(1866-10-07) Negotiations, Open
Negotiations, Open
Summary: Acting on behalf of his father, Alaric enters negotiations with the Greycens regarding a match for his brother, Osric.
Date: 1866-10-07
Related: None
Alaric  Eleanor  

Eleanor's Study, Seaguard
Included in scene set
7 Octobre 1866


The keep and the city of Stoneshield is a city built for defense. Of all the cities in Rivana, it was the one built much like the northern city of Murnord: heavy, strong, thick walls, and made to withstand seiges. Also like Murnord, Stoneshield had never been taken by an opposing force. No, what had laid the former dukes of Seaguard low was treachery in the form of mass poison. Even with the Divisis running along the eastern side of the city, Stoneshield would be a tough nut to crack.

The duchess herself would be a harder one. Old but not venerable, spry for the grey in her hair and rumored to have a heart of stone, Duchess Eleanor had sent her much-unloved husband to greet Alaric when he had arrived two days prior for the beginnings of what would be potential negotiations. Duke Rodrigo had cheerfully greeted the young Couveri man, shown him to his quarters, the small keep library (where Rodrigo himself spent much of his time) and effectively left him to his own devices, if not a carefully watched set of 'own devices'. House guards and the occasional Warden are ubiqutuous in the keep proper, the insides guarded no less than the walls and docks themselves.

So when the Stone Duchess summons Alaric— excuse me, invites him to her offices to speak— he is given the courtesy of a pair of guards hand-picked by Rodrigo to be not quite as cold and overbearing as the Duchess herself.

It's been a long journey for Alaric l'Faust, but, it should be said, not an unpleasant one.

The second son of the Archduke of Couviere is not in any particular hurry, after all. He's quite enjoyed his two days of somewhat freedom here at Stoneshield, having taken full advantage of both the keep library itself and the sights of the keep beyond. The guards are an annoyance - and it seems that he's not quite able to slip them, as he might with more familiar men on more familiar ground - but they're one that stays at arm's length.

Indeed, it's almost a shame that his two days of being left to his 'own devices' are coming to a close. Alaric makes quite a show of being relaxed, but the Stone Lioness has a reputation that's extended far beyond the borders of her own country. Negotiation may be his forte, but it's not often that he is summoned before a woman of her stature, and he is, bluntly, nervous.

Still, his outward poise is calm and courteous as he enters Eleanor's office, dropping in a low bow. "Thank you for agreeing to see me, Your Grace," he addresses her, his voice soft. "And allow me to extend my further thanks for the hospitality your household has provided."

Eleanor's eyes narrow slightly at him. "Of course," she says, gruffly but at least politely. "I would expect the same treatment of my children should I send one north to your home," she notes. "Let it not be said that Seaguard is discourteous." She gestures towards a chair. "Please, sit. And let us discuss what it is you've come so far to discuss."

"If a Greycen should do us the honor of coming to Ostvor, then certainly we would do all in our power to match that hospitality." Which, given the position of House l'Faust, is considerable power agreed. Alaric takes the chair gladly, folding his hands together and letting his eyes meet the Duchess'. "It would not be said, after all, that the Archduke of Couviere would be anything short of a courteous host."

A less perceptive negotiator than Alaric would understand that Eleanor Greycen isn't much for pleasantries. Fortunately, that's not off-putting in the slightest. "Your Grace's time is precious, and I will endeavor to see to our business as efficiently as possible. No doubt you are aware that my elder brother, Osric, the heir to my father's lands, is as yet unwed." He lets the word hang in the air for a moment. "My father sees in this an opportunity to forge a link between House l'Faust and a great House of Rivana, and to further encourage the peace that is growing between our nations." Grandiose talk. It's not Alaric's style, though, and he undercuts it with a little smirk. "And /I/ see the opportunity for great benefit to both our houses."

"I see." Eleanor responds, then is silent for a few moments, considering. "And you would like to discuss the possibility of my daughter Katerine wedding your brother?" she clarifies. Quite not one for honeyed words and bandying things around, no, she gets straight to the point.

"One of my children has already married a Couveri," she points out. "Not to say anything ill of my daughter-in-law, of course. If our negotiations are fruitful, either of our lieges may block it on those grounds."

"Precisely." Straight to the point, indeed. It's an approach that Alaric enjoys, and he doesn't hide his smile - albeit a small one - at her words. "A fitting match, I think, for a knight as accomplished as my brother. I had occasion to see your son Thaddeus fight at Pacitta - clearly, skill at arms is part of the Greycen lineage."

But speaking of Thaddeus… "That is a potential complication, yes. Though I suspect that our rulers would not be so inclined to do so, were an agreement reached between two Dukes of such standing as yourself and my father." It's /an/ argument, at least. "Besides, if our negotiations /are/ fruitful, I imagine both King and Queen will see the benefits of the arrangement."

Eleanor nods slightly. "We will see," is all she allows. "So tell me of this brother of yours?"

Right. The brother in question. "Osric is my father's son," Alaric replies. It's a factual statement, of course, but it's also something regarding his character. "An accomplished knight, as I said. A man of talent and intelligence. Well-spoken, possessed of a strong sense of duty and honor. Well-liked in Couviere." Folding his hands together, he adds, "The future Duke of Ostvor, and as you surely know, the Duke of Ostvor has /often/ throughout history held the position of Archduke as well." As, for instance, at the present time. The fact that the l'Saigner and l'Corren are becoming quite a bit closer now than ever before is left unsaid.

"Ah. Katerine is a decent girl, though she can be willful." In truth, Eleanor's sons both do everything they can not to earn their mother's ire. Katerine is less willing to hide and shy from her gaze… showing some great strength of will. "She is reasonably bright and has her uses." About the best Eleanor ever gives as a compliment.

"Characteristics that, it should be said, we value in Ostvor." The l'Fausts are nothing if not willful, although it should /also/ be said, but is not, that the present head of the family is rather less flexible than most. Fortunate, perhaps, that she is negotiating with Alaric and not Manfred.

But, speaking of Manfred. "My father, by the way, sends his regrets that he is not able to meet in person. His duties as Archduke keep him quite occupied." An eyebrow quirks upward. "Speaking of which, the equivalent position in Rivana is presently vacant, no? In Couviere, we are watching those developments with great interest." Pause. "Such elections usually go to the strongest conciliator… or the candidate with the greatest /prestige/." There's a bit of extra emphasis on the last word.

"I suspect," she replies without preamble, "the position will be mine. It will just take time and some reminders to those voting who the best candidate is." She seems cool and confident she will end up with the position.

"But on that note," Eleanor says, "I do think we should adjourn. I will work up a list of my suggestions for a contract, you do yours. Next we meet we can see what each other might be thinking."

"Reasonable." Alaric gives a short not as he shuffles to his feet, then dips in a rather deeper bow. "I am glad, if nothing else, that Your Grace is open to the possibility. I see the potential for a great tie between our houses." Pause. "Be well, Your Grace." It's likely just as much formality as she cares to hear.

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