(1866-09-05) Intrigue, Politics, and Bastards
Intrigue, Politics, and Bastards
Summary: Tristan reports on some things to the Queen. He receives other news in return.
Date: 1866.09.05
Related: None
Alysande  Jaren  Tristan  

Alysande's Office

Tristan has been finishing up some of his preparations for his trip to Pacitta and the upcoming tournament. One of the things he wants to accomplish before he leaves is a meeting with his dearest of cousins, if only to go over several interesting details that might be looked into or used in some fashion in order to gain some advantage. Waiting until a perfect time in the early afternoon, Tristan makes his way to Alysande's office and then offers a nod to one of the Lancers on duty.

A whispered word and one of the knights slips into the office only to slip out several moments later, offering Tristan a nod. Smiling at the two, he enters the office and then offers up a bow as he closes the door behind him. Once the door has been shut, he stands up and props his cane up against the wall. "A good afternoon to you, cousin. I hope you are doing well. How go the preparations for the treaty negotiations?"

"Tristan," Alysande glances up from her desk… literally. She's seated on the desk, rather than the chair, and since Jaren is in the room as well, it seems Tristan might have been interrupting a discussion between the pair… though with permission, of course, given that the Lancer checked before sending him in.

"My draft is almost ready," she says with a light shrug. "And good afternoon, to you too…" her smile grows impish. "How goes your 'treaty negotiations' with your betrothed? I've heard some entertaining rumors."

"Your Highness." Jaren greets Tristan with a brief bow. Betrothal or not, at least with initial greetings he still insists on rendering proper courtesies for his true station, though there is a touch of a smile on his face and in his eyes when he makes the gesture. That turns to something more wry with a slight roll of his eyes at Alysande's impish teasing, though it's clear there's no true exasperation in it. He was previously seated in the chair, but has vacated it and moved a few steps away to allow Tristan its' use, should he choose, instead moving over to stand beside his bride-to-be, though for now, the oft-laconic Champion offers no further words, despite seeming about as relaxed as Tristan's ever seen him.

"My apologies if I have interrupted anything, and Tristan, please." He says the last to Jaren, as he takes a seat in the offered chair after shifting it so he can face them. Crossing one leg over another, he begins to thumb through some papers that he has brought along. "Oh, Elaida and I have been having some nice conversations, so I am curious what rumors you speak of? Is it the new wardrobe that I purchased for her? Well, she is trying her best to get used to such things. I am not sure that she ever expected to suddenly be thrust into the role of a Princess." A slight smile there. "Or are you speaking of the bard I hired the other night? She does love her tales, and I thought it would be a nice thing to do. As to other rumors?" A slight shrug and and his little smile grows a smidge. "She was not the first woman to come to my bed a virgin, but she will quite likely be the last."

"Oh, that reminds me, I shall have to offer her my own congratulations should I see her in Pacitta. Will she be going there to participate in the Archery competition?"

Alysande tilts her head, then "ohs!" realizing Tristan's train of thought. "You mean Jaren's sister." She looks to Jaren to answer that question, then shrugs. "And really, Tris, did you have to corrupt the girl so quickly? I feel almost bad about it, putting her in your sights: it was like leaving a plump, innocent hen out in the open for the fox to take." She gives Tristan a look that is exasperation mixed with amusement. "Just try and keep your activities in that regard discreet."

She drums her fingers on the desk beside her as she leans back on her hands. "I'm glad you'll be going to Pacitta. I don't have time— or truthfully, inclination… not until the treaty is closer to done. Which probably won't even be remotely an issue until well after the wedding. You'll be my ears for me." There's no question about that, of course. "And for Martyn. I'm sending him to be my formal representative. I'd send you, but then your hands would be tied and you wouldn't get to spend so much time carousing with Aidric and Symon." She gives him a pointed look— oh yes, she knows her dear cousin well.

