It was almost noon when the aspect of death woke up.  A late hour to start the day according to most, but not very unusual for the broody male who didn’t really have a circadian rhythm. He didn’t have any obligations demanding him to wake up a certain time. No hobbies forcing him to be at a certain place. What he did have was duties but he hadn’t fulfilled them in ages and now it felt almost insuperable starting, but he knew he would have to sooner rather than later.

Erythreus yawned as he got up from the bed, wondering what today would bring. Nowadays everyday was almost the same, escape the guards pretending to go to the grave yard helping lost souls find peace and keeping order in the death realm. However instead he ended up drunk in a bar reminiscing about old times and old love. Somehow life had taken a turn and Ery didn’t know how to break the pattern. The rest of his aliward family had looked at him concerned, trying to break trough to the bitter shell of Erythreus but without luck. 

After a quick look in the mirror assuring he didn’t look like a complete wreck, not more than usual anyways, the aspect left his residence and made his way to the shared kitchen. The mansion was quiet, all of the guards were outside practising with the new weapons that had been delivered the previous day. The rest of the aspects were probably with them helping and participating. Erythreus had a faint memory he’d been asked but grunted a sour ”No”. Now he regretted that decision. It would’ve been nice feeling part of something again. The blonde knew they would welcome him with open arms if he decided to join in now. He could hear their laughters from a far and longed to be there with them. Anyhow he also knew that if he had been there he’d feel distanced, ruining the fun for the rest of his family. 

Instead the lonely aspect searched through the fridge for something to eat. His eyes noted a hot sauce with Bexley´s name tag on it, causing him to frown. That guard had been one of his closer friends but had also had a rough period in life and left the manor, and suddenly Ery knew what today would bring. He found himself a sandwich in the fridge that he devoured on his way to town, hoping any of the guards wouldn’t give him hell about it later, and heading for Bexley´s little shop in town. It wasn’t weather to drive his motorcycle and it would’ve drawn too much attention. He didn’t want to tell the guards where he went, hoping they wouldn’t notice he wasn’t brooding in his room until he came back.

A bell rang as he entered the small shop announcing his arrival. ”So its here you’ve been hiding Bex” Erythreus stated not meeting the females eyes.

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✧ Two Lost Souls ✧

Bexley hadn’t let her walls down easily, her past was the reason for this. All the aspects knew her past in some various ways, she was sure that Ery himself met the men he harmed her and helped them move on to the next realm. Would he know they were the start of making her the dark diviner she was? Probably not. She was never overly sure what the aspect did with those who had passed. She never asked, maybe she should. Did he spend time with them? Did he give them a pat on the and send them on their way?

She wanted to open her mouth to ask questions but at that moment her feelings had been hurt and she was trying not to be as reactive as she had been in the past. So she was quite trying to realign her emotions before they moved on from that moment. She reached out to rest her hand on his shoulder though as a way to say she understood that he didn’t mean to hurt her. They both were lost, and broken and they could either lean on each other for the better or they could let it divide them. Bexley refused to lose someone else she cared about.

Focusing on the task at hand. “A start is all we can do right?” she smiled finally trying to soften towards him before taking his hand and pulling him through the portal into her home. It was filled with potion mixes, books, plants and a ghost of the Crane they both knew.

“Welcome home Bexley, oh Erythreus!” He waved as he moved closer to a silhouette of the man that once was the strongest Dhampir among the Ailward ranks. “Wow it's been so long since I have seen your face.” He went to hug Erythreus but went right through him. “Oh yeah forgot about that.” he sighed before moving back towards Bexley. “You are home early.”

Bexley gave Crane a sad smile. “I am. Ery wanted to come see you. I realized I have made a mistake.” She said softly reaching out to touch his cheek, using a small amount of magic to touch the translucent cheek of Crane. “You don’t need to be tied to this plan my dear.” She was choked up slightly getting the words out.

“But how can I let you be sad?” Crane asked as he rested his hand on her shoulder but because the magic wasn’t there it passed through it. “Though I am not much use here either.

Erythreus had been lost for a long time. He couldn’t remember his human life, if he’d been happy and had a loving family or a miserable start. Then came decades of being a valkyr during what the modern time called the Middle Ages. Bloodshed and slaughter was all that era had been. Naturally Erys humanity had vanished during this time to be able to endure all the murders he both were responsible for and wittnesed. It had taken a long time until that part of him awoke again. When becoming an aspect and becoming a part of a family again some of his humanity had come back. However some bits were lost forever. With every hard decision and adversity it felt like the closed off male grew closer to loosing his humanity once again.

