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 ✧

If there was a club within the manor for grumpy gloomy Guses it would be led by the Trio of Bexley, Erythreus, and Dominic. It was something they all seemed to connect on. All having a link without words. They could sit in the same room for days and not talk because they all knew they had personal hells. Age was something that graced them at different levels. Yet they all seemed to understand they were one in the same molded from different errors. They have all survived more than one sinking ship. This was just another hole to patch. Though albeit a whole that was like a gaping wound in her heart.

Her eyes rested on Erythreus for a moment as he mumbled before looking back to Crane. Her eyes studying his face, she wanted to remember him. Wanted him to know that he will forever live on in her, till she crossed over to the embrace of death. She wondered if Erythreus would shed a tear when she passed and he took her across the veil. She knew what he was going to say long before he said it because the reason was clear. Crane needed to rest, and she was only making him suffer when he deserved rest. Her mouth stayed closed as she gave a solace nod of her head.

She listened to him explain the process, wondering how he learned the steps as an aspect. Was it just ingrained in their souls with the rebirth? There were always questions swirling in her mind as when it came to the Aspects yet she could never bring herself to fully ask the questions. It reminded her of her own transformation in a way. How stained her soul was now. She kept her eyes on Crane because she wasn’t sure how quickly Erythreus would sweep him away. When he said he had a way to bring her along. Her head snapped causing an audible crack sound in her neck that caused Bexley to wince for a moment before focusing on the aspect of death.

“How would you bring me along? And not leave me behind?” She questioned curiosity had bit her tongue like an alligator would its prey at that moment. She couldn’t think of anything more than going with Death into the beyond to see what it really was like. See that Crane was truly at peace there. That would ease her worried mind. “I would like to join you if you truly have a way to do so.” She said softly, “To see him is truly okay beyond.” Her voice was soft and gentle. Probably the gentlest Ery had ever heard it.

Watching as the two shared a sad moment. A moment of pure understanding and care for the other made Erythreus look away. It felt as if he intruded on something very private and intimate. It made him wonder if anyone would care that much when he left his position as the aliward of death and found his replacement. Would anyone truly miss him? Go through hell just to see him one more time? He doubted that. Even tho he knew his family loved him he couldn’t help but. Wonder if they would love the next just as much, and maybe more.  Perhaps the next guy or girl would better and more cheerful. The aspect of death couldn’t read emotions like the aurazins did but he still imagined he was okay at interpreting and he knew his gloomy appearance nowadays bothered people.

Through out the aliward entire existence all Ery had wanted was a family of his own. Someone who would pick him over everyone. A little boy or girl looking up at him with his eyes with pure love and admiration. He’d never really been good with kids. He was too rough around the edges for that but still that was his deepest desire. He’d never been in a relationship long enough for that to be on the map.

Hope glimmered in Bexleys eyes as she heard him speak, but also disbelief. ”You can create portals right?” Erythreus asked revealing his theory. He wasn’t 100% sure that it would work but he was aware that the guard would want to be given the choice.  At least that is what he would have wanted if he was in his friends position. ”If I take Crane to just before the veil and then you create a portal to me, and same on the way back” The aspect continued waiting for her reaction. It was a crazy risky idea, but it was something and. Both him and Bexley had been through worse. 

✧ Two Lost Souls ✧
Bexley thought upon his theory on how she could open a magical portal. She wasn't overly sure what magical ability she would have in the realm of death. Yet his idea would work if she had some help. She gave a gentle smile to Erythreus. “The idea is brilliant but I am a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to open the portal to return. And while I miss Crane, I don't want to be stuck in the veil.”

She looked over ghost Crane for a moment. “But I may know someone who could help and be a fall back when it comes to the magical side of things.” She moved over to pick up a small glass ball that just fit in her hand. She looked to Crane; he knew that he had to be bound to a magical item to travel out of Bexley’s home. His spirit faded and entered the ball. She looked at it for a long moment before returning her brown gaze to Ery.

“The question is Deathy Poo have you ever been to the Archives? I know most haven't as it holds some of the most deadly magical artifacts from around the world. Most of the items are brought there by the guards themselves. Anyways, the Archives is protected by one of the strongest Diviners there are. Like me she switched her alignment due to her actions. She is a Light Diviner now. She even has studied under Malva and the two share a bond since she guards the Archives.” Bexley felt like she was rambling on before she gave a short nervous laugh.

