Meeting the Steward

Meeting the Steward
Summary: The Baron of Westmark is summoned to speak with the King's steward, and Prince Tomas is surprised when Paule assumes it was someone else.
Date: 13 June 2013
Related: None
Tomas Paule Guinevere Alek 

Roof Terrace — Brivey Keep
The roof of this tower of the keep is most often utilized for pondering and relaxation. A short four-foot ledge outlines the rooftop for the protection of those that choose to visit. The perch above offers bird's-eye view of the entire castle as well as the sprawling Riedel lands below in all directions. Stone benches have been set near the ledges for those requiring rest.

Following the curve of the tower takes one along a sloping walk back toward the door leading into the castle.

13 June 1329

When he recieved the summons, Paule left Katarina in charge of Westmark's continued defense, while he summoned forth one of his most trusted guards to escort him to the Keep. Arriving at the Rhaedan house, the Westmark baron has a couple of extra guards that are carrying a cask of fresh vintage wine for the family, but Alek and Paule proceed to the roof of the Keep to await their meeting with the Rhaedan royals. Though Paule is assuming of course, it'll be the King.

A young royal guard steps onto the roof. He bows quickly to the men, then moves to stand at attention. Moments later, Prince Tomas arrives on the roof. His eyes narrow as he settles on Baron Westmark with his gaze. He offers a slighty bow of his head, "Baron Westmark." His voice is strained, his eyes bloodshot, and a strong odor of wine eminates from his presence. "Thank you for coming. I hope your trip was good." A smirk spreads on his lips as he glances toward Alek, then back to the Baron.

Not who he was expecting, of course, Paule lifts his gaze from his private conversation with Alek and offers a bow in response. "Your Highness." he offers polietly. "Not sleeping well?" he asks causally as he moves to take a seat. "I assume then that it was not His Majesty that summoned me here for this meeting?"

Tomas furrows his brow as he steps further onto the roof. "Yes, I am the one who summoned you. But, as the King's Steward, I speak for the King on many matters pertaining to the administration of his demesne." He crosses his arms behind his back, and looks away from the pair, gazing across the land below the tower. "I have important matters to discuss with you, Baron Westmark. I have questions I want answered…" he turns back now to the Baron, "…and I want to hear those answers directly from you." Straight to the point. Prince Tomas has never been accused of being overly social.

There is the lift of Alek's gaze from the conversation privately had with Paule with the arrival of the Prince. The Knight delivering a flawless bow to the Prince, with a husky,"Your Highness, before simply falling silent as he takes to a place just behind Paule as his Baron takes a seat.

"Better you than the Varghem pup." Paule says simply, showing no sign of being phased by who it may have been summoning him and why. Glancing over, he gestures for Alek to make a couple of goblets of wine. "Bring some of the blood wine. This may be a while, Alek."

Tomas has just stepped out on the roof with his personal attache from the Royal Guard. He is standing near the short protective wall, looking at the Baron with a grim look and a brow raised. He glances toward Alek as the order to prepare the wine is made. His expression softens, though only a little. He turns back to the castle below, gazing down in silence for several moments, before looking back to the Baron, "Why is it, Baron Westmark, that you requested to be excused from the recent mobilization." His brow shoots up once more, keeping his arms crossed behind his back.

"Yes, my Lord," comes Alek's easy response to the direction given over by Paule. The knight, clean shaven and ever pretty, stepping to take up a pair of goblets and seeing them filled with the fameous bloodwine before seeing a goblet presented to Tomas and Paule.

"Because, Your Highness." said simply enough after Paule accepts his goblet from Alek and takes a long sip, "In this time of closing the doors to prevent the rogue Prince and his hostage from escaping, I require my full compliment of troops to keep Westmark borders closed to any possible trespassers." It's a simple enough frasoning, as he smiles after the drink. "This is the latest Blood Wine to come to fruition. I do warn that it is not for the faint of pallet, as it is grown in the same vineyards that serve as the grave of the Corsair dogs." he comments as he considers.

"After all, if the Taniford sees fit to send half of its army into our lands to hunt for these fugitive, would you not see the reasoning that I would have to make sure that they have one less area that they could reteat to?" the Baron asks reasonably.

Coming up from the curve of the tower, head held high and arms folded across her midsection, Lady Guinevere finds herself at one of her favorite places of the keep. A smile blossoms on her lips as the gentle breeze caresses her skin and brushes at her hair. Behind her is a small maid that follows after her Lady ever dutifully.

