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(Archive) Strange bedfellows

Tags: Bernar,  Celys (Naverine and Thurstan Arathmor)

Short Summary: Bernar has guests: Thurstan and Naverine Arathmor, bearing a proposal.
Date (real-life): 2013-01-22
Scene Location: Esgaroth: Karath Manor
Date (in-game): January 3058
Time of Day: Night
[Celys(#13888)] The stars burn fitfully over Laketown--by now most of the city has gone to sleep, or at least they are hiding in their homes with little fires of their own, keeping the winter at bay. So it is perhaps somewhat surprising that someone knocks at the door at this time. The doorman quickly allows access to two figures in velvetty cloaks: male and female, probably related. The lady announces: "Tell the lord of the house that Lady Naverine Arathmor and her brother wish to speak to him."


One of the guards next to the door - hard to spot in his little nook - sets off at a quick walk down to the door leading to Lord Karath's private quarters. After a knock or two, and a loud voice answering something inscrutable, he opens the door a crack, speaks, then opens it fully, stepping to the side and to attention as the man they seek emerges.

Built like a bear, he is dressed quite dapper nonetheless in his house colors. Missing from the white leather belt is the scabbard that generally hangs. He approaches the door at a stately pace. "Lady Naverine," he rumbles, nodding his head to the woman. "I am Lord Bernar Karath." He pauses, looking back and forth between the two of them, and finally says in a voice tinged with resignation, "Would you please join me in my study?" He points to the room he just left.

The room itself is oversized much as Bernar is, and his father before him. There are chairs sized more appropriately for people of an appropriate size set up just before the desk, however.

[Celys(#13888)] The twins nod and follow in unison. Once they are in the study, Thurstan bows deeply and offers a sheathed sword from under his cloak. "A gift for you, my lord. I carried Fortune with me when I served the King's Men, and she served me well. Perhaps she can serve some son of Karath just as faithfully."


Following the twins in, Bernar closes the door behind him and walks to the large chair behind the large desk in the large room. He does not sit before his guests, however, and his eyebrows do their best to climb onto his forehead at Thurstan's words before he regains control of his composure. The words, at least, flow appropriately: "I thank you for this fine gift, if you are certain you wish to part with it?" He accepts the blade. "Good fortune be yours though you pass Fortune on to another."

He gestures at the two seats behind the Arathmors, but does not yet seat himself. "But you have me at a disadvantage, my lord, for while Lady Naverine has introduced herself, I do not believe I have made your acquaintance. I would know the name of the man who has favored my House with his generosity."

[Celys(#13888)] "Lord Thurstan Arathmor," says the man with another bow before settling into a seat. "We have not met, though I served alongside valiant men of your House in my youth." He gives his sister a glance. "I daresay there are families you would be happier to see in your halls."

Naverine offers something of a sad smile, but says nothing. She sits down rather stiffly and makes a valiant effort to look like she is not profoundly uncomfortable. Truly, there is valor to be found in the House Arathmor.


Bernar responds, "An honor to meet you, Lord Thurstan." Then he goes quiet, eyes flicking between the siblings.

After the silence has lingered a beat too long for comfort, Bernar answers, "Our Houses have not always seen eye to eye, and there have been-" His lips purse. "-difficulties. Obstacles to more pleasant relations. But we shall not let that poison our first meeting. Never let it be said that the Karaths fail to show hospitality."

He rings a small bell at the edge of his desk, and a Karath servant materializes from a side-door. "Would you like tea? Wine? Brandy? I myself prefer whiskey, on nights such as this." The liveried young woman looks to the two Arathmors expectantly.

[Celys(#13888)] "Some wine would be most appreciated, my lord, I thank you." says Thurstan, giving his sister a questioning glance, to which she nods a quiet affirmation. Thurstan continues, "As for the purpose of our visit, I shall not dissembmle. In response to the Council's inaction concerning the traitor Roskar, it is our opinion that the Steward should once again be a position that is elected by the four Houses."

"It is my greatest desire that the traitors and criminals from among our House be brought to justice--not merely left to rot in a cell." Naverine speaks here, her voice carefully level. "We hold no ill will towards you or any of the noble Houses here--indeed, Roskar scarcely deserved a better death--but the position of the Steward has no accountability to the nobility of Laketown. This needs to be changed if we are to move forward as a city."


The servant disappears back into the side-door, closing it soundlessly behind her.