“Her name is Penelope, and she is so not like us. Full of life and hope. But if anyone can make sure I make it out. It would be her.” Raising her hand to create a portal that opens up and a library could be seen. “Time to visit the Library.” She smirked softly towards Ery before stepping through.

”I would come back for you” Erythreus assured her. Terrified of the thought to leave a living soul behind. It was a realistic fear to have. He didn’t think anyone had done had done anything quite like it ever. However as he didn’t seem to be able to get the spirits to pass over as it was, or stay there, Crane was a living proof of that, he wasn’t too worried about that scenario. ”I am all ears” Erythreus said happy to secure the odds of a successful mission watching as Bexley absorbed Crane into a sphere of glass.

”The Archives?” Erythreus repeated trying to search through his memory for a connection but he couldn’t remember that he had heard of the place before. ”Sounds a bit nerdy, not really my thing I was more of the stupid jock person in my previous lives” The aspect of death admitted with a laugh. It felt good to laugh and interact with people again. Even if it was in a matter like this. He barely missed the emotionless state and fuzzy head. He got from being constantly intoxicated. Likely that would change when things started to go south as they tended to whenever he was involved.

”Hopeful and full of life have you met me?” The mostly gloomy male questioned rolling his eyes. He would describe his sister Argent that way or Virindeus. The two of them were always happy and saw possibilities instead of complications like himself. Except when he was in love then he was in a bliss. Anyhow those periods hadn’t lasted very long. ”The library?” Erythreus questioned rolling his eyes. ”I said nerdy didn’t I” the aspect of death sighed but followed his two friends through the portal. 

✧ Two Lost Souls ✧
There was a comfort in knowing that Erythreus would come back for her if she ended up stuck in the void. Yet she worried that could only lead to more problems if they weren’t careful. While Erythreus could pass freely between the land of the living and death, none had been able to peak past the vile minus the species that had popped up known as Aurazin. There was a whole world of possibilities that seemed once unlikely to occur. Yet she knew that roping Penelope in could cause some reassurance that everyone that was meant to get back would get back safe and sound.

“You aren’t a stupid jock,” She said as she looked him over for a moment. “A drunk sometimes, but nothing about is stupid. And I haven’t seen you running around playing any sort of games as of late.” She teased him as they moved through the portal. Into the local library where students were busy studying or reading books. None the wiser to how they appeared. Magic was used often in the library but most mortals never noticed due to Penelope magic keeping it in their blind spot.

Bexley guided him towards the secret door that led to the The Archives hidden within. She pressed her hand to the wall and a gentle glow formed a doorway. Walking through on the other side it could be described as Tardis like. Vasily larger on the inside. Halls shifting where they please. Tomes and spell books on the shelves, magical artifacts in glass cases, long tables filling the hall, along with furniture that seemed to move on its own. Down the hall a call came “Bex? Is that you?” Penelope leaned over the rail above and waved. Before appearing before the two.

“What brings you here?” Pen asked as her gaze moved over to the blonde male. “Oh Master Death.” She said with a slight bow. “You have never graced the Archives before but Malva has shown me photos of you all.” She stood back up with a smile on her face. She was far different then Bexley dressed in bright colors and flowy clothes as she radiated light. “Is everything okay at the manor?” A tone of panic passed over her quickly as her gaze darted between the pair.

“Everything is fine at the Manor…I kinda have a favor to ask.” Bexley said as he looked to Ery and back to Pen. Holding up the crystal orb to Penelope she hung her head.

“Ah so you are the one that stole the book?” Pen questioned though it wasn’t really a question. “I am seeing it don’t go how you wished, which is for the best really. Trying to bring back the dead is only filled with heartache.” she said as she gave the orb back to Bexley. “So what is the plan?” “Ery and I want to return him to the realm of death, I want to travel with Ery past the vile to see where Crane is. To return him myself and give him a final goodbye I hadn’t been able to when I lost him the first time.” Bexley felt the lump in her throat.

Penelope gave a hum and looked over to Ery, her green eyes bright as she tilted her head to the side. “Well I don’t see why it wouldn’t be doable. As long as you really think it would be best for her to see. At the end of the day it is your realm, and I will help as long as you think it will be safe. After all I am a servant to the Ailward’s in ways.”

