(1866-12-31) Of Plans for the Future of Lonnaire
Of Plans for the Future of Lonnaire
Summary: The Duke and his heir discuss their thoughts on plans for the future before she leaves for Rovilon and court.
Date: 1866-12-31
Related: all related to planning for the future of this duchy
James  Alina  

The Grand Study - Highwater Castle - Lonnaire - Lonnaire - Couviere
The study is a large room on the main floor. Part study, part library, part sitting room; a place for the duke or his family to visit informally with guests. The room features a large hearth with chairs and couches set before it. Off to one side there is a single table set with an overlarge chessboard and a pair of chairs for the players to sit.
Beyond the chessboard is a shelf of well-ordered books on a variety of subjects. The remaining walls are hung with rich tapestries of fine make and exotic threads.
This room, like the rest of the castle is immaculate, with no sign of dirt or dust and each tapestry and book put perfectly in place.

James l'Saigner sits in his study, studying one written note, and deciphering it onto another piece of parchment, the cipher contained purely in his head. He concludes, then studies the deciphered message a few moments, before moving to feed both the original and the deciphered message to the fires of the nearby hearth. Then he moves back to the desk, taking another message, but this time from less sensitive, un-ciphered correspondence. Aside from the rustle of paper and the crackle of the fire, the room remains silent and still.

The door knocks, and then opens slightly. "Father? Do you have some time? I had hoped to discuss a few things with you before we left for Rovilon." We being herself, her husband, her two children… and Corvin to head up security for all four of them (though more for the infants and the pregnant ducal heir than Gabriel, who had long shown he could take care of himself).

She's less in finery than she will be at court. At home when there is no one expected, she tends to dresses made more for easy and quiet movement than for fashion, and moreso after the failed attempt she had made on the Duke several months prior. Still, she was far more obviously lady than Wraith, and not entirely at her best given the swelling of her stomach that showed how far along she was in this pregnancy.

"Of course." James replies without immediately looking up, "Come in, Alina. Please, take a seat." He does look up and his lips pull into the glimmer of a smile, "What is it you wish to discuss?" He looks back down to finish reading the message he'd been studying, then slides it aside, gesturing to a nearby servant in a way that makes it clear he's to leave the room, and when he does, he closes the doors behind him and waits outside. Better safe than sorry, even if Alina isn't planning on discussing anything sensitive. All the more so if she is.

Alina waits until the servant has departed and the door has shut behind her before she takes a seat, letting out a small 'oof' noise as she does so. She shifts to get somewhat comfortable… who knows how long she and her father will converse?

"A couple of things. Firstly, I know it is time to look for a match for Lucas, and hopefully we might manage one. While I was in Rivana I met with a young woman that could be an option." She settles her hands primly in her lap.

"Oh? I've done some cursory examination of potential candidates, but haven't yet prioritized it." He leans back in his chair, devoting his full attention to Alina. There's a glimmer of redness around his eyes and a touch of pale to his skin, but that's hardly unusual for him. "Was the lady in question a Rivanan or just a Couvieri who happened to be along?"

"Rivanan. Lady Emilia Cassomir. Younger sister of the new Viscountess, and their new King." Alina shrugs languidly. "They say the girl is touched in the head, but I did not see any lack of ccapacity for reason and logic from her. An odd method of speaking, surely, and she seems akin to Lucas in her dislike for being in the spotlight." The heir notes the signs of Neversleep on her father's complexion, and inwardly winces. If he is looking this ragged, soon he would have to sleep for a few days while coming down from the alchemical.

Alina may take some small degree of satisfaction that her father's eyebrows lift, not in an expression of incredulity nor condescension, but interest and perhaps a mild bit of surprise, "A Cassomir?" He rubs at his precisely-trimmed beard a few moments, considering, "An interesting suggestion. Given the favor they currently hold in Rivana, certainly one of suitable prestige for a Ducal son, and certainly if she's sound of reasoning and otherwise competent we would give no care to any eccentricities." He steeples his fingers before him allowing the tips of his index fingers to briefly touch his lips before he lowers them, "Well worth considering. Given what I know of the Ducal and County lines of Rivana, it's unlikely they will find a more highly-placed offer. The only question is if they would be willing to look beyond the reputation our family holds within their nation. It would certainly be…controversial." He tilts his head, "Did you envision Lucas leaving us to join them, or bringing the Lady Emilia here? From what I understand, Ironhold has much of the kind of country Lucas would enjoy exploring."

"And Lonnaire has much of the kind of country Lady Emilia would enjoy exploring," Alina counters. "If I can keep my brother here, when I can make use of him, then that I would prefer. I know he would not mind to match with the Lady Evelyn, but…" she shrugs. "Should they wed, he would be leaving us. She is not suited for being a l'Saigner…" and she leaves it at that, rather than enumerating the reasons why. James likely already knows them.

