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Eris was beyond relieved to have Dahlia’s forgiveness. She felt a heavy weight was finally lifted, but with it was the traded weight of truth. The truth of her heritage, her family, and that she was more connected to that stupid medallion and Dahlia than she ever realized. Was this all the work of the Fates? Had they woven this destiny to happen? What would greet her at the end? Would a thread be cut short before they reached the end of this woven story?
She sighed heavily and leaned her head against the comfort of Daliha’s shoulder and closed her eyes to take a moment. Dahlia’s promise that they would get through this, was the affirmation Eris needed.
[#b22222 “You’re right… We will, but this is so much bigger than the story we initially thought. We’ll never be able to tell it…”] Eris mused defeatedly. She felt Dahlia’s comfort and finally sat back up with a glance behind them. She knew that someone would come for her. They would never let her be free now. [#b22222 “Our list of enemies keeps growing… how are we going to outrun them?”] She asked more to herself than to Dahlia.
They were lucky to make land well before sunrise, and wasted no time in continuing to move. So far they were not being followed and though they had none of their personal belongings anymore, Gaius still managed to have money on him. Gaius always seemed prepared, must have something to do with centuries of living among humans and having enemies. Eris was the one to go in and purchase the burner phone for them from a late night gas station, and they went to replan behind the building. Gaius was quick on his phone dialing a number from memory….
[b [i MILAN, ITALY]]
Energetic dubstep music filled the specious industrial building, while a dazzling laser show illuminated the space. Chairs lined a fashion runway where people milled about taking their seats. The stage was illuminated with recessed floor lights making it look like a glimmering rainbow prism that the models would walk. Above on his own lift the DJ was setting the tone, camera men prepared to record the event, and fashion photographers were bull-penned at the fringes of the seats. Ushering people to their places were beautiful women dressed in black sequin dresses and other serving drinks. One in particular made her way through the crowd of spectators and to the backstage.
Behind the partition was a new world. Models hurried to their places, getting dressed by their drapers. Stylists and MUAs put the finishing touches on hair and makeup. Show coordinators began calling orders and for line up. At one station in particular sat a woman of other worldly beauty. Her skin was a warm flawless blend of caramel and cream, luminous green eyes encased in thick black lashes, and rich chocolatey hair. The woman was being tended to by both a stylist and an MUA who put the final touches on her before she would go on.
“Ms. V, Phone call for you. Said it was family.” The server informed. The woman looked up and looked to the revealed tray with a cellphone placed on mute.
V sighed heavily and took the phone with perfectly manicured hands, and picked up the call.
[+pink “Who is it?”] She asked sharply, having little patience for her family, and exhibiting an interested accent.
[+gold “It’s me,”] The woman suddenly perked up with a large grin.
[+pink “Is it really my sweet Gaius? Oh Darling brother, where are you? I haven’t heard from you in… well… decades!”] she laughed for the sake of it, but Gaius’ voice remained steady, undeterred by her personality.
[+gold “I need to ask a favor,”]
[+pink “Anything for you brother! But make it quick, I have a show this evening and I must go on soon.”] She looked down at her other hand eyeing her nails, before waving off her stylists.
[+gold “You’re more hospitable than usual.”]
[+pink “Nonsense, darling. I simply miss my favorite big brother.”]
[+gold “I’m in Greece with company. I need a lift, and will explain everything when we get there.”] Suddenly V was gleaming with joy, her eyes almost sparkling. She made a girlish squeal that had Gaius holding the phone away from his ear and wincing. V knew what company meant. Gaius would be with his adorable little friend, Kael. Clearly not her type, but his rejections had always made here that much more interested. She loathed him and loved him
[+pink “OF COURSE! Thank Dad! You’re coming to visit! Oh this is going to be so much fun! I’ll have a plane chartered for you in the next hour. Keep this phone, my assistant will be in contact. Go ahead and start for the airport if you can! Ciao! Love you, see you soon. Have to dash!”] She hung up then and stood up from her chair and turned screaming for a most unfortunate assistant.
[b [i BACK IN GREECE… ]]
[+gold “Well… my sister is…. Being helpful…”] Gaius said after hanging up the phone, and putting it in his pocket. He was a little confused. He thought he’d have to do more ass kissing, it put him a little on edge, but it was minimal. Out of all his siblings, Vanity, or Vanna as he called her, wasn’t lying when she had called him her favorite. Vanna might have been a self-absorbed little twat, but she did adore him. He looked over to Kael curious to know how the second meeting between them would go, and how Vanna would take to a literal Pandora’s box, and an Oracle. He looked over to the two women and frowned, and was about to speak further when his phone rang. He reached back into his pocket and was shocked to find when he answered it, it was Vanna’s assistant. She had called for a car to come get them and take them to a small regional airport where a plane would be taking them to Milan. Gaius hadn’t even hung up the phone after his conversation with her, when a black SUV pulled into the gas station and came around to the back of the building. Gaius tensed and the woman made a final departure over the phone.
[i “That would be your ride, Master Gaius. You will arrive at the airport in one hour and the plane will be ready to depart at your arrival. Master Vanna looks forward to your visit, and wishes to know of any requests you have for your arrival so she may accommodate. You may text such details at your leisure. Easy Travels, Sir.”] The line went dead and Gaius watched a man get out of the car and open the back doors for them to enter.
[+gold “It’s safe, go ahead and get in.”] Gaius assured the women, and he too got in, taking the front seat up next to the driver.
The driver did not speak, and for the most part no one else did either on the drive to the airport. Eris had fallen asleep in the backseat with Dahlia, both women exhausted from the event. Gaius wanted to talk with Kael, but until they were on the plane away from prying ears he wouldn’t speak either. The SUV drove up to a gate to the runways and managed to get through security and towards a hangar. As they got closer Gaius could see the small personal jet waiting for its passengers outside on the tarmac.The stopping car roused Eris from her sleep and she nudged Dahlia awake to board the plane.
The interior of the plane was high class and luxurious. The captain was already in the cockpit getting the plane started, while his copilot closed the main door and sealed them all inside. A Stewardess greeted them with a smile only Tour Guide Barbie could rival. Eris wondered if she was even human. She wasn’t trusting the things she was seeing. The stewardess made sure they were buckled in safely and the plane made its way towards the runway before it finally sped along and lifted up into the air taking them North to Milan.
Receiving a rather negative review of his plan right out the gate, Kael had a feeling he was not going to be able to convince Gaius, but he also was not sure what other choice they had. [+forestgreen “It’s not like I will be completely out, I will-“] He barely started when Eris began apologizing. That shut him up, well at least when it came to his idea. The red-eyed man was not looking to make her feel any worse than she apparently already did. [+forestgreen “No, it’s not your fault. You were just as surprised as the rest of you to discover your family’s secret, so there is no way you could have known it was going to play out this way.”] He was attempting to comfort her, but the maenad come vessel of calamity was more focused on her friend than anything he had to say, so Kael left it at that.
Having such an adamant and sorrow-filled apology directed at her, there was little way for Dahlia to reject it. Not that that was an issue, as she was good and ready to forgive her friend. Strange how traumatic events speed up the mending process when it came to this sort of interpersonal divide. The petite woman squeezed her friend’s hands tightly, tempted to hug her again, though she restrained herself. [+mediumvioletred “I was always going to forgive you, silly. I just needed some time... You really hurt my feelings before, but I have decided to try and see it more from your side of things and I understand why you didn’t say anything about your family.”] Gaius had helped her see that she was being a little silly herself when it came to that and while she was not a hundred percent over it, Dahlia knew it would come. There was no point in drawing it out forever. [+mediumvioletred “Besides, you’re my best friend too, I can’t stay mad at you forever. Who would get stuff off the high shelves for me?”] It was a bad joke, but she didn’t much care at the moment. Squeezing Eris’ hands one more time, Dahlia smiled. [+mediumvioletred “It's gonna be alright, we are going to make it through this."] Of course there was no way for her to know that for sure, that was the dark-eyed woman's shining optimism coming through. She knew she had the tendency to be a little too hopeful, but right now hope was something they needed if they were going to keep fighting.