”Ugh” The aspect shuddered as he passed through the portal into the library. It was always a special feeling passing through a portal, and not always a pleasant one. It was convenient for sure but he preferred traveling in his dragon form if he could choose. ”It was over a millennium ago” Erythreus joined in her laugh. He couldn’t remember the last time he ran. Or that was a lie the last time had been when trying to impress his ex by joining her on her morning jogs and he had still not caught his breath after that time. The observant aspect watched as they passed by alumnus and students amazed by how blind some could be to the supernatural world even if it walked right passed them.

The pair and the glass globe with Crane walked through the library into one of the rooms in the back and then through a secret door. A woman’s voice welcomed. The surroundings looked as something out of a sci-fi book Hogwarts meeting some new cyber thing. ”Miss Winston I presume” Erythreus guessed greeting the astonishing woman before them.

He frowned as his friend denied that there would be any problems at the manor ”Speak for yourself” the aspect said beneath his breath. Many of the guards had chosen not to live at the manor Bexley and Dom, the guards closest to him being some of them. Also his powers and some of the others had started acting up. However it wasn’t the reason behind today’s visit. Hopefully the rest would work out.

He kept quiet as Penelope came to the conclusion himself had lectured the dhampir about just hours ago, but not in such a calm manner. ”I think it would be best” he considered his words carefully letting his blue eyes meeting the diviners green. ”I believe it would help them both move on and not try something like this again even if its risky”

✧ Two Lost Souls ✧
Penelope gave Ery a nod of her head, “Miss Winston sounds so strange please call me Penelope or Pen.” She gave a wave of her hand, it still felt so strange going by Winston after all these years but she wanted to make her father proud. “You may have met my father Alfred Winston, from his journals I read he visited the Aspects often in his time as the Archives protector. He said the day he was to die he knew you would take him over safely, to be with my mother.” She gave a warm smile that seemed odd when talking about death.

“See as I said sunny as can be,” Bexley joked which caused Penelope to give her a gentle push on her shoulder. “What can I say, the only person I have ever met as sunny as you was Dom’s girl Siobhan.” Bexley's eyes flicked towards Erythreus unaware what issues had arisen in the manor as of late. Bexley dealing with her own wish to have Crane back. Dominic helped remove Discord from Siobhan, now caring for her after the aftermath of everything she had been through. The guards had their hands tied in personal life, which used to not be an issue as there were many of them yet now they were thin in ranks. “We can talk about that more later.” She directed at Ery, maybe it was time to move back to her room in the manor.

Penelope looked to Ery, “Please if there is anything I can help with at the Manor I am here as an aid on top of the protector of The Archives.” She then clapped her hands together and nodded. “Well then I have an idea that may work in all factors.” She twirled her hands in the air a red orb formed before in her hands appeared three bracelets that looked alike. “I will stay on the outside with Bexley mortal form.” Penelope slid one of the bracelets on moving over to Bexley to slide one on her wrist.

“And this one will keep Bexley's soul bound to you on the other side of the vile.” Penelope moved over to Ery taking his hand slowly in hers being careful to not cause him any kind of discomfort in the physical touch. “As long as the bracelets aren’t destroyed then crossing over and back will be well an adventure of a lifetime. I must say I am a tad jealous not being able to see the after with you.” Giving a smile towards Ery. “And I agree that is what is needed, a proper goodbye.” Her gaze moved to Bexley as she stared into the orb where Crane was. “I understand the pain of not being able to say goodbye.”

Bexley gave a gentle roll of her eyes but they were both right. Bex slid the orb into her pocket. “Well I guess we should get this going huh? One portal to the vile edge.” She gave a forced chuckle before turning and opening a portal to the field of the Aurazin. Once it was open she stepped through and Penelope was a step behind her turning to toss a wink at Ery before stepping through. The warmth of the gentle breeze kissing their faces as the long grass danced in it. Penelope took a step closer to where the vile was.

“Now to split you in two.” Penelope said as she took the orb from Bexley pocket it. “This may hurt.” She said as her hand formed a red glow around it. Penelope moved, thrusting the magic hand into Bexley, causing a shocked gasp to leave Bexley as Penelope pulled her soul from her body. Bexley's body fell into the soft grass as a spirit version stood there next to Penelope. Penelope held the orb out to Ery. “You will have to take him in. Bexley will follow your lead.”

