Some two months later, Kayleth was trying his best not to reach out and throttle the Ostian noble, a Baroness Rheia or something, who was guilty of the most serious crime of wasting his time. As a matter of fact, he was already resolved to killing at least two of her relatives out of sheer spite. Kayleth was not a believer in inflicting random violence, though, and so resolved to just kill the Baroness instead. He would have to make certain that her death, via Jaffar, was long-drawn out and appropriately painful.
It was the day of the wedding and there was still a furor over the argument of whether Florina was worthy of becoming Marchioness Ostia. Ostian nobles, the ones sitting this particular committee in the House of Lords at least, were split in half over this matter.
When Kayleth had received the invitation from Hector a month ago, he was surprised. Lyn, he knew would be invited. Whatever Hector was inviting him for, he had no idea.
For three weeks, he had been grilled as an expert on Florina's psychology and character. Social science was one of his professional fields, but he had never imagined that he could be called to the court in this way; he was technically a Baron of Caelin and therefore a noble of Lycia, and the Marquess of Ostia could summon him whenever he liked. That Hector had control over his time bothered Kayleth in no small way. It was like leaving a well-maintained battleship to a brat who wanted a fishing boat; neither the battleship nor the brat is happy in the end.
"As I was saying," a Count something-or-another that Kayleth also swore to have Jaffar kill as soon as he could get out of captivity said, "it is highly irregular for the Marchioness to be an Ilian. The Marchioness is supposed to add strength to the Marquess, and I fail to see how this Dame Florina could do that. For God's sake she can't even talk to men without stuttering!" Kayleth considered that it might be a bit embarrassing of him to not have memorized the names of the eleven nobles in this committee, but as far as he was concerned, that was extraneous information. He just had to manipulate opinions.
As an expert, Kayleth was kept in secluded quarters so as not to have his judgment be affected. It was bad enough that he was in captivity. It was singularly appalling that he could not see Alice for three weeks. The pain of uncertainty as to her well-being stabbed him repeatedly. The only redeeming feature of his captivity was that he was being paid extra as a certified professional from Hamor with personal knowledge of the subject at hand; of course, Hector was also paying him extra to have the proceedings go his way.
"And as I was saying, I'm not sure what her stuttering has to do with anything!" an Earl on Florina's side shouted. He was the principal leader of the pro-Florina movement and saved much of Kayleth's time and efforts. "It is a tried and true approach to bring in new blood to noble families all the time! Considering the testimony of agent Matthew of our intelligence service, the recommendations of the future Marchioness Caelin, the commendations of Eighth Iron Lord Oswin, and the expert witness of Baron Kayleth about the campaign against the Black Fang, et cetera, she clearly has blood we want the ruling family of Ostia to have!"
Kayleth stood up, "If I may, my Lords and Ladies, it is true that Dame Florina has certain, ah… deficiencies as Marchioness, including but not limited to stuttering, small physique, limited education, a serious case of an inferiority complex, and yes, though you do not admit it, having Ilian blood!" The opposing side gasped in pretended indignation at that. "Indeed, when I first saw her, she was surrounded by bandits and yes, stuttering! By the old gods and the new God she was a disgrace to humanity! But do you know what happened to those bandits? They're dead! Do you know what happened to Marquess Laus? He's dead! Do you know what happened to the squadrons of fliers the Black Fang had? They're dead! Florina's strength is above question!"
"Baron Kayleth," the Lady Chairperson of the committee sighed. "You will speak when spoken to."
"Of course, my Lady. My apologies," Kayleth said, and his tone was enough to make sure everyone in the room know that he offered no apologies.
"You see?!" a Viscount shouted. "This supposed expert is biased! We can hardly trust-"
"I have a degree in the social sciences from Hamor, my Lord. Your accountant and lawyer are from Hamor, too, are they not?" Kayleth guessed, though he had no idea who his accountant and lawyers might be. Most wealthy nobles, though, could afford the services of Hamorian professionals. Ostian nobles were generally wealthy enough.