While all that went on in the background, Kael was glad that Gaius came in to give him something else to focus on, something he found somewhat more pressing. And what was better was there seemed to be more options for them than he thought. It allowed him at least a little bit of relief though he nearly laughed at his friend’s comment about brown nosing. [+forestgreen “Half my family is in politics, I think I have the ass kissing thing down pat.”] Between his dad, his brother, and all their associates, Kael had seen enough sucking up to fill a couple of demonic lifetimes. They would probably be fine. [+forestgreen “And if it is between dealing with my sibling and yours I’d rather it be yours.”] Technically it was the more dangerous route, seeing as he knew Cornelius wouldn’t go for blood even if he went hostile, but Kael [i really] didn’t want to deal with the aftermath of doing what it would take to get passed him and use the warp point. [+forestgreen “If you think we can trust her to keep her mouth shut about those two,”] he motioned back to the ladies who were still talking about something or other. [+forestgreen ‘Then I think it’s worth a shot. It will just be a matter of getting to Milan, but I don’t think that will be too hard.”] Difficulty was not the real issue though. It was keeping a low profile. And unfortunately, between Wrath himself, a literal goddess, and the ridiculous conglomeration that was Dahlia’s aura, they were going to have a hard time with that.
Eris wasn’t expecting Dahlia to rush her with relief. To be honest after everything that happened on this trip, Eris wasn’t sure what to expect these days. Regardless, it brought a smile to her face despite the guilt she felt for bringing them all into this mess. The original part of Eris wanted to joke about the reasons why she ran from her cult-like family in the first place, but the island visit had changed her irrevocably. Even now Eris did not know what those changes would bring. For the moment she was content to hold Dahlia close.
[#b22222 “I’m so glad you’re alright,”] Eris murmured, but Kael made a call for them to hurry and move. Eris had to agree, and Gaius was the first to jump on board and help preparations to leave. Eris helped Dahlia into the boat and proceeded to take a seat with her. Eris made no move or spoke a word as Kael sped the boat away from the island, while above the sky raged and the ware grew restless. Eris looked back to the shrinking island with nervousness. She wasn’t certain fit hey would follow or not, and that made her even more anxious.
They were nearing the magical carrier when Kael began to formulate the next plan. Eris made no comment, not confident enough to offer a suggestion. Especially since the last one involved the current mess they were in.
[i [+purple -Yes, but now you have also claimed a fraction of my power. That makes you almost as powerful as our friend, Wrath.-]]
Eris looked across the boat towards Gaius who was seated near the bow of the boat, his eyes fixated on the horizon and any threat that the barrier might possess.
[i [#b22222 -Perhaps... but he has centuries worth of knowledge, which means I wouldn’t stand a chance. So I still have no power or stance to offer suggestions. I have to learn I’ve made a mistake, and the best way for me to not make it worse is to actually let these two demons handle it.-]] The Goddess could not argue her host’s logic and so went silent.
It seemed the plan Kael had in mind was to go to a new place with his wrapping abilities. Eris looked up with concern at that suggestion, her own fears voice by Dahlia... but not all of them. Kael even admitted to the inevitablility that he would be incapacitated in the aftermath. Eris had to grit her teeth. She didn’t want Kale to go through that -not because of her mistake.
[#daa520 “No. We can’t afford for you to be out of commission. Any plan that takes you off the board, is a ‘no-go’, in my opinion. We’ll find another way -“]
[#b22222 “I’m sorry!”] Eris suddenly interrupted as they broke past the barrier and were welcomed to open calm waters as the illusion of the surrounding fog and storm evaporated away to nothing. [#b22222 “It’s all my fault we’re in this mess. We never should have come, I never should have suggested it, never should have put Dahlia in danger like that.”]
From where he stood Gaius’ eyes narrowed with uncertainty on the girl. He had seen what she was capable of, or at least some of it. She was a Pandora’s box, a Vessel of Calamity, and he no longer trusted her. She was too unpredictable, but it was hard to stick to that mindset. He could see her shoulders and body tremble, her long curtain is silky black hair cast a dark shadow on her face, and over her thighs her hands fisted tightly in a white-knuckled grip. She suddenly moved and sprang on Dahlia, her hands quickly grabbing Dahlia’s and a pleading look in her wine colored eyes.
[#b22222 “Please forgive me, Dahlia! I never meant for any of this! I never wanted to lie to you, I never wanted to put you in danger. You’re my best friend.”] Eris bowed her head forward in a sign of humility before Dahlia. Gaius made no comment towards the women and instead crossed his arms over his chest and moved towards Kael to speak amongst themselves.
[#daa520 “I may have a suggestion of my own. This one will be more reliable than the last... I have a sibling who lives in Milan. She would be able to get us where we need to go... only.. it’s V...”] Gaius’ nose scrunched up, not too particularly please, but no different than asking an annoying sibling for a favor. [#daa520 “I hope your ass kissing is as good as ever... we both know how Vanity loves to be complimented...”] Gaius sighed with an annoyed expression and looked out towards the twinkling lights of the Grecian Coastline and waited to hear Kael’s opinion, or suggestions.
Upon Gaius’ announcement that they would need to go on without him, Kael was liking this whole thing less and less. They were losing half their party all because they came to this stupid island, but at the same time, he did not see what other choice they had. Whatever the Greeks were planning would be infinitely more dangerous if they had an Oracle’s premonition and allowing them to keep Hades locked away was not exactly a good prospect either. They had to escape, and unfortunately because Kael was not exactly the type to fend off an army, it was Gaius who had to stay behind.
Nodding to signal his agreement, much like his partner, Kael did not turn to look behind. They were in much too much of a hurry to waste any time with even the simplest of goodbyes. He did however look over to Dahlia who seemed to have even more qualms with the problem than he did. But before she could open up to say anything to prolong their departure, the snake grabbed ahold of her and made off through the now warped gate. There were some words of protest when he picked her up, but he did not pay them any mind as they raced off toward the ocean. With any luck they could find something faster than a ferry to commandeer.
Without worry about those who were immediately tailing them and being able to set his own pace without a human to slow him, it was not long before they made it to the docks. The red-eyed man was quick to set Dahlia down and hop into one of the sportier boats. It was nice and well-kept, so Kael almost felt a little bad when he busted the front console open to reach the wiring. He was no boat expert but hotwiring this thing couldn’t be that different from a car, and the steering mechanism looked straight forward enough as well. It would be better than trying to swim it, that was for sure. Crouched down he looked through the mess of wires beneath the dash and tried to piece it together so that he could get the boat to start. When the engine did eventually jump to life, it was quiet. Kael felt it more than heard it through the unstable floor beneath his feet. That meant it was time. Hopping back into the wooden dock he turned toward Dahlia and told her to get in as his eyes scanned the horizon, but before either of them moved something unexpected happened: Eris and Gaius materialized from thin air. [+forestgreen “… Okay…”] The flat, somewhat drawn out, word expressed his disbelief as he blinked at the pair. Perhaps it would have been better to be on edge with such a happening, but it wasn’t like Wrath himself had an aura that was easily mimicked, so at the very least he knew it was really them.
Dahlia’s reaction was much the same but mixed with a bit of alarm at the sudden appearance of two figures. Obviously, it did not take long for her to recognize who they were. A longtime friend and very striking demon were not exactly easy to mistake for anyone else, but the woman’s dark eyes wandered over her friend for a short while. She was taking in everything, all the differences that were visible in her appearance, but as unnerving as those were, she could tell her Eris was back. The terrifying glint in her eyes from earlier had faded and there was just something about how she held herself that confirmed it for her, so the petite woman rushed right up and wrapped her arms tightly around her best friend. [+mediumvioletred “I am so glad you are okay.”] Her eyes were brimming with tears, though she managed to hold them back for now. It was a little irritating. Dahlia felt like she had been constantly crying these last few days; it was childish.
