(2018-04-27) Peeling Fruit
"Really, I doubt peeling fruit is quite as sensuous as you make it out to be."
amanda antonella 
The Capello sisters and the Capello Conte-by-marriage discuss the dangers of fruit.
Misc Info:
baldessare amadea 

Arm in arm, the sisters Capello enter the Porta del Sol. Well, two. Double A. Missing their triple A. But she's probably around with a B somewhere. Amanda is dressed down, as would be appropriate to go out to an inn and enjoy a walk about the city. Her guards are trailing far behind, though one of the servants is dutifully searching out a table near a window for the pair of sisters to settle. "Amadea arrived yesterday evening," Amanda is saying, as they stroll in. "Just after dinner. I've let her know we're here… she might join us," she says. "The dinner consisted of Baldo whining about how /riding/ is /faster/ than carriages. Nevermind the rain and the mud and how horribly terrible an idea it would be to have our Contessa charging across the countryside with some half-wild stallion, on horseback," she huffs out.

Antonella's expression, upon hearing that her eldest sister has arrived in Matora, is half-joy and half-terror. She's thrilled at the prospect of seeing her sister again! But that's just another pair of eyes keeping too close a watch on her. To her credit, she hides the worry well, the delight winning out as she listens to Amanda. "Not to mention Andrea," she adds. "It's almost certainly unsafe to just strape the poor boy to her back and take off across the countryside." Almost certainly. Her face scrunches as she puzzles that out a moment.

"None of our stallions are half-wild," says everyone's favorite party pooper. Baldessare's voice is actually a bit /insulted/, in fact, as he arrives with his wife on his arm, directing him while looking nothing at all like she is. He frowns down at Amanda where she and Antonella have found themselves a table he and Amadea have just stepped up to. "Antonella," he adds in a flat sort of required greeting from their return home.

On the arm of her half-wild stallion — erm, husband, Amadea paints a pretty picture of the well-manicured Contessa accompanied by her Conte. She's got that perfect posture that allows her to glide along regally: straight spine, shoulders back, head held proudly. She is beautiful and she knows it, her hair worn down in luxurious golden waves. Her luminous green eyes miss nothing, particularly not wayward younger sisters. She just stares at them, as if her pointed gaze will do the scolding for her. That, or her husband.

"Oh, no, Andrea was in my-…" Amanda starts to respond, only to hear a familiar voice. She turns turns, and offers the most beatific smile at her brother-in-law. "Oh, forgive me, signore. Am I using the wrong term? I'd thought stallions were uncastrated… Unless…" she flutters lashes, and her smile goes just a bit more sunny and silly. "Are you a half-wild gelding?" she asks. Her eyes then turn to Amadea. "Mia cara, you look twice as beautiful as yesterday. I am ever so glad to have you back," she all but gushes. She also releases Antonella's arm, less the little one need to rush over.

"Baldessare!" Antonella has nothing but sunshine for her brother-in-law. Freed for pouncing, she dashesthe admittedly short distanceover to the couple. Luckily for Baldo, it's Amadea who gets skinny arms wrapped about her shoulders, who gets squeezed, who's cheeks are brushed with her own as she delivers one air-kiss after the next. Only then, after her affectionate assault is either completed or prevented, does she croon a warm, "Amadea," for her eldest sister. "I've missed you so. Someone's got to help me keep watch over Amanda. She's been growing ever more reckless as spring sets in, you know."

"Isn't that what her wife is for?" Baldesarre says to Antonella, his voice bland as he aggressively ignores Amanda's fluttery comment. "The Contessa and I were just discussing last night how we might manage to lock them back in their chambers when they start a new screaming match without the benefit of solid doors to mute them."

"Hello, my darling," Amadea says indulgently to Antonella as she is hugged and kissed and made much over. Her smile for her baby sister is warm and welcoming. "I've missed you too, but the Comte and I had business overseeing the breeding of the horses." And then she looks over the youngest's shoulder, directly at the middle sister. "Signore is no gelding, trust me. Watching the horses mount surely puts him in a mood, and he was quite the prodigious lover last night, tending passionately to my needs with much adoration and virility as he did his marital duties. If I am a bit tired today, know that it was not horses I rode to find myself thus." This is accompanied by a ferocious green-eyed stare.

