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A few weeks have passed since he was first assigned to be the new personal guard to Malva Ailward. A position that was held by Tatiana for many years till recently when she took some time away from the guard from Malva. Damien knew that the two have had a rocky time recently able to notice it from afar. With most of the guard noticing too since there weren’t as many people left. With Tatiana leaving the position was offered to him. Accepting it with no thought. Everyone knew to given the position was about high up you could get in the guard. Damien did wonder why him? Knowing that there’s plenty of more experienced and older guard members than him. So when it came to classing in numbers Damien was still very young. Yet from he could gather it was Malva who specifically picked him. Not knowing why but Damien knew he was one of the few people who she liked. That he was one of the few who could put up with her too. Noticing how many people tried to avoid her around in the manor. All not wanting to be hexed. That had happened to Damien quite a few times, knowing that it’s not going to be the last time.
Damien spent the majority of the morning in the training room. Having a few hours to work out, having to build up his strength and skills more. Since he was now a personal guard, he couldn’t afford to let anything slip. For himself or his reputation. Since there were quite a few people who thought he wasn’t up to the job. As Damien hadn’t been a guard member compared to many others yet he knew that Malva trusted him enough to give him the position. Already been put through the paces still having a lot further to go until he would be anywhere near up to scratch with anyone else. Damien thought he’d go and check on Malva, since it was part of his job to do so. He knew that she was on of the Aspects who would sneak out of the manor at night without anyone knowing to do something nobody knew off. Making his job not that easy. Remembering to Crane complaining about the trouble he was having being the personal guard to Cora. Damien knew it would be just the same with him and Malva.
After he finished up all his training he wanted to do today the Valkyr went back to his room, showered and changed. Checking his phone seeing that he’d not been summoned by Malva yet today which was quite strange. So he decided to go and check to see where she was. Leaving his room, Damien headed to the direction where the Aspects own chambers where. The place where no guards were allowed but only ones with access were able to go. Damien went straight to which room was Malva’s knocking and calling her name. Waiting for an answer but heard nothing. She wasn’t there. He remembered others saying she was somewhere around the manor. Damien just needed to pinpoint where she was. Nearly checking the whole manor for the Russian born Aspect of Magic before finding her in the one place he should of checked in the first placing. He should of known she’d be here. In the manors own herbology greenhouse. There she was working away on whatever it was she was working on. “Should've known you were here. Looked everywhere for you” He remarked with a smirk on his face as he leaned against the doorframe of the greenhouse. Waiting for Malva to snap out of thoughts and shoot him back a snarky comment like usual. Their greeting signal in a way.
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Weeks passed by and yet there was still no progress from Malva. Day and night, the Aspect of Magic has been trying to get back in touch with her magic, specifically light magic, but every attempts would end up being futile, not one spell working out fully. She still has yet to touch other forms of magic available and chose to focus more on the idea of light ones, just so she could get used to them again. Forgetting what are is still a big possibility, even for someone who's always reminded of who they were. For Malva, it's hard not to be reprimanded for her identity. She's Malva Ailward, the Ailward Aspect of Magic, one of the 8 who governs the supernatural world. But with that identity that brings her pride and joy, it also accompanies with a methodical side effects, one of them being stress and pressure.
There was only so much a person could take, and right at the moment, the Russian born female Aspect couldn't take any more of it, for fearing she might descend into a world of darkness a lot faster than intended. She didn't want to go too deep, knowing fully well she might not be able to come back out the same ever again, or if she'll ever find a way back from the trail. For all she knows, she could be lost in it just as how weak she was whenever it comes to temptation. It was the reason why she even messed up in the first place. The entire month alone, Malva spent 90% of her time cooped up in her room, the only other places she would go was the hospital to work a day job as a pathologist, and the greenhouse where she would often tend to her plants and occasionally allow herself to be accompanied by her pets. It was a cycle, albeit a very unhealthy one. It wasn't much of a routine to begin with.
Her room was filled with plenty of books dated up to the 11th to 16th century, varying from different continents of the world, and some derived from a few Galician and Celtic languages, though most were Old Latin in general. It was one of the reasons why she kept it close with her and had no worries over anyone stealing them, because most diviners only ever learned about Latin, but never went deep enough to study Old Latin, unless they're very interested in late 16th century practicum. That, or they're just centuries old.
