(2018-05-02) The Stars and Flowers
We all wander according to our certainties.
vittore orazio marsilia 
An
Summary:
A random encounter in the Gardens.
Related:
Any plots or larger stories this is part of, any links to related logs or pages?
Misc Info:
Any other details to add? Commentary on the intent of the scene, anything to point out, other information other players may find useful or amusing?
cosimo amadea antonella izar 

*

Crouched near the little fish pond, Amadea seems quite entranced with the brightly colored fish as they dart to and fro. She has gathered her clothing in such a way to best keep it from getting dirty while also affording her the best view of the little swimmers. A breeze tousles her long loose blonde locks.

*

Orazio steps into the Giardini di Fiorni, somewhat lost in thought. He carries with him all the accoutrements one would expect of the nobility- as well as a leather bag that has a bottle of Farro wine tied to the strap. Some private family vintage, surely, given the prominence of Farro colors in his clothing.

He pauses a moment, watching as Amadea kneels to look into the pond, before opening his bag to pull out a bound sketchbook. He sits, quietly, and just takes in the sight a moment before a bit of charcoal finds its way into his hand and he starts to put lines to the pages.

*

Walking beside his wife and just a bit back from his brother, one might expect the orders reversed. But it seems not all is quite well in the young marriage of the Conte and Contessa di Farro. Perhaps the whole thing had been planned as just a casual stroll in the gardens, but House business has seemingly crept its way through. "How could it all be missing?" he's wondering, as he walks with Marsilia. "I am sure you did not use *all* the silks for dresses," he offers, although it's hardly an offer of faith, but rather more of mild accusation. "But still, the ledgers do not add up and now there will be trouble over it. Some of it was expected, already promised or earmarked for sale and the taxes still due. It will be trouble - you must understand that it is serious."

*

(>-------<)
| Orazio (Industry) |
| -----— |
| Failed |
| -
------ |
| Skill: 10 Mod: 0 Total: 10 |
| Roll: 11 Status: |
(>-------<)

*

As always, Marsilia, the young newly wed of a mere month, is dressed in a fashionable attire, made of such fine silks in a bold red color. Not the missing silks which her husband is speaking of, surely! Nevertheless, the small blonde woman looks upon Vittore with wide eyes at this accusation, before her gaze darts forward to where Orazio has wandered off too and then even beyond that, when she notices another fashionably young woman crouched near the pond. "Then they should all be recounted. Again." She starts off, adding in, "Perhaps it was one of the new hires. It very well could be. Someone will need to interrogate them." And perhaps that someone may very well be the petite angelic creature that is the Contessa of the household. When she draws near to the others, she respectfully exudes in a slightly cheerful tone when compared to the stern one which she had been using this whole time, "Good day." There is nothing going on here!

*

Amadea may or may not have overheard some conversation, but she is drawn out of her reverie and stands now, near the little pond, the brightly colored little fish still darting at her feet as the vast quantity of silk in her voluminous gown ripples as she moves. She is not dressed to catch the eye, but she is eye-catching in that she is quite lovely and quite self-possessed, if very slender. Finding herself surrounded, she pulls herself up to her full, if fairly average, height, her posture straightening to perfection. She is the very picture of young Contessa. "Good day to you," she replies to Marsilia, who has ostensibly greeted her. "The parks are lovely today. It is a good day for a stroll."

*

Orazio looks over his shoulder towards Marsilia and his brother. "Vitto," he begins towards his brother, "One comes to a garden to relax and enjoy the environment." he offers with an easy smile, "Perhaps to indulge in some artistry, or a drink among friends. Surely the business can wait." he says as he looks back to his drawing, then up towards the scene before him.

And then back again when his sister in-law undoubtedly breaks the spell. To himself he sighs, trying to refocus on his drawing which is slowly heading off the rails. It just isn't coming together as it should. And his subject is moving away, now! He puts the charcoal down, and takes the bottle of wine as he digs around in his bag for a cup. A few silver cups come out, all of a stacking sort that fit nicely in his bag. Smaller, they're not proper wine glasses. They'll do in a pinch, though. He pours one for himself, then another for his brother and a third for Vittore's wife. "Here, have a drink." he suggest, looking then towards Amadea, "A drink?"

