Nar 39, 229: The Question of Beavers

The Question of Beavers
Summary: Nerissa gets her chance to report to Count Forrester for her father, and get scolded by her twin for divulging too much information about their sister.
OOC Date: 08/12/2014
Related: Happens after A Busy Day at the Bowyer
Assana Harmon Nerissa 
Forrester Suite Darfield Castle
This spacious sitting room is simply but stylishly decorated. Finely woven patterned rugs cover most of the marble floors and compliment two white leather sofas arranged to face each other near the center of the room. The wall to your left as you enter contains an oak door on the near portion and a spacious hearth on the far portion, where two additional sitting chairs and a small table rest. To your right as you enter is a mahogany door next to an extensive bookshelf which hosts a collection rich with both art and science titles. Tapestries of places throughout the continent adorn the walls on both sides. Directly in front of you, the far wall is covered with lush foliage, hanging and potted plants collected from exotic locales. The room is kept lit by small brass and crystal chandeliers.
Nar 39, 229

Having been told that Count Forrester was not available upon arrival, Nerissa had cleaned up from her travels, and settled in with Assana in the chamber she'd been assigned. The next couple of days she went on a couple of errands in the city, stopping to replace her bow that was broken on the road in. It's early evening as she returns, her arms laden with a long, wrapped package that one could guess is a bow, and a smaller parcel from which a pleasing, sweet aroma arises. Setting everything down on a small table, she takes off her cloak and hangs it appropriately, before turning towards the more private apartments. "Assana! I brought you a surprise… and I swear I can't move without tripping over Baron Giantslayer."

Count Harmon is sitting in a armchair in a corner with a small pile of parchments in his lap. He looks up when he sees Nerissa come in. He stands up and gives a brief bow, "M'lady." His gaze moves over her curiously before he returns to taking his seat. He doesn't seem to interefere with whoever she plans to speak with.

Caught in the act of treating the castle apartments like their home keep, Nerissa jumps. "Your Excellency!" She bows automatically from the waist and notes the parchments as she straightens. "My apologies, your excellency, I did not mean to disturb your work." The parcels she had been about to pick up again are left, and she folds her hands quite properly, even if her posture is more that of a warrior than a lady. "But, if I may impose upon you, Father, Lord Morcant Horizon, has charged me with asking your counsel on a very serious matter."

Harmon's lips move into a brief smirk before turning serious once more. He inclines his head, "Surely. What do you have to speak to me on? Your father is Lord Morcant Horizon…? You are Cordelia's sister, then? There was a brief mention of you."

Nerissa nods. "Yes, your excellency, Cordelia is my baby sister, Assana is my twin." Now that she has his audience, she shifts on her feet. "If you would indulge me but one moment, my lord, I will return directly. It is something that must be shown to you." With that, she does pick up her parcels again, and, and her skirts, and runs towards her chamber. When she returns, she has a rather large roll over one shoulder that is apparently not easy to carry, but she seems capable of the task.

Harmon nods when Nerissa speaks of showing him something. When she returns, she will notice that the parchment has been put away somewhere. Instead he has a glass of red wine in his hand. He watches her come in, quietly waiting to see what she plans to show him.

The roll is flopped to the ground, and then she scooches down to unroll it. When laid out flat, it appears to be a beaver pelt… the tail is certainly similar to a beaver's. Except that it's the size of a small shield, and the pelt appears to be taken from an animal the size of a large wolfhound. Straightening up, Nerissa steps back. "There's a whole family, or two, of them, my lord. They've dammed the Shenyndoh River at Six Mile Falls above Honor's Keep, and it's seriously cut the water supply reaching the keep. Father sent a detail to break the dam, and the beavers attacked them. No one was killed, but one of the Rangers lost a leg to those teeth…" she pulls a satchel from her shoulder that she had also brough back with her to bring out the incisors to show. The flat, sharp, ivory teet are the size of small daggers.
After handing over the proof of the beaver's size, Nerissa backs away a step or two. "Father has read the news from The King, about the Gods, and the creatures of old. We need water in the city, but it appears the only way to get the river flowing will be to kill the beavers so we can destroy the dam. But, if these beavers are a creature of one of The Eight, he doesn't want to anger the Eight by killing their animals."

