The smell of boiling soup had attracted a small fly into the newly quarried and built castle Blackthorn, the fly had taken its fill and now sat digesting on the wall of a room two two people within... voices were heard. “I really do not advise this course of action M’Lord.” Dupre looked into the eyes of the dark sullen man across the hearth. He knew his attempts to guide the man who was going to be the new sovereign would need to be subtle. “Honestly Dupre, you should have known better than to cast her aside in the first place. She could have been your greatest ally and this insurrection could have been easily thwarted.” “Her methods are…” Dupre scoffed. “And yours?” “That is not fair.” “Fair? You are a proud fool Dupre, a hero and a patriot to be sure, but a fool just the same.” Lord Blackthorn studied the proud paladin, wondering if he would perceive the insult as personal or sarcastic banter. “I am my own man.” “As am I.” Blackthorn stared coldly into Dupre’s eyes hoping he would get the point, the decision had been made. Lord Blackthorn knocked three times loudly on the table and the guard outside opened the door. “Show our Lady Amandine in.” Blackthorn directed. “She’s here now?!” Dupre stammered. As the guard saluted in obedience Lady Amandine brushed past him in an impolite flourish, she smelled of flowers and tall grasses which put the guard’s thoughts elsewhere. Dupre had turned his back and faced the fire, while Lord Blackthorn stood waiting with a smile and embraced her as a friend. “You two are going to have to kiss and make up.” Blackthorn stated without emotion. “M’Lord Blackthorn, it is good that you have come home. The people have rallied and begun to look toward hope and unity once more.” Lady Amandine said with a curtsy of respect and admiration. “I entrust that you have found the beds here tight and warm?” “Absolutely, I prefer the…” “She has been staying HERE?!” Dupre turned to face them with a look of being terribly offended. “Of course, I invited her. She had to have somewhere to stay, you stripped her of everything, and Ill not have a hero and a patriot… or a fool… sleeping in the street.” Blackthorn raised his eyebrow knowing that Dupre would grasp the threat as it was laid. “Lady Amandine, let us end this feud. The factions that have developed within your ranks are over and done with. I give you back your titles, lands, a full pardon and most of all your command over your knights… not that they ever followed anyone else.” Lord Blackthorn crossed his arms and for the first time finally felt as if he was stepping into this new role well. “Britannia needs all three of us, I see that now. It will be nice to be able to walk the streets in daylight again.” Both Lady Amandine and Lord Blackthorn looked to Dupre who stood by the fire. “I suppose this is where I kiss and make up?” Dupre looked stern. Lady Amandine licked her lips and pouted her lips slightly in sarcastic preparation. “I may have been, harsh…” Dupre looked to Blackthorn, “…and foolish.” “That is good enough Lord Dupre.” Danica stated with a nod of respect. “What will you do with your knights Lady Commander?” the soon to be crowned King crossed his arms. “Protect King and Country Your Majesty.” Amandine bowed her head to Lord Blackthorn with a curl of a smile on her lips and a slight tear in her eye. “I meant more in detail, there are many divisions and wounds which will require tending.” The two Lords both looked to her. “Promotions are due, and this is the season of new beginnings for us all.” Amandine nodded and knew she had much to think about. “I will take my leave M’Lords.” Lady Amandine turned to leave and stepped toward the door, but was caught on the shoulder by Lord Blackthorn’s left hand. “One moment Danica.” Blackthorn took two steps toward Dupre and unsheathed the Sword Caliburn from Dupre’s belt. “This sword is traditionally carried by the monarch of Britannia, as it was by my dear friend… but alas I am a middling swordsman. So for now, I ask that you carry it for me, knowing that when you wield it, it is for me and your sword is mine.” “M’Lord Blackthorn, didn’t you know? My sword, my knights, my blood, my body, my very life is yours…” Danica said with reverence before her own personal hero. “Was that a come on?” Dupre said sarcastically then returned his face to the fire when they both ignored him. Lord Blackthorn nodded to her and she stepped out of the room. “…” Dupre opened his mouth to talk but was instantly interrupted. “Dupre, on your way out send up Lord Wellings and Lord Raymond. We have matters to discuss.” Dupre obliged with an air of defeat and subservience. He closed the door softly as he left the room, pausing only to smash the fly with his gloved palm against the wall.