Tomas takes the goblet in hand, taking a sniff of the wine with a brow raised. After several moments, he lifts it to his lips as his gaze remains steady on the Baron. He tastes the wine, swishing it in his mouth for several seconds as he ponders the flavor. He then downs the rest of the goblet, before handing it off to the young Knight with a motion of his hand, indicating he wants more wine. He then opens his mouth and begins to respond to the Baron, before his head turns toward the approaching Lady. For the first time, a smile spreads on his face, as he bows his head, moreso than he did for Paule. "Lady Riedel, what a pleasant surprise." His eyes are bloodshot and he has an odor of wine about him.

"Lady Riedel." Paule offers to young Guinevere. "I apologize, the children did not accompany me this trip, though I am sure that Coriaria is looking forward to visiting once this current crisis has passed." the Baron offers with a slight bow of his head in greetings as he takes another draw off of his wine, much more moderate with his drinking in meetings.

The already emptied goblet is easily taken up by the Knight and temporary wine steward. Alek seeing the goblet once more filled with the bloodwine and in time returned to the Prince. A bow of his head is silently offered to the recently arrived Lady with a charming smile.

And just as quickly as Guinevere was here, she departs again, leaving the Prince and Baron to their business.

Tomas takes the wine in his hands, taking another long drink of it. He then sets the goblet on the edge of the wall, looking over to Paule. He hesitates, in contemplation. After several moments, he speaks, "I do see your reasoning." He purses his lips, eyeballing the Baron for several more moments. He then speaks abruptly, "But, I warn you. I have eyes and ears in Westmark. We are keeping a close eye on your troop movements. I wouldn't try any…" he pauses a moment for effect, "dirty tactics." After a moment, he addds, "Unless it is against the Kings enemies."

Paule lifts his gaze for a moment to the Prince. "We have been nothing but loyal to the regiem. If the current tactics leave more questions than answers. Does this mean that the Rhaedan family is accepting of the Tanifords on their lands, as I was given orders from our King by a Varghem Lady?" he asks casually as he drinks from his wine again to allow Alek to refill his goblet.

With the second goblet of wine lasting a bit longer for the Prince, Alek does give an incline of his head to Paule before seeing the Baron's goblet refilled as well. Ensuring that both goblets are kept well filled, or simply returning to his place behind Paule when neither is in need of filling.

Tomas furrows his brow once more, looking across sharply to Paule. He shifts his weight, crossing his arms behind his back. "Are you saying that a Taniford gave you orders to keep your troops at bay?" His eyes narrow in thought, before he looks back to the lands below. He ponders for several moments, silent.

Paule looks bemused for a moment as he drinks his wine. When he speaks, it's casual and calm. "No, originally, the Tanifords wanted me to include my troops in the march north and to allow the Sollingers to help provide for Westmark's defense. I convinced the King to see the folly of those plans, so when Lady Prada supposedly handed out new orders as the King's stewart that we were to remain in place. Which is exactly what was needed." he shrugs his shoulders. "I think you should have a talk with the Varghem lady about who exactly serves as the King of Rhaedan's voice."

Tomas's left eye begins to twitch as he snatches up his wine. He pauses a moment with the goblet near his mouth, before taking a hearty swig of the wine. He then glances at the Royal Guard, then back to the Baron's own Knight, then to the Baron, "Have your guard go to the library and wait for you." He gives another glance to his own man, then adds, "Take him with you." He hooks a thumb toward the man at the exit.

Glancing towards Alek for a moment, Paule nods his head slowly. "Leave the wine, Sir Alek." he comments calmly as he refills his own goblet and offers for the Prince. "I think you might want to take a seat, aye?"

Tomas doesn't respond to his question. He simply turns to stare across the lands once more. He is stiff, uncomfortable. The vein in his neck and on his forehead is starting to protrude. As the two Knights disappear below, the Steward speaks once more, "I am not one to question the King, Baron Westmark, you know that." He pauses, then continues, "For the interest of the crown and the people of Rhaedan, I must know what you know." He turns back to the Baron again, his arms still crossed behind his back. "Why are we marching off with Taniford scum? Why is a Lady from the south giving orders to a northern noble? I need answers. I need to know what is going on here."

"It all started with the death of the Taniford Princess." Paule says as he gestures again to the seat. For all the anger that seems to be flying around, he just seems to be utterly calm about it all. Then again, most everyone knows that the Baron is a pretty ruthless tactician. "After her death, there was a lot of finger pointing and then the Princess and Prince of Rhaedan were taken hostage by the Southern nobility." he takes another drink from his wine before he continues.

