret, that the people the Aurazin protect have no idea of their existence” for that reason she understood why Ven had kept it’s existence a secret this whole time but it still made her a little angry about the whole thing, knowing that he knew the answer to where Vlad might be all this time and said nothing. In the end, she had calmed her temper though and considered whether knowing that would have truly helped her, knowing he was out there stuck in limbo, somehow it didn’t really bring her peace. She headed towards the portal room, leading the way, she pulled the dreamcatcher she had been given out of her bag “So the plan is to head to each spot the Aurazin came out and then collect signatures of the magic with this, but Mal warned me to be careful because she said these spots might have triggered more dark magic to surround them” she bit her lip slightly because she wasn’t sure she liked the idea of that.

The guards had rankings, it's not much of a hierarchy because everyone is equal, they were given the same authority to voice out their opinions during meetings with the Aspects and whatnot. They are an organization, but they are also family. But as far as ranking go, while there were others who are sorted into their own field because they are better at them, there were also divisions. The commander is the highest, of course. Then comes the personal guards, there were 8 of them; handpicked and selected personally by the Aspects themselves. Some are the most reliable guards who has proven their loyalty and work ethic to the Ailwards, like Octavia. He knew her to be one of the first to join the Guard, over a millennium ago. And there were others that's just close and trusted by them, like him. He formed a close friendship to Venetus when he first came, the same how the blond Nephilim he'd assigned with today, had once been his mentor, teaching him everything he needed to know. 

Their missions are always different so they didn't get to work together often. Now that they were finally reunited after a while, Henri felt slightly apprehensive, what if he messes up under the pressure? When he hovered around while zipping his bag, he noticed the map she had laid out in front of them, there were ley lines highlighted, "You outlined all the ley lines in the city? Smart" he murmured, a door to a world such as that had to have something in common, just like a compass that directed one's path. If they overlapped, then that meant something. The energy would be a lot more prominent, which meant the door was probably there. "How long do you think this will take us?" It was a genuine curious question, Henri wondered if they'll soon find themselves walking into a trap instead. Especially with the debris left by dark magic, the energy would be more than enough to attract other things. 

When she pulled out a dreamcatcher, the therian was a bit confused momentarily, what's a dreamcatcher going to do to help them? It wasn't until she said it was from Malva that he understood, "You had me at triggered" he pointed out and sighed heavily, "So that dreamcatcher is supposed to absorb the energy signatures but it's not meant to clean or sterilize the entire area... So what do we do if we find others who were already attracted to the dark magic? Do we take them out? Don't get me wrong, magic scares the living hell out of me but what of witnesses?"

Octavia wasn’t a novice when it came to missions which means she had some tried and true practices when it came deciding on how to approach them and what the priorities were. Her and Henri needed to try and gather as much information as they could on what happened and to do that they needed to understand the things they already. She moved to look over the map when he made a comment about the ley lines “It seems only logical they have something to do with it given the placement, I think they probably allow for a shift between realities which would grant entrance to the veil” she nodded slightly. “I tried doing some research on whether any of them were interrupted the night everything happened but honestly other than a report of a power outage there is little in the form of evidence there” she pressed her lips together, unfortunately the answers were always evident. 

“Hopefully no more than a few hours, perhaps a couple of days if things turn out” though they had no idea what they might find or whether the dreamcatcher would even be able to gather the memory of what happened. It did seem like a long-shot but that was all they had right now. Octavia knew this was a dangerous mission, nothing that involved dark magic used for bad reasons was simple or easy to handle so she definitely understood Henri’s reaction. “Essentially, whatever mess there is, it’s going to be our job to clean it up” which considering neither of them was a diviner, could be interesting. She did have her bag full of all the magical objects she had collected over the years as well as her weapons though, so she was as prepared as she could be. 

“We do a guard’s job and bring those who are a danger into guard custody” if they were a threat to the supernatural balance then they would be brought in and their fate later decided. Most supernatural who abused their powers and hurt people had their abilities suppressed by a cursed object and then were freed to live their life as a regular human. Others went through more severe punishment depending on the crime. “As for witnesses...we will have to talk to them and then decide from there. If any of them need to talk to Aureus, then we will have to arrange that” she nodded as she headed up to the portal and opened the door. She looked at the map, noting the coordinate of where Lucien told them he had found himself when he came to earth and then she offered her hand out towards Henri “No point fearing the unknown until you see it for yourself” she assured him as she took his hand and stepped into the portal.

