Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard
Summary: Katarina and Paule are approached with an idea from Prince Jerric.
Date: 7 July 2013
Related: None
Jerric Paule Katarina 

Brivey Gardens
Gardens of Brivey Keep
7 July 1329

Sitting with Katarina in the gardens of Brivey Keep, Paule has out a small book and is quizzing his wife on a few things. "So the patient has come in. She's complaining of vomitting blood, dizzyness and spasms. You also notice upon examination a slight bulge in her belly. What do you do?" he asks as he takes a few notes and glances up to give Katarina a supportive smile. It's always good to practice some of the other arts other than assassination.

"She's.. host to a parasite of some sort, be it hook worms or some bizarre sort of squid that's going to use her body and it's nutrients to grow huge then burst out of her chest?" Katarina ventures in return, giving the 'mock' answer while she considers the alternatives. "How long has she been exhibiting these symptoms? Any abnormal response to certain scents, tastes, sounds? And she isn't pregnant, I trust?"

Jerric comes in, no hello, no greetings, rolled maps spill from his arms as he does. "I have moved the army to the Old Stone Bridge. I am thinking of moving them through Laketown at first light and making camp in the woods of Taniford," he announces, then blinking at the two "Oh, oh! I thought, um." A shrug of his shoulders "I thought there was someone else here.."

Paule laughs. "She has not visited Ellowe, no." he says in high amusement, as he considers her questions. "She tells you she is pregnant, and her eyes are bloodshot, as if she has been crying." he says. "And she's been exhibiting these symptoms for nearly forty-five minutes when the healers were asked for." he comments, and then blinks, rising to his feet to offer a bow to Jerric. "Your highness. Who were you looking for?" the Baron asks as he moves to pick up some of the maps, but not before turning the book on its pages so Katarina can't see the answer.

Katarina rises to her feet, bowing as well, "Your highness," her words echo Paule's, snagging another of the maps and - yes, she DOES glance at the book and, seeing it face down - sighs as the answer eludes her. "You move the army through Laketown at first light and making camp at the woods, the border between our land and theirs, and it is a act of stated aggression. Just as refraining from doing so invites questions as to the standing readiness of our army. The better question, Sire, is whether ot not we will achieve all our goals by moving our army into position tomorrow verse doing so now, or a week from now?"

"That stupid Advisor of mine, the one that sucks all the wine dry and chases the women more that he advises. I told him to meet me here, and, well it was some time a go." He shakes his head "He is either drunk or in bed with some woman." Then ne realizes "Baron, Baroness," he greets properly at last. Then as Katarina speaks up his eyes narrow as he studies her after her comments. "You are on my council, yes?" Not waiting for an answer "I have an opening. It just opened actually. If you would take the job of my Advisor it is yours starting," there is just the slightest pause "now."

"Tomas? I thought your father had already sent him packing?" Paule asks in some confusion, and adds. "And when she speaks, Kat, her breath smells of mint." he points out as he hands the map over to Katarina, and then looks surprised at the offer. "Your Highness, Baroness Katarina is integral to running the Barony at my side until Coriaria is ready to lead herself…" he says, confusion pulling at his brow as he realizes that if Katarina accepts, she will have to spend even more time at the Castle than at home.

"Better that he be in bed with some woman and local talent then in bed with the enemy with Taniford coin in his purse," Katarina says, rather somberly really, in return. She nods, slowly at first, studying Jerric for a silent moment before she glances to Paule next, "It would require that we spend more time in the capital than home, yes," answering his unasked question. "But it would also place our daughter in a position that proves, once and for all, that we do trust her. That we are equally capable of stepping back and letting her set to the business of administering the lands, really seeing what it means - hours and time wise - than just hearing us saying it over and over again." She turns back toward Jerric, "There are those on your council who will not be pleased to see me as your adviser, I may be required to take appropriate steps should the need arise. And we," she does that calm glance again to Paule, "would continue to both be council members, yes?" the last question turned back to Jerric.

Jerric rolls his eyes "He begged to stay, but he is gone now. Make no mistake on that." Then he looks puzzled "Wait, who's breath smells of mint?" the Prince asks. When it is pointed out the importance of Katarina he just nods "Yes, I am sure she is. Very important. And to the Crown as well. She has a sharp mind, that is twice she has pointed out details that I have not heard before." He looks to Kat and then back to Paule "How about every day she is gone, I shall pay her, you, 50 silvers? That would add to the coffers of Westmark, yes?"

Jerric's smile grows as he hear's Katarina's explanation. When she speaks to him about the other council members he rolls his eyes "Who, those poppycocks that just tell me yes, that my ideas are the best, collect my coin and then go whoring?" A wave of his hand send a few more maps to the ground at his feat "They are no matter, you tell me who to keep and who to," then he pauses and shakes his head "No. You will speak for me. Fire those that you deem need it, keep those that you wish to keep"

Then to Paule he nods "As you are already one of my council members, I shall pay you as well." Looking between the two his brows rise "So what say you?"

