|Summary:||Aleister approaches Andrey about expanding the Charlton holdings.|
|Andrey Charlton's Pavilion|
|It's a pavilion. In the Charlton camp.|
|24 Jan, 289|
After the initial victory at Seagard, Aleister had afforded himself some time to celebrate such a thing before returning to what he tends to spend the days do: Training the men. Now, with an apparent lull in such activities as evening begins to roll around, he's made his way back to the camp and immediately over in the direction of Andrey's pavilion. There, he simple gave a simple nod to one of the guards before calling out, "Cousin, it's Aleister. A moment of your time." Unusual courtsey, it would seem, is in order.
"Aleister, do come in," is the warm and polished answer from within, interrupting the lilting strains of a lyre being played. The Charlton guardsmen salute Aleister as the nobleman steps inside. Andrey sits at a camp table, having just set down the lyre in favor of taking up a goblet at his cousin's entrance.
Moving into the pavilion, Aleister dips a bow of his head in Andrey's direction as he offers, "Thank you." Then, as his head lifts, he takes but a moment to survey the surroundings before moving further within, steps beginning to angle him in the direction of that very camp table. "I had hoped to speak to you about a matter that could be of great importance. And with the lull in our advance and in the meetings, this seemed like an opportune time."
One of Andrey's squires also occupy the pavillion, as does a rather fetching serving girl, who holds a pitcher. "Your timing is indeed excellent, cousin," the heir to Hollyholt voices with amusement coloring his voice. He leaves it for Aleister to judge whether the retainers should be sent out.
"Isn't it always, though, cousin?" Even as those words escape past his lips, Aleister is turning his attention to the serving girl as a hand lifts to snap his fingers at her, "Wine. Then leave us." He's looking to the squire then, his head giving a slight nod to indicate that he should depart as well. When his attention shifts back to Andrey, there's the hint of a smirk upon his lips, "I've been impressed with our men thus far, cousin. It speaks well of their ability to learn."
"But of course, cousin: you are a Charlton," Andrey returns with a small laugh behind his smile. "Julian, leave us a moment," he bids the squire, holding his own goblet up to be filled, after Aleister is given one of his own. First the serving girl curtseys and withdraws, then Andery's squire bows and follows suit. "My curiosity is piqued, Aleister."
With a joining laugh, Aleister gives an agreeing nod of his head before a hand lifts to claim the wine from the serving girl. Then, once both retainers have been left the confines of the pavilion, the smirk returns to his lips, "I had hoped it would be, Andrey." But he leaves that curiosity piqued for another moment, for the goblet comes to his lips so that a small sip of wine can be taken and it's only when it begins to lower that he begins to speak once more, "In the recent months, cousin, the Naylands have done much to attract the attention of our Lord Frey and to see their holdings expand. Thankfully, the Haighs and Erenfords have not sought such thing. But .." There's the hint of a pause, as if he was going to simply stop, before he continues, "An opportunity has arisen. One in which I think we should give serious consideration too."
"The Naylands have done well for themselves," Andrey allows idly as Aleister prompts the possibility of Erenfords and Haighs following suit. "An opportunity, you say?" Al's cousin echoes with a raised brow and relaxed smile curling his lip. A languid 'carry on' motion is made with his free hand.
The slightest of grunts sounds in Aleister's throat at the mention of the Naylands doing well, but that's all the discourse he offers to such a topic. A nod of his head is given and a deepening of the smirk has fingertips begin to idly tap against the side of his goblet, "Indeed. An opportunity. One that would allow Charlton to expand it's own holdings at a very minimal cost. Such as the mere time and skill of the labours within our levy." Now, the wine returns to his lips, a partial sip being taken before he offers as an aside, over the rim of the cup, "Once our business here is concluded, of course."
"Of course," Andrey echoes, not waiting long at all, before prompting, "Tell me then, Aleister, what is this opportunity you espy? IF you intend to take over governance of Seagard, I am told there is yet a fellow occupying that chair," he jests lightly, passing humor not disguising his interest in this baited proposition.
The mention of Seagard and it's governace draws a rumbling laugh from Aleister has he gives a shake of his head, "I do not conceal my ambitions, cousin, but even I would not set my sights on Seagard." The words end with a flash of a grin and another shake of his head. "I am told, Andrey, that the land north-east of the Terrick's is ripe with game, timber and the possibility of fertile land for crops. I am even told that the Ironborn saw fit to rid it of the House that once laid claim to it." Now, the idle tap of fingertips ceases against the goblet. "It would be a shame if the Haighs of Erenford saw fit to try and stake claim to such promising things."
"The Fallen Oaks?" Andrey queries, brows raised. "I confess, cousin, you surprise me with such a notion." The heir to Hollyholt muses a moment further, before voicing, "All reports indicate that the whole of the Camden holding was razed. Nobility and smallfolk alike. While the Ironborn certainly did your aim the service of removing the Camdens, they also removed the smallfolk. While timber and water are of no small worth, without peasantry, there can be revenues from such resources. The trifle of finding a suitable claim to the land is a distant consideration against the need for citizenry, Aleister."
