"I'm glad that's finally done, Cecilia. Hopefully, I'll have a response from my father by the end of the week." Roy sighed, looking at his… lover? Girlfriend? Spouse-to-be? No, none of those felt right with him. As it was, the courtship process hadn't even officially started yet, and it wasn't exactly a quick process. Most commonly when one noble courted another, the process lasted no less than six months. And that was if the couple found that they were a good pair together. Now, Roy couldn't imagine himself and Cecilia not being a good fit together (and he was certainly praying that nothing would ever come between them) but then that was the whole point of why he'd asked her for permission to court her, rather than just asking her for her hand in marriage directly.

He didn't want to rush into this, and he knew that Cecilia wouldn't want too either.

It had been just over three weeks since the final battle in Zephiel's war. Roy had finished healing from the injuries he'd incurred saving Idunn's life as the Dragon Sanctuary collapsed around them, and the unified army was breaking up. Princess- No, Queen Guinivere had been crowned as the new ruler of Bern. Many of the unified army's high-ranking members remained to see the coronation. Even though they were duty-bound to return to their own countries, all felt they owed it to the woman who had sacrificed so much to make ending the war a possibility. By now, though, enough time had passed that most people had returned to their own countries.

The Sacaen plainsmen and women had returned home. Zelot and Juno had returned to Castle Edessa in Ilia. Douglas, Perceval, and Klein had all returned to Etruria. Lilina and many of the knights of Lycia had departed Bern, heading back to Ostia, Pherae, and the other provinces they'd come from. At present, Roy and Cecilia were the last two remaining non-Bernese high-ranking members of the army still at Castle Bern. Both had used the excuse of wanting to ensure that Queen Guinivere's transition to power was as peaceful as possible for their reason to stay behind (which, to be fair, was a very valid reason for staying.) Currently, the duo was alone in the guest room Roy had been staying in.

Roy had informed both Marcus and Lilina of his plans with Cecilia, who had likewise informed her co-generals Douglas and Perceval of the proposal she'd received from Roy.

"I am likewise glad that's done. It's the first step in a long process… and hopefully we will hear back from my own family soon enough. House Prydwen's manor is deep within Etrurian territory, quite a bit further away from Bern than Lycia. It may be a week or more before we hear back from my family."

"With that done, I feel like I can breathe a bit easier now. Once we have word back from our families, we can make our courtship official. In the meantime, it may not be wise to, er…" And Roy paused, his cheeks turning slightly pink,

"Well, it wouldn't be smart to show, er… public displays of affection, but the two of us have been comrades for years now, and no one will think ill of us for appearing in public together as friends while we wait for our families' responses."

That was very true. Cecilia was hardly a woman to make such public gestures of affection, being the very picture of a 'proper Etrurian lady,' but she would have to remember that even something a seemingly innocent as walking about arm-in-arm with Roy may yet act as a spark to set off the powder keg that was the subject of who his future bride would be.

As a skilled tactician and veteran of many battles, Cecilia knew what battles to fight, and which ones to avoid. This was one such battle in which a 'direct confrontation' would end poorly.

Making it known that Roy was hers was a fine notion in practice, but doing so in such a brazen, public manner would risk scandal befalling both her and her family, and that was unacceptable.

No, she had a better idea.

Better to assist Roy in responding to the multitude of letters he'd received from various noble houses across Elibe.

Oh, she wouldn't do anything in public that would bring shame and scandal upon her, but make no mistake- Roy was hers, and she needed to make sure that those other noble houses knew that the hero of Elibe was 'off the market' as soon as possible! She hardly considered herself to be a jealous woman, but even someone as even-tempered as her intensely disliked the idea that her husband-to-be might be snatched up by some other woman.

"Hmm… well, we might not be able to make our relationship public this week, but you could always begin sending responses back to the noble houses that have reached out to you. Even if things between us aren't official yet, I do not believe it would be in error to at least let them know that you are not interested, and more importantly, that you have already found a partner."

"Are you sure? I don't want to risk offending anyone. Some of these noble houses are quite powerful…"

"I can't speak for every noble family, but at the very least I think it would be a good idea to encourage them that you are, shall we say, not actively seeking a bride at this time."

