|Summary:||It's business, it's Business Time! Just kidding. Anais and Kittridge discuss business in both general and specific terms.|
|Date:||09 June 289|
|Related Logs:||Different Game Plans for the awkward meeting referred to several times.|
|Terrick's Roost - The Green|
|09 June 289|
Kittridge sits on a rock, writing or drawing or something like that. It's a nice day and there's plenty of activity about the green and on the roads beside it, none of which the young lord seems to pay any mind, focused instead on the notebook he has balanced on one knee, and the little scrap of pencil in his other hand. He looks up occasionally, off at Four Eagles in the distance.
Usually, Anais would be riding out by the green. But since her horse was stolen, she hasn't gone out of her way to claim another. Instead, she's taken to walking when she wants to go out. She's accompanied by a trio of guards, as well as an unfamiliar handmaid. Nina, who was stuck in the cave with the rest, seems to have been given a generous vacation. When she catches sight of Kittridge, Anais turns her steps toward the lord, picking up her skirts a bit to hike through the tall grass. "Lord Kittridge," she greets when she's closer, offering a small smile. "Good afternoon."
Kittridge looks up as a shadow heralds Anais's approach, turning and shading his eyes. When he recognizes her, he rises, and bows. "Lady Anais," he says, "Good afternoon to you." He closes the notebook and tucks it into a pocket, "I hope the day finds you well?"
"Oh, please," Anais tries to wave off the rising, moving to sit next to his rock. "After last night, I'm a little surprised you didn't just run away. It's only because I snuck up on you, isn't it?" she asks, looking up from arranging her skirts with a smile that's only half teasing and carries some apology as well.
"I always knew my lack of alertness would get me into trouble one day," Kittridge replies to Anais with a smile barely surpressed for the joke, "If I'd just heard you coming a second sooner…" he makes a WOOSH noise and a 'zooming off down the Orchard Road' gesture. He retakes his seat once she's found her own, and says, "But no, I— I won't pretend yesterday's meeting wasn't… particularly awkward," he says, "But it is not as though I expected a warm reception. I know that you and your house must be very displeased with our decision, and I can't blame you for that. I just hope that you can understand we meant no malice by it."
Anais moves to lean against the rock, promptly undoing all of her work with her skirts by drawing her knees up to her chest as the guards make a triangle around the pair. "Last night was spectacularly awkward," she agrees, sighing. "But less awkward than it could have been, I assure you. Luci…did not think things through all the way before acting. As for the decision…" She trails off, lifting one shoulder in a shrug. "I told you when you arrived that I hadn't even expected you to come, Lord Kittridge. So how can I be upset if you did what I assumed you would do from the beginning?"
"We waited for your answer," Kittridge replies, "Lord Justin agreed we would hear from you within three days. We waited four, and then we made the deal with the Naylands." He shrugs, "If you are truly not upset, then I thank you for that, lady. I find it difficult to believe that all in your house will be so understanding. They have been inclined to give our honor the benefit of the doubt in the past."
"I'm not upset that you did what was best for your house," Anais wrinkles her nose. "But I may be more practical than the family into which I've married. I'm more frustrated that there's so little we can do about the issue of food in general." She draws a deep breath, reaching down to pluck a stem of grass from the dirt. "Everything grows so /easily/ here," she murmurs. "It seems like this should all be nothing."
"You didn't really give us another choice," says Kittridge, and the nods. "And in the summer, too. It seems like it should just grow again right away, replenish itself. And it will, soon enough, just… not as soon as it seems like, I guess." He rakes a hand through his hair and says, "I was serious, about being willing to discuss the next harvest, if you would be interested. I don't know how you've calculated things, but if it is of interest, we can talk about it. There may also…" He pauses, hesitates a second, "I can't say for sure whether my father would go for it, he may have other plans already that I'm not yet privy to. But a loan may not be out of the question, if needed. I'm sorry for talking business uninvitedly," he says after a beat, smile crooked, "If you'd like me to stop, please just say. I'm sure I can come up with some less weighty topic."
"No. No," Anais laughs softly, twirling the stem of grass between her fingers. "Business is easier than other things, sometimes. The truth is, Lord Kittridge, I'd be glad to talk about next year's harvest, but we need something to get us through the next year first. And there's no sense in negotiating for something we may well not be able to pay for. It's bad enough we left you on the hook for this year as long as we did," she adds, looking up apologetically. "I'd hate to negotiate things out for next year only to be unable to follow through on our commitments."
"It is, isn't it?" Kittridge says, "I'd been realizing that myself, lately. I've always hated it. Business, I mean." He listens, and then nods. "That makes sense, of course. I just wanted to make sure you knew the offer was in earnest, if Lord Jerold was interested. And that a loan is something that can be discussed, if that is also. We're open to discussions on basically anything, would I guess sum up what I'm saying more briefly," he says, "The lack of them is what caused the problem this last time, and I for one would like to do better next time, if we can."