Still very much ignorant to what had transpired, Dahlia made a mental note to thank Gaius for bringing Eris back, but for now she was content latching herself to the other woman. Her hug persisted right up until Kael butt in. [+forestgreen “I hate to be an ass, but we really need to get out of here. This reunion can continue on the boat."] The man felt genuinely bad breaking it up, but survival came first and if they were here that meant the search party would not be far behind.
The boat rocked on the water as three of them boarded. Kael took an additional minute as he untied the rope that tethered the vessel to the dock. Once everyone was settled in, he pushed off with his foot and jumped in with the others to take the captain’s seat. With no more immediate distractions, he hit the throttle and they were speeding away from the island. With any luck, they would be one of the only boats on the water at this time of night and he wouldn’t need to worry about any boating restrictions, seeing as Kael was no expert in all this and being tailed by some costal police was no his idea of a good time right now.
[+forestgreen “So, the immediate game plan...”] As always, the snake like to have these things thought out before hand, even if they never went to plan. [+forestgreen “We need to get as far away from here as we can, as fast as we can. Warping would be ideal, which means going back to the safehouse, but I seriously doubt Cornelius will keep any of this under wraps. We would have to get passed him in order to transport and even then, with Dahlia popping off with deity energy, our location won’t be secret for long unless we can find some way to put up a barrier.”] There were a lot of potential issues they could run into any step of the way. Biting his lip, Kael was wracking his brain for an answer that did not involve having to assault a magister, but for the time being that was his go to, unless someone else had a better idea for what they should be doing right about now.
[+mediumvioletred “Umm… not to be a doubting Thomas, but didn’t it take both you and your brother to warp us all before?”] Dahlia remembered how tired Kael had been after using the lay lines things before and she wasn’t exactly confident he would be able to do it on his own.
That was something that had already crossed the red-eyed man’s mind. [+forestgreen “It might put me out of commission for a little bit, but its better than letting those guys get ahold of us.”] He glanced back over his shoulder towards the ever-shrinking island. For the time being there was nothing but their own wake following them on the water. A nice break for them that would not last, as they soon crossed the magical barrier that was shielding their maenad paradise from the outside world.
Dahlia had already been channeling the obvious energies from within the barrier, but now that she was out in the open it was not taking long for others to lock on and begin throwing their own auras her way to make the beacon stronger and easier to target. With a little attention the others might have been able to pinpoint who all was exactly throwing their hats into the ring, but for Dahlia all this meant was a louder, harder to ignore, buzzing in her ear. It was something that would ebb and flow, as she vaguely remembered, but for now she did not say anything about it. She already felt bad enough making things harder on everyone, she did not want to complain on top of it. Instead the dark eyed woman opted to lean against Eris who was seated next to her and let the conversation about what they should do continue around her.
[b “STOP THEM! Capture them and bring back The Oracle!”] Dion shouted into the night sky. Ares was beside Eris, coaching the Goddess to stay in control of her pitiful mortal consciousness. The Goddess ground her teeth, the maenad’s will was strong, and Ares’ coaching was irritating to her. She understood this mortal’s desire to be free and in control. She too wanted the same thing: Free Will. She didn’t want to bring a second coming like the rest of the fools that surrounded her, she wanted to find her own little corner of the world and rule it without interference.
Inside, her mind was in turmoil, and the Goddess raged as she realized she was slowly losing control. Fighting with a Maenad host had only happened to one other God in the past, and they did not speak of it, the mortal coil was cut, and the God erased from history. Eris wasn’t going to go down like that.
[+purple “Little Maenad, you try my patience! Do have any idea what will happen to both of us if you don’t comply?!”]
[#b22222 “This is my body! Get out!”]
[+purple ‘You are a Puppet. I stay... or we die.’] The Maenad was quiet for a moment, but did not lessen her fight for control.
[#b22222 ‘You leave, or you give this puppet total control. You clearly can’t survive without me, and I’m too strong for you to dispose of. Besides, at this point I won’t survive without you. We need each other. Help me make room for you. Help me, help you.’] The Maenad left no room in her voice for argument, and the Goddess realized if she did nothing soon, Ares was likely to cut them both down. She had a choice to make, return to the Aether or stay and become a tool....
Just as Eris feared, Ares had risen to his feet and was looking at Dion, who was frowning.
[b “I will give her another moment to find control, or I’m ending them both-“]
[+purple “Don’t fucking dare...”] Eris suddenly growled, her eyes still that deep wine red, and her hands reached from her own self to her brethren and took the ceremonial dagger she’d had this whole time and plunged it into Ares’ side. She shoved him back into the others and with a hiss, turned away. A dark funnel of shimmering black fog surrounded Eris and when it cleared in a sudden flash of lightning she was gone. From where he stood Dion screamed at the sky and even Zeus’ own rage could be argued now streaked across the sky in a sudden storm that was striking the island. Even fleeing on boat would be difficult, if not impossible.
Gaius hurried with Kael and Dahlia to the edge of the compound when Dahlia suddenly stopped, unwilling to leave Eris. Gaius too would have liked to go back, and he knew Kael would too. The women had grown on them and they did feel somewhat responsible for this. Well maybe not this event specifically, but for all the rest, yes. Who would have thought the Olympic Pantheon was planning such a vicious uprising? Were they working with the Malumortis to form a coup against humanity and the current Paranormal Government? There were too many questions at the current moment, for Gaius to think too much on them.
They needed to get off the island.
Gaius looked back to see that a group of armed Maenads were running towards them. This was bad, he had to think fast to get them out and prepared himself to unleash his true form, or at least let down a wall or two to fight them off. No matter what Dahlia and the medallion needed to get off the island. The gate was just ahead of them, and Gaius suddenly flashed ahead of Dahlia and Kael with a great shout his monstrous hands turning to flame, and struck a heavy blow to the center where the lock kept them barred. It crumbled and broke, the steel warping from the impact and Gaius ripped one of the doors back. His eyes burned with Hell Fire and his skin had begun to peel charred dark remnants... his demonic form beginning to take shape.
[+gold “Kale, take Dahlia and follow the plan. Get her out of here. We can’t let them have her, or the medallion. I’m going to buy you some time.”] Gaius growled as he hurried towards them and clasped Kael’s shoulder. Gaius didn’t look at him though, his eyes were on the maenads now close enough to start shooting, and he gave Kael a firm push back. [+gold “Go.”] He said simply.
He didn’t look back at Kael or Dahlia... if they did, they would see the awful features he had, the flayed flesh on his skin, the missing half of his face, the way his horns curled menacingly. He was nothing like the night at the Rave, that was his true unleashed form. This was smaller, this was control. His hands grew into blackened claws, razor sharp and catastrophic, and with a menacing smile unleashed wrath on the shooters.
He sprang forward, taking the nearest shooter out. His hand grabbed the man’s face, lighting on fire and flung him into the next two bodies that came at him. Another series of shots came from behind him and one struck his shoulder. He grunted in pain, feeling the acrid burn of a bullet doused in Holy Water. They were clever Maenads. He went to turn on the shooter, but found Eris already had them. Her hand around their neck and staring up at them. They began to scream in terror, and Eris dropped them to the ground.
[#b22222 “More are coming,”] Eris said coming towards him. Gaius blinked, and noticed how quickly she was moving, and without fear or hesitation took his deformed hand and dragged him away, and then quite suddenly -nothing.
He felt his body had collapsed into nothingness and then was brought right back with a vicious snap. He stumbled a bit to see Eris standing on the docks and now facing Dahlia and Kael.
Eris had won over the Goddess with a loose compromise, and while her new features remained, she was the Eris who had brought them here, and the Goddess was now a part of her. She was by no means a Goddess herself, but could call upon the most basics of the Goddess’ powers. Limited, but helpful.
[i [+purple “The power of a God cannot be ruled by a mere mortal. I won’t allow it. I grant you an allowance of my power to keep us alive. If there is such a moment I deem necessary to take over for our survival, you will relinquish your control. Are we in agreement?”]]
Those had been the terms, and Eris stood before Dahlia, hoping for a chance it hell that they could all make it out of here...
