(1866-09-09) A Financial Discussion
A Financial Discussion
Summary: Benjamin and Elrick discuss the house finances.
Date: 09-09-1866
Related: Anything regarding the t'Tremaine finances.
Benjamin  Elrick  

Stag Keep - Hartwood - Couviere
See set

The day that Elrick has to leave for Pacitta is approaching and that worries him instead of pleasing him, especially when he had heard news that his father had placed his aunts and uncles in charge. The second thing that worries him is the results of the analysis of the reports he has been reviewing of his House's finances and it looks bleak. There appears to be no good choices to be made to dig the t'Tremaines out of this hole, more sacrifices will need to be made.
The Heir is currently in his makeshift study, a room he had more or less taken over. There is a large table in the middle that is covered with papers and reports, a desk on the side and a small table that holds water and wine. For now, Elrick himself is standing by the large middle table, wearing a frown that is almost permanently etched into his expressions these days.

Benjamin has been busy throughout the keep, ensuring that work is being done right, at least to his specifications. He enters his son's study and frowns, "What did you need? I am surprised you have not left for Pacitta, yet."

"Soon, Father." Elrick answers without looking up as he picks up one of the parchments that are laid out on his table, gaze narrowing for a moment as he verifies that it is the one that he will need. Putting it back down, the t'Tremaine Heir finally looks up to the Baron, bowing his head respectfully. "Thank you for taking the time to see me, Father." After the greetings, he turns and heads to the small table holding refreshments, "Wine or water?"

"Had business in this wing of the castle or I would have had you come to me," Benjamin snorts. "Wine will be fine. What is it that you wanted to speak about?" He frowns and takes up a cup and finds a seat. "I am sure you have something important to talk about."

Picking up the pitcher, Elrick pours a cup of wine for his Father and then himself, carrying the drinks over and handing one over to the Baron. Lifting his cup to his father, the son takes a drink before he answers, "I do Father, I wanted to speak to you before I left. I have been spending a lot of time going through our House's finances, records, assets… and I have a report to make. As well as suggestions if you would hear them." He knows that his recent relationship with his Father could be a delicate thing, with him coming back from the war and more or less challenging him about his closest friends who turned out to be traitors. So he chooses to step more carefully this time around.

"Eh?" Benjamin shrugs, "I am glad you finally give a care about your home. On a related note, be sure to bring back some hefty ransoms, especially if it is from those Rivanan shits." He takes a hearty drink, "But tell me what you have found, though I have probably already heard it before."

The verbal jab by his father is ignored, knowing that now is not the time to get in a debate about how he did or didn't care for his House in the past. Instead, he focuses on the report and his findings, "Well, since you know about the debts, then we can talk about a way to pay them off as soon as possible, at least the ones that we should turn our attention to first." There is a pause as Elrick takes a drink from his cup of wine, "Has Uncle or Aunt made any suggestions on how we handle that issue?"

"Find a house that will pay to marry in nwas their first suggestion." Benjamin notes and takes another drink, "But what do you have in mind for solving this problem, besides hefty prizes and ransoms?" He frowns, not terribly pleased to be discussing this less-than-ideal part of running the house.

Picking up the parchment that he had reviewed earlier when his Father entered, Elrick offers it to the Baron, more or less an economic proposal drafted by himself for review, "There was a long term plan and a short term plan, both would not have helped us. The former, our House most likely would not survive to see it through. The latter, may help us now but we would have no future. So I put together an intermediate plan that will hopefully bear fruit, Father."
Elrick pauses, letting his father look over the parchment. The plan would detail the following:

- Sell off one of the mines that the t'Tremaines currently own, they are soon to be depleted in a few years so the long term loss is minimalized. Perhaps hiring a specialist or two to make sure that there is no further potential in the mines before picking which to sell.

- Sell more fishing and perhaps hunting permits for a quick influx of funds, this would hopefully also increase local business if those outside of the Barony purchase the permits as well.

- Use the money seized from the traitors and reinvest in the lumber trade because the demands of lumber has gone up recently due to the brigands. This could also clear up land for potential future expansion if the right locations for concentrated logging is selected.

- Make sure the fur trade remains strong. With the coming winter and gifts to the Heiress of House l'Saigner at Pacitta, hopefully the fur trade will be on the up swing.