The Viscount reddened, "Yes, but-"
"So you know of the professionalism exhibited by those from our Duchy," Kayleth smiled. "Accuse me of amateurism and prejudice again, and I'll sue you. It is my professional assessment that Dame Florina has good blood."
"Back to the point," Hector insisted, speaking for the first time in the day, "the wedding is set for today. It is time for a vote."
"Yes, and no more filibustering, please," Matthew said. "We all have work to do. I recognize that finding a suitable match for the Marquess is important, but the point is that her lack of education does not point to her lack of intelligence, her stuttering is a weakness that can be overcome, and the main contention of this argument is whether you'll accept an Ilian or not."
"Agent, you will keep quiet unless called upon," the Lady Chairperson said, wrapping her face with her hands.
Kayleth glared at Hector until he got the message. "I call on Baron Kayleth of Caelin to say some things about Florina's strengths. He has mentioned nothing but her weaknesses today and I find the need for an objective analysis of her strengths and weaknesses."
"As you wish, Marquess Ostia," Kayleth sighed, exposing his palms and shrugging theatrically as he rose again. "Dame Florina is a proven veteran in combat. Agent Matthew, Iron Lord Oswin, and I can attest to her physical strength, courage, and resolve. I cannot say she is educated, but over the course of the year I have taught her how to read and write; she is not, as some of you have insinuated, dull. She has superb crisis-management capabilities, without which one cannot become a successful military flier. As a successful military flier, she will bring diversity to Ostia's idiotic emphasis on static defenses. She has no genetic mental disorders and she is reasonably attractive. In conclusion, Dame Florina introduces good blood into the ruling family of Ostia and is an asset in wartime. What more one can expect from a Marchioness, I have no idea."
"The committee will be in session for vote. All external personnel, we thank you for your services and excuse you," the Lady Chairperson said, glad that she could finally get this over with. No doubt she had been pestered by people trying to bribe her.
Kayleth was annoyed at the amount of willpower it took not to sprint out of the room.
"Think we'll win?" Matthew asked as he walked down the hallway.
"We started off with six for and five against. I'm fairly certain we held the line. I met the eleven nobles enough times to learn their facial tics, unless they're very good actors. Besides, it's already the day of the wedding. What're they going to do? Cancel it?" Kayleth snorted as he retrieved his belongings from the guards. "Even the nobles opposed to Florina will think twice before that. It shows disunity. Disunity shows weakness. If there is anything a Bernese King knows how to do, it is to smell weakness in its neighbors. You know it. I know it. Anyone whose opinion matters knows it. As the aforementioned personages know it, I reminded them of that fact yesterday."
"We better win," Hector grumbled. "You'd have no idea how Oswin's been riding me to keep costs down."
"I'd better get paid," Kayleth said. "If I was kept away from Alice for no reason, I'll kill you."
Hector flinched, knowing what terrible retribution awaited him beyond the fast-approaching doors. Unlike Kayleth, Matthew, and Oswin, Hector could come and go as he pleased. Unfortunately for him, that also meant being bullied by Alice, who also bullied Florina into scolding him. Though she had grown visibly over the past few months, Alice was still young enough to get away with anything, and she was furious that her brother was practically imprisoned.
The doors were opened.
"Did we win?" Lyn asked, anxious for news.
"Likely. Not sure. Will learn more within the hour," Kayleth said while smothering Alice with a hug. "Under the circumstances, the most efficient move for us is to move as if the ruling has already been made in our favor. I suggest speeding up the wedding. Maybe we can start in half an hour? How is Florina?"
Lyn flinched, and that was enough for Kayleth. Florina was acting exactly as he had predicted. Unfortunately, that was the exactly wrong way to act.
For some reason, Hector flinched, too. Kayleth knew Hector had not met Florina that day and a variety of hypotheses came to mind. The most straightforward ones, given that both were also blushing, were that Hector and Lyn had an affair or Florina was pregnant. Given Lyn's strong beliefs in adhering to social mores and the deterrent of having to look after Alice all the time, Kayleth concluded that Florina was pregnant. Whether his theory was correct, obviously, could only be ascertained by questioning. There were many explanations for their behavior, and deductive reasoning that utilizes analysis of facial tics only took you so far.
