(1866-12-30) Establishing One's Role
Establishing One's Role
Summary: Stephen Cassomir speaks with his wife Raelyn about determining just what his role in Ironhold will be, and how he will perform it.
Date: 12/30/1866 IA
Related: None
Raelyn  Stephen  

The Private Sitting Room — Cassomir Manse — Sunsreach
See Scene
Decembre 30th, 1866 IA

Stephen Cassomir has taken up a spot in the private family sitting room of the Cassomir Manse in Sunsreach, where he lounges in a chair, idly strumming the lute he holds in his hands. Occasionally a few bars of a melody are produced, but it seems clear it's more just idle hands being put to work than a concentrated effort at practice. A small side table bears a bottle of wine and a couple of cups, along with some fresh bread and good cheese, thus far untouched. Dinner wasn't all that long ago, after all. A fire crackles in the hearth, and occasionally a servant moves through to attend to various odds and ends or check to see if their new Count needs anything, only to be politely waved off. He does, however, seem to be waiting for someone.

Having been seeing to things to ready for their departure back to Ironhold, Raelyn, too, had waved away a few servants desiring some peace after all the far too mundane tasks she'd seen to. As she slips into the sitting room, a bottle of wine in one hand and a single glass in the other, she can't help but smile as she sees one particular individual sitting within. "Hiding from duty too?" She inquires, though her tone is light, and teasing affectionately. "It's only going to get worse, when we get home, you know." She laughs, then, and shakes her head. "Should I have someone bring you a glass as well?" She holds up the bottle.

"Only if you're going to drink from both of those cups at once." He gestures towards where the two sit, having been somewhat hidden by the bottle itself. He shifts to sit more upright, and carefully sets the lute aside, "Fortunately enough, work at home is exactly the thing I was hoping to speak with you about." He rises to his feet, moving over and taking a moment to slip his arms around Raelyn's waist and give her an affectionate, only slightly lingering kiss before he continues, "As immensely enjoyable as these past several weeks have been…and believe me, they have been, it might be wise to start getting some idea of how you'd like me to serve our lands and house besides just being hopefully-pleasant company for you." He teases lightly, giving her a brief squeeze before releasing her.

A one-armed hug ensures that Stephen is not the only one squeezing, before Raelyn sits down, her look to him a curious one. "As my husband, and Viscount," she answers, as if that were all the answer that needed to be said. She pauses, frowns, and after a brief look to make sure that no gossiping servants linger, she says quietly, "And as such, I ought tell you I have decided that it will be too strenuous, against my wishes, to remain Mistress of the Hunt. Our daughter," because they will be having a daughter, and Raelyn's voice is determined on that fact, "Shall carry that title. But in the interm, Emilia will be taking my stead. When we return, Emilia and I will be first speaking to Adrienne, and then the rest of the Huntresses before any others know."

"Emilia." Stephen replies. There's not the slightest hint of distaste or wariness in his voice, but there's a bit of a rueful quirk of his lips, "Well, this sets us to a very good bit of news to explain my line of questioning." Stephen moves to sit down next to Raelyn, "I think you already are aware…I'm…capable in the political realm. I may not care for the nature of it overmuch, but you don't grow up in Eleanor Greycen's house without getting a full portion of it…and the training I received as a Warden only reinforced it in many ways." He pauses a moment, "That training, and my…experiences…have given me a certain degree of skill at…observing things…situations, people…through eyes that are…less tinged with emotion and sentiment. Some would call it cold." He frowns a bit, "Truth often is."

He shakes his head slightly, "But my question to you is this: When I give my counsel…I can give you cold truths as I see them. They may not always be pleasant. They may not always be what you wish to hear, and they may at times…conflict with your manner of leadership, which I have noticed flows considerably more from the heart than most…and don't take offense to that, because it's not a slight. It is, however…" A brief glimmer of a smile, "A good bit different from what I'm accustomed to."

"Likely not exactly my father would be, either," considers Raelyn, honestly. "My father was a hard man, but kind. He and my mother, looking back on it now, complimented each other well." She considers Stephen, noting then with some sincerity, honesty, "I always appreciate insight. And I trust you to have enough discretion if something - conflicts, to address with me in private, rather than openly. But I would always listen to counsel from you, Stephen. I may," she says, cracking a grin, "Not always see as you. Or, choose the path you might advise. But. Having the insight of someone more trained, or at least, more experienced? Well. I would be a fool to turn that advice down when I've little experience in it myself. Our Master Steward is a good one. One of the best in all of Rivana. But learning a thing, and being experienced in a thing are two different items altogether. I can train anyone to shoot a bow. I can't train them to shoot it well when someone is charging at them with a sword and ready to cut off their head." She half-smiles.

"I wouldn't expect you to always follow my advice. I don't assume I'm always correct, even if I might feel that I am, and if I feel strongly on a particular topic, I'll certainly let you know, but the land and house are yours by blood…the final say will always be yours unless you choose to give it to me on some specific matters from time to time." Stephen smiles a bit, "Your Master Steward is quite skilled, from all the ledgers I've been going over these past few weeks, and the contracts I've reviewed, it seems your brother, for all his protests of being unprepared, was ultimately doing a fine job of running the Barony and then the County. Certainly he's left it in a position of strength for you." Stephen adds, "But your lands and your family have undergone a lot of change in a fairly short span of time, and I'm not sure either have fully adjusted yet." He adds, "I also think we can expect a great deal of eyes upon us in weeks and months to come. There will be a great many people trying to curry favor with the crown through us." He pauses, "The trick is that sometimes…we may want to let them, if the offer is good enough."