"I suppose that's alright. It's been years since he last spoke to you, but my father knows you to be a woman of great integrity, courage, and kindness. And your house is one of the Four Pillars of Etruria, so if any noble houses were to try and object to Etruria… well, they'd have a hard time arguing against such a prestigious house."

Cecilia was glad Roy saw things her way, though she hoped that things would go so smoothly. Her father was… well, he had never taken quite well to the idea of suitors pursuing his baby girl. Her extended family may have been keen on attempting to try and set her up with potential suitors, but that was one front that both her father and grandfather had been firmly opposed to all her life.

To make a long story short… Cecilia was already dreading a response from her family. She'd long had a suspicion that the extended family of House Prydwen had hoped to marry her off years ago, either to consolidate an alliance with some other noble house… or simply because they still didn't like the idea of Cecilia being one of Etruria's three great military leaders. As for her… 'overprotective' father and grandfather… surely they'd approve of Roy, wouldn't they? He was the man who'd saved all of Elibe from Zephiel, he was a noble from a house of good standing, and he was well-liked by the commonfolk across the continent. Her own personal feelings aside, there was honestly no one more qualified to be her husband. She knew that her father's biggest fear when she'd been in her academy days was that his baby girl would end up in an arranged marriage with some 'fifty-year-old geezer who only wanted her for her looks and her family's reputation.'

The more she thought out how a potential meeting between Roy and her father would go, the more Cecilia had a sinking suspicion that things wouldn't go so smoothly…


"Hmm?" Oh dear, evidently Roy had been trying to get her attention and she'd been lost in her thoughts.

"This might… this might be a little awkward, but would you mind helping me draft responses to the letters I've received? It's just… I've never done this sort of thing before, and…"

"And what, Roy?" Her tone wasn't accusatory, merely questioning. Still, Roy's cheeks flushed slightly.

"Well… I mean, you're older… sorry, you're more experienced than I am, so… I figured you'd probably done this before. Writing letters of, well… rejection to eager suitors."

"Why would you think that, Roy?" Roy had asked a fair question, and one that wasn't inaccurate. It wasn't often and hadn't come up too many times in the last several years, but in the few years prior to being named Etruria's Mage General she'd received her share of marriage offers; both those sent her way by her rivals within House Prydwen, and those from outside.

"Well… it's just that… you're so beautiful, I assumed that I was hardly the first man to ask for your hand in marriage."

Oh dear, now she could feel her cheeks burning! How could such blunt words make her heart flutter so?

"I-I… Roy-" Words were failing her, not good! Closing her eyes and trying to brush the embarrassment aside, Cecilia inhaled deeply before letting the breath out. Her cheeks were still a faint pink, but at least she was no longer flustered to the point of stuttering and stumbling over her words.

"Well, I will see what help I can provide, Roy. And you are not wrong- you are not the first man to ask for my hand in marriage… though you are the first to whom I have agreed." Clearing her throat, Cecilia shoved the rest of her lingering embarrassment to the side as the tactician within her took charge of the situation.

"Now, why don't you show me where you've been keeping the letters from your… other suitors, and I'll see if I can help you start writing some responses to them."

Roy let out a sigh, a look of relief on his face.

"Thank Elimine. I'm glad to have your assistance at this. Follow me, I've been keeping the letters in the desk over here." Roy said, walking across the room and opening several drawers on the wooden desk placed against the wall. Cecilia's eyebrows rose as, to her bemusement, she realized that the drawers did not contain three or four letters but were in fact filled to bursting with what had to be close to thirty letters!

"R-Roy! T-there must be almost thirty letters here! I-Is every single one of them from a noblewoman a-asking for your hand in marriage?" Cecila uttered, jaw hanging open.

"Well, to be honest only about half of them were written by the noblewoman extending her, er, 'offer.' The rest were written by the various heads of each house. And there's actually 34 letters; there are a few more in another drawer I haven't opened yet."

Cecilia's jaw fell even lower.

"All… All of these families have sent marriage proposals to you?"

"Every one of them, yes."

Cecilia didn't know why she felt so shocked. On the surface, it made sense as to why Roy would be so popular. His house wasn't the wealthiest, and indeed most Etrurian nobles looked down on Lycian nobles, but none could deny that Roy came from a family of renown. More importantly than that, though, was the prestige associated with House Pherae at present.

