(1867-10-18) Honest Counsel
Honest Counsel
Summary: Raelyn Cassomir seeks the advice of her husband on matters concerning her family…particularly Emilia.
Date: 10/18/1867 IA
Related: None
Stephen  Raelyn  

Ironhold Castle — Master Suite

Resting at the end of the hallway that comprises the Cassomir family's living quarters, the Master Suite of Roseguard Castle are actually comprised of a few different rooms. The first is something of a parlor, with a few tables and comfortable chairs. With a large hearth present it's clearly designed for entertaining visitors in a more private (or secure) setting than the Great Hall. The second room is an office space, with a large wooden desk and plenty of shelves present, most of which are laden with scrolls and missives, though everything does seem to be reasonably well-organized and kept as neat as possible even if there's an unavoidable bit of clutter. Aside from the desk, a couple of chairs are also present here for more business-oriented meetings.

Beyond the office lies the bedchamber, with an adjoining privy as well as a smaller room with space for both a squire and a servant to remain nearby at seemingly all times, though for the moment it seems that particular room is unoccupied and has been for some time. The decoration throughout the rooms is geared towards the colors and emblems of the Cassomir family, plus a couple of portraits…clearly smoke damaged…hanging in the office space, whom many might recognize as the late Baron Aric and Baroness Mathilda Cassomir. All the furnishings are quite new and of exceptionally high quality, much in keeping with the very "modern" feel of the castle as a whole.

Octobre 18, 1867 IA

It's mid-evening, when Raelyn enters the Master Suite, fresh from her riding leathers. There is a certain smugness about her, a certain pride as she enters the bedroom, looking for her husband. Something about her that suggests she is up to No Good and she's not even bothering to hide it. Not even a little bit. "Thank you, for keeping watch over everything while I went to Sunsreach, Stephen. I had to see to the special delivery of my present, to our nephew." She pauses, and notes, "Well worth the few hundred crowns, I might say, too."

"You know I don't mind." Stephen notes, rising from his chair at the desk where he'd been (surprise!) looking over some paperwork. He moves over to briefly embrace her, pressing a warm kiss to her lips before releasing her, "They were pleased then? I can't imagine they wouldn't be. A Warhound is a princely gift." He doesn't pull very far away when the kiss is over, though at least enough for some breathing space, "And it seems the trip went well enough."

Raelyn seems disinclined to pull away either. Indeed, she might slip a bit closer into the arms of her husband, enjoying the comfort. "Easy enough. Yes. I would have stayed longer, if I could. But, my brother is a busy man and there was little enough time for too much familiarity or comfort there. And, I do miss Ironhold as soon as I slip away from it. It's my home." She looks mirthfully into her husband's features, "Of course, the fact that you're here, too, I don't doubt, might have something to do with it."

"Well I'd hope some small bit at least." Stephen grins, glancing over his shoulder, "Wine? Tea? Lemonwater? I'd imagine you're a little parched from being in the saddle most of the day." He beckons for one of the nearby servants to attend…not that they weren't pretty much in the process of doing so already. "Any other news from Sunsreach?"

"Lemonwater, tea will just keep me up. And I've got work in the morning, and so shall abstain from too much wine," Raelyn says, humored. She steals a kiss from Stephen before he goes to gift her with the drink, "Nothing you haven't heard, I'm sure. Nothing exciting, certainly." She moves to sit, then, in the very chair Stephen had claimed, glancing briefly at the paperwork that he's been working on. "Though, I do need your help. You, and your wonderful way with putting proper words on paper."

"Oh? Well, you know I'm always at your disposal." He accepts the cup of lemonwater from the servant, to hand it to his wife, "And with the Abara matter largely settled, I have a great deal more time to focus on Ironhold in specific." He gestures towards the nearby couch, moving to sit down, "So what is it we need?"

"You are aware," Raelyn inquires, because it's never -really- been brought up directly, "There is a tradition in the Cassomir lineage that we do not marry off the Mistress of the Hunt, without their consent? We are each brought up with the understanding we need to, and the gains in the political arena that derive from such. My brother respected this, and waited until I found — someone suitable." She smiles, briefly. She watches Stephen's reactions to this, before pausing, continuing, "And I presume you are also aware of the young man whom Emilia has spent much of her time with? Lonar? She wishes to make him her consort." She does not, yet, indicate she's approved of this, curious to Stephen's reactions even if she can guess them.

Stephen quirks an amused half-smile at Raelyn's comment on finding someone suitable, but as tends to be his way, remains silent while she speaks. When she does speak of consorting Emilia to Lonar, he does frown a bit, though more in thought than outright revolt at the idea. He reaches up to rub a lightly-stubbled chin, considering, "Hm. I'd learned of the Tradition before, but I wasn't sure how…strictly it was adhered to. It does provide a bit of legitimacy to declining marriage inquiries for Emilia, but…" Stephen frowns more deeply now, his expression taking on a bit of a cast that indicates this isn't the easiest thing to speak about, "House Cassomir needs trueborn children. And…we…haven't managed yet, which makes it all the more pressing. The ultimate decision is yours, of course, but I would advise that if we place Emilia in a Consort contract, it may have to be with the understanding that it might be broken sooner rather than later for the good of the House. And I would also suggest that we would need to seek a match for Devlin sooner rather than later. Possibly Adrienne and Graham too."

Raelyn pauses, and says, quietly, "My sister has suffered much in hard obligation to this family, Stephen. You can understand some of that. But, not all." She inclines her head, "Devlin understands his duty. As does Graham. And Adrienne. Still. If I can make suitable arrangements for them, I will. I know the need for trueborn children, Stephen. But I will not begrudge my sister her happiness." There is a firm determination in this, before she relaxes, and rises, to move close to Stephen. "And, trust me. I want daughters, and sons as much as you. The One will bless us so, when it's time, Stephen. I've faith in that."

