(1866-10-20) Not What Was Hoped For
Not What Was Hoped For
Summary: Michael and Cesare speak about Hartswood.
Date: 1866-10-20
Related: Hartswood stuff
Michael  Cesare  

Solar, Northwatche Hall
See Scene
Octobre 20th, 1866

Michael had had taken over one of the family's solars for the purposes of a work room, and indeed there was plenty of work to be done. There were account sheets, letters and all the other detritus of statecraft spread around the room and Micheal found himself in the center of it, wine cup in hand, as he moved from the various tables to check this document or another as his right hand Sir Adam t'Callar strode, and the stewards shuffled behind him. "Put this in my father's pile," he said picking up one paper. For another, he looks at it, "I'll handle this one. And do we have the figures for our timber needs yet?" The needed parchment is put in his hand with a "Here my lord," and Michael nods, "Thank you," before he takes a sip of his wine and reads. "Well this is positive at least," he mutters before setting it down. He turns to Adam, "Adam, can you see if my father is free, we really should discuss the Hartswood matter."

The Duke of Murnord finally steps into the solar just as Michael was sending Adam to fetch him. "I've had my fill of talk of horse breeding today," Cesare chuckles as he settles into a chair at the table with his paperwork. "But between the two colts Gabriel's Alzhered sired last year and now yours being adding to the stables… the breeders think they may be able to have some faster, stronger horses for scouting within a few years." He looks to Michael. "How has your paperwork been going?" he asks with a twinkle of amusement in his eyes.

Michael smiles as his father enters the room, listening to his words before offering his own reply, "I'd be happy to trade you, horse talk for demands for more supplies and more coin to help with the rebuilding. Though it's good news about the horses," he admits before a slow smile creeps across his face, "And you bloody well know how it's going," he says good naturedly. "If I knew how much of it would be waiting for me I would have stayed hidden in the hedges even after we freed Rovilon. At this point, I'd bet Jean-Paul would seriously consider joining me."

"Sure is your lot," Cesare replies warmly. "Being Duke is not an easy task, and it is more responsibility than it is privledge. But come, tell me what your current dilemma is, and we will work through it together." Cesare was the sort of teacher who worked with his students rather than simply lecturing at them, or just setting a fine example.

Michael nods at his father's words. "I know," he says before he turns to the stewards and Adam. "Take a break, I'll summon you back when we're done," he says before waiting for them to leave while he sets down his wine and perches on the edge of his father's table. When they're gone, Michael turns to Cesare. "The requisitions and such aren't the problem. It's Hartshome. We need to decide what's to be done about their debts."

He produces a roll of parchment from the pile and lays it out before his father, "This sums up their needs," he says. "They are deep in debt to the t'Mollari, owe some to the t'Rannis too and of course what they owe us, in all about a year and a half of revenues." He sighs. "I've authorized the coin to help them get a start on getting their lumber camps back up and running, because there is need for that elsewhere in the duchy, but, they need a good deal more coin than that if they are going to survive."

Cesare frowns. "That deeply in debt? And to so many?" He does not look pleased. "The debt they owe us I would be willing to push back a little while yet, out of my old friendship with the Baron. But this is troubling."

"Especially since, as you say, they need more coin." The Duke shakes his head. "I do not think it wise to favor one vassal so over all others."

Michael rubs his head. "It's true. The baron kept the Mollari debt secret from us all out of pride it seems, even Elrick just learned of it," Michael leans forward to point to a figure on the page, "That is the interest." He turns his attention back to his father, "Elrick is making plans to deal with this, but as I said, he just learned of this part of the debt. I know we've done more for the t'Tremaine than we might have done for another kin, and the t'Carriex and others will be wroth, but even if we cannot give the t'Tremaine the whole sum, I'd like to give them enough to buy Elrick time."

"The sum of their debts to the t'Mollari?" Cesare asks to clarify, leaning back in his chair and considering. "What would you do in my place?" It isnt a guarentee of action, but Cesare is serious.

"That would clear the worst of it," Michael confirms before he lets out a slow breath as he looks skyward. "If it were Elrick we were trusting with the coin, I'd lend it to him and defend that choice confidently to anyone who questioned it but with Benjamin…" he shakes his head. "That's a different matter. With the rebuilding of our armies and the settlements in the north we need to know our coin is being spent wisely. I'd say, no, not that much, we can't risk the whole duchy for one Barony, even if they are our kin."

Cesare sighs and nods. "Which leads to another nasty business.. the taxes they are behind on." He pulls out the ledgers and points this out. "If I must go deal with the Baron myself, I will, but it will not be a pleasant expereince for anyone involved."

Michael flinches at the mention of the taxes and when it comes to Cesare speaking to Benjamin, Michael nods, "Unpleasant, but needed," he says. There is a moment of consideration before Michael shakes his head, "No. I should talk to him first. The man does not take me seriously, sees me as 'Elrick's friend' rather than his future Duke. I should correct that and knock some bloody sense into the man."

The Duke nods and smiles at his son. "I think that would be a valuable thing to do, for whatever happens to them, the t'Tremaine should respect you as their future leige." He sighs. "I can only hope we come up with a workable solution soon. There are other houses who would gladly take Hartwood and make something of it."

Michael nods then, "Then that's settled at least. I'll talk to the baron," he says grimly as he stands up from the table. "And yes I know others will want to make something of Hartswood, the t'Callar for one," he says, that lordly house who shared a border along with a love/hate relationship with the t'Tremaine. "However, when I speak to the baron, what can I offer?" he asks. "Or is it to be all on the t'Tremaine now?"

"One more year." Cesare looks grim. "One more year where we do not call their debt to us and are flexible with their taxes. But it falls on them to figure out how to remove themselves from the hole they've dug with the t'Mollari."

Michael's grim mood does not vanish upon hearing his father's decision. "Very well, one more year," he agrees with a nod. "And the coin to rebuild their lumber operations?" he adds. "That at least benefits Murnord as a whole."

The Duke nods. "See it done."

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