Lyle went to greet his parents as they got out of the carriage. Father wore a rich gray suit that was stylishly done, his top hat perched lightly on his head. Mother, on the other hand, was radiant in a red and white sun dress, her golden locks framing her face in expertly crafted curls.
Three girls followed him, Melanie and Cecelia close at his sides while Iris was forced to walk a bit behind. The entire thing unnerved her to no end.
"Mother, father, I didnt expect you so soon." Lyle said, not at all troubled by it.
"Good morning Lady Grayborne, Your Grace." Cecelia offered a smart bow, smiling charmingly at the two.
"Yes, good morning, dear. Ah, Cecelia, you look more lovely by the day! Come here, give me a hug!" Mother gushed and pulled the girl into a warm embrace.
"Lady Grayborne, always good to see you. " Cecelia said a bit awkwardly.
"Dear, stop that. Have I not told you to call me Alyssa? Being so formal with each other at this point is simply tiring." Mother sighed.
Cecelia smiled happily, " Alyssa, then. "
"Though, I wouldnt be opposed to you calling me mother. Well, not anymore at least. "
Mother had not liked either Cecelia or Sofia at first. Rather, she hated them. Still, she came around after a few months. Although Cecelia was always her favorite of the two for some reason.
" Your Grace, I remember how you talked with father some time ago. Is there a problem?"
Cecelia looked worried.
Lyle glanced at father who shook his head in denial. " No, my dear, nothing of the sort. He and I simply have a disagreement. "
" I see. . ." Cecelia didnt seem convinced.
"Girl, you act so familiarily with other people's family. I wonder if your sister knows how often you have been coming to big brother's place since he and she broke up?" Iris asked innocently.
But Cecelia knew how sharp those words were, and how each one was pointing themselves at her with a deadly gleam.
She suppressed a wave of guilt and ignored the girl.
Of course the girl meant no harm, she simply acted this way to any woman who she felt too close to her beloved brother. Rather, the only time she showed her cute side was when she was alone with her brother.
She remembered how Sofia told her parents how she didnt intend on seeing Lyle again and that her sister shared the sentiment.
. . .Of course she had no idea how wrong she was, or that Cecelia went to see him regularily.
Lyle knocked his sister on the head lightly. "Iris, Cecelia is a good friend. I would appreciate it if you started to get along with her more from now on."
Iris looked at him incredulously before sighing in defeat. " I'll try. . ." She said vaguely. If big brother says so then she could never outright refuse.
Lyle honestly should have said that ages ago but he thought Iris would grow to like the girl on her own at some point.
Ceceilia smiled gratefully at Lyle. Perhaps now those chilling glares would stop, she thought.
" Master, my lady, have you anything that need taken care of you can come to me at anytime." Melanie spoke up sincerely.
"Ah, no need for that. Please, raise your head already." Their father said. He knew the relaionship between his son and this maid was a bit special and so he treated her with more respect than he would most others.
" Lyle, let your mother entertain Cecelia for a bit while you, Iris and I talk. I trust you remember our conversation earlier? Its time to let you understand the reason we Graybornes exist."
After saying so he disappeared into the mansion.
Cecelia nad Melanie looked as Iris followed her father and brother inside. They couldnt help but feel an uncomfortable coldness seep into their bones unbidden.
Several minutes later he and Iris met father in the study.
"Big brother, father seems a bit odd today? Is he okay?" The girl whispered to him.
" Im sure everything's fine. Dont worry about it," He assured her.
Father looked at them. His eyes seemed unsure and he seemed suddenly older. Finally, " Iris, Lyle. . .Do you know the role we Graybornes played in the subjugation of the crazed Mage-kings during the time of the Five Saints several eras prior to the formation of the World Council which governs the planet today?"
The question threw them off.
Iris had only ever heard stories of the Five Saints and she knew little about the era of the Mage-kings who lost control of their immense powers and become devils.
She only knew that it was her family, the Graybornes who originated in the ancient Drann Kingdom, had helped with stopping them.
As for the World Council, only Lyle had any real knowledge of them since he would one day hold a seat on the Council as all the Grayborne family heads did before him.