*

"So you suspect that it really is a theft?" Vittore wonders, a little more sharply, although here, at least, some his ire is directed outward rather than toward his young wife. "We should not abuse the staff unduly in a display of paranoia, but a general inquiry of recent goings on would not be out of place. Although I suspect much would have occured at the warhouses, and not with the household help." In any event, he seems so absorbed in his concerns that he barely notices that they have other company - it's dubious if he's even particularly paying attention to Orazio. But with a greeting from Amadea and a call back to reality from his brother, Vittore does shift somewhat from that other matter. "You're right, I suppose," he admits to Orazio, before turning to offer Amadea a smile - albeit one just slightly forced, given his present mood. "Ah, good day, Contessa." As for a drink, that may be exactly what he needs, and he accepts and downs a gulp of the stuff right off.

*

Shifting from mild ire, or concern, to being cordial and pleasant comes easily enough for the mostly poised Marsilia and she carries on as if nothing had happened and the discussion is put off in her mind… even if she does shoot Vittore a curious look, a perfectly shaped brow arched at his mention of abusing the staff. But even this is eventually cast aside. "Thank you, Orazio." She offers graciously to her brother-in-law, before she speaks to Amadea once more, "Yes, please come and join us. And you are right, the day is very lovely and can only be made all the more pleasant with wonderful company." She keeps her own chalice in the both of her hands, awaiting for Amadea to join in before taking an initial sip.

*

Antonella's steps, upon entering the grand garden, are perhaps a touch giddily hurried to be considered properly ladylike, the pale skirt of her lovely sky blue dress all a-flutter with that swiftness. Blessedly, she catches herself after drawing an odd look from one or two of the other guests and slows to a more respectable pace as she scans her surroundings for her sister. How bright her smile when she spies Amadea! How quickly she directs herself toward that little gathering near the pond, even if she does slow ever so slightly in her approach that she might read the current tone. Rather mixed, it seems, and so she arms herself with optimistic caution. Or cautious optimism. Who's to tell. Either way, she draws close to Amadea, dipping into a respectful curtsey for her contessa and the other gathered nobles. It is Amadea, though, who gets the curious look, nearly hopeful. Might she join?

*

"Ah, it is my beloved little sister Antonella," Amadea notes, holding out a hand to said little sister so that she might more fully join them. If she noticed her sister acting less than the lady, she makes no show of it, her posture quite strict: spine straight, shoulders back, head high and proud. "Conte di Farro," the Capello Contessa greets pleasantly. "May I present my younger sister? I am afraid I am not familiar with the rest of your family, but you are newlywed, yes?"

*

"I'll take that as a no on the drink." Orazio says, as he turns to refill his brother's cup before placing his book of sketches to the side, his current work unfinished and barely looking like anything at all- just outlines. A lost dream. "I am Orazio di Farro, the brother of little fame and less flourish." he introduces himself, "A pleasure."

The ignored cup is then offered towards ANtonella, "A drink, Antonella?" he offers to the Contessa's sister. "Private family vintage." he explains, as he takes in the pair of Capello in the garden today. He takes a sip from his own cup of the wine on offer.

*

"I am- we are," Vittore begins, in answering Amadea's question. "Let me introduce you to my wife then, the lovely Marsilia, formerly of house Sabastino and now my Contessa." Whatever financial irregularities were under discussion, and whatever spousal squabbling they had inspired, the man still smiles with a certain apparent fondness at the introduction. Or perhaps with pride. He does look and act a man newly wed, pleased with at least certain facets of the whole affair. All of that said, he is just glancing over toward Orazio when he offers his own introduction. "Yes, one of my younger brothers. Though do not let him fool you regarding his accomplishments. He is very clever, a foward-thinker." Then he offers Antonella a small bow. "A pleasure, signora. Yours and the Sabastino both seem families cursed with an abundance of lovely ladies." Not the worst curse!

*

Izar arrives from the Via Principale.

*

Izar has arrived.

*

Having an interest in beautiful things, Marsilia casts a curious gaze towards Orazio's failed work, though from where she stands and perhaps due to her small height, she can hardly see a thing. With her chalice still in hand, her attention is drawn to the newcomer who graces the group with her company. "Ah, Lady Antonella, please do join us as well." The young woman intones in a friendly enough manner, before finally taking her initial sip of her wine. The topic of her marriage does cause her fair cheeks to flush lightly, but with her pallor, any touch of color is hard to miss. Vittore does not help things as he offers out his compliments, not to herself alone, but to the pair of lovely ladies as well. "We thought it would be a good idea to take a break from things and bask in the sunshine. Simple pleasures."

