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The weather had decided to take a turn for the worst in Evermore city, the temperature dropped every day and people having to wear more and more layers to brave the cold outside as the winter took it's grip over everything. Argent wasn't the biggest fan of the cold and so she found herself dressed in a sweater and jeans with extra socks on as she wandered through the halls of the Ailward mansion. For the most part the place was pretty empty with many guards having been sent off on missions or spending their time shopping for the holidays. Argent was starting to realize she needed to get out more having spent the past 5 days cooped up in the mansion avoiding the cold and rain outside.
Today however wouldn't be the day she broke her streak as she wandered into one of the many different storage rooms in the manor. Argent enjoyed exploring all of the different things people kept in these rooms, especially because it felt like the inventory changed every day, guards and aspects alike dropping off the different things that took up too much space in their rooms or they no longer had any need for. It was in here that she had found her first book on mixology and many other inspirations for new hobbies and ways to while the hours away.
She was distracted as she moved through the different shelves moving things around to see if anything of interest stood out to her. There were many different boxes lined up on one of them, all different shapes, sizes and colors that fascinated, she started to open each one curious to see what was inside. In one she found some antique looking jewelry that she was pretty sure one of her sisters would have left. Argent however heard the sound of the door open as she opened the final box on the shelf and a bright cloud of smoke started escaping from the now opened container.
Without giving her so much as time to run or really react Argent felt the smoke fill up her lungs causing her to erupt in a loud fit of coughing, the smoke felt like it burned in her lungs and she was busy panicking internally in her mind as she wondered what magic she had just unleashed from this particular box but she didn't have long to process it as she felt her body start to shut down around her and her knees gave out from under her. She reached out to grab onto one of the shelves as she fell trying to keep herself from hitting her head as she felt herself give over to the darkness that seemed to be surrounding her from all directions.
Dom closed his eyes and mentally pushed the swirling feeling he was having in his body away as much as he could. God, he fucking hated magic. His father had always warned him to stay away from those that could do magic, especially the ones that could have some type of control over you. He could hear the man's voice echoing in his head with the words of caution and that therianthropes would always have that disadvantage when it came to dealing with the magic users of the supernatural world. Dominic of course understood why his old man was hesitant of other species, but it also didn't mean he could just shun people away. Cautionary words to live by, but never an absolute. After all, he was part of a faction that helped to protect some of the most powerful beings in the world; one currently sitting next to him in somewhat of a lesser form.
He listened to her words of reassurance on Malva's character. Dominic couldn't help but notice she was also hesitant on how sure she was about her sister's intentions. It seemed like Argent was almost trying to convince herself on Malva's character. Desperation made people do things outside of their norm and Dom wasn't sure just how desperate the Aspect of magic might be after losing what he could only imagine was part of what made her whole. He would do anything to help her or any of the aspects, but that line of thinking had also caused one of the most regrettable things he'd ever done in his life after the fall of the isle and many lives lost. It was a learning curve he supposed and knowing when to put his foot down despite being a guard was new for him when normally he would've taken an assignment and gone through with it without question. He was the definition of a good soldier. Dominic owed the Ailwards his new life and he just wanted to prove to them that he would be forever grateful.
Argent's sudden whisper of his name made him open his eyes slowly with a grimace, looking over. The blood began to slowly trickle down her nose, catching into the facial hair that lined his usual face. "Shit." The car lurched forward faster and it was then Dominic really started to worry. He absolutely hated this useless feeling, especially when it was him that was supposed to be protecting her when everything was going to hell. Now he was at the mercy of whatever this magic was that had flowed from the box and maybe even making it worse after touching the scepter which seemed to have progressed the deteriorating state he was in.
As the car came to a halting stop, Dom weakly pushed open the passenger door and stepped out. The feebleness in his body was more than he expected as he stumbled forward and fell to his knees near the steps of the manor. Looking up towards the entrance, the staircase seemed to go on forever and his vision was becoming blurry with specs of color dotting the world. "This.. is a very bad trip," he joked, clutching his stomach and attempting to pull himself to his feet, but failing miserably as his legs went out from under him. As much as he fought against the pull of unconsciousness, Dominic knew he was not going to win. The last thing he remembered was seeing the front door open and a couple of people hurrying down the steps, but he couldn't make out who. There were strong arms lifting him then and with that his head lolled back and he let the blackness overcome.