Plainly speaking, Drann Kingdom had no sway over the Grayborne family in the truest sense. Their influence spread much further, it was simply that the Graybornes long ago chose to not openly reveal their true strength.
For whatever reason only they chose to hide in secret, away from the gazes of the world. Still, some like the Imperial family of the demon continent were aware of their true identities.
After recovering, Lyle spoke. " The Greybornes were responsible with aiding the Five Saints in killing the rogue mage-kings and many years later we were part of the founding members that created the World Council which ensured global threats were taken care of swiftly. But what our exact role in handling the mage-kings were, I dont know. "
His father nodded. He looked at them in turn, his eyes holding some feeling that couldnt be expressed in words. " If I told you that the mage kings were alive and well, what would say?"
A stunned silence filled the room.
Lyle nearly choked and Iris' mouth fell open, her face a mask of disbelief mixed with fear.
After several minuted Lyle forced himself to speak. "Father, such a thing. . .That isnt something to joke about. Everyone knows that the Five saints-"
"Died. " He cut in. "They died, nearly all of them. Only two of them survived and they were a young girl of 9 and her brother who was 18. The rest perished, all slain during the first subjugation of the weakest mage-king, Immundus." Father's words, so matter of fact and cold, caused Lyle's heart to skip a beat.
" Big brother, father's words, they cant be true. . .Right?" Iris whimpered.
Lyle couldnt even comfort her. He could only shake his head and pat her on the head, his thoughts in a state of disarray.
This. . .This went against every story of the Saints they ever heard. Everyone from the time they could walk would hear of the mighty Saints and their exploits.
All the children would read stories of the Saints as they imagined themselves becoming them.
They were so widely known that there were holidays honoring them, even some people who worshiped them like gods.
To say that most of them died fighting the weakest of the mage-kings, and that the two surviving members were but a child and a young man. . .
Father sighed wearily. " I know this is a shock, but this is something few even in the Council know of. The true history of the fight between the mage-kings and the rest of the world is a lot darker. . .And the Graybornes are at the center of that history."
" I didnt want to tell you all this yet. But recent event have caused me enough concerns that I feel forced to do this. Lyle, I fear that there are people in the World Council itself who wishes our family harm. Who want to go back to the time of chaos and rule like gods. And for that our family stands in the way."
"Big brother. . ." Iris looked at him.
Of course she understood the severity of the situation.
Lyle found himself angry, itching for a sword. He took his sister's hand, saying, " Anyone who wants to harm our family will die. . ." His voice was low, quiet, and it surprised even himself how cold it was.
He took a deep, calming breath. " Father, please continue. "
Father nodded, continuing the story." Very well. As I was saying, the remaining Saints were believed unable to be of help by themselves. Why the people back then pinned their hopes on such things is beyond me. Perhaps the desperation made them try anything so long as it held even the faintest of hope. However, contrary to expectations the young man was strong. Not simply blessed with some power like stories would have you believe, but acutally trained in both magic and a variety of weaponry.
And no one knows how he had the knowledge he did, but it was as if he knew exactly the type of situation he was in without it having to be explained. He knew our language, our history, our culture. He knew the mage-kings as if he had learned of them in school.
He knew things that shouldnt have been known to anyone. And he used that knowledge. In fact, he is the one that sought out the four original Graybornes. Our ancestors.
The boy, setting up our four ancestors as the Saints we know today, went with them to destroy the mage-kings. Well, that was what is believed, anyway. In truth the mage-kings kept reviving. They didnt die, they simply found new hosts.
But the young man seemed prepared, and three years after his summoning he sealed four of the mage kings into the bodies of our ancestors while leaving the strongest into our care before returning with his sister to their own world. Being able to hold the souls of others was only one of the numerous abilities that lay dormant in our ancestors' bodies. How he knew of any of them, no one can guess.
But to this day, our family has secretly kept all the souls of the mage-kings sealed behind a space cut off from the rest of the world."
Father's words echoed throughtout the room.
"Lyle, Iris . . . The Grayborne family are the keepers of the Mage Kings, those devils. And I believe that there are some who want to release them.