Quite frankly Dahlia was not even remotely okay with the idea of leaving Eris behind, however, she was much too scared to voice her opinion on the matter. She was practically clinging to Gaius now, so it felt like whatever small portion of decision making power her vote had was null and void. But she was barely able to worry about that before the maenads that had been bothering the now half out of it Kael were turning their attention on the wrath demon. Her stomach did flips. This was not good. It felt like she was falling, hurdling towards the ground, and her one last safety net, Gaius, had fire licking at the edges. He was shaking, and standing so close to him, she could feel it. Dahlia’s hands gripped all the tighter at his arm and shirt, hoping that there was some way he could fight them off just a little longer. Then bam, like a bolt from the blue there was silence. Even the auras died down for the moment as Eris emerged. However, as the woman came into view, Dahlia’s worst nightmare was basically confirmed. Something was wrong with her friend, very wrong. She was not herself, and Gaius confirmed it. There was a goddess in there and she did not seem all too friendly to the dark eyed woman.
However, the real gravity of all this did not hit until the stranger’s voice came from her friend’s mouth. This other Eris called for her possessively, saying she could protect her, but Dahlia did not like it, not one bit. She came in closer and with a better look at her, it became harder and harder to distinguish her from her Eris. The features were all there, just about; it was just that hair and a few other things. [b “Eris?”] Her voice was shaky coming out, she was crying for what felt like the millionth time these last few days. She felt pitiful.
Dahlia was only able to see it through a teary veil, but there was a split second that Eris, the real one, her Eris, came back. She urged them to leave and without a moment’s hesitation, Gaius obliged her. He scooped up both her and Kael and made a break for it. Despite staying very obviously being the wrong answer, leaving did not sit well with the mortal woman either and she began to squirm as if there was someway she could actually get loose from the golden-eyed man’s grasp. [b “No, no, no, we can’t leave Eris. She is still in there. She needs our help.”] There was some more fruitless struggling and sniveling as they breached the edge of the main compound, before she tried to appeal to the man more directly. [b “Gaius please. I can’t leave Eris behind; she hates it here. She hates it here and she needs me… Please.”] It was a pretty big turn around from how mad she had been at the other woman not more than a couple of hours ago. That all seemed petty now and Dahlia was mad at herself for how she acted.
Given some time with the cacophony of energies ramped down, Kael was beginning to recover. At the very least he thought he would soon be able to handle himself. Especially given the distance they were putting between themselves and the maenads. He did not think any of them would be able to outrun wrath, but if one of those gods decided to give it a try, they might have a problem and a big one. But that was a maybe, the main threat right this second was Dahlia, strangely enough. The way she was begging at Gaius concerned the snake. Sure, he doubted the age old demon would give in, that went doubly so knowing their lives were on the line, but Kael did not really want to risk it. [b “Hey, Dahlia, Dahlia, listen to me.”] His voice was relatively quiet, but he was able to project enough to get the woman’s attention. [b “We can’t afford to get caught right now. If we go back, it is game over, understand? None of us will be able to leave this place. What’s more, if you get stuck there, there’s gonna be no reason for Eris to want to break free. We’ve got to trust her. She is strong, you know that better than anyone, right?”] He was talking her up, but he meant every word of it. Even from just their short acquaintance he knew she was a fighter. Eris wasn’t just going to let someone else have her body; god or not that bitch was in for one hell of a fight.
Somehow, Kael was able to hold the woman’s attention. Probably had something to do with him looking over his glasses and maybe, just maybe, using the tiniest bit of his hypnotic abilities. It was just enough to make her listen, so hopefully Gaius wouldn’t get too mad. Especially since those pleas faded away and her sobbing was dwindling to sniffles as she agreed to trust in Eris’ fighting spirit to get her out of there. With that crisis diverted, the red-eyed man was able to talk to his partner more easily. [b “We just have to make it to port, once there we hijack a boat or I can force someone to help us and we will be out of reach.”] That was probably already Gaius’ plan, but by going through it verbally, Kael was able to show that he was becoming clear of mind once again. And with that clarity he became less useless. It was nice to feel like he wasn’t about to lose control. That being said, he did not let that relief linger just yet. His crimson gaze fell back behind them, scanning every nook and cranny to see if anyone was in pursuit and sure enough there was. [b "Fuck."]
Gaius wasn’t sure how much more Kael could handle, even for himself the energy was suffocating. Dahlia was kept close to his side, and he was all too prepared to take Kael, hoist them both over his shoulders and get the Hell out of there. He doubted they would be stopped, but with Dion aware of Dahlia’s prophetic abilities, he doubted he’d make a clean getaway. The only problem with such a plan, meant Eris was left behind. His more wrathful and vengeful side, blamed her for bringing them here in the first place, and perhaps this was her due reward. Besides, she made it out once before, couldn’t she do it again?
He grit his teeth, hoisting Kael back up to his feet and protecting them as best he could when he noticed that Dion and the upper Echelon of the family remained immune to the energy and intoxication of the space. However, several more Maenads had come closer and this time they seemed more interested in him. Their eyes gleaming and their auras peeling off of them in palpable layers, had Gaius suddenly trembling to hold his own. He felt what they were trying to do... draw his wrath out.
[i “We want to see...”] he heard one hiss.
[i “Such power to be had... won’t you give us some?”] Another asked reaching forward. Gaius stepped back still holding Dahlia and Kael at his side. Eris needed to hurry the hell up....
[+gold “Don’t let go of me, you two... if this gets worse... I am making a break for it, with or without Eris.”] Gaius warned darkly, and with a look Kael would know that Gaius was dead serious.
[b BELOW] in the underground shrine, Eris could feel the effects of the poison. She grew increasingly dizzy and disoriented the further she went. She followed the torch-lit path until she reached a chamber where an ancient tree with golden leaves seemed to illuminate the space. The effects of the poison was making her hallucinate, because she saw a divine feast laid out before the tree which had morphed into a garden in the clouds, but one item captivated her attention the most and it was being offered by a familiar hand. A Golden Apple sat in the hand of her very own doppelgänger. The woman before her looked identical to Eris in all features except the dark abyss of her own eyes, and the length of her hair which cascaded to her hips like a sheet of black silk. There was a terrifying aura about the creature, absolute chaos swirled in her black eyes, and before Eris could reach for the apple the doppelgänger crushed it in her palm.
[i [+purple “It is time for us to wake up... We have work to do...”]]
Eris backed away and stumbled in her drugged state, uncertain about the reflection she was seeing. There was something dangerous about her that paralleled Gaius’ darkness.
[#b22222 “W-who are you?”]
[i [+purple “You already know the answer. Afterall, you are my aptly named vessel.”]] She smirked wickedly, a finger caressing Eris’ cheek. [i [+purple “For too long they’ve left you ignorant, longing for a future we’re we are not returned. Their tradition forces them to allow this meeting. Every one hundred years a Maenad is born with the ability to channel all energy, including godly power... Each one is perfectly wired to fit a single God inside it. You see, we do not have corporeal forms of our own... so vessels are needed. That’s what you were born for. For me. It’s my turn to walk among the lore and do my part in the coming war. You sense it don’t you? Factions of Lore are about to collide, and the Gods are moving the pieces. There are no coincidences Eris, you have in your possession a very valuable medallion. You carry our Ally. Not only that... you have the Oracle. You are a dutiful avatar. Together we will wreak such Chaos the world has never before seen...No other God will hold us down again.”]] The dark reflection of Eris grabbed her face and pried her mouth open. [i [+purple “Now open wide...”]] She cooed, and against Eris’ will, the doppelgänger turned into a dark purple miasma and funneled its way into Eris.
Gaius’ legs were shaking, the pressure being pushed on him was intense. He felt he might buckle soon, when it suddenly seemed to snap and everything was dead silent. The maenads suddenly paused in all their exploits and turned towards the stone that began to shift away. Sweat on his brow, Gaius looked towards the shifting stone and watched just as entranced as everyone else when Eris rose from the darkness. He gasped, his body tensing as he looked upon her. It was not the Eris they had sent down into those depths....
