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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.
With her arms crossed, she rubbed at her upper arm and shoulder. It helped to alleviate some of her nervousness, even if it was nothing more than a small comfort. [b "I mean, I cannot be totally sure. I am sort of taking Dion's word for it... but it does sound awfully familiar. There was a lot of weird stuff going on around me when I was young, so if I compare what I can remember of that to what he described, I think he is right."] Dahlia did not much want to go into the particulars with that, so she hoped that he vagueness was enough for him.
Judging by the look the horned man wore, things were grim. Until then she held on to a sliver of hope that Dion was just trying to make things out to be worse than they were so that he could manipulate Eris though her. But Gaius was making her doubt that. His words that followed did not help her outlook any either. The one silver lining of sorts was that he was kind enough to offer her his help. Looking up to him, she smiled halfheartedly. [b "That is sweet of you, like really, really sweet, Gaius."] It might have been the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her given the severity of what was to come for her. [b "But I am not sure I can accept that. I cannot ask you to endanger yourself for my sake."] Even if he was terrifyingly powerful, as he had demonstrated, she had nothing to offer him in return. Hell, she had only known his for a short while. It was hard to understand why he would want to put himself in harm’s way like that, even if he wanted to do 'good.' [b "I mean, I am not really sure what I am going to do just yet, but I am sure I will figure it out. 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..."]
Pulling her knees up to her chest, Dahlia rested her legs on the chair and wrapped her restless arms around them. [b “I would need to learn Greek and get used to everyone here, but the flowers are pretty, so maybe it wouldn’t be all bad.”] She was trying to look on the bright side, even if she did not know if she was going to stay or go at this point. In all actuality, it was something she should talk to Eris about. This was her family after all, even if she did not like to talk about them.
[b “Oh nothing of consequence. I am probably going to die young. That's all." ]
Gaius arched a brow at her sudden jab of sarcasm. It he hadn’t expected such a comment. What in Hell had Dion told her? Gaius didn’t know, but he knew he wanted to understand what exactly was going to get her killed. Whatever it was, Gaius had a strong desire to keep it from taking Dahlia. He looked her over, her playfulness melting away. He did not like the idea of Dahlia dead, at all. Dahlia sensed his disquiet over the issue and quickly apologized for her harsh tone, and confessed she needed to talk but wasn’t interested in talking with Eris. Much to Gaius’ surprise, she wished to speak with him.
He found her request humorous, no doubt assuring that he was here to actually talk with her. He gave her a wan smile and a subtle bow of his head. His horns played curving shadows over his face from the daylight, but his eyes and ears were strictly on Dahlia. At her offer of a more comfortable space to talk, Gaius stood up taller and looked around through the dark shade of his sunglasses. It was still too bright for his liking, and he was rather tired of holding his stupid umbrella.
[+gold “I think that would be good. My Lady,”] he offered his arm to her, and to his delight, she took up her arm in his.
Gaius led them back inside where he could finally lower the parasol, and in silence he walked her through the large home and up a set of stairs to the guest rooms. He stopped outside his room and opened the door for her. It was dark, with just enough light to seen around in, but for Gaius it was perfect. They had brought in blackout curtains for his room, and closed the shutters to his windows. For not being entirely welcoming, the Maenads had been thoroughly accommodating.
[+gold “Please have a seat,”] Gaius offered a chair to her beside an empty fireplace. In this sort of darkness he could see the gentle glow of her aura radiate in the dark space around her. He took his own seat and removed his sunglasses, folding them carefully and setting them aside. The gentle ‘tink’ as they hit the wooden table between them was the only sound. The fact Dahlia was so quiet gave Gaius pause. He stared at her and noticed a moment of awkwardness, perhaps anxiety? He hoped he wasn’t making her feel that way. Hoping to dissipate her nerves he asked [+gold “So what did Dion say to you?]
After all she told him, he almost wished he hadn’t asked. The moment she’d said she was an Oracle, Gaius immediently felt the floor fall out from under him. If he’d been standing he would have fallen to a knee. An Oracle?! If Lucifer found out about her too? The outcome would not be nice.