Amanda stays where she is, a few paces away, hands held neatly in front of her. Her smile settles to one of those polite things she perpetually wears. "It is true that spring has… affected Tizania. She is decidedly more energetic," she says. "And I do what I can to help make her comfortable, as is my duty to my wife," Amanda says, her tone pleasantly conversational all the while. Then her eyes set on Amadea, and her brows lift high. She stares, incredulously, and actually does manage to look scandalized. She even gasps, and steps closer to her family, to speak in a hushed voice. "Amadea! I do believe we all recognize what you and your husband do. As evident by your child. But you needn't turn this inn into some… house of ill repute," she chides. "I swear, you and Toni and your foul mouths…"

Antonella releasing her hold upon Amadea declares quietly, "I take it back. Now I've two sisters inclined to fill my head with awfulness then wonder why I'm always elsewhere." Not that her smile falters for that protest, even if there is a scrunch of her nose. With wide-eyed look turned to Amanda, she assures, "I am entirely innocent. Both in virture and in verbal contribution to the decline of this conversation." She flicks a look toward Baldessare, considering addressing his point, but opting to just flounce off toward the table near the window where she waits like a proper lady for her betters to settle first.

Baldessare looks briefly pained, gaze lifting towards the heavens like God might take mercy on him. He exhales a seething breath, looking back down to the gathered sisters. "Is that what you think they do in houses of ill repute?" Baldessare asks Amanda, one brow arching with the slightest hint of a smirk. "Talk about coupling? I don't think they'd be nearly so popular if that was the case." He draws away from his wife, but he's left with the responsibility of drawing out one of the chairs at the table for her before he can think about his own. A passing server is unfortunate enough to catch his attention. "Wine. Now."

"Don't ask if you don't want to know," Amadea informs Amanda quite seriously before moving to take the seat that Baldessare has drawn for her, allowing him to seat her quickly so that he himself can sit. Also so that wine can be had. She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, but she does not relax in her chair. "Sit down, Antonella," she says momentarily. "We know you are innocent. And you'd best stay that way."

"Technically innocent," Amanda says, to Antonella, her tone a touch dubious. Her gaze flicks from the young blonde beauty to the horse man. Amanda blinks a few times. "I-… Why-… what else would be spoken of-…?" she asks Baldessare, looking wholly uncertain. And then she looks to Amadea, and her hands quickly come up, waving off any possible response to that question. She just helps herself to a seat, beside Antonella. "I caught her -…" Amanda starts, speaking to Amadea. "Well, there really was not much at all to catch. But she was sharing citrus fruit with a man who had a decidedly cretinous look to him," she says, with muted offense and worry in her tone.

Antonella doesn't quite just drop into her seat upon being instructed to sit, but that's very nearly the case, her descent prompt, abrupt. "By the letter," she agrees with Amanda, entirely unashamed of the implicit admission inherent to that quip. When her middle sister opens that unpleasant door, she turns a wide-eyed look to Baldessare, attentively awaiting the answer which is soon forestalled with those dismissing gestures. And so it's on to less salactious things. She might be on the verge of offering assurance of her endless innocence to Amadea when her recent activities are explained. "Hardly a mark against my virtue. Unless there is a custom by which the brief fondling of a stranger's fruit is indicative of something far more sinister?"

"I believe they spend their time /engaging/ in it, Amanda, more than they bother /talking/ about it," Baldessare says with a mildly beleaguered sort of sigh as he takes his seat once Amadea is settled. He gasps — exaggeratedly — at Amanda's worry. "Oh, god, no," he says. "/Citrus fruit/?!" He snorts quietly. "Innocence is not so very valuable in most areas."

