(1874-08-11) Unwelcome News
Unwelcome News
Summary: Gauvain and Thomas speak of diplomacy. The day after, they learn unwelcome news.
Date: 11/08/18
Related: Beneath the Apple Tree
NPCs: Edward Chandus
Gauvain  Thomas  

Griffon Point Study
The Study of Griffon Point Keep
11 Aout, 1874 IE

Gauvain stands at the window in his study. One hand behind his back the other holding a tumbler of amber colored apple brandy. His eyes watch the horses in the pasture nearby. Young colts playing, many others simply grazing, a few lazing about. He sips form the drink in his hand and continues to gaze, admiring them. He had done the day's paper work, gone over numbers, and frankly, he had simply finished doing his work for the day. He really wasn't sure what to think or with himself.

Work, work, it's always more work. And so it is for Gauvain's vassal and subordinate, Thomas, as it is for the Duke himself. He walks into the study wearing riding clothes covered with a thick layer of the late summer's dust, though he's at least had a chance to wash his hands and face off. "Evening, your Grace." He looks exhausted. "Took Edward out for a ride. He's nearly overtaking me in skill ahorse, not that it's particularly difficult."

"To be fair Thomas, you have the skills of a page on a horse." Gauvain says turning around from the window and walking back to his desk. He sets the drink down and gestures to one of the empty chairs. "Please. Take a seat." He takes a seat himself and leans back in chair. "I'm glad your boy is taking instruction well. The Guard Captain said he's even handling a gladius as good as any squire."

Thomas's eyebrows knit inwardly, but it's more of an exasperated than angry expression in this instance. He does as he's bidden, plopping down in front of the Duke. "Really, Gauvain, I ride as well as most troopers whom you pay near a Crown a month to. And handle sword far better. That I've not ridden in any tourneys speaks more to what's always going on at the same time as tourneys… war, and politics. Both of which we have in spades."

Gauvian grins at Thomas and gestures with one hand. "Politics are our current War Thomas. Until that damn Southern Empire decides to come pay us a visit." He sighs. "But. I doubt you came to talk about Tournaments or whatever. What can I do for you Thomas?" He asks as he picks up his glass and takes a sip. Then gestures to the liquor cabinet in the corner, indicating that Thomas can if he so desires pour himself a drink.

After having so recently sat down, it's a struggle for Thomas to get back up, but up he goes, and he's over to the cabinet. Instead of simply pouring a drink, he nabs the decanter and brings it over with a glass for himself, first filling Gauvain's again and then pouring his own. "That's only half true, you know. We've a war in the north, and we've still got greenskins to our east. But politics are the main role here, yes, indeed. Ah, of course, right to the point! Never a dull moment with my liege." He grins. "I want to go pay my antecendants a visit, of course, before the slimy desert dwellers swim the puddle and emerge on us. More than one reason for this, I do promise!"

Gauvain sips his drink as he listens. He leans forward and looks into Thomas' eyes. "You're speaking about the Imperials? The ones who were at the Senate of the West?" he makes a scoffing noise and leans back again. "What's the point? They control Paras which is far beyond the Northern Border. They may be fighting those Qatanex, but they're not near our section of the fight. So there is no point to it. The fuckers have Ryker, and I'm content with holding them there for now."

"Because, this isn't a military matter, not right now; it's a political one. We shared a border with them for quite some time and yet, after they closed the trade routes twenty years ago, nary a word. I tried to get in contact with them four or five years ago and they laughed my envoy away. They don't control Castra Vetara anymore, however. But." Thomas's gaze grows shrewd, and he takes a sip of his drink. "They had closed off trading along the Great Salt. That's the real prize, you know.

He leans back, cracking his spine and looking relieved right after. "Do you know your ancient history, Gauvain? At the end of the Great Salt are those five great city states, the Pentarchy. The Pentarchy brought civilisation and all its trappings to Darius's empire, you know, and in return they were secured as vassals of the Empire. They still existed twenty years ago. And I'm told that they still exist now, holding off the savages. Imagine being the last Galenthian port on the Great Salt before making the journey to trade with the Pentarchy. Imagine the wealth."

"And look what happened to those fuckers." Guavain says evenly. "Politics be damned, if they had worked with us we might have avoided this whole One Blasted mess. Instead those uptight pieces of snobbish shits are gobbling up parts of Aequor and fighting for their lives. They are not worth a political shit right now Thomas, and they are not my problem. They are Viscount d'Korbina's and frankly he can have those fuckers and all the problems that come with them, including, hopefully, more than their share of the Qatanex."

Gauvain sets his glass down. "If you want to waste your time dealing with those uptight shits, that's your problem. But if you are not here when Partharia attacks, I promise you there will be Abyss to pay with the Queen."

"I plan to take an airship up there. I plan to see if we can't establish an embassage in Paras. One never knows what they will or won't do. Perhaps the rest of their Empire will fall? Perhaps not. But I plan to see if there might be any advantages that are possible. No committing of our troops." Thomas purses his lips. "And, perhaps, I can finally get a decent report on what Ryker's fief is looking like. I've gotten nothing, and I'm concerned that that animal Xavier is holding back information." He drains his cup in one go. "Let's discuss some Parthian things tomorrow. I'll be off for the night, then."

