|Good to Meet You, Gooddaughter-to-be|
|Summary:||Tyroan and Sabriel get a chance to talk.|
|Related Logs:||None directly.|
|The Map Room, Tordane Tower|
|22 October, 289|
Books, ledgers, and maps. These things consume the life of any steward, especially a new one. Except when he can escape to walk the city or train at arms with one of the household knights, Tyroan Nayland spends his time in what used to be the smallest guest room of Tordane Tower. All the previous furniture has been removed, replaced by a table built high to be stood around, matching high chairs, and a variety of side-tables holding piles of paper, books, and a pitcher of Mire beer along with a collection of tankards. The aging Steward stands at the table, squinting down at a ledger. Eventually, he gives up, sighing heavily and pinching the bridge of his nose. "Fucking hells."
With no responsibilities requiring her attention, Sabriel is left at loose ends. And it seems she's at least trying to be appropriate. She hasn't snuck out more than twice, at least, and she's left her dog outside for the moment. She's too restless to sit in her rooms, though, and so she's taken to wandering the halls, trailed by a matronly handmaid whose figure doesn't seem to be improved by following Sabriel around. The map room is the girl's next destination, and it's perhaps the cursing that encourages her to stick her nose into the room with a curious arch of her brow. "How many?" she asks, though there's a cautiousness behind the smile she flashes.
Tyroan looks up at the question, his steel-gray eyes narrowing slightly as if to take a measure of the girl, and then he grumps, "All fucking seven of them." Folding the book closed ever a piece of paper, he brings his empty tankard over to the side-table with the beer, filling it up, pausing again, then lifting the pitcher in question, "It's bitter, Lady Sabriel. Good Mire beer. Nothing like it anywhere else." Is this a test?
"I'm sorry to hear that," Sabriel says at his answer, tilting her head to consider the pitcher as she walks further inside. "I can't say I've ever tried Mire beer," she admits, coming close enough to look inside the pitcher and take a sniff, nostrils flaring. "What goes into it?" The handmaid follows her inside, though she's immediately looking for a chair. As she smells the beer, she also takes a look at whatever's on the table, ever curious.
Tyroan has apparently been looking at trade agreements, manifests, and trade ledgers, boring reading for a man of war. Then again, the big map atop the table still shows the positions of the Charlton and Haigh troops around the west bank of the Green Rill, where they were at the end of the fighting. "Fuck if I know what goes into it." The announcement is damn near cheerful, "Probably frogs' legs and snakeskin." And with that, he takes a heft swallow from the tankard before he pours a bit into a second, enough for a taste without letting any go to waste if the woman doesn't like it. Setting the pitcher down and moving back to the table, he eyes the tawny-haired woman sidelong, "How do you like Stonebridge so far?" Grade for the first test: Incomplete.
Sabriel reaches for the tankard, sniffing again before taking a careful sip. Her brows rise slightly, and she tilts her head to consider before she swallows. "I think there might be anise in it," she says after a moment, taking another sip to finish the serving before setting the mug down where it was. "I…like Stonebridge enough," she answers his other question, moving around the table and reaching to pick up one of the Haigh pieces, only to set it back down in the tower. "The rose garden is very nice. I haven't seen much of the countryside." A beat, and she looks up to him. "How do you like it?"
Tyroan watches the reaction to that first sip, then nods his bald head a little. Okay, delayed pass. Setting his beer down, he rests the heels of his hands on the edge of the table, watching her toy with the pieces on the map, "An old soldier has to have his hobbies. Especially when he missed the war." The comment about the rose garden draws a snort from him, "I don't know who in the hells was responsible for that, but it's coins gone from the coffer that I'll never see." He gives the young woman a tight smirk, "Ana thinks it's soft." You know, with all the thorns in it. And then he gets back to the question at hand, "I think I was dealt a piss poor hand, but I'm still going to fucking win with it."
"Whoever spent coin on those gardens spent it generations ago," Sabriel shrugs one shoulder. "A garden like that takes years and years to cultivate." His description of how Anathema feels about it causes her to look up, a glimmer of surprised amusement in pale eyes, a twitch of her lips. "Some of those roses would take over the tower if you let them. But I don't suppose there are many roses in the North. Is it that bad a hand?" she asks, stepping to one of the ledgers and looking down the columns of numbers without any apparent reaction.