[b ”My options are either stay hidden or find a god strong enough to keep me safe... So it looks like I am kinda screwed.”]
[+gold “An Oracle… you’re sure?”] He asked breathlessly.
[b “You probably know more about all of this than me, so I don't know why I am explaining it." ] She let out a nervous laugh. Gaius sensed it and he heard it in her voice. She assumed he knew all there was to know about being an oracle. He didn’t, all he knew was they made great conduits into seeing the future and influencing it. Or they were literally the mouth and hand of the Gods - a Prophet. With the current state of affairs between pantheons and lore alike… Dahlia would be in grave danger until she pledged herself to a God or Deity. As an immortal sin… Gaius qualified as a Deity, but he would never be as strong as a god.
For a moment Gaius was quiet as he processed her words, now would certainly be the worst time to mention that Lucifer knew about the Medallion, and at least that Dahlia existed, but it wouldn’t take Lucifer long to learn of what she was. It gave him the chills.
[+gold “I know that you will have a difficult journey ahead. I know it will not be easy, but… if you will have me, I will walk this path with you, and offer you protection, Dahlia Morgan.”] He placed a black clawed hand over his chest, where a heart would be if he possessed one. [+gold “Let me use my powers for something good.”] Gaius had a deeper meaning to his words. True to his nature, he was vengeful, and he wanted it against his family. Protecting Dahlia from them would be just the thing, and it gave him an excuse to keep her close. That was if she even accepted his offer.
Much like before, Dahlia did not feel like being stuck in her room [i and] alone with all this. It was going to have to be one or the other, and since solitude seemed to be a given, she chose to walk around. Maybe she would be able to find the way outside so she could go to the garden again. It was awful pretty. But then again, there might not be a need to rush. There was a chance that she would just stay here in Greece. If she did, she could see the flowers whenever she wanted. Sure, she would have to learn the language, and might never see her family again, but it was better than stepping outside and dying cause she got caught up in some godly drama.
This all played at her mind as she wandered. Her feet took her this way and that until a voice stopped her. Heart nearly jumping out of her chest, she had not seen or heard Gaius coming. Did being so sneaky come with being a demon? Or was she perhaps just that distracted? Once she saw him with that big umbrella she knew it was the latter, and she cursed her own obliviousness. Her face flushed in embarrassment. And it did not help that he seemed to be taking enjoyment out of her reaction. That smirk was so damn hot. Like, she knew he was attractive, you would have to be blind not to see that, but this was on a whole different level. She'd never seen him with that expression so it caught her off guard, much like his presence only moments ago.
Dahlia was in the midst of calming herself back down when he got along to asking her what she learned. There was not much time to debate talking to him about it before he mentioned Eris. Telling her friend what was going on was pretty much the last thing on her priority list. She was very much still mad about the lies... That frustration must have shown on her face, because Gaius was quick to defend Eris. Apparently he thought everyone had their secrets, but that was not true. She didn't. Dahlia did not keep anything from Eris, not before this. And she was sure that would come out of the woodwork given long enough. Looking down to the floor, she knew she could not be angry about this forever, but was so hard to get passed it in the moment.
Mad that it felt like he was trying to run the conversation in a way that got him exactly what he wanted, her words came out with a harsh tone. [b "Oh nothing of consequence. I am probably going to die young. That's all."] The sarcasm left a bitter taste in her mouth. Glancing back up at him, his playfulness seemed to melt away. Exactly what he was feeling, she could not tell, but she did know it made her feel guilty. Dahlia began to backpedal. [b "... I am sorry... I am frustrated, but I should not take that out on you. It's not your fault."] Really it wasn't anyone's fault. More of a terrible twist of fate, really.
[b "I need to talk about it, but I am not ready to go to Eris just yet... I'd like to talk to you, if you don't mind."] He was the one who offered, so it was weird that she would ask. But there was still a chance he only meant it in a polite way. [b "And we can go somewhere more comfortable for you."] Her eyes flittered between the thick parasol and the man underneath it. He did not look exactly comfortable, but that could have been the conversation as well.