Bexley’s past had as well as his own not been a dance on roses. The aspect knew all too well which torments the guard had been force to live through. As the souls passed over to his realm he got a quick glimpse, almost as their life in replay. He needed this info so that he could get a better understand what would help them fully pass over. Some souls chose to never do leaving them a shatter of who the once where forever stuck between worlds doomed to always drift. For the who passed it wasn’t as simple as heaven or hell. Kingdom of death was a very complex world. The soul was pretty much in command. Those who believed they needed punishment would forever relive their worst fears. And those who had come to peace with what had been could look forward to a new start and harmony. Therefore Ery played an important role to guide them and help them come to peace with their past decisions. A hard job for someone who hadn’t gotten his life together and a duty he had neglected the passed two years. Other problems overshadowing the males agenda.

Both were lost in thought. Afraid to pierce the silence with the questions they wanted to ask and maybe stir up another hurtful situation as the one the insensitive aspect had just caused. A comforting squeeze of his shoulder warmed him easing the guilt and self loath that had started to build in his chest after his clumsy exclaims. ”Yes” He confirmed smiling back at her and following her through the portal to her house. Her house smelled of different potions and ancient stuff, and Crane stood there as a Welcome committee, a faint copy of the dhampir warrior he’d been. ”Hey man can’t say I am very happy to see you like the even tho it is nice to see you again” Erythreus said sincerely. The sour male couldn’t help but be moved by the emotions, but they helped him understand what kept Crane from going back to the after life. ”That’s what’s keeping you here isn’t it” Erytheus mumbled to himself.

✧ Two Lost Souls ✧

Bexley took a weak breath in before focusing her gaze off of the translucent Crane and back on Erythreus. She had to do this, she had to let him go. She knew the reason she couldn’t let him go before was because he was the one that treated her like she was soft. He didn’t shun her because of her brooding nature. It was always a double standard, male could be brooding and people would fawn over them, yet when a woman was broody she was classified as a bitch. Bexley just eventually let the title of bitch become her armor as she watched even in the guard how the broody males fawned over. Crane was the first to see past that armor and seemed to want her around. She allowed herself to want something with him, to open up that chance to be soft and a version of herself she missed.

Crane looked between the pair and felt the frown on his face. “Is this what you want?” He directed it to Bexley yet his gaze stayed on Erythreus. “You want me to go?”

Bexley swallowed hard, allowing her face to be soft as she turned her face back towards Crane and she gave a weak smile. “Of course I don’t want you to go, I wish so much it was I who was killed that day, you chose to not be selfish and save me. I live with that daily. I think about the life we could have had but I am being selfish to keep your soul from resting when you deserve to rest. You deserve to have peace.”

“How can I be at peace when you wish that you had died instead of me?” His brows pulled together in frustration before looking at Erythreus. “Do you understand why I stayed when she called me? I could have returned or not answered the call but she doesn’t understand why I saved her. How valuable she is.” He said in frustration before throwing his ghostly hands up. “Both of you don’t see your value.” he grumbled out before turning his ghostly back to them. “The fall was hard for you all but you all managed to survive and can’t still see your worth.”

Bexley frowned deeply as she hadn’t seen Crane react so passionately in their talks here. “You chose to return?” she finally asked in the quiet moment. Her gaze flicked to Erythreus. “Could a Spirit choose to stay?”

“Doesn’t matter with the vail being all weird as of lately anyways” Crane muttered as he walked towards the kitchen.

Seeing ghosts weren’t something extraordinary for the aspect of death, it was expected. Most often he wished he didn’t have to be bothered by their presence. It wasn’t very pleasant  being haunted by souls frustrated and angry that their time had ended much too soon but if he didn’t see the souls of the dead there was something clearly wrong. However even tho he was used to the see trough faint version that you became after dying, it was always a shock seeing someone you knew.

Cranes eyes bore in to his ice blue. He looked torn as if he hadn’t slept for days. Hi didn’t speak directly to him but his eyes were framing him awakening the guilt that always thrived at the back of his mind. Cranes death had been a been caused a lot of guilt and anxiety for Erythreus. The ancient male was convinced that it was his fault that Crane had died. His decisions had lead to the events forcing them to flee from Skye. ”I wish that you were here with us, that I could turn back time and save you, but this” he said considering his word carefully ”This isnt living” the blunt aspect spoke watching his former friend to see how the words hit him.