Harmon leans forward when he sees the pelt being rolled out. He raises his head and then opens his hand to take a look at the incisors. He murmurs, "Impressive…" He nods, "Has he sought council from the temple? I would think they could bring light to this subject? Perhaps there is another place the beavers can live. A small pond or river, that won't disrupt the flow of the water supply."

Nerissa shakes her head slowly. "Since the King has sent out the word that he's in communication with the gods, he thought perhaps the King might be the best person to ask. However, he thought it best to see what you thought, first, my lord." She looks at the pelt. "There may be, but… catching them to relocate them might prove quite a challenge."

"It would not be so difficult a thing for my rangers. They have encountered beavers and know their ways well enough. I could send a few of them, but I can not spare too many. Speaking with the King will likely prove helpful, as well the temple," Harmon responds after a moment of silence.

"With respect, Your Excellency, it was Sky Forest Rangers that went in the first place, and some were quite injured," Nerissa replies. "They are not going to be easy for anyone to move, or kill, whichever is decided. Beavers often return after being relocated, which may put that idea out." She pauses. "There is another thing that King might wish to know of. When we were riding back here, a cougar the size of a horse attacked a herd on South March. Baron Huntingdon happened to be out there with some of his men, and we were riding by at the time as well. Luckily we were there, or else the Baron's herd might be quite a bit smaller, now. The Baron has brought the head with him."

"I have given you my suggestion. You can do what you will with it," Harmon responds plainly. He sips from the wine and inclines his head. "That is good information to know."

There's a puzzled frown on Nerissa's brow. "Does that mean you will speak with the King, Your Excellency?" she asks, bending over to roll up the beaver pelt once more.

"Yes, I can speak to him. If you are allowed to be present, would you wish to do so? You seem invested in this situation. You have seen these beavers yourself," Harmon looks down at the pelt. "If I can borrow that, it will prove to be a nice sample. I will return it of course."

Nerissa pauses in the act of rolling up the pelt. "Me, your excellency? I would be honored, if you think it appropriate, for me to speak to the King." She looks down to the work her hands are doing and nods. "Father said that perhaps it would make a good gift to the King, if you thought as much, he would like to make a gift of it from Horizon Hold."

Harmon responds, "I will see if it can be arranged and will contact you on my results. I agree that the gift would be a fine gift. I will see that he has it, or if you can be the gift giver- better one of Horizon does so."

With the pelt rolled up and properly protected once more, Nerissa stands and nods. "My thanks, your excellency. I would be very pleased to make the gift." Crouching down, she hefts the roll back up to her shoulder. "Shall I put this back, then, my lord?"

Harmon nods, "Set it aside, and I will see that it is gift wrapped properly. Might you tell me of yourself? I know little of my future wife's family… Should we indeed be wed."

Setting the roll aside, Nerissa straightens. "Should you be wed?" the question holds a bit of a flat tone to it. "I thought it was already agreed upon, my lord?" The blue eyes are slightly narrowed as the question is asked, concentrating on the Count.

"It was agreed upon assuming that both parties are agreeable. I will honor my father's memory and consider the arrangement, but I will not force a woman to be in a union with me. She and I agreed that we should both want this marriage in order for it to continue. It is important to me, and I believe that it has some importance to her," Harmon responds in that same even tone. His eyes meet her's, "I have never been a man to force a woman into anything, and I won't start my marriage that way."

Nerissa blinks, looking at Harmon for a long moment. "Well… you would be the first man I've ever heard say that, your Excellency," she finally says, a bit of a dubious note in her voice. "Most men just arrange things to suit them… perhaps it would have been better had I not sought to have a union with a man I thought liked me… there wouldn't have been any need for him to lie to me." The dubiousness turns a bit more sour when touching on her own attempts in the marital arena.

Harmon smiles at her words, "I'm a honorable man. It is better for a marriage to start with both partners wanting to be married in the first place. It seems logical to me. It sounds as if your union didn't go so well? Perhaps it was for the best that you were not paired with him. The Eight has someone else planned for you."

"Well, the Eight can /keep/ their someone else," Nerissa mutters darkly. "It was thought that both people wanted to be in the marriage when the bethrothal was negotiated. First pretty face with…" she bites her lip to keep from talking about something improper. "Well, I only hope that liking her betrothed works better for my baby sister."

"From what I have seen, she's a beautiful smart woman, and I am sure she would have a lot to offer any man she would marry. If she does not choose me, there are other available men for her," Harmon speaks of Cordelia with a genuinely respectful tone. "How was it like growing up with her? Were you two close?"

