(2018-05-02) How to Cheat One's Family
You only cheat the ones you love.
raffiano cesare 
landscape.jpg
Summary:
Sabastinos meet Albricis while riding out of town, a tense beginning made more tense as they all ponder the context of cheating.
Related:
A random happenstance, horses were involved, none were injured.
Misc Info:
Eating of flowers makes an appearance as does luxurious hair.
arabella alvise enzo 

A good day for riding it would seem. Large billowing clouds meander eastward in the sky currently, no threat of ran, not a hot sunny day. It is amiable outside. Among those on the road going north, near the twisted Oak, are two brothers of Albrici. Raffiano is on a slender horse, it looks like it could run, but certainly isn't good for much else other than riding and, potentially, racing. He wears arms outside the city, namely the sword at his hip. With one hand on clutching the reins, the other finds a thigh, giving him that balance to twist inthe saddle. His back to the river, he looks at his brother. "Valentina insisted she was better at a horse, and Giuliana thought she could show the family up in a race. So, if we're to have an Albrici family race, I figure I should do my part and learn the course better than any other." All directed at Cesare. "All I know is I don't intend to lose. BY any means necessary," he offers with a smirk and something of a chuckle, plenty implied for anyone to take as they will as his horse plods along on this ride.

*

Following the same course is three of the Sabastino family, it must be a really popular trek for horse riding. While Arabella can ride, she does so in a dress and so she is side saddle. That makes it not a race for the next to youngest of the main clan. Easygoing, she lets the horse mostly lead in a soft canter. Tilting her head back she laughs, "I hope the day of the party is so beautiful. There will be dancing in the Great Hall and perhaps out into the garden too. I hope you both save me a dance. I've already requested one from Cristof and he has promised me one." A smile is given her two brothers, "Are we riding to the hill where the olive tree is?" It certainly was a popular spot.

*

A stocky, slow-stepping beast, that's what Cesare rides out of the city, looking not the least bit concerned by his mount's lack of prowess. "See, when you say 'any means necessary' like that, it makes it sound like you mean something nefarious, cuz," he tosses back, once more steering his gelding back away from the yummymunchygrass growing along a stone wall and back onto the road. "And who would go to all the trouble of being nefarious just to win a friendly family wager?" His own chuckle is cut-short since his horse is being stupid. "Also, what're they - " He tosses his head back, indicating the trio of not-Albricis, his voice lowered to try and keep it just between him and Raffiano. " - doing out here?"

*

On this day, Alvise di Sabastino rides pleasantly enough on a nice little lightweight ambling horse, along with two of his siblings. On such a nice day, riding can be enjoyed without sweating, which is how Alvise likes to enjoy, um, most of his activities. At his side hangs a sword. A very normal sword. He would downtalk it even further, perhaps referring to it as a 'crap sword,' because someone who brags on his equipment is often, like someone who brags on his skill, called upon to prove it. Unsettling. Smiling, he replies to Arabella, "I could maybe dance, sure. You don't have to promise one, though. Just be… on display? Is that the right way to put it? Anyway, have fun and I'll step in if you find yourself unattended, which you might not." He looks up along the path for landmarks but doesn't actually reply further.

*

Enzo looks relaxed as he sits on his horse, looking around, then back to his siblings. "It will be a marvellous event," he offers with a smile, before he's unable to hold back a chuckle at the part about saving Arabella a dance. "Have I ever been able to not save a dance for you, sister?" he replies, before he nods again at Alvise's words, with a grin. "That is, if you have time for us, of course," he agrees. Nodding a little at the part about the hill where the olive tree is.

