|Summary:||Muirenn offers some ideas to help the coffers of Seagard.|
|Related Logs:||None, directly|
|Library — Seagard|
|A room with many books, some tables and some chairs.|
|28 March 289|
It has been long days since the men left to take the fight to the Iron Isles. For the populace of Seagard it has been long days of grief, chaos, and trying to figure out how to rebuild. The same could be said of the Mallisters, for all their nobility, as the family tries to adjust to the loss of their patriarch Lord Jason and the newness of young Patrek at the helm.
When she isn't at her overprotective mother's side, Muirenn and her retainers are in the gardens or the library preparing for her journey back to Terrick's Roost. This afternoon, the teenager is in the library sorting through books, though at the moment she stares down at a map that she has unrolled upon the center table. Books at each of the four corners hold the parchment flat. A finger traces the coastline, the redhead's brow furrowed in though.
It has been a trying time for all who carry the name Mallister, and certainly Patrek cannot be fully at ease with his new station, much as Lord Jerold has been present to help guide and direct him. But, the boy is his father's son, and whatever quiet misgivings he has, he has behaved calmly, honorably, comported himself as a lord should, in the presence of others. This does not mean, however, that he doesn't, on occasion, try to briefly escape the numerous demands on his attention and time. Just now, he slips softly into the library for a moment to himself.
Except, he is not by himself, but rather intruding upon the solace of his cousin to whom he offers a hasty bow when he sees her. "Cousin Muirenn," Patrek greets with a smile, "Have you taken an interest in cartography?"
Looking up, the girl flashes a smile "No, I was reviewing some things I wanted to go over with you if I could get you away from Uncle and Papa." She beckons her younger cousin over. "Come here Patrek. They keep you busy with meetings but I worry about you and have missed talking with you." Muirenn scoots over on the bench to make room.
"Even were you not the heir and now my Lord, you would still be my favorite cousin." With a sigh she taps the table lightly, "The siege has damaged more than just buildings and is sadly going to deplete our coffers as we try to pull everything together again." Fingers curve and sweep a tangle of her hair and veil behind an ear, "Was thinking of things that we could do to assist the process along so to speak." Glancing up she adds, "you know there are rumors that one of the Houses is encroaching upon Lady Liliana's land at Fallen Oaks."
"Meetings can't be helped, these days," Patrek says with a small sigh that's just a bit more boy than lord. For all he's matured under the demands these last months have pressed upon him, there are still moments where it's clear he's yet a lad. Walking over to peer at the map Muirenn studies he says, "It will be costly, but by all projected accounts, the coffers will hold. And Seagard must be rebuilt." Glancing over at Muirenn he adds, "I had heard there was some interest, but as I understand it, all that remains of Tall Oaks now is land. There is no one to work it, no population to support it."
Patting the bench, Muirenn says "Sit Patrek. First, always…always keep three advisors around you. Never fall into the trap of just one or two. Papa, Uncle Calvan, and Lord Jerold. Having three will temper any one voice being too loud so you can always make up your own mind without undue pressure." The girl twines an arm through the boys, "It is land, but it is *valuable* land Patrek…unfortunately…" Her cheeks flush as she admits, "I bribed them to let me see the accounts, I wanted to know… unfortunately rebuilding and trying to feed our people will take all our monetary resources, BUT!" Her green-grey eyes shine in excitement, "But eventually we can make use of that resource if we can manage to keep the land in our family." A long finger taps the area of Fallen Oaks on the map, "First Aeric and Liliana must be wed as absolutely soon as we can manage it. With Lili in our fold, it will give us leverage to protect the land on her behalf once the soldiers are back."
Gazing down at the map she chews her bottom lip in thought, "The timber is valuable for us in and of itself for our own use, but as a valuable monetary resource. It is excellent and a rare commodity for certain houses." A faint smile teases her lips, "You don't see wood like that at The Twins or at the other houses along the coast."
"Cousin," Patrek murmurs frowning faintly, "you could have spoken with me. There was no need to bribe anybody for anything. The Oaks land is only valuable if it can be maintained, and as you noted, our resources must go towards the feeding of our people and the rebuilding of our home. Armies, transport… all of that would cost, too. Timber could be useful to sell, but not if we're losing money fighting over it. I do not think we can afford such a cause at this time."
"I know…" Muirenn waves a hand and smiles, "I didn't pay monetarily. I made one of my herbal teas. It is a future goal Patrek…and there are things I was thinking that we could do to boost our coffers." She eyes her cousin speculatively, "You unfortunately must marry a noble, but we might be able to find a very wealthy merchant's daughter that would be a good match for my brother or one of Uncle Calvan's son, and should the merchant not have sons that would mean eventually that enterprise would become part of the family's endeavors as well." Tapping her chin she says, "I do not know that armies would be needed…perhaps just a presence will be enough for awhile."
Tapping her chin absently she looks over and says, "We should see if there is a young maiden from perhaps one of the cadet branches of the House Lannister for you dearest Patrek." Her brow furrows and she says softly, "I am sorry…I sound almost like my mother.." sighing she shakes her head, "I worry. We have lost so much to this war….and though you are young, these are things we need to think about. Though…" there is a pause, "there is a gamble we could make. It would impact revenue in the short term but would potentially speed up recovery in the long term. We could lower the docking taxes and tarrifs to make us more desirable a port than others."