"Are you trying to spoil my sister's good nature? Although, citrus fruit," Amadea says to Baldessare, then glances to Antonella. "You can have citrus fruit. Just be careful about the perception of virtue. Men like to think the lady they are wedding is untouched by cretinous men. Although, it may be otherwise with women. Plus, Amanda's judgment may be limited given her experiences." She glances around briefly, but the server is coming finally and bringing the wine the Conte ordered already. Glasses are poured for the ladies and the gentleman. Amadea may now drink her wine.

Amanda nose turns up, at Baldessare's response. "Were I ever to engage in such scandalous activity… I would hope for a stimulation of mind, as well as … body," she tells the man. "And, were I ever in need of that variety of company, I also imagine I would be capable enough and have the necessary means to to arrange for a meeting somewhere that is not only more discrete and more comfortable, but also more romantic," she tells the man, purely speaking in purley hypotheticals. Clearly. She then eyes Antonella, then Baldessare, and finally Amadea. "I've no idea how many mens' oranges Tizania has peeled. It was hardly a concern when were arranged and it is even less of a concern now," she says, remaining ever so proper. "Admittedly…" she says, that haughtiness draining as she considers Antonella anew. "If I caught Tizzy sharing fruit with a man as odd as that one, I would be concerned." Pause. "That was an /odd/ man."

Antonella's smile is nothing shy of delighted for Baldessare's answers all around. Clearly, that good cheer with which she greeted him was perfectly placed. Tilting toward him, she confides conspiratorially, "It's of value here, and I do mean to make the most of it, thank you," of that innocence with which her sisters are concerned. She flicks a look between the radiant beauties, flashes a charming smile to the server for the wine, then dives right back into the conversation, assuring Amadea, "He was not odd. He was engaging and interesting and a perfect gentleman. Nothing untoward whatsoever. The chances of us ever crossing paths again…" Her steel-blue gaze turns to Amanda as she wonders, "Have you ever watched Tizana peeling an orange?" before sipping at her wine.

"I am not spoiling anything. I am only saying that you don't need to /lock Antonella up/ in order to secure her marital prospects," Baldessare replies to Amadea as he leans back in his chair. He takes up the glass of wine set in front of him, sipping at it. "I don't think romance is the point, either," he adds dryly to Amanda. He doesn't offer any smiles back to Antonella, but maybe his lack of harshness indicates some small semblance of the mildest affection. "Is this some new courting fashion?" he wonders, slightly baffled. "Peeling oranges?"

"Now I want you to peel me an orange and see if it's quite as romantic and scandalous as Amanda seems to think it will be. Maybe later, you can peel me an orange?" Amadea suggests to Baldessare, practically purring, placing a hand on his hand and giving him the sort of beseeching look that suggests the romance and scandal levels are entirely up to him. She looks back to Amanda then, and her face has been schooled back to beautiful neutrality. "Really, I doubt peeling fruit is quite as sensuous as you make it out to be. Whether Tizania has peeled oranges with men before or not."

"If there's no romance, whatever is the point?" Amanda asks Baldessare, with a scoff. As if she is truly in it (whatever 'it' is) for the emotions. She then looks to Antonella, holds her polite look a moment, then lets out a rather put-upon sigh. "I have watched that woman do all manner of strange things. But, yes, I have watched her peel on orange on more than once occasion. I honestly could not tell you if it was meant to be alluring or if she was just amused by eating in bed," she says. "Anyways, the peeling of the orange was hardly the matter. This man told me how kind my daughter-" with a look to Antonella, then back to Amadea, "-was, as he told me a story about his father's indigestion, his mother's truffle-pig-like ability to sniff out citrus, and how his own fingers were too feeble to peel an orange," she explains. "This all happening late at night, after Antonella slipped out without a word to the staff." A pause, then Amanda clears her throat. "You have so suckle at the orange slice and let some juice dribble down your chin…" she offers, sheepishly.


| Antonella (Manipulate) |

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| Failed |

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| Skill: 4 Mod: 0 Total: 4 |

| Roll: 7 Status: |


"It's a very well-appointed cage, to be sure," Antontella tacks on dryly, quietly, as Baldessare argues for her freedom. When Amadea's hand falls upon his for that seductive exchange, her lips press tight to suppress a giggle as she politely averts her gaze back to her more put-upon sister. And stares wide-eyed at the admission that Tizania has peeled oranges in bed. There's a little, "Oh," rife with good-humored subtext. She holds her glass high as Amanda recounts the details, as if that slender thing might hide her wide grin behind it, though she lowers her wine to clarify, "Dusk. The sun had barely met with the horizon." Beat. "I was on my way home." A lie, readily given away by how hurriedly it's offered. More quietly, she asides to Amanda, "I'll keep that in mind," with wry humor.

