He had left before dawn broke as commanded and had returned shortly
before midday. The news he bore was strange and confusing, but he knew
that the Lord Holder would want to receive it right away. Hoping that
Lord Bryvin was in his office, he knocked on the door, clutching the
pair of hides he in his hands.
"Come," Bryvin called. He'd delayed about as long as he could before
the ceremony would start and he'd put Stenlis off about signing
anything until after they were wed.
Pifer hurried in, looking tired and a bit harried. "The Harpers at
Amber Hills had a record of the most recent will that you requested,
my Lord." He handed him one rolled hide. "But they also had this
record as well. The Headwoman's brother and entire family and servants
were killed in a fire three months ago according to the records. The
family home was completely destroyed and there weren't any survivors.
The Harpers said the family's orchards and fields weren't effected and
the land holdings have been cared for by..." He looked at the other
hide in his hands and read from it. "Golden Waves Minor Hold until
acquisition by any remaining heirs. The Holder stated he would inform
the heir and transfer possession."
**Very interesting indeed** Bryvin thought. He held out his hand
wanting to look at the provisions of the Will. It was interesting to
him that Stenlis wanted him to sign some other document confirming
transfer of any of Yriadha's property from Bryvin to himself. He had
to admire the man's thought process of course, though his execution
was flawed. If he hadn't raped Yriadha and romanced her instead he
could have had it all with no one the wiser. "Three months," the
corner of his mouth turned up. "Well done Pifer," he said. "Have a
seat, I have something else for you to do."
Pifer handed him the will and took the seat as ordered. "Of course, my
Lord. What can I do?" He resisted the urge to rub at his eyes and was
alert for the next request.
Bryvin scanned the document and quirked an eyebrow. After a few
moments, he looked up at Pifer. "Have you read this?"
For a moment, Pifer didn't know whether or not to tell the truth.
He'd been curious, so of course, he'd read it, and understood the
implications. But should he have? He shifted a little in his chair;
the Lord Holder wasn't stupid. "Yes, my Lord. I read it. With the
closest living heir dead, Yriadha appears to have become heiress to a
tidy fortune." He quickly added, " that my Lord should have had access
to according to the will, but was for some reason denied. The will
makes the stipulation that her Lord Holder is the legal guardian of
her estate and her person until she remarries. At that time, her new
husband takes your place upon transfer of all documentation to Harper
Bryvin mused for a moment and his eyes narrowed at Pifer. The man was
not the sharpest knife in the drawer but until he could convince his
Cousin to that the position, he would have to do. "So, this Stenlis
has intentionally withheld this information from me in an attempt to
steal Yriadha's fortune. We'll just have to see about that." He opened
the drawer where he'd kept the documents Stenlis had wanted to be
signed. "Oh look at this," Bryvin smirked. "He states that she is
without fortune or inheritance."
If Pifer was good at anything, it was contracts; he excelled at them
which he knew was the only reason he still had his station.
"Technically, my Lord, he wasn't stealing the fortune. He doesn't
have access to it, yet. The income is most likely languishing or
wasting until someone takes control. On her father's death, you
should have been immediately notified as her legal guardian, so the
lack of notice means that you have lost that income. He's not stolen
from Yriadha, but from you, my Lord." Pifer took the document and
scanned it, brow furrowing. Slowly he spoke. "This is the marriage
contract? My Lord, you shouldn't sign it. It's completely invalid.
There's no way that he can claim that it was written in good faith or
without knowledge of what she was inheriting."
"So tell me your opinion Pifer. Is there a way around this will? Did
her brother inherit first or was the will ever processed? Do we need
to search for _his_ will as well?"
Pifer mused, his lower lip thrust out as he looked over the dates.
"This will predates the brother's death and it was the last on record
at the Hall. Judging from when Yriadha left and returned, her father
didn't change it after the death of her brother or was unaware of it.
The son died before the father. I don't think her father imagined
that she would ever inherit, but wanted to ensure that it would remain
within strict control and within the male line. The way it's written,
should Yriadha pass without marriage, all properties must go to a son
or to the husband of a daughter with the same stipulations for
inheritance if no son lives. It continues to be entailed to the male
line." He frowned. "If Yriadha dies unmarried, my Lord, the land would
most likely go to either Riadem or Bortem. But even should she marry,
the land would still be only inheritable by one of her sons." He
looked up at at Bryvin. "It's very specific. I can't see any way
"Alright," Bryvin nodded. "So the land is entailed to male heirs but
with no stipulation for the age of said heir." He confirmed what he'd
heard. **Yavin has a fine inheritance coming from his mother and
Stenlis isn't going to get his hands on it.** He ran a hand over his
upper lip. "I agree with you Pifer, I should not sign the contract.
Perhaps you can arrange to spill something on it to make it unfit.
Then I'll perform the wedding but we'll delay the documents until I
can inform Yriadha of her inheritance Oh, and I'm not signing young
Yavin's adoption papers.. I'll retain his guardianship."
"I can certainly do so, my Lord." Pifer nodded. He had no problem
ruining a contract that was blatantly and purposefully designed to
deceive. At the mention of the child, Pifer rolled his shoulders. "The
little orphan boy Yriadha's raising?" He paused, musing. "I suppose he
would be considered a ward of the Hold so you would hold guardianship
for him since Yriadha is also now considered a ward of the Hold and
not of her father. I'm not sure of the legalities of that or of his
status, but I suppose a Harper would know of them." He handed back the
will to Bryvin. "It seems quite a windfall for the Hold, my Lord. The
additional income and potential profit of the additional lands, should
the Headwoman remain unmarried, increases the Hold's property and
trade resources, minus the stipulated stipend, of course."
"Indeed," Bryvin nodded slightly. "I hate to think that Holder Stenlis
might have witheld information intentionally, yet it seems suspicious
that he hasn't told his intended of her brothers families tragedy.
Don't you think?"
The understeward nodded briskly. "More than suspicious. It doesn't
affect our current trade agreement, however." Pifer frowned. "What
will you need me to do further, my Lord?"
"I need to send for the guard Polson. I have a... task for him."
Bryvin turned away from the Steward. "I want him to be here in my
office directly after the ceremony.
Last updated on the August 13th 2019