It wasn't his first mission to go and scrape for something, he was either a tracker or the one who goes around searching for things that people needed. Despite his status mingling around the forensics in the guard, Henri spent more time outside alone while trying to find said ingredients. A part of him feels excited to embark on this journey with Octavia, of everyone. Everyone knew her. And they all knew of her achievements too. While the other half was screaming in nerves because he really did not want to screw things up. God help him, he wished things wouldn't blow out of proportion today. Not when they were headed to a ground that was still heavily grounded with dark magic debris lying everywhere. "Logical" he nodded in agreement, those ley lines intertwining could only mean an occurrence. Coincidences are not always coincidences, not when you live in a world with the supernatural on the other side.

 He raised his eyebrows in surprise when she mentioned a power outage occurring on the same night the incident happened, "Power outage? Did you know how far it stretched out? How many miles from the center?" He queried curiously as he pointed at the center where the ley lines matched. It may look trivial but if there was anything Henri learned, the electrical current travels in one flow before it splits up. It travels in a pack. When magic were drawn, they use a certain amount of energy channeled at that same spot. It could help them measure how big of a damage it did on that area. A small chuckle escaped him when she said it was their job to clean it up, whatever was called necessary, "Right… I guess we're always there to clean everything up, sanitize them and erase every trace of it so others won't follow the trail. Or at least mislead them somewhere else" yet again, it was nothing new. 

"We're an interesting mix to be sent out on such an important mission like this though, don't you think? I'm a therian, a tiger if you may, and you're a Nephilim. Neither of us have experience in handling magic firsthand or directly, I'm surprised they didn't send a diviner. Or… diviners." The therian hoped that there was nobody there at the scene because he really didn't want to apprehend anyone, it was heavy work when they're trying to be discreet and careful. Especially when the place they're going to is basically a hex minefield. What could go wrong right? Aside from getting himself cursed or hexed to oblivion because he took the wrong step. "We will have plenty of procedures to go through, I'd suggest for us to clean the area first. I don't mind taking people to Aureus or questioning them… he'll even tracking them down if you want me to. But I hate to deal with someone who is already affected by the debris, we don't really want to have to call Malva in for that, do we?" He clasped his hand into hers gently before stepping into the portal. By the time he fluttered his eyes, he was greeted by what seemed to be a spacious clearing.

She always used her headfirst when it came to missions and she noticed little things others didn’t, perhaps if she hadn’t been so heavily involved in the supernatural world she could have probably been a detective or something like that. She glanced over to Henri when he seemed to take an interest in the power outage that occurred “About a 2-mile radius, teams were called out to fix a potential generator issue” which made her wonder if perhaps dark magic in the area might have caused a short, diviner magic was known for causing lights to go haywire, enough power could perhaps do the same thing to a generator.

“Not always an easy job eh?” she responded because she could sense his apprehension when it came to all of this, none of them particularly liked having to deal with dark magic because it almost always came with backside effects but it was also their job as supernatural protectors to deal with all of this before someone non-supernatural stumbled across it and got themselves hurt “That’s the plan, though I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that’s going to be easier said than it is done” such was the life of a guard, bringing in outlaws and investigating weird happenings almost always led them to some sort of danger. She shrugged slightly when he mentioned it was weird they were the ones chosen “Well if you haven’t noticed, we’re a little short on numbers lately” she responded pressing her lips together “We need to cover all ground possible” who knew if they would even find anything.

She sighed as she glanced over towards him “For once it would be great to find some news which wasn’t doom, gloom and more criminals” she knew it was part of the deal but the cycle definitely did get boring after a while and sometimes she did wish the guard role was more positive. She had seen some of the brighter points since being assigned to personally guard Malva but she also knew the realisticness of being out in the field. “Preferably not, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it” she took his hands and then stepped through the portal, there was a bit of an uncomfortable feeling for a second and then before long they found themselves in what seemed to be a clearing in the woods. “Hmm...not exactly what I was expecting” it was a meadow, she noted as she let go of his hand and started to explore around “Nothing specifically dark or abhorrent but…” she pressed her lips together “Seems very quiet for the middle of the woods don’t you think?” she raised her brows curiously.