The silver haired man seemed to take her up on the offer, leading her back through the house. Once again, Dahlia found she had no sense of direction in this place. It was not until they were standing in the hall that held their rooms, that she knew where they were headed. She followed him to his guest room. Inside, there wasn't a single ray of natural light. It have the place a strange, eerie feeling. One that was different from the rest of the home.
This was not their first time alone together, but after her encounter with Max, Dahlia felt a nervous to be here with him. Thankfully there were no couches. They each took their own chairs seated at a light wood table in the corner of the room.
After so long in silence, it felt awkward to break it, but she supposed she had to be the one to do it. [b "I, um, guess if what Dion said is right then I am supposed to be an oracle, or something like that."] It was kind of embarrassing to talk about. She sort of felt like a middle schooler who was making something up to sound cool or important. [b "He thinks there are going to be some gods who want to make a pact with me so we can tell the future."] Even after everything she had seen and heard, it sounded ridiculously far fetched. [b "But since I can only have one pact, that might make some waves..."] She had read enough Greek mythology in high school to know that you did not want to piss off the gods. And that was not going to be the only pantheon she was dealing with. [b "My options are either stay hidden or find a god strong enough to keep me safe... So it looks like I am kinda screwed."] At least those were the only options Dion gave her. The first being that she stay hidden here, though she knew from experience there were other ways of doing it. He just was not so kind as to tell her about them.
[b "You probably know more about all of this than me, so I don't know why I am explaining it."] She let out a nervous laugh, not really knowing how else to react. To her it was a lot of bad news. Dahlia just wanted to be normal. Of course she knew there was no such thing, but still. A regular old human would have suited her just fine.
Gaius had nothing to do all day. He sat in his dark room, pacing, and not giving a rats ass if The Alcones cared if he smoked in their home or not. He was impatient for the sun to set, or for Kael to at least come and visit him. All of the books in this place were written in Greek, he didn’t know where to go in this place that would be safe for him to travel to. He was impatient for sunset so he could venture out and find Dahlia. He was curious to know what she was up to and what Dion might have said to her. To impatient to wait for supper or for the sun to go down, Gaius grabbed sunglasses and an umbrella to shield him from the remaining afternoon sun and ventured from the room.
He was shocked to find the large home empty and quiet, but there seemed to be a great deal of movement going on outside. With a spy out a front facing window, Gaius was able to see that flowers and platters full of food were being transported to another place on the grounds. He surmised they must be preparing for the evening event. They certainly didn’t waste time, which was good, Gaius didn’t feel comfortable staying here, and there was too much going on outside of this sanctuary for them to be idle for too long. The Malumortis was still at large, and they ran the risk of exposing this colony to the vampire maniac that had been searching for Eris. He was turning from the window with umbrella in hand when his phone suddenly began to ring. He grit his teeth to see the number and answered it with a cold glare.
[+gold “What do you want you backstabbing bitch?”] from the other end the sultry giggles of Ursula could be heard.
[+blue “Is that really any way to speak to a lady?”]
[+gold “You’re no lady. I thought we agreed that you would get me the talisman-“]
[+blue “Because we’re such good friends? Please, you and I both know we only use the other, and what loyalty do I have for you? I have my own people to answer to. I’m curious though... where have you gone? I can’t find you.”]
Gaius glared at the phone, not surprised she would play coy. [+gold “Like I’m telling you where I’ve gone.”]
[+blue “I know you were summoned not too long ago. I wonder why that is -“] The phone flipped shut as Gaius was done talking to her, and not so stupid as to think she wouldn’t try and trace the call. Sure enough the phone rang again, but this time Gaius sent her to voicemail, and then shut his phone off.
