The Last Ascendancy Commander
“Mr. and Mrs. Kherol, I know the promise is a 15 years of service. 5 years in the Dragon’s Brigade, and 10 years in the home reserve army.”
Said the man Kherol and Kotaro would call father, and for Kherol his second father. In front of him were his first father and mother, whom were obvious they didn’t want to have this conversation to begin with. “But from his time with us, we can say with complete candor that he is not only needed, but wanted, in our army. A man with a good heart and talent to back him up. Alexander already agreed to it, but I want to ask your permission as well, as his official guardian.” “Look, I don’t want my child to mingle with those kind of people. I don’t care where you send him, just not up there.”
Alexander’s father raised his voice for the first time since they came. He was alright with his trust on the governor as long as it was to keep him safe. But now the deal was not that anymore. “I understand your concern, that’s why we’ll arrange a mentor for him.”
Saxon gave the parent the profile of the man who would be giving Alexander pretty much all the guidance he needed for the next 2 years of his life. Faro Weinheber. A ‘retired’ Chief of Defense, now served as an instructor for young officers. A man almost with great grandkids already, but had a pretty impressive service record as well as respect (at least from the previous officer generation) and was still going. “The man has an impeccable character, I’m sure he will make sure young Kherol here would become a stellar officer.”
His father sighed, his breathe that he mustered so heavy Alexander could feel it from across the table. And he felt for him too. Accepting this would mean a lifetime of serious dedication in an extremely hostile environment. And it’s very possible that he’d also be forced to make difficult decisions, ones that could affect hundreds if not thousands of lives. Alexander was more than uncertain if he could handle such pressure, but here was his chance to change the world. He wasn’t ready to stop there. But for a parent, who wouldn’t want to be with their children, to see them safe, sound, happy, and successful. “I don’t know, I still don’t think he should…”
He sighed again before turning to his wife, Olivia, sitting right next to him. “Honey, what do you think?”
Olivia sat silent for a long moment. She wasn’t looking anywhere else but at her precious child in the eyes, or rather where she thought his eyes are behind the glasses. “Alexander said yes to this, yes?”
She said softly. Both Alexander and Saxon nodded. “Then I don’t think I have much to say on the matter, do I? He knows what’s best for himself.”
Alexander was a bit perplexed. He wasn’t going to object to it, but he was surprised she’d greenlight it that easily. She wasn’t so keen on it the first time around, and it took an attempted kidnap and almost his entire hand for her to finally let him go. Perhaps she took something from that traumatizing incident. “Great, then it’s settled.”
Saxon closed the conversation and quickly packed up to leave. “I’ll be arranging some meetings with Faro, I’ll let you all know when it is time. You can stay with your family for a few days for a break.”
Those few days flew by like the breezing autumn wind. Not before long, the governor had the meeting date, time and location set, and that he’d have shuttles come over to escort him to it. Alexander enjoyed all what he could from those short days, but he didn’t know what else to be had other than just catching up with the years or have some meals together. Nobody had the mood to really do anything more than that.
Alexander already had his stuffs packed up, or rather he didn’t have much to unpack to begin with. He was wide awake before the sun got out of the comfort of its horizon, well-drilled by the military life. Like the fainting fog outside the windows, he could hear a distant sound of the piano being played from the living room. Olivia was the first person in mind. She liked calm piano music, and often put them on speakers as lullabies when he was a kid or just to make the house a lot like a home. But this time, the tune was noticeably heavier, something he never heard before.
Having nothing else to do, he left the comfort of his bed, got dressed for the trip and went out to the living room. And there was the white-haired woman, sitting there by a small electric piano that he never knew she had. Her hands floated through the keys, her fingers caressed them gently as they were her own children. Noticing her son around the corner, she turned her amethyst eyes over, but her melody continued like the voice of nature. “It’s a little early dear. You don’t need to be up for another hour.”
Olivia said. “It’s just a routine.”
Alexander replied, as she chuckled. She still hadn’t forgotten her Alex, one where she had to constantly remind to go to sleep at 3 AM, lest it affects his school performance, but never really stopped him. Once he got into the Prodigy Supplementary Program, it was never her concern anymore.
Alexander walked up to her by the piano and grabbed a chair nearby. “I never knew we have a piano.” “I bought it last month. It’s just a cheap one from down the street. A big one would just crowd our apartment, and I wouldn’t play it that often anyway.”
She said.“Why didn’t you get one earlier?” “I didn’t have time I guess?”
She shrugged. “Only when you’re gone do I realize how boring life is. So I picked the piano up.” “You’re very good though.”
Alexander glanced over his mother’s hand movement. He knew nothing of music, but it was hard to believe that this was someone who learned the piano just a month ago. “Well, I picked the piano up again actually.”
Olivia continued to play. “I was in the school orchestra.” “Did you have any solos?” “I did, yeah.”
Her voice picked up a little. “I think I have a copy somewhere on the bookshelf in my room. You can take them with you to the academy if you want.”
Alexander wasn’t interested in that yet though. “Why didn’t you play?”
The melody continued, but Olivia stayed silent. Her lips perched slightly, as her bright amethyst eyes stared blankly onto the piano. “Grandmother didn’t let me.”
She blurted out. “She didn’t think it was a viable career.” “I guess…”
Alexander said, unsure what else to say. “I initially tried to go on, just to prove a point. But she forced me to go to university, and then…get married.”
She continued. “When I have you, it’s pretty much over. Work began to flood my schedule, while you demand my lap like a little dog. So naturally I just forgot about the piano.”
Alexander was quite surprised to hear. He had met his grandmother a couple of times, and she did come off as an assertive person, but not to this extent. He wondered how much of the ‘get married’ part was forced on her, but he didn’t want to pry. He probably didn’t want to know either. But there was something else he wanted to know. “…Is that why you’re ok with me doing this?”
Olivia looked up and at him in the eyes, this time directly with no cold layer of glass to quell his desire to know. The question came at her so unexpectedly, but it was not as intimidating as she would have imagined. Like mother, like son, his eyes were boundless, yet lively like the ever-expanding galaxy that surround and wrapped her into a warm embrace.
She expected nothing less from her little baby though. Barely a few notes were played and he already figured out the entire song. “Mhm.”
She only nodded, so slight he almost didn’t notice. “I wanted you to become the best of who you want to be,”
Her voice trailed off weakly. “But you’re…just so beyond me, at such a young age even, that I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do. That’s why I just let you fly free.”
Everything that happened. From grade skipping, the scholarships, the supplementary program, the academic competition, the chess tournaments and now his decision to go into officer training. Not only that, but even his times around the group of friends who had now all but dissolved into the river of life with only Melinae he could keep contact with, he was allowed the autonomy that normal parents would hesitate to give to their children. It was for that reason.
Normally, Alexander wouldn’t have much to say except praises for Olivia for her progressive thoughts to not become the parent his grandmother was. But at the same time, they were given a warning when he was eight about his preceding popularity. They were aware that the Ascendancy knew, but not only chose to not let him go initially, but also still let himself be himself. And now he’s on a path that they both didn’t want.
But then again, Olivia wasn’t prepared to be a mother either, especially to a once in a lifetime genius. Above the burdens and anxiety she inadvertently caused, above the dangers she neglected because she was scared it would impede him, she still tried her hardest to be better for him and because of him. He couldn’t have asked for more than that.
Gently, Alexander leaned in towards Olivia, and gave her a kiss on her forehead. That was much he could do for now.