The White Griffon academy didn't stay close for long, just a couple of weeks.
During that time, Lith did all he could to help the three girls recover. Despite the traumatic events their daughters had gone through, the Ernas couple had a duty to uphold. They would be rarely at home, mostly for the meals and for the night.
Sometimes one or both of them were forced to stay away for a day or more. They were the only surviving witnesses to not have any relationship with the academy's politics and also those who had put an end to Nalear's threat.
They had to write multiple reports, confer with the Royals, the Council of the Headmasters, and all the upper echelons involved in the administration of the Country. The old and new noble families wanted someone to blame.
Heads were going to roll before the storm would pass. Jirni and Orion were the keystones in many ongoing high profile trials, not only as witnesses but also as a Royal Constable and a member of the Knight's Guard respectively.
While the Queen's corps dealt with all the threats related to magic, the Knight's Guard had a defensive role inside the Griffon Kingdom. They were tasked with protecting and assisting the Royal Constables during their investigations.
It was a corps comprised only by Forgemasters and Mage Knights. Only a few, like Orion, were both, making them the cream of the crop. It has to be said that an academy wasn't the only way to learn a specialization.
The army had the means and the knowledge to train its members. Unlike an academy, the process could take far more than two years, depending on the talent and the number of missions a Guard had to take.
Also, the candidate had to prove their worth beforehand the training began. Most of the members of the Knight's Guards would start with only one specialization and learn the other over the years.
During their absence, Lith took care of the three girls to the best of his abilities and with the help of his family. Alas, there wasn't much he could do. No words could ease their suffering, no simple gesture could make their trauma fade away.
He could only stick by their side, not letting them hole up in their rooms. Only time could help. Lith was an expert on grieving and facing pain, but his methods couldn't be shared.
Lith lacked the necessary empathy to connect with Phloria or Friya. Killing the mind controlled students didn't bother him in the least. He knew only one way to deal with his enemies and wasn't interested in the reason why they attacked him.
As for Yurial's death, Lith regretted having missed the opportunity to know him better, to finally have a friend. He missed Yurial, but that was it.
'If I had to choose between mom, one of my sisters, or even Phloria and him, I would have done the same thing. I'm not a hypocrite. I'm aware that I didn't know Yurial well enough to care about him and now I never will.' Lith thought.
Solus played a big part in his recovery, always reminding him of all the affection he had been showered with.
Lith left Elina and Rena to take care of Quylla. They were the best moms he knew. In his mind, if they weren't able to give her the solace and compassion she needed, then no one could.
Phloria and Friya were easier to deal with. He made them follow the routine his own counselor gave Lith after Carl's death. Waking them up at regular hours, forcing them to eat and spend time with those they loved.
Everything to show them that pain was just a part of life. That no matter how dark their lives felt, they weren't alone.
'This stuff never worked for me, but it's worth a shot.' He thought.
The worst part for all of them was the night. Being alone in the dark, the girls couldn't stop their minds from being assaulted by bad memories, regrets, and hindsight.
Lith was always by Phloria's side, making sure that whenever she would wake up abruptly because of the nightmares, she would always find him right next to her.
When the academy started again, Quylla wasn't in the condition to move. Like many other students, she received permission to stay home and recover. She would get back to the academy the following year or whenever she was ready.
Lith, Friya, and Phloria resumed their lives, drowning themselves into work to keep their anxiety at bay. Professors were now able to cross from one floor to another. There hadn't been enough time to find replacements for the fallen ones, so Ironhelm now taught Forgemastering to both the fourth and the fifth year.
With Linjos gone, after the last tragedy, Headmaster Marth decided to go back to written and spellcasting exams inside the academy, just like in the past. The students had got enough real life experience in the last two years.
Now they needed peace and quiet. The civil war was no longer an issue, the traitor was gone, and when the anniversary came, Balkor didn't send any note. No one could believe to such luck, so they all made their children go back home and went into hiding for the following three days.
Balkor didn't send a single undead, giving the Griffon Kingdom the first piece of good news after so much suffering. Lith, Friya, and Phloria were inseparable during their days at the academy.
The girls rarely left him alone, studying and eating together. Phloria didn't leave his side even at night. Even though everything was clean like nothing bad had ever happened, seeing those corridors and all the common spaces still pierced her heart.
It reminded her of Yurial, of all the blood spilled. Lith's warmth and affection were the only lines of defense she had against the despair that would grip her mind if left alone.
The fifth year went by quickly. Lith never got out the academy, except for visiting Quylla, his dates with Phloria, and going back to his family. First, he had to deliver his niece, Leria, and later his little brother, Aran.
The final exams were easy for Lith. Soluspedia made the written exams a walk in the park. Casting spells in a closed classroom in front of the Professors didn't cause him any stress compared to Linjos's teaching methods.
Before the results came out, Lith was once again summoned to the Headmaster's office. This time there was no one beside Marth waiting for him. He seemed dead tired, but being his first year as Headmaster, it was understandable.
The pressure he was being subjected was nothing compared to Linjos's. The ancient noble households were not as overbearing as in the past, Balkor was missing, and not a single accident had occurred.
Yet Headmaster Marth was still learning the ropes and until all investigations and trials were over, it was his duty alone to take care of the academy's power core.
Lith sat in front of him, expecting the usual batch of bad news. The only time he had entered into a Headmaster's office without someone getting royally pissed off, was when Marchioness Distar introduced him to Linjos.