”As you wish Penelope” He replied with a faint smile. The aspect had grown. Up in another time. A time when you never got to first name basis with people. Mum and dad were Mother and father and were never to be spoken to unless they spoke to you first. The ancient aliward hadn’t quite gotten used to the causal way people preferred these days. It felt so informal and almost rude compared to what he had been learned.

”Alfred” Erythreus repeated thoughtfully, trying to recall his passing. He’d helped many souls pass over safely. Some needed more guidance than others to leave their life on earth behind. Everyone had left a mark on him. ”Ah yes I do remember him” He said his smile widening into a more genuine one. ”A sweet man, he was one of the easiest souls to guide he only needed to be measured that you would grow into the independent young woman I see before me today” His memory wandered to how he had talked to his brother Venetus the aspect of time to not make promises he couldn’t keep. He’d been pleased to report back to the awaiting soul that he could pass peacefully and reunite with his other half and his daughter would grief but still thrive and wouldn’t be too beaten down by lives lemons.

”Indeed” The Aspect agreed laughing uncomfortably. It was the type that he usually fell for. The blonde joyful selfless kind. Maybe to balance up all his bitterness. However they always left him for someone better. ”Sure I guess we have all day” mincingly joyful way rolling his eyes. Even tho the company was nice for a change he started to miss his blissful alcohol induced loneliness.

Erythreus let Penelope. Explain and preform her magic. He trusted the diviner fully and accepted that he would never understand the forces in motion fully either way. He barely understood the normal not supernatural world let alone the aspect magic. ”I need to go there in my dragon form” He announced ”I’ll meet you there” He said taking the glass orb with Crane in it and throwing his staff into the air before transforming into the red dragon that would let him travel between the realms. ”You ready Redthorne?” He spoke to the orb. ”We´ll take care of Bexley this time I promise” He assured the former guard hoping that it was the words he needed to hear to let go and wander peacefully into the afterlife…. Again. Erythreus threw himself into the air and then flew towards the death realm. A moment later he appeared just before the veil and then it was like he flew into an invisible wall. ”OUCH” He exclaimed. Confused that had never happened before. Was that the reason why he couldn’t get the souls to pass. Or had Bexleys attempt to bring Crane back destroyed some balance and now gotten him banned? Thousands of questions swirled in his head. ”Something is wrong we need to go back” He warned Bexley stressed about the whole situation. It was better to go back and calmly try to understand and solve thing with the help of others before anything else unplanned happened.

✧ Two Lost Souls ✧
Penelope's smile softened as he spoke of Alfred, a man she had only known through astral projection and when he saved her life. "I wish I had known him in his life. But he knew me, and sometimes that is solace on its own. But this isn't about me. I could spend the day talking your ear off if you give me the time." Her laughter danced through the air as they found themselves in the field, a moment of tranquility before the storm, knowing that Ery would take a moment longer as she and Bexley got everything ready.

Just when it seemed like things would be moving along smoothly, Penelope's eyes widened in wonder at the sight of Ery in his dragon form. Despite meeting a handful of the aspects, she had never seen their dragon forms before, and witnessing Ery's transformation was utterly breathtaking.

"Pick your jaw up," Spirit Bexley teased, breaking the spell of awe.

Penelope was about to retort with a snarky comment when a sudden exclamation of pain escaped Ery. Confusion knitted the diviner's brow as she swiftly helped Bexley back into her body and off the ground. Bexley's gaze lingered on Ery for a moment before she opened the portal to once again enter The Archives. Penelope wasted no time in searching for an old leather book. Once all of them were back in The Archive hall, Bexley began to pace, her agitation palpable.

"What the hell has happened?" Bexley demanded, though there was no expectation for Ery or Penelope to have immediate answers.

"Things with death have been strange since the Aurazin got trapped here. Though I assumed everything was fine on our side since Ery or his siblings never said otherwise," Penelope explained as she flipped through the pages of the book. "But there have also been quite a few more strange occurrences. I think someone or someones are trying to unbalance the earthly realm, most likely targeting the Aspects." Her gaze flicked to Ery.