"I don't begrudge Emilia anything, Raelyn. I'm hardly in a position to do so without being a hypocrite, but I'm pointing out the facts. Politically, the House is strong. Economically, we are more than stable, if not wealthy. But one serious misfortune and we could easily cease to be viable as a House simply due to lack of numbers to carry on the line. Unless the King and Queen deigned to cast out towards distant cousins, which is a possibility, but…" Stephen shakes his head, "I don't mean to bring up unpleasantness, but I promised you honest counsel. If we want to give Emilia a Consort contract with Lonar, it's far from outside our power, and for the moment we haven't receieved serious inquiries for her as a marriage partner…perhaps due to awareness of your traditions, as well as your brother's well-justified reaction the last time frivolous offers were extended."

Raelyn nods. "I know you often say it is my choice. But, I -do- value your counsel, Stephen. I was not raised to this." She looks, briefly, longingly, out the window to the deepening night and the vast forests beyond the castle and then back to Stephen, leaning into his body once again, seeking embrace. "I appreciate your honesty. And, your understanding. Perhaps alongside Alysande, I am the luckiest and most fortunate woman in all of Rivana." She kisses his neck, suggesting, "Will you help me draw up the contract in the morning, then? And then, then, perhaps, we can start considering marriage options for my cousins, and my brother. And we will likely have to settle for lower nobility, if we wish the line to stay that of Cassomir blood. But I would rather have a family, than more sway."

"Of course I will." Stephen slips an arm around Raelyn's waist, "But we have to understand…if we do get a serious offer for Emilia, we'll need to carefully consider it. And if we choose to decline it, whether to honor her Consort contract or simply because she doesn't wish it, then it will be with the understanding that Emilia will never marry in that case. To do otherwise would offer grave insult to the house that levied the fair offer." Stephen takes in a breath, then exhales, "Well, we shall see. Obviously we want the best matches possible, but you're right in that we shouldn't be seen as too grasping. It's one thing to hold the favor of the Queen, it's another to stay favorable among the other vassals by not flaunting it too much." He adds, "And Devlin is still your brother, and the brother of a King. If we can make a prestigious match for him we will, and in either case we should at least be able to achieve a county match. Adrienne and Graham, I would suggest looking towards our immediate vassals for potential matches, unless you have other ideas."

That fact that Stephen levies is one that Raelyn had not given consideration to, and it gives her pause. She nods, once, though, in acceptance of the honest, and frank advice given. She only presses further into him, then, leaning her head against his shoulder. "No. Though, I am certain my cousin had some measure of interest towards Aidric Carling. I've no idea if that still remains, or not. And Graham's consort has been eliminated." Stephen well knows that, Cathrynn having been one of the Huntresses, even if inadverently, who'd plotted against Emilia and lost her Huntress stripes for it. "I fear, husband-mine, we Cassomir's are romantics, all, at heart. Despite our more stoic nature." To this, she laughs, gently.

"Carling?" Stephen rubs at his chin in thought, "Well, I suppose we'll see. But necessity may have to outweigh interest in this. I don't get the impression Carling is a man who'd want to become a Cassomir, and may be an ill fit if he did. If we seek alliance with Normont I'd imagine there are better routes we can take." He chuckles, shaking his head, "As for romantics, I can't complain over it even if it's very different from what I grew up with. Still, it seems clear your parents at the very least enjoyed each others' company." You don't have that many kids if you don't!

Stephen chuckles, "I'll admit, that always surprised me. I only saw your father a couple of times when I was younger, and certainly didn't know him well, but everyone spoke of him being a dour and forbidding man. The Iron Baron."

Raelyn nods, once. "Though," she maintains, "He was a good man, he didn't let very many people in. That doesn't mean he didn't love us. Or his people. I think he was like that -because- he loved his people so much. And did not want us to seem weak. In private, sometimes, he was more warm." She pulls away from Stephen, gently, just enough so she can look him in the eyes. "I often think, now looking back, he felt the need to try and protect all of us, shoulder those burdens, so we didn't have to. And I think he was so hard on Jaren, or harder than he was on the rest of us, because he saw Jaren's potential more readily than anyone else."

Stephen nods, "Certainly no one thought him any less than unfailingly honorable and dependable. Even my mother seemed to have a certain respect for him. Which might have helped things along when Jaren made his inquiry about a marriage." He smiles to Raelyn, a bit wryly, "My mother shoulders a lot of burdens, but she certainly didn't feel the need to shield us from much. More like…sink or swim." He shrugs, then smiles more warmly, "But I guess I swam."

"I wouldn't say he - shielded us, so much," Raelyn hazards, considering. "Just more that he wanted us to grow, to learn, without the worries of the world." She smiles again, "Look what it did for me," she suggests, laughing, some. She steals a kiss from Stephen, then, indulgently and adds, "Yes? A good swimmer, you? Then, perhaps you will join me in the morning, for a swim. In that quiet little cavern pool I took you to, on your first visit to Ironhold? We could," she says, pressing her body against Stephen in an entirely different manner now, "Go now. It's not too far. And a swim is a wonderful way to relax. Do you need to relax, Stephen?"

Stephen's brows lift in amusement, "Somehow I'm thinking your definition of relaxing might be rather vigorous." He teases, leaning down to steal another kiss in return, before pulling his head back, smiling, "But you're the one that's been riding all day. I've mostly been sitting at a desk after training this morning. So if you want to sneak out there, I'll follow." He adds, "Or we could "relax" right here and sneak out there in the morning." He grins more mischievously, "The decision is, of course, yours, Your Excellency."


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