The only good news that came from her call, was knowing that no one knew where Kael and Gaius had gone with the two mortals. He intended to keep it that way, but how the hell did Ursula know Gaius had been summoned? It didn’t sit well with him, and so he proceeded to scowl and brood as he walked down the halls of the mansion in search of anything to occupy his time. He took in the obnoxious opulence of the home, from the many preserved artifacts, tapestries, and gold idols right down to the Persian rugs, crystal chandeliers, and Italian marble floors.
It was during his walk of boredom he spotted Dahlia wandering the home herself. She explored with clearly a far more open mind, even if it did seemed weighted down by something. He followed her for a moment, knowing he couldn’t remain hidden with his ridiculous umbrella, and he certainly wanted to catch her before she went outside. She must have already gone to speak with Dion as well, he could tell by the furrow of her brow as she contemplated whatever revelations now known to her. He watched herm, and surmised her truly was the most lovely creature he’d ever laid eyes on. She had the purest heart, and a gentled soul. Two things he desired greatly. He stalked for only a moment, not wanting to startle her… at least not too much, but when he spoke it still came as a shock; breaking her solitude.
[+gold “So what did you learn?”] he asked from where he hid in the shadows. At the way she jumped by his presence, he couldn’t help but flash a handsome smirk her way. [+gold “You must have learned something important to be so deep in thought, but if you don’t want to talk to me, I understand. You would rather talk to Eris, I’m certain,”] mentioning the Maenad seemed to irk Dahlia, and for some reason that delighted Gaius, it meant a chance to have her time for once. She must still be angry from all the secrets thee Maenad kept. To be fair, Gaius didn’t blame the Maenad, Gaius had his own secrets as well.
He stepped out of the shadows, braving the sunlight and moved to stand at her side. He let her have her moment to be angry, but it was short lived, and she was contemplative once more, if not a bit hostile. He found it cute, seeing her so worked up. He let her speak her peace as to why she didn’t want to talk to Eris at the moment, and Gaius gave a solemn nod of his head an surprisingly added: [+gold “We all have our secrets, Dahlia. Try to understand why they were kept in the first place… so… what [i did] Dion say to you? Or do you wish to keep your own secrets?”] He mused to her with a playful grin.
[b "No, no they do not. But I suppose this is the sort of thing that shouldn't be left half done, so I cannot blame them."] While Kael was fairly certain nothing bad could come of her be partially awakened like this, he was not entirely sure. It was better to be safe than sorry, though that was not a rule of thumb he generally kept when living his life.
Her somewhat bashful response to his question brought a playful smirk to his lips. It was an unexpected reaction, but he liked it a great deal. It was cute in a way he hadn’t seen from her before. The snake added it to the list of reasons he was finding himself fond of Eris. A list that was getting longer and longer with each instance they spent time together.
Kael laughed lightly at her dramatic pose. He was a tad curious where she picked up this part of her personality. Clearly it wasn’t from anyone here. Or maybe it was, it wasn’t as though he really thought he was seeing anyone’s true face in this place. Either way, it pulled him back from his thoughts as she asked him to join her. [b “Anything to abate this boredom.”] His smile pulled into more of a grin, a sure sign that he was downplaying his delight to come along on this mystical mission of hers. Though, it appeared he did not have much of a choice. Eris grabbed ahold of him and was half dragging him down the hall before he even answered, not that he was going to complain about it.
He followed after the woman with little to no regard for where she was taking him, a sign of trust in her that he hadn’t noticed had formed. Nor did he now, but the sentiment was there whether he realized it or not. In the end they came to a garden. One he had not seen coming into this place. It’s chaos and general disorder felt more akin to Eris' general aura.
[b “I guess I can do that.”] He didn’t much know what was supposed to go in this wreath, but if they were leaving it up for her to herself, it must not have been a super exact science.
The pair walked around for a bit, he eyes wandered about as he tried to think what might be fitting for Eris’ personality and looks. Knowing floral languages might have come in handy right about now, or at the very least having an Internet connection to look it up, but his was out of luck with both. As he thought about it, the thin woman piped up and brought his attention back to her. She told him a little bit more about this place, and then somehow the conversation shifted towards him and his family.