To say she was worried was an understatement, she knew that this whole body-switching thing was bad from the start, there was a sense of unfamiliarity she could feel which told her that this wasn’t supposed to happen. Frankly, she wasn’t even sure why there was something inside the vault which was able to do such a thing. “I don’t normally cuss but yeah...shit” she responded to his words. She wasn’t exactly someone who would do well in fast and furious but something seemed to come over her and all she could do was rush to get them to the manor. Before her body started shutting down and they couldn’t reach out for help from the guards at all. She felt like she wanted to panic but the rational part of her brain knew that wouldn’t help their situation.
The moment they arrived she undid her seatbelt and climbed out of the car, she called out for help immediately “I need someone to find Malva or Damien right away, tell them it’s an emergency” they saw the state of Dom, who they would assume was Argent and almost immediately ran off to try and find help. She had to hope her hunch about Mal was right, that she would come home. She had always been there for Argent, she never let her down so she wasn’t going to doubt her this time and though she had a dozen questions for her later on, right now all she needed was her older sister to fix this.
She rushed over to Dom when she saw him collapse though she wasn’t fast enough to stop him for falling she reached out her arms to support him as he joked about this being a bad trip “Yeah no kidding” she spoke softly, doing her best not to show the panic in her voice. She didn’t hesitate in putting her arms under him to lift him from the steps and carried him up towards the crowd of panicking people who were approaching. Her own state wasn’t much better, her head felt this pressure inside of it which honestly felt like it was going to explode from the inside out. “Help him” she murmured between her consciousness trying to fade.
Malva was doing what she does best, isolating herself away from the reins of the world where nobody could bother her if she didn’t want them to. That’s why she kept herself silent and led a rather low-profiled gesture this time where she diverted all her attention to the greenhouse that was co-owned by both her and her youngest brother, Virindeus. The two practically had a fighting custody over it and settled to share together because they needed it as much as the other does. She had set her foot inside and entered the greenhouse and closed the door behind her since yesterday. The Aspect of Magic has been locking herself in ever since. It wasn’t like she was trying to run away from the world, not… really. What Mal was just trying to do was close herself away from civilization for a brief while so she could mediate herself in a natural plane, ever since she learned that she has been having problems with her magic, she tried to reconnect with it and this was one of the best ways to do so.
The only other being accompanying her in the spacious greenhouse was her white ragdoll cat, Seraphire, who was currently sleeping on the bench not far from where she was sitting cross-legged on the floor with her spell journal laid open next to her.She could feel her session here draining the energy from her body which was a given, she hasn’t stepped out since yesterday and in a few hours, that would be a good 48 hours, she only had a plate of fruits and water to sustain herself too. As she was leaning against the bench and stroking Seraphire’s fur, she frowned when she felt a thumping sensation traveling all over her body. It was a familiar sense but it hasn’t been bothering her for a while now because her siblings always found a way to manage themselves without having to ask help from the other. Though she knew her siblings could take care of themselves perfectly fine, she still kept an eye out and right now, she’s not feeling any reassurances.
A sudden vibration caught her eye when she fished out her phone from her bag, she just turned it on no more than 2 minutes ago because while she would not have any outside interference, technology can still go past the barrier of her cloaking charm. She couldn’t enact any spell without messing up but her charms and potions are more than enough to make up for that temporary ‘incompetence’. A frown was etched on her face when she saw the countless messages and missed calls, only to pick up the call when a familiar caller ID appeared, “Hello?” Mal didn’t know how long it had been but the next thing she knew, upon hearing what was happening, the Aspect of Magic dashed out of the greenhouse and took off the thimble that she hung in front of the greenhouse to prevent any intrusion before heading inside the manor. There was a commotion, people huddled up by the entrance stairs which made her frown once again as they made way for her.
The moment she saw the body of her sister and Dom next to each other, with a familiar energy signature emitting from their bodies, she cursed under her breath, “I thought I told them to move the boxes to the warehouse…” she hissed but told them to carry both to her room. Now, Mal doesn’t usually allow people inside her room because it was a very private space for the Ailward Aspect, not to mention all her things were there, one simple mistake could lead to a mishap. One look was all she needed to give everyone else a simple and clear message of get out once they laid both of them on her bed. Mal closed the doors and told them not to enter under any circumstances until she said so, the brunette quickly went to the twin room of hers where she kept her potions and charms alike, taking out a few vials and a mortar and pestle.