Kayleth blocked Alice's ears and asked, "Is Florina pregnant?"
Hector gaped and Lyn gasped in surprise. Kayleth's associates often had the impression that Kayleth was a mind reader when he made correct guesses, never mind the occasions in which he was patently wrong such as not being able to guess Countess Reglay to be pregnant or figuring out Ninian to be a dragon.
"You should have told me this earlier, Hector," Kayleth noted. "It would cast doubt on your judgment, but for the time being we could have won the argument more easily."
Hector was about to answer when Kayleth noticed someone in a wedding dress running towards them. Kayleth wondered who she was, until he realized that it was what Florina looked like with heavy makeup.
"Florina?" Lyn said. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, don't tell me, they rejected me didn't they?" Florina said, tears ruining the makeup Kayleth was certain took the maids a long time to put on.
"Discipline," Kayleth hissed with the appropriately forceful intonation, his voice and Florina's ingrained obedience to obey him drilled into her over the course of the war against Nergal worked together to make her stop crying. "No. They have not and likely will not. Their seeing you cry, on the other hand, will only hurt your cause. Redo or erase your makeup immediately and go back to the cathedral. How far are you in your pregnancy?"
"She's pregnant?" Alice asked. Kayleth cursed his own idiocy, but thought she would still believe in the pile of horse shit Lady Louise had told her some months ago.
"Liar!" Kayleth snarled. "You forget who you're trying to lie to, and I know exactly what your size is. I had the armor tailored for everyone in our campaign! Unless you've been fed a diet of fat and sugar for six months, you cannot call that belly five weeks."
"T-two months!" Florina squeaked.
"Very good. Matthew, go inform the Lords of this development," Kayleth said, and Matthew moved to obey.
"… About our son," Hector began.
Kayleth raised an eyebrow, "Child, you mean. Child."
"It's definitely a son," Hector waved him off. "Florina and I want Lyn to be his Godmother."
"Or her!" Lyn noted indignantly.
"And you to be his Godfather."
Kayleth's eyebrows twitched. "Me? Or do you mean Oswin here?" He knew the answer, of course. Hector wouldn't hesitate if it were Oswin.
"I see. Why?"
"Because you're one of the most manipulative bastards I've ever seen in my life."
"I hardly see how that's a relevant concern in picking Godparents; in fact, shouldn't it be the other way around and pick, say, Eliwood? Why, by that logic Lyn would be one of the most manipulative," Kayleth paused to block Alice's ears. "Pardon me, bitch you've ever seen in your life. I really doubt that. You met Sonia, after all."
"Well," Hector said before he was punched in the stomach by Lyn; and with the way Lyn had been treating Hector, Kayleth couldn't say he blamed him.
"Y-you're both my choices," Florina blurted.
"Everyone, go away, now," Kayleth said.
"I want Florina to explain to me her rationale, and I want the answer as soon as possible. Your presence is making it hard for her to say the truth, and I am very curious. Lyn, go have the servants prepare for Florina's return, and take Alice; I'm sure you've realized by now that she has a gift for bossing around servants. Hector, suit up. Matthew, don't you have some work to do?"
"It's alright, Hector. I'll be back in a minute," Florina reassured him.
"If you say so," Hector said, and hurried away to get ready for his own wedding. He was soon surrounded by an army of servants and advisors suggesting this and that.
"I promise I'll be as non-threatening as I can be," Kayleth told Lyn. "After all, I'm so harmless without your sword. Or someone whom I can manipulate with some sort of a weapon."
"Lyn, I'm not a child anymore," Florina sighed. "I'll be Marchioness Ostia in a couple of hours. Unless y-you messed up in the committee badly?"
"Unlikely. But I suppose anything's possible. I did the best I could under the circumstances," Kayleth shrugged. "If the committee rejects you, we can appeal using your pregnancy. One way or another, you'll be Marchioness Ostia in about five hours. You've never been to a state wedding, have you? It takes a lot more time than your 'couple of hours' nonsense. All the more reason for Lyn and Alice to go over and have the servants be ready. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want ruined makeup for five hours; it's unseemly."
