Page 431: Wretched Roses
Wretched Roses
Summary: The Stewards discuss roses and dinners.
Date: 25 September 2012
Related Logs: None particularly.
Anathema Tyroan 
Gardens, Tordane Tower
The rose garden of House Tordane is about three hundred square feet and hemmed in by walls about eye level to keep out the attention of wildlife. Bees hum about the area and around the stone archway which has seen the flowers grow up over and nearly encase in solid vine. The scent is sweet, mixing with the air coming off the water to produce an atmosphere some might find extremely calming. Stone benches have been chiseled out and placed along the path for visitors to relax on.
September 25, 289

Anathema Nayland cannot abide roses. They are terrible, nearly worthless little flowers whose endless folds of petals vex her. Their scent is too sweet, their colors too flamboyant. The only worthwhile part of a rose is it's thorns, and that is only because they can draw blood. No, give her flowers with purpose and natural wildness. Give her the poisonous blooms of nightshade, the sweetness of menthe, and the sun-colored blooms of tansy. She sits on one of those stone benches surrounded by the wretched, domesticated flowers in a gown of ebon-violet with a belt of woven green about the curve of her hips. She idly plucks the petals of a girlish pink bloom, tossing them idly into the softest breeze that roams through the garden. Just beside her feet is a wooden diving bowl, and those fingerling runes lay still in the basin.

Tyroan has a few fonder feelings for roses, particularly the briar-ish mire rose, but he learned early on in their relationship just what his wild wife thought of them, so it was something of a surprise to be directed to the extravagant patch of the petal-y blooms when looking for his wife. Still, he stumps in purposefully, taking in the scene before him and letting that tight little smirk touch one corner of his lips, "Trying to find out if the stableboy loves you, Ana?" He shakes off the teasing jibe, moving over to drop down onto the bench alongside her with a groan, "Who ever thought paperwork would hurt more than a fucking battle?"

Anathema tosses aside the stem and picked over bloom with a mere flick of her wrist. "A rose will never answer such a silly question," she retorts with a tilt of her head, wild curls sweeping back off her shoulder and down her back at the gesture. "Besides, I would not test your jealousy if I went toying with the heartstrings of the poor stableboys." There is an impish flash in those dark eyes before she soothes him with a gentle curve of a smile. As he settles, she starts to brush aside the petals and leaves of the multilated flower. "You need to sleep more, Husband. You only come to bed when you are so tired you turn into a lifeless log beside me."

"Just my patience." That's accompanied by a bark of laughter from Tyroan, but he sobers quickly enough, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees, "Just too much to do right now, Ana. It'll get better." He snorts softly, "Once people don't see the Naylands as teenage boys waggling their cocks on the dancefloor, and once we've some coin in reserve." That smirk is back, tight and dry, "And of course once people snap to when we tell them to fucking do something."

Ana offers a low and soft laugh. "And there is nothing I enjoy testing less than your patience." Then the woman turns her gaze away across the expanse of roses and thorns. She languidly drapes her arms across her crossed knees. She is quiet for a long moment. "We will have to suplicate at first, bowing to the whims of other egos until the turbulency calms." Dark, green-ringed eyes flicker back to his and she quietly snaps the fingers of her right hand together in a thoughtful gesture. "The household is being obediant?" She inquires in a quieter voice.

Tyroan grunts at the mention of supplication, "Fuck that. We can bend, but we aren't bowing. We do that, and we'll never get back on our feet." He runs a hand back along his shaven head, "But we'll damn sure have to bend, of course. Have to show we aren't crass sons of…" He laughs suddenly, "Well, I won't speak ill of my goodsister." The words are accompanied by a sarcastic roll of his eyes, and then he settles into the question that followed, "Nothing major. Just getting them into ranks." As if the household staff were soldiers. "Once the Erenfords get over their original grief, I'll have to see what I can do to limit the shit we have to put up with the deal Grabby-hands signed."