"I cannot lose both him and Corvin," she says bluntly. "I cannot be you… no, worse, for you have me to serve as your eyes and ears within court, and the face of the family. I will have to continue that service in my own time… and I will need help to run the duchy and the Syndicates. The spy network I would trust to no other hand but my own to guide in that time… but I could not manage if stripped of both my brothers."

James fixes Alina with a stare. Again not disdainful, not disapproving, but still weighing and measuring. After a few moments, he nods, "I understand your concern." He tilts his head, a glimmer of genuine curiosity, "Tell me, Alina. Were you to take control of the Duchy tomorrow…what would your plan be in terms of delegating your authority? Assume your mother survives me and both your brothers are as-yet uncommitted."

Alina considers in silence for several minutes. To people such as the l'Saigner, though, such silence isnt uncomfortable, simply a sign of truly thinking out an answer.

"I would put Corvin as head of the Syndicate. They know him, respect him, most even fear him, as is proper. I am not a source of fear nor will I ever truly be… and that is fine. I have other roles to play.

"Mother I would keep at her current position in helping run the duchy itself. Gabriel would handle the military aspects. I trust him to do a good job of it, and One send we have no need of the military at any rate. He would also be in charge of handling the household guard. It would please him, and he would be as thorough as Corvin would." She scratches her chin. "It's long been past time for Lucas to gain some training beyond just the woodlands and how to kill someone with his hands and feet. I would train him to help in small ways with the duchy itself, and…" she looks to her father. "Lucas is a Wraith. They are folk heroes in this duchy. I would use him, Father, to help keep the goodwill of our people. I am, for better or worse, a pretty poppet in the minds of most. Where I CAN keep the public face of our house to the nobles, Lucas would be better to the commons and those of means that are not noble." She shrugs. "Details on which portions of the running of the duchy would go to whom… I would need more time to fully lay that out for you. Uncle Enrique, if he still lives, might help with the treasury though. If only because he so enjoys tsking at the expenditures I make on clothing." Enrique has a brilliant mind, like his younger brother, but his interests always lay less in information and intrigue than coin and economics… though he was quite adept at forseeing when bits of intrigue affected such.

"The broad strokes are enough." James allays any concerns Alina may have in terms of lack of fine detail. "Two questions then: What would you propose be done with the former t'Myrin lands? Further, if you were forced to choose only one of your two brothers to keep near you…which would it be?" He believes he knows the answer, but he will not make the assumption without Alina's confirmation. He opens a drawer in his desk, bringing out two small cups, and pouring them three-quarters full with a small bottle of a fine fruit juice that he favors. He does not complicate the alchemicals with alcohol while working. He shifts one of the cups of not-overly-sweet liquid towards Alina, before picking up the other and sipping it, listening for her answer.

Alina is silent for a shorter time. "I would combine the lands with the current holdings of the t'Rynelle," she says firmly. "They lost both their baronial status and half their land in the creation of Pacitta. And that house has served loyally. Our vassals know that to betray brings the destruction that happened to t'Myrin… but would it not be wise to show we can be more than merciless, we can be magnanimous?" She tilts her head, then takes the cup and sips from it. "And if I could keep one, I am saddened to say it is Corvin. He already is beginning to be suited to the role I would have for him and is obedient enough to learn that which he does not already know if I required it of him." She sighs. "Lucas is loyal but I suspect he will balk at any more constraints or requirements being placed upon him. And they will be, I think, and soon."

"Perhaps…and perhaps not. In either case, I suspected that would be your answer where your brothers are concerned." James sips his beverage, silent again for several moments. "Your plans are sound. Different from my own, but sound." He finishes off the small dram of juice, and sets the cup down, tapping the desk with fingertips a few moments. "While I have no plans to hand over the Duchy anytime soon….I would prefer that you inherit it in a state that is amenable to your own designs. You are, as you say, not me, nor do I expect you to be." He leans back now, silent a couple more moments, "I will not promise that all you propose will be done, but I will take your concerns and wishes under strong consideration while determining the future of our family."

Alina nods. "I am glad to hear that, Father. It is more than I can ask." After all, he is Duke.

"You can ask anything, my dear daughter. You just can't always expect to receive what you seek simply for the asking." A touch of humor there, if sardonic. He rises from his seat, moving over to take Alina's hands and help her to her feet, "Now, you should prepare for your journey. I will send any messages of import through the usual channels while you are in Rovilon. And of course I will see you and your husband at dinner tonight. Your mother will see you off in the morning."

Alina rises. "Thank you, Father." She pauses. "Try and get some sleep while we're gone?" she asks with a slightly pointed tone. "You look like you need it."

"Regrettably, I'll have to before long." James makes no excuses for his use of alchemicals, nor does he hide it from his family. "You may be more wise than I, Alina, to not step down the road I took." A brief glimmer of a smile, and then a brief, not entirely uncharacteristic gesture of affection he gives each of her cheeks a kiss. "I will see you at dinner." And with that, he moves to re-seat himself behind the desk, resuming his work without so much as another glance.

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