Umbra 11, 288: A Change in the Wind

Change in the Wind
Summary: Roslin calls upon her newly-arrived eldest brother, Tyrel. Family discussions give way to pressing matters of state, as they are wont to do.
OOC Date: 17/10/2013
Related: Tyrel Returns from Aberdeen
Roslin Tyrel 
Tyrel Kilgour's Apartments
Princely rooms. Kingly, some might say.
11 Umbra 288

A letter was received in the middle of the night - a letter that brought, for most, good tidings. The Prince is home, all may rejoice! None the less, out of respect, Roslin Kilgour - the youngest sister of the ruling Royal family - did not converge on the man’s room the moment the day began. Usual daily procedures were followed - a ride in the morning following breakfast, a brief discussion with one of her clerks. And then, at last, it was time to pay her brother a visit.
The Princess appeared early in the afternoon at her brother’s apartments to be announced, only shown in after he has indicated to the guard that he wished to see her. Today, her dress is trimmed along the high neck and the sleeves and the hem with purple velvet and embroidered with a few pearl beads. A gold tiara sits among her crown of red braids folded up over her head, and she accents it all with a simple yet pious gold eight-pointed star around her throat on a choker.
The young girl is clearly quite pleased as she enters the room, her eyes bright at the sight of the lost brother. Still, she is no longer a child, as much as her appearance may mean she somewhat looks like one. Rather than running to his side, calling his name, or kissing him immediately, she moves to present herself before him, bobbing into a low, respectful curtsy for her future King. “Young Majesty,” She says through her happy smile, by way of greeting.

Tyrel moves over and bows in return, though there is laughter in his voice as he says, with his head still down, “You know, Logen rushed over and hugged me…what have I done that you’re so upset I get a formal greeting instead?” He then steps forward and catches her up in a hug. “It was too long a trip for a formal meeting at the end, your highness.” He says then takes a step back from her. “Though I am very impressed with your restraint and decorum. Did everyone finish growing up while I was away?”
As he moves to look her over more carefully it is easy to see where the last few days of hard riding have not yet left him. His soft blue eyes are dark, his face is thinner than usual, and his cheeks have the uneven stubble of a hasty shave after several days growth.

Roslin rises from her curtsy just in time to see the man approaching to sweep her up in a hug. The woman is caught off-guard a little but returns the gesture warmly, pressing her forehead to Tyrel’s shoulder for a fond moment. “Nonsense - you are the most beloved by all, returned safe and whole and in good spirits. Why then could I be anything but pleased and delighted?” She lets her hands fall in front of her, clasping with a proper posture and stance mastered over an entire lifetime - short though that life may yet be. “I do not think I have grown since you left - perhaps, though, it is only because I saw you for a month after my return from Lakeshire before you were gone again. But as yet I am a woman, or near enough. Of marriagable age, or near enough - if that is not a standard of womanhood, I surely do not know what is.” She turns her eyes to the man’s face, looking over it with a curious, concerned gaze. “You are whole and in good spirits, are you not, brother?”

“I am whole, sister, though it is difficult to say that I am in good spirits when it was news of what befell Cedric and Sutherland rather than thoughts of our family that sped the last few days of my travels.” He then smiles, “As for your being near enough, your attempts at modesty are sweet but I’ve known you far too long to believe that you would ever accept being near enough to anything. If you intend to be a woman of marriageable age I think the only one who could stand in your way is mother. Though if there is a particular lord or prince who has put such thoughts into your head I should like to know his name so that I might make certain he is worthy of your accomplishments and our name.”
He pauses, “Though if you go to the lengths others have to gain a marriage I assure you that he will not appreciate my accomplishments.” He moves then to the table which has refreshments upon it. “Come, sit, share some wine with me and tell me something interesting that has happened lately that only you would know…it will help to distract you from the fact that I left your gifts several days behind as I hurried here.”