"Truth be told I'm not certain as to Raelyn's plans in that regard. Though I may levy the suggestion that she and her own betrothed travel together and enjoy the journey. It might be good to let her see some of the preliminary negotiations, and Lord Stephen seems to have his head solidly on his shoulders where politics are concerned." Jaren replies to Tristan, "She does enjoy the competitions though, so I imagine she may well choose to go." There was another rueful expression for Tristan when he had more or less bragged about deflowering his betrothed, but honestly, he'd be far, far from the first fellow to do that. Oreventhefirstfellowinthisroom. *ahem*

"Glad to hear that you and Lady Elaida are finding each other agreeable, though." He chuckles, brows lifting in mild amusement now, "A fair bit of difference from the last time we briefly spoke on the matter."

"Corrupt her? I did nothing of the sort. I assure you that I have tried my best to treat her very well. I suppose things just worked out a little better than I thought." He gives Jaren a slight little smile. "Yes. Things are progressing well. I suspect she will want me to meet her parents in Pacitta, so that should be interesting." He shifts his attention at Alysande and nods. "Yes, well, Martyn is your heir, for the time being, so he does make a certain amount of sense. I worry that he may not be as flexible as he might need to be in these matters, but I trust other members of that delegation will be sending you daily briefings about those negotations."

He glances down at his papers and licks his lips. "Speaking of Symon and Aidric… or rather Symon. Is he going to Pacitta? I would like to see him and see what he thinks about any progress he may or may not be making in Normont." He glances back up, his eyes darting for a moment to Jaren. "In that respect, there are three points of interest regarding Symon and Normont that you may wish to be aware of. First, Symon wishes to marry Rhea out and prefers to marry her off before Tiadora. Understandable, but it might be an opportunity. I have heard whispers that House l'Faust is interested in a match with a Rivanan house. Names that I have heard murmured about are Rhea and Katerine Greycen. I think it might be preferable to have Rhea married out of the country. Ostensibly, it will be a way to forge another bond between Couviere and Rivana. In truth, getting her out of the country would be better for all of us, including Symon."

"Second. Word is about that Symon wishes to get Normont's gates working again. With permission, I can write to the Archbishop and see if she might know of a few people who could be tasked with helping out in this matter. Yes, I know why they were shut down, but right now those Gatewardens are mostly just sitting there and doing nothing."

"Finally, and this is something of a more personal note. I have thought about having Symon stand with me at my wedding when ever that manages to happen. I am sure Aidric will understand that it is no slight to him."

Alysande burbles a laugh. "Only a few short weeks ago you were angry with me for arranging your betrothal. Now you have a pair of pretty legs wrapped around you and you're all set to wed." She's teasing. Mostly. "Had I known it would have been that easy I'd have done this awhile ago."

She becomes serious, though. "This is why I keep you around," she says dryly. "Marry her out? I can see why he may want to, the girl is her mother's daughter— I worry she may set back peace on her own if she's sent away from home." Alsyande frowns. "Jaren, what do you think of the matter? I'd agree to that match if for nothing than the hope of bringing Normont into a more reasonable and enlightened way of thinking in my lifetime; but I would not want to do so at the expense of alienating a major trade house— particularly one with such a monopoly on Imperial goods."

"You're both probably better suited to answer that question than I am." Jaren notes, but that doesn't stop him from answering the question regardless, "To my mind, a marriage between l'Faust and House Greycen could bring about great economic benefit for both. By the same token, even if my personal leanings will likely ever be in favor of House Greycen, it'd be in our interests to help Symon succeed at the reforms he speaks of, and Rhea, whether she intends it or not, would be an easy figurehead for those within Normont that would oppose his attempts." He considers a moment, then adds, "Rhea is a woman of Normont though. And provided her husband isn't a heathen, she'll likely have been raised to defer to him. That might make the match…tolerable…and Normont does have valuable trade goods that would interest the l'Faust, particularly their salt-mines." He continues, "And whether there is great benefit in Normont or in Seaguard, it's still a benefit to the kingdom. It just may be slightly longer-term with Normont. " He concludes, "Also…House Greycen has received a great deal of favor, and rightfully so, but much as it pains me to say it we can't let them overpower the entirety of the other duchies. Especially if there's any reasonable chance that Eleanor will be Archduchess after the next election…and I would venture there is."

