|Summary:||Aeric Mallister arrives at the Roost and is welcomed by Anais.|
|Seashore — Terrick's Roost|
|A stretch of shore suitable for small landings.|
|November 28, 2011|
It is a brisk Fall day with the coastline whipping loose cloth and sail with an energy though there is no warmth. This close to open sea, the air could be called biting. Dockside, the calls and chants of seafarers and laborers carry with the gulls. There is a ship newly arrived flying the Mallister banner and the runner paid to keep an eye for such a thing has long since gone running.
Now stepping onto land, Aeric Mallister is flanked by a small host of individuals, none of whom appears particularly well armed or armored though they've the look of seasoned men. He stands, tall among them, observing as a horse and baggage are brought down the ramp to shore behind him.
It is perhaps not the welcoming committee he expected. Lord Jerold might have come. Or else his son and heir, Jacsen, might have met the new captain at the shore. But instead, there is a young woman - just a girl, some might argue - waiting along with an escort of four guards in Terrick colors and a single handmaiden. Given her fair hair, she certainly can't be one of the Terrick brood. Yet she waits with some authority, and when Aeric disembarks, it is she who steps forward.
"Ser Mallister?" Anais asks, a welcoming smile warming her features.
At the address, Aeric turns to face the voice in question. The guards might note the subtle shift in his weight and stance which lingers long enough for the veteran to identify the speaker and her retinue. He smiles and offers Anais a mild bow. "I am. Lady Anais, I presume?" It would seem he's well informed.. or practiced in the process of elimination. "May I introduce, Gellard Thorne, my pilot. Justyn Fernwood, master carpenter. Adran Follet, rowmaster. Jayme Rockwell, master artillerist. And Thom Weller, boatswain." He steps aside and indicates each man in turn. As they're introduced, they bow to her and offer a 'm'lady'.
"I am," Anais echoes Aeric's own acknowledgement with an easy smile, nodding in turn to each of the men. Though the master carpenter gets a slightly broader smile, something wistful in her features. "Thank you all," she says once everybody has been introduced. "We're so pleased to have you here, and I look forward to getting to know all of you better. Though I suspect you'd all be glad for baths and beds at the moment," she adds with a laugh. "If you'd care to come with me, Lord Mallister?" she invites, as the guards with her shift to make space.
The sailors each look seasoned though are perhaps not armored as soldiers might be. They've each got a few daggers on them and it looks like they could probably use them. Ahh to be a sailor. Aeric gives Anais a gracious nod and moves to join her with the sailors falling into step with the group as a whole. "Tell me, have you put together much of a crew or marine compliment for the ship?" He inquires in the manner of conversation as they walk.
"Right to the point," Anais observes, smile slipping crooked. "I've just been discussing it with Jacsen and Jarod, actually. We don't have nearly enough men, with nearly enough experience, to crew the ship as it stands right now. What we do have, however, is several leagues of unoccupied coastline." The lady seems at ease among the sailors, perhaps even content. "It was my thought that we could offer small seaholds to those willing to relocate here to the Roost in exchange for serving on the ship. It would allow us to man both the warship and the watchtowers, and they could fish the shores otherwise, contributing to the tax base."
"Its a fair beginning anyway though I dare say that they'll want to tend to their homes as much as they'll want to be at sea. A war galley does not exactly bring them a catch to sell at market." Aeric smirks faintly as he glances about, taking in his new surrounds. "Though inevitably there will be sons who will seek adventure and a chance at another life and the sea does call one so. Does it not?" He casts the question over his shoulder and receives a few 'ayes' from the men behind him. "What of a dry dock for repairs and the like?"
"The dock is under construction," Anais nods, looking over to the man with an approving cast to her smile. It's odd, perhaps, coming from someone so young, but then…For all Terrick's Roost is on the coast, few of the people here are sailors. And Anais comes from a lordship of sailors. "The stone for the construction was also part of my dowry. There were agreements in place for wood from Tall Oaks as well, though I'm not sure where they stand at the moment." As they leave the shore, there is a small party waiting with horses, though Anais seems comfortable waving them off and continuing to walk. "The matter of cost is…Well. Something we must consider, I'm afraid."
Aeric ahhs as she goes on toexplain the status of the dock. His eyes glance sidelong to her and there seems a glint of approval in them in kind. "Excellent. It is a beginning. One must start there, naturally. As to the cost.. I suggest a tournament and an associated fair. Merchants will come in from a fair clip with goods that can be taxed then there's the inevitable influx of coin to your local vendors. I'll even be willing to lose at the joust as a finale event." He laughs, casting his face to the sky.
Anais' lips quirk, and she shakes her head. "There was a tournament for the wedding," she explains. "And I'm afraid it cost more than it made us. That's part of what we're recovering from. We're hoping, though, that the issue of Stonebridge may soon be resolved in our favor. And once the docks are finished…" She trails off, looking over her shoulder toward the shore. "Well. Once the docks are finished, Stonebridge will be a moot point." Her chin rises slightly with pride at that thought.
"Just the Fair then." Aeric amends. "In fact, I'm sure that my men would be quite interested in starting local guilds for their crafts. Guilds inevitably mean skilled tradesmen and skilled individuals bring money. I can't say the guilds will rival those in Seagard but that depends upon your ambitions does it not?" He pauses in his meandering thoughts to glance at her. "Might I ask what the issue of Stonebridge is?"
"Ah, well." Anais is quiet a moment, marshalling her words. "Stonebridge owed fealty to Terrick's Roost here. Lord Tordane's daughter and heir apparent since his son died with him on the Trident, Isolde, was betrothed to Jaremy, Lord Jerold's oldest son. But the wedding was postponed again and again, and Lady Isolde's mother instead arranged a married to Ryker Nayland. As a result, the Naylands have stolen Stonebridge and its incomes from the Roost. However, Lord Tordane had another son, though illegitimate. Ser Gedeon Rivers. Ser Gedeon had letters from his father stating that Lord Tordane wished /Gedeon/ to inherit Stonebridge. The matter was recently brough to Riverrun, where Lord Tully ruled that, for now, Stonebridge would remain with Isolde and the Naylands, but word would be sent to King Robert to see if he would legitimize Gedeon. If he should do that…Well, then Stonebridge would be Gedeon's, and ours again."
"How delightfully convoluted. Tell me, do they have progeny?" Aeric mulls over his thoughts for a time before giving a mild shrug. "I'll have to meet this Ryker. Take his measure." He turns his head towards her and smiles. "And no, I don't mean to kill him. Not without just cause anyway."
"Isolde and Ryker?" Anais quirks a brow, then shakes her head. "Not yet. It's only been…Three or four months since the wedding." A smile flickers across her features as his last words, and she lifts one shoulder. "If it could be done without a problem…" She trails off. "Well, no. There are many more Naylands. Isolde and her mother are more of a problem, really." Just like that, she discusses the removal of difficult people. "Still, we would be the first place they'd look," she sighs.
"Look? Who would need to look? I'm not discussing poisoning them and murder is not in my vocabulary." Aeric regards her with a brief moment of distaste before looking back to their path and continuing their walk. "In any case, that is a mire I'll walk another day. For now, you did suggest a meal and a bath. Both of which are accepted with great welcome."
"Of course," Anais agrees with a dip of her chin, speeding her steps just a bit. "We'll have rooms for you in the Roost. Would your men prefer the castle, or the town?" And with that, it's on to practical matters, moving forward with business.