(2018-04-24) Scientia viros fortissimos potest interficere
And so it begins…
cosimo garden 
Cosimo and Garden discuss current affairs.
Reference to the arrival of the heir of Mecurea.
Misc Info:
They may not be romantic, loving, or sweet… but these two connivers do totally respect one another.

Cosimo lazies idly in one of his chairs, squinting down at a piece of jewelry that had come in from one of the recent ships. It wasn't the finest piece that he'd ever seen, but there were some interesting qualities to it. It was mostly colored glass held together by some gold. No. It was where it was from and who made it that interested him more. Because he could call it 'exotic'. People would pay for something 'exotic', even if it wasn't the finest thing ever made. You just had to find the right buyer.

Sitting up, he puts the piece down on his desk and exclaims, "I think we could sell these things to the wives of common merchants for a pretty penny. They'll think their like some noble lady, but that they own something from some far off place." He stretches as he stands, bending his neck one way, then the next before moving to a window to stare out at the garden below. "Garden!" He calls out. "How much do you think we could fleece ladies who want to pretend to be noble?"

Down in aforementioned garden, the dutiful wife is being… not so dutiful. Technically, she should probably be doing something like checking the larder or interviewing some new servants. Perhaps making sure the gardeners are doing their job on the back lawn. Instead, Garden is reviewing some purchases of her own from a merchant that had some to town and she'd requested bring his wares personally. Well, some very specific wares: books. The young woman is seated upon a bench and tucked forward, looking over one of the tomes that the man holds — proudly — upon display for her to review. He turns the illustrated pages slowly as she studies each. In mid-turn, Cosimo shouts and she makes a display of holding up a hand to forestall the man as she turns to look up towards the window.

"Yes," she tells the man. "That one. The valet will handle the sale." And said valet steps forward as Garden gestures to her attending maid to join her as she, rather than shout back to Cosimo, opts to make him wait for her to join him in his study. She takes her time of it, too. Only once she's in the doorway does she answer: "It depends. How much product do we have?"

Oh Cosimo waited alright, but not by the window. He's gone back to his chair and taken his seat once again, fingers drumming on the arm rest as he 'rests his eyes'. When she's spoken, he responds, eyes still closed. "We have a craft of some decorative jewelry made from the northern coast of the kingdoms across the Catellus Sea." He waves a hand towards the piece. "Bracelets, necklaces, earrings. Some gold, a lot of colored glass. Look far nicer than what the common person would wear, I think." He opens his eyes now to stare at his wife. "However, they are from somewhere that isn't Matero, that isn't from any other nearby city state or Avicorse or even the Paragon States."

He smiles. "Exotic. That will be the word used, and if sold slowly, perhaps that can convince some that they are hard to come by. So exotic and rare. These are nice words to be used around people that have more money than sense, yes?" It's not really a question. "Come, tell me your thoughts, and then tell me what you were looking at in the gardens."

Moving further through the doorway and signaling for her maid to wait, Garden approaches the jewelry sitting on the desk. She reaches out to pick it up, holding it up to the light to study. "Mmm," she says, taking her time in looking it over. "Synthesized demand is good. It means we can start with a high price and drive it up over time." She turns it over, considering it still yet. "It also means we can start just slightly lower than we might otherwise, targeting a broader demographic. It gives us a greater market to pull from. Sure, we're going for a lower price initially, but-" she sets the piece down, looking to Cosimo.

"Shopkeep wives demanding them as gifts, versus lesser noblewomen buying them as mere trinkets and bringing them out only now and then. We want them shown off as much as possible so that more women are demanding them. Then the price gets driven up more swiftly. We begin a story of the dangers of procurement. Tales of savages, even, in the travels." There's the barest curve of her lips. "Mere terms of exotic and rare are nothing. If the woman wearing it has a story to go along with it, she becomes as much a sales person as any merchant."

Cosimo nods thoughtfully. "I agree with all of that, especially the part about shopkeep wives demanding them as gifts. A very shrewd assessment, my dear Garden." If he meant anything by it other than as a complimentary statement, he gives no outward sign of it. No, he's instead looking over at the piece once again and nodding to himself. "It should be rather easy to pull off, we'll just have to make sure we keep them in the warehouses for a time. Perhaps start off by selling a small handful. Three or four maybe." He trails off, narrowing his eyes in thought.