The wreath in her hair that was now decayed wasn’t the only thing strange and off. Her hair was now a long curtain of black, and her eyes were a deeper red wine, her nails were long and sharp like claws. Wine red lips smirked wickedly against porcelain skin. The Maenads lowered to their knees except the Elders who greeted Eris with a olive branch.
[b “So you have returned...”] Eris grinned at Dion and looked about at her equals.
[+purple “Dionysus, Hera, Ares... are you all there are?”]
[+red “For tonight,”] One of the men said, the one Eris had called Ares. He was tall, muscled, handsome, and fierce. They might have been called elders, but those who had the spirit of a God in them, did not age past a certain point. Ares would always be in his peak physical shape. [+red “All that are needed are here. Others are scattered tending their own subordinates.”] Eris seemed pleased to hear that and she finally looked over her shoulder towards Gaius, Dahlia and Kael. Gaius wore a look of shock and one that wished what Eris was now... was not true.
He pulled Dahlia and Kael closer, nervously stepping back, as Eris turned to face them, her look stoic if not dangerous and approached them.
[+gold “I don’t think that’s our Eris anymore...”] Gaius murmured. [+gold “I think it’s... the Eris, Goddess of Discord and Chaos.”] Hearing him, Eris smirked, a blatant confirmation.
[+purple “You’re a quick one, Wrath. Now hand over my dear Dahlia. She’s very important to me. I can keep her safe...”] Eris cooed, still approaching, her hand reaching for Dahlia. Gaius grit his teeth, backing away further, but one word from Dahlia had Eris suddenly tensing, her eyes going from hazy to clear. Their Eris was fighting her namesake to protect Dahlia.
[#b22222 “G-go...”] Eris grit to him, and Gaius nodded. Yes, Eris escapade once, he had faith she would do it again...
[+gold “Quickly!”] he shouted to Dahlia and Kael, grabbing them and running.
Dahlia took the offered arm with little thought or hesitation. Had she not been so focused on getting this over with and getting out of this place she might have enjoyed his company on this pleasant little stroll. Surely it would have stood out against her earlier walk by herself. Even without all the flowers, walking with a handsome man had its own charm, but unfortunately, she was too absorbed in her worries about the future and her friend to pay any real mind to it. She didn’t even really notice the glares when they came into fancily decorated garden, though that was in part due to Gaius who guided them away. But mostly Dahlia was content to look over to the area that seemed to be the center of this celebration and what would likely turn out to be the stage of whatever ceremony was to take place. Another source of anxiety for her. The petite woman was beginning to understand more and more just what Eris had meant when she called her family a cult.
After what felt like a long while, things got started, but they did not get any better. All the lofty words and toting around of that dagger only had Dahlia all the more tense. She did not like this one bit. Organized religion usually got her jittery like this, things like churches and such, but this was just close enough to have her on edge. She found herself creeping closer to Gaius to be on the safe side. Strange that she felt more comfortable in the presence of a demon as opposed to these people. He calmed her a bit, which was doubly weird since he was supposed to be an entity of wrath and anger.
As soon as Eris was out of sight, the atmosphere ramped up to eleven. It was a more intense version of how Eris got when she drank wine… which made sense now. But this was like there was a bunch of her and it was a lot. Trying to take it all in, or rather push it all out, she was nearly run over by a pack of maenads running by to join some of the others rutting about on the ground. Gaius managed to stop her from falling flat on her face. [b “Thank you.”] Her voice was soft as she instinctively took another step closer to the man. This whole thing was terribly uncomfortable. When was Eris going to be back? Dahlia hoped it would be soon, and she hoped she would be as she remembered.
Kael was doing all right at first. There were a couple of suspect glances coming from the aunts and other attendees of this party, but for the most part they were all leaving him alone while he waited for the others. This also gave him time to look over things. Eventually things got on and the party got started. And one hell of a party it was. Kael had been to his fair share of less than appropriate social events, but this was on another level. The whole atmosphere was something else. It ramped up and up and eventually it was starting to get to him. Around that time a trio circled around him, the snake began to think he might be in trouble. He was able to bat off that other lady before, but with the current ambiance and there being three of them, he was going to have a harder time of it. Their auras flared around him and it had his head euphorically hazy. If it weren’t for Gaius jumping in and saving his ass, he wasn’t sure what he would have done.
Red eyes glinting up at the taller demon’s in thanks, Kael staggered every so slightly as he was brought in next to his partner. It was currently difficult for him to keep attention on his surroundings. Perhaps if they weren’t in a den of lions it might have been pleasant, but knowing they were one misstep from being in big trouble kept his wits about him. At least a little bit. [b “I don’t know if I am going to be able to hold form.”] His words were slightly slurred as he spoke. For now he was stable enough, but if it got any worse there was a chance Kael was going to lose it and revert. And unfortunately it wouldn’t be to his true form like Gaius had done some day’s prior. It would be to a third weaker form, which was liable to leave him helpless in a place like this.
Gaius hated to admit that Kael was right. They couldn’t just put Dahlia in the path of one God to avoid the other. Not even Lucifer was a God, just a really fucked up angel, and still posed a threat to Dahlia. Gaius was mulling that thought over and still wondering why it was Eris had left this place, but Kael mentioned they would have to save their conversation for a later more private time. Again Gaius agreed and though Kael suggested they head to the gardens, Gaius declined.
[+gold “I told Dahlia I would escort her. We’ll meet you there.”] Kael seemed fine with it and they parted ways.
Gaius made his way down the hall, passing a servant in the process, and found himself at Dahlia’s door. He checked the cuffs of his sleeves, ensuring he was presentable and knocked upon the door. He felt slightly nervous, though he shouldn’t, and focused on his excitement to be alone with her, even if for a moment. When she answered the door he was shocked by how enamored he was to see her dressed like a sacrificial offering. Call it the demon in him, but she was dressed in pure white, her figure cutting a desirable frame, and he quickly had to clear his throat when she suggested they get moving. He managed a nod of his head and offered her his arm.
The walk was short lived, but Gaius enjoyed every moment, taking slow strides as to match Dahlia’s shorter legs, and allowing her to set their pace. She seemed hurried, wanting to do just as she said: Get it over with. He didn’t blame her, he didn’t like staying here either and he had a terrible feeling in the pit of his stomach. The garden path was lit with torches, and at the center of the pavilion a large fire pyre was burning. Tables full of shinning platter of silver and gold were loaded with breads, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. There was even a whole pig, and a full table of wines from all over the world. The abundance of food and wine was almost gluttonous. Gaius found Kael and made his way to stand with him, leading Dahlia away from the leering eyes that followed their every move. There was the soft chitter chatter of those around them, many of it bets on whether or not Eris would be powerful, mediocre or if this was all a waste of time. The Elders of the family portrayed a different image. They were all silence and stoic, looking harshly towards the Pavilion. Some even looked nervous. One of Eris’ aunts turned to look their way and Gaius’ eyes narrowed suspiciously towards her. She seemed flippant and looked away from him as a sheep’s horn was blown into to heralds the arrival of Dion and Eris.
Eris walked by his side, looking regal in her gossamer robes of white, and donning the flower wreath she and Kael had picked together. She also held a long eucalyptus branch, and on one of her arms was a golden band -a snake that coiled around her arm. Gaius watched curiously as the voices quieted and Dion led Eris to stand before the pavilion. He raised his hands, wearing a golden crown of laurel leaf, and dressed in his own robes of cream and gold.
[b “Thank you everyone for coming. Tonight we celebrate Eris and her awakening. Soon she will open the temple of our ancestors and descend into the darkness and rise reborn.”] He held his hand out and Eris’ aunt stepped forward with a shiny blade and handed it to Dion. Gaius looked at their feet and noticed a crest-like design in the stone under their feet and he looked back to the blade and to Dion who took a vial and poured a clear liquid on the blade. Eris looked nervous, but still traded her eucalyptus branch for the blade. [b “Payment and sacrifice must be made to enter the temple. Let the venom on this blade dull your thoughts, and open your mind to the truth of your nature.”] Eris nodded, holding the blade and wrapped one of her hands around the edge. A small group of musicians began a steady rhythm of drums, and with little hesitation she sliced open her hand; letting her blood drip down to the crest beneath her.