"She is not for sale as such." Paule says, a frown pulling at his features. Even at Katarina's explanation, the Baron does not look pleased. "With the talk of war, is this the time to be turning the Barony over to Coriaira? And don't compare it to me when I took it over, my parents perished, and I wasn't left with a choice." he says, his eyes drifting to his wife, and then back to the Prince. "When your father ordered her to me, we agreed that we would not leave the other's side if we could help it." he says as he draws out a breath. "And it is highly unusual to turn the Barony over to a heir while we are still alive.." he comments, his hand reaching up to rub the back of his head.

"Unusual.. but not every family has a heir like ours," Katarina says gently. "Not every family has a child who has been educated, thoroughly, trained, thoroughly, whose mind is quick, agile and - frankly - one of a kind in a generation," she adds quietly. "The crown needs us, Paule. Because neither of us are court animals, we never could be, which means that members of the court have no idea how to suck up to us, they have no way to bribe us, to line our pockets with coin. And as we are already working on sorting out the books, they frankly won't like us, no matter what we do. Which, in and of itself, means that we will give the crown the advice and insight that it needs, not that which the court would find . . beneficial." She reaches out one hand to link with Paule's, "We fought, together, to save our land, our people; lets fight now for the crown so that the kingdom, at large, can reap the same rewards." She glances back at Jerric, "We will share as much of our time with you as we can, your highness, and as much of our time with Coriaria and our people as they need. It's a balance, and it will take some work, but we'll find a balance," she looks back to Paule as she speaks.

Jerric laughs as he hears Paule's comment on Katarina not being for sale. A deep laugh "Baron, if she accepts the 50 silvers then I am saving over that leach Tomas who not only took his pay but was very liberal in his book keeping, in his own favor." Then as Katarina talks to Paule, he does have enough sense to not interject. Even takes a half step back to give them the space they need.

Paule's hands slip into Katarina's, and he squeezes them. "I've only known war my whole life. Politics are not my thing. Arriving in the middle of the darkness. Striking where least expected.. armies are not for me." he admits quietly. "You are trained in that. I'm not. I learned in shadow and stealth." he says as he looks up into her eyes, the small debate swaying him. "You said we would have time together in peace. And perhaps.. it is time that we.." he shakes his head. "..what do we become? If we are no longer Baron and Baroness of Westmark, what do we become for the court? If we turn it over to Coriaria. Will we be able to continue to protect her from having to take on a match? I know.. it's time. But, what do we become now, Kat?"

"You are learned in shadow and stealth, and I was trained for war from my first breath, as I will be, to my last," Katarina says in a voice that is oddly gentle and quiet. "As to the 50 silvers.. House Westmark serves at the pleasure of the crown, we don't do it for pay, and - were pay offered - we would not accept it. We have no need for coin. We will, however, accept a reasonable allowance for quarters, necessary expenditures and the like," she glances toward Jerric with a quirk of a smile. "And we will refuse to allow any suitor to court her, period, no matter how nicely they ask. It's that simple. Any man who is obnoxious or persistent will be discouraged, potentially at the tip of sword, if need be." She glances up at Paule again, "Plus, there are few safer places to be, a woman of my age - finding herself rather unexpectedly with child again - cannot be galloping like mad to and fro from place to place."

Blinking "Wait, wait, no one said anything about giving up your titles? YOu are the Baron of Westmark and you are the Baroness of Westmark. You shall be till the day you decide to not be or you die." Blunt, but the truth. A hand points to Paule "You are already both on the council, this is just making an advisor. I need someone that tells me what I /should/ hear, not what they think I want to hear."

Nodding to Katarina "We need those kinds of plans. All I hear about is to meet the enemy on the open field like proper Lords and fight it out." Another roll of his eyes "And that worked for who for four hundred years?" He nods once to Katarina "Done, your expenses shall be paid by the Crown."

One could knock Paule over with a feather as he stares at Katarina and then one hand leaves hers to rest on her stomach. "You are sure?" he asks, his eyes searching her face as he listens to the moment and then looks to Jerric. "Your Highness, we have been discussing that Coriaria go ahead and be elevated to Baroness. If we are to be away from Westmark more often that not to be your advisors, and Katarina as your personal Advisor, then we would rather have Coriaria ready to be the Baroness than for us to lead from afar. Our people expect.. and deserve their leader to be within their ranks." he says quietly, honestly. "It is the way we have always done it since we first took over the land. If we can retain title or become Dowager Baron and Baroness or.. whatever.. then we would accept.." he says finally, glancing towards his wife for approval.