- Make sure the sugar trade is strong for a possible Sugaring Off celebration. Or hold one whether a second winter comes or not, for the peasantry to boost their morale.

- Decrease spending, as much as possible.

Ben listens and frowns as he reads the document. A bit of grumbling comes from him as he reads it and sets it down, "You don't sell lands or rights. Once they are gone they seldom come back. But I will not object to paying for limited hunting permissions." He looks it over again, "Though I do not object to the latter two points. Perhaps if we negotiate a good betrothal contract for you we can also gain some easy funds. If the damn Hawk's daughter can promote it, I would be glad, though I do not like having to rely on a bloody l'Saigner."

Listening to his Father's objections, Elrick maintains self control, at least on the outside. There is a closing of his eyes for a brief moment as he releases a slow exhale, "Father, I would prefer to sell a mine than to marry myself or Amara off, especially when the mine has at most five to ten years left. I would not have considered selling any pieces of or land either if I felt that they would bring us financial benefit in the long term." He then looks down on the table and begins picking a few more sheets, as if that would intimidate his father into agreeing than looking at the calculations, "I have the reasoning and back up documentation here if you want to see it, Father."

Benjamin sets the cup down and crosses his arms. "I understand that. But people will notice us selling off things. They would think less of our house for doing so. I would not have court speak of us as being beggars." He is not intimidated by the papers and reaches for them, "I will see what you have written."

The papers are handed over of what Elrick has been reviewing, the numbers he has been crunching for the past couple of days until his mind couldn't take it anymore, feeling like his mind was turning into gruel. "Father, people already notice how our House fares." He says with brutal honesty, "I wasn't running around the kingdom gallavanting without purpose. I have been trying to make friends, alliances, trying to salvage and increase our House's image with my performance as a Tourney Knight. As well as send what funds I can home when I do score a victory." Words are spoken patiently, almost too patiently as the Heir works on not blowing up on his Father, "They will not see these changes as us becoming beggars, but they will see that the t'Tremaine are /strong/ enough to be willing to make the sacrifices, the hard decisions to save themselves. Our performance in the war has impressed many, especially when our men played the invaluable role of rearguard when the army pulled back to Valetta. Now let us impress the others with our economic decisions, Father. Please."

Benjamin does not budge from his seat as he reads over the notes and then looks up at Elrick. "No." He says, "As far as I am willing to go is to lease the mine out. It is /our/ mine." His tone bears some frustration, "You do not seem to grasp this concept." He reaches for the pitcher and refills his cup, "Bah. They will not see it as strong, instead as little better than the former nobility of Carsonne, many working as bloody merchants." The baron scowls, "It is also high time you wed. I will begin looking for a suitable match that can hopefully bring in some coin to help with this problem."

Dark thoughts suddenly invade Elrick's mind, the Tall Man who he does not remember one bit, but the words that were whispered into his ears that night? They echo loudly in his mind, forcing him to close his eyes sharply for a second. Willing away those thoughts, as if shaking off a blow to the head, the Heir turns his gaze on his Father who appears to be very stubborn. However, he knows the Baron well enough that any argument would just push him into a corner where he would definitely not budge, "If that is your decision on the mine. So be it… we will also need to speak to our Liege Lord. Hopefully we can convince him to allow us to keep our loan unpaid for a bit longer and perhaps… lend us more money. To invest into rebuilding and strengthening our Hosue, for what we lost in the war north and the recent… events. And to also pay off the debts to the others." As for the subject of marriage, Elrick can only scowl on that subject, as it is a rather frustrating one for the Heir, "And what is wrong with the t'Cadri? They are a stronger House, a bigger one. They will help us if I wed their eldest daughter… and I am sure our liege will view the union in a very favorable manner."

Benjamin sits like a stone, "The woman is too old. Your sister was able to get a prince, you deserve a duke's daughter, at worst. We are an old family, steeped in honor and glory. You deserve the best, not some old maid. Hopefully this will be dealt with soon enough and you can follow Antonia's lead and give me some grandchildren, grandchildren that will carry on our name." The talk of the l'Corren causes a huff from the baron, "Aye, they are the most likely to be of use to us. Though I could speak with Baron t'Mollari and see what can be done on that front."

