(122-04-17) An Astonishing Proposal
An Astonishing Proposal
Summary: Jaysa startles Ormund and Dhraegon with a very strange tax and trade proposal.
Date: Date of play (17/04/122)
Related: None

Council Chamber - The Hightower —— Battle Island

This imposing room contains a single large seven-sided table, enormous and heavy. It must have been built within the room, for it is too large to pass through even these big double doors. On its surface stand a number of large candelabra. The chairs are large, padded, and comfortable — clearly long hours might be passed in this room.

The black stone walls are decorated with banners featuring the sigil of House Hightower. Sconces for oil lamps hang between them. Near the entry there is a tall cupboard with a locking door, where records and extra candles are kept.

It didn't take long for Ormund, or at least somebody, to reply to Jaysa's message and at least tell her what day to show up. The missive with its invitation is enough to get her on to Battle Island and into the Hightower, and, eventually, shown into this chamber.

Jaysa makes the trip to the Hightower with a few guards and stewards. As is fairly normal she has brought gifts of greeting though hers will likely be more…expansive than most and thats obvious already by the fact that she brought several porters. Her guards seem to be sailors and look more rough and tumble than the Hightower soldiers with Chainmail instead of plate with the crest of Dorne and the House of Ladyfingers on them.

Jaysa on the other hand dresses like many dornish noblewoman with an almost gauzy wrap dress that shows off her frame nicely without giving a view of the body underneath. The dress is red silk with almost insivible designs of songbirds and flowers that are only visible when light is behind her, which also shows off her body so its kinda hard to care about them. Oddly shes also wearing some soft doeskin slippers that have some salt crystals from the sea on them showing she might actually do some work.

The Ladybright Woman moves into the chamber after she is admitted and announced and gives a polite courtsey while smiling to the lord of the great city "Lord Hightower…" She would have been announced with all her titles as is proper for a high noble 'Lady Jaysa Ladybright, mitress of trade for the Golden Sands trading company, Countess in waiting of the Bright ladies Citadel, and so on and so forth.'

Ormund is seated at the table. He doesn't rise. "I see. Good afternoon, Lady Jaysa." He regards her thoughtfully. He looks tired. Maybe he always does.

Jaysa sees his urge to be informal and walks to the other side of the table and waits for permission to sit. She seems to be taking this seriously and her face shows no signs of annoyance "Lord Ormund. I havent seen you since my Debut. How has your health been? Blessed by the mother I hope." he knows damn well shes not very religious. But neither are most nobles.

Ormund raises his eyebrows. He doesn't really look as if he remembers her. He says, "I am quite well, my Lady. What can I do for you?"

Jaysa sits as a servant brings a seat for her, she crosses her legs in a relaxed fashion and smiles to him "Well I brought some greetings gifts but I suppose they can wait. I do hope you enjoy pickled peaches." She smiles brightly at him "I am here to offer to assist the city with a large scale venture. I wish to place my branch office of The Golden Sands Trading Company here in High Town by the pier. I wished to request a Writ of trade and rights to the trade routes in and out of High Town." A high request though at least she didnt try to hide it behind walls of Flowery prose and didnt spend a half hour talking about how they are related through 15 cousins and an aunt no one cares about.

Ormund regards her bemusedly. "Begging your pardon, my lady?" he asks.

She Watches him a second to see if he elaborates. She was going to make a bad joke but decides not to "I have come to request that you give me the rights to the trade routes in and out of High Town. In return I will charter and organize all merchants entering the city and its territories, Tarriff goods, arrange Drayage, And tally property of traveling sellers and buyers." She has not gone into how this would benefit him yet. But clearly she has a plan for how this should go.

"What, dear lady," says Ormund, "Is 'High Town'? Do you mean my city? If you are asking to control and tally the trade routes in and out of this city, I assure you that my answer is no, and I bid you good afternoon."

She works hard to not sigh and watches him carefully "My Apologies, Yes the city. I spend much of my time speaking trade tongue and Valyrian." Implying she just mixed up a term." I do not want government control of your towns no. I want trade rights not lordship control. My Apologies for the misunderstanding. I wish the rights to sign and administer merchant charters to private traders, Organize tarriffs and trade taxes for the council and you, and enforce said rights through non-military means. In short, I have come to request a Charter in the city. In return for these rights I would pay a large portion of stock in the company as well as dividends of profits to the city. Meaning you will gather your trade taxes and Tariffs in lump sums with better organization and I will pay the House of Hightower a portion of the companies profits every year."

Dhraegon has arrived.