"A pair of our commoners, the Ranger Savaric and his healer wife managed to find the track of clues. While the nobles in the south continued to finger-point, the two of them managed to uncover that it was actually the Prince Darrin Taniford that was behind the murder of his sister in a plot to overthrow the lands. Apparently he has corrupted Princess Kerilyn, the crown princess to follow him in this plot to unite the Tanifords and Rhaedans as one." he allows that to settle in for a moment, before he continues.

"Apparently, to hunt down two people, the Tanifords were allowed to mobilize half their army and the Sollinger navy on our lands and in our waters. Prada Varghem has served as the King's voice in your stead and the Auldholme heir, Augustus, has willingly followed along, as he is courting a Southern lady and surely her favor has nothing to do with his attitude. I will not get into the rumors of Princess Amira's behaviours turning possibly amorous towards the Duke of Wolveshire and Prince Samwell."

Tomas shakes his head slowly, "I go to my summer stead for two months, and this is what happens." He releases a heavy sigh, his face starting to look ragged with stress and middle-age. He takes up the wine, chugging a bit as some comes trickling down from the corner of his mouth. His blood pressure remains high as he goes to pour himself more. "Where is this Varghem woman now?"

"That is an excellent question. I'm surprised it wasn't Prada that greeted me when I arrived here as I had assumed she had settled in and taken over the role of stewart and tactician for this joint venture." Paule says as he finishes off his second goblet of wine, but doesn't refill this time, leaving it for Tomas to handle. Instead, he folds his hands over each other and looks towards the Prince. "In response to the Tanifords being here, I have closed the Westmark borders to prevent any ideas of Prince Darrin to head there, and our shore defenses are shored up to make sure the Sollingers cannot land troops on our shores and will continue to use Laketown for embarkation. That hasn't kept us from sending mechants to open up shop along the path of march and collected a good amount of coin for our treasury in the meantime."

Pouring the Baron a refill, he speaks in a grim voice, "I am devotedly loyal to the throne, as are you. Yet, I cannot sit idly by while Tanifords take over our courts and councils. I still believe my poor Vivian was murdered by those cowards in the south." The Prince hands the goblet of wine to the Baron, as he takes a more moderate sip of his own, this time. He sets the glass down, crossing his arms behind his back as he begins pacing to and fro. "I must find this… Prada woman, and set the record straight to her who is the Kings voice. I have not been released from my position, and she will understand this." He hesitates, looking back to Westmark with both brows raised, "And what of you? Will you stand with me against southern treachery in northern lands?"

"As I have told my family and King, if the Tanifords intentions are for more than to capture their wayward Prince, they will learn the lessons of why the Corsairs use the name Westmark as a curse in their lands." Paule says simply, waving off his refill of wine. "I promised Baroness Westmark that I would return to her side by nightfall."

Tomas shifts his weight, "Very well, but first you will do something for me." He stops pacing, looking sharply toward the Baron. "I am not sure who to trust, but for some reason, I trust you…" he pauses, then adds, "…on this matter." He lifts his glass of wine, taking another hefty swig before continuing with his rant. "I want you to send your best man, have him find this Prada woman, then have him report directly back to me as to her whereabouts. Her and I need a discussion. Your man will not discuss his mission to anyone other than you and I." He doesn't ask if his plan is acceptable. He merely glances at the wine, motioning with his hand casually, "…and I think you should leave me your contingent of wine." He obviously likes the Baron's drink.

"Sir Alek is my best man - he is entrusted with the safety of the House heir." Paule says simply. "I will task him with finding Prada for you, but it would not be beyond her that she is probably in the castle someplace, if not out with the troops. I will have him find out for you." he says finally. "And the wine is a gift, as always." he smiles thinly. "We will do what we can to make sure to keep the Tanifords.. behaved."

Tomas nods in affirmation to the Westmark's words. He purses his lips in thought for a moment. His bloodshot eyes turn toward the Baron, a smile spreading on his lips, "I suspect you are able to keep this meeting between you and I, and your man Alek. I need to be able to operate without suspicion." Another hesitation, "I will remember your loyalty, Baron Westmark." He offers a slight bow of his head.

Paule allows a chuckle. "My men know the value of keeping silent, aye, Your Highness." the Baron offers with a bow of his head as he moves to rise to his feet. "If there is anything else that you need or want, Your Highness?" the Baron asks the Prince finally.

Tomas shakes his head slowly, "Nay. I believe we have this well in hand. Report back to me with anything suspicious you may come across concerning the southern scum, and these Sollingers." He nods once more, "That is all." He motions once more with his hand, before turning to lean on the railing.

"Very well. Good luck with your discussion, Your Highness." Paule says as he rises to his feet and he bows his head to the Prince as he turns to leave, as silently as the Baron arrived in the castle.

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