Today, marks another day for her to try and reconnected with nature. It was one of the earliest ways a witch could actually pry into the walls of complexity surrounding magic. Malva remembered it's what she was taught, and was what she's passed on to a few others who had the chance to be her apprentices, from Gabriel to Bexley. Though it did spark something in the guards who practices magic in general to see that the Aspect of Magic no longer looked enthusiastic when it comes to it. It was a change in the air; a change only her siblings and some close ones knew of. That was considering Aureus didn't wipe that particular memory from them upon her request.
Here she was, sitting comfortably on the bench as she perched her hand over the glass table, with one of her books with her. The greenery and fresh scenery indicated her location to be the Ailward greenhouse, an extension space where they keep their plants and flowers, it's a place where most venture to whenever they are in need of peace, and her herbal plants definitely helped notch the factor up as it's mostly calming induced ones. Her dark locks were braided into a unique styled french braid, yet another characteristic one could easily pinpoint when it comes to Malva Ailward, if they would look close enough. She always managed to bring her roots with her. Despite the modernized age, Malva never once stopped braiding, even when she allowed her hair to cascade down her shoulders in a loose manner, there would still be one or two small strands braided.
Skimming through the pages, she had her legs up the bench as she leaned against the ledge, humming to herself a soft tune when she heard the glass door to the greenhouse being opened. Stopping her actions briefly, she returned her gaze to the pages once she got a feeling who it might be, and her guesses were spotted on as it was really Damien, the newly appointed personal guard of hers. He got promoted but he's also in it for a difficult job too, so she wasn't sure which is better. Pushing the book down so she could meet his eyes with her own sapphire ones, she quirked her eyebrows, judging the male publicly without giving a damn. “You're doing a terrible job at it then. You know I only ever go to a few places only and since my room is not locked, and my balcony windows are open, it means I'm home. And there's only two places where I'd be if not my room. The library. And here. You're slacking, you really need to step up your game, Damien.”
Damien was still all new to his new title and duty. Something he’d never done before. Upgrading from average guard member to personal guard to an Aspect. He always thought that the position would be given and offered to someone else. Since he was quite young compared to many other Ailward Guard members. Not being in the guard for long as others. It would have made more sense but it seemed that the Aspect had other ideas. All happened in a hurry out of the blue, yet Damien knew it was coming for Malva to have a new personal guard. With all the problems and drama that had gone on between her and Tatiana her old guard. Damien didn’t know all that went on but anyone was able to see that wasn’t all good. Yet here he was. Damien knew he had a lot of hard work ahead of him, knowing that nothing would be easy for him now on. To work as hard as all of the other personal guards. He wanted to prove himself. That he was captable and good enough for it. Not wanting to be doubted for a minute, some may think it but he didn’t want others to.
He’d already been filled in of all the different things and issues going on. What he’d need to know and what not. Already having heard things from other personal guards that it's not such an easy job as it may seem. Many of the Aspects liked sneaking out of the manor. To get up to what they are doing outside of the manor. Damien was very sure that Malva was problem the same, sneaking out to see someone or get up to something that she didn’t want others to know. Luckily so far he’d not had that problem. Yet he wasn’t totally obvious as she may think. The Valykr guard decided to keep trails on the Aspect of Magic in the first few weeks of being her now own guard. So he was able to keep track and know what she was doing. Where and what she was getting up to. It was part of his job. Damien knew that Aureus or Venetus would probably kill him if they heard he was already failing in his duties. Already been pressured to make sure he does his job good.