He listened to Bexleys words saying the same thing as him. That she didn’t want him gone and that she too felt guilty for his death. The words made Erythreus frown how could she feel guilty when clearly he was the one to blame. He didn’t quite understand how she hadn’t made the connection. ”You’re a great friend Crane but you can’t fix that, the isn’t your world anymore” Erythreus hated saying the words separating two friends. ”But you are right we have failed in supporting Bexley and help her grieve”.

Ery could see the hope glimmer in the guards eyes and he hated that he would be the one to blow it out. ”He could” he took a short pause considering his word carefully. ”He could even be a while but it would be an illusion and it would break him. Souls who choose to stay in this world shatter they can’t stay in one place they are doomed to a restless life always searching for something missing”. 

✧ Two Lost Souls ✧

Crane scoffed at Erythreus for a moment, “I am doing what I did alive minus the perks of being able to touch.” A slight frown touched his lips. “I am helping Bexley not be sad, if I could leave the house I would help others.” He muttered stubbornly. “Due to the issues with the Veil I have been here watching long before Bexley was able to make me visible. I watched her mourn me, withdrawing from everyone in the manor. No one was coming to check up on her, until she broke into Reus' memory vault. And even then he really only came to scold her for doing so. Maybe if the aspects would act more like they cared she wouldn’t have needed me.”

“Crane, that isn’t fair.” Bexley chimed in as she shook her head. “They care, but they also have their hands full. The world, something isn’t right.” She said as she crossed her arms. Still not fully over the whole fact he chose to come back, that he had been here longer than she realized. How many nights he must have heard her cry out to him.

“I have nowhere else to go.” He said in slight frustration, “All that would be happening is that you wouldn’t see me anymore.” He wasn’t making clear how the threats that had recently come into play were happening. He was just angry that Bexley seemed to want him gone. “Ery, when was the last time you shepherded a soul into the beyond? A while I bet right?” He crossed his arm for a moment even though it was only to make a point. “The veil seems to be broken, the dead aren’t crossing like they should be.”

“Veil? What is this Veil that you are talking about?” Realizing that things are probably much worse than she had realized. Has she broken something with the spell she managed to cast? Then she remembered the new species that had found its way into the town. “Oh no. The Aurazin, they are the ones from the Veil, maybe we could get some answers from them?” Bexley turned to Erythreus. “Ery how long has it been since you have seen a soul to cross over?” she asked in a questioning moment. Maybe the Aurazin problem was affecting more than just the species, it could be stopping the dead from crossing over.

  • ”If that all your life was then you had a sad pathetic life” Erythreus said bluntly. Staring at what had once been his friend. His friend that obviously had lost it. To stubborn for his own best willing to sacrifice his own luck and sanity to help friend. It wasn’t uncommon among the ghosts to wish to stay in the world of the living lingering there with the excuse and belief that it would help their beloved. Ery had seen it time and time again. Maybe it had been helpful at first helping through the first phase of paralyzing grief. But what they didn’t realize was that they only made the final unavoidable separation harder. It hurt both parties. The realm for the living wasn’t for the death and the kingdom of death wasn’t for the living. Only the warden of death was allowed to wander freely between the two worlds once the soul had accepted its fate and found inner peace. And Erythreus didn’t do it without a cost. He payed  with his sanity for it everyday. Almost never someone thanked him for keeping the order.
  • ”Oh how noble of you” Thee aspect said rolling his eyes at Crane. He didn’t know why but something about this whole situation provoked him. Erythreus stood quiet as the ghost accused him and the others for not looking after Bexley, and he couldn’t more than agree. He knew he hadn’t looked after his friends. He hadn’t been in shape to help himself even and was already ashamed of that. He couldn’t speak for the rest of the rest of his family but he knew he deserved those words. ”No he is right Bexley we should’ve done better by you. By everyone who lost someone when Isle of sky fell.” The broody Aspect sighed.
  • ”You haven’t tried there is a whole kingdom there. For you try finding the others who died that day” Ery frowned as Crane continued to talk. He almost got his hopes up maybe it wasn’t his flaws as an aspect that prevented him from helping the souls pass all these months maybe it was something else something out of his control. Oh how he wanted to believe that. He quickly crushed that thought before it spread to much hope. Of course that wasn’t the case. The former guard didn’t know what he was talking about he just wanted another reason to stay.  The veil is like curtain separating our realms once you cant go back or are not suppose to” The aspect explained giving a meaning look to Crane . ”You’re wrong I escorted some souls there just last week” Erythreus said stubbornly. Actually that had been one of the few souls he’d been able to leave this world behind in months.

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