"A loan…might be necessary," Anais admits, though reluctantly. "I know there is food to be had. The trouble is paying for it. I've had a few other thoughts on the matter, but I haven't had a chance to discuss them with Lord Jerold yet." She looks up with a small smile at the talk of business. "The nice thing about business is that it's…clean-cut. The numbers add up or they don't, and the ultimate goal is profit. There's less to guess about, less to worry about. But I suppose that's also what makes people /not/ like it."
"Up for discussion," Kittridge nods, "We're close enough, and we've other business in the Roost, it's easy enough to speak whenever. Who knows whether we'll agree on things, but there's only one way to find out, right?" He smiles a bit and nods, "Aye, I guess that may be it. Numbers are simpler than most things, not that business doesn't have plenty of politics attached to it too, most of the time."
"Politics," Anais sighs, "Work better when everyone plays them. But." She leans back more comfortably, turning her face up to the sun. "Did you get your tunic back?" she asks, as though just remembering it herself. "I sent someone down to the inn with it. I wasn't sure if I'd see you again, and I want to make sure you got it back. Thank you."
"Or no one," agrees Kittridge, "But that's not very likely. Better when everyone just admits they play them, too. That y— some houses treat the idea as such a dirty one is strange, I think. As if it isn't possible to practice politics and still be good, and honorable." He shrugs, and then nods at the question, "I did, and you're very welcome. I'm just sorry it wasn't cleaner. And longer."
Anais laughs, reaching up to rub a hand at her brow. "Well, it was infinitely better than what I had at the time. Besides, you'd look rather silly in a tunic any longer than that. Although I hear the Dornish have some interesting fashions," she muses as she lowers her hand. "They were rather well-organized for common bandits, though," she adds, thoughtful. "They knew what they wanted, and they didn't do anything particularly stupid. I haven't taken the time to think it through, but I do think there's something to that."
"It was that," Kittridge agrees with a smile, "And true, I have a couple that are longer and I never wear them for just that reason. Dornish fashion is…" he makes a face, "I've heard about it. Sounds ridiculous." He tilts his head and considers what she says about the bandits, and then shrugs, "I don't know, were they? They feel quickly enough when we attacked. Neither of the ones I fought seemed to have any experience, the last one by the cave could barely hold that sword right. I suppose the one with the mustache stayed up for a bit," he says, considering, and shrugs, "Could've been a sellsword or something, maybe? Came back with the army? I don't know. I hadn't thought about it," he admits.
"They didn't touch any of us. For the better part of three days," Anais points out, lips pursed in thought. "Those aren't the actions of disorganized, inexperienced bandits. And they took out our guards before anyone could even react. They knew to stay in the woods." Thoughtful, she brushes her thumb over her lips, then shakes her head with a sigh. "I don't know. Maybe I'm over thinking it. Maybe they were just men pushed to the point of extremity with wives and families and they didn't want to do anything they didn't have to. But that doesn't seem particularly realistic, either."
"Touching you gets them hung," Kittridge points out, "If they really thought that ransom was going to happen, which it seems like they did, why risk it? I don't know, men like that… they're easily led. That's what they're trained to do. All you need is one bandit leader they'll obey, who's reasonably smart himself…." He shrugs again, and says, "I don't know. I'm inclined to say you're overthinking it, myself, but I didn't spend three days with them."
"Maybe," Anais allows. "Maybe. I know Justin is trying to track down those who might still be lingering in the woods. I'll feel better when there are more of them dead." She's quiet once more, holding a hand over her mouth before she shakes her head. "If you ever want to test your self-control, Lord Kittridge, I really do recommend spending a few days in a small cave with a large number of women, insufficient food, and guards you have some inkling are not entirely competent."
Kittridge chuckles. "I think that would test my self-control in entirely different ways than you mean," he jokes, and after a beat, jokes further: "I'd be tempted to snack on people's ears when they were asleep, obviously." He pats his pocket, and then rises, saying, "And on that pleasant note, I'm afraid I need to be heading back to have dinner with my sister. I hope you have a pleasant evening, Lady Anais. It was a pleasure speaking with you, as always. With the exception of getting caught in the middle of awkward family arguments, of course," he winks.
Anais snaps her fingers with a laugh. "Why didn't I think of that?" she asks, then pushes up as he does, pausing to brush off her skirts. "It is my sincere hope that there will be no need for such awkward moments in the future, Lord Kittridge," she assures the knight with a crooked smile. "Please give my regards to your sister? I'm looking forward to seeing her again at the Seagard tournament."
"And mine," Kittridge agrees, before nodding, "I'll do that, thank you. And yes, we're all looking forward to the tourney." He smiles, and says, "Good day, Lady," before heading off.