Patrek blinks a little for 'bribery by herbal tea', but says no more on the matter, considering the map again, instead. "Should your brother or Lord Calvan's son wish to marry a merchant bride, I would not see reason to protest, but I do not think I am meant to become matchmaker for the whole of the Mallisters." His small frown returns and deepens as Muirenn begins speaking on matches for him and the boy shakes his head. "You are right, of course, I will need to wed eventually. But please, do not start bringing in potential brides for me, I haven't the time for it, now. Not until things are more settled here. Once Seagard is rebuilt, once our people have homes again, then we can discuss brides and Fallen Oaks." The last, the lowering of taxes and tariffs, has Patrek nibbling his bottom lip as he nods. "I'll bring that idea to my advisors and speak with them. It may be a wise gamble."
With a faint smile, Muirenn says quietly "You have time cousin with regard to your marriage, but do not think that these things can wait for the years it will take for us to rebuild to what we were before…especially Fallen Oaks. Once another household gets a foothold there…" She heaves a sigh and gestures to the map, "Just think about Stonebridge. At any rate" she smiles, "Might I take some of my books with me back to Four Eagles? I find their library lacking. Also, I wish to take 2 of our huntsmen, 1 fisherman, and a mason to help the Terricks in their rebuilding as well as just enough food to feed our people so that we will not be such an imposition upon the Terricks. I have gone over the lists and while these things and people will help them greatly, they will not impact us overmuch in our own rebuilding efforts." Her cheeks flush as she adds, "I am trying to step up and pull my own weight in the family Patrek. I know I am just a girl and more skilled with embroidery than politics, but sometimes it is helpful because everyone tends to overlook me."
"Stonebridge," Patrek notes, "is a town with people and trade. It is a vital point of passage and a bustling city. When the Naylands gained control of it, they gained control of an area that was immediately profitable. Fallen Oaks… is just that. Trees, what of them have not been burnt. There are no men to divert to trying to hold such land, we have no resources to put towards making it profitable. In the long term, Seagard will thrive. It's the rebuilding efforts that could benefit from additional coin, and I do not think attempting some sort of claim of the Fallen Oaks could offer that." For Muirenn's requests of men and food, he nods, offering a small, tired smile. "Yes, of course cousin. Please do take those men and supplies you've asked for. I wish to assist the Terricks in whatever way we can, and I thank you for aiding them and consenting to be a ward of the Roost. It is a great help."
"I am afraid Lord Jerold will hate me" Muirenn says quietly, tracing an absent circle on the map, "I am going to give them two gardens though. An herb garden for the Maester and myself inside their walls off the courtyard since Avinashi's was destroyed and then a small garden outside the walls off of the green that is a memorial garden…a pretty place that even the small folk can enjoy. Whilst I abide at Four Eagles, Heurtebise and I can maintain it as well as teach others how to maintain it." Her lips curve into a sad smile, "One day I want to get a statue of a kneeling septon to go in the memorial garden." There is no need for the redheaded teen to elaborate on *why* a kneeling Septon in the memorial garden.
"Whyever should he hate you?" Patrek asks with a perplexed blink as he studies his cousin. "Lord Jerold is a good, generous man. What cause could he have to dislike the cousin I have sent to be his ward?" For the gardens, the boy offers a soft nod. "That sounds very fine, Cousin Muirenn. I am sure such offerings will be appreciated."
"I don't know. He is sort of…I don't know. I just feel like I will be found wanting is all. I only met him a handful of times before the siege." Muirenn's shoulders beneath their black fabric lift in a shrug, "Perhaps I am merely nervous is all. He is Lord Jacsen's father and I esteem Jacsen as one of my dearest friends from childhood, so everything will work out all right." There is a pause as she eyes Patrek, "I don't suppose once they are back that Ser Dorsey and Ser Conners might journey to the Roost as my guards? I am sure they would be quite helpful…and again, I wish not to put too much of a burden on Lord Jerold's people."
"He is a somber man, but I assure you, he will care for you as kindly as your own father," Patrek assures, "It will be well. You may take Ser Dorsey and Ser Conners if you like, but you must allow Terrick's Roost to look after you with some of their own men and supplies. To do otherwise would suggest them incapable, and I know Lords Jerold and Jacsen would feel the sting of such an insult, even if it's well-meaning and unintended."
With a nod of her head, Muirenn says "I know and I will, but I feel better with Ser Dorsey and Ser Conners with me." She smiles, "The supplies though, to feed the people I bring are necessary for the next couple of seasons. You of all people saw that what happened at Terrick's Roost was so much more dreadful. And while Lord Jerold and Jacsen are proud, I know that Lady Anais will be grateful." The girl adds though, "But I will bring my own things for my room and a lot of my own books. If I must stay away from home, then I want it to at least feel like home." Smiling she mmms, "Well be sure to speak with Papa, Uncle, and your other advisors about the docking fees and the terriffs." Scooting off of the bench she stands up, "Promise you will come visit me some Patrek? I hate being away from the family."
"When I can," the boy sighs, answering Muirenn's last question first. "I shall try, cousin. It was fine to have a chance to speak with you again." There is another of his small nods for the fees and tariffs, "I will. I should like to hear their thoughts on the ideas. We'll speak again before you leave, I'm sure. Be well, cousin." Pushing his shoulders back and lifting his chin, the Lord of Seagard turns to head back out the door and into the fray.
Nodding, Muirenn gives a low curtsey and then begins to pile up some of the books. Glancing over her shoulder at Minnie who was waiting quietly in the corner she says "We shall take these and the poetry books by Vaschal that Uncle Calvan gave me for the last few name days."