|Maester, Castellan, Steward|
|Summary:||Taleryth has a suggestion for Tyroan.|
|Related Logs:||Servants of the Steward|
|The Map Room, Tordane Tower|
|This used to be a guest room. Now it has a tall table with tall chairs, books, and maps.|
|28 September, 289|
Apprised that the Maester wants to speak with him, Tyroan makes himself available, settled into one of the unused guest rooms that has been turned into a sort of map room and study. A high table centers the room, of a height for standing men and women. A scattering of tall chairs stand around it, allowing people to sit about the table while still countering its height. The Steward of Stonebridge perches in one of these low-backed chairs, a ledger open before him. He doesn't appear to be reading it, however, and is instead resting his face in his right hand, his right elbow braced on the tabletop and his fingers and thumb massaging his temples.
"My lord Steward!" The young Maester swishes his way into the lordly chamber with something of a spring in his step. He seems to have taken surprisingly to the new order of things, after all. Queer the Steward's wife may be, but she is not so invariably severe as Lady Valda; and otherwise much of the equipage Taleryth admires, Ser Bruce, say, and Mistress Delacourt, remain in place.
Bowing, then, with an almost eager swiftness, he begins with his voice light. "I'm sorry to bother you, my lord, about what must seem a minor matter from your position…but it has some importance for your servants, and the smooth running of your holdings…a question of vacancies left by…the previous administration of this town. Of, in short, appointments…"
Tyroan looks up at the arrival of the Maester, closing the ledger over a strip of cloth and pushing it away from him. Raising his voice, he calls out, "Beer!" And a bustle comes from one of the servants outside. Apparently, he is his brother's sibling in at least one key way. Shifting his attention back to the fussy little man, he nods once, "You're at my service while I hold the Tower. The least I can do is be at yours." The words are spoken with a dry tone, a problem which is solved as a servant enters with a pitcher of beer and two tankards. One is filled, and a silent question is asked of the Maester as the Steward collects his drink and takes a swallow of the bitter Mire brew. "I heard the majordomo stayed on. I won't be needing a Castellan. Ser Bruce can fucking handle the few youngsters and Guards we have. We've promised the dockmaster spot to an Erenford. What were you thinking, Maester?"
Taleryth accepts the proffered tankard, though by his wary glance into its depths it may appear he does so more in a spirit more of conciliation than relish. By the same token, he advances on a seat, waits a second, and when he has a clear go-ahead, descends into it, facing the Steward.
It's obvious that something Ser Tyroan has uttered makes him shift in surprise in that chair, however, and what that something is soon becomes clear. "Not need a Castellan, ser, I mean, my lord Steward? Are you certain that is wise…? Such a…functionary can relieve you of much of the…mundanity of office, and also smoothes the way to filling much lesser voids further down the…tree of your service…"
Surely Taleryth's assiduity on this point cannot be related to the fact that, before Lady Valda took the business into her own hands, the office of Castellan of Stonebridge generally devolvd by tradition upon its Maester…?
Tyroan gestures to the seat when Taleryth hesitates, obviously inviting him to take it. The Nayland takes another pull of the sharp beer, not expressing any surprise at the Maester's shock, "I'll do most of the work, Ana will do some, and I expect you'll be helping us both." He leans his forearms on the side of the table, both hands wrapped around his tankard, "But I mean to be neck-fucking-deep in running this town. My nitwit nephews weren't, and it's drained our godsdamned coffers, nearly to the last fucking copper." Turning his tankard around on the table idly, he adds, "Don't worry, Maester, I'll take your advice," steel-gray eyes cut up from beneath his heavy brow, "When it's good."
The Maester does not endeavor to match his new employer chug for chug, but after three months this is not his first excursion into the shadowy, foetid realm that is Mire beer, so he sips cordially enough, even appearing to feel a faint veneer of refreshment about it. It looks, too, almost as if the very act of drinking it draws one nearer to the mindset of a Nayland, as Taleryth nods, slowly but firmly. "There is…a good deal of truth in that analysis," he accepts, somehow obviously primarily referring to the bit about nitwit nephews.
"Nevertheless…I *would* like to proffer some advice e'en now. The…vision…of perfect tripartite harmony you…evoke, is very pleasing, but I feel it…misses something." The Maester hesitates for a gulp of beer that seems to have an actually fortifying, emboldening effect. "You see, I would counsel you to appoint Mistress Delacourt your Castellan."
Tyroan listens in silence, his brows raising slightly at the pause for a gulp of beer before the advice itself, "The hedge-healer? Lady Roslyn Groves' handmaid? Or Ser Rutger's bedwarmer? She's been called all three." Taking another slug of his own beer, he swallows hard and adds, "You heard the part where I don't plan to take a Castellan. And now you're saying I should appoint the mistress of the brat who wanted the Charlton wolfshead to fuck his horse at a parley as Castellan. Why?"
"Well, for a start, my lord," Taleryth japes, perhaps riskily, "it would be fashionable. Time was a Castellan was an eldern knight with a gammy leg, or a fine chained pedant from the Citadel, but in this enlightened era, it seems the primary quality lords seek in their Castellans is a pretty face. Surprisingly, my lord, that may be Lady Valda's main political legacy!"
Hesitating to add some substance ere he really riles the Bootleather Harpy's temper, the Maester appends, "But, more to the purpose. Mistress Delacourt lacks many necessary qualities for the role; she is a fine healer and housekeeper, but I'm not certain, for instance, that she's numerate. Much of the dryer work would fall to you, your wife, and, at times, me. However. The girl has something - as I'm sure your wife will have discovered by now. And, more importantly, in raising her so high, you would ensure she answers to the Tower and not the Fortress. You would appropriate a good servant from ill masters."
Taking another small gulp and shrugging, the maester admits, "I won't deny that I am interested in the position, eventually. But I am not yet ready for it, and I suspect you and your wife are indeed the most adequate instrument for many of its burdens, my lord. In the mean time, it would not hurt to give away a name that costs nothing, and gain a partisan of great, if somewhat unclassifiable, utility."
Tyroan snorts good-naturedly, "Fuck fashion." Said by the man wearing a leather jack when he's taking his ease. In fact, it's likely going to become a question of mild gossip whether or not the Steward has clothing that isn't armor. "If a title's enough to make her fuck over the Lord whose bed she warms, I don't want her handling my accounts, Maester." He drains off another measure of his beer, setting the tankard back on the table and drying his hands of condensation on his thighs, "Besides… both the Mire and Stonebridge fly the Harpy. Who said loyalty's split?" Still, there's a dry smirk on the man's lips, suggesting that the words might be made pro-forma. "I'll think it over."
The assurance that Ser Tyroan is prepared to entertain his idea even for a moment is obviously more than enough to gratify Taleryth, who now has a still half-filled tankard on his hands and no intention of going so far as to drink it. He appears to contemplate relacing it abandoned on the table, then thinks better of that, whips out a dark green gourd from his robes, and stores away the dregs of the brew within it. It will most likely be going next into some potion, not, unadulterated, his stomach. "Thank you for your time, my lord. See what the other *real* Castellan thinks, perchance," he suggests smilingly. "Well, that is that; I shall return to the ravens." And he bows to swoop off as good as his word.