"It's mortifying, unacceptable, undignified," Alice nodded in acquiescence. "To the cathedral, Lyn."
"Alright… come back soon, Florina," Lyn said.
Kayleth waited for Lyn to be an acceptable distance away before talking to Florina. "Florina, Florina, Florina… of all the things I thought of you the first time I saw you, Marchioness Ostia material was not one of them."
"I thought you promised to be as encouraging as you can be," Florina raised an eyebrow.
"I provide practical solutions as encouragement, not empty words promising that the sun will always rise; the sun always did rise, but that is no logic to say the sun will always and forever rise. We humans are constrained by time. The sun is not," Kayleth could see Florina getting bored. "But I digress. Now, for encouragement, find a few people you can rely on. I'd say Matthew, Oswin, and Serra are good starting points. Support Hector's policies no matter what they are. Do not flaunt your Ilian heritage; enough people are angry about it as it is. I don't think they'll begrudge you keeping your Pegasus, though. What can I say? People like pretty things."
"I didn't send the others away so you can lecture me," Florina said.
"But I will. You must have known that. You're not an idiot. Lack education, as the nobles in the committee were quick to point out," Kayleth conceded. "But lack of education does not equate to unintelligence. Whether you agree or not, you're mine. I defend what is mine."
Florina sighed in relief. "That is why I want you to be my child's Godfather."
"Pardon? Because you're mine?" Kayleth frowned. That was a decidedly twisted logic in selection of Godparents.
"No, not that," Florina rolled her eyes. Kayleth was impressed. She had never dared contradict him or roll her eyes at him before. She used to stutter more, too. "Because you defend what is yours. No matter the cost."
"If you don't believe in Hector's ability to protect your children, Florina, I'd say you made a grave error in both marrying him and getting pregnant with his child."
"Oh, I believe in Hector, don't worry about t-that," Florina frowned. "But Hector told me about Armads."
"Still, my child will be Marquess or Marchioness Ostia some day," Florina said. "And that will be when Hector is dies on a battlefield."
"I'm fairly certain my life expectancy is lower than that of Marquess Ostia," Kayleth said, skeptic.
"No. I think you'll survive us all," Florina stated with more confidence.
"You realize war is my profession? I will one day wage war against the King of Bern. I will one day try to kill my mother and father. Trust me when I say the odds are not in the favor of my success."
"Maybe not, but you are who you are, Kayleth."
"Meaning? You'd best explain quickly. You might be late for your wedding."
"I'm not going until you accept being my child's Godfather."
"Whatever makes you think I will? Certainly I might just to please Lyn. You'd be better off convincing Lyn to pressure me into it first, but I suspect you already knew that."
"Just hear me out without interrupting for a minute!" Florina hissed.
"As you wish, Dame Florina," Kayleth reminded her that she was not Marchioness Ostia yet and in no position to give him orders.
"As I was saying," Florina took in a deep breath to bring her emotions back under control. "I think I've gotten to know you quite well."
"You were one of the longest-serving in the army, yes," Kayleth conceded.
"I know you rigged the fights in the arenas. I know you held out from moving to defend the civilians at Badon. I know what you did to some of the higher-ups of the B-Black Fang after the battle. I know you sent almost twenty Ilian mercenaries to their deaths on Dread Isle."
"Get to your point. Now I'm really getting worried you'll be late for the wedding, and it's not even my wedding."
"When the odds aren't in your favor, Kayleth, you stack the odds. You leave as little as possible to chance. You do whatever is necessary for your goals. You say you're not afraid of death, but I know you fear death because death might mean failure to achieve your goals. One of your goals is to defend you and yours. As you said, Kayleth, I'm not an idiot. I know you'll survive anything, and I know that as long as you live you will protect what is yours and that you will do whatever is necessary to do so. That is why I want my child to be your Godchild."
Kayleth was more than a little annoyed at how uncomfortably close Florina's words were to the truth. He knew Florina was not an idiot but he did not know she was surprisingly observant. She only missed in one detail, but that hardly mattered in the discussion at hand.
"If I refuse?"