Ormund is sitting at his table, speaking to the Dornishwoman. It's known that she came to discuss some sort of trade arrangement.

Ormund eyes Jaysa coldly. He says, "You are not asking for trade rights. Trade rights would be, well. The right to trade here. I assure you, my lady, that the organization of taxes and tariffs /are/ the business of the Lord of Oldtown. And whatever do you mean, charters?"

Dhraegon has left his entourage below. He has two thin braids that pull his hair back from his face. He is in a shy mood today and Flox, a small, middle-aged, rather non-descript man is tugging at his elbow to keep the big man moving. The Prince's voice is a deep bass. He is whispering, "I _still_ think we should have brought White Lotus…" And then he is blushing and peering between Lord Ormund and his visitor. "Am I interrupting?" He looks ready to flee, really.

She smiles at him, the polite smile of court "Yes the organization of Taxes and tariffs are your business my lord. You would set any levels and terms. But when a trader comes in say…they hide a portion of goods, Or they misrepresent the goods they are bartering. My company would ensure that is not possible. Goods come into the company, we pay the merchant the current market value for said goods, then distribute them to the city or to the rest of westeros as the goods apply."

She does seem confused at his question of charters. And tries to figure out what the confusion is "Ah yes I think I see the confusion. Most the dealings of the south and the kingdoms along the narrow sea issue permissions to merchants in the forms of a charter to do trade. This grants them certain freedoms of movement as well as protections in cases of bandits or the needs to enter the cities quickly. I simply wish to be able to issue said charters to merchants so they will sell there goods in wholesale to my company which will allow us to limit contraband, Increase tax revenue, and get the smallfolk the supplies they need to produce more goods for the noble lands of Hightower and the lands of Dorne…" She pauses for a second "Oh and the rest of the Westeros of course."

Jaysa looks at the new comer as she was done, its rude to leave a lord waiting when you are talking so she felt the need to finish her point before greeting Dhraegon. To him she stands politely and gives a polite nods instead of the full courtesy and manner she gave Ormund. Since it was ormunds house after all.

Ormund nods to Dhraegon, wearily, and says, "No, of course not, my Prince. Please, have a seat. There's wine in the sideboard. I might need some." He looks back to Jaysa, "Oh, I think I understand you quite perfectly." He seems annoyed about it. Not that this is a change from a few moments ago.

The Prince and Flox look at Jaysa with nigh identical appalled expressions. After a long, stunned silence, Dhraegon clears his throat and asks with a deep incredulity, "You aren't really talking of closing one of the most important ports in Westeros to all trade but yours, including _my own fleet_ and that of the Lannisters, the Costaynes, the Redwynes, the Dornish, the traders out of Essos and Kingslanding…." Flox clears his throat, "The Iron Islands. They starve without trade and odds are they'd go back to West Coast Coastal Reaving rather than that. It's hard enough to keep them from it as it is."

Jaysa she smiles softly watching them both "not at all. I seek only to organize trade. All incoming and outgoing trade would continue in every shape and form. They would even have promises that goods brought would be purchased at the trade value of the realm. My way ensures that no more will say…A lysene fruit merchant come with dates and be unable to sell them because they have no overland merchants. They would sell the fruits directly to my company at a wholesale price, The City would claim tax and tariff of said goods. And I would organize another merchant or group of merchants who I know are going to places who need said fruit, sell it to them as determined by how much they wish to purchase and have them move the goods. My company would act as a warehouse and reseller of goods."

Ormund eyes Jaysa. "No," he says. "Who do you think you are? You want to set the price of dates, and every other thing, that comes through the port, and think you're doing me, and Lys, a favour? You want to collect my taxes for me and think that I will find that kind of you? I suspect we ought to send for a Maester."

The pale Prince gives Flox a pleading look, and the small man soon has large goblets of wine for Lord Ormund, his Prince, and the stranger. The Prince gives Lord Ormund a very gentle, empathetic sort of smile and takes a seat, staring at Jaysa with his pale lavender empty looking eyes, mouth slightly agape. He take the proffered goblet as if it were some life saving tonic and takes a drink, still eyeing her over the rim as if she were some sort of oddity. He says with some wonder, "…And they call my house mad…."

She watches him still "The prices of goods is not determined by my company. Such a thing is impossible. My company acts as a middle man, Buying goods as they enter the city and ensuring there is no waste, no smugglings, and no loss of coin coming back to you. All books and records would be open to your inspection. My offer is simple and elegant. Your people get the goods they need faster and more reliably. They do not get fleeced by foreign merchants, and you would know exactly it is who comes in and who leaves your city with the intent of taking or bringing goods. Me collecting the taxes for you would alone save your house thousands of Sovereigns a year. You no longer need to have assessors on the ports, no guards protecting them, and none of the countless other little people who are needed to maintain the infrastructure." its not like the king collects his own taxes either.

