|Humility and Other Virtues|
|Summary:||Kittridge, Dmitry and Inigo get together over some brandy to dealmake.|
|Related Logs:||Terrick/Groves deal logs and etc.|
|I bet it's super fancy.|
|3 July 387|
Dmitry and Inigo were welcomed to Kingsgrove, upon their arrival, and put up in guest rooms in Braeburn House. They're left alone to rest after the ride (not that it's that far) until dinner, a convivial affair with the rest of the Groves family and several other visitors of various stripes. After the meal, wine is taken to a sitting room overlooking the manor's central courtyard, and Kittridge picks one of the comfortable-looking armchairs, leaving the other two to his guests. "So, Sers," he says, "I know you've come on business, and as much as I hope you'll linger long enough for a hunt or something I'm sure you're eager to at least begin discussing it. Shall we?"
Given a chair to claim, Dmitry settles into it with a familiar blithe ease, folding himself into it with only a suggestion of a relaxed lounge to his body language — elbow hooked over arm, fingers turning out as he hooks his ankles loosely together over the floor. "I should be delighted to hunt with you, Ser," he says, smile a slight curve as he tips his head in an acknowledging kind of gesture across the distance between them, "nearly as delighted as I am that you are so quick to the point." Dark eyes flicking sidelong to Inigo as though he is checking for some kind of possibly telepathic cue, he begins with, "We have spoken before about a better friendship between our Houses. I believe Lord Jacsen may have carried on there, in recent memory."
"Oh, business and pleasure. Kingsgrove is quite beautiful," Inigo says, dropping into the last chair with grace and brushing at his clothing and settling himself in a slight lean. He's well-dressed, if not overly so, in a 'make a good and respectful impression' way not a 'look upon your fancy betters' way. "As would I," he replies after Dmitry of the invitation to hunt, smiling pleasantly. He lacks telepathic powers, though, of any sort, merely raising his brows a tick as he's looked at. "Mhm."
"Wine, or brandy?" Kittridge offers, gesturing at the room's sideboard, which contains bottles of each. He smiles as both agree to a hunt, and at Inigo's compliment, saying, "Thank you, and good, we'll arrange it, then. Perhaps for tomorrow or the day after, if that suits your schedules." He pours himself some brandy and then sits back in his chair, saying, "Yes, Lord Jacsen and I have spoken a few times since then, and we both remain committed to bettering relations between our houses. There are quite a few different balls in the air at present, it seems. Where would you like to start?"
"Thank you," Dmitry answers for his host's offer, "I've rarely met a brandy I didn't like." Easy and blithe in his claim of liquid and snifter, he is slow to actually drink, preferring to let the light reflect prettily from the contents of the glass as he resumes his own seat. "I believe that Lord Jacsen is better qualified than I to speak to you at length about his sister and his sister's dowry," he says. "But as you know, we find ourselves in need. It is with humility, then, that I come to treat with you. I hope you find my 'humble' passable, I'm not really very good at it." His grin flashes crookedly for this attack of, uh, humility on the subject of his — this is just getting redundant. "What we've come for is to ask the terms on which House Groves would consider to venture a loan."
"Ah, thank you," Inigo says, echoing Dmitry, though without further comment on brandy, even if that's also what he himself chooses before sitting once more. Manly men are they. Or something. "I believe that suits, yes. I do not foresee being called upon to return to the Roost so quickly." Jerold is probably privately relieved to have the pair of them elsewhere. Think of how quiet it must be. "Also, it is about time I visited, so I would hate to come and go so quickly." He lives in 1:1 time. "I think we are better are friendly than humble," he says with a grin, glancing over at Dmitry in indication of him as a part of the 'we'. "But that does not mean we are unaware of the need for assistance, and hope that it can be found here."
Kittridge sips his own brandy after a bit of snifter-swirling, listening as Dmitry and Iago begin. Their attempts at humility draw a laugh, but a good-natured one, and he nods, "Yes, points for effort," he says, "I'll settle for awareness of the need for humility, and friendly." He drinks, and says, "So, a loan. I am not certain precisely how much gold we are able to offer at present, but I believe we are amenable to the idea. We've done a bit of investigation into the going rates currently, I believe it's about," he names whatever figure the Freys and the others in the region have been offering - a very high rate of return indeed, but the current standard all the same.
Dmitry's eyebrows tick up, just slightly, as his dark eyes focus on Kittridge, and then flick away again, thoughtfulness reflected in the faint crease across his brow, as though he is storing these comments on 'awareness' to tuck away and chew over. He pauses for long enough to wet his lips with the brandy, though hardly more than that. Stalling? "Of course," he says. "Friendly as we are, you know that our need carries some urgency. I hope you also know that, while Terrick pride may make us terribly bad at humility, Terrick honor will make us a solid investment for Groves gold in the long term. We should be as true to our word as we are obnoxious, Ser." Which coming from Dmitry is really quite a bold statement of surety, surely.