*

Antonella accepts Amadea's ofered hand and falls readily into place beside the contessa. She's not quite the picture of perfection that her eldest sister presents, but the resemblance does go beyond appearances, her bearing an imperfect echo of Amadea's. "Conte Vittore, Contessa Marsilia. It is a delight to meet you both. And to find wisdom and beauty so well-paired." That last is offered to Marsilia in particular with a bright smile. She accepts Orazio's offer with a gracious bow of her head, "Thank you, Signore Orazio." Brows arched curiously, she flicks a look toward his unfinished work, first echoing Vittore's introduction of, "Clever?" then wondering, "And an artist?" as if this might render him the most fascinating thing in all the world. At the moment, at least.

*

"Ah, pardon, signore," Amadea says to Orazio with a small but apologetic smile. "I did not realize you meant the glass for me. But of course my sister can have the drink, as she likes." Her full attention is turned to Marsilia: the way the younger woman dresses, does her hair, holds herself — all of these things are noted with care, as if appraising how well Vittore did in choosing his bride. "Well," she says after a moment, her expression pleasant and somewhat warm. "May health and good fortune find you in possession of a heir very soon. My own son is not quite two years, and he is learning to ride horses with his father."

*

Cosimo had felt the need to step out of the house for a spell, and what better to do that than to come to the Gardini di Fiorni. A nice walk by himself would do a bit of good to clear the head and forget about yesterday and that damned parchment that had gotten him into so much trouble. As he was arriving, he had run right into his wife's sister just about. Offering her a smile and a nod, to be cordial and all, he had invited her along with him for his walk. And now the pair, who are conversing in low tones about recent happenings have come upon a group who are conversing. His eyes catch hold of the first recognizable person and he smiles and lifts his voice slightly to call out to her. "Contessa Amadea, so good to see you again. I hope you are well." He offers in greeting, continuing to approach the group along with Izar. He offers the rest of them nods as nears.

*

"At times an artist, yes." Orazio offers to Antonella, "Although, the scene was broken today. Such is life." he says, with a little shrug of his shoulders. "I am, primarily, an Astronomer- and I dabble in other sciences, but it is the sky and the stars that are my love." He offers then to Antonella, "Currently, I'm studying the transits of the wandering stars. Those that do not follow the same path every evening. They rise in the east and set in the west, always traveling and sometimes not visible at all. Very curious to me, those wandering stars."

"But, I do dabble in artistic pursuits. Painting, drawing, a little poetry. I am, however, not so confident to call myself a master in any of these fields." He admits, as he gives a quiet half smile- a tug at the corner of his lips. "My better work hangs in the conservatory in our manor. My half-finished and terrible work often finds it's way to the bottom of the ocean."

*

As soon as they come across others, Izar lets her part of the conversation drop into silence as she looks towards those her brother-in-law greets. She offers a smile to any and all of them, but there is no flicker of recognition that passes across her features. Instead she loiters near Cosimo, her hands carefully folded in front of her over her stomach.

*

Amadea turns her head to see who calls to her and favors Cosimo with a charming smile. "Conte di Gaspari," she greets pleasantly. "It is good to see you, of course. Are you familiar with my youngest sister, the Lady Antonella?" She then adjusts the position of said sister, who she holds by the hand, to face the other Conte in their midst. "I was just making the acquaintance of young Contessa Marsilia here, newly married to the Conte di Farro."

*

"He's so handsome," Antonella asides with pride for her adorable little nephew and how quickly he's growing up. Cosimo earns a curious look which quickly transfers to Amadea as the gentleman addresses his sister. Ah! Introduction offered, she dips a curtsey for the Conte and his companion. "A pleasure to make your acquaintances." Most, most of her fluttery focus, however, is upon Orazio. Astronomer, to judge by the widening of her eyes, is magnitudes more interesting than artist. "I've no doubt the ocean appreciates your most modest offerings seeing as fish only ever seldom engage in artistic pursuits. Very pragmatic sorts, as I understand it." Such earnest delivery, as if she were reciting something read somewhere. "If I'm to be honest, signore, I'd be more interested to learn more of those transient wanderers. Is there significance in their paths? Is there poetry in their unpredictable natures?" At last, she partakes of the offered wine, a subtle widening of her eyes marking her approval of the vintage.

