A gentle tap on the door accompanied by a soft voice broke the silence, "Young Master Elian, your presence is requested in the dining room."
Elian looked down at the items his father had left him, carefully placing them back into the box with a mixture of reverence and anticipation. With a steadying breath, he slid the box under his bed, a silent promise to return to it later.
Setting aside his emotions for the moment, Elian rose from his seat, his steps purposeful as he followed the familiar path guided by the servant. The hallways seemed to hold a hushed reverence, a solemn reminder of the news that had reached them just the day before.
As the grand dining room's doors swung open, an aura of significance enveloped him. This expansive space had borne witness to countless gatherings and shared meals, each memory echoing within its walls. Today, it held a different weight—an atmosphere where Elian and his mother could find a moment of connection amidst the tumultuous waves of grief.
The room itself was a testament to both grandeur and elegance. Intricately patterned walls, adorned with delicate vines and timeless motifs, stretched upwards to meet a ceiling painted with scenes of nature's bounty. Rich shades of gold and burgundy intertwined with soft hues of cream, infusing the room with an opulent yet welcoming ambiance.
Crystal chandeliers hung from above, casting a warm, golden glow that danced across the room's surfaces. The subtle scent of lilacs, brought inside to grace the dining table, mingled with the aromatic traces of the evening meal, creating an olfactory tapestry that embraced visitors upon entry.
Elian's mother occupied her usual place at the table, a calming presence amid the room's grandeur. Her attention was momentarily lifted from the cup of tea cradled in her hands as their gazes met, and a bittersweet smile curved her lips.
"Come, Elian," she beckoned, her voice a soft melody that resonated with a mother's love. "Join me."
Elian walked forward, his footsteps echoing in the space, until he stood beside her. He took the offered seat, the chair a testament to the countless times they had gathered here as a family.
His mother poured tea from the ornate pot, the sound a soothing backdrop to their unspoken thoughts. As she handed him the cup, their fingers brushed, a fleeting touch that conveyed more than words ever could.
"Thank you, Mother," Elian murmured, his voice a blend of gratitude and aching sadness.
Her eyes held his, a reflection of shared sorrow and resilience. "We must face this together, my dear."
He nodded, his gaze dropping momentarily to the cup before him. "Father always said that strength was found in unity."
"He was right," his mother agreed, her voice carrying a hint of nostalgia. "He believed in the power of family."
Elian took a sip of the tea, its warmth spreading through him. "Do you remember the time he took us on that impromptu picnic by the lake?"
A soft chuckle escaped his mother's lips, the memory clearly etched in her mind. "How could I forget? He decided that we all needed a break from our responsibilities and whisked us away without a care."
Elian smiled, the corners of his lips lifting. "And he insisted on catching fish for us to eat, even though it turned into a rather comical adventure."
His mother's laughter tinkled like a chime, the sound a balm to their grieving hearts. "Yes, we ended up with more splashes than fish, but your father's determination was unwavering."
Elian leaned back in his chair, a sense of closeness settling between them. "He said that life's challenges were like those fish—sometimes elusive, but always worth the effort."
"He had a unique way of imparting wisdom," his mother mused, her eyes dancing with a mixture of emotions.
"And what about the time he decided to teach me how to build a kite?" Elian asked, a fond glint in his eyes.
His mother's laughter resounded through the room, a joyful echo that seemed to fill the space. "Ah, that was quite the sight. The kite may not have flown as high as he hoped, but the laughter that followed was priceless."
Elian nodded, his heart swelling with affection. "He said that even in life's disappointments, there's always a reason to smile."
Another memory surfaced, and Elian's eyes twinkled with amusement. "Remember the time Father tried to fix the garden gate? It had been squeaking for days, and he decided to take matters into his own hands."
His mother's laughter grew, a melodic symphony that seemed to fill the entire room. "Oh, yes! I recall hearing the commotion from inside. He managed to get it to stop squeaking, but the gate wouldn't close properly after that."