Maybe he was still slacking, needing to get better at knowing the places of where Malva is and goes. It would have saved him a lot more than than it should of. Something he’d need to get better at. Finding Malva in the greenhouse part of the Manor. Damien should of known, with how Malva likes collecting different herbs and remedies. Mixing up whatever witch remedies. Hearing as he was already caught out, hearing Malva’s remarks how he was failing in her jobs. “I’m still new at this, stop getting on my case. Give me a break” He shot back with a sigh shaking his head. Both of them were used to complaining to each other, either about each other or something else. Taking none of it to heart it was something that they did. “I don’t see many people all jumping in wanting to be your bodyguard” He remarked smirking as he reminded her that she wasn’t always a favourite for people in the guard as she thought she was. “Your stuck with me, if you like it or not” Not letting her forget, she had no choice. She was stuck with him as guard and he was stuck with her in return. Damien walked over to her looking at whatever she was doing. “What are you working on?” He wondered asking sounding curious as he picked up a vial glass looking at what was inside. Having no clue since it was far from he knows.
Arching a doubtful eyebrow towards the valkyr, Malva was giving him one of her infamous looks that may as well had it plastered on her forehead every time she uses it, the are you serious? sign. Which is not a weird occurrence if that comes for Malva Ailward herself, she’s always been known for her rather standoffish hostile air surrounding the Russian born female. It’s just something she couldn’t help herself with, it’s there and it’s gonna stay until the end of days, nothing is going to change that. She knew who Damien is, of course, she knew. She was the one who found him and prompted him to join their faction if he wishes to start a new of the road of redemption for himself, to which he accepted.
But what she never expected was, him being elected as her new personal guard after her fall out with Tatiana; who’s been her guard for almost nine centuries to count. The Russian dhampir had been there for the Aspect of Magic every time, and to see the fall out between the two is a huge deal, seeing as it’s not easy to see them turn their backs against one another. It doesn’t mean rivalry for the two, but Malva doesn’t want to even be in the same room as the other female, so it must’ve been critical and sensitive that no one would dare ask the purple dragon what happened. Besides, everyone knew better than to get on her nerves, what with her magic being out of control, at the moment, there was no saying what she could do if her emotions are pressurized and distressed.
Damien was supposed to be a normal guard, and with that being said, she meant the ones they send out for missions and whatnot, the personal guards of the Ailward Aspects tends to get the most load of all, since it’s very often to find the Aspects asking them for personal missions, given the amount of trust they had built with each other. With Damien, she won’t lie, she still feels very awkward around him because despite the entire guard knowing how the Aspects act respectively, there’s only so much they would know. It’s not like they have a telepathic bond tying them together. “When do I ever give people a break,” she retorted, resuming her gaze back on her book.
“Nobody wants to jump in being promoted because it doesn’t come easy. Sure, you have the advantages, but there’s also a lot of disadvantages, namely your personal problems. You do realize, there’s a reason why Tatiana became my personal guard for centuries long, right? She’s one of the best, and her reputation precedes her very much so” she rolled her eyes at the male, clearly still finding contempt in her currently ‘ill-fated’ relationship with the younger Ivakov, but still holding her in high regard. “It’s not like I asked for one, anyway. It’s Ven being Ven, my brother playing the role of big brother, as usual.” When do either one of them like the idea of having people trailing behind them? Never. “You realize I can get stuck with you when you’re in a different form, right?” There it is, Malva Ailward at her daily finest.
“Please do not touch them-,” she grumbled and clicked her tongue in annoyance but also had worry accentuating them as she took away the vial from him. “It’s something I’ve been working on since a few days ago. A sleeping remedy to help my siblings and you people sleep better,” she wasn’t a foreigner to their night terrors, it’s something all guards had in common, especially with what they also come across with. “I can’t keep giving herbs that would only last a few hours, it’s too little. And no for my sleeping draught since that one is too addictive, I had to stop Reus from using it god knows how many times. So please be careful, I don’t know the outcome of that yet, you might be hit with a sleeping beauty curse for all I know. I don’t want to have to tell my brother I accidentally induced my new guard with a sleeping spell that might last centuries.”