"I'm sure," Katarina says calmly, "you'll recall.. I've done this before," she reminds with a small curve of a smile forming on her face. She covers Paule's hand with hers and nods, "Lets just not tell the children yet, alright?" she asks in a lower voice, "I'd rather them NOT think that we're trying to replace Castor or.." her lips press together in a fine line before she turns to Jerric. "It is the custom of our house. We'll sort out the dynastic paperwork, so to speak. We are accepting, and no, you highness. The advice in the last four hundred years has brought us this far, but it isn't going to keep working. The Taniford's aren't foolish. This round of 'romances' between the kingdoms should be ruthlessly squashed, resolutely discouraged, and heavy fines levied upon those who are determined to muddy the blood lines. War, when it comes, must be swift, brutal, and efficient. The way to win any war, sire, is to win so thoroughly in the first engagement that the enemy cannot get back up off of the dirt and come at us again. Every war must be fought in a all or nothing mentality. It is never about bashing about and intimidating the other man on the field. "

A shrug of his shoulders "What ever title you desire, it is yours," then Jerric grins "Except for Prince, I kind of have reserved that." Nodding to Katarina and to Paule "Waht ever is the custom of your house, then you are free to do as you wish. I do not wish to interfere, I just need you both. The crown needs you both." When he listens to the first advice he nods and his features darken "They must stop and stop they will. Already Princess Amira is to be kept in Brivey keep and I have given a task to that Augustus to carry out and that Taniford woman is now a servant in Brivey Keep." Then a smile comes, one that always comes as he gets his way "Then you both accept, I take it?"

"Katarina knows more of the court than I do. The decision of titles is upon her. But I would recommend, if she.. is to be your right hand, than a title that will not invite question or recourse from the other houses." he points out as his hand continues to rest on his wife's stomach. Paule looks up from her stomach, to his wife's eyes and seems to read her easily as he looks towards Jerric. "We accept, Your Highness." he says finally and hugs his wife to him.

Katarina laughs quietly, "Yes, we accept, your highness," Katarina echo's as she smiles at Jerric as well. "We'll figure that out later. Now," She leans against Paule as she speaks, "how large of a mounted force are you thinking to deploy, what's their provision number look like, day wise, and who is our ambassador - do we HAVE a Taniford ambassador at the moment - to be fencing with? Followed.. by a strong suggestion, your highness, that you find a husband for your sister, post haste. Otherwise this situation will rear it's ugly head again. She is young, sire, and eager to be in love. Real or imagined. Pick a husband for her and empower him with all necessary authority to keep her in line. Or else."

Paule coughs a little as he walks. "You realize.. that there will be Tanifords at the Tournament.." the Baron points out casually. "And there will be times where they will be.. indisposed?" he suggests. "And it is a known fact that Prince Samwell is in love with Amira. Why not.." he says, looking between the two. "Ensure that we do have a Taniford, and make Samwell.. disappear.. during the Tournament. We can hold him as they hold our Niniane now. And use his feelings for Amira to keep him in line."

As Jerric is about to answer there comes a young scribe "Your highness, you are wanted in the private chambers. Seems that Lady Guinevere is saying you are late. I told her that the Prince is never late but she insists?" Jerric looks at the boy and nods "Tell her I am on the way." He looks to the both of them. "Let me know of the titles, tomorrow we should sit and discuss your ideas further. I find them, thought provoking to say the least." Then he smiles "I have left Guinevere alone to long I fear."

As Jerric is about to answer there comes a young scribe "Your highness, you are wanted in the private chambers. Seems that Lady Guinevere is saying you are late. I told her that the Prince is never late but she insists?" Jerric looks at the boy and nods "Tell her I am on the way." He looks to the both of them. "Let me know of the titles, tomorrow we should sit and discuss your ideas further. I find them, thought provoking to say the least." Then he smiles "I have left Guinevere alone to long I fear."

"Of course, Your Highness." Paule says as he bows his head and looks to his wife before going to pick up the book. "Since you have a post to write and a promotion to our dear daughter, which is probably going to make her faint." he says with a small chuckle. "And to answer the quiz - the young woman was distraught at having been gifted a child out of wedlock and had drank pennyroyal tea in an attempt to abort the child and had overdosed. Induce with milk and keep hydrated."

"The prince," Katarina casts a glance at the page, "is never late. Everyone else.. is simply early," she clarifies and bows again to Jerric. "We will attend to the details, Sire, you attend to your betrothed." She glances over at Paule again, "Well that was a bad idea. She should have sought the advice of someone properly trained in such matters, not some ad hoc attempt at inducing it herself."

"I know that and you know that, but the heart of an unwed teenager thinks differently." Paule points out with a chuckle as he gathers up their supplies. "Come, Katarina, I suppose I should find you some cider to celebrate with."

Katarina laughs quietly and replies, "And perhaps some very.. dry bread," she suggests, "as ballast," while linking her free hand with Paule's and handing a map back to Jerric. "Our regards to your betrothed, Sire."

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