Norshelm, Old District

Scented candles lit up the hall decored thickly with exquisitely patterned drapes. Pillows and cushions laid scattered all around, where couples of all sexes mingled and enjoyed themselves with drinks, food, and exotic drugs.

A marble reclining chair was perched on the far end where a female with both stunning looks and figure lounged lazily like a cat, with several hulking males fawning over her. She moaned seductively in pleasure as they massaged her body, while one even licked her toes.

"My most beautiful Queen!" A balding man dressed as a merchant suddenly appeared and he hurried down the richly carpeted floor, ignoring the orgy all around him as his face bore an expression of worry and unease.

"What seems to be the problem?" The woman on the lounge chair replied lazily, taking a bite of a fruit offered by one of her admirers.

"My Queen!" The merchant bowed before the woman and kissed her outstretched feet. "I bear the news that the Rothschild's Brothers were... taken away from House Taron!"

"Hahaha," Her laughter sent tingles of pleasure down the spine of the merchant and the surrounding people, their face expression smiling with rapture. "Who has such guts to such a thing?"

"It is the young Rothschild miss!" The merchant eyed his mistress with lustful eyes. "They attacked both the Tarons and Deflins' businesses in one night!"

"She is daring," The woman brushed off the attentions of her male admirers as she sat up straight and crossed her legs. "And where has she taken them?"

"They should be taken into the Rothschild Estate," The merchant replied. "And both the Tarons and Deflins are planning to retaliate for the attacks!"

"Hmmm..." The sultry woman pouted her lips in thought, "Let's add some spice to the mix should we? I still have not to vent off all my... unhappiness from that unfortunate incident with one of my avatars!"

"Yes, my Queen!" The merchant's smile widened as he tried to peek up under the ivory white dress as she uncrossed and crossed her long shapely legs.

"Go and have fun, my children! Enjoy... life!"


Rothschild Estate, Dungeons

Titanna carefully made her way down the stone stairs deeper into the dungeon with the aid of a glow lamp. As she reached the bottom, two guards on duty saluted her and unlocked the iron gates.

She followed the guards and they brought her to a solid thick iron bound wooden door and into a cell. She eyed the shivering body hurdled at one corner of the cell and waited till one of the guards placed a chair for her to be seated.

After sitting down did she gestured to the guard who rapped the cell bars separating her and the prisoner with his sword, waking the prisoner up.

"What?" The prisoner slowly came to his feet and shaded his eyes from the brightness of the glow lamp. He cautiously walked forward and his eyes slowly adjusted to the light and he saw who was sitting before him and he cursed madly. "YOU BITCH! THE GODS SHALL STRIKE YOU DOWN!"

Titanna shook her head sadly at the outburst of the prisoner, "Is this how you greet your sister after not seeing her for a few months, Brother Alberto."

"You are not even of pure blood!" Alberto hissed from behind the bars. "I don't know what you did with Father and how you killed him! But I will never give up the fight with you!"

Titanna sighed at the outburst of Alberto, "Others are making sure of you, yet you are too blinded by the lust for power and greed to see it! If I hand over the reins of House Rothschild to you, you and Mallot both would have destroyed everything Father had built!"

"Enough of your words!" Alberto tried to shake the cell bars but they hardly bugled. "RELEASE ME!"

"No," Titanna shook her head. "It is... safer for you down here. Now tell me who else is with you in this stupid scheme of yours?"

Alberto gave a sneer, "There are forces backing me that you could never dream of! Even the Tarons and Deflins are just small time players!"

Titanna frowned at the confidence of his words, "So you meant there is someone else behind you?"

"HAhahahaha!" Alberto gave off a sinister laugh. "Behind me? Hahahahaha! No no! She is my Queen! My mistress! My love! My desires!"

"She will grant me all my wishes and desires!" Alberto giggled and sat down on the cot. "You shall feel her wraith soon!"

"Who is she?" Titanna stood up and glared at Alberto. "Did she cause the Houses to turn on us?"

"No..." Alberto smiled. "She... set us free! To pursuit our desires! Hahahaha! She will come and set us all free!"

Titanna stepped away from the cell, shivering slightly and feeling uncomfortable at sight of her brother's eerie smile. She exited from the cold damp dungeon and felt better as the warmth from the sun, bathed over her body.

"My Lady!" A soldier with a messager slash came up to her. "The city council begs your presence at once at the Citadel! They have matters of importance that require your presence!"

She nodded and turned to one of her aides, "Prepare my carriage, it's time for me to return to the Citadel after being absent for so long!"

It took her almost a turn of the glass before her carriage finally stopped at the gates of the Citadel where ministers and clerks working under the City Council governor the city and the Southern Trerroties.

The Citadel was busy as usual, the five story tall stone structure set in the middle of the city, with its own walls, barracks, and armory. It overlooked the city with its towering steep angled roofs and spires.