*

"Depends what one means be nefarious," grins Raffiano, thinking a moment on it himself, "If we're talking causing an injury, that is completely out of line. But if I bring apples and use them as bait for the other horses, I think that is perfectly fine for a family wager." His chuckle indicates it more as fun, if one considers cheating at a family horse race fun. Everyone has their limits it would seem. Then with a listen and turn back to the approaching Sabastino trio, he says, "See, a lovely maiden noticed two handsome Signores out for a ride." A slight lift of his head, "Perhaps it is our hair." Like that could be a thing, especially from him. "And when she left to ride, her family thought it best she do not chase such men as ourselves alone." Which is his take on it. He will lift his head more to call out to the nearby trio, "Good day Signora Sabastino and company." He doesn't know the other.

*

Among her brothers, Arabella was comfortable, protected, and she was more used to them as her chaperones. It made her happy to look over to each side and see each of them. "Display?" Her smile tilts crookedly but she cannot contain a soft laugh. "What if I prefer dances with my brothers?" Cutting a look to Enzo to include him as well. "You are, after all, my favorite people in all of everywhere." A shrewd look takes place of the smile though. "I think that if there are lovely ladies for you to dance with, I would not hold you to the promise either." With a bob of her head she agrees with Enzo. "It will be so fun. And the Prince is coming to our home, can you believe it?" Hearing her name, she looks towards the other two, both familiar now. "The Albrici's. Should we go say hello?" Taking her lead from her brothers, but she offers a wave from a soft leather glove covered hand.

*

Cesare's stupid horse walks in a complete circle with his efforts to rein it away from the grass, and he can be heard to mumble something about not needing apples with this stupid brute. He also might maybe have taken a more thorough look at those tailing them in that process, but his horse is straightened out, and his cousin is hailing the trio, so he just follows suit, lifting a hand. "Or else," he says for Raffiano's ears alone, his welcoming smile never leaving his face, "she's the bait and we're about to get jumped and have our horses stolen. At least it's a nice day for it." And, judging the way he keeps arguing with his horse, he wouldn't miss his mount overmuch.

*

With a look of amusement that tries, also, to be one of long-suffering, Alvise says to Arabella, "Well, since you so very seldom get what you prefer, I will try to see to it that the dances, at least, are to your specifications." Riding along a moment longer, he then adds, "It should be very well, since you are helping to organize it. You are one of my favorite people, as well, though it would be to my benefit if you weren't quite so aware of it." After she waves, he assents again and says, "I suppose we should share greetings. As little ill will before the event as possible." He puts on something approaching a smile and also waves, calling out, "Signori! Greetings!"

*

Enzo chuckles as he nods to what's being said. "It will be interesting, with the Prince coming and all," he replies, before he looks between the two, grinning a bit more. At the mention of greeting the Albricis, he nods, turning in their direction as well. "Greetings, Signori. A lovely day for a ride, is it not?"

*

(>-------<)
| Raffiano (Suspicious) |
| -----— |
| Success Trusting |
| -
------ |
| Suspicious |
| Trait: 10 Roll: 13 |
| Trusting |
| Trait: 10 Roll: 3 |
(>-------<)

*

Well it all seemed like a splended, until his cousin mentions suspicious. One hand reaches for his sword almost, that twitch is there from Raffiano. But he stops, "Surely not, I know this Signora, Arabella di Sabastino. If they mean to jump us, they'll have the courtesy to wait until she is not in sight." See, very reassuring to Cesare's pondering suspicion. Raffiano is there to help. "And we may share the countryside? We're invited to their Feast you know." He offers by way of expressing his trust in the moment, perhaps blind trust. "Good day, tis a good day for a ride. The Paragons could not have favored us more with this weahter, no?" HE returns cordially with open conversation by adding to the questioning of the moment. He does give note to the circle of his cousins horse, "Perhaps we can convince my sister Giuliani to borrow your mount for the family race?"

*

Cristofano arrives from the Via Principale.

*

Cristofano has arrived.

*

(>-------<)
| Cesare (Suspicious) |
| -----— |
| Success Trusting |
| -
------ |
| Suspicious |
| Trait: 12 Roll: 18 |
| Trusting |
| Trait: 8 Roll: 1 |
(>-------<)

*

Cristofano leaves, heading towards the Via Principale [VP].