The blood dropped with a sickening splat, but after a moment of Eris bleeding over the crest, the sound of shifting stone met the ears of those watching. The crest filled itself with Eris’ blood and eventually showed a seam in the stone where it began to separate, showing a tunnel that led under ground. Eris looked back towards Dahlia and their demon cohorts, gaining her own courage and finally turned, stepping into the tunnel and letting the darkness swallow her whole.
Dion watched successfully, and rather smug as the tomb sealed itself behind Eris and would only reopen once she had gone through her transition. It was then the other Maenads began to sway, the energy in the space becoming heavy and warm. Gaius glanced around, his arm instinctively moving to hold Dahlia close to him for protection. The fires surrounding the perimeter of the celebration began to burn brighter and hotter. The air felt warmer and Gaius sensed an ominous energy filling the space. The Maenads continued to sway and move as the music grew louder and more intense. Sure enough some of the Maenads began to moan out, some began to dance wildly, others simply dropped to the ground to begin fornicating. Regardless of their actions, it was pure indulgence and hedonism. Gaius looked around in fascination at the way the Maenads were captivated by the energy, as if they were all becoming drunk off of it.
Gaius caught Dahlia before a group of naked maenads knocked her down as they ran past simply to fall in the grass and tumble together. A mass of flailing arms and legs, with reaching hands, and mouths grappling for pleasure. The dancers moved wildly, singing and shouting with the others who drank in excess. The aura and energy of the space was gradually becoming heavier and heavier, and soon enough three maenad females found Kael, circling him like vultures, their eyes gleaming dangerously -hoping to manipulate or control the unfortunate snake demon.
[+gold “Back off!”] Gaius barked, reaching over and snagging Kael with his free arm. He too drew the snake closer to him, gritting his teeth and wondering when Eris might return.
There was at least a hint of good news in knowing that it was unlikely that Lucifer was onto them yet. It would give them a little more time to plan before he tried dragging Gaius back down to him and twisting his arm into getting what he wanted. It had already happened once, so no doubt the old fuck would try it again if he did decide he wanted to be a part of the metaphorical arms race. But that bit of optimism was shortly followed by a ton of bricks worth of pessimism. Max.
Kael groaned along with Gaius. They had already dangled her on a thread in front of an angel. It was almost as bad as when they basically plopped Eris into the lap of a vampire. The two of them really were botching this thing up at every turn. He was about to verbally reprimand them and say that they needed to be more careful, something that really went without saying, but the silvery haired man jumped in first. He mentioned something about Dahlia staying here and Kael completely dropped that train of thought.
[b “I do not think that is a good idea.”] Shaking his head somewhat emphatically, the man went on. [b “I did not get all the details, but Eris is avoiding these people for a reason.”] She felt like they were something she needed to get away from, enough so that she left for the states and essentially lived in poverty. [b “If they are bad enough to drive away their family, I cannot imagine Dahlia is going to have an easier time of it.”] Honestly, they looked to be a tight knit group and everything revolved around the bloodline. In cases like that, outsiders usually ended up being thrown to the side if danger ever reared its head. [b “Not to mention Maenads aren’t really famous for their independence of gods.”] Kael wasn’t there to make any assumptions about Dion, but he wasn’t going to refuse the idea that he was Dionysus himself. [b “We shouldn’t throw her into the path of a god we don’t know just to get her away from another.”] He thought it was a decent point, though his opinion was really founded on Eris’ feelings. He trusted her, what could he say?
Finishing up there, the sound of footsteps came from not far off. He became hyperaware of the fact that they were walking about the hallway and went pale. Thankfully they had not been too loud, but he would rather not be caught casting this place in a negative light while they remained guests here. Luckily though, the one who came around the corner was none other than the butler fellow who had escorted them around before. He didn’t react in a way as if he had heard any of their conversation, so Kael allowed himself to take a calming breath as the gentleman announced that the ceremony would be starting soon and that they should gather in the garden with the others. The snake nodded his thanks and waited for the sound of the man’s footsteps to fade away once more. [b “We should probably hold off on this conversation for a while longer… At least until we are somewhere more private.”] He also thought it wise to have Eris present, as she would be able to shed more light on the situation regarding the Alcone family.
With that he thought it really was best to head their way down to the convergence point, but as he started off he noticed that Gaius went the opposite direction. When he asked about it, the older demon mentioned having promised to escort Dahlia. Choosing to let the two have their moment, he continued off on his own. He could save them a seat or whatever.
It was a knocking at her door that pulled Dahlia from her bit of daydreaming. She hadn’t been thinking of anything in particular really, just regular life thoughts that were very far away from the situation she was in now. That being said, she pulled herself from it quickly to go answer the door. Expecting to see Gaius, she was surprised to find one of the staff members there to let her know it was time. The woman nodded, but politely let them know that she had plans to go with her friends. The light haired woman did not seem all that convinced, but did not push the issue any further, allowing Dahlia just a little more time to herself before the golden-eyed man returned. She found herself checking the mirror. The dress left for her seemed traditional, it flowed well and she found that it was fun to spin around in. The only gripe was that it was tight at her chest. Not uncomfortably so, but just enough to take notice since she had the tendency to wear less form fitting tops, unless she was going out.
Taking those last minutes to preen herself, she found it didn’t take long before there was another knock at the door. This time it really was Gaius. She smiled at him in her happy way, though she hadn’t entirely shaken the forlorn feelings from earlier. [b “Alright, let’s get this thing done!”] The sooner it was over with and they knew what kind of awesome powers Eris had the better. Dahlia found she wanted to be away from this place, and all the mixed up feelings that it had brought her, as soon as possible.
[b “Do I need to put a bell on you?”]
Gaius grinned amusedly at spooking Kael twice now. Perhaps Kale should not have allowed himself to be so easily distracted by a pretty face. Furthermore, Gaius would have been interested to see Kael try to put a bell on him. A futile endeavor to be sure, but potentially amusing none the less. Kael proceeded with an apology over loosing track of time. Gaius simply arched a brow, knowing damn well Kael wasn’t sorry about anything. He had a soft spot for the Maenad, that much was obvious.
Gaius was glad, but not surprised to hear Kael speak of staying on the move, and putting distance from his family. This meant no more convenient hideouts with shielding, and they would have to find new allies to help shield them. It was then a thought struck both of them at the same time, but Gaius saved his for later. Kael made a more pressing point.
[b "Wait... you said that Lucifer knows about Dahlia. Do you think he knows about this?”]
That was a very good question, and one Gaius did not have a confident answer to.
[+gold “I do not think he does… at least not yet. He’s aware she’s my fatal, but he made no indication he knew more. However, if we know about her, then it’s only a matter of time before others do as well.”] A darkly pensive look crossed his face with a grim realization. Gaius gave an equally anxious look to Kael and made a worrying suggestion. [+gold “I think I can name one who knows what she is already, you know him too.”] The name spilled from both their tongues when Kael made the realization as well.
[i [+b “Max.”]
[+gold “Exactly, and if that righteous prick hasn’t told his boss, he’s told others… word will spread like wildfire. Fuck!”] Gaius groaned, pushing a hand through his silver hair. [+gold “I did not sign up for this shit.”] He took a deep breath to help calm his quick rage, and frowned. He wasn’t upset by the effort and drama surrounding the new revelation concerning Dahlia, he was was worried for her. He cared about her. Wanted her safe. He wanted to keep her at his side, but he’d settle getting to watch her grow old and rich in happiness. He wanted the world for her and to give it to her, but as an oracle, things were now going to be complicated for her… and for him. Gaius was a Biblical powerhouse, but even so -he could not best a God.