As she made her way towards the Inner Sanctum, people bowed as she strolled back, and they were startled that she has suddenly returned. Word soon spread and many people came to take a look at her as they discussed all gossips and rumors that had been floating around for something.

Her guards paused and joined the Citadel guards at the entrance of the Inner Sanctum as they are not allowed in. She entered the towering double doors and found the entire City Council members seated around the circular tiered hall.

All conversation died when she appeared at the entrance and she walked down the steps and took her seat at the head of the table as was her right. Everyone stood up and bowed as she appeared and only sat down after she did.

"What is the issue that demands my presence?" Titanna asked immediately.

"Ahem..." Lord Taron stood and said, "My Lady, as you know, there have been several... acts of... random destruction and theft in the city just the night before."

"And we have positive evidence that Knight Captain Judis of the Silver Knights were involved!" Lord Deflin stood up and declared. "We demand that you put him under arrest to answer for his crimes!"

Cries and yells supporting the demand made by Lord Deflin came from the other tiered ministers as they cast their support to arrest the Knight.

Titanna's raised an eyebrow and said. "Positive evidence, my Lords? You meant that the letter I authorized him to act on my behalf was fake?"

Both Lords looked at each other and gave a small smile before Lord Taron said, "If that is the case, why has my Lady targeted those business and caused such a huge disturbance to the city? What has those merchants done that deserve such wanton destruction of their property?"

"What are those orders to have dozens of men and women dragged out of their homes and arrested?" Lord Taron asked.

"Those men and women broke their oath and accepted bribes!" Lady Titanna stood up and stated. "Everyone of you has taken an oath! You all swore an oath to be loyal and serve the Emperor! They have broken that oath!"

"If that is the case, then why is my Lady unpunished?" Lord Deflin stood up and said. "You had lost the battle with those barbarians and failed to recapture Orwell's Point, making us and the merchants lose thousands of gold crowns every week!"

"Thousands of men were killed, and who shall answer to their families?" Lord Deflin said passionately. "How do you answer to the dead while you are still alive and well? How shall you answer to the Emperor for your failure?"

Titanna gave a small suppress growl from her throat and took a deep breath. "We lost the battle? Maybe if your House and Lord Taron had sent your troops and supplies down instead of hoarding them like a miser, we might have won the battle and retaken Orwell's Point! You should know how the Emperor treats cowards and backstabbers!"

Lord Deflin frowned and sat down, conceding to Titanna words while Lord Taron continued. "Even so, what about the destruction of property?"

"We have eyewitnesses who seen Knight Captain Judis pocketing wares before burning down the warehouses!" Lord Taron said with a statesman fervent. "If it was to carry out your orders to arrest those that had abused their powers, in this case, did Knight Captain Judis not abused his powers too?"

"Why must the properties be burnt down?" Lord Taron turned and asked the council. "Shouldn't the arrest of its owners be sufficient?"

"Because of this incident, damages to the city came to a staggering 114,000 gold crowns in compensation and repairs!" Lord Taron said dramatically before throwing a sly look at Titanna. "My Lady, as City Governor, shouldn't it be your job to put the city's interest ahead of yourself? Why instead has the city and its citizens suffer for your own... personal vendetta?"

"Do I need to inform everyone of my actions?" Titanna stood up. "My authority comes from the Emperor! My word is his word! You dare question me?"

"We do not dare," Lord Taron bowed deeply in apology before he sat down, having achieved his goal as the other council members started to whisper among themselves. "I stand chastised."

Titanna eyed the tiers and frowned inwardly, knowing that those two old men were playing the council against her and she knew she had to appease them and clear their doubts. "The compensation will come from Rothschild's coffers. As for the matter that Knight Captain Judis stealing things, I will personally investigate this matter!"

"Ahem... My Lady," Lord Taron spoke again. "It might be wise, you might create the impression that you are biased to him... We should instead leave it to a specially formed party to investigate, after all, we don't want to tarnish the Knight Captain and your good name!"

Titanna glared at Lord Taron who smiled in triumphant as the council members all made agreeing mutters. "Fine! Then I want a committee of five council members to helm the investigation!"

Lord Taron smiled as he knew as long as he could find ways to influence the committee, Knight Captain Judis was doomed and that was as good as cutting off a hand of Titanna! Now, all they could to do was wait for the next part of their plans!

Just as he finished that thought, the doors to the Inner Sanctum opened and a messenger came in hurriedly. He bowed to the council before heading straight to Titanna and whispered into her ears. As she listened to the news, her facial expression changed and she stood up with a curse on her lips.

"I have urgent matters! This council meeting is adjoined!" Titanna declared and she quickly followed the messenger out. She glanced angrily at both Lord Taron and Lord Deflin who bowed with an innocence smile on their faces as she stormed out of the Inner Sanctum.

"Hahahahaa..." Lord Taron gave a low laugh as he stood next to Lord Deflin. "With her distracted now, we can easily destroy those who support her!"

"Yes, with this, the closing act to this facade will soon be over!"

A note from neo Koh

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