When shes done she just smiles to both of them "So yes, In fiscal terms it is a good deal for you. I will be honest, My company would see massive influxes of coin. Being the direct supplier for the area. My deal is simple. You give me the rights to issue merchant charters who come into the city for a small fee. You get to cut down on the number of people you need to pay to collect taxes and tariffs while I collect coin from Drayage and loans. Your house would reap the benefits of collected organized trade as will mine. It will cut down on theft, tax evasion, and wasted goods."

"If only you may admit traders, and only you buy, as you say, at wholesale, you set the price," says Ormund coldly. "Your books and records that I inspect are easily enough falsified. You would infuriate every trader from here to bloody Ib, and they would seek to trade elsewhere. You would beggar the Kingdom shortly after seeing your massive influx of coin. I am sure it would make you rich, but I, you see, am already rich." He takes his glass of wine. "And I have no intention of spending my wealth, or the wealth of this city, to pay a fee for you to do a 'service' that would allow you to rob us with impunity."

Dhraegon keeps staring at her that way, "Lord Ormund would be ceding most of his rights and thus his control, while taking apart the entire structure that ensures his revenue. I certainly don't want a middle man between those my fleet supplies and buys from. Trade is one of the most powerful weapons of diplomacy. I… I am at a loss for words."

She nods at his point acting with all the good manner of a respectful Courtier "Ah but that is where we separate in terms. I do not set prices. Why would i want to chase away trade from anyone? Inflating prices would bankrupt me as well. Because it means that either I will have to pay more for goods or merchants will stop coming. No I take goods from my information network at every port my company works with. We would tally prices from all incoming merchants. Yes my wholesale prices would be less than a merchant would normally make. But they would sell all the goods they bring instead of just bits and pieces to smaller merchants who may not be able to purchase what they bring." She twines her fingers together and smiles softly dreaming her merchant dreams of wealth "Also you will be Ceding no rights to me. you would be giving me permission and your families backing to issue these charters and rights to the smallfolk. You could pull the rights at any time I seem dishonest. Which is why I offered you a stake in my company instead of say…a cartload of gold as a bribe. There is no open risk to you except the one you mentioned. Me cooking my books. But if i do that you could have the sunspear wipe my merchant charter and maybe even my family from the map. I will even allow you to choose the accountant who manages the books. you would have double the safety."

"I can think of two words," says Ormund, looking at Dhraegon almost fondly.

Dhraegon shakes his head, "No, you grab as much money as you can and pull out once you've damaged trade enough for your profits to drop, leaving us with no tax assessors and weak trade. They call me simple, but even I can see that, and those customs officials have jobs which they do faithfully." He takes another drink of wine, and nearly chokes eyes going wide. Then he starts giggling, an eerily high pitched and childlike sound from such a large man. Grinning he turns to Lord Ormund, "Oh! This is a very good prank! I thought she was serious! She is a very good actress! I did not think you were much one for japes, but this is very good!"

She watches Dhraegon for a second then looks back at Ormund looking very serious "You are accusing one of the prime nobles families of dorne and the largest merchant group of the south of having only the interest of taking a short term gain and running? Where would we run? I am not some no name hedge knight who could vanish tomorrow. I am Lady Jaysa Ladybright. Heir to my house and respected of the Sunspear court. I have come to you in an offer of good faith. A method of making us both better off for it. I would have no benefit if I tried to take apart your city. It would do nothing but anger my Lord Martell and put me in peril with the Iron throne as well as every other trade port where I do business. I have been doing this since I was 14. I do not hide in my home like your Westrosi daughters. I am Dorne and I have come to attempt to make us all stronger. When I make a fair and open offer you accuse me of madness and perfidy…" Not exactly good manners and especially not in someone elses keep.

Ormund looks a little startled at Dhraegon, and then he too breaks into laughter. It lasts a little while and then he says, "No, my prince, I am not one for japes." Then, turning his attention back to Jaysa, "The two words." He settles back into sternness, though it seems like it might take some effort. "Get out."

Jaysa stands up slowly "Lord Targaryan. I will sending a letter to your father to rights of Duel with you. I expect you will behave with honor as we decide this matter on the field of honor. Good day Lords." She turns around to leave while making a note to her assistant as she words out the letter to the king.