"That sounds ridiculous," Baldessare tells his wife flatly. Such romance. "It's a /fruit/." Surely Amadea swoons all the time with such a husband. He listens to Amanda's account with a wrinkling nose. "Find more interesting people to risk your innocence on," he suggests to Antonella. While looking thoroughly unconvinced of her claims.

"Fine," Amadea replies to Baldessare with a roll of her eyes, sniffing once and taking a sip of her wine. "I will find some other man to peel me a fruit if you will not. How will you feel about that?" And then she gives Amanda a somewhat inscrutable look. "Why does Tizania eat in bed? Isn't that… messy?" She then eyes her youngest sister. "I will beat you," she warns. "You know very well what time it was and was not."

Antonella opens her mouth as if to argue with Baldessare, ready to expound upon the complexities of that interaction and what made it so very interesting, but she decides against it, that shift in intention marked with a smirk. "My innocence was not at risk." Humor draining from her features, she looks to Amadea and promises, "It was only dusk," which might not have been so bad if she really was on her way home. She was not. For the moment, the teen falls sullen, sipping at her wine.

"You can borrow Tizania. To peel your orange for you," Amanda says, to Amadea, her face holding that faint smile and perfectly polite look. Nothing else meant by the words, surely! Amanda looks aside to Baldessare, and then she gives a soft, laugh, and a nod. Yes, Antonella needs more interesting people. Then back to Amadea, Amanda lets out a sigh. "It is very messy and I would never allow such a hting," she says. "But that relies on the assumption that I am at all in command, when it comes to Tizania and my marriage. I assure, I am not," she says. Which is probably a lie, but with Amanda, who can tell. "She does as she pleases, and I do my best to encourage her to find her happiness," she adds. "Less we end up sharing words in a volume that would upset Baldessare's delicate emotions."

"You will do no such thing," Baldessare grouches back at Amadea, his whole manner bristling. If riling his jealousy is her goal, it's one that's usually easily accomplished. And then, for good measure, he huffs to Amanda, "I am not /delicate/. Amadea is as much bothered by your /ruckus/ as I am."

"Why, Conte Cosimo was showing me his beautiful fruit trees just the other day," Amadea notes to her husband as innocently as possible, making those big green eyes seem even bigger. "I'm pretty sure he'd indulge me in peeling a fruit, if only I asked nicely. He was just going on and on about how lovely the trees were, and I was thinking that it might be nice to get some fruit trees of our own. The smell of the flowers, the little songbirds that come to enjoy the fruits…" She sips her wine delicately and observes her two sisters thoughtfully for a moment.

"The road along the river is rather lovely at dusk," Antonella notes, her gaze dipped toward the table. "The market stalls still heavy with fruit. Should anyone ever desire escape when the evening entertainment erupts." Her gaze flicks toward Amadea curiously at the talk of fruit trees of their own, interested, but she makes no comment, not wishing to interrupt whatever's going on over there. Instead, she looks out the window. As if she might be considering escape.

"I just know that cattle can spook easily," Amanda says, to Baldessare. Clearly she means that to be related to his delicate emotions. There's a sweet smile, and then it falters, as she rolls her eyes over to her sister. "Can you please not jest? We've already more Gaspari in our lives than we need," she says. She means Tizania. "Inviting more in?" she asks, with a sigh. "Less this is all just some tactic to rile up your… ungelded husband. In which case, this is not the time nor the place for such lewdness."

"If you're interested in starting a war once I murder the Conte, certainly." Baldessare's tone is almost a growl now, his fingers tightening around his glass. His attention is wholly on his wife at this point, which means that Amanda's further poking is entirely missed.