But because it may take a while to mix an antidote up, she decided to dangle one of her many dreamcatchers over them to absorb the dark magic in, “This is not a cure but I’m working on it, though it is enough to get you to stop your bodies from deteriorating” she told them, any other times, she would’ve given them a sleeping potion so they could cope better, but she would like to wait for their consent. “This body can’t handle an Aspect… and this one should not be occupied by another” she pointed towards both before sighing, “Would you like to sleep this off? I wouldn’t recommend it because I won’t be able to wake you up until the effects wear off if anything goes wrong…” She noticed it sounded ominous and bit her lip in apprehension, “Sorry, I mean… it’s better to stay awake.”
Dominic's eyes burned as they opened. He knew he was moving, but it was not of his own volition. In fact, he couldn't feel much of his legs at this point and the will to lift his head up to see what was going on seemed pretty much impossible. The familiar surroundings of the manor were around him as he watched the kitchen pass by, then a sitting room, followed by the grandfather clock he'd bumped into earlier in the day when all of the crazy had only just begun with Argent. Argent.
"Argent!" It took every ounce of him to call her name out and the adrenaline that pumped in him gave him enough strength to lift his head and find some clarity. He forced himself to focus and realized he was being carried by Henri. Dominic wrapped his small fist into the guard's shirt with determination. "Where? Where is she?" The words were strained and barely above a whisper. Before Henri even had the chance to answer, Dom's eyes rolled back and he slipped back into the fading darkness.
It was the smell of a familiar incense that brought him around once more. "Janna root..." he muttered, opening his eyes and knowing even before doing so he was in Malva's bedroom again. His hazy gaze fell on the aspect of magic and at first he thought he might be hallucinating, but the sound of her voice was rather confirming. "Malva." Dominic groaned. He watched as she placed the dreamcatcher above and it immediately seemed to make him more lucid. The fog that was clouding his thoughts lifted slightly and he realized Argent was lying there next to him which made him sigh out. He reached over weakly and squeezed her newly muscular arm in relief before making himself focus on the other aspect.
"What the hell, Malva? Where have you been?" Dominic didn't even entertain her question at first. "We need to have a serious talk after all of this," he said, gesturing the length of his body with his finger. "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear the if anything goes wrong bit and just say do whatever you need to do to fix this insanity. If staying awake is the better course, that's fine by me." Despite the anger he was feeling towards her, his eyes softened and he took another labored breath after his small outburst. "Just... make sure you at least get Argent back in here safely, alright? The world needs her more than it does me." Dom knew he was the worse for wear between the two and getting her back in her own body was the first priority. Being selfish with his own life was just a bonus at this point, even though he couldn't help but drift to seeing Sio's face in his mind.
The last thing she heard before the darkness set in was her name being yelled out by the sound of her own voice. It was a surreal experience, all of it was, she felt like she could open her eyes soon enough and wake up like it was just a dream. Things like this didn’t actually happen right? It must just be a dream. Perhaps that was all the evidence she needed to know she was delirious from the weakness she was experiencing. The aspect part of her, it was a dragon, it was strong and powerful and this body wasn’t build to hold it, it felt like being locked in a cage and it was suffocating her slowly.
She didn’t know what was happening of how much time passed, she just remembered trying to escape from the cage but realizing the there was no door to open, like she was caught in the same place with no way out and the walls were slowly caving in. It was strange, experiencing a visualization of herself which didn’t look like the body and face she knew but in a way it made sense, that face, that life, it had died when she had been executed by Midas. This version of her was an aspect, it contained a fighting spirit and a power beyond the realm of a human, or even a therianthrope body. She was jolted out of the visualization when she felt a squeeze against her arm and she let out a spluttered cough and her eyes opened “Mal?” she spoke softly, her eyes immediately falling on her sister through the cloud of smoke.
It took her a while to clear her vision and realize what was happening, you could say she was somewhere in between unconscious and fully conscious, but the voice saying she should stay awake forced her to open her eyes. She looked over at Dom and laughed weakly when he said the world needed her more than him “I’d argue none of us would stand a fighting chance without all of you guards” if she pictured all the things they had been through today, she was almost certain she wouldn’t have made it through any of them without Dom’s help. It made her realize just how equally important the guards were to their cause, it reminded her of a time when 8 people of different species came together to protect the world “Mal’s got this, she’s never let me down before” she assured with a weak smile over towards her sister
When she heard about the conditions both her sister and Dominic was in, the first thing that Mal did was curse out loud as she rushed over to her room, in search of ingredients she needed to make this right. Unfortunately, for things like these, it is not as easy for her to just wish for it to disappear and it’ll do that. Even for the Aspect of Magic, she will need time and resources to make this reverse the effects. Right now, the thing that she was worried most was their bodies deteriorating slowly but surely. They are Aspects, dragons, there has never been another aside from the 8 dragons, and there will never be more at a time, which meant Dom’s therian body could not hold in as a vessel for Argent’s soul. The same could be said for Dom who was trapped inside an Aspect’s vessel. So all she could do at the moment was hang the dreamcatcher above them to absorb the dark magic, enough to slow down the process of their deterioration while Mal searched for a way to reverse it.