*

Cristofano has left.

*

Arabella sneaks a look over to Alvise, a smile lighting her features as she does so. "I would never take advantage, Alvise." The reassurance comes rather guilelessly, though the impish smile that follows is rather telling. "We should offer our greetings," agreeing with the two of them. "Good day to you both." Having met both before, they were at least familiar to her. Enzo gets a contemplative look, "Have either of you sought a lady to bring with you? Or have you all been terribly busy? I look forward to when someone hosts a tournament so I can watch you both participate." Riding along with her brothers, they are slightly behind the two from Albrici, but they are all starting to greet one another.

*

Whatever his natural inclination - encapsulated in the sidelong look that he shoots to Raffiano - Cesare's suspicions are put aside in deference to his cousin's assurance, though he can't help tacking on, "Sound like famous last words to me, but sure." His stupid horse plods along stupidly next to Raffiano's now, a herd-beast happy to have some other horse to follow, leaving Cesare free to tap the side of his nose in a knowing gesture about the horse-borrowing. "Hello, good day, fine weather," all very affable.

*

Alvise convinces his nice, slow horse to keep pace as the Sabastino contingent pulls close enough to begin conversation. Allowing Arabella to take the lead in conversation suits him admirably, but he does comment in return to one of the approaching Signori, "Very good day. Sun shining in a particularly…" Caught up in speaking, he pauses a moment, then ends with, "nice way." Well worth the wait for that insight.

*

"The Paragons have indeed favored us much," Enzo agrees to Raffiano's words, before he looks to Arabella again. "Ah, you know me. Busy more often than not," he replies, before he looks over at the Albricis again. "I hope all is well with both of you," he offers.

*

"Better last words then … I wonder how deep the water is under this cliff?" Offered in the lower conversation with his cousin. More aloud then. "It is indeed a good day, such a good day for being out of the city as it seems want to fill up with visitors lately. They can enjoy the crowds, I'll take this fresh air." Returned to the two gentleman he does not yet know. "Signore Arabella," continues Raffiano with an incline of his head, "My cousin, Signore Cesare di Albrici." He offers by way of introduction, uncertain of the other two. "We were discussing the advantages of assuring the outcomes of a race amongst one's family. I am of the mind set that with family, if one does not cheat, they simply are not trying."

*

With her knowing the others in question, Arabella does not mind taking point in conversations. Etiquette fairly demands it and she does it. A smile to each of her brothers before dipping her head to both Raffiano and Cesare. "Indeed, Signore Raffiano, I have met Signore Cesare the other day outside the garden when I met your sister. We were sampling the flowers." It was an ongoing thing and she twists her lips in wry humor, unable to tamp it down. "Signore Raffiano, Signore Cesare, it is my honor to introduce you to my brothers, Signore Alvise and Signore Enzo," indicating each with a broad sweep gesture, quite proud of the two and it can be seen in her straight posture and the smiles she gives to each in turn.

*

Cesare just barely has time to mumble, "Are they, though?" about the last-words bit, but the musing is mostly for himself. His stupid horse takes umbrage to all the other horses approaching, sidling uneasily against the reins that Cesare keeps tugging back into place. "They were sampling the flowers, I have given over eating posies, personally, but I pass no judgment," he begins with a jesting chide in his tone, finally giving up and letting his horse sidestep to put an extra yard of distance between him and the others. He drops a deep nod, sorta like a bow, to Alvise and Enzo in turn as they're introduced, "Gentlemen, hello, good day."

*

"Signori," Alvise mentions again by way of acknowleding the bare existence of courtesy and bows a very small amount in the saddle before turning his attention to his horse once again, so that it doesn't imagine itself to be too free of control. He addresses the topic of the race by opining, "Competition between family can either be the most casual or the most cutthroat possible. Fortunately, when dealing with family, you are typically placed in the best possible position to know how it will go down, beforehand. A score of years or so spent in someone's company confers the insight." He shrugs slightly, concluding, "If you are of mind to, uh, maximize your chances, it seems likely that you would already be expected to."