Whatever he's thinking about, it's interupted by a knock on the door. Cosimo sighs. "Enter." A moment later a servant enters and places a piece of parchment down on the desk. "There's been word from the docks m'lord, some rumors are being reported." The young man gestures towards the parchment and Cosimo nods. "Very well." He raises a hand and with his fore and middle fingers makes a slight gesture that has the servant exiting the room and closing the door behind him. Reaching forward, he takes the parchment and offers it over to Garden. "Care to have a first glance at what the newest rumors have to say?" He smiles up at her.

"Three, four. Perhaps even send a handful along the coast to other ports upon our ships. It will help the mythology if there are stories in other cities, as well. Allow a woman to hear it from this distant cousin or a baker from that traveler."

Garden falls quiet as the servant enters, her gaze trailing to the parchment. When it's offered to her, she circles to lean against the desk near to where Cosimo sits, allowing her hip to rest up against the edge. It's a practiced motion; crushing the heavier fabrics of her coat rather than the silken hem. She lifts the parchment to begin reading it over, lids lowered by a measure. Her lips move just faintly as she does; a personal tic of habit. "Ships from Pelcortia," she says finally, not looking up. "Men and women seemingly members of the Sasori. Rumors so far say they travel with the heir-"

She lowers the parchment, looking over it to her husband with one thin brow arched. "Why would he come here and not Thassaldromo?"

"Oh, yes indeed. Maybe send a few down towards the Prodigal States and some more down to Borzia." Cosimo says with a nod. He watches his wife move towards his desk and take up her leaning position. Leaning back in his chair, he watches over her face to gauge her reactions. But even her question surprises him.

"The heir is rumored to be coming to Matora?" He asks, eyebrows raising in slight disbelief. "If that's the case… Kataro must be pushing northward and making serious advances into the Eastern Empire's territory. Hrm." He rubs his chin, thoughtfully. "I am curious as to why they would come here and not the Paragon States or even the Divine Empire. Perhaps there is a house or two who are friendly enough to offer him shelter? This could present a few possibilities."

He lifts his hand, and then raises a finger. "One, if the Eastern Empire is falling, Kataro will have access to their resources, which means we should seek to negotiate with Kataro for some favorable conditions. Two, if the heir comes to Matora and Kataro wants him, if we can find out where he seeks refuge, than we can have a bargaining chip with Kataro and possibly sully one of the other houses. Though if we do that we should ensure that nothing comes back onto us. And third, perhaps some of these Sasori might be available as mercenaries. I would be interested in hiring a couple for our house guard."

Adjusting her coat faintly, Garden watches Cosimo as he plays it out, features placid. She dips her head slightly, braid slipping over her shoulder. There's a faint chiming of jewels and beads against one another of the cord woven throughout the dark locks. "We will have to be mindful of playing such a game; bargaining with Kataro. Many of our peers will gladly give him shelter simply out of their dislike of Kataro. Their anger and hatred will be enough to throw their doors wide open for him, but also to make them our enemies if they find out we are working against him."

She looks over to the parchment, reaching over to trace her fingers over the inked words. Lips pursed, she makes a thoughtful sound. "But it would gain us a powerful ally. Seeking passage on such ships with a small guard? It shows he is afraid. He is fleeing. He may be trying to hide while amassing strength, but right now…" She looks up to meet Cosimo's eyes. "We hire a couple for the house if they are seeking work. Earn their confidence."

Snorting, Cosimo looks up at Garden. "I know, and I believe that being blinded by one's hatreds is not a useful trait. You know I have no love for Avicorse or the Divine Empire, but it's not like I would refuse to negotiate trade deals with either realm because of it." He leans forward and places a hand lightly upon her arm. "Still, I do agree that caution and discretion are important no matter how we choose to proceed, and I agree with your assessment that he is afraid. So we should endeavor to find out more if we can. Perhaps I'll ask Salvatore to try and find some of these soldiers and treat them to a night of drinking, gambling and whoring. That might loosen some tongues."

He stands, and comes around the desk to stand in front of her. "Still, I smell opportunities here. For us, for this family. I do not wish to be hasty, nor do I wish to miss out. Such a careful balance everything will require, but I have confidence in the two of us. So I am curiouos to know, what would you think if this heir were to ask House Gaspari for favors or for protection?"