*

Vittore seems pleased in his choice! At least, in the moment, when everything is all compliments and ladies comparing dresses, and not he and his wife arguing about missing silks. Of course, men are prone to focusing on certain particulars, and surely in this 'honeymoon' phase of things, his mind might easily settle there than elsewhere. You know, until it wanders back to being in a tizzy over silks. In any event, it seems their gathering is growing by the moment, as he notes Cosimo arriving. "Conte di Gaspari," he greets the other man, politely if not a great deal more than that, before being distracted by his bother's rambling discussion of his hobbies, or perhaps the fact that said discussion has expanded to Antonella. He helpfully offers: "His studies, while seeming esoteric at times, will be of great value I think. The stars tell us many things as far as sailing goes, so I can only imagine there is a great deal more to be learned in that." As for the more 'art-y' parts of his brother's specialty he… doesn't comment quite so much!

*

This small family outing has grown into something more now with the appearance of yet another pair. Cosimo's visage is familiar to her, having seen the man around her family's villa, both her birth family and, now, married family. Or maybe it was around the docks. She then looks upon the quiet Izar in his company, gracing them both with a polite smile. It is to Orazio's comment that she then states with a touch of mild amusement in her voice, "I had heard this spoken before. That if one ever dove into the waters around your family's island, there was a good chance that you might encounter a discarded masterpiece or two. Those that do not match your own high standards, Orazio?" Hearing Amadea utter the words transient wanderer however, does pique her attention, somewhat. And now she listens all the more curiously.

*

Cosimo nods to Vittore and Marsilia first, and then to Antonella. "I had not had the pleasure of meeting your sister yet, Contessa." To Vittore and Marsilia he offers, "Conte and Contessa. I hope you are both well." He then gestures towards Izar. "Allow me the pleasure to introduce to you my sister by marriage, Signora Izar of House Aldana, of Avicorse." Vittore's comment about studying the stars catches his interest and he glances towards the other Conte. "Oh? You have someone studying the stars? Curious, though I must say that anything that can benefit sailing is a real benefit to us all."

*

When Marsilia offers her a polite smile, Izar offers one in return. When she is introduced she inclines her head to them both, "It is a pleasure to meet you both in this lovely garden." That polite smile turns a little wry for a moment before her features smooth out once more, glancing towards Orazio as everyone's attention seems to focus on him.

*

"That's just it- it isn't unpredictable. They do not wander lost across the skies." Orazio begins- his love of Astronomy quickly turning all his focus to Antonella. She has, after all, asked him about his passion. "And, of course, my brother is supportive of my work." He nods his head towards Vittore, even as he refreshes the glasses of wine- and fills the few other silver cups he brought with himself. It pays to be somewhat prepared for an impromptu drinking outing when one is always carrying wine or grappa with them. Wine, today.

"The majority of stars dance a specific dance- every day, the same dance, with a bit of care towards the seasons. They do not wander as the wandering stars do- they have a pattern that they always follow. The wandering stars, however, change on day and time and season. They sometimes show up not at all, but it is not wholly random. They are not lost in the heavens, but rather walking a path all their own. While other stars glitter and burn like distant candle-light, the wandering stars do not. They are more smooth and one can see color on their faces, where almost all other stars are a shade of pale. It's all very simple, to be honest, once you start to do the mathematics and geometry of their movements."

Orazio reaches over to his notebook, folding through a few pages. There are drawings, and notations both. He comes to a blank page. "You see, say we have the horizon." he draws a line with the bit of charcoal he still has out. "A line with a bit of a curve to it- it is easy to see when out at sea. All celestial bodies rise in the East and set in the West- I'm not sure why this is, yet, but it does seem to be a universal law in the sky. The sun, the Moon, the stars- all move from east to west."

He then begins to draw a few more lines- "Once the night has come the wandering stars are easily visible in the sky. The trick is gathering the data, though, to follow their wandering. It is by a number of degrees they move every evening over the course of the year- disappearing for part- before returning again. The motion isn't *exactly* the same from year to year, but I do believe it is something measured, like a clock."

