View Full Version : Renegociating (Matthais/Victor, then open 8/21, early evening)
05-20-2010, 07:20 AM
The servants had still skinned and quartered the large buffalo killed that afternoon on the plains. The pieces had been carted back by mules and donkeys, but instead of a celebration feast, that night they'd dine in Jarvis' memory. Word of his demise had spread quickly through the castle, along with rumblings and rumors about what would happen next.
Victor was not one to wait on rumors and hope for outcomes. Before heading to his chambers to clean up after the hunt, he sent a messenger to the new Lord Ashpool, requesting an audience before dinner. Now that he was dressed, a silk doublet of violet and gold to represent his house on this solemn night, he made his way toward the Ashpool offices, hoping that Matthais would be there as he'd requested.
05-23-2010, 06:00 PM
Matthias was seated in the main chamber of the Lord's stately rooms, the particular one he agreed to meet Victor in being furnished with numerous bookshelves, strewn maps and old ledgers. There was a main table where Matthias was seated, that he often remembered seeing his uncle take care of the affairs of state when he was but a child.
The young Lord had his head in his hands now, his gaze muted to the desk in front of him, which was covered in a fine layer of dust. Jarvis had no doubt never used these chambers, opting instead to carry on any business in some parlor with all the ladies about, or more than likely passed on into the hands of a capable adviser instead. The thought made Matthias want to both laugh and cringe.
He couldn't believe it. Jarvis was dead. Matthias was Province Lord.
How did he get here?
Obviously, it was mostly unofficial. There was no "annointing," no procession, no proclamations. But Matthias was the next male heir. It was set in stone. And it was all so abrupt.
He had left the girls to meet with Victor, who had promptly requested a meeting upon return from the hunt. It was abrupt but not particularly surprising; Victor was a man of action, and obviously this turn of events had to be dealt with.
05-24-2010, 09:13 PM
Victor stepped into the parlor where the young lord - young, but only a few years his junior - was seated. Many a men were thrust unexpectedly into Lordship, when a father or brother or cousin died unexpectedly. Matthais was not the first, nor would he be the last. How he handled the next few hours, days, weeks, would show the world what to expect from House Ashpool from now on. Certainly Matthais would be more capable than Jarvis, but short of that, Victor had no idea what to expect from the man. "Lord Ashpool," Victor greeted him, keeping his voice solemn enough. "The title suits you."
He moved to settled into a chair across from Matthais. "I'm sure you know why I've come."
05-25-2010, 02:29 AM
Matthias stood to greet Victor instinctively, but the man had seated himself before he was provided the opportunity to extend his hand. The young man nodded in acknowledgment, attempting to restrain the smirk that tugged at the corner of his lips. Victor Castell was good. Jarvis' body had barely cooled and already he was making a power play towards the new Province Lord. The familiarity, the almost respectful nature, the equal stance Victor was putting Matthias on with himself.
Of course he knew what Victor wanted.
"I assume you are concerned regarding the state of your sister's union with House Ashpool, now that her betrothed is destined for the grave."
05-28-2010, 07:43 PM
Straight to the point as well. Had Victor been assured a life-long alliance with Lord Matthias, he was certain he and the man would get along rather well. But until that time, there was no room to slip. Not with so many years of careful planning. Silently he cursed Jarvis for his stupidity. They should have left the artsy province lord at home to take tea with the ladies. At least Matthias was a leader his men would respect. That, however, only helped Victor if Matthias's loyalty could be swayed.
"I'm not quite so cruel to wed her to a corpse to keep the union intact. No, Lord Matthias, I'll get straight to the point. As Jarvis is no longer able to stand before the priest to take the vows, a suitable husband, one of equal standing, should step up to take his place." He would wed Evelyn to no one less than Matthias. In fact, he didn't plan to leave the room until the younger man agreed.
The soft sound of footsteps reached his ears. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed an elderly woman enter the room. He paid her no attention, but her identity was no secret to him. He would not let her talk Matthias out of this union either.
05-28-2010, 08:03 PM
Matthias' eyes narrowed at Victor's words, and he fell silent. He knew what Victor was implying: Matthias was Province Lord now. There was no one else. He was the next, and only, legitimate family member to ascend to the role. And it was clear that Victor intended to marry Evelyn into the Ashpool family, no matter whom it was.