"Too… too old?" Elrick says, his tone growing a bit more frustrated, when he hears that answer from his Father. When his older sister is brought up again, the Heir's face hardens, growing neutral, the mask he wears in court. He knows his Father's stance on who he is to marry, and if it went the Baron's way, Elrick may as well swear to the Church. However, as the subject drifts to the l'Corren and then the t'Mollari, his gaze narrows once more, "Not the t'Mollari, Father. The l'Corren we can trust and we can expect true aid. The t'Mollari will only agree to what will cause us harm." The t'Mollari are too much like the t'Tremaine, and because of that, Elrick does not trust them.

"Yes, I've been hearing her name for quite a while now, so she must not be that young," Benjamin notes and crosses his arms, "Do you have any evidence on the t'Mollari? They were kind enough to lend us that loan when we needed it."

Elrick has stopped arguing or debating marriage and Nadine with his Father, knowing it is once again a lost cause for now. He does press on the issue of the t'Mollari, "Father, people do not lend out money because they are kind. There are reasons. Benefits. The l'Corren do so because we are their trusted and loyal vassal, to strengthen our House is to strengthen theirs. We have no ties with the t'Mollari, so I do not fully trust them. Please, Father. I know you still feel that I have not proven myself, that I have not been helping the House. But all I have done and all that I /will/ do will be for this House and to ensure not just our survival, but our return to prominence."

"I will give you the first crack at getting the money from the l'Corren, but it must be discrete. If they are as understanding as you say, and if you wish to make us appear wise financially, that will be the only compromise I am willing to grant you." Benjamin concedes with a scowl. "Only because you have been showing initiative,for once." He drains his cup. "But you have until winter. I will see where costs can be cut to try and staunch the bleeding"

Hearing his Father's compromise, Elrick would take it as a victory at this point. "I understand, Father. I will most likely speak with Sir Michael, who was with us here." That should ease the Baron's worries, as he won't be going directly to their Liege Lord for help, at least not yet. But the Heir doesn't stop there, there is still one final worry on his mind, "One more thing, Father. I would ask for a favor while I am gone. If our Uncle or Aunt wishes to make any major decision or changes, please send me word while I am in Pacitta? I wish for you to listen to my input as well, so I can prove to you that I have learned much while I have been away."

"Very well, that seems discrete enough, as he has actually seen our holdings and our issues so hiding them from him would be futile," Benjamin frowns. "I will not send such important documents so far, but unless you intend on being gone for a long period of time we can avoid making any drastic decisions until your return unless it is an emergency. We are in no position to make hasty decisions."

Elrick almost frowns until the Baron suggests them not making any crucial decisions while he is gone, "That would be fine, Father, thank you. And I plan on returning after the Pacitta tourney, as soon as I can." For him not to dally after the tourney for celebrations is certainly not like his old self.

"Very well, good luck down there. Show them that while we may not be at our highest point, it is damn higher than their's, especially those damned Rivanans." Benjamin rises and offers a nod to Elrick, "Do us proud." He fills the cup halfway and drains it, "This mess will eventually sort itself out."

Finally a smirk appears on Elrick's face, "I do enjoy putting those damned Rivanans under my boots and I am sure I will do so again this time around. I will always strive to do our House proud, Father. We will return to our rightful place." As for the mess, the Heir isn't as confidence that the mess will clean itself up, but he will count this meeting as a partial victory, having some things go his way instead of being completed shut out which was what he had been afraid of. "Who knows, maybe at the Tourney, I will catch the eye of a Princess."

Ben offers his son a hand clasp, "That's the spirit, though hopefully not a Rivanan one, maybe one of the Venderosi prince's girls will be there? No doubt you caught their attention at your last visit!" He grins and says, "But I had best be on my way. Again, good luck, my son." Barring any farewells, Benjamin will depart.

Clasping his Father's hand firmly, Elrick pulls the older man closer so the other hand can pat the Baron on the back firmly, most likely an attempt to improve relations between father and son that had no doubt soured over the years. He knows his father lost close friends and is now vulnerable, this may be his chance to insert himself in as a trusted family member once more, over his Aunts and Uncles. "Perhaps we will find out. And no… I pray that it is not a Rivanan one. Take care Father, I knwo you are busy and I will return as soon as I can."

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