[b “I am not too worried about it. Cornelius would have said something if our parents were in danger and I am half certain my mother can worm her way out of anything. She is pretty good at not being found when she doesn’t want to be.”] He rolled his eyes just thinking about the woman. [b “She is paranoid, and while I can’t say it’s without reason, a person can only take so much. Between her and my brother, there is entirely too much nagging at home… I don’t need them reminding me of every little thing that can go wrong, I just want to live my life, you know?”] He got the feeling she could relate, probably why she brought it up in the first place. [b “Anyway, that is enough complaining from me. Right now you have a lot more to worry about.”] He let that be the Segway back to trying to find some plants for her headpiece.
[b “How about those?”] He pointed at some anemones, not knowing what they were called. They were red with a striking white ring around the dark black center where the stamen sat. Next to them was a darker variety that he thought might also look well on her. [b “This with some thyme might look nice?”] It was almost a question, as he did not know what sort of look she wanted to go for. [b “I mean, if you want a simple sort of elegant look.”] The small leaves of the herb would contrast the larger flowers and help them to stand out. In his head it looked all right, but he could also see Eris wanting to go all out with this and make something that was just as busy and chaotic as the garden they were standing in.
Eris left her uncle’s office with a sour taste in her mouth. She had to begin her own preparations for the ceremony. She would have to find a robe that would fit, and construct her own wreath to wear. The colony would handle the rest. Those weren’t the most pressing issues on her mind, it was her Uncle’s ultimatum. Leave, or stay… but Kael would have to leave…. For some reason that thought was mildly upsetting, and she realized that aside from being keenly aware of how cute he was, she had also grown fond of him. She wasn’t ready to give up on the story either, or learn what Max was up to.
Having a bit of free time, Eris thought she might go look for Dahlia, but she also knew it was very likely her uncle had already summoned her to chat. She just hoped Dahlia didn’t believe everything Dion told her.
She was suddenly shocked from her brooding by the sound of Kael’s voice. Having just been thinking about him, among other things, she froze on the spot. He was smirking at her, his eyes playfully over the rim of his glasses and she felt her stomach flutter. She wasn’t sure how to respond to him, and he seemed to take the silence and their solidarity to his advantage. He had stepped in closely to stare into her eyes, and she couldn’t help but stare back, her cheeks flushing nearly as red as his bright eyes.
[b “Hmmm, you look the same to me. Did it not work?”]
Eris blinked. [#b22222 “W-what?”] She quickly reached up to touch her own face, fearful that something [i did] change. He asked further questions, admitting he didn’t know much. This Eris would use to her advantage. Firstly, she had to take a step back from him, she was starting to smell his cologne, and she couldn’t help notice how she liked it.
[#b22222 “I think my uncle just wanted to hear himself talk, told me what I could do. Didn’t sound all that great to me. Tonight’s going to be my ceremony. They certainly don’t wait around, which means I actually have to tend to a few tasks. I have to chose a robe, and I have to build my own head wreath. It’s all very mystic.”] She said striking a sudden pose. She grinned, and relaxed taking up steps at his side. [#b22222 “Why don’t you come with me?”]
She took his hand, partially because she wanted to, and because she wanted him to go with her. Dahlia was bound to be with Dion by now, and if not, Eris was positive she was the last person Dahlia wanted to see right now. At this point, not telling was just as bad as lying… they had been friends too long. Regardless that Eris had hoped it would never come up, and could be forgotten. How wrong she was. Kael was just the distraction Eris wanted and needed. Perhaps alone with him she could get to know him better. He was at least more open for conversation than Gaius was. He was always so serious, and boring.
[#b22222 “I’m taking you to the best kept secret in this place, you’re going to help me pick out what to put in my wreath.”] She told him, moving from holding his hand to wrapping her arm about his. She lead him towards an end of the house and down a set of service stairs. They opened up to a lower level of the house: the kitchens. Tables were full of plates of cheese, fruit, decanters of wine, olives, and a myriad of other native foods. She led her out through another door and into the herbal garden. It wasn’t like the pristine and geometric hedge and rose gardens off the main veranda. This garden was a chaotic beautiful mess of wildflowers and assorted herbs for cooking and healing. There was even an olive tree, two lemon trees, and a stone walkway lined with lavender and sage.
