Even before I opened the box, I knew that my life would be changed forever.
It wasn't a happy feeling. The box had been sitting near my doorstep for days, after Lanie had dropped it off at my place for "safekeeping". Bless her heart, that overworked girl, having to repair their family mansion right after her college graduation day! I was with her when she received the news. A terrible storm had torn the once-mighty Monterizobel Hall to sunders, further destroyed by the overgrown trees that had been choking it for decades.
Renovations have just started this week. Of course, we both had to finish finalizing our clearance papers before we became full-fledged members of the working class. I had been eyeing a white-collar position at a certain journalism agency.
I had been diligently tapping away a resume on my computer in my favorite spot in the world--the dining table. Even though it was just fit for four, eating alone on it made me feel like I was with somebody, that I as expecting a group of friends to come over and chat. But of course, nobody would come over. Lanie occasionally did, and those moments would become halcyon hours.
Perhaps bland thoughts had entered into my mind on that day, at that particular moment when my fingers froze over the start of the employee description. Or maybe I hadn't wanted to reveal about myself, about my personality, about the desirable traits that could have earned me the job of my dreams. All I knew was that I had suddenly lost my stride--my artistic high.
Then I realized the root of that unproductivity.
The name on that box.
I had first seen it when Lanie handed it over. It was hurriedly written over the package's top in thick black marker, as well as on each elbow-length side. The box itself wasn't very remarkable, but the name--the name was significant, I knew it.
There was this strange excitement inside of me. The feeling of seeing an old friend in the middle of a bustling city, but never being able to catch his eye. That feeling of having seen him after so many years, and you can only smile to yourself as the memories play in your head.
Lanie had been baffled. You must be mistaken, she had said, placing the box in my hands. These things came from an old room in the house. They belonged to my ancestors.
I had no memory of meeting this Maiandra person.
But I was curious to this emotion that I had been feeling ever since that box entered my apartment. As if it charged the dull wallpapers with humming energy, the spirit of expectancy that Maiandra Pendragon would come bouncing at my door. I didn't even know why I hadn't felt any suspicions or ill will at that thought. Whoever she was, I would have gladly welcomed her into my home.
I knew I was getting delusional. But I still couldn't help glancing at the package and its strange name plastered on every side. Every time, I would rack my brains trying to find a memory of that name, even trying to Google it… nothing. Maiandra was nothing but a font. Pendragon was merely a fictional surname.
Until that day.
I turned off my computer and approached the box. It didn't feel heavy in my arms, but I still gingerly placed it on top of the dinner table so that nothing would shake. Something did, though, and it's a scratchy sound that dry paper makes when it crumples. A breath escaped me--the box was now invading my private space.
It was sealed with nothing but a lid. No tape, glue, or even rope. So easy lift, to open, to discover the true identity of this Maiandra Pendragon. Curiosity continued to burn within me, demanding for information. Or had it been the truth?
Was I really looking for the truth?
What if it only spelled trouble?
Ridiculous, I thought, brushing the hesitations aside. Nothing can go wrong with reading a few letters from Lanie's long-gone relatives--like either of them would care, anyway.
A great mistake.
Inside the box were some musty pieces of lined paper, as well as news clippings off both tabloids and broadsheets. There were a pile of recording tapes--the real ones, with brown-colored film rolled around two tubes--neatly stacked in one corner. There were envelopes and official documents. Each had been tape-labeled with what I can only assume as dates--from what century, I had no idea. I even found a tiny memory card, labeled the same way.
This must be Maiandra's story.
I wanted so badly to know who she was, to silence this choking curiosity at every sight of her name.
I wasn't intruding into property. I was just seeking answers.
So using the labels as a map, I embarked on a quest…