"Oh, I know you well enough to know that you'll want me as an ally in the Ostian court. I also know you won't disappoint Lyn or Alice if you can help it," Florina smiled.
"You look awfully smug. It doesn't become of you," Kayleth snapped, using his most authoritative command voice. Florina's smile was gone before she even realized it. "If you must know, I would have accepted anyways and not because of those reasons."
"You would have?" Florina blinked.
"When I first saw you, you were surrounded by bandits. I intended to ignore you and get moving to Caelin. I admit that it would have counted among the most idiotic decisions I've ever made in my life. Never has a soldier exceeded my expectations as thoroughly as you did, and I have a remarkable nose for sniffing out talent. I would have agreed out of apology for my idiocy," Kayleth sniffed. "I don't tolerate incompetence in my subordinates. I punish myself actively for incompetence."
"I-I don't need to be complimented anymore, Kayleth. The war's over, remember?"
"So you caught on to that, too?" Kayleth smirked. "Well, I had to do something to build your confidence. That's why I complimented you at least once a day. I ordered Fiora to do the same; although I think she would've done so anyways. I paid Farina to do the same; although it cost me surprisingly little. You really are unexpectedly observant. Should have figured you just don't talk much. My apologies."
"I'll take that apology in your becoming my child's Godfather."
"I'll apologize in that form. By my ancestors' blood, I swear to you that your child's enemies will be my enemies, and that I will to the best of my abilities endeavor to destroy them. Now let's get going. Wouldn't want the nobles to think you're unpunctual as well as uneducated."
Kayleth amused himself by thinking what his more conservative kin would think about his wedding a half-Sacaen.
Lyn could simply challenge them and kill them, ending their arguments against him. The only one he didn't favor Lyn's chances against was his father.
He was clad in a garishly decorated white ceremonial uniform befitting his military background. It was also what Marquess Hausen had worn when he was married. They had to tailor it a bit to fit his more wiry and lithe form, but the height seemed to be about right.
The tactician kept his crimson cloak, though. Whether there would be an assassination attempt or not, one could never tell with a noble's wedding. He had spent most of the last three days arranging security measures. All of the classics, poisoned wine, hidden weapons in the musicians' instruments, cupbearer assassins, etc, were considered. Gifts were being opened and checked for poison or poisonous creatures right now.
Though Kayleth killed the more ambitious of Caelin's nobles two years ago, right after restoring Marquess Hausen to power, there were those who believed that his line had been weakened and unworthy to lead a canton. Kayleth had no problem with that. Those amateurs who would be so foolish as to actually do something based on that belief, and especially the incompetent amateurs who would be foolish as to be caught, would be slaughtered.
Survival of the fittest was a game that Kayleth and his kind wrote the rules for. He welcomed all challengers.
Sain entered the room.
"All clear?" Kayleth asked,
"No problems, and it seems like you invited everyone but the city watch and the knights in the canton!"
"I knew you'd appreciate the wider selection and lower competition," Kayleth chuckled, relieved that so far the day was going as planned. "This is Caelin's chance to prove to her people and the world that she is back. A traitor and a mad foreign invader, and we were still able to rebuild, more prosperous than ever. Nothing will go wrong today."
"Yes, my Lord."
"Pity…" Alice mumbled as Sain left the room, having woken up from her nap and quite irritable. "Can Elaine eat him instead?"
"Wyverns don't eat humans anymore, Alice. It's been bred out of them," Kayleth motioned two of the maids to dress her.
"Come back in ten minutes, leave," Alice said.
The maids glanced back and forth.
"Come back in ten minutes," Kayleth shrugged, and the maids left. "Now... what is the matter with you?"
"Nothing," Alice crossed her arms and put on her second saddest pout. Kayleth wondered if she was aware of the psychological damage output of that maneuver. Still, there was something wrong with her.
Though he was not his father, Kayleth had resolved to never commit the crime of raising weak children.
"You always put on that expression when you're miffed, Alice. Didn't I tell you to practice smiling?" Kayleth grinned, "One of the greatest weapons a woman can wield is her face. Besides, sadness doesn't become of you."
