The sun was just peeking over the horizon as Lord Brendan's ship docked at Grim Landing. He could see how the port earned such a name. Open to the sea on only one side, the harbor was surrounded by sheer cliffs, impossible to scale. Lord Brendan's destination, Saltcliff Keep, home of the ancient house Seaford, Lords of the Crag, jutted out from the highest cliff like an albatross nest. Carved from the cliff itself, Lord Brendan had many times heard it called a wonder of the world. The ingenuity of the ancient men who built such a place impressed him but little else about this depressing land did. He imagined his betrothed would bless her lucky stars and call him savior for taking her from such a place.
Brendan often wondered how such a poor family had held onto their title and lands for so many generations. Seeing the Crag for the first time he was sure that no army could possibly scale the cliffs that protected the castle. Even if they could, why would they? The Crag was a barren land, pounded each year by terrible sea storms which hindered the only riches they had, shipping and fishing.
"What say you, Collins? You think the port is worth the trouble?" Brendan said. He turned to his right hand man and trusted adviser. Collins was a hard man, not prone to emotion or fancy. He was one of very few that had Lord Brendan's respect.
"Oh yes, My Lord. It may not look like much now, in the stormy season, but just you wait. Come winter we will move cargo by the tons for a fraction of the price to ship from Black Beach. Though I'm still not certain a deal such as this cannot be sealed with coin alone. It seems unnecessary that you should tie yourself to such a low house."
Brendan clapped the old man on the shoulder, "Nonsense, my man. You live too much in the moment and fail to grasp the big picture. Lord Seaford has no son and I hear his new wife is barren, just like this godforsaken place. My son will be Lord of Highhammer and the Crag. I'd wager the old man won't live another decade. Then all you see shall be mine." He said with a grand gesture at the gray, dreary place.
Lord Brendan looked up again at the castle which loomed above him and squared his shoulders as if ready for a fight. "Well, see to the arrangements here. I'm off to fetch the girl."