(1866-07-23) A Favor Owed, A Traitor Found
A Favor Owed, A Traitor Found
Summary: The Viscountess and Viscount of t'Corbeau bring vital information to Elrick, helping him paint the missing half of the picture of the Hartswood uprisings.
Date: 07-23-1866
Related: All the Hartswood logs thus far.
Talia  Dominic  Elrick  

Stag Keep
See scene…
Juillet 23rd, 1866

It has been an exhausting and long couple of days for Elrick and it appears that they will be longer still. When Elrick received Talia's letter by a runner, he was in Tall Tree with Sir Michael and his Father, dealing with the uprising of peasants. A very unpleasant and ugly task as the enemy is not exactly clear, unlike the war against the barbarians. With Viscountess of House t'Corbeau making a personal visit though, his presence was required, despite the limited amount of time he has. One makes time when another Head of House visits, especially when the visitor has a purpose.

But the heir to House t'Tremaine was not without manners, and the servants of the House knows their duty to ensure that Talia and Dominic are enjoying their stay. Instead of just walking in on the visitors upon arrival, Elrick actually took a side entrance so that he was able to have the servants draw a quick bath for him and lay out a change of clothes, of a more formal attire instead of the protective leathers he has been riding in.

Once Elrick was much more presentable, the bath helping ease the tension that was winding up within him and making him look less worn out, he enters the main room where his visitors are waiting. "Your Excellency! Sir!" Greeting first Talia and then Dominic, "I must apologize for my tardiness, when I received word of your impending visit, I was not here in Stag Keep. I trust that all of your needs were seen to?"

For her part, Talia is decidedly relaxed. Comfortable, even. She had languished long in her own bath, and knowing that Elrick might take some time himself, had indulged and taken her own time in enjoying the comforts of Stag Keep. She rises, smoothly, her deep red, maroon almost, skirts shifting about herself as she does so, inclining her head and smiling sharply. "Lord Sir Elrick. No apologies necessary. I am well aware that there is often business of necessity that draws one's attention away."

Untroubled, the woman inclines her head, "I do not believe you've chance to meet my husband beyond chance opportunity? Viscount Sir Dominic t'Corbeau. And certainly. Your servants are quite splendid, and we've had all needs attended to. Thank you."

The Viscount had enjoyed his stay as well though had mostly taken in the sights of the room and been ply'd with food and a little drink. Dominic will move to stand at near the same time as his wife as the door opens and the one they'd come to speak to enters. "It is a pleasure, to meet you Lord Elrick. I saw you compete a little at the tournament quite impressive." he will comment though he also simply nods in agreement to the services provided while they waited.

As Elrick nears both Talia and Dominic, he bows his head respectfully as well, more so to the former than the latter though the difference is marginal. "Business indeed, Viscountess. It is a shame that I would not be able to play the proper host on your first visit here to my home, it is quite a beautiful place. But as you mentioned, it was business and duty that called me back."

When Talia makes introductions to her husband though, the t'Tremaine heir bows his head once more, in the formal respectful manner that had been taught to him in his youth, formalities and all. "Not a formal meeting, I don't believe we had that chance, I'm afraid. But I know he was in Rovilon, as we all were. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance as well, Viscount. And thank you for your kind words, though I will say that the results were a bit… disappointing. History usually remembers the victors, not the ones who came close or performed well."

Before he settles down to the business of the meeting though, Elrick does ensure that he plays the proper host as he inquires, "Some wine perhaps while we speak?" He certainly could use a drink himself, as he motions for one of the servants to pour them a cup. The heir then motions towards the comfortable seats again, "Please, make yourselves comfortable. Viscountess, from your letter, you mentioned a matter of urgency? I am most appreciative that you would visit me personally with such an issue."

"It is not something," Talia says quietly, moving to sit as Elrick gestures towards the chair, "That I felt ought be communicated and risked by messenger, or bird. There are -," she pauses here, as if considering her words, "Means to intercepting such. And that would not do, Lord." She smoothes her skirts carefully, almost purposefully as if to draw out this particular exchange. To build tension.

She then plays it out, consenting, "Wine would be most appreciated. Red, if you please." Talia tips her head to Dominic, to see if the man has aught else to say to his fellow Knight, or indeed to what drink the man might desire. She ventures, almost absently however, "History remembers the victors, certainly. But it also remembers other things, if one knows how to look, Lord." There's almost a pleased, proud smile at these words.