Eris smiled at it fondly. [#b22222 “This is where I would come to get away sometimes. I couldn’t get very far, but at least here… tucked in the side of this hill… I could pretend I was somewhere else. From what I’ve gathered you have a strained relationship with your family too. I see it in the way you interact with your brother. Do you think they’re alright after everything that’s been going on?”]
He nodded in agreement and hoped that Gaius' excess of paranoia was unwarranted for the time being. Kael was glad they on relatively the same page, even if the other demon was on a more extreme end of this spectrum. But that seemed to be the end of their talk, so the pair split ways. His guess was that the wrath demon was on his way back to his room. It was the only safe haven for him in this place filled with light. Kael felt like he needed a break too. He might not have been as affected as his partner, but all this light exposer was starting to wear him out. That fatigue drove his own decision to return to his room for a bit.
Knowing this trip would consist of a lot of waiting around; Kael wished they at least had a basic timeline to work with. Sitting around in suspense was far worse than knowing it would take three day, or whatever it was they were going to be dealing with. But just because he did not have anything in particular he needed to be doing, did not mean that he had to sit around in complete boredom. Once better rested, he struck out from his room again. This time with no particular goal or destination in mind, he just sort of walked around trying to get a feel for this place. And perhaps to find a common area to sit in. One that he did not feel like he was intruding in, because quite frankly whenever he happened upon some of the inhabitants in this place, they practically ran away. They did so with polite smiles, as not to be rude, but it was not much of a consolation. Not that Kael was really looking to chat with these people, so it was just as well. For now he was using this as an excuse to map out the house.
That was until he ran into a familiar face. Eris must have finished with her lesson, as he did not see her uncle anywhere about. [b “Ah, finally, someone who might actually talk to me...”] He smirked more than smiled as she sarcastic barb passed through his lips.
Looking at the woman, nothing had immediately changed about her aura. He stepped in for a closer look, leaning forward and staring into her wine-red eyes. [b “Hmmm, you look the same to me. Did it not work?”] She was certainly a maenad, so that wouldn’t have made much sense. [b “Or was that just a run down of your abilities and how to harness them? I’ll admit, I do not know anything about this process.”] Clearly Maenads were a pretty secretive bunch, so it was not like this was common knowledge. Dion had also mentioned something about a ritual planned for the night, so there was a good chance that was going to be the main event. Still, he had expected at least something after their meeting.
For the longest time, Dahlia just let herself roam about the park outside. It was a little chilly but it felt more like a nice autumn day than winter. Despite being dragged all around, at least she couldn’t complain about that. Everywhere they had visited was warmer than home, so she did not have to suffer the cold New York weather for a little while.
As she wandered around, it came to be that there was not a whole lot to keep her mind busy. Dahlia found herself wondering how Eris was doing with her training, and then reminding herself that she didn’t care, because she was mad at her. It was a repetitive process. The petite woman knew that it was stupid to be so upset, and that she would have to forgive her friend eventually, but she was determined to stick to her guns a least a little longer before folding like the huge ball of fluff she was… at least when it came to her friends.
Time seemed to escape her here. Dahlia did not know if it was her state of mind that made it so, or if this place was just magical. Neither would surprise her at this point. But eventually that same woman who had came to fetch Eris appeared in the garden and told her that Dion was ready to see her. It was odd that she knew where to find her, but she did not linger on it. Instead she followed quietly after the aunt to an office.
Once there, it was just the two of them and it was… uncomfortable. The small woman did not particularly want to be left alone with strange men at the moment, but given this was Eris’ family it would probably be okay.
The gentleman motioned for her to sit in one of the chairs on the other side of his desk, the whole while smiling kindly. She took the seat tentatively, but as nervous as she was, the atmosphere in this room was not bad. Rather jovial. Dahlia hoped, rather than believed, this was because he had good news for her.