There's a dip of Aleister's head in agreement, as if he was expecting that particular point and when Andrey finishes, he's simply offering, "Indeed, the lack of smallfolk would make things .. troublesome." The hand that doesn't lay claim to the goblet lifts, giving a slight wave as if dimissing such a notion. "Afford me the men from the levy for the time. Strong backs and a will to work will go a long way, cousin." The smirk returns to his lips now as he turns to simply survey the pavilion, "With the Terrick lands ravaged by the Ironborn and their inability to protect their people plain for all to see, we will have little problem in swaying smallfolk to the north. After all, the might of Charlton is not an issue." A turn of his head and he's casting a quick look over his shoulder, "If you'd prefer, though, I could march the levy to Oldstones. I've heard that men yet remain there." The last is offered with only the hint of a jest.
"The levy?" Andrey echoes with an incredulous laugh that only thinly covers his focus upon the question at hand. "Before Terrick peasantry could be 'lured away' as you put it, there would needs be food and shelter for them. If, for example, you were able to secure enough grain and gold to sustain a settlement through a full four seasons, then such a project would be assured of success. But Aleister," he emphasizes again, "No gains of any worth come so cheap as you think."
Now, Aleister simply turns back to Andrey, his head giving a slight nod as the smirk remains upon his lips, "Oh, but this is cheap, Andrey. Cheaper then most endevours that would need to be undertaken to expand one's holdings." Moving to claim a seat, he's simply lowering himself down into it, goblet coming to rest upon the table. "Whereas such a thing might not be easy, I will admit, it could be done. The tree's themselves provide both a natural shelter and the ability to construct makeshift shelters. There is supposedly ample game within the lands, which would lend food to one's 'table'. Plus, we do not know what resources may be untouched." There's a slight lift of his goblet in preperation of a drink as he murmers, "There is a chance for success in all things, Cousin. Were your father to see the .. value of such a prospect, it might even receive his assistance."
"Aleister, let us be frank: this is not an effort to expand Hollyholt," Andrey notes with a pointed smile. "This is your hope for a cadet branch of the Charlton tree." Still, the observation doesn't prevent further consideration. "I have been told that peasantry are rather.. specialized in their limited talents. We have no woodsmen, cousin. Nor loggers, and but few carpenters. The churls we count among the levy would be ill suited to such work, I daresay."
"Touche, Cousin, touche," comes the immediate response from Aleister, though it doesn't wipe the smirk from the man's lips. If anything, it deepens a touch. "But such a thing is still good for our family and in essence, good for Hollyholt." A shift of his body in the chair has him relaxing a touch more as his shoulders lift into the hint of a shrug, "A small issue, I suppose. One that could be rectified by .. recruiting such talents with the promise of coin or other things. Trades made to accommodate skill." Now, the goblet comes to be settled upon the table so that his hand can lift to smooth through his hair.
"Oh, I do not doubt such a thing, cousin," Andrey lilts to Aleister's statement that a cadet branch builds the power of Hollyholt. "Do not take it ill if I say again that there would be much work to be done for such an endeavor to succeed. I would suggest that the fields outside the northern wood might be a better locale, better for the farmers of which there are several. Proximity to the Neck could make watering such fields simpler, with the same ready access to the forest. As well," he adds with a small shrug, "It keeps the trees between your proposed holding and the sea."
For a moment, the smirk threatens to grow deeper before it's broken by a quick, rumbling laugh as Aleister gives a shake of his head, "I would not take ill to your advice, Cousin, for it is a valuable thing." Now, his head comes to dip a touch in Andrey's direction, a token gesture of respect as he considers the suggestion for a moment before offering, "A sound suggestion. One that I had not thought of. Thank you." Let it not be said that he doesn't at least recognize his wrongs. At least amongst family. The goblet is reclaimed and fingers tap idly against the side, "Tell me, Andrey, do you see any further reason why we should not move forth with such a thing?"
"Other than coin and peasantry?" Andrey prompts with a smile. "I cannot think of one. Oxen, plows, seed, all the droll little logistics," the heir to Hollyholt makes an 'on and on' motion with his free fingers. "But we are Charltons. If you write a letter to my Lord father, I shall include it with mine in the next round of dispatches. The only pitfall I forsee is if the Freys make a gambit for the land, first."
A hand lifts, giving a slight wave as Aleister smirks just a touch more, "Yes, yes. The necessities." There's now a flash of a smile and a slight shake of his head, "It is not without it's limitations .. ones that I hope your Lord Father will help ease. At least, initially." Now, the wine is lifted back to his lips, the contents drained before he's setting the goblet back down upon the table. "I'll have the letter readied in short order, Cousin. As to the Frey's?" Once again, shoulders lift into the hint of a shrug, "Nothing to be done if they stake a claim to the land. It would not be wise for me to be the one to bring the ire of Lord Frey to our House."
"No, it would not," Andrey agrees with a short laugh. Raising his own goblet toward his cousin, Andrey proffers, "To my goodly cousin, Ser Aleister Charlton: the aspiring Housebuilder. May the Fallen Oaks reward your ambitions with better than the poverty and death the Camdens had of them."
The raised goblet is responded to by a incline of Aleister's head towards Andrey, a quick grin playing across his lips before he begins to rise from his seat, "That is most certainly my hope, Andrey, but a Charlton is vastly different then that of a Camden. In that we simply will not fail." There's a quick laugh and once he's risen, there's a bow to his cousin. "I will see the letter prepared and then return to training. My thanks for your time, Cousin."
"Honor and Glory, Aleister," Andrey offers with a smile, downing the remains of his own wine and rising along with his cousin. Once Aleister has turned for the pavilion's portal, the heir of Hollyholt has settled again to his chair and retaken the lyre. The strains of elegant music accompany Aleister on his path away from the pavilion.