The story up until this point: Sahna has sent a letter summoning Abyon Nillu to the palace. There, she meets with Sahna and Gaenos Seamel, and the three convene in a pow-wow in the palace dining hall.
Ganeos pulls off his gloves, stuffing them in a pocket. "We'll, that is a pleasant smell."
Abyon nods. "Does smell rather enjoyable indeed. So..about that drink.."
"The staff will get you anything you want." Sahna responds, making her way over to one of the massive tables. Fastidiously, she adjusts her skirts before she sits. "A glossy star glass for me."
Ganeos heads to the one of the servants, ordering a pair of star glasses.
After she's done placing her order, Sahna turns to the other two and smirks. "Allright, we've got our wine.. So I should be a good hostess and tell you what I have in mind. When I left the keep I grew up in, I originally started out in business, and with no longing for politics. Back then, I invested very heavily in business. House Nillu, although we have a reputation for raw goods, has been in a decline when it comes to having solid economic power in the realm. "
Abyon nods, listening intently. She sips her wine, wiping any excess off with a handkercheif. "I know such, carry on."
Ganeos lays down the glasses, sitting next to Sahna. He, of course, doesn't seem to care to answer as he remains silent, listening in.
Sahna picks up her goblet of wine, sniffing at it and taking a wine taster’s sip, expression distant for a moment. "Mmh. Not one of the best vintages, but it'll do. " She declares, quietly, then leans forward to continue, gaze locking onto Abyon. "It's also a well established fact that the great houses will tug against one another in the constantly changing landscape of Fastheldian politics. House Nillu has not been ascendant in this battle, because too often we follow the stereotype and develop a tunnel vision when it comes to social events. When his majesty was gone, the major power for regenting and keeping the realm stable was from our house, but a number of months later most people hardly even remember it. These two facts displease me, because I believe our house is not limited by what ores we can pull from the ground."
Abyon nods, eyes locking with Sahna. Brief staring match... "So what does this history fact have to do with a favor from you, dear cousin?"
Sahna's smile grows-- Or is it a baring of teeth as she closes on her point? "It's simple, really. You're one of my unlanded cousins, and I think you have potential to be a driving force.. Even calling me on my verbal circling proves that you don't just roll over and play passive. House Nillu has two major towns. The Lode, which Thain has, and Hawk's Aerie.. Which was a jewel in our crown during Damiante's reign. There's a power vacuum right now, cousin, with very few people truly being prominent. So I'm going to do a little experiment. Tell me, have you ever seen Silver River Keep? It was Astian Nillu's, once. Now, I own those empty halls."
Abyon smirks a bit. She takes a sip of her wine, and replies "Well, cousin, I have heard of it, but I have never visited. What exactly do you mean by experiment?"
Ganeos looks between the two, fingers drumming idly on the table.
"Well, I don't have the time to devote to making house Nillu a power, since I'm busy on the level of the council. You, on the other hand, you could probably handle say, a keep and the surrounding lands as a liege lady." Sahna comments, taking a swig from her goblet. "So, I propose to have you use Silver River and making it a place that people want to be again. A center of both the social and financial, which would mean hosting events and enticing freelanding crafters. I'm convinced if that can be done with one keep on a small scale, then Nillu's Lode and Hawk's Aerie could be next." That said, she leans back, expression veiled.
"That and she may be Seamel sometime in the future." Ganeos pleasantly interrupts, "The best acquisition we've had in awhile, hmm?"
Abyon taps her temple, thinking. She takes a final sip from her wine, and gives an Ahh of pleasure. "Well..you seem to have thought this out fairly well, m'Lady..I accept your offer, and am in debt. You have proved yourself to be much more generous than I previously thought.."
"Oho! I daresay Duhnen would throw a fit.. As entertaining as being a Seamel might be, I'm pretty certain the Nillus are stuck with me." Sahna replies, her smile widening. "Ah, but it's not generous just yet, cousin. If you sit around on your posterior for months and months, that'd make the keep a financial liability. I'm asking for you to work for this. If, in a year's time, you've got that keep running as a tight ship and show every evidence of being an involved great feudal lady, then I'll give it to you. Fail, and you just go back to where you were before.. Unlanded."
Abyon smiles. "A years time? That should be plenty, cousin. I will earn that keep, fairly and justly." She raises the final sip in her glass. "To house Nillu, to rising power, and to a new engagement."
Ganeos picks up his glass, lifting it slightly at the toast, then swigs down a healthy portion of his formerly untouched drink.
Sahna raises her half-emptied wineglass, with a wistful smile. "Sometimes, I do miss having my hooks so deeply into the market. I still dabble in it, but it's just not like it was. ...To house Nillu, and I suppose to house Seamel, too.. The underdogs, although they have different handicaps."