*

"Signore Raffiano, Signore Cesare," Enzo greets them both with a nod and a smile. "It is a pleasure to meet both of you." There's a brief grin as he hears the part of competition amongst family, and he raises an eyebrow. "Cheat sounds so unrefined," he remarks, lightly. "I'm sure there are many other ways than outright cheating to ensure a desirable outcome of such an event." He grins momentarily as he hears Alvise's words, but doesn't make a comment for now.

*

"It is a pleasure to meet the brothers of the Signora di Sabastino." Not to displace any Contessa if her other brother is married, Raffiano wouldn't know. It requires paying attnetion to such things. And guessing by the grin after his cousin questioned if the cliff comment was really that bad for last words, he probably doesn't pay much attention at all. A chuckle comes out regarding cheating being good or bad, "Ah, I agree with Signore Alvise. Amongt family, it is about insight. If they do not realize now that I may cheat, it is not my fault that they are not so perceptive. It is clearly indication I am good at besting them through my own device." See, vindicated even. Well, accept by Enzo, "Oh, I could win by skill alone, but what fun is that. Its not the end result, its the plans within plans." A look to Arabella, "BUt I do not cheat at the chase," beat, half a stage whisper to his cousin, "Much."

*

Cesare scoffs with comedic doubt at Raffiano's assertion that he'd win without cheating, a dramatic 'pshaw!' at the confidence, but he doesn't outright argue with his cousin. Instead, letting his horse start munching on the grass (it's just too much effort to stop the monster at this point), he looks keenly at Enzo. "Do tell, signore," of these 'many other ways,' he means. He waits, wearing a pleasant and expectant smile.

*

It is with a thoughtful expression that Arabella listens to Alvise and she smiles at the enlightenment he shares. "I never considered it such as that, I wonder if that is true. It seem so." Knowing her brothers fairly well too, it seemed very viable! "Posies," she muses to Cesare momentarily. As Raffiano continues about the cheating against his own family, she tilts her chin up slightly. "I think one confident in their own abilities would find no reason to cheat." The words are a little stiff. "I should offer you some poppy tea." While the words are delivered guilelessly, they hold a much deeper meaning, even beyond mere mischief.

*

Much of what has recently been discussed did not seem to Alvise as though he should comment upon. Perhaps not even notice. He maintains something of a placid expression, but does nod his acceptance of his siblings' statements in support of evenhandedness. Or, at least, of not supporting the direct opposite.

*

"Think of it in the same way as negotiating something, Signore Cesare," Enzo says. "If you do something the negotiation says you should do in another way, doing it is cheating. If you were to ensure something would be within the terms negotiated, it would be one of the other ways. Make sure the agreement can be tilted in the direction of the outcome you would want, without breaking it."

*

(>-------<)
| Raffiano (Awareness) |
| -----— |
| Success |
| -
------ |
| Skill: 10 Mod: 0 Total: 10 |
| Roll: 5 Status: |
(>-------<)

*

The scoff of his cousin nets a chuckle from Raffiano who cleverly acts like he didn't notice at all. Perhaps not clever, but rather poignant? Or not, just a chuckle. "Good, I have not found a reason to cheat, at the chase," returns the Albrici towards Arabella then gives pause. "I mean no offense, and I am astute at learning. I would have to decline the tea, as much as I'd enjoy sharing tea with you." He pulls back on cheating in that department, but the words of Enzo raise some interest. "But if the negotiation favored me, and the agree, was it cheating to negotiate my wants?" That is open for discussion, not directed directly at Enzo.

*

With the look of someone who's not wholly sure he understands, Cesare questions, "You're talking about violating the spirit of an agreement by sticking strictly to the letter of it? If so, then I guess we agree. I wouldn't call that cheating, either. But I'd call whoever made such a holey agreement a fool." He darts a look between Arabella and Raffiano before adding, "Maybe not as big a fool as one that agrees to drink poppy tea, but not the sharpest tool in the shed, for sure."