*

"I've a fondness for esoteric studies myself, Conte Vittore," Antonella admits, "and can only hope that the peculiar paths I choose might one day prove so useful to my family as your brothers might to yours. " She laughs, easy and appreciative for Marsilia's mention of the well-decorated ocean floor around the Farro family island. "I might like to visit sometime," she tells the contessa, her bright-eyed amusement readily transferred to Orazio. And quickly turned to interest as he explains the habits of the heavens. And, oh! She is rapt, all wide-eyed wonder as the astronomer gives lives to the stars, speaks of their colors. When the notebook comes out, she gives a squeeze to Amadea's hand and, if permitted, slips free that she might move closer to get a better look at that book, at the drawing as it happens. By the time he's done, her cup is empty of wine and her steel-blue eyes are on him. "How do you measure them? How do you recognize them? How do you know they're the same stars one season to the next? One night to the next?"

*

"You might learn something," Amadea suggests encouragingingly to her youngest sister with a little smile, letting her little bird fly free, as it were. "But to visit, you will, naturally, need an escort of some sort." She makes it sound like this is not so big a deal as it might be, but there's almost certainly a break-it-bought-it clause somewhere in there. The Contessa sighs faintly and looks up at the sky for a moment, almost longingly. "I really ought to get home and see to some business with the Conte. And check that the baby is asleep, of course. If you will all forgive me."

*

Truly the details themselves are all gibberish to Vittore. He knows enough to navigate as most seafaring sorts do, but beyond that, his brother's more elaborate imaginings elude him. However, when his brother discusses such things, well, it's hard not to see the passion in it, to even feel a certain sort of inspiration, which shows in how he presents him to the others. "Isn't that all very fascinating?" he wonders, after… well, all the stuff he only barely really follows. "And yes, I do think so," he answers Cosimo. "We are trading people and so it is to all our advantage to pursue such things. I would love for our vessels to reach stranger and more distant lands yet, and bring back all the untold treasures surely to be discovered therin." And again, there is a bow for the lady that is introduced. "Signora, a pleasure," he tells Izar. Then turning back upon Antonella's fascination with his brother's work, he grins. "You ought. I am sure the two of you would have much to discuss, if it is an interest. We've set aside some good bit of space for my brother to work, though as he said, he takes his best measurements from back home - the isle is conveniently separated from anything that would be in the way." And as an acknowledgment to Amadea's condition, he extends the offer more generally: "That wouldn't be a problem. Really, if your family would like to come and visit more generally, I am sure we would enjoy having some guests - while Orazio would enjoy showing off his sketches."

*

"I have instruments back at home, on the roof. And over on the island, in one of the towers there." Orazio explains, "I use it to measure the angular distance between the stars. It sits on a gimble of sorts, and is roughly triangular. It is used with another instrument, which I usually keep close at hand." he explains, "But it is a better thing to see at night, sometime." he says, "STill, both the manor- and the island- are in prime locations to watch the sky. Eastern edges are important, and better to see across the sea than across land. Very little light out to sea. It makes it easier to spot all the stars." ORazio refills glasses of those who desire it, "But, I could talk for days on my passions, as I'm sure could any other."

"Speaking of which, I should be going shortly." He stands, and begins to collect his things. "I have an appointment with a fellow astronomer. He is visiting from the north, and we are going to be comparing our charts to see if there is a difference in the patterns we've seen in the wandering stars."

*

For as long as she knew Orazio, which isn't long at all, Marsilia has grown used to her brother-in-law's antics and though science isn't her area of expertise, she does find some of which he says to be fascinating enough. Seeing Antonella's interest in all things stars, she nods once at her husband's invitation to both sisters to visit their rather secluded home surrounded by the sea. "And there, Orazio will be able to explain even further about his studies. Our library is filled with such wonders." When Cosimo introduces Izar, the young Contessa looks all the more intrigued by the woman's lineage, "Welcome to Matora then, Signora Izar… Avicorse sounds like a beautiful places, though all I have ever learned about it is from textbooks and the like. But it now looks as if there are several who are departing. Here, she graces Amadea with a light curtsy, but says to both, "Travel safely," Before adding to Amadea directly, "I cannot wait to host you are the Farro island sometime in the near future."