There is a droll look given to Cosimo when he mentions his dislike of her homeland, but Garden is used to it and says nothing. She just takes a deep breath and looks up to him as he stands in front of her. "Sending Salvatore is a good idea. It's not overtly bold and he commonly engages in such behavior. It won't seem untoward or out of character for him." She reaches out to gently fuss at the front of Cosimo's attire, fixing where it has become rumpled by his slouching.

"If they come to our door, we will consider their offer as any kind, considerate, and understanding noble household must for such a personage. But we will also find out what would be offered for putting our people, lands, and future at risk." There's a slow curve to the corner of her mouth as she looks up to him, preening of his clothing coming to a stop. "He has not lost everything and either he will be desperate or he will know what allies like us are worth."

Glancing down to watch her hands fuss with his clothing for a moment, Cosimo takes in all that she has said before looking up and smiling. "You do know my brother well, yes that was my thinking on that. One day, Salvatore will have to get married to some nice young lady who will temper his behaviors, but until then, may as well use them to our advantage." Now that her hands have stopped their preening, he reaches up and takes hold of them. "It always gladdens me that you are on the same page as I, it really does make things so much easier when discussions must on how things must be approached rather than the why. I don't even want to begin to think about how boring conversations would be if I had to sit and explain everything."

Letting her hands go, and giving one of those coughs that kind of means that something else could be said but isn't really the time to say it, Cosimo pulls out another roll of parchment and stretches it out on his desk. "Now then. I want to have a conversation soon with Conte Albrici as it will be beneficial to us if the banker has a favorable opinion. I will see what can be done about gaining that favor. I might ask Salvatore to speak to Tizania to see what is going on with House Capello. Do you have any particular house in mind that you would like to perhaps try and make a friend or two inside?"

"I am certain my parents were more than aware of what would happen had I been wed to a bore," Garden says simply, studying her husband in return. A match of respect can be just as important — more than, perhaps — as one of love. When her hands are freed, she moves to her feet proper and turns to stand by Cosimo's side as she gathers her skirts to lean and look past his shoulder as he thinks aloud. "Oh, no particular. Though I did hear of an upcoming feast at Sabastino in honor of spring. I imagine that will be a good time to mingle." Though she affects an air of boredom, there is a glimmer of interest in her mien. Cosimo would know well she's curious to see what the other women will opt to wear to showcase themselves.

"It will be interesting to see how this new rumor surfaces at the feast, too. I imagine if we are to secure any of these Sasori, we may wish to do so before then. What fun it would be to show with them in our personal retinue, mmm?"

"Mm, mine as well." Cosimo muses, glancing over at her a moment. "As loathe as I am to admit it, the Sabastino's did make the right move in scheduling the first party of the season. Not that -I- care personally about hosting the first, but putting the first on the schedule will get everything going." Folding his arms across his chest, he looks up then over at her. "I'll be curious to get your opinions on the other ladies based on what they are wearing, of course. I have no doubt you will rise above all the others. As for the Sasori? Let me give Salvatore a nudge in that direction and see what he can come up with. It should be easy enough to convince him to indulge in his favorite vices."

"It also means if anything goes awry, they will remain the talk of the city for weeks," Garden points out with a slight upward twitch of her mouth. "The stage will be set for fashion. Food. Wine. Let someone else make the trial runs, Cosimo. We can schedule the second event of the season, fixing any mistakes they made and improving upon anything else." She drops a hand to place lightly against his elbow. "Maybe," she offers in a lower voice, "we'll even procure something large and properly stunning to showcase for all the houses, mmm?"

There's another of those smirks before she dips her head slightly at mention of pointing Salvatore in the right direction. "Always good to rely on your brother's… strengths. It's the best way to keep him on task."

"True enough." Cosimo says, nodding. "As I said before, I have no doubts you will make the other ladies jealous of your fashion sense. That should provide something for people to talk about." He glances towards her, an eyebrow raised. "Oh, do you have something in mind? We could bring some people over from across the sea to put on a show of sorts. No doubt that would prove to be interesting enough." He reaches over and places his hand atop the hand she has on his elbow.

"Mmhmm. It's easy enough to direct Salvatore in such directions when it's something he wants to do already. Amusingly, his skills can come in handy far more often than some might think. Enough people in this city can't keep themselves focused enough to not indulge in such meaningless vices." Cosimo makes a slightly disgusted face. "There are far more important things in this life to be concerned with than gambling and whoring, I do wish Salvatore would come to realize this, but it's something he will have to come to on his own."