Amadea focuses entirely on Baldessare for the moment, pausing to push a stray lock of blonde hair behind her ear, then let her hand trail down the side of her throat to eventually come to rest at the neckline of her gown, just a little suggestively. "Then I will purchase my own fruit trees for the garden," she says softly, her green eyes seeking his amber ones. Little sisters can go get ravished on their own time, apparently.

Antonella doesn't look back to the others, too busy enjoying the view of anywhere but here on the other side of the window, but she does cant her head toward Amanda ever so slightly as she quietly informs her, "If ever you wondered what it might feel like to hear about how your orange-peeling wife's kept you so terribly indisposed…" Her head tips toward the pair opposite them before she finishes off her wine in one long, determined pull.

Amanda's ignoring Antonella. The teen, her thoughts, all of it. She's focused on what's unfolding before her. She stares, shamelessly, at her older sister and brother-in-law. Then, finally, her eyes go wide. Epiphany shows clear. She gasps. Her hand jerks out and snatches Antonella. The younger sister suddenly exists again, as Amanda gives the teen's hand a gentle squeeze. The middle-child leans aside, eyes not leaving Baldessare and Amadea, as she stage whispers to Antonella. "My goodness. It's just like watching mama and papa," she says, in a hush that's surely loud enough for the pair across the table to hear. "He is so much like papa," she adds.

In that moment, Baldessare is wholly distracted by the lingering drift of his wife's fingers, but the shift and crease of his expression is more like stubborn aggravation than open lust; certainly familiar to Amadea, it's that annoyance of knowing he's been riled in exactly the way she was attempting. "Do what you like with the garden," he scoffs, refusing anything so simple as appreciation or affection. And then he snaps his gaze back to Amanda with a hard-set frown. "What."

Amadea could be more smug, but she is a woman of control and prudence. She will do as she likes with the garden, that is certain. "See, darling Antonella. You won't even have to go far to peel your own oranges. You won't even have to leave the house if you don't need to," she says with a measure of delight. She eyes Amanda for a moment, then shakes her head. "I'm supposed to be the one like Papa. I have always been the one like Papa. Mama has always bemoaned how I was entirely his daughter, in looks and temperament."

So — premarital and extramarital relations. What's the theme on that? I wanted to confirm/check since we're a bit sidestepped on some other traditional issues of sexual morality.

Antonella startles at the sudden clutching of her hand, eyes wide, empty wine glass wobbling. She looks, first, to Amanda then follows her gaze to Baldessare and Amadea to try to puzzle out what's so suddenly compelling about their strange flirtation. Her lips twist into something of a grimace at the way Amanda explains it, but she doesn't need to protest. Amadea's got that covered. To her eldest sister, she croons sweetly, "You are two of a kind, my beloved contessa and your gruff huband." With a slightly crooked smile, she adds, "And I'll be certain to invite all my cretinous potential despoilers over for oranges, if that is your preference."

Muted delight holds over Amanda as she watches the response. She takes a deep breath in, then slowly lets it out. Savor this, Amanda. She finally gives Toni's hand another squeeze, then releases her sister, and grabs back her wine glass. "I never said you were /not/ like Papa," she tells her sister. Though she's not going to change her opinion. She finally looks back to Antonella. "I really cannot be as bad as those two… can I? I'll have to institute a 'no touching' policy. No touching, at all," she says, of herself and Tizania. Then a pause, and she makes an overt show of distaste. Her nose wrinkles, her lips curl up. "Keep your cretins out of my-… Our house."

Yeah, we were mostly wondering about things like — importance of innocence/purity (perceived or otherwise) in terms of unmarried prospects, etc. So it sounds like not /excessively/ buttoned up purity culture, but you still have to take care with your behavior. (This is my first foray into Pendragon, ftr.)

"If Amadea wants to let Antonella invite cretins into orange groves that don't even exist, you'll simply have to live with it," Baldessare tells Amanda archly, and wouldn't it be delightful if Amanda had to just /live with something/. "Just make sure they're washed before arrival," he adds to Antonella.