When asked where she had been, the brunette cleared her throat and narrowed her sapphire hues at the Aspect of Light, who was under the possession of none other than Dominic Howlett himself, “I was here all the time, excuse you. Well… not here in my room per se, but here in the residence. The greenhouse. I was doing a bit of meditation and reading, you know I never like people bothering me when I’m trying to do that. So I may have hung a trinket to cloak my presence.” Admittedly, it was her fault but she didn’t think anyone would be searching for her. When the other person stirred, she went straight to Dom’s side, well… Argent’s, “Hey… I’m here. You’re in my room now, probably the most secure fortress in this goddamn manor.” Her attempt to chuckle didn’t go as far because honestly, Mal was worried for her sister. This is her sister she’s talking about.
Mal spared the guard a scowl when he said that, “I’m offended and mildly insulted that you think I would be choosing on who to save and who to not. Who are you trying to kid, Dom?” she shook her head and returned her gaze to the pestle and mortar she had placed on the table, so far she had the ingredients needed to reverse their effects. “You are so lucky I know what enchantment you walked into… Has nobody ever told you to never open Pandora's box” she muttered under her breath but her eyes softened when she saw just how terrible they looked. “Argent’s right, I’ll make this right, don’t worry… have a little faith in me, okay?” Placing one hand over Argent’s hand, it felt weird because she was holding Dom’s rougher hands but that was her sister inside, “I’ve never let you done… I won’t start now” she whispered. “I am going to need your blood, both of you. Don’t worry, at least you know I won’t hit the wrong vein because I’m doctor” she snarked playfully towards the male and took two syringes from her bag.
“You guys are not afraid of a little needle, right?” she mused humorously and pursed her lips before she could even attempt to take Argent’s blood first, “And I will also need something of yours. Anything personal that you’ve had all your life or something important to you… It could be anything, just make it significant in both your lives.”
Dominic gave a weak grin listening to the women trying to remain encouraging about the dire situation, despite his words of caution on ensuring Argent's safety. "Hey, don't look at me, Mim. That was Red here who went poking around in the storage room, not me. I was just coming in when I happened upon the crazy which led to me having these lady bits." He shook his head and took a steadying breath, before closing his eyes and smirking. "Why, oh why did I ever let your brother talk me into walking through that barrier." Dom was of course joking. Becoming a part of the Guard was the one thing that turned his life around and without a doubt saved him from a road of destruction, prison, or death.
At the mention of a needle, he opened one eye curiously before sitting up. "Needle? You're taking our blood?" His eyes moved about the instrument with displeasure and he groaned before even processing the rest of her request. He'd rather be in a fist fight than have his blood taken. "That thing looks hardly little." Seeing Malva go to take her sister's blood first gave him more time to prepare himself for the inevitable, so he quickly turned his gaze to anywhere else instead. Diviners and their obsession with blood use in spells. Why couldn't it be chocolate? "I hate magic," he grumbled under his breath, lifting his hips up slightly to pull out the very important item Malva was going to need for the spell.
Dominic's now slender fingers moved about the blade slowly as he sighed. The memories this dagger held was a stretch of over two decades and it seemed like all those moments came flashing through his mind in reverse order. There were times when it had saved his life on more than a few occasions and then there were times when it was used to spill the blood of those that would've done him or someone else harm. However, it wasn't any of that which made the knife important to him; It was the fact that his father had given it to him when he was a teenage boy who was just on the verge of becoming a man. It was a coming of age present and had been passed down through the years in his family, now falling into his hands like the therians before him. It was a day he would never forget spending with his father and for that, it held great importance.
He cleared his throat quickly and swallowed the lump of emotions that began to grow. The loss of his parents and feelings were not exactly something he was ready to explore right then when this life or death situation was far more important. "Will this work?" Dom held the dagger up towards Malva for approval before his eyes went to Argent with a small and knowing smile. Strange to think that earlier in the day they had just traded two very important items between one another and Dom had a feeling he would know what Argent might choose as hers. "Extensions of ourselves."