A week after the tourney had concluded with him as it's champion, Sir Strong knew that now was the time to gamble. If he was successful he would not only get out of the Western King's service and settle either in the east or the north but he would also gain Princess Cyrilla. It all depend on timing.
Yes, timing it was, since he had to have the Empress relive him of his lands, then have the King in the North convince the Emperor to gift him new once and at long last have Tristain Eastborn betrothed his granddaughter to him to punish his insolent son and daughter.
From his handy book Marcus already knew, that the Crown was deeply in dept with both the King in the West and the Silver Bank, so it was quite unlikely that the Emperor would dump the Empress any time so even knowing her incestuous relationship with her brother and the children born from it.
-Poor Cyrilla.- Thoughted Marcus on his way to a local tavern/brothel to meet his brother. Having danced around the issue between them for far to long, he knew that he would have to lower his head and apologise to his brother.
Entering the bustling tavern, the lively chaos instantly came to a sudden stop as soon as people started recognize him, not that Marcus had even tried to disguise himself as he was wearing his Marauder Armor after all. Ignoring the people's frightened silence, he soon spotted Samson in a dark corner of the tavern with a whore on his lab nursing an ale.
Approaching that corner, it was the whore, less ugly that Marcus had thought her to be, that noticed him instead of his brother. While eyed the woman soon had left his brother's lab by the time Marcus set down a cross from Samson.
"Took your blood time, brother..." Samson briefly greeted him before drinking his beer. "... Got time for me now, do you?"
"I think I do now, brother..." Replied Marcus before he called a barmade by shouting. "... Get me good southern whisky, will yeh?"
Being handed a bottle of expensive southern whisky by a trembling maiden, Marcus soon heared his brother ask him. "So what changed? What made the 'Great Butcher' civil?"
"My headache is gone." Was all Marcus replied savouring the delicate tast of the whisky.
Stunned since only people of House Strong new of his big brother's unique illness, Samson asked shocked. "How did that happened?"
"Long story but first..." Marcus stated, placing his whiskey bottle on the table, before he rubbed his face and said. "... Let me apologise to you for burning your face. It was wrong for me to scar you for life just because of a stupid toy. Can you forgive me?"
Stunned numb by his brother's honest and heartfelt words, Samson Strong opened and closed his mouth a couple of time unable to reply as tears silent gathered in his eyes.
Playing with his whisky bottle, Marcus eventually told him. "Take your time, you don't have to answer me now. I will stay in the capital for a few weeks more."
"Why?..." Samson asked without knowingwhat he was actually asking before added. "... Why stay in the capital and not your keep?"
"Because if things turn out as I think they will, it wouldn't be my keep for much longer..." Replied Marcus with a lazy smile. "... So let me tell you about my 'Great Gamble'..."
That said, Marcus told his brother all about his grand plan to get 'free' from the Western King and marry the little princess. Ge even went so far as to tell Samson about his suspicion about their giant bloodline. But what he left out of his narration was the origin of it all, the book called 'A King's Game'.
Listening to his brother's incredible plan, Samson Strong's mind short circuited more than once, as his brothers words reminded him more and more of the 'Golden Imp' Titus Westborn, the Western King's youngest son.
Eventually Marcus stooped talking and Samson eventually got to ask. "So, what do you want of me? Join you?"
"No! Not that I wouldn't want you're help, brother..." Replied Marcus showing an embarrassed expression. "... All I would like to get from you, would be your forgiveness for the past."
Looking deep into his brother's eyes, Samsom eventually stated with a crocked smile. "Then you have it. I forgive you for now..."
Recalling all the horrible things he had done under the influence of his headache, Markus said. "Thank you, brother."