Amadea senses: Baldessare's hand slips to Amadea's knee under the table, giving it a squeeze that might be more warning than affectionate.

"Washed cretins are still cretins. I would consider it favorable if you could just avoid the cretins entirely, hmm?" Amadea suggests with a little shake of her head. She takes a drink of her wine. "But if we cannot live without cretins, then I suppose clean cretins are preferable. For our groves that don't yet exist. Maybe I should stick with jasmine for the gardens."


| Amanda (Manipulate) |

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| Failed |

| -----—— |

| Skill: 15 Mod: 0 Total: 15 |

| Roll: 17 Status: |


"You should," Antonella encourages Amanda with regards to never letting Tizzy touch her again. With feigned seriousness, she assures Baldessare, "We'll stop by the baths before hand." Without missing a beat, she adds to Amadea, "And I shall endeavor to ensnare only the most compelling company, though I cannot promise my darling sisters won't find absolutely everyone cretinous."

Simply live with it? The idea offends Amanda to her core, and for a brief instant, Baldessare (and the others) can surely see it play across her otherwise perfect features. She's offended, genuinely. For a second, at least. Then, "Why, Baldessare, if the Contessa wishes it so, it is so. Everything is as my sister wants it," she assures. Then she flashes a smile to Amadea, giving a faint nod of approval, before turning to Antonella. "You may always arrange a meeting with myself. I'll be more than happy to… interview… your guests?"

"Don't give them the good brandy," Baldessare makes sure to tell Antonella. He's already likely trying to steal some of that cache before Amanda can gift it away for political gain. "We all know Antonella is just going to bring home odd philosophers who would get lost trying to find their way under someone's skirts /anyways/."

"I'm sure, given enough time, I could find her an appropriate spouse to bring in a fine alliance and greater wealth for the house," Amadea suggests softly to Baldessare, glancing to Antonella briefly. "And you can have a case of that good brandy; it's not all for guests. We should be able to enjoy the things that we own, after all." She looks curiously to Amanda now. "Just be careful not to share fruit with them. We can't have anyone getting the wrong idea."

Antonella nods agreeably to Baldessare's request about the brandy, a promise she probably means to keep, particularly given the unlikelihood of any of this actually occurring. Makes it all that much easier to achieve. "I appreciate your clear understanding of my tastes, brother. Virtue is far more readily preserved when ill-intentioned men can't find it." She doesn't quite ignore Amadea's assurance that a good match can be made, but it's given only the barest of glances before she looks to Amanda instead. How has Amanda's offer to interview her potential suitors become the safer parter of this conversation? With a little laugh for Amadea's remark about the fruit, she answers brightly, "Am I to bring home unsuspecting young men for you to terrorize now?"

"The brandy," Amanda says, carefully, "will make a lovely gift next we need to treat with another house." That's to Amadea. "I can surely arrange for some quality brandy, for the Conte," she offers, ever the problem solver. She then eyes Baldessare, then Antonella. "It might be you find your preferred match in a unsuspecting young woman?" she offers. "There are, of course, a few matters that are… more easy to handle… when it is a woman you've found yourself married to," she says, sweetly.

"Sounds like the brandy will go wherever Amadea wants it to go," Baldessare says, pointedly mild. And maybe a little smug. He sips his wine, peering back at Amanda. "What are those, exactly?"

"I'm sure it certainly makes timing a pregnancy easier," Amadea replies innocently to her husband, then looks to Amanda with annoyance. "Buy more brandy for the next time we treat with another house. It's not like there's a shortage of brandy in this city, is there?"

"I believe any match, no matter their gender, will come into this family suspecting," Antonella counters sweetly. With the talk turning toward how Amanda and Tizania handle things again, she looks to Amadea and notes politely, "I ought to return to my studies," delicately indicating her desire to depart.