Still, the fact that over thirty noble families had all sent marriage offers to Roy was frankly a little alarming to Cecilia.

Walking over to stand next to her companion, Cecilia began examining the letters, taking them out of the desk one by one.

Just as she'd suspected, most of the letters came from various noble houses in Etruria. After the royal family, there were the Four Pillars of Etruria- Houses Caerleon, Prydwen, Reglay, and Clarent. Each one represented much of a certain industry driving Etruria; be it agriculture, magical research, finances, and so on. Beyond them, there were nearly two dozen lesser noble houses within Etruria of varying levels of stature.

There were five letters from other noble houses within Lycia, and even a few from some of the noble houses of Bern. All in all… oh dear. Cecilia knew she'd have her work cut out for her.

As Cecilia started reading through the letters one by one, she became increasingly irritated at the fact that this would be no small task. Deep down, she really wanted to tell these nobles to go bother some other person, because this nice young nobleman was already spoken for, but Cecilia knew that one couldn't simply ignore decorum and openly offend another noble house like that. As much as she wanted to speak (or write, in this case) bluntly, she'd have to do her best to stay polite.

Well… at least the first few letters Roy had handed her had been very polite. No grandstanding from the family head, no boasting of how their family was somehow 'more worthy' than all the others… And they hadn't been too upfront in bragging about their daughters.

Good… good! If the rest of the letters were like this, this might not be as aggravating as she thought. Reaching for another letter on the large pile, Cecilia was dimly aware of Roy starting to speak up, a nervous look on his face.

What on Elibe would he be concerned about? It was just a letter…


"Yes, Cecilia?"

"This letter from House Gladstone…"

"Er… what about it, Cecilia?"

"The good lady who extends her congratulations to you in besting Zephiel, as well as offering her hand in marriage… she is aware that you will be turning 19 this year, is she not?"

"Um… well… she does mention my age further down in the letter, so… yes, I'd say she is aware."

"And you are aware that she's roughly twice your age?" Cecilia's smile didn't reach her eyes. No, there was a glacial chill behind each emerald orb.

"Er… I am. B-but… I know what you're thinking! I don't want to marry her, I was just trying to think of a way to, er, politely decline her offer."

Cecilia let out a gusty sigh. Of course Roy would still want to avoid ruffling any feathers, even if he was no doubt uncomfortable with the thought of potentially marrying a 40-year old woman he'd never met. Cecilia groaned, putting one palm to her forehead.

"I should've expected this. How… how many more letters do you have from women who are, hrm… of a similar age to Lady Gladstone?"

"Uh…" The fact that Roy actually had to think about that question did not sit well with Cecilia.

"Another two or three, I think."

Lovely. Cecilia knew she shouldn't have been surprised. There were no laws against such an age difference, especially in Etruria where many noble houses still held arranged marriages. It was odd for the woman to be the older of the pair, but in this day and age such marriages were increasingly frowned upon by the public regardless of who was older than who.

"Well… why don't we separate those letters from the rest? We'll make a separate stack for the letters sent by women who, well, are significantly older than you, and we can leave responding to those for another day. For now, why don't we look at the rest of the letters?"

"That sounds agreeable to me." Roy stated, clearly relieved to be shifting subjects.

To his horror, the next letter Cecilia picked up was one he'd sincerely been hoping to respond to and dispose of before his (hopeful) bride-to-be ever had a chance to lay eyes on it.

Cecilia read through the letter- which she noted had most definitely been sprayed with a woman's perfume prior to being sent- with a terrifyingly emotionless look on her face. Roy's face fell as Cecilia's face remained unnervingly placid, and worse still the further the woman read; the more Roy could see her eyebrows twitching.


"Yes, Cecilia?" Oh boy, now he could see a vein on Cecilia's forehead bulging from her ire as well.

"Is it normal for young women to describe, in such vulgar detail how they would like to spend their honeymoon with you?"

"Er… I can't claim to understand how the mind of a young woman works…"


"I mean, there have been… three or four other letters written in a similarly… lascivious tone."

"Is that so?"

Roy swallowed nervously. He was pretty sure it wasn't a trick of the light that the letter in Cecilia's hands looked like it was actually a bit scorched around the edges.

