Episode 01 - The Tenth Summer (pt.1)
This is a story of a place once lost to the world…
A place that was once everything to me…
In the kingdom of Ophelia, summer had just reached its peak.
At that time of the year, even a block of ice would melt in the blink of an eye.
I remember still the feel of the scorching sun on my skin.
On days like that, I’d wait restlessly for night to come.
And then, one day,
While taking my usual afternoon break,
An unknown woman came to our vineyard...
Fabian Trevin sat by his swing, a book in his hands. He used magic to make falling leaves around him, the magic took place but quickly diminished.
A strange woman was on horseback trotting the uphill road towards Fabian’s house. She looked relieved when she saw Fabian.
“Good afternoon.” She said. “Is Albion Trevin around?”
“Father!” Fabian dashed inside the house, panting hard.
His father, Albion, was climbing down the stair, carrying a basket of dirty laundry when he saw his son come towards him.
“Fabian?” Albion said, confused. “What’s wrong?”
“There’s a lady looking for you!” Fabian said, half excited.
“A who?” Albion perked his head. But before Fabian could answer, that stranger entered the already opened door.
“My, when they said you live in seclusion they weren’t kidding.” With her shining white hair and pale skin against the morning sunlight, she smiles brightly at Albion, “Must you live so far from everything?”
“You?!” Albion stood in shock. Mouth hanging half opened as he processed the figure standing in his doorway..
She smirked at the shocked look on his face, “Now, don’t look at me like you’ve seen a ghost! Did you miss me?”
Half convinced, he finally said, “Iliora?”
Albion lit the fire in his burner with a matchstick and put a pot of hot water on top. The woman, who turned out to be the current vice commander of Ophelian Royal Army, sat contemptuously in their kitchen.
Fabian peeked behind the door which connected their dining room and their kitchen. He knows his father would probably not agree to his behavior but he just can’t help it.
“It’s been a long time, nearly a decade, is it?” Albion said, “I heard you’re vice commander now.”
Iliora smiled, “Good news travels fast it seems.”
Unlike her, Albion didn’t show any sign of joy, in fact, he looked stiffer the moment he saw her in his front porch. “How did you find me?” He said, overly calm.
“Well,” Iliora smiled slyly, “My new position came with a lot of benefits. I got to ask questions I couldn't before. Including your whereabouts.”
After an uncomfortable pause, Albion broke the silence with a sigh and said “And what actually brings you here?”
“Let’s see,” she said, “The Bealo’s will be hosting a big party at their residence tomorrow night. Hagen has just come home from a yearlong patrol mission around the Ophelian borders and they want to celebrate his safe return.”
“Apparently, he had a few daring skirmishes with rebels. We thought it would be good for morale to publicize his troops accomplishments. And I thought it would be a good chance for you to see him.”
Albion smirked “why would I want to do that.”
Iliora sighed. “Albion, it’s been what? 9 years since you last saw him? Isn't it about time we discuss what has and what will happen? It’s only a matter of time until you two have to face each other again and I doubt you’d like facing him in the Knight headquarters.”
“It’s a party, Albion. We’ll be surrounded by gossiping lords and ladies, Hagen wouldn’t want to make a scene out of it.” She said again, eyeing Albion. “This way you got to meet him on your own terms. Think about it—!”
“They should have some rooms available for you in the nearby town,” Albion put down a plate of scones on the table, “unless you want to ride back to wherever you came from immediately.”
“What?” Iliora said, looking confused.
“I’m not going, Lio. You can let yourself out after you’ve rested a bit.” Albion walked back to his kitchen sink, and proceeded to clean the pot he used to make the tea.
Iliora sighed “Not even if I beg you?”
Albion just eyed her, face resolute.
“Fine... Can you let me buy some of your wine at least? I don’t want to return empty handed after coming all the way here. And for what it’s worth...” Iliora said, with a somber tone. “I didn’t know about Laura up until recently. Albion, I’m sorry.”
Albion stared at her for a short while, not saying anything. He turned to see Fabian, who secretly had been peeping from the dining room. “Come here, Fabian.”
Nervous, Fabian walked towards his father. Terrified that Albion would be upset with him for eavesdropping on their conversation.
“This is my son,” to Fabian’s surprise, Albion put his arm on his shoulder instead, and gently pushed him forward. “Say hello, Fabian.”
“H-hello.” Fabian said timidly, not anticipating the introduction.
Iliora stopped, looked at him closely, as if it’s the first time she really seeing him. Then she smiled, “Hello, Fabian. I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself properly earlier. My name is Iliora, Iliora Rozene. But you can just call me Lio.”
Iliora nodded, “that’s right. Nice to meet you little mage.”
“He’s not a magician Lio.” Albion cut in quickly.
“Eh?” Iliora turned to see Albion, confused. “But, earlier...”
“He’s not a magician.” He repeated more sternly.
Iliora squinted her eyes, looking unconvinced. But decided to let the matter go.
Albion picked up the tea tray, handed it over to Fabian. “I’ll be going to fetch some wine for Iliora, stay here and keep her company.”
After Albion left, Iliora smiled wickedly to Fabian. “You know, you really don’t resemble him at all.”
“Pardon?” Fabian said confused
“I mean, you clearly take after your mother. All polite and soft spoken. That and those green eyes of yours.”
“You know my mother?”
“Of course! I’ve known them since years ago. Didn’t your father ever tell you?”
Fabian look embarrassed. “Father rarely tell me things...”
“Huh.” Iliora perked her eyes. “Not even about the academy? How he met your mother and such?”
“I see...” Iliora sighed, then sat down in one of the chairs in the dining room as Fabian poured the tea for her. “I guess that can’t be helped. Going from being the supposed ‘greatest magician’ in Ophelia to living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, I can see why he wouldn’t talk about his past.”
“Fa-father’s still a great magician!”
“I-I mean, he hasn’t used it for a long time, but, I-I saw him before! And he was great!” Fabian said blushing as he realized that he has said something that would probably upset his father, “T-that’s why...”
“Alright! Alright! I’m sorry, I believe you!" Iliora let out a laugh.
"It’s just…he had always looked so strong and composed, but…” Iliora said, eyes far away. “I supposed some wounds take more time to heal…”
Fabian didn’t reply, his face looked solemn as he couldn’t fully comprehend the meaning of Iliora’s words. Iliora noticed this and smiled brightly again, “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make things gloomy. This is actually quite a nice place to live.”
“The weather is really good over here. This feels like the perfect place to grow old...”