8 Chapter 8: Uproar in the capital

"What did mother do?" Asked Cyrilla timidly as to not enrage her grandfather by question his decision. Truth be told, the young woman was even ecstatic since no young knight or young lord her age or any age could rival sir Strong in either size of strength, two attributes that Cyrilla admired most in men.

"Why don't you ask her yourself?..." Stated Tristan Westborm with a mocking smile. "... Ask her if she could thing of anything that she has done for over a decade that could destroy House Westborn!"

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Looking at her now pale as ash mother, Cyrilla asked"Mother, what have you done?"

"Oh, no James..." Was all Celestine whispered, shock and fright edged into her face.

Rage and anger still churning just below his surface hidden underneath a cold smile, King Tristan announced. "Oh, yes James. He is being stripped of his knight honours and exiled to Westend..."

Screaming in a sudden explosion of madness, Celestine shouted. "No, you can't do this! I am the Empress"

"An Empress no longer..." Replied the King in the West sarcastically.

[...]

The day following the capital was dominated by a set of declarations issued by the Crystal Palace in the name of the Emperor. Not citizen, merchant, begger or noble in the city wasn't talking about it. And why shouldn't they? It wasn't every day than an Empress was turned Consort and a Crown Prince was turned Lord without any explanation.

Walking proudly through the bustling streets of the capital, Marcus wasn't bothered in the least, that the announcements of his engagement with the former Princess now Lady Cyrilla Eastborn and his appointment as Lord of Windhelm were largely ignored.

-Good for me.- Marcus told himself as he arrived infront of Westhall manor to meet his fiance.

Dressed in his Marauder Armor, he was led through the manor and into the back gardens by a steward with a disgusted look on his face.

"My Lady Cyrilla, Lord Strong here to meet you." The arrogant steward told the former princess that wore a beautiful yellow dress as she was planting roses, despite Marcus being right beside him.

"Ah, good day my Lord..." Greeted Cyrilla him with a quick but elegant curtsey careful not to get dirt in her dress. "... What brings my fiance here today? Checking the goods?"

"Something like that. But no, I am not her to 'check the goods'...." Replied Marcus with a younger man's smile as he pointed a the blue rose in Cyrilla's shiny golden hair. "... I already did that at the tourney."

"Good to know my Lord..." Replied Cyrilla curtly as she slowly became aware of the true height difference between them as they started walking side by side. "... So, why to people call you the 'butcher'? It get 'Titan' because of your height but butcher?"

Reminded of his bad reputation by his fiance no less, Marcus attempted the impossible by defending his former dishonorable actions. "Some even call me the 'Mad Titan', but the title of 'Butcher' I earned during Emeror Randall's Rebellion when I put many citizen loyal to the Lightborn to the blade."

"Must have been ordered by my Grandfather..." Commented Cyrilla visibly deep in thought.

"What makes you think that?" Asked Marcus intrigued by the little Lady's thought process.

"Isn't it obvious?..." Asked Cyrilla before she looked up and into the knight's brown eyes. "... Grandfather wanted to weaken the crown domains economy to make Westend the Empire's uncontested trading hub. Having citizens of the crown domain marked as Lightborn Loyalist and executed sounds just like him."

Baffled by the young Lady's words, Marcus only commented.  "You're smart."

"Not as smart as my uncle." Replied Cyrilla with a prod smile as she puffed out her still slightly underdeveloped chest.

-Oh, well she is only sixteen. Bless the Deep that she will get bigger.- Thought Marcus as he got a good look of the former princess's cleavage. "I didn't know that James Westborn was a good with a book as he was with the sword."

"I wasn't talking about Uncle James but Uncle Titus..." Stated Cyrilla even more proudly. "... Didn't you hear about the 'Golden Imp'?"

-Who hasn't?- Though Marcus recalling King Westborn's hated but valued youngest son. It has long since been said that ever since that imp took over the commerce of Westend following Randall's Rebellion, that he nearly tripped his house's annual income.

Coughing, Marcus replied honestly. "Who hasn't!"

Meanwhile Cyrilla hadn't even expected an answer to her question asked. "What do you like to do in your free time Lord Strong? I like reading and gardening."

"As of late, I do daily strength and agility training when I am not out hunting or governing my domain..." Stated Marcus glad that he wasn't asked about his book preferences or his thoughts about the 'Fair Arts'.

With a curious look at his sword, Cyrilla asked. "Why do you use a greatsword instead of a longsword like the other knights?"

"Because I generally don't fight one-on-one but one-against-many a bigger sword comes in handy against multiple opponents but to me a greatsword weights as much as a longsword does for others..." Explained Marcus before he asked with a crocked smile. "... Wanna hold my big sword?"

"I would love to..." Replied Cyrilla unaware of the double meaning of his words.

With an even wider smile, aware of the dual meaning of 'big sword', Marcus drew his sword before handing it to his fiance.

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