Dominic listens to the other knight but gives a shrug "I have been bested in tournaments before, though still one can make a name for themselves and I learned much from those times." He says his words light though he looks back to Talia and nods in agreement. "It certainly would not do at all." he says for punctuation though he appears on the outside to be distracted from his continued thought and will nod "Oh yes please wine would be most enjoyable." he says for himself.

After hearing Talia's request, the t'Tremaine servant quickly busies herself and begins pouring the drinks, at least the first round of requests before handing a glass to Talia, then Dominic, and finally the heir himself. With a nod of approval, Elrick makes a quick motion to dismiss the servant entirely, especially upon hearing how delicate in nature the information may be. He trusts his servants of course, but he is at least wise enough to know that the less people to hear about something, the less likely it is to spread. Plus, he is more than capable of pouring more cups of wine.

"I understand, Excellency, the same when in a war. Messengers and birds can be intercepted, especially if one has been observing their routes." Elrick says with a nod of his head, the glass of wine held in his hand for now as his attention is fully focused on their discussion now. "Since it is that sensitive in nature… and you are bringing it to me personally, it is safe to assume that it involves my House?" Either her message involves this current uprising or his Lord Father had made another blunder that he will have to see to when this current issue is put down.

"Quite astute, Lord Sir," Talia offers with an appreciative smile to Elrick's deductive reasoning skills. Without stating the specific reasons to her choice, she ventures, "I thought it best to bring it to your attention, promptly." The words, perhaps, chosen very carefully - purposefully. Or, not? It's hard to say. She could be referencing Elrick's House entire, or him, specifically. She does not further elaborate, or clarify this particular matter. Instead, she lifts the glass of wine to her lips. "You've corruption in your midst. A festering wound, if not excised, shall continue to grow and create further problems." This is stated with perfect confidence, utter certainty.

Talia's eyes shift to consider Dominic, "My husband is far more aware of the cruelty of war than I. My House performs another function for the safety of our realm." Her smile, then, is secretive; though it is no secret her House, and she, oversees the training of l'Sainger's deadly Wraiths. "And he urged me that this news ought not wait until your little - skirmish was settled." A meaningful look is given to Dominic.

"Hm, yes a matter of house and lands couldnt wait." The Viscount says when Talias speaks he will take a drink while she is though he perhaps isnt prepared to have it tossed back to him. "It is indeed so, we have discovered a business man who is underminding the very laws that holds order within the cities, in league with bandits Lord, and with an understanding from some of the guard.. to look the other way. It would be too easy for this to be seen upon by your foes as a boon they should exploit." Dominic says taking another drink though he falls short of any particular course of action for the moment at least.

When Talia mentions corruption, Elrick's expression stiffens but not in a way of being surprised like he is hearing it for the first time, but perhaps from hearing it through another party that, to his knowledge, was not involved in his House's affairs. Instead of giving an immediate protest that his father's men are loyal as is his, the young heir delays any answer by bringing the glass of wine to his lips and taking a slow, but long sip. Most likely a favored move when he wants to buy himself time, using alcohol as an excuse.

Finally, after pulling the ornate glass from his lips, Elrick says without much emotion, or commitment, "You would be correct that corruption can be like a wound, and one who is afflicted would indeed be wise to see to it sooner rather than later." At the mention of Dominic's urging though, the t'Tremaine heir glances to the Viscount, inclining his head, "I appreciate your suggestion, Viscount, as you know, in war, information is vital, especially before one goes into battle. Could mean the difference of victory or crushing defeat."

When Dominic begins to explain what they have found, Elrick's brow furrows ever so slightly, the only sign that he is most likely troubled by the news. There were no interuptions with questions or clarifications, the young heir absently sipping from his wine from time to time. When the Viscount is done though, Elrick breaks his own silence, "To have some of our guards fall prey greed, is certainly troubling, and must be dealt with. It may benefit a man looking to make some extra coin this time, but in the future, it could be an open gate for our enemies." There is a slight pause before he continues, "But you mentioned bandits and possibly a… noble that is directing them?"