Anathema offers her husband a mild smile at first. "Yes, we will have to provide some… separation from the Mirelings. We are obviously far better bred." She releases a sigh, reaching for another insulting bloom. It is plucked firmly from the bush, the pink rose given a rather annoyed look. "This household will run smoothly again, Tyroan." She breathes out a sigh as she regards her husband fully now, idly swinging the flower between her fingers. "And what are these… wonderful terms that our nephew decided to seek with the Herons?" She arches up a single, sooty brow.

Tyroan straightens up, half-turning his body toward his wife and leaning back to crush a few of the delicate blooms between the supports and the hard, uncaring leather of his jack. He starts listing points off on his fingers, "Rutger marries an Erenford, and any son is placed ahead of those he already has. An Erenford is appointed Dockmaster here in Stonebridge. We lower their tariffs even further — there's some suggestion we have to keep theirs lower than anyone fucking else's. Men and food in the event they're attacked, which won't matter. Then there's the real fucking kicker… We Owe Them." The words are capitalized in his voice, "They can call on our aid once for any purpose, and we have to fucking go. Go and stick it out, even if they lose."

As Tyroan starts to list off the terms, Anathema's expression grows darker and darker. By the end of it, she sneers rather unprettily. She tosses that offending flower away, shaking her head. "I care not about the marriage between Erenfords and Naylands," she says, waving it off as if it were something small and insignificant. There is always a chance there will be nothing but girls. Though she does grimace a bit at the rest. "Dockmaster is a step down for the Erenfords, no logic why they would want such a position. Though some pink bird in my House will mean I watch him with an hawk's eye. I'll see no corruption in our books." She then breathes out a sigh. "Perhaps… I will make an effort to see the Erenfords after the Terricks. To see if this deal is as bad as it sounds."

Tyroan shrugs one shoulder, further splitting the rose vines behind him, "We have approval on who gets appointed. I'll fucking quiz the pencil-neck myself, and se if the heron can pass the Stork's approval too." There's a twist of that tight smile again, and he adds, "Just make sure it's not an actually hawk's eye, Ana. We're here to impress." The words are given as a joke rather than any actual warning. "That grain we sent up this morning should be a good start to a solid agreement. I may try to put a deadline on that Favor. It'd be fucking ridiculous if our grandchildren were still beholden to Lord Heron's. But I think I can get them to come down here, so long as we put some spears around them on the road. No sense sending you and the boys running around further than you have to."

"I always impress," Ana says with a calm air. "I will not ruffle any pink feathers, Ty." She offers a bit of a wry smile to her husband before she reaches up to gently pluck a yellow petal from his collar, flicking it aside. "I'm certain that the Herons will understand that the war did not treat us kindly. It may come to pass that much of their terms will need to be limited. If too much coin is lost on their tariffs and not enough gained elsewhere, we are looking at sad coffers indeed. And we all know it is the prospect of coin that keeps our Liege Lord content." She gently brushes her finger over the back of his ear before she drops her hand away to her lap once more.

Tyroan nods his agreement with Anathema's assurance. He looks down to the petal she plucks free, grunting and sitting forward again. "Fuck. I'm going to need to get out some of my old clothes." You know, the ones that -aren't- the next best thing to armor. "We'll gouge the Charltons, and the Haighs as best as we can. Probably the Groves too, but not enough to really piss them off. The Terricks can't afford it, but we'll do what we can there too. The Erenfords we'll have to keep cheap, and there's no reason to piss off Rickart and his boys if we don't have to." The touch to his ear causes him to frown a moment in confusion, shaking his head as if to clear it of any petals still clinging to it, and then give that tight smile again, "Okay. I think I understand your hate of these dry-land roses. Fucking petals everywhere."

Again, Anathema laughs. "Let me tear them out, grow my own garden of flowers and greenery. I will not bring in the wilder plants, the things that someone could misuse." The woods-witch offers him a coy smile, perhaps one she has used before when asking for what she thinks is a very casual request. She does raise a single finger, as if knowing what he will complain about first. "It will be a slow project, based on our affordability." She blossoms with a slow, smooth smile.

Tyroan looks around, frowning slightly as he looks over the rose garden, then reaches up to brush crushed leaves and flowers — and thorns — off the back of his jack. "Maybe a little patch at a time, Ana. Let's not look quite like we're burning things down and starting from scratch, eh?" He nods as if to acknowledge that he's agreeing with her raised-finger point, "Maybe keep some of the mire roses in the end." That tight smirk is back, "They've got to be almost wild enough for you."