No, don't mind him, he's just the quiet guy with the sword. Surely doesn't know anything about politics after standing around watching people work them for more than half his life.

"I believe Jaren is correct in his observations." Tristan says, quite plainly. "There are a number of positive outcomes, and really only one negative. I also do not think it likely that it would set back peace." He pauses for a moment, flipping through his papers but still nodding. "Yes, House Greycen has received a great deal of favor, which, let us be honest, they did their part in earning. Still, Eleanor knows there is a game to be played and that some sacrifices here and there may need to be made."

A short pause. "Darren Haldis has been looking for a wife. Perhaps Katerine Greycen would be a good fit to help foster some good will between the two houses, though perhaps not." He taps his finger to his chin. "A thought that I have had was a marriage between Adem Moreno and Katerine. It seems that House Moreno has had some troubles finding a bride for Adem given their status as a house that has recently been ennobled. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to thumb our nose at the Abara."

Alysande balks. "I may be able to call on Eleanor to do a great many things," she says, "but marrying her daughter to a lordly house isn't one of them."

"I think Darren has likely had enough of his wife trying to kill him for one lifetime. Unless he were willing to hand over Whitewalls…unlikely given he's just installed his Mother as ruler of that fiefdom…I don't forsee Eleanor agreeing to that particular match. Darren might be more willing, but only just. He doesn't have a personal hatred of the Greycens, but he knows they are his rival, even enemy politically." Jaren too blinks a bit as Tristan suggests marrying Katerine to the Moreno heir. "The Moreno have bragging rights…and have been rewarded…already by being ennobled. Favoring Gerrell over the Greycens for a foreign match is one thing…asking her daughter to take on the stigma of marrying so far down? Eleanor is pragmatic, but she is not without pride." Jaren notes, "Truth be told, marrying Katerine to Symon would be a bold move, though Symon might risk angering his vassals too openly with that."

Alysande frowns. "Well, see what you might learn from your future wife. She's recently come from Sanctum, she may have some knowledge of things." She lifts a brow. "Two houses that hold marvelous libraries. I can only imagine that both will be enriched by a match such as that." She'll approve, at least!

She makes a 'oh!' face as if she just recalled something. "Oh, Tristan, dear. Some woman came to the palace a couple of days ago, claiming one of her children was a bastard of yours. I was busy at the time, but the man who spoke with her passed along my assurance I would speak with her on the matter in a day or so. I sent for her at the boarding house she was supposedly staying in, but she's not there." She glances at him. "Do you know anything about this?"

"Sirrah hasn't said anything openly of disquiet in the Church, but her silence speaks volumes. I very much have the impression she is attempting to push through continuing her work while it all sorts itself out." Jaren notes, then adds, "If you draft a message for her in regards to Normont, Tristan, I'll make sure she gets it. Or I can write one myself. I doubt she'll be opposed to the notion, but she'll need to be sure that the Keepers won't be in danger from the more conservative elements in the Duchy." He glances towards Alysande as she brings up the t'Acuto/Bazan potential marriage, then quirks a brow at the mention of Tristan and a potential bastard, only noting quietly, "Convenient timing, that…" But hey, he's naturally a bit suspicious. Was part of the job description.

"Learn from Elaida?" Tristan just stares at Alysande. "I hope you are aware that she is not someone with a lot of experience in politics and intrigue. I will talk to her, of course, but there is much she will need to learn over the years." He nods at Jaren regarding the missive to Sirrah and then straightens his papers.

"Wait, what? Who was she? Where was she from? Ah, I wish someone had let me know about this, I would have liked to look into things myself." He seems bothered by this. "It is certainly possible that I have fathered a child or two, but yes, as Jaren says… the timing is strange. Why step forward now, such a short time after my betrothal has been announced? Then disappear? If she was trying to get coin or something, I assume she would have tried to meet with you."