"My Lord, do you not think it unwise to transfer the union of your sister from my cousin immediately to myself, while her previously betrothed lay still warm within this very castle?" Matthias kept his tone controlled, but he was more than a little bothered by Victor's proposal. It seemed unnatural. On the surface, Matthias supposed it made sense: this way the union between Castell and Ashpool would still go on, negotiations would not have to be entered with another family. Not much would change except who was in bed with whom, but it was that exact fact that bothered Matthias so much. He didn't enjoy entertaining the idea of being second to anything of Jarvis, and while Evelyn was a suitable enough woman, it was not her warmth he wanted beside him.
"Think of what the other Province Lords would say. Your sister is not chattel to be traded. I believe she would feel that same way; I was not her intended. She could not agree to this."
05-28-2010, 08:13 PM
Victor could not be sure if Matthias was laying the foundation of courtesies with full intent to eventually accept the proposal, or if truly felt this way. Certainly considering Evelyn's feelings gave the appearance of a man who cared. At the same time, Victor didn't wish to dicker over semantics. His sister had been promised to the Lord of Sanka, and Victor cared little if the man was Jarvis or Matthias or some other cousin as long as his sister wore the title of Lady Ashpool.
He was about to speak when a voice piped up across the room.
"My lord," Raine spoke, her voice far softer and more alluring than Victor would have expected. She moved with a grace that must have come from her Lorterra breeding, slipping like silk across the room to settle in a chair with the men. That she considered herself equal to speak with them was almost offensive, but her words were to Victor liking. "I believe Lord Castell brings much to the table by so graciously offering his sister. Jarvis was not worthy of her hand, and yet Lord Castell honored our family with the match. I feel it would be unwise to break the agreement between the two families now."
She had to be playing some game, of that Victor was sure. How could the elder Ashpool, Lorterra by birth and unwed to stop the bloodline, benefit from the union? Unless she truly cared for her mother's family. Victor turned his attention back to Matthias as though waiting for him to reply. Raine was an Ashpool problem, not his.
05-28-2010, 08:41 PM
Matthias glanced at his aunt, questioning silently her presence in the room. He ignored her entrance initially, as Raine always put herself in every situation, whether she was accepted or not. Intrusion was something he had come to expect from the old bag. None of the family really enjoyed her presence but what were they to do, turn her out into the cold? Up until that moment, she was just an aging nuisance.
But now she was interjecting, and on Victor's side, apparently. Matthias was a little surprised: not only at suddenly finding it appropriate to even be involved in the conversation, but to suggest that Matthias find himself lucky to be offered Evelyn's hand, as she did not find Jarvis worthy of it.
"Aunt Raine, I do not think Evelyn would be pleased to hear you speak in such a degrading manner about her recently deceased betrothed," Matthias remarked, his tone making it clear he was not happy about her inserting herself in the conversation.
"I cannot say I would feel right accepting betrothal on the account of Jarvis' death, and so soon afterward, Lord Castell. Had you merely wanted Evelyn to be a member of the Ashpool family, you would have offered her to me previously. But now that I am intended Province Lord, you come to me. While you obviously want to grant your sister the status she deserves, I am concerned it is merely the title and potential power that you thirst for, rather than a general understanding that it would be I whom accept the responsibility to care for and look after Evelyn. You would be misinformed to believe you are gaining something other than a family alliance by Evelyn becoming my wife."
05-30-2010, 10:26 PM
Evelyn would likely agree. Victor found Raine amusing. She was another example of how poor the Ashpool's brought up their women. Clearly the family needed someone with a strong hand like his sister, but he doubted Matthias would appreciate such a derogatory comment towards his cousins and siblings. He'd keep his offer of taking Aurelia home with him for the future, when the family had a chance to recover from the recent death. He continued to watch her movements, her expressions, the way she interacted with Matthias.
"My lord, I am used to advising Lord Jarvis. I did not stop to think you would not be as open to my experience as he was. I offered my opinion, because I believe it is in the family's best interest to continue with the arrangements. We have spent gold a plenty already on preparing for this wedding, and many from the kingdom have already traveled here to attend. Such a drastic change in plans would have an impact on many. It was not my intent to belittle Jarvis, but even you have eyes to see that he was not right to guide our family. You, my lord, with a strong wife by your side, are the one to bring House Ashpool back to the respect we lost half a century ago."
