1867-03-20: Horse Trading
Horse Trading
Summary: One way or another, A Duke always gets what they want, but sometimes it takes a bit of work.
Date: Marse 20, 1867 IA
Related: Logs concerning The Venderos Tourney of 1867, and particularly the Joust and its' grand prize.
Darren  Raimond  

“I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I’m just noting that the penalty for Horse Thievery in Eastfield is death by hanging, that’s all.” The voice of Raimond Giraldi could be heard in the courtyard of the Giraldi Manse, laced with mock-innocence as he walked alongside his half-brother, the Duke Darren Haldis of Eastfield. “Of course, you already know this.”

The former Chaves Manse was in the midst of renovations after the Giraldi purchase, with workers visible here and there, painting and repairing and landscaping and otherwise bringing the Manse up the standards now demanded by the Lady Miranda Giraldi and her brood. It would likely be another few weeks, if not a month or more before it was well and truly “presentable.”

“I damn well do. Now stop being an ass about it before I elaborate on Ducal Privilege and just take the damn thing.” Darren retorted, reaching over and giving his younger half-brother a shove of the shoulder that sent him staggering a couple steps before he regained his feet. He didn’t seem to take any umbrage to the gesture, though, just grinning back at Darren as he fell back into step beside him.

“Fine fine, let’s talk business then. Since you seem to want a reminder that half my blood comes from a long line of merchants and traders.” Raimond replied, but his face did grow more serious, “I think it’s safe to say that at this particular moment, it’s the most valuable horse in the Edge, no? Unless the Prince of Venderos has another tucked away in his stables.”

“I wouldn’t sa-…” Darren paused, then laughed under his breath, “No, I can’t even counter that with a straight face. So yes, it’s a damn valuable horse, and I’m not taking it from you…I’m keeping it in trust. It’s still yours.”

“Yes, it’s just going to be living half a duchy away, being pampered with fine grains and rubdowns in-between studding sessions. And I won’t exactly be in a position to remove it from the arrangement at my leisure.” Raimond noted, “But if the Horse is still mine, then the breeding operation becomes a partnership, doesn’t it? Given that my stud is the keystone of the operation…I think a sixty percent cut of the profits made from selling his get should be suitable. To House Giraldi, in perpetuity.”

“Sixty percent!” Darren sputtered, shaking his head vehemently, “You’re out of your mind. You’ll take twenty until you pass and be happy for it.”

“I couldn’t possibly go any less than fifty. You wouldn’t be in a position to have the only purebred Alhazredi line in the Edge were it not for me. Fifty is more than fair, given the circumstances. In perpetuity.” Raimond counteroffered, folding his hands behind his back.

“Who said anything about fairness? I’m your Duke AND I can beat your ass black and blue if I feel like it, and not even our mother can gainsay me on it.” Darren smirked back at Raimond, with very little real menace in his threat, “What are you going to do with the horse if you kept it anyway? It’d be a waste as a rider, and I suspect you’ll still be to busy getting ridden by another Alhazredi altogether to care.”

“Irrelevant details, but not a bad attempt at misdirection.” Raimond backhandedly commended Darren’s bargaining before continuing, “I have what you need and want. I’d be a damn poor excuse for an heir if I didn’t extract a price worthy of the commodity being sold. For my house, of course.”

“For your house, not your pride, eh?” Darren smirked once more, tilting a brow at Raimond as they reached the opposite side of the courtyard. A servant opened the door for them as they approached and they stepped inside, ignoring the sounds of work being done around them as they continued through the corridor towards the front of the house. “I’ll give you thirty. For the length of your life. Because you’re my brother.”

“Well, maybe a bit of pride.” Raimond replied honestly, “I’ll accept forty-five. Because you’re my brother.” Raimond smiled with that same mock-innocence that had marked his tone some moments earlier.

“Thirty-five, and try to go any higher than that and I will just take the damn animal.” Darren growled, clearly beginning to lose his patience with the bargaining.

Raimond tsked, “Well, I suppose that’s that, then. Thirty-Five…because you’re the Duke. And will be paying the upkeep. Through my life, and that of my heir.” Not that the upkeep would be so terribly great an additional expense given that Darren was already caring for near a half-dozen Alhazredi mares.

Darren considered a few moments, then nodded, “Thirty-five percent. Your life and your heir’s. Fair enough.” The Duke started to extend his hand to seal the deal, but Raimond interjected:

And I get the second stallion he sires. No matter what the color.” The first Darren would want to keep for breeding, no doubt.

Darren paused a moment, then nodded, “Fine, the second stallion sired.”

“And a mare for Leander.” Raimond added once more.

“Don’t push me, Ray.” Darren added the warning tone to his voice, but conceded a moment later, “I might consider gifting him one once the line is seeded and viable, but I won’t swear to it.”

“All right, all right.” Raimond put his hands up, “But I’ll want it all in writing. Necessary when we’re cutting across generations after all.”

“All right, but my people will draw it up.” Darren noted, a touch annoyed, but seeing the necessity in it. “Won’t have you trying to add in clauses in fine print.” This said as he clasped Raimond’s hand tightly and shook it vigorously for a moment.

“Please, brother…we run an upstanding business and would never engage in such trickery. But I’ll await the contract at your leisure.” Raimond started to grin once more, but the smile wavered a bit. “He really is a fine animal. I was sorely tempted to try harder to keep him.”

“I don’t blame you…but we both know he’ll be more valuable as a breeding stud than a trophy for you to trot around on.” Darren notes, “And your family doesn’t have the mares or the expertise to set up a good breeding operation.” Darren’s face darkened, “Now I just have to find ways to get more mares. My previous supplier has already sent notice that he won’t be permitted to do business with me any further. Seems owning that stallion is illegal in the eyes of the Alhazred Empire, and aiding a breeding operation here could cost him his head.”

“So we’re outlaws, then?” Raimond grinned, “Well, that ought to add a bit of amusement.”

“Only if we decide to sail across the Bitterbreak. As for other sources…” Darren’s mouth quirked in the brief flicker of a grin, “I have something arranged that may help with that.”

“Oooh, you’re being secretive. That likely means trouble.” Raimond chuckled, “Going to share?”

“No…not this. Not yet.” Darren laughed, “Believe me, you’ll know it when you see it.” He added, but did not mention that their shared mother was one of the few that was already aware of what had been arranged, as she’d helped him draw up the contracts.

“Bah, keep your secrets then.” Raimond noted without any real rancor, “In the meantime, you have that contract drawn up and I’ll arrange for transport. We’ll send guards but you’ll likely want to pitch in some of your own. We’re still working on organizing what forces we have so we can’t spare overmuch.”

“Won’t be a problem.” Darren noted, agreeing silently for the need of heavy guard on such a valuable animal. “I’ve business to attend to elsewhere. Give Mother my love and tell Leander I expect him on the practice field tomorrow at dawn.” Darren reached over and clapped Raimond’s shoulder, “Until later.”

“Until later, brother.” Raimond inclined his head respectfully to Darren, and another servant swung the front door of the manse open for the Duke to step through, his horse and bodyguards already waiting not far outside.

As the door closed behind him, Raimond let out a heavy sigh. Darren wasn’t wrong about the value of the horse, but that and the bargain struck still didn’t make it any less bittersweet to be losing such a fine prize. There was nothing to be done for it now, though. Onward to other business….


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