"How could it have gone unnoticed? Are you sure it's not because of the spell I used to bring back Crane?" Bexley continued pacing, her thoughts racing.

"No offense, Bex, but you would need to be malva-level to close off a whole realm from its aspect. Besides, the spell you used was basic. Again, no offense, but think about it. Discord taking over Dom's girl Siobhan, claims that Abraxas Bradford is back, The Aurazin. Someone or a group is meddling with things they shouldn't be," Penelope sighed, glancing momentarily at Ery before returning her focus to the book.

Bexley could only nod at the logic laid out in front of her, feeling out of the loop with Guard work. "Has there been anything in the manor that you have noticed, Ery?" she asked softly, her voice tinged with concern.

Penelope´s airy light laugh reminded Ery of his old flames. It was fascinating pleasant sound and the aspect wished that he could continue to listen to it but knew he was doomed to listen to peoples grief instead. It was the lot of the aspect of death. He shook the warm feeling he’d gotten while hearing the diviners sounds of joy and concentrated at the task at hand getting Crane back to the Kingdom of Death. He hadn’t been visited his kingdom as often as he was supposed to lately. It was a reminder of his failures. The souls he couldn’t get to pass who lingered at earth and created chaos. This time was the first time he’d felt exhilarated by returning. Probably because he could bring his friends. This day had been challenging so far, and he had missed his lonely drunk world a few times but it also felt good to be around people who cared for him again. Almost felt like old times when he had been enjoying his calling and being around the faction. Made him feel hopeful that he could get there again even if it would take time and a few setbacks.

Ery had no idea what had happened one second he was flying through dimensions next his body had collided with something making it impossible to get through the last portal into the realm of death. He was mesmerized it had never happened in his 1000 years. Had some other creature deemed him unfit too continue guiding souls and give up his position? Was this the reason why. He couldn’t get. The souls to pass and not his inability to help them let go of life?

He shouted out a warning to Bexley before throwing himself into the dimensions again hoping at least would work. Luckily it did and he found himself back at the archives along with Bexley and Penelope.

”I have no damn clue, Is Crane ok?” Erythreus responded still in disbelief of what had just played out. ”Em eh well I haven’t exactly done my part the last months” Erythreus admitted looking down in shame. When he the first souls had stopped passing. He hadn’t thought much of it, but when they started piling up and terrorizing him along with his recent breakup he had disconnected himself from everything.

”No I don’t think it was you either Bex” Ery said calmingly. ”This started way before that”. He regretted not telling someone sooner maybe it could’ve stopped this whole situation.

✧ Two Lost Souls ✧
Penelope was oblivious to Ery lingering gaze on her ethereal aura, as she focused on the task at hand; focusing on pushing any panic that wanted to rise up and take control Bexley placed a reassuring hand on Penelope's shoulder, her grip firm yet comforting. "Take a moment, Penny. We will figure this out, we have to."

Penelope nodded, her airy laughter a distant memory as she focused on regaining her composure. Her eyes sparkled with a mix of concern and curiosity. "What happened, Ery? That was... unexpected." she took him in, it was clear how visibly shaken all of them had been over their lack of travel to the Kingdom of Death, He seemed to have so much on his mind and his frustration clear on his face.

Bexley looked to the orb that was in her hand and gave a nod, “He is safe in the orb.” She reassured Ery. Though both Penelope and Bexley looked towards Erythreus as he admitted to not doing his job as of late. “Why didn’t you say anything sooner?” She questioned him in a gentle tone knowing she wasn’t really one to judge a lack of duties but his duty was about balance, it worked with his siblings to keep the earth in harmony.

Penelope stepped forward, her aura brightening as she placed a gentle hand on Erythreus's arm. "We're all here to support each other, Ery. You don't have to carry this burden alone. Do you know when you first noticed not being able to pass souls through?" She wondered if she could pinpoint it. “Was it the night the Aurazin got trapped here?” If it aligned maybe their answers could be found with magic.

“There has to be another way to get into the Kingdom of death.” Bexley whispered to the orb as she closed her eyes tightly.

A smirk touched Penelope's lips then as she locked eyes with Bexley her hand pulling away from Ery. “I may have an idea, if you guys are up for a little Voidling hunt.”

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