I am Dailus, the Eldest son and supposed heir of Lindulf House.
Both my grandparents and parents had made sure that I was prepared to take over the house ever since I was born, putting me through various special lessons and training.
I had never stopped to question them since it was the only thing I grew up to know.
Even when it came to my sister Odriana, I had been taught to see her as nothing but a useful asset like the rest of the House did. Especially since we were still relatively new in the trading community and needed allies on our side.
Nothing as convenient as marrying off your family members to other larger families, then using the newly obtained familial relationship to take advantage of their resources.
So when Mother had came back from the forests behind our house clutching a baby in her arms, none of us had thought anything about it.
We had decided it would be convenient to have a child that was not related to the family by blood, allowing us to make use of him and disowning him if he screws up. Low risk, high reward.
What we hadn't expected was for him to be absolutely brilliant in a lot of things.
Even as a baby, he seemed to understand everything that was going on around him.
He had stopped crying after spending the first night within our House, as though a flip had been switched after he had slept here. Instead, whenever he needed something, he would use a little bell that we had dropped in his crib for him to play with.
It took us some time to realise that fact when the bell wouldn't stop ringing until we figured out what he needed.
He started flipping through books that I struggle to comprehend when he was able to crawl around on his own, though most of us had assumed he was only just playing around with the books back then and hadn't paid much attention to him.
It was only when he spoke his first words that we all realised how abnormal he was.
"Hey You guys have 'An Ney May' around here? Kind of bored with the books already."
Grandmother and grandfather had tagged him as a demonic spawn, but we all agreed that he may yet still have his uses.
So we kept him around, always having someone watch him just in case he turns into some malevolent demon that sought to burn our entire House to ashes.
But everything changed when he walked in during my lesson with father one day, I remembered I was only six and he three years old then.
"Yo, thought you guys might want to make a business off selling this. We'll make a killing with this, trust me."
He then showed us the plans for making cheap sugar using the roots of a plant that everyone had seen more as a wild vegetable that the poor would eat.
We had been skeptical at first, but decided there was no loss in trying it out.
Lo and behold, it worked.
Being the only merchants producing this sugar brought incredible attention and prestige to us, something I couldn't have done in this lifetime.
Within a short four years, we became the largest exporter of sugar in the region, catapulting us into the richest few merchant Houses.
It even made the eldest son of the largest merchant House in these parts seek us out himself to ask Odriana's hand in marriage.
We agreed of course, ignoring my younger brother's protests over the matter.
Father had doubled the watch on him to make sure he couldn't cause any trouble.
Unfortunately, we still failed to take a seven year old seriously at that time.
He had came to us once again with our account records in hand.
"Heya, I realised you guys didn't have a double bookkeeping system so here, I made notes."
What he had introduced to us completely changed how we did our businesses, causing us to spend more time and effort to update our records than to keep an eye on him.
Thus, we had been too late to realised he had slipped out of the house.
The little kid had managed to expose the other House's dirty laundry to the public, calling them out on the various crimes they had been committing right under their very noses.
The court had ruled them guilty and swiftly punished them, completely removing them as a merchant House and denying them any future possibility of conducting businesses.
How he had even gotten the officer-of-law to side with him was anybody's guess.
We were enraged, of course. Our carefully laid out plans had went up in flames just like that.
The backroom deals, the under table agreements and the threats we had made using that House's name had to be retracted and repaid in full, almost setting us back to the days before our sugar trading.
All for what?
Just so that Odriana doesn't need to 'suffer' an arranged marriage?
Grandfather had banned the little prick from leaving the House then, only permitting him to step foot outside when he came of age.
That little boy had thus took up the role of tutoring my youngest sister.
We hadn't thought much of it, expecting Elaria to be more sensible than him since she was of our House's blood unlike him.
With both the sugar and the bookkeeping he had shown so far, we hoped Elaria would gain something from him that she could further improve our House's prestige with.
But grandfather and grandmother had caught him performing some form of unholy ritual with Elaria one day. They were convinced he had revealed his demonic form and was trying to possess Elaria when they saw him holding her head and emanating light.
They forced the two of them to separate, triggering a miniature explosion that knocked both Elaria and him out.
When he woke up three days later, he had lost all his memories prior to the event, not even being able to recall who he was.
It was only later that we realised that he had been imparting knowledge directly to Elaria's mind and the separation had caused the feedback to erase his memories.
Fortunately, Elaria seemed unaffected by that event.
Grandfather decided that him losing his memories was a better way to control him and issued the order that this event be kept secret amongst my parents and I.
He had, instead, publicised that my younger brother had been practicing some sort of dark ritual on Elaria, causing the rest of the House to alienate him.
When Elaria started churning out the genius ideas while crediting my younger brother, grandfather was quick to deny the credit and stated the ideas came from a different continent. It would not do us any good if something Elaria says triggers him to regain his memories.
Grandfather had hoped that by separating him from the rest of the House, he would be easier to influence when he started to approach him as the 'kind, understanding grandfather'. It was a long term plan to make him reliant on us and trust grandfather completely.
Unfortunately, both grandfather and grandmother had passed suddenly before they could complete their plan.
The doctor said both had passed in their sleep without any pain, which was the only relief.
And since he had been ostracised by the rest of the House including us, it was difficult for any of us to approach him then.
It came as no surprise that he chose to leave when he finally came of age, even going so far as to change his name.
Paranoid till the end, we even had Fred see him out of town to make sure he was genuinely leaving and not coming back to screw us over.
With his departure secured, both my parents and I could finally relax, thinking any chance of him screwing up our House's plans to be zero.
I had assumed that things would go according to how they were meant to be without him around.
Unfortunately, I never accounted for Elaria's new mindset in the following years.
It seems like the little prick still managed to screw us over without even being here...