Ormund watches the woman turn away, then actually does the classic face-desk maneuver, and breaks into laughter again.

Dhraegon gives Lord Ormund his goofiest smile, "Still, it would be a brilliant one and I do respect you for Darkest Night…." Then he is standing, the mirth gone from his face in response to her reference to his Father, "My father is dead these three and a half decades, though you are welcome to seek him from the Stranger if that is your pleasure, and I do not duel." Then he is tittering again, "Lord Ormund? I will wager you 10 dragons they will be laughing at her if this person goes about complaining of it… Or Oh! We could have a gardening contest I suppose in lieu of a test of arms, or a drinking contest?" He turns back to Jaysa, "Do tell them you were very rude to the Clown Prince and he hadn't any slugs handy…."

Ormund rests his forehead on the table and laughs and laughs. "Ah, Prince Dhraegon, you've improved this…" he says. It takes a long time to get the words out between laughter and shortness of breath caused by it.

Dhraegon collapses into laughter so frankly amused he must sit again, lest he fall, "I suppose we'll need to send a raven ourselves, but it was very much worth it…. I'm sure it will give Viserys and the Martells a good laugh too. Imagine! Think of the fun singers would have with it. It is a shame there are no snails large enough for jousting…. Need you more wine?"

Ormund drains his cup, and chokes a little on it, because of the laughter, and holds it out to Dhraegon for a refill.

Dhraegon pours them both more from the decanter, "If I'd known I'd have had Flox take notes. I'm tempted to hire a singer to write it myself, the Grand Snail Joust of the Clown Prince and a Dornish Lady, mocking us both as bellicose and thus showing the foolishness of fighting between us and Dorne." Flox clears his throat, "I fear that there might be… inappropriate connotations, My Prince." Dhraegon shudders, "Better not then." He eyes Ormund, giggling again, "That was…. I still have no words.

Ormund shakes his head, and swallows more wine. "So. Snails or otherwise, will you…" He laughs again. "Duel with her?"

Dhraegon shudders again, "I honestly don't see what that would serve. Unless she accepts my choice of weapons… Flowers and mead! Now who do I know who can hunt slugs with skill and drink me under the table…. The training would be fun at least."

Ormund grins at Dhraegon. "I will supply the mead," he says, shaking his head some more.

Dhraegon's smile turns shy, "See? Having me underfoot might not be as bad as you might think. You get your own jester to rescue you in terrible meetings….."

Ormund grins. "I needed that," he says. "Though of course, no good will come of it. I should have told her to get out sooner." He shakes his head again. "Ah, well. I'm sure your dead father will understand. As will His Grace."

Dhraegon nods, "I probably shouldn't have, but she was terribly rude, both in her manners and assuming you a simpleton. I suppose we really should send a raven just in case. Whatever possessed her? I truly did think for a moment you had…." he eyes him, "Are you absolutely sure you didn't? Because if you had, it would be the cleverest deadpan delivery of a prank in the history of Westeros….."

"Oh, I wish I had," says Ormund. "I wish. But you're right. Really, it never would have occurred to me, even if it were a time when it would be… appropriate to give you such a treatment. And I suppose we should. Send a raven. Or two. Though if she fails to tell Sunspear, then, well, I do not want to embarrass the court there by mentioning it."

Dhraegon nods, "Best to get in first with Viserys and your Father…." His pale eyes study Ormund, curious now, "She's still deciding, you know. I… I know I'm not what you'd want for her, but I will never harm her apurpose, nor stand in the way of anything she chooses to do." He blushes and takes a gulp of his wine, "She's interesting and I like….talking to her. I think she's terribly clever and could be really good at this." He gestures absently, "A gentle set of hands can turn canvass into tapestry and a barren plain into a garden if a good mind is behind them."

Ormund nods. "She's my sister," he says. It's warm, for him. "I love her. She can do what makes her happy. If that's you, well, who am I to complain? There are stupider suggestions." He glances at the door and starts to chuckle again.

Dhraegon nods, "You are a good man and a very good Lord for this place, I think." Then he is following Ormund's gaze and giggling, "She can't really have thought us such bumpkins as to fall for that?"

"I think she did," says Ormund. "Hell, I think she may have even been speaking in good faith in her opinion that it would be a good deal for us. Amazing, really."

Dhraegon shakes his head, "I suppose anything is possible. Either that, or perhaps the Dornish are playing a prank on us…."

Ormund grimaces, then laughs again. "I hope not. How does one respond to a prank like that?"

Dhraegon snorts, "I fear you'd have to send me…."

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