Abyon empties the last of her wine into her gullet. "Ah, I don't know what you are talking about. Lovely wine I say." She places it on the tray. "So. When shall I be shown my new estates?"
"Tonight, if you wish. I'll send a fast courier dispatch to my plantation and they'll send over a few of the basics and some general servants.. The only thing the place has had for a few months now has been a couple of old hands that were with the keep for too many years to pull up their roots when I had it cleaned out. It's a substantial keep, but I'm willing to bet there's a layer of dust now. ...I'm not offering too much help to get it running because even this part is my test of you, cousin." Her gaze hardens, at that. "The former owner was a great disappointment to me."
Abyon returns the gaze. "I don't plan on copying the former owner to any degree, cousin. I will prove to you that I am worthy of that land, and that I can help you bring Nillu back to power."
Now, Sahna smiles in a more relaxed manner. "Good, good. And if you spot any likely talents in the house, please send them my way. I can't give everyone a keep, but there's plenty of business.. A young Nillu who wishes to get away from their parents and make something real out of themselves would be well served to see." An afterthought seems to occur, and she snaps her fingers. "Ah! I'd almost forgotten. I'm dreadfully bored up here sometimes, so send any interesting rumors my way, won't you? Gossiping may be unladylike but nobody's called me out on it recently."
Abyon looks as if she wants to embrace her cousin. "Lady Sahna, I will try and visit you regularly, perhaps we can have some private tea times, a bit of riding, traveling. Would you like that?"
"Naturally, or I'm told I have excellent penmanship.. Correspondence comes with my job, after all. I can show you my Winter garden, too.. Blooms all year long, it's marvelous. Please do come to call anytime. After all, part of the whole idea is to make a new generation of Nillu movers and shakers. Have your parents arranged a betrothal for you yet, by the way?" Sahna asks, emptying the last dregs of her goblet and setting it aside.
Ganeos low laugh echoes up from his cup as he finishes off his draft, clinking it down on the tabletop as Abyon all but makes a humongous mistake at random hugging.
Abyon blushes at his laughing. "Stop it.." she says, chuckling herself. She looks to Sahna. "No, they haven't. They have mentioned it occasionally, but they havn't mentioned names. I am already 22, and I have not..a..well.." she coughs a bit, saddened.
"I'm twenty three. They kind of blindsided me with this wonderful arrangement." Ganeos stretches up an arm, looping it across Sahna's shoulder. "Isn't that right, light of my heart?"
"Yes, sweetums, that's right." Sahna replies, her gaze all but dancing with mischief as she regards Ganeos. "Your parents must not like you very much, but that's their loss and my gain." Turning to face Abyon again, she adds slyly, "Twenty two isn't out of the running yet. I bring this up because there is a very solid difference for prospective suitors when they see a lady who has nothing but a modest dowry.. And one who owns a very large keep with the supporting factors. Even if you don't quite 'own' it yet, expect them to start sniffing around you when the scent of wealth and power are in the air. "
Abyon nods, biting her lower lip. "Do you really think men will be interested in ME?" she says, a bit shocked.
"With enough land, prestige, and wealth... they'll be interested. Or someone with authority over them will be." Ganeos tells the older Nillu. "It's the way things work."
"The scions of many cadet branches will be interested in you.. Or your money, cleavage, childbearing ability, ability to make witty table conversation.. The reasons themselves span the imagination, but I can absolutely guarantee that you aren't invisible to the other gender. Don't make the mistake of thinking so, because that's like tricking yourself into feeling safe. " She nods to Ganeos, and even reaches over to give his forearm a squeeze. " I'll leave it up to you, to decide whether or not to nurture any budding interests, but I will say this.. A woman's reputation is one of the currencies that noblewomen have to spend. If you do anything less than pure, don't get caught. If you feel you must follow the latest fad of marrying for love, at least make certain it isn't a commoner, or a Lomasa.. Mainly because we have too many ties with that house right now. Understood?"
Abyon nods, blushing a bit at the assumed compliments. "I understand perfectly, Sahna. I do hope we can see the keep soon.”
"Love." Ganeos saids, "It's a wonderful thing. That's why it never lasts, I suppose. That or we... misconstrue the meaning." The Seamel snorts, "That is another thing, I suppose. The three c's of a relationship. Cleavage, Childbearing, Cooking."
"Love has no place in noblesse oblige, unless it's a fortunate accident." Sahna declares, shaking her head. "I'm also hoping in part that seeing you at work will get a few of the more sluggish Nillu to remember that responsibility doesn't begin and end with merely waking and sleeping each day. " Standing, she offers a slight curtsey. "Now, you two, I'm going to bid you good eve. I have work to do."