The door from the central hallway opens into the chamber and a blonde lady with her attending maid conversing politely with her, "Would you mind terribly hemming for me? I know that they're only a bit long but otherwise I'm afraid I'll be forever tripping on them." Turning to look into the room as she enters, Assana blinks a bit and offers a polite smile, moving out of the doorway before dipping into a curtsey for Count Harmon, "Your Excelency, sorry to interrupt." Then, noting the other person in the conversation she raises an eyebrow slightly before rising, "Good afternoon, Rissa… I thought you were out?"

"Cordelia? Not as close as to Assana, but I think one of the few that… figured her out." Nerissa actually grins a little bit. "Cordelia is a challenge, but she really is sweet. Once you get to know her moods, she's actually quite wonderful." At Assana's entrance, the redhead actually brightens. "Assana! Stay right there, don't move…" and with a flash, she's out of the room, down to their chamber, and back with a wrapped parcel. "Here, I bought this for you in the market place today."

Noting the conversation regarding her younger sister, Assana is soon distracted by the request to stay where she is, "All…right?" She does hazard a curious glance at the count to see if he knows what it is that her sister is about now, but she doesn't move. She does send a look to the maid to see if she has any idea before watching the door where her twin's disappeared to. She takes the parcel with a concerned expression, almost as though she's afraid that there's something about to hop out of it. Because that's happened before, it's not an ungrounded fear. But she begins to undo it in any case and soon an expression of pleasure brightens her features, "Poppyseed bread, thank you."

"Of course poppyseed bread, what did you think it would be?" Nerissa asks. "Don't answer that," she immediately adds. "The new bow is better than the last one, the bowyer here is surprisingly good… and of course I had to run into Baron Giantslayer. I swear I can't go anywhere without seeing him," she grouses.

"Get to know her moods…?" Harmon asks almost as if he has no clue what moods the woman is referring to. He grows quiet as he sees the two sisters speak to one another.

Starting to answer her twin's first question she closes her mouth on a smile, "Oh? That's grand, it's always a pleasant surprise. I know you're quite particular about your bows." She turns to Harmon and smiles, "I'm sorry, we do tend to get into quite the conversation, that's terribly rude. You were… asking after Cordelia?"

Nerissa nods once. "It was a very pleasant surprise," she agrees, then turns to Harmon. At the question of moods, she glances to Assana as if wondering how much to say. "Cordelia has an affinity with the moon," she finally says. "Her moods shift a little with the phases of the moon. So, sometimes, you have to try a different method of persuasion when talking with her."

"Her mood changes with the phases of the moon? Tell me more… I'm not sure I understand. What moods?" Harmon asks. He looks between them both.

"Rissa!" Assana says quickly but firmly to her sister, "I'm sorry, your Excellency, Nerissa is…" She pauses considering, "I wouldn't say that Cordelia is moody… she does have an affinity for it but she's lovely, really. And not at all in need of distinctive persuasion." She gives her twin another firm look before turning back to Harmon, "I'm sure as the two of you spend more time together it won't be surprising."

"What?" Nerissa demands of her sister. "I didn't say it was a bad thing, or that Cordy isn't lovely and sweet, she is. But sometimes you have to appeal to her in different ways. The same thing doesn't always work… if he really wants to get to know Cordy and make her happy, then he needs to know how to do it properly, isn't that so, Your Excellency?"

Harmon looks between the two of them, taking in the dynamic between the two. He nods to Nerissa, "Yes- that is so. She has not mentioned any moods to me, so I will be interested in learning more about them as we spend time together." He stands to his feet, "If you will pardon me, I have some duties to attend to. It was a pleasure meeting you both." He gives a short bow before he heads toward his own chamber.

Assana says, "The same could be said of many people, Nerissa." She chides her sister a bit, turning back to the count, "Of course, your Excellency, thank you for taking the time with us as I'm sure you're quite busy." She curtsies again as Harmon stands to leave, though given the quick departure she doesn't stay low long before she turns to her sister again, "Really, was that quite necessary?"

"A pleasure, Your Excellency," Nerissa replies, dropping into a curtsy as well. Once the man is gone, she flops onto a sofa. "What?" she repeats once more. "I didn't say anything bad, or that put him off. If he's telling the truth about wanting to get to know her before they get married," and her tone relays just how much she believes a man is telling the truth, "then, he should. He said he doesn't want to force her into anything, so…" She shrugs.