The potential generator issue piqued his interest easily, especially with the sudden activity occurring at different time windows and with that stretch? Doesn't seem to be a coincidence at all. "A potential generator issue is what they're reporting huh? Pop quiz… what's strong enough to create that kind of response" he mumbled, the two of them knew exactly what the answer to that would be. It was as clear as the day. Magic. "It's never been an easy job when you're a guard but you have to admit, when you're used to tracking down people and bringing them forth or collecting artifacts, the things associated with magic is usually the department nobody wants to venture deep into. Well… except Iris maybe." He swears the diviner had a lot of time on her hand to spend to study on some creepy ritual magic. If that was even permitted or possible to begin with. 

"So long as nobody messes with my head I'm good to go." He was a lot more confident in his physicality despite being in the forensics team. He wasn't exactly strong on mental defense, unless you're asking him to break down the DNA into their coils. "How's recruitment going?" he asked curiously, he's been running errands for his Aspect a lot so he could out of the loop on updates. Ever since they lost the Isle of Skye which caused severe damage to their rankings, they've been on edge. As expected. He wondered if anyone new joined under the said period. "I know quality is better than quantity always but it could only go so far if we don't have the numbers." The destruction of their home was basically a message of one declaring war against them. They needed to be ready. "You're kidding" he scoffed playfully when Octavia said it would be nice to be greeted with some good news rather than the usual morbid ones. 

He was anxious to leave his Aspect and while he did not stick by him the entire time, Henri always kept an eye out. Now there's a chance that something could go wrong in this high profiled mission, what would be of them if so? Once they came through the portal, the therian shook his head to get rid of the slight dizziness as he tried to find balance on his two feet. He will never get used to portals, no matter how many times they use them. "That's the problem…" he murmured and scanned their surroundings cautiously, "It's unrealistically quiet." In the middle of the woods, they should be able to hear at least the chirping of the birds or squirrels rattling against the bark. But the air feels cool and a bit eerie somehow. "When did the Aurazin find themselves kicked out again? How many days ago?"

She glanced over at the taller guard and shrugged her shoulders slightly “Malicious damage...power surge….magic likes to cause both of those things” whenever a strong spell was cast, it was usually the power supplies around which ended up blowing. Especially if the diviner wasn’t controlling the power they were wielding properly. She sighed under her breath when he talked about the work they did and how the missions related to magic gone wrong were usually the ones everyone wanted to avoid “That’s because no one wants to be hexed” she commented shaking her head, maybe being the personal guard of the aspect of magic had made her a little numb to the effects of magic, she didn’t mind being the one who needed to go out into the field because it meant they might be one step closer to the truth “Truth be told any mission is as dangerous as another” but it was their job to face up to it.

She swore there was a shudder trying to make its way through her body when he said he wanted to make sure no one messed with his head “You and me both” she agreed in a soft voice, there was nothing scarier the thought of losing control of yourself and not knowing what you did, she would know. “About as good as you’d expect” she commented in a tone which was laced with dry humor “I mean who wouldn’t want to join a secret supernatural organization which has been targeted but a powerful psycho who is killing us off one by one” she sighed under her breath, hardly the poster ad they wanted it to be. “I’m hoping people see that we’re trying to do some good in the world but it’s not exactly a walk in the park” there was a lot of risks involved with little reward.

Naturally she had her hand on her weapon as they started to explore, the clearing they appeared in seemed peaceful and there were no clear signs of any magic being present but like Henri said, it was far too quiet and that gave her an eerie feeling in her chest that something was wrong “It’s been a couple weeks now, even if magic had taken hold into this place I’d have expected it to naturally disperse unless there is something here to hold it” which didn’t bode well, there was no sound, no animals, it almost felt like the place had been frozen in time. She took out on the the radar devices Iris had given her and held it up while, before long it started beeping, indicating a source of magic and so she started to follow in the direction it was pointing “What’s our running theory, someone purposely locked them out of the veil?” but what would be gained from that, she wondered.