Roslin lowers her head in a solemn nod. “I met a Knight in the courtyard today, a sworn vassal of the Crawfords. He had just returned from the South, and confirmed for me the grim news.” Roslin moves after her brother to sit as he has indicated. When she does, her back does not touch the chair - she perches herself with a lady’s straight back. “Thank you.” She says as she sits. “I assure you, brother, there is no man I have set my eye on. Nor will I - I have no interest in infatuations. Gods be good, I have seen what love has done to this family in the past year and I believe it to be an evil and twisted thing that I wish no part of.” Her head nods once, as to affirm what she says to be true. “As I have promised father, I shall be as good of a woman as I am able to please and honor him, and in return all I ask is a contract that will protect and serve this family that I love so dear. A new navy, perhaps, or an alliance - those are things I could see as fruitful results of a wedding.” She smiles at that, the thought apparently pleasing the girl. The wine cup is taken and it is lifted in salute to her brother before she sips.
“You know I desire no gifts more than I recieve from the peace my mind now knows that you are home and among us again. Without you, without Cedric - our fields were filling with armed soldiers with no one to lead them. Just before the Moniwid ships sailed in did positions finally become filled, and plans finally formed for our defense. As of now, it is not needed, but with you here at last we may yet begin to consider an offensive counter, if it is father’s wish.” Another sip of wine. “I have decided to construct a small garden and shrine here within the castle walls to the Gods in thanks that we shall not know a seige. And I think it will help keep some of the women occupied if their men march off.”

“Ah, good, that will allow me to give Logen more, and he insists that you’ve been picking on him again.” He offers her a cup and takes one himself before sitting, “Invite the knight who delivered the news to dine with us, if you have not already, it was a hard ride here and if he arrived first among those who set out then he deserves commendation, even if he bore ill news.” He gestures towards the small stack of papers that seem to follow him everywhere, “I’ve been speaking with Logen about the muster of the men, he had some insight into the matter with his normal defensive creativeness but I’m curious what your recent studies into economic matters might make of the situation.”
He settles back in the chair taking a sip of drink then says, “Impress me, your highness, show me the wisdom your absence has gained you.” He then goes silent awaiting her further evaluation of the situation.

Roslin waves a dismissive hand with a light gesture. “Logen is still but a child,” the sixteen year old says. “If he cannot survive my concerns, borne out of the love I bear him and the pain he has caused both me and mother, however shall he survive as a Kilgour in the world?” She takes another sip, thoughtfully looking down into her cup. “It has become rather … bad, with him, since you’ve been gone. Mother and father have discussed removing him from succession. He blames mother and myself the most, as we are the ones who are unable to stomach his woman, and he will stand for nothing save blind worship of her.” Roslin shakes her head, setting her wine cup down. “That is a difficulty for father and mother, I daresay.” She turns her attention to her brother as a test comes along. And she doesn’t hesitate, though her voice is still soft and gentle and unhurried.
“The army has to go somewhere. Archers from Greenshire, heavy cavalry from the South, Weston nearly fighting their own war on the border. But the men outside our walls … they cannot stay here. There is not enough to feed them if they remain camped her. Winter is coming. They must go home or go to war, but they cannot remain here.” She pauses for a moment, lifting a hand to her lower lip in thought. “The Sutherland men will be problematic, and must be handled with grace. Following this attack on their home, many are likely eager to return there, to protect what is theirs - particularly as there is little Navy to protect their shores from this very thing happening again.”
She continues, “In truth, our most pressing concern is our navy, I think. If we forge an alliance with the Moniwid, as they desire, we may have ships enough to move our men off the penninsula and make our own landing. We know so little of our own ships now, we cannot rely that they will be in any good shape soon for war. Otherwise we will have to march in the shadow of the pine mountains. Between the coast and the mountains - it will be getting very cold there soon. It may yet be wise to cease advances until the new fighting season in the spring. But that does not yet answer what these men are going to eat, or how the peace ought to be kept if they remain bored at the city walls all winter long.” The young girl bites softly on her lower lip in thought. “I suppose that I have not yet given you an answer on what my advice would be, have I?”