Elian joined in the laughter, the memory a testament to his father's determination even in the face of everyday challenges. "He said it was a small victory for the greater good."
"He was certainly a master of finding joy in the simplest triumphs," his mother agreed, her eyes shimmering with mirth.
They spent a short time recalling the fond memories they had been lucky enough to share with General Thorne. Amidst all the grief, they found solace in thinking of his laughter, his lightheartedness, and how close they all were. It was a few minutes until Elian remembered the emails he'd received that morning but felt too overwhelmed to open them.
He took a moment to gather his thoughts before speaking, his voice a mix of
curiosity and contemplation.
"Mother," he began, his words cautious yet eager, "I heard that the Kingdom is organizing a funeral for Father in a week's time."
His mother's gaze softened, a somber nod acknowledging his words. "Yes, my dear I received the e-mail too. They wish to honor his sacrifice and his service to the Kingdom."
Elian's fingers absentmindedly traced the rim of his teacup, his mind whirring with thoughts. "They even asked if we have any specific requirements or wishes for the funeral."
Julia's eyes met his, a glimmer of reflection and consideration in her gaze. "It's a thoughtful gesture, Elian. They want to ensure that we have the opportunity to honor him in a way that befits his memory."
Elian's brow furrowed as he pondered the question that had been tugging at his thoughts. "What do you think he would have wanted for his funeral, Mother?"
Julia's expression softened, her lips curving into a fond smile. "Knowing your father, my dear, he wouldn't have been concerned about elaborate arrangements or grand ceremonies. As long as he knew that he had given his life for the sake of the Kingdom, he would have considered it a victory."
Elian chuckled softly, the image of his father's unwavering dedication warming his heart. "He truly loved this Kingdom, didn't he? I still find it hard to comprehend the depth of his loyalty."
lightsΝοvεl ƈοmJulia's gaze held a mixture of pride and understanding. "Your father's love for the Kingdom was a reflection of his character, his beliefs, and his sense of duty. It was a part of what made him the man he was."
Elian's laughter softened into a smile, a hint of contemplation in his eyes. "I suppose he was a true patriot, through and through."
Elian's gaze lingered on the picture of his father in his military uniform on the wall, a rush of emotions flooding his chest. He admired the man in the photograph—General Marcus Thorne, a hero who had given everything for the Kingdom. Elian couldn't help but feel a pang of inadequacy, his own devotion seeming pale in comparison.
As his mother spoke about his father's love for the Kingdom, Elian's thoughts drifted to his own journey. He had always respected the Kingdom and its values, but his commitment had never burned as fiercely as his father's. The weight of guilt settled on his shoulders as he wondered whether he could ever truly measure up.
His fingers traced the delicate patterns on the teacup, his gaze distant. General Thorne had been a patriot through and through, willing to sacrifice everything without hesitation. Elian admired that unwavering dedication, but he questioned whether he possessed the same unyielding resolve.
Amidst the laughter and memories, a shadow of doubt crept into Elian's mind. Could he ever live up to his Thorne's legacy? Would he find his own path to honor and serve the Kingdom in a way that matched the greatness of the previous Thorne patriarchs? The thought tugged at him, a constant undercurrent beneath the surface of his interactions.
Elian's lips curved into a smile as his mother laughed, her joy a stark contrast to his inner turmoil. He masked his uncertainty, but the question remained—an unspoken challenge that he knew he had to confront.
Elian then thought of one of the things his father left him and suddenly blurted out: "Hey mom, how about I join the military?"
Elian's words hung in the air for a moment, a surprising twist that carried a mixture of curiosity and determination. As his proposition settled in, Julia's eyes widened with genuine surprise, her lips parting in astonishment. Then, as if carried by the sheer audacity and unexpectedness of his suggestion, a soft and melodious laugh bubbled up from within her.
"Hahahaha!" The laughter spilled forth, a joyful sound that danced through the room like sunlight breaking through clouds.