While his future bride fumed, Roy snatched the letter out of her hands. He couldn't fault Cecilia for being so irate from the overly lewd content of the letter, of which he was pretty sure the young woman who'd written it would've been mortified to know that another woman had read it. Frankly… he was actually very uncomfortable hearing someone 'proposition' him so bluntly, especially a girl he'd never met before.

Cecilia seemed to have reigned in her temper by now, fortunately, and no longer seemed a hair's breadth away from immolating the pile of letters from Roy's would-be suitors.

"Let's just pretend that you didn't see me in such a state, Roy. We can make a separate pile for those letters as well. If nothing else, we can at least get started on replying to families who have sent… normal, polite letters to you, and leave the, *ahem* 'oddities' for later."

At least from that point on, there were no further impediments to Roy and Cecilia's efforts to cowrite his responses to the many marriage offers he'd received. Given the sheer amount of them, it took most of the week to get through.

Several days later…

"Whew… That's the letters to go to Lycia and Bern done. How many more letters do I have left to send to Etruria?" Roy yawned, stretching his arms. He'd never thought something as simple as writing letters would be so tiring and time-consuming, but here he was feeling almost as worn out as he would've been after a battle!

"Only another four to go, Roy. I think we'll be able to finish them tomorrow. It's getting late today. Would you like to eat dinner together? I'm sure Queen Guinivere wouldn't mind having the kitchen staff bring something for us up."

"Mmm… That sounds good to me…" Roy groaned, leaning back in his chair. Cecilia smiled and patted her companions shoulder.

"Very well. You look a bit sleepy. Perhaps you should lie down for a little while? I'll see if I can find one of the servants in the meantime."

Cecilia departed the room, leaving Roy to his thoughts. Tomorrow he'd be done with all these responses to women he'd never met and had no intentions of getting married to. He'd be free to continue courting Cecilia and close this chapter of his life.

Much of the future was still uncertain to him, but every day was looking brighter already.

Cecilia returned within the hour, shortly followed by a few of the castle's servants, each bearing a tray of food prepared for the Queen's guests. Dinner was a humble affair, considering that it took place in the second largest castle on the continent, but neither Roy nor Cecilia had ever been much for luxury. Above all else, it was the company they shared the simple meal with that mattered more than anything else.

When the next morning came, it brought with it news most important…

"C-Cecilia! Look here! It's a letter from home- from my father!"

Cecilia couldn't stop the jolt of nervousness that ran through her at that moment.

Roy had received his father's response regarding his plans to court her. What… what if he didn't approve?

Cecilia bit her lip nervously while Roy read through the letter he'd received from his father. It took him less than a minute to read the letter, and Cecilia felt hope stir in her; Roy did not seem angry or upset by anything he'd read, which hopefully meant that Eliwood didn't disapprove of his choice of marriage partner.

"Here, you should read this. My father wrote that he wants you to read this part yourself." Roy stated, passing the letter to Cecilia. Wordlessly, the green-haired woman took it.

Mage General Cecilia- sorry, may I just call you Cecilia? It feels odd calling the woman who may very well become my daughter in law by her formal title. Pardon me, I'm getting off track. Roy wrote to me to inform me of his decision to court you, and honestly… I couldn't be more thrilled!

Cecilia's heart leapt into her throat at those words. Oh dear, was she getting a bit choked up? The verdant-haired woman pressed on.

Over the years that the war with Bern raged on, Roy wrote to me often to keep me up to date with news from the frontlines. I do not believe there was anyone else, save for perhaps Queen Guinivere herself, of whom he spoke in a more positive light. I do not know if you ever realized just how much faith Roy placed in you. Over the course of the war, you provided my son with a much-needed shoulder to lean on, and from his words, you were a constant fount of support for him. He expressed his gratitude to have your support on many occasions, and in this world I do not believe there is anyone he trusts more than you.

Oh… Cecilia was quite certain that her eyes were watering now. She knew this was an undignified look for her, but for the life of her, she couldn't stop the happy tears from appearing. Dabbing at her eyes with her handkerchief, Cecilia finished reading the letter.