"More than two decades, and you still know nothing of reading a child's heart," Pascal, Kayleth's hallucination of his uncle, said while shaking his head in the infuriatingly patronizing way he had used when Kayleth was a child.
"Do you love me?"
"Of course!" Kayleth replied, unsure of the flow of this conversation. What his hallucination said meant he knew, but he couldn't quite put a finger on it.
"Isn't marriage supposed to be with the person you love the most?"
Kayleth snorted, and chuckled, thinking "Of all the most childish, trivial, and petty-"
"Yes, childish," Pascal stressed.
Alice did not take kindly to his dismissal and kicked his shin. It should have done nothing, but the blasted shoes had metal studs meant to raise Alice's height. Kayleth yelped as he jumped out of range.
"Err... how should I explain this... no, I'm not becoming father."
Kayleth was relieved by Alice's expression, which suggested he might've hit the mark.
"Huh. I'm not an idiot," Kayleth muttered to himself, cautiously patting Alice's head and watching out for her shoes, hands, knees, and teeth. "Listen, my love for you and Lyn are completely different things. Lyn is a partner, my closest accomplice. You are my only sibling, one that I robbed of parents at that, and my duties to you are much more complex. If you want anything, ask and it shall be given."
Kayleth and Lyn were lounging on their bed, exhausted from the wedding ceremony earlier, and finally having escaped the clutches of their friends, subjects, and guests.
"Kayleth… I've decided. I'm going back to Sacae after grandfather passes away," Lyn declared.
"As you wish… where in Sacae and what are you going to do?" Kayleth replied, they both knew for quite a while that Lycia was no place for Lyn, and Kayleth would go wherever Lyn goes.
"I'm thinking of joining the Borjigin… the tribe is usually close enough to the Lycian border that we could visit friends in Lycia whenever we want!" Lyn beamed, quite satisfied that she came up with an ingenious solution to easily visit Florina and Caelin.
"Excellent choice… if I remember correctly, they live quite close to Bulgar, too. But I meant a job, Lyn," quirking his eyebrow, Kayleth continued, "not that I have anything against you taking care of domestic duties, of course, but forgive me, I find it hard to picture that."
Lyn frowned, for she had not thought that far ahead; that was Kayleth's job. "I'm not sure. Now that I think about it, Kayleth, you did me a great disservice! You're the one who's supposed to plan ahead, I have trouble doing it myself!" Lyn growled and jabbed at his side playfully, "What are you planning to do?"
Kayleth replied without hesitation, "I'm going to open an inn in Bulgar!"
Lyn was startled, and blurted, "An inn? You're joking, right?"
"Deadly serious," Kayleth grinned, "it's about half an hour's ride as the wyvern flies to and from Bulgar and the Borjigin, according to the latest reports of the Bernese army at any rate. They are, after all, the tribe assigned to protect it."
"What are you going to name the inn?" Lyn asked, curious whether Kayleth thought this through or drummed it up when she told him that they were going to live in Sacae.
Kayleth was flustered, and said jokingly, "I don't rightly know, Lyn… how about Sacaen Princess and Company?" seeing Lyn glare, he hastily covered, "Err… no, huh? I was just kidding anyways hehehe…. How about Highwind Accommodations? Never mind, that's a mouthful…. Revenant Wings maybe, we'll have Elaine come in and serve as a table or something. Dragonfang, maybe?" assailed by a vision of the dragon, and his troops suffering from severe burns, Kayleth grunted, "Nah… too many nightmares involved.
Lyn, exasperated, suggested, "How about… Seventh Heaven?"
Kayleth was impressed, and pecked Lyn on the cheek before saying, "A great idea, Lyn! Sounds like an excellent name for a fine establishment! Of course, if you're not going to have a job, Lyn… you're welcome to the bartender position!" Kayleth said cheerily.
Appalled, Lyn did not even realize that her fist swung at Kayleth's head like a hammer. Though there was not much force behind the blow, Kayleth yelped in surprise and Lyn, flustered, asked, "Oops, I'm sorry Kayleth. Are you alright? Did it hurt?"