"Well, as long as you cannot say we did not try," Inigo says, inclining his head towards Kittridge, outwardly friendly and inwardly thoughtful, the latter of which is more visible when he takes a moment to sip at his brandy. "Those figures seem correct from what I know." Unfortunately high as the standard is. "Ah," he murmurs, glancing sideways over at Dmitry. Obnoxious? What? Never. "It is true that the Roost would not fail to pay back what is owed. To do otherwise would not even be a thought to cross such an honorable mind.
Kittridge laughs again at Dmitry's words, raking a hand through dark hair, and saying, "You two are a great deal more fun than your cousins. I assume that's why they've sent you. But yes, House Terrick's willingness to pay back their debts is not something we would ever question, of course; the ability to do so is perhaps less certain? At least in any normal length of time."
"Yes," Dmitry says, drawing fingertips from his free hand lightly along the minimalist (or wimpy) beard scruff at his jawline. "You can see why we are here being humble. But our prospects are not so dire as all that. If we can feed our people and move forward on the path to progress. The risk to you I cannot say does not exist, but it is my sincere belief that it is … surmountable. We do have options. You are one I favor particularly because I believe we have much to gain in friendship with each other." He draws a long breath off the scent of his brandy, and then takes a delicate sip from it, cradling the curve of the glass in his hand as he lowers it to hover over his knee. He studies Kittridge thoughtfully from beneath the dark veil of his eyelashes, leaning back in the comfortable chair as he does so. "Of course," he says lightly, "a loan between friends might sometime not necessarily conform to the standards set at the Twins. In terms or duration. Particularly if those friends have other deals to make at hand."
Humble, right. Inigo tries to look humble. He mostly just appears quietly thoughtful, but that's better than appearing constipated in the attempt, like it's the worst thing to have to be here. "Yes, we would not deny that there is some risk, though there is with any loan, hm? In this case, the greatest obstacle in not being able to pay back is not having the loan in the first place to purchase what is needed to get returns from lands being put back to rights." He taps a finger against his glass and tips his head towards Dmitry. "As he says, your house is the one we would be partial to dealing with above others. It should be beneficial to both sides."
Their attempts at humble seem sufficient for Kittridge's taste, at least. It's the thought that counts? He eyes the amber brandy in his cup before lifting it for another sip and nodding, "Of course, it is still more likely than not that House Terrick will be able to repay in time. And I gather that this would be your first, and perhaps only loan? So we needn't worry about being just one among many creditors?" Another slow sip, expression thoughtful, before he says, "Perhaps, in the interests of friendship, we might be able to make a— somewhat atypical sort of arrangement. One that would be, as you say," he nods to Inigo, "Beneficial to both sides."
"That's correct," Dmitry agrees. He turns his hand slightly, watching the shifting golden gleam of the rich amber liquid with lowered eyes. He sips, barely enough to moisten his lips and let the fumes of the brandy linger on his tongue. He says, "Naturally, if we can come to some arrangement to the benefit of both of us, the Terricks should hardly need to seek additional gold elsewhere to feed our people and restore our holdings."
Inigo nods his head slowly in agreement, sipping his brandy before he puts that agreement to words. "Yes, House Terrick would not fail to pay back the debt." That honor has to be good for something. "Oh, I do not think you need concern yourself with being one of many." You are a special snowflake and don't you forget it. "As he says," he begins, gesturing at Dmitry, "We seek to align out interests to mutual benefits."
It's really excellent brandy, isn't it? Kittridge savors his, saying, "The stuff from the Reach I won at the tourney. I've only got the one little cask or I'd offer to send some home with you. But maybe Ser Kell will share?" He smiles, and then listens, and nods again, saying, "Good, it is more comforting to be the only one attempting to collect. I'd think it could get very tricky if you were juggling loans from several houses at once." Another sip is rolled around in his mouth before it's swallowed and then he says, "Well, I believe my house's desires have been made clear to yours; we would like to recover the two fiefs taken from us and given to you six years ago. One, I believe, will be the centrepiece of the Lady Lucienne's dowry when a betrothal to my brother Stafford is finalized. Lord Jacsen and I have spoken on this and hopefully will again sometime soon. Naturally we had hoped that both might be returned in this manner, but I've been given to understand Lord Jerold will not agree to such a thing. So any rates of return below the going average we would want to be part of a deal to return the second fief to House Groves as well." If that makes sense. Was that a confusing paragraph? Oh well.
Dmitry shifts in his seat, framing the curve of the brandy glass in both hands as he leans forward, letting it rest between his knees. "While I believe my uncle is reluctant to transfer lands to House Groves," he says, "I believe a transfer to the tune of a sale over time in exchange for a significant reduction in interest rate might be a point of persuasion for him, provided of course that the rate of return on the loan is reduced commensurate to the value of the lands." He glances sidelong at Inigo. "Perhaps if the lands under discussion were transferred for Groves use and occupancy with Lady Lucienne's dowry," he goes on, "but the yield on the second fiefdom a return by percentage as Terrick property. Which product could be partial interest payment on the loan over the term of years, at a reduced rate; until the loan was paid and the lands transferred to House Groves by right." This paragraph was even more confusing. Inigo, can you help me make any sense?