By now Damien was used to Malva’s persistent judgmental faces that tells you that you are doing everything wrong even if it was just by breathing. Easy choosing to ignore it knowing that it was Malva being Malva like everybody who knows her knows that. “I can see why people weren’t lining up for the job too” He added sounding little bit snarky matching Malva’s. Damien was sure if guard members had to choose and volunteer for the job they’d be very few candidates. Like what was the same with Cora with how Crane got stuck with her by mistake of falling asleep during a meeting. Aureus had hand picked Damien to be Malva’s next personal guard. Since it would have to be someone who Malva knows and trust along with being a skilled guard too. All part of the criteria that Damien ticked boxes for. “Look I know you weren’t looking for a new personal guard and all but you knew that you wouldn’t be left without one for so long” He reminded her speaking out some truths. All of the Ailwards Aspects were now highly protected now more than ever with the constant unknown fret that was hanging over everyone's heads. Not knowing when their unknown enemy would act next. It didn’t help that a lot of the Aspects choose to sneak out, away from the manor. Behind everyone's back. Damien wasn’t totally stupid and oblivious. Noticing before all of Malva’s tricks and the trade. Malva was always quite mysterious more so than any of the other Aspects. “You not going to drag me around the world so you can fetch some ingredients for a spell or whatever it is right?” He mused sarcastically yet was checking for himself, hearing how she dragged Draco d’Fierro away one day cause all happening with Tatiana. Now Draco was gone so it could be Damien nows job.
“I’m used to your portaling by now but still” He added, it never made him sick as before. He’d be all fine a few moments after compared to what it was like before in the beginning. “A constant pain in the neck” Damien mused chuckling to himself as he walked on inside over to Malva. Looking around the room trying to see and figure out all that was doing. Truthfully it all was just gibberish to him since he didn’t speak or understand latin which he knew man spells were in. Or anything related to witchcraft too. Damien understand where Malva was coming from and all. “I always keep my personal problems to myself, not connecting it work” He reminded her speaking truthfully never sharing all of his own personal problems with anyone else here at the guard yet he was sure some people may had figured it out. Since everyone else has their own secrets if it was their own personal love life or other problems. “I know I’d never to live up to her but I can only try to do the best I can” Reminding her that he was still trying, for Malva to give him a shot of somesort now they were stuck with each other. “Different form” A gulp escaped his life's before raising his brows looking confused yet knowing what she was meaning. Hearing few stories about the famous Malva Ailward. Another reason to why many guards choose to avoid her like the plague.
Damien always had the habit of touching things that didn’t belong to him, mostly out of boredom our curiosity. Quickly pulling his hand away from what he was about to touch hearing all of the things that it causes. Preferring not to be put in a sleeping curse where there’s no antidote for it. “Maybe all I’ll need is a kiss from my Prince Phillip to wake me up” He winked back to her knowing she’d just roll her eyes at him like usual. “So what do personal guards do?” He wondered a little knowing he should know by now but with Malva he knew it all would be different. Seeing as now he have to change his day to day duties to fulfil his now main duty. Protecting Malva Ailward. Too they kind of need to know each other better than they do if they were to spend a lot time with each other. Instead of filling the air with awkward silence.
For the past few months, the world hasn’t been lenient on the Aspect of Magic. The case of missing journals came resurfacing back up as well as the journey in search for her hidden memories, were not stirring the tea that well, especially given the fact that she still has yet to complete those problems. Malva realized she’s been slacking off on the creation of spells, lately. That was precisely the reason why she’s stressing herself, at the moment. Okay, maybe one of it. The other being, a variable solution for her to make sure no such problem that she is encountering, would happen again in the near future. Resting her head on the table, she lets out a heaved sigh as she closed her eyes shut as she tried to ease her uneven breathing. “This isn’t going well..come on, Mal. You can do better than this" she mumbled to herself, making sure it was nearly inaudible even for Damien's Valkyr hearing. Malva was known notoriously for her 'indulgent' activities when it comes down to a few things concerning her life, scratch that, she meant everything. Naturally, she would be closed off but Mal is so much more than that right now. A closed off person wouldn't usually go as far as to push the people that is considered close friends and family, she, however, does.
