Trion had never forgotten his promise to Lith, mostly because he was afraid that his brother would barge in his base and humiliate him again.
It still took him months to find the strength to go back home.
He loved his parents with all his heart and that was the reason seeing them was much harder than continue to avoid the unresolved issues he had with his family.
Trion had thought for a long time about Orpal\'s fate before realizing that by endangering their baby brother\'s life he had crossed the line.
Thanks to the life in the army and the camaraderie with his peers, Trion had realized that what he had with his older brother was a sick relationship.
Orpal always ordered him around and they rarely argued simply because Trion obeyed to him.
He didn\'t resent his parents anymore for disowning his beloved older brother, yet the more he thought about it, the less home felt like a home.
His parents had never loved him any less than Lith, but he was tired of being always compared to his little brother.
Tired of being painfully often referred to as Lith\'s brother rather than with his name.
The army gave him a place where he could be himself, where the shadow of his brother couldn\'t reach him anymore.
That was the reason he had never returned home.
Even if Lith was always at the academy, his presence had tainted the whole Lutia.
In her letters, after asking Trion to reply to her and let her know he was alright, Elina would always mention how the village had expanded, how their house was being renovated.
Until the house he remembered was no more.
Things became even worse for Trion each time Lith made a name for himself.
The plague in Kandria, single-handedly facing a Valor, becoming a top ranker, they were all events that reached every corner of the Griffon Kingdom, barracks included.
Every time Trion heard people praising Lith for his achievements, despite him being a nameless commoner, he couldn\'t help but be jealous.
\'If there\'s one thing Orpal was right about is how unfair it is that no one cares about our hard work.
No one praises me for my efforts, nor anyone cares for how well I\'m doing in the army.
Lith only has to move his hands while spouting bull** and everyone blows smoke up his ass!\' He would often think.
When Lith received a family name from the King himself, Trion learned about it the worst possible way.
A Lieutenant asked him if he wanted to take the Verhen name in front of the whole Mess Hall.
Suddenly Trion was no more, and in the blink of an eye his name became Lith\'s brother Verhen.
Trion had to ask to be relocated and buy a family name, Proudstar, to avoid being associated with the Verhen again.
He regretted what he did to Phloria, but no matter how deep he buried his hatred, it was always there, smoldering.
Any mention of his brother\'s name, no matter the reason, was enough to rekindle it into a blazing fire again.
When Trion returned home, it was exactly as he feared.
The house was unrecognizable and so was the village.
Most of the farmhands had no idea who he was and those who did spit on the ground at his passage.
If you were my son and you made my Liza cry as much as Elina did for you, I\'d kick your ass back to where you came from. Bromann said, eager to tell about Trion past to whoever asked him who that Sergeant was.
Trion had yet to set foot inside his home and he was already full of venom.
He was thinking about throwing the thousands of miles he had crossed into the gutter when the door opened.
Raaz immediately recognized him and held his long lost son into an embrace.
Welcome home, son. Was all he managed to say while fighting his tears back.
Hearing those words, Elina too rushed to the door, joining the embrace as tears of joy streamed down her face.
In that moment, Trion remembered how much he loved his parents and all the wonderful things they had shared.
I missed you so much, Trion. Elina said between sobs.
I missed you too, mom.
Sorry for not visiting for so long. He said letting go of his past grievances.
Unluckily, they all flooded back the moment his eyes looked at his right, where once there was his old room.
It had been replaced by a pantry years ago.
He ignored his parents\' question about his friends and career, asking in anger:
What the heck happened here Where is my room
Don\'t worry, sweetie.
We haven\'t thrown away anything.
Your room is on the second floor, like everyone else\'s. Elina said.
What has become of Lith\'s study Is it now a laundry room or what He asked with way more emphasis than necessary.
Lith\'s study is still there, just like Rena\'s.
Lith sometimes brings his girlfriend home and Rena is married now.
They deserve a bit of privacy. Raaz explained.
It made perfect sense, especially considering that Lith had paid for all the renovations with his own money, yet Trion lived it as an unfair treatment.
Come in, dear.
Have a seat.
We have so much catch up to do. Elina took hot tea and freshly baked pastries out of her dimensional ring, leaving Trion flabbergasted.
Now the kitchen and the dining room where two separate rooms.
Every piece of furniture was of good quality.
The house was warm and without a single draft, with more magical tools than the apartments Trion lived in.
With every step he took, he felt alien to that place.
Only his parents gave him the strength to sit down and fight the rage that was consuming him.
Who is this man, mom A small voice asked.
Trion had heard about Aran from both Phloria and Lith, yet he still couldn\'t believe his own eyes.
He had always thought that giving birth to a demon like Lith had made her barren.
Secretly, he found solace at that thought, like it was some kind of divine justice balancing the scale.
Sweetie, come meet your brother Trion. Elina held him in her arms.
I\'ve only one brother. Aran stubbornly said.
Forgive him, Trion.
Aran is barely four years old and has never met you before.
You know how kids are. Her tone was apologetic, but Elina never stopped smiling nor her eyes sparkling while looking at the little miracle in her arms.
Don\'t worry mom, it\'s fine. He blatantly lied, making it clear that he resented the small child.
Tell me everything about you, son.
How are things in the army Do you have someone special Raaz asked.
I\'m not as good as Lith.
I\'m not married nor do I have a girlfriend.
After all, even after working my ass off for years I\'m just a Staff Sergeant, whereas he is a mighty mage who became a Lieutenant right off the bat!
Why would anyone be interested in a nobody like me He said while slamming his hand on the table.
Trion I\'m not making comparisons.
I just want to know how you are. Raaz said while Elina tried to calm down Aran.
He didn\'t like strangers, even more those who yelled.