I know many in Elibe will likely see your marriage- and I do very much hope that the two of you are joyfully wed by the end of your courtship- as a shock, but I know my son, and I trust you. Your deeds are well-known to Elibe, and even if I didn't know about you from Roy, I would know you as a young woman of incredible moral fiber, willing to risk her career, her position, and her life to do what is right. My son could not have chosen a better woman to court. I have already informed Roy of my wishes, but… please, come to Pherae as soon as you are able. I fear I am not in good health, and I would very much like to meet you in person while I still have time. You and Roy both have my blessings to get married. I hope that the two of you enjoy a long, happy, prosperous life together.

G-goodness… Cecilia couldn't stop her tears from flowing freely now. Setting the letter down as gently as she could, Cecilia turned towards Roy. As if he already knew her intentions, Roy opened his arms up and the two embraced each other tightly.

"Oh, Roy… I am… so very happy!"

Roy wasn't crying like she was, but his eyes did look rather misty.

"I… I as well, Cecilia. My father has given us his blessing, and I do not believe anything at all could dampen the joy that I feel right now!"

Cecilia and Roy stayed in that tender hug for a little while longer before splitting. Both of their faces were now tinged a faint pink.

"Er… pardon me, Roy. That was rather improper, wasn't it?"

"I can hardly fault you for being overjoyed, Cecilia. I may have initiated the embrace if you hadn't. Now… I suppose all we have to do is wait for a response from your family, and then we can depart. I suggest we go to Pherae first."

That was a perfectly logical choice to Cecilia. Even without Lord Eliwood's faltering health, Pherae was quite a bit closer to Bern than her family's territory in Etruria.

Fortunately for the courting duo, it took only another two days before a letter arrived from Cecilia's family- several days earlier than she'd expected to receive a response. She hoped that was a good sign…

As she read through the letter- which had her father's signature signed on the front, Cecilia looked for any sign of his response to her desire to marry Roy.

The letter went on and on about how proud her father was of her 'glorious achievements,' about how she'd done not just the family but all of Etruria proud. Cecilia herself felt that her father was laying it on a bit thick by describing Cecilia as 'the right hand of General Roy,' though beyond that one reference he didn't bring up her would-be suitor a single time!

It wasn't until Cecilia reached the very end of the letter that her father brought up Roy, and her prospective romance.

That section of the letter was ominously short. All her father had written was;

I have heard much of General Roy, but wish to meet him in person so that I may see if the man so many speak of truly matches his towering reputation. Return home as soon as you are able to. Bring the boy.

Oh dear… that… that sounded rather foreboding, didn't it?

Hiding the letter behind her back, Cecilia smiled at her suitor, trying not to let the worry show on her face.

"Good news, Roy. My father would like to meet you in person! I strongly suggest that we travel to my family's lands in Etruria after we meet with your father in Pherae."

Roy didn't realize anything was amiss and agreed with Cecilia's words without questioning them.

"Wonderful! Cecilia, you've never been to Pherae, have you? You'll love it there! Hopefully we can set out in the next day or two. We should probably speak to Queen Guinivere as soon as possible and let her know that we plan on departing as soon as possible, now that her coronation has ended.

Roy left the room, likely to go find the queen of Bern, leaving Cecilia alone with her thoughts. Lord Eliwood had approved wholeheartedly of her and Roy getting married, and she could only hope that her dear father would come to approve as well.

Letting out a sigh, Cecilia walked towards a window in the guest room that looked out on the mountainous countryside of Bern. The sun was beginning to set, flooding the clouds in the sky with a rich gold color.

The first step in this long process was complete, and what came next was her and Roy meeting and speaking with each other's families. From that point, if both families approved- and it was really only her own family that she was concerned with- if an agreement was made both families would officially announce the courtship of their respective son and daughter.

Finally, Cecilia felt as if this dark chapter of her life was at an end. The bloody war with Bern had come to a conclusion; Guinivere had taken the throne in a surprisingly peaceful ascension; and Cecilia could begin a new chapter of her life- with Roy at her side.

Not much to say here for author's notes this time.


The '34 letters' is a minor Easter egg; as of writing this (March 2024) the Fire Emblem series has existed for 34 years.

Cecilia's extended family is never mentioned in-game beyond her father, who is described in her support with Saul as being comically overprotective of his daughter. Has time dulled that protectiveness? We'll find out.