"There is no shortage of brandy," Amanda quietly assures. "And I will assure that my brother - this brother - has more than enough to stay properly inebriated," she promises. "And I will also keep my eyes open for these particularly rare, prized, and perfectly aged vintages," she adds. That's exactly what Amadea wanted, right? She then looks aside, to Antonella, then back to Baldessare. "Children," she echoes. "And the planning for them." Unsaid: And the having fewer of them in the estate. "Just as my sister has said." And then Toni needs to leave? Amanda offers her a warm smile. "Do study hard, my heart. I know you'll make the whole family proud."

Baldessare actually slants a pleased look in his wife's direction. Or at least satisfied. Probably not as grateful as it should be, but he's more prone to gloating in victory. "Ah," he says on the subject of timing children. It's possible Amadea has more consideration of that than he does. He's just the stud, after all. He tips his chin in the slightest nod of acknowledgment of Antonella's departure.

"Make sure you actually study and there isn't so much fruit about," Amadea suggests to Antonella in a satisfied sort of way. It's clear that she does not particularly consult her husband in the breeding of human children; one is enough for the moment and she'll decide when she wants to have a spare. "Fruit is apparently very distracting. Who'd have known? But good. Let us keep a collection of these fine brandies so that when one is needed, it is available."

"I desire nothing more than to bury myself in books at the moment," Antonella promises, only half-sarcastic. Before she gets to her feet, she nudges her elbow gently into Amanda's arm, a brief bit of contact, an odd bit of affection. Then she's up and dipping her head respectfully to her family, a small smile turned to eachperhaps a little brighter for Baldessare, momentary allybefore she heads off toward the rest of her fruitless afternoon.

Amanda's smile to Baldessare is sweet and satisfied. As if she's the one that's won? Who knows. She looks aside, to Toni, to watch the woman go, then it's back to business. "I'll ensure we've a fine collection, kept safe for when it's needed," she adds, as her gaze shifts back to Amadea. Managing a house is one thing. Paying attention to money is another. If Amadea says buy it, Amanda trusts wholly there's money for it. "Meanwhile… is there anything else you needed me to see to?" Pause. "You've heard these rumors… of the Sasori arriving, seeking aid? The royal guards of Mecurea?" she asks.

Baldessare's victory falters somewhat in the face of Amanda's smile, and then he's frowning suspiciously at her again. The expression grows a touch more /serious/ at her next words regarding the Sasori. "What?"

Amadea reaches out to pat Baldessare's hand as if to assure him that he's on the winning side here, but she looks mildly concerned at Amanda's words. "What's this about then?" she wonders. "I haven't heard the rumors as yet."

"Gone a few days and missing all the gossip," Amanda says, gently teasing. But she's not one to torture her sister (her brother, maybe, but not her sister!) so she gets right to it. "I hear that these Sasori are the guard of the heir to Mecurea… who fled, when Kataro sized the pennisula… Which suggests the heir could be with them?" she asks, clealry unwilling to put confidence in her relaying a mere rumor. "Surely he's here to look for support to retake his lands from the Katorans?" she asks. Then there's a faint shrug. "Of course, the real curiosity is why he didn't go directly to the Eastern Empire. I had thought they were allies…"

"Looking for allies, or looking for people to take down with him?" Baldessare muses dryly, swirling his wine a bit in his glass. He sits back, though, listening for the most part as Amanda relays the latest gossip, giving Amadea the space for first (real) response.

"Possibly, but has anyone actually heard from him regarding his actual intentions?" Amadea wonders with a little shake of her head, sounding thoughtful. "Do we even know for certain that he is here? Or is this just a feint to throw the hounds off his scent?"

Amanda simply offers a delicate shrug to the pair. "I can ask around, but I do not know. Hiding his guard would be difficult… so, I do believe that rumor. That the prince is here, well… you are very correct. It could be just his guard," Amanda confirms, with a nod. "Of course, if the Duca meets with him… well." She pauses. "I can't hardly imagine. Though, our coffers will not hurt for a war fought off our soil…"

"Excuse me—" It seems that Baldessare has possibly seen someone he recognizes, maybe someone he has business to catch up on with. In any case, he's rising from his seat, a hand brushing briefly at the back of Amadea's neck, before he slips away from the sisters to take care of other affairs.

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