Tyrel smiles as Roslin begins dancing about the question, “I suppose you have not, sister, which is an excellent tact for a noblewoman to take. Provide what information you have to support the decision you wish to be made without setting forth a decision that your husband might object to and cause divisiveness within your family, well done.” He takes another sip of the drink then says, “I agree with your observation regarding the men, I feel that most should be sent to their homes while there is still time for them to aid in bringing in the harvest, and over the winter I expect them to train and equip themselves and make ready for war.”
He reaches over to gather in some of the papers he has been reviewing, “Your concerns over the navy are also astute, we cannot allow ourselves to be at a significant disadvantage on any front. If our navy is not the strongest then we can operate defensively, but if it is non-existent then we will lose entirely.” He flips through several more pages before finding the one he wants and sets the rest aside. “As for the men of the Sutherlands, when I speak to father my recommendation will be that we offer extend them the chance to make their own decision. Grant those landed knights a chance to return to see to their estates while we offer those who have no land to return to an opportunity for vengeance. A force must remain to see that we do not lose those footholds that we have gained and I would offer those of the Sutherlands a chance to do so that they might exact payment for what was done to their homes.”
Tyrel runs his finger along the scroll tracing a line over to a figure on the right, “What cost, do you think, it would be to house and maintain a single infantryman or archer within the city or surrounding area for the winter?”

Roslin gives her brother a mischevious little smile when he applauds her political response, so much so that it is nearly clear that her response was not by accident. Still, it seems, the redhead shall admit to nothing, but instead chooses to finish her wine and offer the cup back to the servant to be refilled. “The fighting season is nearly over anyway. The Stewart fleet immobilized, their border army thrown back - focus on the Navy, keep a residual force here, reinforce the Westons and there is no reason that the rest should not go home to bring in the harvest before the winter. May I ask if you have plans for the captured harbor on the border? It may be quite useful come spring if we find ourself with a naval force strong enough to ferry our army to Laniveer - and really, one cannot wish for much more than to have a friendly port ready and open in enemy territory.”
She takes her wine cup back but does not take another sip. Rather, the girl cups it between her hands while she considers her brother and his words. Her tone and body language seem to have become more casual, however she still sits with a straight back and a high chin. “The men must still be paid,” she admits. “And on-time if they are to remain. They’ll also have to prepare themselves for a winter beyond the walls if enough of them stay and that can be quite a costly thing.” She purses her lips. “From my time in Lakeshire, I came to understand that a friendly town can generally feed an army equal to the size of the town for a few weeks. Much of it will depend on the size of the remaining force. But I think we shall be able to accommodate a standing garrison, if we are careful. I should be able to say more if I were able to review the accounts of the realm, but … I am but a child to many eyes and a woman, Tyrel. I daresay I should not be so privileged for many years to come. I would say we can likely manage it, depending on the size of the force, but come Spring we shall have to try with vigour to make back those losses from Laniveer wealth.” She watches him after she’s finished speaking, curious to see his response to her words.

Tyrel nods, “Astute, little sister, though you are pressing forward on being but a woman and a child a bit strongly to be taken as anything other than sarcasm. I imagine that is for my benefit but mind how easily it comes to your tongue. Though if you wish to review the accounts of the realm I can save you the trouble and just hit you about the head with a sack full of numbers scribbled by infants, only a madman could make sense of them.” He smiles, “Fortunately, we employ a good number of madmen.”
He finishes his drink then sets the cup aside, “I believe it will be more advantageous to the crown to incentivize the nobility through a return of some portion of their taxes than to maintain a sizeable force outside the city. On the condition that they keep their forces ready to march should they be summoned.”
He waves his hand in a small circle, a habit from his days of swordsmanship when he world twirl the heavy weapons about with careless ease, “I’ve a half formed notion to station landless knights amongst those towns in key areas and provide them some small stipend so that if trouble should occur there would be a seasoned veteran to assist in organizing, but I feel that might slight some of the lords and strike them as suggesting I doubt their prowess and abilities. Perhaps father will have some insight into how to make it more palatable, or perhaps couch it that I am asking the lords to host the knights and offer the lords a stipend as well.”