"Ahh," Inigo says when Kittridge explains the origin of the brandy. "Of course. Congratulations. I shall enjoy what I have, thank you." He lifts his glass before taking another small sip. "Well, House Terrick is not a house known for being tricky." 'Known for' is not exactly the same as just 'is' but maybe that's the point. He drops silent, listening to Dmitry and mulling over his own thoughts….at least until listening to Dmitry interrupts whatever he was thinking, and he looks over at his cousin. What? "Ah, it is of course, more complicated than just returning lands to you, which I believe is the source of Lord Jerold's reluctance to part with them." And maybe what Dimitry, who gets glanced at again, was trying to get at? "Unlike gold or stock, land does not grow back."
Dmitry's reply earns him a long, blinking look from Kittridge, who then replies first to Inigo instead: "No, it isn't something that grows back, as House Groves is well aware. Otherwise we should have replaced what was taken from us by now, and wouldn't be trying to buy it back from House Terrick instead." He sips his brandy, taking a moment before going on, "I understand Lord Jerold's reluctance. But the return of those lands is our price. Now, how precisely the deal is arranged is obviously open to a great deal of negotiation. But if a permanent return to House Groves is not on the table at all…" He shrugs, and then shakes his head at Dmitry, admitting, "I'm sorry, I didn't follow your suggestion at all. Could you break it down for me? There would be some exchange of loan rates and yield from the land over time?"
Dmitry thinks a moment, rubbing the back of his hand across his lips. He leans forward to set down the glass on the nearest appropriate surface and then spreads his hands, open and up. "Yes. Essentially what I propose is, commensurate with the loan, a purchase of land from us over the term of years of the loan," he says. "Buying your land at fair terms to its value, which I do not believe that my uncle should reasonably object to." He drops his hands over his knees. "The use of second fiefdom should be restored to House Groves with the other, given as Lady Lucienne's just dowry; you have the resources to work it, as we do not. But we should retain rights in its yield, as our property. So what you would take from that harvest would offset our interest rate, and the remainder would offset the land price. Over the term of years, your loan would be paid, and our land would be bought." Leaning back in the seat again, the young knight tilts his head and sucks a little on one of his cheeks, looking thoughtful. "I apologize, Ser Kittridge." His smile winks bright across his features as his eyebrows arch over dark eyes. He asks, "Am I any clearer?"
"I was merely mentioning the the uniqueness of dealing with lands, albeit unnecessarily as you are familiar with those particulars. I did not mean to suggest that a permanent return of the lands was not on the table at all," Inigo clarifies of his earlier words, bowing his head slightly. He falls into a thoughtful silence while Dmitry attempts to clarify his own statement.
Kittridge nods to Inigo, replying, "I see. Yes, land is different, I agree." He takes another sip of brandy, and rises to pour himself another cup, offering to the others while he's up and Dmitry is explaining. That smile from the Terrick earns him one in return, and he considers, taking a moment to go back over the clarification in his head again. "Somewhat clearer," he says, "Though I admit I'm not entirely certain what the benefit of this plan is, as opposed to a straight sale. I'd have to see the numbers, I suppose."
"Yes, I'd think," Dmitry agrees with that too. He collects his brandy again for another sip, the touch of thoughtful another, if milder, crease across his brow. "It depends in no small part on the value of the land in question."
Inigo declines the offer with a smile of thanks, lifting his cup in gesture to point out he still has brandy left. "It would depend on the specific numbers, yes," he agrees slowly. "Though, I think, there is benefit in that it aids the recovery of the Roost, which lacks the resources to make any use of the land currently. Both houses gain profits from what the land yields over a period of time, with House Groves ultimately claiming ownership of the land without conditions at the end and House Terrick able to pay debts in a more timely fashion…" He trails off, though, looking at Dmitry in question. Is that what you were getting at? Does that make any sense? Y/N?
Kittridge rubs at his forehead, and nods. "Right," he says, nodding for another moment, and then saying, "Well, I think this is something I'd need to talk over with my father? And we'd have to put together some numbers - potential proposals, for various means of structuring it - for him to look over, and Lords Jerold and Jacsen, of course, as well. Maybe we can adjourn this for the moment, and see about that as a next step? And then regroup to discuss in more detail."
Dmitry tilts his head in acknowledgment to Inigo. "I do not insist on the proposal, but my thinking was along those lines, yes." He takes another sip from the brandy in his glass, and then tips his head up with a brighter smile lightening his features as he sits up straighter. "That seems a sound plan, Ser Kittridge. By all means."
"Naturally," Inigo says, nodding slightly at Kittridge in agreement that there at other parties to talk with and numbers to be drawn up for further discussion. "A sound plan. We shall do that," he continues to be agreeable, mouth curving in a smile.
Kittridge nods, saying, "Excellent. Then in the meantime, you're both more than welcome to stay, if you need anything, please let us know? And we'll see about arranging a hunt, I think that'd be good fun. I should go see to a couple things, if you'll excuse me?" He rises, and bows politely before leaving them to their own devices.
"I'll look forward to that," Dmitry says easily after Kittridge's departure. He glances back across at Inigo with upswept eyebrows.