Rubbing his head, Kayleth answered, "Oh, I'm glad this is our wedding night, Lyn, because otherwise you might have used a sword," Lyn looked away sheepishly. Kayleth let her take a moment to recompose herself, and said, "Ow… anyhow, it was just a suggestion, Lyn. No need for such hasty misinterpretation. I'll be the bartender, in any case."
Lyn looked at Kayleth's face, now deep in thinking, and prodded gently, "There are… real reasons behind running this inn, isn't there, Kayleth?"
Kayleth hesitated, before replying, "On a more serious note, Lyn, yes. I apologize but I have to help out Prince Zephiel's cause in whatever way I can. We'll use pseudonyms, of course. There is a certain need to earn decent amounts of gold, hire enforcers just in case, and gather intelligence; inns with bars are excellent sources of information. We would also accommodate old campaigners if they need a safehouse or just shelter for the night. Bartre, Karla, Heath, and Legault told me they'll stick around with me for a while. Being in Bulgar, the inn would be a useful base of operational headquarters if you will-of pro-Zephiel forces in Sacae. God knows I've received more than enough payment from Hector for my services."
Seeing that Kayleth was eyeing her questioningly, Lyn realized what was in his mind, and said, "I fought a dragon, Kayleth. Surely you don't think a King of Bern scares me? As you've supported me, I support you. Till death do us part."
Kayleth let out a sigh of relief, clutching at his heart, and said, "I love you, Lyn. Even in death, my soul is sworn to yours."
"And I, you," Lyn replied, leaning in to rest her head on her husband's chest.
Kayleth buried his face in Lyn's hair, and whispered, "Thank you, my peerless warrior."
"You're welcome, my master tactician."
Thank you, my readers, for bearing with me. When I started Debt of Honor, May 2011, I wasn't entirely certain whether I'd be tenacious enough to finish this or not. So I wrote the epilogue first. I think Debt of Honor is a worthy tribute to my friend, Sam, who introduced me to Fire Emblem.
Yes, Seventh Heaven, for those of you who do not know, is the name of the bar in Final Fantasy VII.
My next story, which you're all welcome to check out, is called Oedipus Rex. One will understand why. Anyhow, it's a major deviation from Fire Emblem canon that bridges FE6 and FE7.
This is set nine years after the death of Nergal and the closing of Dragon's Gate. Yes, it is just about a year before Lilina shows Roy her pony in FE7's ending, assuming that Florina and Lilina got pregnant almost immediately after the final battle at Dragon's Gate and the return to their respective new homes. Kayleth and Lyn leave their children with their adoptive tribe, the Borjigin, as the winds of war sweep them up again. Kayleth and Lyn are running an inn, Seventh Heaven, when they hear that Prince Zephiel has finally gathered a sufficient number of warriors to his banner. Alice, Kayleth's younger sister, is now a full Wyvern Knight and has sworn allegiance to Zephiel's cause. Kayleth is reluctant at first, but Alice is adamant about joining the war. Kayleth is bound for war once again as chief strategos for a revolutionary army led by former Wyvern General Vaida and the junior Wyvern General Murdock.
King Desmond prepares to defend his throne, with hordes of peasant conscripts, his personal troops, hidebound Codiciers of the Bernese Military Academy, and the Loyalist nobles. At the head of his army stands Calgar, Duke of Hamor, one of the three Wyvern Generals of Bern, and father to both Alice and Kayleth.
While fulfilling his duties as lead field commander for Prince Zephiel, Kayleth must also lead his small group of elite troops to strike where it hurts the King most... so that the Civil War does not consume too many lives.
Some OCs augment a respectable returning cast from FE7, with the least number of deviations from FE7-FE6 continuum as possible (i.e. Karla is dead, so is Florina and Ninian. That's really sad…. Hector and Florina make my favorite pair in Fire Emblem….). FE6 canon will be adhered to, and IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED OR READ FIRE EMBLEM SIX, SWORD OF SEALS, SPOILER ALERT- yes, Zephiel wins, and becomes King. Luckily, how that happens isn't clear (though how the King dies is revealed). Approximately 11 chapters. Rated T. Third Person. Alice and Kayleth's point of view.