"Really? Telling him our sister is moody and he's going to have to prepare himself to learn her different personalities as the moon shifts like some kind of mythical beast is quite offputting to some people." Assana says quickly as soon as the count is out of earshot, "And of course he wants to get to know her before he marries her. She's going to be a partner in overseeing his household, raising his children, it only makes sense that he wants to make sure she's no going to pass on some kind of moon madness." She sits down next to her sister on the sofa and takes a bite of her poppyseed bread.

"I didn't say that!" Nerissa protests. "I said she has an affinity for the moon, and you can't always use the same old thing to make her happy. Why do you have to twist things around so much? You make it sound like I told him she turns into a horrid old hag at a certain time of the month and needs to be locked up at other times, and I did no such thing. You're the one making the giant leap to mythical beasts and madness." She reaches down and unlaces the walking boots to push them off her feet. "I doubt his Excellency has enough imagination to leap to those conclusions."

"Mmm… And if I had that impression then it's entirely possible someone else might." Assana says as she nibbles around the edge of her poppy bread, "And you should be polite to him as your liege lord and future brother-in-law if nothing else. Despite the fact that as a man he has already earned your ire." She nibbles again, "This is quite good, I'll have to visit the bakery myself while we're here."

"I was polite to him! Good Light of the Eight, what in the world?" Nerissa sits up and then pushes to her feet. "I was so polite my teeth hurt, even when he stood there telling me how chivalrous he is about how 'oh, I wouldn't want to force a woman to do anything, and I won't start my marriage off my forcing Cordelia's hand', and I addressed him appropriately and didn't even say one sarcastic word to him. I even tried to answer his questions honestly, and you're all over me for it."

Assana sighs, "You're right. That sounds like you were quite the propper lady, I apologize." She offers part of her poppy bread to her sister in recompense, "And he might actually mean it? There's no reason for him to say it to you otherwise, no real gain at this point. The betrothal is sealed, he doesn't have to any reason to convince you that he's suitable." Not to mention his title… or the fact that they kind of have to be nice to him anyway…

Nerissa takes the poppy seed bread and plops next to Assana. "Not to hear him talk, it isn't sealed. I wanted to knock his block off when he said, 'it was agreed upon assuming both parties are agreeable'." She chomps ferociously into the piece of bread she's eating. "But I didn't, I just … said how nice it was that he was so magnaminous that he wouldn't force Cordelia against her will. But that also means if he decides he's not 'agreeable' he won't feel a need to go through with the betrothal." She scuffs her foot irritatedly on the floor. "Men." There's a wealth of disdain and dislike in that one word.

Leaning her head on her sister's shoulder she sighs, "That's disappointing." Assana breaks off another bite of bread herself to nibble on, "I had hoped it was a bit more decided than that…" She considers a moment, "Well, hopefully they both find it an agreeable match. And all of this will prove to be nothing but unnecessary speculation."

The red head leans on top of the blond as she nibbles her piece still. "Well, we know now it's never really decided on until you get to the altar," she murmurs. "At least you have a Crawford match in Sutherland, and not some untrustworthy Greenshire. You stand a better chance of making it to being a married woman."

"Unfortunately even then there are possible loopholes that one could use if it was a desparate moment." Assana admits, "And yes, he's quite honorable, I have nothing to worry on on that front. Besides the fact that I believe father told him that if he did anything to cause dishonor to his house or to mine that he would find himself pressed into service on a ship off the coast of Sindr Island. I'm not supposed to know he said that, however."

Nerissa can't help laughing at that bit of information. "How did you find out?" She doesn't have to promise not to tell, because it's an obvious unspoken agreement. "I just won't get married, I won't have to worry about loopholes. You think your man might have an extra room for the mad twin sister? It's not like Father doesn't have enough daughters married around the rest of the land."

Assana laughs and snuggles against her sister, "He'd better. Otherwise I'm not sure that it is going to work out." She leans around to give her sister a hug, "You'll always have a place wherever I am, Rissa. Even if you're an old bitter hag. Who hates all men. And everything in the world to do with them." She finishes her poppy bread, "I should go and see to the things that they're bringing back from the market. And not move quite so much for a bit, though my ribs seem to be doing well with their binding."

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