Bernar's face is expresionless. "Roskar's deeds are known to me. Some of them, at least; I doubt all are known to anyone." His eyes narrow. "He deserved worse. But he deserved it as the King's justice after full and public revelation of his actions, not an act of cowardice in the night. I believe-"

He abruptly stops talking as the servant door opens again, and she emerges with a tray with two glasses of red wine and one whiskey snifter with about two fingers in it. She offers it first to the guests, and then to the Lord of the House. He does not continue until she departs. "-I believe the Steward's inaction in bringing this is nearly malfeasance, and he should be removed. His replacement, I have not thought about."

His lips curl into a bit of an ironic smile. "To justice," he suggests, raising his own glass towards the two Arathmors.

[Celys(#13888)] The Arathmors raise their own glasses and echo the toast in unison: "To justice." Naverine takes a long drink while Thurstan continues. "I'm glad you feel that way, my lord. Your voice will carry a great deal of weight with the King--we will need that voice if we are to make sure this never happens again."

Bernar joins them in drinking, and the smile fades from his face. "House Taurdain feels as I do. Perhaps as you do, as well, though I do not like your proposed solution."

The amber whiskey catch the light and climb along the edges of the glass as Bernar gestures with the snifter. "Appointing the Steward is a royal prerogative, not one to be taken away lightly. It is one of the greatest checks against corruption in Esgaroth that an outsider might be appointed who has no stake in the factions that so disrupt proper governance."

Lord Karath adds in a softer, but firm voice, "I stand with the King, whatever his choice may be. How would we properly recognize Girion's supremacy when choosing a Steward, under your plan?"

[Celys(#13888)] "Two simple alternatives present themselves," says Naverine, staring into her wine thoughtfully, "but the method that I think would serve us both best is this: retain the position of Steward as a Girion." She holds up a hand to forestall her brother's objections, awarding him with a sharp look in the process. "Second: create the Master of the Council, appointed the four Houses. Award both the Steward and the Master the rights to veto one another's authority, and award the Council and the Houses the rights to overrule either of them with unanimous consent. In this way, the Steward still retains his authority, but if he does nothing, the Master is more than capable of bringing traitors to trial without him." She gives her brother a smug look.


Lord Karath places his elbows on his desk and steeples his fingers. "If the Houses can override, why have the formality of a Master of Laketown? I feel administrative deadlock could result easily from this arrangement. One veto leads to another."
"What is the other option you see?" he asks.

[Celys(#13888)] "All four Houses voting in unison seems unlikely to me," says Naverine, "but it is hardly necessary. And I find it equally unlikely that the Houses will elect someone who is not a friend of the House Girion. Indeed, without royal support I cannot see how any candidate could receive the appointment." Naverine shrugs. "Alternatively, we could merely require that the Steward be appointed from among members of the House Girion. This is hardly a perfect solution but it would certainly mean the Steward needs to be more accountable."


"This idea of a Master of Laketown requires further thought," Bernar decides. "I will not commit my support to it immediately. But I do like the principle tat the Steward be more responsive to the needs of Laketown, and that a single bad egg not tarnish the popular view of our government. Proper respect for authority is to the King's benefit as well as ours."

[Celys(#13888)] "That is all I can ask," says Thurstan. "These things merit time and thought." He produces a scroll from within his cloak and proffers it to Bernar. "My sister and I are lodged here, should you have any need of us. If you find some aspect of this proposal amenable, we should meet again--perhaps we can bring the Lady of Taurdain to the table." A moment's pause. "But the hour grows late. We shan't keep you any longer than is necessary."

Bernar accepts the scroll, skimming it before setting it down on his desk - on the ordered side, not the chaotic side. "It has been a pleasure to meet you both." He smiles. "Never have I been more surprised by guests' graciousness. But yes, it is late. I shall see you to the door. Do you require an escort, given the time of night?" He moves to open the door out into the entry hall, holding it open for the Arathmors.

[Celys(#13888)] "Thank you, but no. I have retained some of the skills the King's Men taught me. Besides, I have Navy with me." Thurstan grins and rises. "Until next time, my lord."

Naverine rises and offers a polite curtsey. "I confess I feared you'd turn us away at the door. I realize that the praise is somewhat meaningless, but you are a far better man than the rats I must call kinsmen." She smiles--sincerely, apparently, which seems strange on her features--and makes her way towards the exit.

Date added: 2014-11-28 09:49:38    Hits: 64
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