Victor forced himself not to smirk. She was pandering now, trying another tactic considering her first had not worked. "Lord Ashpool, your aunt makes good points, but none are as important as the fact that the lord before you had obligations that he is no longer able to fulfill. I'm certain Evelyn would be pleased to hear that you've taken time to consider her feelings, but make no mistake, my sister is prepared to accept changes to the arrangement." He ignored Matthias's words regarding what he expected to have... he would get what he wished. If Matthias declined now, there were always other ways of forcing someone's hand.
05-31-2010, 08:17 PM
Matthias' eyes darkened, his brow furrowed at the negotiation tactics that both Victor and Raine were using the ply him. Did they think him weak, prey to expertly placed compliments and suggestions? He did not need to be told a thousand times that he was a better fit Lord than Jarvis; he had known that since they were children. Even more so it angered Matthias that Raine brought forth ancient Ashpool shame in front of Victor Castell. What was this old witch trying to do?
"As much as a suitable wife is important to the strength of a man, I do not need a wife to bring House Ashpool into greatness. I am a capable man; do you think I will be weak and misguided without the direction of a woman? And while Evelyn is certainly an asset to her family in her malleability, it concerns me that if she could so easy change her interests from her former betrothed on the day of his death to the man's cousin, how quickly will her head turn when something more promising, more interesting, comes along?"
Matthias took a moment before speaking again. "Although I would be honored by Evelyn's hand in marriage, as I am sure there would never be well-suited match for me as she would be, I must decline, for propriety's sake. I think it is unwise and unfair to both my deceased relative and the young woman in question to go forth with such a hasty decision. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause your family and traveling party, but you have House Ashpool's hospitality until future arrangements can be made."
Matthias' mind was made up; this was the right thing to do. And he knew it would not go over lightly, but today was his first day as Province Lord, and he intended to show Lord Castell exactly what position of strength he intended to hold.
06-02-2010, 10:51 PM
Raine's eyes narrowed at Matthias' words, but she held her tongue in check. Victor could tell she was ready to burst, like a hot volcano close to eruption. He wondered at just how much influence the woman had held over Jarvis, considering the prior lord's tendency to be dragged along like a child's toy doll. Lorterra blood did run in her veins, and no matter that the Sterlyn's had stripped her title and her royal rights, they could remove the princess from her soul. And he wouldn't be surprised if she was bitter about her life: living in the shadow of House Ashpool and the disgrace of her father's choices was enough to drive anyone mad.
"Lord Matthias, you doubt the Castell's honor? When Evelyn weds you, she is your wife. She becomes your responsibility and I would be overstepping my bounds to pull her off to another marriage. My intent, and hers, has always been to restore the close bonds that House Ashpool and House Castell had in the past." House Castell and House Tyrell had been long time enemies three hundred years before, until the plague killed off the last remaining members of that house, much to the pleasure of Lord Castell. He decided immediately to wed his daughter to son of the new province lord Ashpool, ensure the houses were bonded from the beginning. War had ravished those bonds, but Victor saw no reason, in light of his plans, not to bind them again, repeating his ancestors' move of wedding a woman into their house.
Yet Matthias was being difficult! "You decline permanently? Or until the families have had time to grieve. Because I ask you, Matthias, where you expect to find a better woman to wed than my sister."
06-07-2010, 04:47 PM
Matthias felt momentarily rejuvenated by Victor's obvious surprise at his refusal of a union with Evelyn. Lord Castell had lost ground he assumed he held with strength, and so Matthias' resolve remained.
"I am not so foolish to assume that I could find a woman quite as worthy as Evelyn, my Lord, but I do so reluctantly refuse on the permanent grounds that it would be politically and socially unwise and misguided to snatch up so quickly my fallen cousin's former beloved and intended fiancee."
06-08-2010, 09:15 PM
This wasn't over. Victor was not about to give up so easily. But here and now wasn't the right time to fight this battle. While Matthias might feel his choice was honorable, Victor did not agree. A deal had been made between Ashpool and Castell, one that ensured Evelyn would take the future place as Lady Ashpool. Matthias might not see that now, but Victor would find a way to remind him.
He rose, the frown on his face betraying his displeasure. "If you feel that way, Lord Ashpool, there is nothing I can do. I would ask you, in light of respecting the agreement I made with Jarvis, to reconsider when you've had time to mourn his loss. You may feel it's socially damning to accept, but I feel your mistake lies in your declining. The Castells don't appreciate rejection, and my sister will consider your decision an insult. You might take care to explain your reason to her yourself. I shall see you at tonight mourning feast."
He nodded his head to the other lord and took his leave.
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