"You misunderstand me, Lord," Talia says with a quiet, and conversational - if not firm tone. "It is not suggestion. It is the straight-line computation of facts." She holds her hand out to Dominic, inclining her head. A signal, for her husband they'd agreed on before for him to present Elrick with a sealed envelope.

"You will find, within the envelope, an address to a warehouse in Pattica, Lord Elrick. There was a recent murder, in Hartswood, was there not? Father Eustace. You will find his belongings gathered there, purchased by someone I trust implicitly."

Talia measures Elrick with her eyes, steadfastly. "I would not come to you with mere - suggestion, Lord. These items were purchased from one Tommard. A man associated with the brigands who committed the murder. And moreover, are likely plauging you at present. His wish to - unload the items was quite pressing, and allowed him to err. The items are yours to take back, by proxy or trusted servant."

Talia takes a sip of wine, then, pausing, and offering, "Tommard's protected, he believes, due to the fact he's a relation as the Captain of the Guard of Hart's Home Watch, and his own brother is a judge therein. He thinks himself immune, thus, from accusation - lending toward the inevitable conclusion that if not wholly corrupt, such men and such relations are willing to foresake law and duty for family. Tommard works directly with, if not for, the brigands. An associate. And some of them are in his employ; two men, Cas, and Ben, at the very least will be your further conduits to other names of the brigands. And likely locations."

There is a pause, and she surmizes, "And now you see why I did not wish to trust these items to a missive, Lord."

Now hard evidence is something that Elrick was not expecting, information by word was at best one could hope for but what Talia revealed has shocked him speechless. Accepting the envelope, the heir does not open it yet as the address in Pattica would have no meaning, at least just by a glance as he is not too familiar with that place except for tourneys. "Forgive me if I've offended, Viscountess, I did not mean to doubt the information you bring me. I just did not expect… such precise and detailed information. What you've provided was not just a missing piece of the puzzle, but more like half of the entire picture."

Now, Elrick taps at the lip of his wine glass as tries to figure out the best way to bring the information here, for his Father before more peasants are slain, "You have done so much for me and my House, Your Excellency, but I am afraid I may need to ask another favor. Sadly, I do not have… trusted servants that is near Pattica, so I must find another way to bring what has been purchased to Hartswood in haste." As for the brigands, he will speak upon that once this initial hurdle is solved.

"It was not my intention to interfere with your business. Let us say only that I was - interested and wished to discern the truth of the murder of Father Eustace, given our countries recent history. Either a deplorable person needed to be gutted and strung for killing a man of the cloth - or, they were rooting out someone loyal to the traitor." By traitor, she can only mean one man. And the fact she will not speak his name can only mean -that- man. "I uncovered more than I thought I might. Thus I turn it over to you, that you may dispense what justice and means you see fit. That, certainly, is not my purview, Lord."

There is a small frown, not one of displeasure, merely of thought. She nods, then. "I will arrange for transport of the goods, then, and bill you appropriately. It will be done discreetly as I do not wish attention drawn to the men who uncovered this for me that are in my employ."

That Talia had the same concerns helped assuaged Elrick's fear that he was being too paranoid when he was afraid that this uprising was due to an outside influence, trying to throw his House into turmoil so they could be preyed upon. "I am, as is my House, is most grateful for what you have discovered, Your Excellency. Your assistance will not be forgotten." Most likely a diplomatic way and noble speak for 'I owe you a big one'. "Rest assured, I will see justice be delivered and will root out this plague of corruption, no matter how deep it goes." Rising to his feet, Elrick takes the wine decanter, raising it slightly towards Talia to see if she wishes for more, "Please do bill us for the transportation and security costs, as well as the… sum that you paid to purchase said items. I will let the guards know that I am awaiting a shipment… a shipment that is to cure a sickness, they will not trouble the delivery." Which means the men who are in her employ will not be placed under scrutiny.

Talia simply nods her understanding, well aware that Elrick certainly owes her and having played the game long enough, and having enough discretion and courtesy to not even draw attention to the fact beyond the acceptance of his words. "Certainly. Now, I know you are busy, and are in need of rest. You have much to do. I think my husband and I shall tour the city, take in the market, and leave in the morning. Your House's hospitality is most welcome. I wish you well in these endeavors, and may they bear fruit for you." She offers the man a smile, tipping her head.

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