[i [b "The best place to start, I think, is to ask you what you know, so that we might branch out from there."]] Dion's smile stayed in place.
She didn't [I know] anything, so it was difficult to know exactly wanted to hear. So instead, she decided to spout off some of what she heard from others. [b "When I was little I remember a lot of people talking about energies and auras around me. But I think that was circumstantial. It stopped right after I stopped seeing those people."]
He hummed, nodding his head as he listened. [I [b "That is not a lot... I can assure you, this is not circumstantial. Though, it is strange that such talk would halt directly after that."]] Dion wore a look of interest, as he probed for more information.
She shrugged, not super interested in diving any deeper on the topic with a stranger. When the man seemed to understand that she did not plan on divulging anything else, he went on. [I [b "I will be frank with you, child. You are in a rather dangerous position, especially with so little knowledge."]] He was amazed at how she had made it this long, and was still infinitely curious about that. His eyes made that clear. [I [b "You are an Oracle. At least that is what we would call you in our house of lore."]] The man went on to explain how she was a conduit for the gods, and given the proper contract, they could use her to glean glimpses of the future. A handy tool for anyone, but most of all to a deity who was trying to build or grow a following.
[I [b "Because you have not made a pact with anyone in particular, you are susceptible to the auras of all the gods. They are mingling inside of you and making you a beacon of sorts. The light will only get stronger when you leave these grounds, as they have been enchanted to negate exactly this sort of thing."]] Even if all that godly energy was getting in, it was not being transmitted back. There was a chance at safety here for her. So he went on to mention that, knowing full well if he got this girl to agree to stay, they might just be able to stop Eris from leaving.
The pair chatted about it a while long, talking about her options and things she should be mindful of. As far as Dahlia was concerned the outlook was pretty bleak. When it looked as though things were wrapping up, she had one last question. [b "May I?"] She gestured to a notepad that was out on his desk. When he nodded, she took it and jotted down the symbols that had once been laid into her skin. [b "Do you know what this means?"] This was might be her last chance to find out, so she decided to take it.
Looking on them for a moment, Dion finally had an answer to his question of how she had managed to hide away all this time. [I [b "These"]] He motioned to part of the scribbling. [i [b "Are severance sigils. And this..."]] His hand moved to the last bit. [I [b "Is a symbol denoting deities. As a whole this would cut any and all ties a person had to the gods. If the caster had the right set of skills that is. Symbols carry power, but things like this have to executed correctly."]]
Nodding, that explained a lot, but also left her with a whole slew of different questions. But those were not for him, so she let the conversation fully wind down from there.
[I [b "Think about your options for a while and get back to me about whether you would like to join our happy little colony here."]]
Dahlia gave him a polite goodbye and then excused herself. This was a lot to think about.
Gaius hadn’t expected to frighten Kael as much as he did, which caused a rare handsome smirk to grace his face. It wasn’t often he could catch Kael off guard, but when he did it was always a delightful experience for him. He listened to Kael speak his mind about taking only one woman. He was right, they were a packaged deal, and he was pleased to know that Kael agreed on this place being odd. He didn’t sense anything dangerous to them, but the fact he had an uneasy feeling made Gaius less inclined to stay. Perhaps Kael was right. Perhaps they were so used to looking over their shoulders and second guessing people that he didn’t think about the risks the Alcone Family would have to make to follow.
They certainly didn’t seem the type to risk it.
He knew the smell of fear well, and at mention of the Vampires last night, he smelled it from the Maenads. That was neither here or there. He couldn’t be worried about a group of fearful lore either. He gave in, relenting to Kael’s point of view and nodded in agreement. [#daa520 “You’re probably right. I think I’m just old and paranoid.”] he was also worried about Dahlia. Dion’s comment about her was vague and concerning. He wanted to know what the man meant at breakfast. Sure Gaius knew there was something different about Dahlia, but even he hadn’t been able to figure it out with his millennia of knowledge and experience. Whatever she was, even Lucifer had taken notice. What did Dio know that he didn’t? He could only hope that Dahlia would talk to him after she spoke with Dio. Which in itself was a pitiful thought as Gaius had yet to master the ability to say more than three words to her since their meeting.