Tyroan presses his right fist into his left palm, sending a series of pops through the small room as each of his knuckles cracks in turn. "And from the ledgers, both Lady Isolde and Ser Riordan," there's more than a little disdain in the latter name, "continued to put coin into it. And weekly feasts for the people of the town. And new suits of armor. And parties. And pageantry. And most everything except the town itself." He watches her watching numbers, "There are winter roses to the north. And Mire roses in the swamps. Most other roses are just pretty fucking petals waiting to be plucked." Her question doesn't get answered directly, but perhaps it does indirectly in his next query, "And why does a Haigh think she should get to know the state of Stonebridge?" For all that the question could have been harsh and aggressive, instead it's mild and perhaps even amused.
Sabriel looks up once more, brows furrowing in a slight frown. "Because your wife intends to marry me to your son," she answers slowly, watching him as one brow rises. "Of course, if she hasn't mentioned it to you, I suppose it's slightly less set in stone than she's led me to believe, and I feel a bit of the fool, don't I?" She steps back from the table, looking to the handmaid as if to find out if she's had some part in this.
Tyroan shakes his head at the frowning response, "Not just my wife, Lady Sabriel." He takes another sip of his beer, then sets the tankard down, bracing his hands on the edge of the table once more and looking at her quite directly, "I think Lord Haystacks was a fucking idiot to get involved in that little spat, but I want peace with House Haigh. Trade's supposed to flow through this town, not get stopped up because some fucking child has his smallclothes in a twist." Whether he's talking about Rickart's sons or Aleister… well, that's up for interpretation. Flashing a tight smirk, he adds, "Since you brought it up, what do you think of Aeron?"
Sabriel eyes Tyroan for a long moment, as if trying to see inside his head, before she shakes her head, stepping back toward the nearest window. "I like him," she answers honestly. "Under other circumstances, had I truly just been visiting here, I would have considered him a friend. He is not the sort of man I was afraid to be married to. But he's lost here. Not just here in Stonebridge, but here in your territory," she adds, gesturing around the room. "There seems to be a…very clear division in your house between yours and your wife's."
Tyroan returns that gaze with the flat calm of a battered but unbroken breastplate. When she steps back, he takes another drink from his tankard, "A friendship's a better fucking start to a marriage than most get." The mention of the divide draws a sharp smirk, "And yet, there's no divide between me and my wife. Fucking odd, isn't that?" He runs his tongue along his teeth behind his lips a moment, then leans forward to knuckle at his back, resting his other forearm atop the table, "Aeron's my son. Even if he's done some stupid fucking things in his time, and forgotten that he's a fucking Nayland, he's still my son."
"He's more Northern than Southron," Sabriel agrees, nodding once. "As for how much of a Nayland he is, he might be more inclined to take part in that side of his heritage if he felt like he was welcome in that side of his family." She turns, leaning against the wall and crossing her arms beneath her breasts as she watches him. "What sort of stupid things has he done?" she asks, unconvinced.
Tyroan meets the nod with a dry smirk, "If he had done something fucking worthwhile since Robert's Rebellion, he might get a damned sight warmer welcome." A grimace crosses his features as he shifts where he's rubbing at his lower back, and then he straightens up with an almost inaudible groan, "Married without our permission. At least it was a noble girl he married. Spent too much fucking time in the woods and not enough with a sword or quill in his hand?" He flashes that smirk again, "Why, what sort of smart things has he told you he's done?"
"None," Sabriel shrugs, arms still crossed. The longer she spends with the man, the more she seems to soak in his mannerisms, reflecting them back at him. "What would you prefer he had done?" she asks, pushing away from the wall and moving back toward the mug and pitcher to pour a little more for herself. "What would you prefer he do now?"
Tyroan answers as he does most everything, directly and more than a little crudely, "Get his balls out of that little vial he carries around his neck and man the fuck up." Maybe that's not exactly an actionable item, but the aging Steward follows it up with something a great deal more actionable, "Take an interest in the reconstruction of Stonebridge. Find a pet fucking project." He grunts once, "As to before, I would have preferred him to become a fucking knight like his brother. Or at least whatever-the-hell version they have up in the North."
"Have you tested him in the field?" Sabriel arches a brow back at him, taking another testing sip of the Mire beer, both hands wrapped around the mug. "Maybe he's not as embarrassing as you think. Or maybe he is, I don't know," she admits with another shrug. "But there's not much use in being a knight if there isn't someone you need to fight. I don't think he thinks you want him doing anything in Stonebridge," she points out. "You don't seem to have a very high opinion of him."
