Three days later, Marcus once more saw both his brother Samson and the northern King Northborn on the stands overlooking the arena. Meanwhile he himself was riding a sturdy mare wearing his Marauder Armor that consist of a tick hammerson, double linked chainmail, a thick steel plated leather chest piece and dark steeled armor pieces including a visored barbuta helmet.
Wearing just that glomy armor, Marcus made a striking image among the kights who preferred full plated and polished armor suits. Especially Sirius Typhon, one of Emperor's bannermen called the Rose Knight had an especially fancy armor with delicate and elaborate gold inlays. Oh, how much Marcus hated those man knighted after the Rebellion that established the Eastborn Dynasty. But he especially hated that Sir Typhon ho dazzled the maiden's.
Soon under thundering fanfare, the Imperial Family Arrived and Marcus got a good look at the current Emperor, who he hadn't seen again ever since the war. To his disappointment the man that once rivaled himself in strength was not much left and the Emperor looked like a common drunkard. Gone were ripped abs and muscular arms, arrived had a huge beer belly and average arms.
Compared to the rundown Emperor the Empress looked even younger than Marcus remembered her to be fifteen tears ago but even thick make up could cover the gloomy sadness in her eyes.
Right behind the Emperor and his Wife, the eldest prince and his redhead fiance, the northern princess and behind that the girl or woman Marcus desired and her younger brother.
Would one place the Empress and her only daughter side by side one would think them to be sister rather than mother and daughter, but compared to her mother, Princess Cyrilla appeared genuinely happy. But most important for Marcus she looked healthy and on the verge of womanhood.
"Behold the Emperor and Empress. His Excellency Randell Eastborn and her Highness Celestine Westborn. May..." Announced the Court Marshal before he got interrupted by the Emperor himself.
"Yes, yes, yes..." Slurred the Randell Eastborn a cup of beer already in his hand. "... We all know the procedure but let's skip all and get this tournament started."
Following that, lots were quickly drawn by the contestants and the first opponents got ready for the Jousting. To Marcus dismay, the he and Sir Typhon would only meet in the finals if both of them weren't defeated. Looking at the dainty knight, anger grew inside of his belly as soon as he saw the man hand out Rose's to the noble woman and fair maidens, including northern Princess Sarah and the Imperial Princess Cyrilla.
Unknowingly releasing more than a little bit of killing intent, Marcus soon saw his brother in his line of side resolutely shaking his head. God dammed who had the brilliant idea to put his brother of all people in charge of the tournament's security.
Meanwhile high up in the stands, Princess Cyrilla affected by Marcus strong killingin intent let go of her rose and let it fall to the ground as she clung to her younger brother's arm.
Slightly shaken, she asked her brother with her voice trembling. "Tom, who is that knight in the black armor?"
Following his sister's line of sight, the young prince instantly spotted Marcus and explained "That over their is Grandfather's most loyal knight, Sir Marcus Strong also known as the 'Titan'..."
"... or the 'Butcher'." Chimed a tall man of slender build and sharp features with a small pointed beard on his chin, and dark hair with grey threads running through it.
"Ah, Lord Bartholomew do you tell my sister about Sir Strong or do I?" Rebuked Prince Tom the Imperial Council member.
Turning around with a humpf, Peter Bartholomew decided not to answer the question and instead chatted with some acquaintances of his including the crown prince and his fiance.
"Now where was I?" Asked Tom his sister with a wry smile on his face, since even he the second in line didn't have as much supporters as the sneaky Council Member.
"I think you were just about to talk about the 'Titan's' services during Emperor Randall's Rebellion." Suddenly chimed in a male but slightly melodious voice of a fat bold man.
"Thank you Lord Verris..." Said, Tom before he continued to tell his sister. "... So during the Rebellion, it was Sir Strong and his men who singlehandedly took the Capital for Grandfather and needed the war."
"Oh, wow?!" Exclaimed Cyrilla deeply impressed.
"Your Highness, mid I ad?..." Asked Lord Verris respectfully before he got Tom's permission to speak further. "... Sir Strong not only took the Capital that day, he also back then took Empress Elena's head and killed her children. Rumour has it that he first smashed the children's heads in, then raped the Empress with her children blood still on his hands and then ripped her in two. Does that sound like a honorable knight to you, princess?"
"The Lightborn were evil, they deserved what ever Sir Strong did to them!" Fiercely defended Cyrilla the knight in black armor for some reason.
"Oh, that must hurt!..." Suddenly exclaimed Tom still watching the first knights clash, one knight even flying of his horse as he asked. "...Do you know why father rebelled back then?"
Confused, having never thought about that, Cyrilla asked. "Didn't father rebel because the Lightborn Emperor was mad?"
"Yes and no, my lady..." Explained Lor Veris friendly silently while asking for Tom's permission. "... The Hyperion the Mad back then stole your father's fiance, Lilliana Northborn, the King in the North's elder sister and forced her into his harem. But before your father and the Northern King, your uncle or Sir Strong could get to her, Princess Lilliana had already committed suicide. A rather sad tale I suppose..."
"If that Lilliana was father's fiance, how did he meet mother?" Asked Cyrilla rather curiously the two men, but neither one wanted to be the one to tell the truth to a princess who still believed in love and honor. The sad truth being that Cyrilla's Grandfather sold her mother to the then newly crowned Emperor to gain influence.