[+gold “Perhaps…ugh,”] Gaius groaned, looking the part of a man about to regret his next words. [+gold “Dion offered Dahlia sanctuary… perhaps she should consider it. They’ve stayed hidden this long, maybe they can… keep her hidden.”] Gaius mused the thought over, but eventually looked to Kael for his opinion.
Eris stood before her mirror, dressed in a simple flowing gown of white, and wearing the flowered headdress she’d made with Kael’s help. Feet bare, Eris could feel the cool wood floor under her. She was nervous to learn what her core power was. [#b22222 “It’s very possible you don’t have anything…”] she reminded herself. [#b22222 “Then you can go home with Dahlia and never come back here again.”] The Ceremony would be starting soon, and all Eris could think of was how deep she and Dahlia were in. This was no longer a story, besides, how would she tell it? If she told any sane person half the things she and Dahlia had been through since coming to possess the medallion, they would label both of them as certifiably insane. They would probably be committed, and certainly loose all credibility in the journalist community.
Eris missed the old days going around New York with Dahlia to uncover some new interesting story. Back when things were simple. Then again, things had never been simple. She knew she needed to apologize for not being honest. Eris could have at least warned her, but no, Eris had been a coward and said nothing. She frowned at her own reflection, loathing what she saw, and eager to make amends. Eris decided she would make a visit to Dahlia before the ceremony, but as it turned out a knock came on her door. Hoping it was Dahlia who had come to yell at her, so Eris could then beg forgiveness, Eris hurried and opened the door.
[#b22222 “Dah-… oh Uncle, I wasn’t expecting to see you at my door.”]
Dion stood in the doorway, dressed in his own robes of white. There was gold grecian blocks that trimmed his robes, and he wore a solid gold wreath of eucalyptus. His cheeks were already rosy from imbibing in wine with the other maenads, and his smile was easy.
[b “You look lovely sweet niece, come… it is time… All are gathered for you down in the gardens.”] Eris nodded and looked to her Uncle before she walked out and followed him down the halls and outside.
The path leading to the center of the Garden was illuminated with the flickering of torches, and right before the pavilion in the center of the garden, the ground now revealed a recessed pathway leading underground. Eris knew that tomb only opened for a Rising Maenad, and tonight was her night, only the elders and herself would be allowed in, while all the others would have to wait. Eris grew more nervous the closer she neared the pavillion, and the deeper into the Garden she got. Soon she heard the din of voices over a tall hedge, and prepared herself….
It felt like the atmosphere had shifted for the worse, not that it had been particularly pleasant to start with, given the subject matter... Perhaps Dahlia had been a little too flippant with a serious matter, choosing to joke about things to lighten her own mood. She forgot that not everyone dealt with their problems that way. It made her want to apologize, but she held back instead letting Gaius move about the room to reveal that night had indeed fallen. Things seemed to improve a little bit from there, and while she was not sure whether it was because it was finally dark or that she had chosen to come along with him, Dahlia was glad for it.
Gaius returned to where they had been sitting, this time offering his hand to her. She took it without hesitation. It called back to the time at the warehouse. Something she has basically pushed from her mind with all the chaos that came after it. All the questions about what had happened that night began to resurface in her, but with their conversation winding down, Dahlia didn’t bring herself to ask them. Instead she followed him the short trip down the hall to her room. In all actuality, she probably did not need an escort, but it was nice to have another person with her. He spoke of taking her to the ceremony as well and she nodded. [b “I think I would like that.”] Having Gaius around might give her more confidence around Dion if he so happened to try and bully her into sticking around. Not that she was really expecting him to do that, but she was going to have to tell him she was going to pass on his offer, which made her nervous.
Stopping at her door, he surprised her once again, this time with a kiss. It was polite, gentlemanly, and placed on her hand in an old fashioned sort of way. Though it did kind of put things in perspective for her a bit. Maybe, just maybe, she hadn’t been looking too far into things before… If that were the case she really made an ass of herself a few minutes ago. A mortifying thought, one she was not going to dwell on. [b “See you a little bit later.”] Squeezing his hand ever so slightly before he let go, she did not really want to see him leave. Whether it was his presence in particular she wanted or that she just did not want to be alone, Dahlia did not know, but she hoped it would not be too long before the ceremony began. The young woman wanted it over with, so there would be one less thing to make her anxious.
Onyx eyes watching him for a moment as he left, she did not wait for him to disappear before closing the door and starting on her next biggest problem. What in the hell was she supposed to wear to something like this? Something traditional seemed appropriate, but everyone here was so modern and trendy it almost did not fit. As horrible of an obstacle as this promised to be, when she turned around to see the bed, she noticed that there was already something laid out for her… that made sense. It wasn’t like she had brought anything of her own. And so she dressed herself in a timely manner then decided she would use whatever precious time she had left to relax and try to not think about anything for just a little bit.
Kael smiled as she thanked him. [b “It was my pleasure, I may not know anything about flowers, but at least I am decent company.”] He took up a tone of humor, as though he hadn’t enjoyed every second of it just as much as her, if not more. And riding that mood it was ever so difficult not to turn his head to steal a kiss on the lips as opposed to the cheek. But he kept still, opting to be a good this time around. Besides, this was a sweet enough reward for braving the sun’s rays. Not to mention he was already grinning like an idiot. Seriously, it had to be close to the dorkiest smile on the planet that was plastered on his giddy face. [b “See you.”] He wasn’t even trying to hide it as he gave her a quick wave goodbye and she disappeared.
There could not have been more than three seconds of silence before he heard Gaius make his presence known. Once again, Kael nearly jumping out of his skin. [b “Do I need to put a bell on you?”] It was getting to the point that he was considering it. Being sneaky was good in their line of work, but maybe not so much around your allies. Though there wasn’t any time to discuss that as he was quickly sent on a guilt trip. Albeit a mild and well-deserved one. [b “Yeah, sorry, time sort of got away from me… I was a little distracted.”] He shifted his weight from one foot to the other as his red eyes flickered back to Eris’ door. He was kind of missing her already.
All in all, he was thanking his lucky stars that Gaius did not seem actually irritated about being ignored. As good of ‘bros’ as they were, Kael still did not want to deal with an angry wrath demon. Plus it seemed he also had some time with Dahlia, but based off the tone he took it was not pleasant as his time with Eris. Walking with the silver haired man, he soon discovered why. [b “No…”] He could barely believe it and it showed in his voice. They would have noticed something like that. One of them at the very least would have been able to recognize something so obvious as godly energy pooling around her, they were not that distracted with their mission. But with the grim look on his partner’s face he knew it must have been the truth. It called to his mind the night before when there was a shift in Dahlia’s energy… perhaps something changed? He had no way of knowing what, but something must have happened somewhere along the way.
Biting back the urge to apologize, the dark haired male shook his head. Admitting that he did not think that she was going to make it very long, even if they tried to conceal her, was not going to make this any easy on Gaius. He had just found his fatal and like that it seemed he was not going to be able to have her for long. And Kael had thought the fact that she was mortal was bad. [b “We are going to have to keep on the move until we find somewhere that masks energies better than my family hide outs…”] Sure he doubted anyone would be able to get in, but so long as she was there basically acting as a beacon there would be no way to get around without drawing attention to their base of operations. [b “We also need a way to distance ourselves from Cornelius. Even if he doesn’t go running to the magistrate, I have no doubt he will go to our parents. Dad probably won’t keep this secret, not unless I could get my mother to convince him, but there is a fat chance of that without me having to sell my soul away to her...”] His father, who worked closely with Atlas before his untimely demise, liked to keep things transparent. If it might come back to bite him in the ass, he didn’t do it. The only exceptions came at his wife's request.
Kael did not bring his family up often, he'd probably talked about them more in the last couple of weeks than over he and Gaius' entire acquaintance. And he'd blame most of that on his brother making an appearance rather than some great change in himself, but somehow it kept being relevant. Blame it on the political nature of their situation. [b "And if we cannot find a place suitable to mask her presence, we are going to need to find someone who can create a barrier or something. Someone trustworthy."] That last clause was the hardest part.