"Being snarky is not gonna get you anywhere near breaking those barriers people tell you about," she scowled, had it not been due to her incessant efforts to keep everyone away when she wants them to be away, one would have pointed that it's possible the Aspect of Magic had a permanent scowl marring her youthful appearance, "besides, nobody is lining up for any of this. Let's be real, Damien, nobody wants to put their tresses at jeopardy easily for no goddamn reason" she huffed silently, clearing the few flaxen strands of her hair away from her peripheral vision. "Though, admittedly, I guess they do… have a reason." There was a good starting reason for every guard in their faction to know that Malva only had a few guards she kept close to her, thanks to her rather standoffish behavior that everyone grew to understand and tolerate, as if they can do a thing that will change that. She's a complicated person, as complicated as one can be.
She generally doesn't like interaction with people who are her siblings or her pets, yes even her guards sometimes got her bitter end. It wasn't surprising to see her uttering "get out" toward Tatiana, Gabriel, nor Iris, though the latter is a lot more grumbling than her usual scowl. "I don't mind having a guard, I really don't," she sighed heavily, retracting her hands from one of the plants she's been caressing from the beginning and flip one page of her spell journal, while not even sparing another glance his way, "but if I asked you to stay back when I'm going out, no matter how dangerous or risky it could be for my own being, would you?" It was a tough question, long has it been that many understood the Russian born Ailward Aspect wasn't exactly someone you want to be questioning at all. Usually if she said no, that's the end of it. Upon hearing his quip about dragging him with her across the entire world just so she could be in search for her magical items and herbs alike, Malva shrugged absentmindedly, "That depends, I like to do a lot. If I don't go on a trip myself, I'd drag either one of you to accompany me just to appease my brother, but don't worry, nowadays, I don't use portals as much." That should be a strange assurance to many others since not many can withstand her portaling incidents, it was by luck that him, Dominic, and Tatiana formed somewhat a tolerance over it.
Truthfully, there was another dormant tone underlying her words, Malva sounded quite somber and upset when she talked about portals, and it was all due to her current circumstances, she couldn't do the simplest form of magic, much less conjure up a portal. All of the pushing and learning she's been doing for the past few months had been very detrimental to her health, or so Aureus says, and everyone knows the Ailwards do not kid around when it comes to the well-being of their family. "My portals are supposed to be a constant pain, Damien, that's why nobody likes it. They only ever opt for it when they're in desperate need to get somewhere fast. It's a common dislike, don't worry, I don't actually care enough to get offended" she mumbled, cutting the leaves between the line and separating them into two halves before rolling them into a simple knot. This was a change in her behavior, whilst the Aspect of Magic isn't all too 'fun' to begin with, she was never this dull and unbothered, it felt like whatever problems she encountered with her magic, it had sapped off her entire energy, but then again she supposed that was why she's in the greenhouse now trying to find a proper remedy to this sickness of herself.
"Damien, you don't need to explain yourself to me, we both know that I would know you a tad better than anyone in this faction does, I was the one who found you, remember?" It was a bittersweet memory, she understood that, and Mal still had no idea why she gave him a chance that day, but then again perhaps she saw a broken soul and her utmost priority was always to give someone a second chance, "I gave you a second chance to live your life wiser and you did. It's not any personal dislike, I just don't like to bring people in my problems, especially personal ones… though I do appreciate the sentiment of knowing one another a little better if you're going to be hot on my tails every time." While humming to herself, the slightly flaxen haired female turned her head towards him and sighed, "nobody should live up to anybody. Your skills will manifest the longer you train, everybody's the same in that, don't worry. It's surprising that you would even thought of something so trivial."
She rolled her eyes at his remark about being a Sleeping Beauty, only pursing her lips lightly when he enquired what personal guards do, "In easy words, you're our personal assistant, for me at least. Sometimes, I will give you personal missions, mostly those containing my own aspect and element, you either carry them out individually or you tag along with me. It varies, but I guess you're just supposed to protect me better than anyone else. Feel pressured yet?" The cooling fresh air of the place gave her a sense of serenity and tranquility, effectively calming her down without much to do and now she's trying to return to her old roots of playing around with traditional magic, prior to her pilgrimage with Octavia that would take place very soon. Speaking of which, "I'll be going on a pilgrimage with Octavia soon, to Mycenae Citadel in Greece. I needed to do some spiritual 'heist', it's been centuries since I last did one. And I'll be truthfully honest here, I don't think bringing you with me is a good idea."