*

With laughter, Arabella listens to the denial of Raffiano of the tea. As Cesare catches onto it also, the smile tilts to a lopsided angle. "Perhaps you have found the point so very easily. Signore Raffiano knows not to drink poppy tea and he does seem a quick study after all. I wonder if in a tournament he would find such ways to be acceptable as well. What sort of lady would favor a person such as that?" Not that there was a tournament in the works, nor had any favors been asked, Alvise, at his silence, can find her giving him a brief studying look that ends in a warm smile as she keeps her horse nearby him and Enzo, between them. "Is it different to cheat with family than it would be in business dealings?"

*

"Well, yes," Alvise says, jumping back into the conversation, "as we're discussing both specifics and generalities. In the instance of a negotiated contract, you must argue for your wants and expect those on the other side to do the same. That's the framework in which we find ourselves. Those are the rules." He pauses and smiles at his sister briefly before continuing, "Other situations have a wider set of possible rules. Many of them are not agreed upon, or even stated aloud, before the situation is allowed to progress. And if it should become, in some sense, a contest, then one must, again, hope for an insight into what the unstated rules are. One could win the perceived contest and thereby allow the wider, uh, situation, to spiral out of control. Because a framework was not agreed upon." It almost seems as though he could continue, but, thankfully, he does not.

*

Enzo nods a bit in agreement with Alvise's words. "True," he remarks, before he smiles. "But of course, all of this is just in theory. After all, one would not want to be known as a cheater." It's said rather lightly, as he offers a smile to Arabella.

*

"Fools and cheaters, best not to be known as either," says Raffiano, swapping hands - the reins move from one to the other as he shifts in his saddle for the moment. A grin given to Arabella, "In a tournament, I leave it to the field marshals. I do not go beyond the rules to win." Which does leave it open to he might bend rules, but for other reasons in that reagrd. "For family and a friendly race, I will openly cheat, and assume some may do the same. But the line is drawn at causing harm, playful cheating is welcome, it shows they have that desire to win." For him at least. Then a pause, and he nods, "Ah, framework, and understanding the framework. I like that perspective Singore Alvise. Sometimes it is on both parties to understand that framework and account for the unknown." The potential for the other to be the cheater too.

*

Cesare answers off-handedly to Arabella's last question, "Slightly less lethal, I'd think," and concludes with an shrug, as if he would know about cheating. His horse continues to munch cheerily on the grass at the edge of someone's wall, and he continues to let it happen unchecked, wearing a thoughtful look while he considers Alvise's contribution. He might have had a comment, but then Enzo sums it all up, Raffiano echoes, and he winds up snickering. "Good to know you only cheat the ones you love, cuz."

*

"Oh yes, certainly that is something to consider. Only cheating loved ones." Arabella tilts her head marginally then dismisses it with a wave of her gloved hand. Listening to Alvise, she gives a nod, following him in the direction he takes the debate. "That brings another question, do you always plan o cheating or is it something that just comes naturally when faced with competition?" A smile to Enzo. "I would not want to be known as a cheater, I agree."

*

"Well, I, for one, am glad that some combination of our varied explanations can seemingly be agreed to have settled the base matter for today," Alvise offers. "Else I would have been forced to retreat further from answering the actual question and begin discussing, for instance, the ground upon which a framework can be built to hold the rules we will agree to have set for such a contest. Upon which blather I could easily be determined to be both a fool and a cheater in our game of words, which, by consensus, seems to be a bad thing." He chuckles and adds, "Family is a wonderful thing, whether to be cheated or no, and I will gladly drink to the concept at my next convenience."

*

Enzo chuckles as he listens, nodding a little. He doesn't comment more on the discussion right now, aside from a brief grin to Arabella. "It is natural to look for ways to beat the opponent, at least. I'm not sure about the cheating."