Roslin is properly chastized, it seems. She nods and lowers her eyes for a moment in a slight, barely noticible gesture of compliance. “Of course. I shall keep in my heart what you have said, however, and try to guard my words better among others,” she says, raising her head and speaking in a more natural, informal tone. “But you know it’s true, Tyrel. I think I could be so useful if only I weren’t so young.” She smiles at him again, keeping her tone easy and light. “At any rate, I would agree that it is always preferable to give as much control and oversight of the men to their direct Lords - their loyalty and exposure is greater, they are far more likely to stand for circumstances they might otherwise reject on behalf of a King they have never seen. But….” The girl trails off for a moment, biting softly on her lower lip. “Men will always take money, it’s true. But to station a knight among landed nobles? I think they would take it as a great slight - perhaps even moreso if they are asked to host the man. We might consider having men travel between a few points, collecting rumors and communicating between keeps. More subtly, the men might be tasked with taking stock of the state of the men as they move from location to location, to know who will be read to march, when, and what condition they will be in. For that matter, the coming fall may be one of our last opportunities to secure a few more informants among Stewart’s court. It would make the Spring a much easier thing to know our enemies’ plans.”

Tyrel chuckles, “Roslin, if you were older, then you would be a horribly plain and boyish woman, short of stature and lacking almost entirely in curvature. Be glad that you are the age you are and that you’ve still time to grow and mature.” He pokes fun at her with rather cruel taunts but she is being rather silly, “You’ll grow older in time, unlike Logen’s fear of remaining short or Caillin’s fear of…well unhappiness I suppose, I can assure you with absolute certainty that if you give it time, you will grow older.” He then stands and moves to walk about the room, “Having them move about might be an option during fair weather, and so long as they are not clustered to closely together when Inouv’s darkness is long then it will have accomplished much the same thing. A good observation, thank you, though I should like there to be some training involved, perhaps I will send knights from other lands to travel so they hold no particular allegiance and show no favoritism to the lords they are reviewing, and who knows, perhaps a marriage or two will find itself arranged and we’ll have a more cohesive kingdom. A sharing of stylistic differences in swordsplay and training ought to be salve enough to their egos.”

At the taunts, Roslin actually does seem surprised. Perhaps Tyrel might notice a quick glance of her eye down to herself in consideration. She shifts a little - her arms just so, her shoulders a little further back. And she smiles. “No doubt you are right, brother,” she agrees. “Though it does not mean that I care to sit aside during a war when I may be assisting my family and my realm in some way.” From there, she mentions no more on the topic. “I agree - and not only does it assure that the soldiers do not lapse in their training during the winter, but we shall have more accurate reports of their readiness when the time comes to reform.” The redhead nods at that, glancing once over her shoulder to the window, and then back to her brother. “Though I fear I have taken up far too much of your time already, brother. You must have so very many people to see, and a wife too. I have only spoken with her once since her return, and she spoke so well of the child she carries. She is certainly a presence to lift the heart.”

Tyrel smiles, “You’ve not taken up nearly as much of my time as I wish you could, sister, but we’ll make up for that as the nights grow longer and there is less to do each day and more time can be spent together. Thank you for your kind words of my wife and child, I hope you will grow closer as I think she will enjoy the insights you bear.” He rises to see her out adding, “Oh, and do be on your toes, the loss of our friends in Sutherland has also reminded me that it has been far too long since I’ve seen how well you all handle surprises.”

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