Sighing Gaius looked around the opulent home. Not sure what to do, or where would be safe for him to sneak away to. He wanted a smoke, but couldn’t go outside. He couldn’t even follow Dahlia out into the gardens. He would never be able to walk in the sun with her.
[#daa520 “Let’s just keep our eyes and ears open. Don’t let the medallion fall into their hands no matter what. Maenads are obligated to protect and serve their gods. If they find out we potentially have Hades hanging out in the girls’ pockets, who knows what will happen. Let’s just be ready to bolt if necessary.”] Kael seemed to agree if not finding him a bit over dramatic.
Eris was stuck in her uncle’s office with her aunt listening to them breakdown maenad skills and that not all maenads are the same. They were able to explain how Eris felt so energized at clubs or bars. Anywhere where there was a large group of people putting off energy, Eris would absorb it. It also explained how Eris could eat very little and be fine, but when she was alone or isolated from people she could eat and eat and never be full. In a sense, Eris got the bulk of her nutrition just by walking through the city, going to work and interacting with other people. It made sense the abundance of food at every meal, and platters of meats cheeses and fruits constantly available.
It was a lot of information to absorb, but Eris was able to follow the bulk of it. When it came to other creatures of lore, Maenads were generally though of as lesser creatures. Some saw them as food, such as vampires. Others saw them as a battery- capable of being syphoned for their ability to create and redirect energy. Eris was beginning to feel like a glorified nuclear reactor. However after hearing how her kind were hunted down not only by vampires but demons of lore, and humans. She understood their fear. Demons, like Gaius, dark and cruel -the type that were evil incarnate. Eris didn’t believe Gaius had an evil bone in his body. Sure he was dark, brooding, and definitely dangerous, but pure evil? Eris found that laughable.
She found it more irritating that they said the flip side to that was she could control a small portion of demons.
[b “You can control snakes, snake demons, and some snake Youkai with the right power of persuasion.”] He meant demons like Kael. The incident at breakfast between Kael and one of her aunts finally struck her and her face twisted into a glare, anger bubbling up in her chest.
[#B22222 “You mean like you tried to do to my friend today?”]
[i “Friend? With a demon? Both of them?”] her aunt asked
Eris scoffed, almost shocked and yet, not surprised at all to hear them speaking this way. [#b22222 “Yeah! Obviously we are more than just work partners”]
[b “Don’t tell me you have feelings for this demon.”] Eris was quiet for a moment. Did she? She frowned, but looked to her Uncle and answered in the affirmative.
[b “Good, you cannot be friends with demons. They can’t be trusted. In due time they will betray you. They always do. We only let them in because they were with you. We assumed you already had control of the snake demon”]
[#b22222 “No! Why on Earth would I try to control someone? What’s the point?”]
[“The point is, it’s what you do!”] Her Uncle boomed. To the side her Aunt stood quietly, but her expression was scolding of Eris.[b “Your powers allow you to feed off of the hubris energies of mortals, and if you collect enough of it you can sway an entire village of humans to constantly feed you and serve you. You can take that energy or use it to amplify another’s powers.”]
[#b22222 “And you wonder why Human’s hunted us…”] Eris grumbled darkly under her breath, but loud enough for Dion to know… she wanted him to hear.
Her Aunt sighed and spoke plainly. [i “Eris, tonight we will take you through the ceremony. After which you will be a fully awakened Maenad. No two Maenads are the same. Some are quite special with special gifts… I have a feeling you will be one of them. Also… I hope you will stay. You and your friend, Dahlia are welcomed to stay. The Demons… can not remain.”] Eris frowned, taking in this news. All the work to get here, and she was here less than a full twenty-four hours and they were already pinning and ultimatum on her.
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