*

Chuckling and grinning himself, Raffiano squints full brows towards Cesare, that's not helping, or is it. He's not good at inneundo with his brows, so it may come off as just a weird look too. "I should have brought some wine then, I'd drink to family. I'd further add, cheating or not, it is for my family that I give my best effort. For me, it is planned I suppose, if one calls it cheating, but naturally in competition as well, for my family. I will admit hear and now, the Signore that offends my sister may receive foul play in a tournament, even if it costs me a victory."

*

Cesare, to Alvise, "What did we agree on, exactly? That it's only okay to cheat your family?" He squints dubiously, then gives his gelding a sharp tug when the stupid beast goes on to try munching on some plant that doesn't look horse-friendly, causing the animal to once more turn in a loop around itself. "This for the same sister that you want to convince to ride the stupidest," tug, "horse," tug, "ever?"

*

Arabella watches Cesare with his horse and looks amused. "Do you ride to battle on that one?" Hearing out Raffiano, she smiles, "And that, Signore, would be a valiant reason. To avenge honor or virtue of someone less able to do so." She gently holds the reins of her own horse, but her mount remains where he stands. Enzo and Alvise get another look from her before she glances back the way they came. "We have a family dinner tonight with Cristof. Should we be trning back?"

*

To Cesare, Alvise comments, "Well, I sensed agreement." He the brings his left hand up from the reins and wiggles the fingers while sweeping his arm around in the direction of the wind, saying, "It's gone now. Those words are lost forever. Yet I will cherish them, et cetera." This last seems to mean to Alvise, 'let's both pretend I just said something clever, here, because that's what I'm going to choose to believe anyway.' Perhaps others use the phrase differently, or, at least, with more success. He then says, by way of agreeing with Arabella, "Farewell, Signori, and a continued good day to you," amd swings his horse around again to point toward the city.

*

"True, Signore Raffiano, I would most certainly act the same, if such a situation arise." Nodding a bit at Arabella's words. "It would not be a good thing to keep our brother waiting," he offers, before he offers a smile to the two Albricis. "I wish you both a most excellent day, Signori," he says, adding, "It was a pleasure to meet you."

*

"It is precedence, I may cheat playfull at a game with family, but no one outside family has that right in my framework," he uses the words of the converatsion. Raffiano gives pause, his cousins horse turns again, and the others seem to be turning to part ways. "A good day to you Singori, Signora. I have enjoyed the wit of todays conversation, truly." He does mean it, his little grins and chuckles abate to say that. Then the smile picks up as he turns more towards his cousin, "Perhaps I displayed far less wit than I intended. Maybe it is I who was cheated of intellect in that conversation."

*

Cesare, with a chuckle at Arabella's question, "No, signora. This is my mother's horse. My own is…" He trails off, waving his hand vaguely to dismiss the problem as too complicated to bring up right here and now. "Yes, a pleasure, good day," he agrees, going with the trend.

*

"Good day to you both, I do hope to see all of your family at the Spring Feast." Arabella dips her head in farewell, nice and polite without be overly friendly to them. Her eyes flicker once more over Raffiano with a flash of what could only be identified as disappointment before she gently tugs on one side of her reins to bring her horse about. As they ride off towards home, she smiles at Alvise, "Spoken well, Alvise, very well." And to Enzo also. "I think if I ever compare people to my brothers, I will be living home with all of you for the entirety of my life. I equally hope you would not mind that."

*

Arabella leaves, heading towards the Via Principale [VP].

*

Arabella has left.

*

Alvise leaves, heading towards the Via Principale [VP].

*

Alvise has left.

*

Enzo leaves, heading towards the Via Principale [VP].

*

Enzo has left.

*

Cesare watches the lot of them go, waiting till they're super out of earshot before he points out, "Pretty sure we all just admitted to being liars and cheaters in front of each other. Should make things interesting in the future." With that, he puts his heels to his stupid horse and manages to get the thing trotting. Barely. He is so going to lose that race.

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