"That… is actually a wonderful idea, husband. Instead of the usual musicians playing the usual songs we've all heard dozens of times over, we could have one of our next ships bring in some performers that no one's seen or heard yet." Garden's eyes widen by a small measure, already sharpening to the idea. And likely expanding on it. Her lips part just a bit. "A themed feast. Something of the Eastern Empire? I did love those spices we had the cook experiment with last month. And the silks… some weren't suitable for gowns, I was told, but we could put them up in the gardens-" she looks off to the window, eyes narrowing in thought.

Coming back to Cosimo. "Your brother should just buy a brothel and make something of his vice. Put it to work for the family. He could at least bring us useful information from time to time and an income rather than just bleeding it all away."

It's almost as if Cosimo can sense where his wife's mind is heading. "Ahh, so performers from the Eastern Empire, silks from the Eastern Empire. So you seek to try and curry favor with the heir by throwing a themed feast. Yes, that could be quite interesting, and it could show off our ability to acquire goods and services from around the sea." He nods, smiling. Though the smile fades at her next suggestion.

"Buy a brothel. Yes, I suppose we could see about arranging that. It would give him something to do and to occupy his time. Though, others might frown at us for it. So the positives and negatives must be weighed against one another." He lets out a short sigh. "I will speak to him about it and see if he is willing to take up such responsibilities. However, if his cock rots off before he can produce a couple of nieces and nephews for me to use in negotiating, I will be most displeased."

"Speak to the next ship out to the Eastern Empire. We'll need those performers soon. And- Oh!" Garden pats at his arm, eyes widening a measure. "One of their silken tapestries. Imagine unveiling one of those at such a feast. I'll get one of my own buyers on the ship. They'll be able to find something." There isn't enough time to have a custom order, but they can find something already made that's pleasant enough. "A backdrop for the feast, yes." Already the plans are at work. "And their sweet wines…"

"Don't worry about Salvatore. Make it a requirement of purchasing a brothel that he also employs a doctor. He cares too much about his manhood to lose it." Garden waves off this concern in a quick aside before she leans up to press a gentle kiss to her husband's cheek. "Prepare a ship for the east. I will make certain the buyer knows what is necessary. Perhaps we can get more curios from the savages even further beyond the Empire, too. They might surprise us again."

"A troupe of performers, a classy silk tapestry, and some sweet wine." Cosimo rattles off in a list. "Better let me know before tomorrow what else you want to have come back on that ship, because we can have something leave the city tomorrow evening, or early the following day." He looks over at her after she kisses his cheek and smiles. "Very well, I will discuss this brothel business with Salvatore and bring up the business of a doctor to keep things reasonably clean." Reaching up, he places his hand gently upon her shoulder. "You consistantly prove yourself worthy of my respect, Garden. Yes, I do believe a soiree themed with things from the Eastern Empire will be quite the talk of the city."

Giving her shoulder a slight squeeze, he steps to the window and looks down at the garden, gesturing. "Everything is coming in nicely. It will be good to show it off to the other families."

"I'll send some of the servants around the city tonight to local chefs and bakers to inquire about foods, too. We simply cannot do a themed feast without appropriate fare from the region. If we need specialty foods, we'll have to get those as well." Garden smiles up at Cosimo, watching him as he makes his way to the window. She remains put for the moment; her coat is a heavy thing. No need for excess movements if not necessary. "It will. And this heir if he is, indeed, come to the city. Show him what connections we have."

She does finally lean away from the desk, glancing to the doorway with a shrewd look. Good, her girl is pretending not to listen. She gestures to her. "I'll leave you to your work. Send word if you have need for me."

Cosimo nods. "Very good. Feel free to toss in an Avicorsan dish or two if you'd like. Let them see that we have a nice relationship with our neighbors to the west." He turns slightly to flash her a smile. "But please, let me not keep your attention all day. If you have any other thoughts, please feel free to share them this evening."

Twisting at the torso to assist her maid in gathering up skirt and coat by just a measure to make her exit easier, Garden gives her husband a heavy-lidded look as she considers the offer. Likely weighing the sincerity of it. His dislike for her home nation versus the fascination other Houses have for Avicorse culture. "I will see what dishes will pair well with Eastern offerings," she finally hedges carefully with a genial smile. "I'll see you at the evening meal, Cosimo." And then she is departing, inquiring gently of her maid the location of her purchase — the book — on their way out of the study.

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