Tyroan shrugs slightly, "I saw him in the Rebellion." There's a pause, and he clarifies, "Robert's. He's a scout, an archer." Taking up his own tankard again, he takes a slug of the bitter brew and wipes his mouth with the back of his other hand, "There's more to a knight than a fucking sword, Lady Sabriel. It's training, discipline, knowledge, fighting, and an outlook on life. One that puts others fucking first." He shakes off the suggestion, "And I told the whole godsdamned family," very pious and knightly, that, "that we all need to pull our weight. Ana and I might be able to do this on our own, but probably fucking not. Especially now that Ser Bruce is gone." The final statement, of course, is the more curious one, and he thinks on that long enough to take another sip of beer before answering, "A man's judged on what he's done."
Sabriel sips again, watching him over the rim of the mug. "So give him something to do," she replies simply. "People are a lot like animals, you know. You get out of it what you put into it. If you want him to be something he isn't, then don't entertain the possibility that he can't do it." For all her uncertainty in some things, she seems utterly certain of this. "Besides, you seem to have one son who plays the knight well enough already."
Tyroan waves one hand dismissively, "Oh, I know Aeron'll never be a fucking knight now. I gave up on that hope years ago." Draining off the last of his tankard and setting it aside, he braces his hands on the edge of the table, "What do you think I should put him to then? He'd make a piss-poor Master at Arms or Captain of the Guard. Master of Hunt'd be a fucking insult. We've already got a good Sheriff, unless he decides to take his ass back to the Mire. I don't need a fucking Castellan."
"If it came from you, he wouldn't see Master of the Hunt as an insult," Sabriel points out, though she doesn't seem to be suggesting it, either. "What do you need? He's not stupid. He can learn, if he has to." She sips again, then sets the empty mug down next to his, reaching for one of the Nayland pieces from the board. "Do you need someone to be a go-between for you and the people in the town? He could do that. He's not very formal, but that might help him with the smallfolk."
Tyroan grumbles a bit, "Maybe not. But the positions one a commoner should damned well hold, not a noble." He shakes his head, "I need a Captain of the Guard, someone who can train the levies. And I need a Master at Arms, eventually. But Ren'll have one of those spots. And I need people who can charm the fuck out of people." He eyes the young woman with a wryly amused glance, "He seems to have done alright with you so far. Maybe I'll send him off to the Flints to charm the pants — and a few trade concessions — off them. Unless you think Pitchforks are his specialty."
"Well, he won't be any good at either of those things, from what I've seen," Sabriel replies honestly. "Master at Arms or Captain of the Guard, that is. So there's no sense in getting your panties in a twist over it. You wouldn't try to make a palfrey of a plow horse, so stop trying to make a knight out of a scout. He'd be glad to talk to the Flints. And if you asked him to do it, he'd be proud."
Tyroan nods his head, "That's what I've been saying, g — " And then he realizes he probably shouldn't be calling a prospective gooddaughter 'girl,' and he clears his throat, "Lady Sabriel. I'm damned well trying to find him a fucking spot he'd be good at and useful in." He grunts softly, "Never thought any of my family would do as a fucking diplomat." That seems to amuse him, and he chuckles dryly, "The Seven damned sure have a sense of humor, whatever those pious fucks of septons say."
Sabriel watches him once more, lips quirking at the stream of profanity. "It must come from his mother's side," she drawls with dry amusement. "He's willing to work for his family. Whatever he's done in the past, he's not running away now. I think if you give him a chance, you'll find he's not entirely useless. And even if he is," she concludes, moving toward the door once more, "At least he got you an alliance with Lord Haystacks."
Tyroan snorts a laugh at the last point, "Or at least a bit better relations. If I wanted a full-on fucking alliance, I would have gone for his daughter, or at least a first niece." There's amusement in the words, however, rather than the scorn that could have been there. The old soldier pauses a moment, then shrugs a little, "Thanks for your advice, Lady Sabriel. Come on by when you want another drink of the Mire beer."
"Oh, I think you underestimate the value of getting me off his hands," Sabriel sighs, more to herself than to him as she moves to the door. "Good day, Lord Tyroan," she adds, turning for an awkward curtsey before she and her maid disappear down the hall once more.