Then something even worse came to mind and the snake stopped in his tracks. [b "Wait... you said that Lucifer knows about Dahlia. Do you think he knows about this?"] Generally demons let the gods squabble over oracles, but if he was already involved this might be the time that the king of the underworld decides to make a play. This really could turn into a full blown war.
Gaius wasn’t expecting her to laugh at his comment, and for a moment it made his spirit sink. He should have known she would have found him humorous. She didn’t take him seriously at all. He had meant what he said: he enjoyed her company. Far more than he should. He watched her contain herself, and when she mentioned she hadn’t expected his comment, and couldn’t help but find it humorous, he was lost to her reference. Online videos of vulgar children? Where did she find those things?
[+gold “Hilarious...”] he managed to grumble, his hands fisting the arms of his chair tightly, and glaring off at nothing in particular, until she teased him for flirting with her. to that he coughed into his fist, having not expected her to call him out on it. However, she also seemed to claim it was a joke and proceeded to think long term on her plan. He could only frown and look towards too darkened windows, certain the sun had finally set.
She seemed to think staying with him was the best idea, and he was relieved to know she felt that way. His fists eased off the arm rest and he set his golden eyes on her.
[+gold “I think that would be a wise decision,”] his voice was deep, and slowly he rose to his feet and crossed the room to the windows. Pulling the curtains aside it revealed the sun had set, which meant very soon Eris’ ceremony would begin. [+gold “Finally, I can venture outside.”] he seemed almost sad to say it. It was as if he longed to go for a long walk under the sunshine. In truth, he was sad, sad with the knowledge that even if he could have Dahlia... he didn’t want her to have to sacrifice parts of her life for him. He looked outside for a moment longer, before finally turning towards her and holding out his hand to her. [+gold “It’s evening now, I imagine the festivities will be taking place soon. I’ll escort you to your room so you can change, and then escort you to the event if you’ll let me.”]He waited for her to take his hand and helped her stand up before leading her to her room. He bid her farewell with an old fashioned kiss to her knuckles and left her promptly to search for Kael.
Gaius found Kael with Eris, and the two of them looked rather chummy, Eris held in her hand a wreath of eucalyptus, anemones, and white dahlias. An interesting mix, and Gaius watched from the end of the hall. Eris turned at her door and grinned at Kael. He wondered where they had snuck off to.
[#b22222 “Thanks for the help this afternoon... even if you weren’t the most helpful. I still liked the time we spent together.”] she told him with a smile. Gaius’ brow furrowed -was it possible that Eris was smitten with Kael? No way, a woman like her had to be up to something, was she attempting to control him like her aunt had tried earlier at breakfast? He frowned watching her reach out for Kael’s arm, and quickly planted a kiss to his cheek. Kael had been his friend for a long time, and it was safe to say Gaius would always have the snake demon’s back, and so he was wary of Eris toying with his emotions. She stopped back with a slight grin. [#b22222 “See you at the ceremony...”] she backed up into her room, both of them grinning stupidly until she shut her door, and Gaius finally cleared his throat to make his presence known.
Again he’d managed to startle Kael, which seemed to be getting tiring for the snake demon. [+gold “You two seem nice and chummy.”] Now if he could just find a way to be so with Dahlia. [+gold “I imagine you’ve been with her all afternoon, while I’ve been locked up in my room bored to death? Not cool, man. I thought we were bros,”] Gaius mildly teased, with a dry tone. [+gold “You had better come with me... I had a conversation with Dahlia, and her mere presence complicates everything... she’s an Oracle. We now have two assets to keep concealed. The medallion and Dahlia... and we better figure out quick what we’re going to do with them.”] It was a bad situation, to reveal Dahlia even to their superiors could be dangerous for her. An all out war could start over Dahlia.
The more Gaius highlighted the possible and definite negatives of staying here, the worse Dahlia felt about it. She was not particularly excited about the prospect in the first place, but this extinguished a lot of the hope she had. He even managed to make her worry about Eris, even though she was supposed to be mad at her right now. She wanted to hold out for at least a couple of days to show her just how upset she was, but with the way things were going, it probably was not going to happen. Sometimes Dahlia thought she was too nice.
The dismalness made her curl further into herself. Maybe talking about this was not helpful… but there was no way avoiding it would fix anything either. There did not seem to be a right answer. Onyx eyes glancing across the room to the windows, they seemed unnaturally dark. This was mostly due to the curtains, but she was also pretty sure it was getting late. With low levels of light trying to get in, the dense woven black out curtains were almost void like. It must have been close to what it was like to experience pure darkness. The woman fixated on it for a moment before Gaius reached out to her again, trying to convince her to move along and stay with him and Kael. The marginally dorky line did not fit him at all, which tugged at the corners of the woman’s lips. She tried her very hardest not to laugh, but the more she thought about the contrast the funnier it seemed to be.
When she was able to suppress the giggling back down, she apologized. [b “Sorry.”] It was not because she caught the color on his cheeks, but because she felt bad on all her own. He was being nice, and she laughed at him. Or it probably looked that way. Knowing it was not likely to help, she tried to explain. [b “I did not mean to laugh, it is just that was so unexpected… You just have a certain look and air about you, so it did not quite fit in my head.”] Considering she didn’t really know him it was unfair, but whatever. [b “It’s kinda like those videos online of little kids saying bad words. You never see it coming and for some reason it is funny.”] Dahlia was not sure if that was an appropriate analogy, given it was the exact opposite of what she was dealing with, but she thought it got the sentiment across. [b “Also, if you were anyone else I might have thought you were hitting on me.”] It was not until after that came out that she realized that it sounded pretty conceited. [b “Well, I mean…”] The brunette floundered a bit before turning red herself. [b “That was a joke.”] Her voice was quiet, clearly embarrassed.
Attempting to move the conversation along and not wallow in her own mortification, Dahlia went back to the main topic at hand. [b “You are probably right. Staying here might sound easier, but it probably is not a good idea… I might have to take you up on that offer.”] She still felt bad knowing she would be endangering everyone else. Especially Eris who would basically be a fledging to all this. [b “At least until I figure out what I am going to do more long term.”] That was if she had that kind of time. She was still Dahlia was still feeling pretty pessimistic about it.
Gaius half expected Dahlia to accept his offer. He was biting at the chance to spend more time with her, but it seemed she had other ideas. She called him sweet, but confessed she couldn’t ask that of him. He frowned at her, not willing to accept that.
[+gold “You’re not asking. I’m offering,”] he tried to tell her, but she only shook her head and admitted she had no idea what she was going to do.
[b “Dion offered to let me stay here since the barrier here would work to hide me... I don't know if I want to do that, but if I get desperate it would work..."] Gaius felt cold by her statement and watched her pull her knees to her chest. Staying here would be bad -he wasn’t certain why, but there was a reason why Eris left. She tried to reason out things she would have to do and surmised that it wouldn’t be all bad. Gaius was unconvinced
[+gold “I don’t think you’ll be happy here. It’s a lovely, gilded cage... but a cage none the less. I suspect in the long run, you’ll wish to leave, and won’t be able to. I think I can see part of why Eris left here... they seem very controlling. Myself and Kael are obviously not welcome here either, and I suspect if you weren’t what you are... you would not be welcomed either. I personally am nervous for this evening. I have no idea what Eris will go through, or what’s going to happen, and not knowing makes me anxious.”] He stared at her hard, hoping to discourage her from staying, he needed her to leave with him and Kael. Personal reasons aside, she currently held the medallion and he still had to return it to his superiors. However if it truly had Hades locked inside, Gaius was more inclined to open it and let Hades loose. He has his reasons, and Gaius would keep them close to his chest for the time being.
Not wanting to linger too heavily on his previous statement, he continued with a rather good line. [+gold “Being with you relieves some of the tension. I enjoy your company.”] Scratch that, he frowned inwardly at himself. Enjoyed her company? What a loser. He couldn’t take it back now, however, and turned to look towards the curtained windows. Perhaps looking to see if the sun had set yet, but thank Hell it was dark and she couldn’t see the slightest of blushes to his cheeks.
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