He is a supernatural and has always been one for centuries now, shifting into his leopard self and reverting back has been a routine for Henri. But he is still spooked by magic until today. To him, it was not an area he would willingly want to step into unless he really… really needed to. In this case, they decided to send both him and Tavia to inspect the site which is pretty much covered with plenty of dark magic debris according to them. "Magic is so chaotic…" he murmured silently and took a few steps forward as his eyes scanned their surroundings carefully, you never know what was there to make contact. "You know… I find it ironic that they wouldn't pair us up for scouting. I mean you would be an ideal choice considering you're the Aspect of Magic's personal guard, aside from any diviner in the guard, you're the most experienced with magic. And I'm the Aspect of Realms' personal guard, someone who is now closely dealing with the Aurazin since they're from another universe… or world… or whatever we call it." Of course any mission is just as dangerous as the other, but magic is just plain creepy.

"Our numbers aren't looking good and they know it… they keep plucking us off one by one, that's why they don't send fewer people anymore…" Except them both right now, most are sent out with 3, never a pair because nobody knew what was going to happen. "Well… if you tell them that and paint it on a brochure, it's not exactly an appealing organization. People have enough to deal with anyway… this probably doesn't interest them as much." He's not a saint either. He remembered joining because Aurelia, Octavia's sister, found him in his darkest moment. He recounted their steps as they walked further into the meadow, it's honestly inking him a bit because the silence was killing them. "Naturally, it would disperse but dark magic is often… unnatural, considering their elements used in enacting one. So I'm not surprised if there's a strong and lasting effect here somewhere… my only worry is that we are basically walking into a minefield right now" they had no idea what they might come across or step on. Literally.

He trailed closely behind her as they followed the device pointing towards the direction where magic seemed to be detected, "The veil is another world, another realm, different than here. It's a place not even we know of, I don't think even Ven knows much about it, except the Aurazin who practically lived there. Supposedly, according to what they told him, it's a place filled with energy, it's their home. Nothing bad, just plain good. I swear they're close to angels, if you wanna count guardian angels. Minus the wings. So… if it's a source of energy, why wouldn't we tie it as a possibility? Imagine it, you know a place with endless energy, if I was an evil mastermind, I would want to make use of it and hijack it, and for me to do that I need to make sure nobody interrupts me." Which would lead to a lockdown inside and out. Kicking the Aurazin out of the realm meant easy path for the perpetrator.

“You can say that again” she responded instinctively when he commented on how chaotic magic could be, honestly she still didn’t understand it fully and she had been the guard for the aspect of magic for a while now. It was powerful but acted almost like it had a mind of it’s own and could shift alignment at any moment “I find it less ironic but more logical, if you got a big problem, tackle it with the best you’ve got right?” and honestly she was pretty sure Ery wanted to keep diviners as far away from dark magic as possible for fear it might get the better of them. “We’ve seen it all, nothing really scares us anymore” she commented in a soft voice, though she did wonder if that was arrogant, should she be afraid?

“If this was a match with scores, we definitely wouldn’t be winning right now” she commented, nodding her head slightly, whoever this person was, they seemed to understand the way the guard conducted their missions and how to attack them where it hurt. It was frustrating and disheartening to feel so far behind “But they’re also crazy if they think for a second that would mean we’re down and out” they would fight until the end for their cause and what they stood for would always live on, no matter what happened. “I know we need more people but now doesn’t seem like the right time to be putting barely trained guards out into the world” she spoke softly, so perhaps the recruitment wasn’t going so well because wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do “We’re supposed to protect people, you know?” she nodded thoughtfully.

She nodded when he commented about how dark magic was hard to predict and that they should be careful “It wouldn’t be a real mission if our lives weren’t constantly in danger from things we don’t understand” she shook her head in amusement but she did keep her gaze focused and ready for anything that might happen. He was right of course, when he put it like that it made a lot of sense why this guy would want to close the door to a species that was intended to help people on earth “Makes you wonder if maybe that place is the source of light magic...maybe shutting it off...shuts more than just the Aurazin in” that was a rather scary thought to have she would admit. “The question is...how permanent is this lock...will they even be able to go back?” and if they couldn’t, what would that mean. They weren’t supposed to live on earth after all.

Just then she swore she spotted a shadow moving in her peripheral vision and turned slightly, freezing as she tried to get her bearings “Did you see that?” she commented, looking over to Henri and then back to the spot she thought she saw something moving.

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