"As you wish, Husband," Anathema says dutifully, though there is a warm touch of amusement in her dark eyes even as she leans forward to press a kiss to his weathered cheek. "A handful of mire roses just for you." There is a touch of old world affection in her eyes. "Now, do you feel relaxed enough that I can ask about a Household feast as the new Lord Steward and Lady Steward of Stonebridge?" She flashes him a quick, sharp-curved grin. "It will require a bit more paperwork."

Tyroan barks an amused laugh at the dutiful tone, turning his cheek to receive the kiss, then groaning a bit at the request, "Fuuuuuuuck." He shakes his head, raising both hands to scrub at his face a moment before he nods, "And coin. But it's something I should have thought of." That tight smile crosses his lips, "I guess that's why the Gods gave me you." There's a pause, "Although I shouldn't say that, Rickart might think I'm talking about him and get a bigger head." Shrugging to himself a bit, he leans back against the crushed roses once more, "What did you have in mind, Ana?"

The woods-witch scoffs, elevating her chin proudly. "It was hardly Rickart who ensured that our paths would become entwined, Tyroan. He merely facilitated the pre-determined match." This realization is something that perhaps took Anathema time to realize. After all, she thought she was being punished when heard she was to be wed to a Riverlander. But, there is a feast to talk about. "Perhaps a bit of coin," Anathema agrees with a gentle nod of her head. "Nothing extravagant. A meal to be shared with family and household. I know we have plenty of grain," she points out with a smirk. "But perhaps we can see about a coarse of meat and hearty vegetables."

Tyroan arches an eyebrow at Anathema's scoffing, but he doesn't verbally protest the point. Nodding at the explanation, he settles his weary bones a bit on the arch-covered bench, "Family, household knights, the maester." He grunts a little, "Do you want to open it to the heads of the household," important servants, that is, "and levy serjeants too? Keeping it to just family, knights, and maester may save us a good bit of coin." An infinitessimal amount to most houses, but when you ride the knife's edge as House Nayland now does…

"I would like to see the heads of the household present as well," Anathema says. "To save a bit of coin, we can forego the levy serjeants." She slips a lock of curly black behind her ear, finally sweeping up to her feet. As she does, she scoops up the scrying bowl with the five fingerling runes still lying in the basin. She casts a glance down toward her husband, stepping up to press another fair kiss to the top of his head. "We will cut corners where we can." She gives him space to stand if he desires to, holding her gaze steadily with his own.

Tyroan nods his head slowly, "Alright." He bows his head to accept the press of lips to the top of his bald head, then rises up in his wife's wake. "So we're looking at ten or fifteen. Shouldn't break the bank. I'm sure we can get some fish from the Green Rill, plus whatever the fuck is left in the woods around here that those damned Charltons didn't eat." Grunting once, he offers out his arm as is appropriate, then gestures down to the bowl of runes with his other hand, "Read anything interesting?" The words old the same bemused sort of playing along that they have since about year five when it became clear that sometimes his wife did get things right — more often than not, really.

"I will have the huntsmen go seeking game, and perhaps a cart or two of vegetables sent our way from the Mire. I will have the retainers clean the hall for such an affair." She takes his offered arm with grace, fingers lying across his forearm. As he spies her runes, she glances down at the way the stones fell. It causes a slightly grim line to appear on her lips, and she allowshim to begin to guide her from the garden as she speaks. "Something is coming our way, Tyroan. We will be tested, and not just by Lord Frey or any other of the Houses we seek to make amends with. No, this will come from… somewhere far closer. We must be cautious."

Tyroan snorts at the warning, "If Rickart or his boys try to challenge us, I'll kick their balls up between their ears." Still, he nods slowly, "Walder Frey gave us Stewardship, and if I have to, I'll show anyone who comes at us that I can grasp a whole lot harder than my brother or his children." He clenches one hand in apparent bemusement, looking at the gnarled claw of a fist, then shrugs, "Or at least I can punch them in the nose when they try to take anything away from me."