"But I digress. On the matter of Emilia taking up the reins of Mistress of the Hunt, you and I and those close to her know her mind is clear and her skills are sharp enough for the task, but her…condition…may make her a controversial choice." He considers a few moments, "You have the weight of tradition on your side and I don't think any will outright gainsay it, but be prepared for chatter that may be hurtful…both from outside the County…and quite possibly from within. More so to Emilia, but others will question your judgment on it, and while it's easy to speak of dismissing those words, they can still have effects in the long term." He sighs softly, "Would that we could hide in Ironhold for the remainder of our days, but with your brother's position…we won't be able to avoid the morass of the Court even if we wanted to. It will come to us if we don't go to it."

"I am aware of the sentiment that exists of my sister outwardly, even if I may ignore it entire," Raelyn confesses, then, easily, and without hurt at the words offered. She continues, "Yet, many of the Huntresses have either guarded her, or worked with her in helping her readjust to being a Huntress. They know her value. And her skills well. And they love her, as much as me." Raelyn smiles, then, gently. "I would not do this thing if I did not feel she was ready. It is for tradition, yes. But also because Emilia is capable. And just as I must, and will, so shall she show her detractors she is a proper choice for the position. But," she considers, "I will prepare her for such detractors, as best I can. And hurtful words." She grimaces, some, shaking her head. "As for those who try to curry favor? If they've legitimate offer, I'll consider allowing them to do thus. If they are simply dogs looking for scraps, I'll send them to look for such elsewhere. I've little paitence for games with fools."

"You might love a child or sibling to the fullest extent of your heart, but that does not necessarily mean you want to follow them into battle, and a Knight may be the greatest warrior ever to tread the battlefield but not be suited for command." Stephen notes, "I cannot make a judgment of Emilia's abilities in that regard…to my knowledge, she is untested as a battlefield leader." He adds, "But for now, there is no harm in giving her the opportunity, though it may be worth asking if it is a role she wants. I know it is tradition for the eldest daughter or sister to hold the role, but we live in…unique times for your house. That doesn't mean tradition should be cast aside forever, but it may be worth considering…adjusting it by necessity." He smiles, "But only at necessity. We'll see how the Huntresses react, first." He puts an arm around Raelyn's shoulders and smiles, "And yes, it's always fine to shoo away dogs begging for scraps. Unless you think you might get a very loyal companion out of the deal."

"I've already made certain that Emilia is willing to accept, by her choice, and not simply because I asked of it." She pauses, admitting, "Emilia has not been battletested, true. But then, she has also been tested in ways very few, if any, of us ever have been." She does not explain further, only sipping her wine once poured. Raelyn then remarks, "But all of that aside, Stephen, I appreciate your candor. And always will. Subterfuge and deception are not tools I'm unfamiliar with. But, I don't particularly care for them either."

"Well, I rarely counsel using subterfuge and deception, except perhaps in battle, but it wouldn't be a good idea to turn a house that's largely regarded a paragon of honor towards such means. Not that I at all think you were suggesting we do so." Stephen chuckles, "But yes…I can try to keep an eye out for such things. Some will no doubt try, but probably not so many as you think. Too much risk if they're uncovered." He shrugs a shoulder, "So what else awaits us in Ironhold? I'm sure there's more that might need attending to than just the Huntresses." He adds, "Aside from the flood of offers that will come for Devlin, and likely Emilia, and perhaps your cousins as well…marriage offers, that is."

"No doubt." Raelyn's words are wry, as her expression at Stephen's last comment. Something she's not looking forward to, clearly. She exhales, "Well, we'll need to look at the mines. Over the trade offers, and make certain that things are operating well, and efficiently in my brother's absence," Raelyn begins. "Oversee court. And no doubt, attend to many rulings that have been waiting for judgement." Something else she isn't particularly looking forward to. "And, of course, a tour of the countryside. So that you can familarize yourself more officially with the various towns. Large. And small."

"We'll be called back to the royal court before very long. For the Archducal elections." Stephen notes, "But yes, familiarizing myself with the lands would be important." He adds, "I've already looked at our standing trade agreements, and the ledgers have all looked to be in order. But a closer look won't hurt." He smiles, rising to his feet and moving to pour the couple cups of that wine, offering one to Raelyn as he sits back down again, "And a little break from Sunsreach will do us good."

"It will be good to get home," Raelyn agrees. She nods about the Archducal elections, giving Stephen a curious look, then smiling at him, knowingly. "I do enjoy Sunsreach. But I think I like Ironhold better. It's home, afterall. I imagine Jaren shall be visiting us, ere long. He'll find a suitable reason."

"Perhaps. I've no doubt he will eventually, but I suspect he'll be busy for some time to come." He sips the wine, then smiles, "But enough talk about business, I suppose. The rest can wait." He sets the cup aside, and plucks up the lute once more, "Shall I serenade my wife?" He pauses, "As long as you don't expect me to sing…"

"No, not sing," Raelyn says, setting the wine down. "But, you can," she proceeds, "Help me get this crick out of my neck. And my lower back." Her smile suggests those particulars may not be entirely bothering her. At least, not yet.


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