"Oh uh…" He adds. "I contracted the services of that young commoner who spoke up at the last court. Susanna Summers. As an… agent. She was serving Lady Imogen Anders, but apparently that marriage fell through with the d'Korbina. She wants permission to tell Archduchess al'Mordran of the fact that she's one of ours. What say you?"

Gauvian blinks and picks up his drink again. "Very well. Go ahead and see what you can do." He listens as Thomas speaks of behind the scenes and closed door activities. "Thomas. Did you send a bloody spy to a foreign court with out speaking to me first?" He laughs and sets his glass down. "My. You are working well on your politics I see. Do not tell anyone of her mission. The fewer who know who she is, the less likely she will loose her head. She's a commoner, so it's not a concern if she is discovered and killed, only if she speaks as to whom sent her. So. Tell her to remain quiet and do what she can."

"Not quite to a foreign court… I recruited her in Four Corners, after she came to apologise about carrying on in court around her betters. She asked for permission to hire on with Lady Imogen, and I shrugged at it. Now she wants to tell the Archduchess so she can have safe haven for her sisters. I'm more inclined to tell her to send her sisters here, and we can find them work at your court or mine." Thomas smiles slyly. "It didn't happen on purpose, you know. But I figured having one in the pocket might work well. I'll tell her that if she tells anyone, she'll no longer be welcome in Galenthia."

"Indeed." Gauvain says with a nod. "We'll find hearth and home for her kin here, as well as a place in the keep to earn that hearth." He takes a deep breath. "Easy tasks, and if they are truly little, then we will simply see them taken care of in both support and education. A small price to pay for information." He sighs and sips his drink again. "Very well. See it done Thom."

"I'll do that. And I'll see you at breakfast, tomorrow. Shall we tilt in the practice yard before hand, in the morn?" Thomas asks.

Gauvain chuckles. "Sure. We can show the squires how us old men do it these days!" He shakes his head.

The next morning is cool but without any of the actual chill that would indicate the slide to autumn, which still feels as far away as ever, despite the ripe wheat in the fields. Thomas is up early and stands in the practice yard in his gambeson, the his brigandine sitting on a bench next to him along with his shield. He's got a wooden broadsword in hand, though his real one is nearby in its scabbard.

Gauvain, similarly attired sips water for a change. his armor rests nearby as does Vendetta in its ornate scabbard. He rolls a shoulder and looks to Thomas. "Well. I suppose we should see if we can break these wooden swords on each other eh?" He says with a slight smile. His squire hands him a shield which Gauvain fits to his arm. "ready when you are Chandus."

Thomas smiles at his liege, eschewing his shield to fight with just a weapon now. He shifts his right foot forward to minimise his body profile, and seems ready to strike when Edward Chandus, the Viscount's heir and one of Gauvain's pages comes running into the practice yard, breathlessly. "Your grace!" He calls to Gauvain, and then looks in horror as he sees his father there, too. "News."

"Well bring it here Edward." Gauvain says taking off the shield. He leans the wooden sword against the wooden fence surrounding the practice yard as he takes the letter. He breaks the seal and begins to read. "One's breath." He says softly and then holds the letter out to Thomas. "Squire help me into my Armor, and send somebody for the Ducal Cloak." Which is simply Gauvain's nicest cloak. He takes the first set of vambraces as the squire beginst o attach armor the Duke's legs.

Thomas takes the letter from Gauvain with more than a little apprehension. He blanches when he reads it. "God save his soul." He closes his eyes for a moment, makes the sign of the One and says a prayer. "Lord Wulfred has gone to meet the maker. I'll need to do the same. He will need to be buried with full honour." He turns to a young Ensign who's been assigned to him. "This won't do." He points to the brigandine. "Where are we to, your Grace?"

"We are to his body. The man has no family close enough to stand Vigil, and I will not have a man who is like a brother to me not have a proper vigil." Gauvain says simply as he tightens a strap. He looks to Edward. "Lad. Get your father and my horse ready. Have your father's dress armor brought here as well. See that the horses are barded in parade bard. If you pass him have the Captain of the Honor Guard prepare the Knights. Parade armor and parade barding. We'll see he gets escorted home properly."

Thomas nods solemnly. "Aye. That it will be then. I'll ride in my brigandine, but have the dress armour stowed and ready in the wagon for when we get there." He sighs, and puts down his wooden sword, then begins to get into some semblance of kit for travelling. "God, he wasn't unwell, I would have thought taken by bandits… but passed under a tree?" He frowns. "His son, the new Lord Aspendon, is currently in my capital at Strand. We're closer than he is. Oh… poor Constance. He was away for so long, for so many years. All he wanted to do was retire."

Gauvain nods as he continues to armor up. "They'll be taken care of Thom. They're family." He nods once as in the Keep orders can be heard to be shouted. As the House Tarris Honr Guard prepares for a somber march. He takes a deep breath. "He will be missed, but we will see to it he is remembered."

"And how he'd have wanted to be remembered. Dance and song, and a few tears in remembrance." Thomas laces up the front of his brigandine, quickly putting on a pair of dull greaves grabbing the rest of the armour to simply put in the saddle. "Well, I suppose we're off then."

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