"From what I understand, she did try— that's why I was surprised she simply vanished." Alysande peers at Tristan, trying to discern if he knows anything. "A woman nearing 30. She claims her oldest child, a daughter of eight, is yours. What little that was passed along to me was that she had traveled from Normont, and her husband recently died— he was one of the men serving under Lord Paul Gerrell." She sighs. "I was going to take my measure of the woman before bringing you into it. I had assumed she might be a charlatan hunting for coin."

She leans forward a bit. "But when I sent for her, she and her children were gone. I had Quentyn ask at the boarding house: she arrived a few nights ago with three children in tow. I'll set someone to looking for her while you're gone to Pacitta."

"Odd." Jaren adds, rubbing at his bearded chin. "Though perhaps they were in fact a charlatan and departed in haste at the fear of being discovered." He adds, more grimly, "Or simply wanted to plant the seed and see if it would take root in the midst of your betrothal, Tristan." He adds, "And they do seem from the right place, in the right time, given how many of Paul's men were lost at Blackstone and Sunsreach….so there is some credibility to be had." He shrugs a shoulder, "Perhaps we'll know soon enough."

"Eight?" Tristan looks surprised at that, and then looks thoughtful. "Hrm, yes, if she was from Normont and had served Paul, that makes sense. When I first arrived, I was how I was before, quiet and thoughtful and well-behaved, believe it or not. Well, time progressed and things got worse within our House, and well, I concocted my little scheme. There was a young woman, she worked in the kitchens at the time. She was not yet married, though I now she and one of the soldiers got along pretty well." He rubs at his chin, thinking on all of this.

"There was a period of several months when she and I would sneak away, but then one day she just got married and left my Uncle's service. Her mother would give me looks from time to time. Hrm. Yes, if that is her, then perhaps this might all be true." He rubs his face with one of his hands.

Alysande shakes her head. "I don't understand why she would depart then. Well, in any vent, I will have her searched for. If its true and her daughter is your child, then I will insist you recognize the girl and bring her into our house. We need what blood we can manage."

She sighs and looks to Jaren. "I hope to have no surprises coming from you, my love. I almost expect these things from Tristan."

Jaren listens to Tristan's story intently, still clearly considering. At Alysande's little jibe, Jaren tilts a brow, looking…an odd mix of amusement and a touch of sadness, "Perhaps not impossible, but highly unlikely." Alysande would well know that counting her, Jaren could count his dalliances on one hand, and of those, two were claimed by the Succession War. As to that touch of sadness, there was indeed a Lady of House Chaves that may, perhaps, have had the potential to be more than a simple dalliance…The young Alysande had been quite grumpy about it at the time, even if she'd been remarkably sympathetic when the word of House Chaves' fate came a few years later. A sign perhaps, of how much she had matured in the interim.

"You do not need to insist on that. If the girl is my da— my daughter, then I will recognize her." Tristan looks a little out of sorts over this whole thing. "I admit, this is not exactly how I ever thought about being told that I might be a father." He laughs a little hesitantly and shakes his head.

Alysande looks to Tristan. "Are there any other possibilities?" she asks bluntly. "I know you've strewn your seed far and wide, and I'm surprised soemthing like this has not happened before. However, you might want to look into things before you wed." She sighs. "Speaking of that… you may wish to speak to your betrothed of the possibility before she hears of if from the court. I do not doubt the news of your disappearing child will be talked about soon enough."^

"Other possibilities? Of course there are, though I imagine if I fathered any children with a woman of noble birth, we would have heard about it already. I will see about having a few contacts look into whether or not I have any children though. You are right, it might be nice to look into before Elaida and I are wed." He stands up and straightens his coat. "I take it if there are others, you would not be opposed to me recognizing them?"

"I would insist on it," Alysande replies coolly, "though I might shake my head at you in private. Ah, but what's done is done… I do hope we find the woman soon."

Tristan nods faintly. "Very well. I will do what I can. I too hope that she can be found. I would like to know if the girl is mine, or not." A shrug. "Do let me know if there is anything else you would like for me to do in Pacitta. I do not know how long I will stay there, because there are other tasks I would like to work on here. I wish you both a good day." He nods at them both and then walks over to fetch his cane and then slips out of the door.

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