*

Cosimo gives Vittore an appraising look, smiling. "Well, you'll have to go pretty far away to do that, Conte. My ships already travel to all of the coasts around the sea. If you are ever interested in some items from Santos Corta or perhaps the Kataro Kingdoms to the south, I'm sure we could make arrangements to bring some goods into the city from there. Of course, right now I'm more curious about some of the rumors regarding our fellow city to the east, Vinchia, and of the agents of the Kataro Emperor in Pelcortia." He turns then to Amadea, nodding. "A good evening to you, Contessa. Hopefully we can sit down for a longer conversation one of these days."

*

"Do come visit the palazzo soon," Amadea suggests to Marsilia as she moves to head out, turning to curtsey to each of the Contes before making her departure quietly, leaving her sister to her own devices. For now.

*

"Indeed, it is quite lovely…I'm afraid that I miss home dearly. But locations such as this…they make being in a strange city a little easier." Izar replies, smiling just a bit more before she gives those gathered a brief curtsey, "If you will all excuse me, I believe that I should finish wandering around before it gets too late."

*

Antonella casts a hopeful look between Amadea and Vittore and Marsilia, settling on her sister after the invitation has been extended and confirmed. The 'can we please?' is so plain upon her face that it may as well be audible. But it isn't. She's the good manners not to speak out of turn on that point. "Such magnificent and gracious people out this evening." When her attention returns in full to Orazio, she declines the offer a refill, handing back the cup, and tells the gentleman, "It was a delight to meet you, signore. Thank you for indulging my curiosity. I hope your appointment is enlightening and that our paths have cause to cross again soon." She offers a small curtsey to him first, then to Izar, her smile warm for those departing.

*

Quickly, Orazio finishes packing up- bowing his head to each in turn. "Please, enjoy the wine." he says, always happy to share a bit of the vino with potential friends. It isn't bad marketing, either. "I will see you all soon, I am sure." he bows his head again to Antonella, "Of course, Signora. Well and happy met." he then is off to meet his fellow Astronomer.

*

"Well, yes, that would sort of be the point," Vittore notes to Cosimo. "The places you mention are well-tred enough, I think by most families or their intermediaries, at least." He glances around amidst their somewhat varied gathering, as if confirming the fact. "We import silks, for instance," and there is just the quickest of a glance toward his wife, "that I understand the Kataro acquire far further inland to the east. But there are still seas beyond, and beyond them… well, that is sort of the question, isn't it? I'd hope one day that no distance is an obstacle, and I would think my brother and those of like mind would one day make it possible." Another fond smile is offered his brother, as well as safe wishes when he seems inclined to return home to his work. But then a nod. "Of course my daily work is focused on much nearer politics as those. But I admire my brother for the visionary that he is." He offers Antonella another smile in her parting. "Until then, signora."

*

"It would be nice to travel and explore the world." Marsilia says with a wistful sigh, "All I ever do is read about such adventures and such stories, but it would be wonderful, I think, to be able to visit some of these places. Then I may be able to write adventures of my own." Of course, she does not bat a lash when Vittore mentions the silk yet again and in fact, her gaze refrain from wandering in his direction. "It was a pleasure to meet with you, Signor Izar. Perhaps when there is time, you could tell me a little more about your home." The crowd slowly disperses and that is just fine with the young Contessa. She does look curiously at Antonella, however, noticing or imagining the young woman's fondness of her brother-in-law… or his knowledge!

*

"Perhaps, but finding new routes around those that are already established may also have other consequences. Obtaining these silks more directly may be cheaper, or even more efficient, but there are the political ramifications to consider as well." Cosimo offers, rubbing his chin in thought. "Still, it does present some interesting opportunities down the road, but probably best to keep to keep knowledge of his activities to a minimum though. Take Kataro, Santos Corta and Avicorse out of the picture, I'm sure Valdona has people in this city who would love to report back to their own Conte's or Contessa's about such efforts." He nods to Izar as she moves off to wander the gardens, and turns towards Marsilia. "Her lands are not actually that far off, Contessa. The Aldana holdings are on the border with Valdona and Bergatine. I'm sure that my wife would be more than happy to make arrangements for the two of you to visit there, should you wish to."

*

Antonella hasn't quite departed, though her attention's not quite so sharp as it had been when she had either sister or astronomer to focus on. It seems a brightly colored bird has attracted her focus for the moment, leaving one to wonder if she's heard anything of the discussion of travels and trade. But there's Marsilia admitting to a desire to pen her adventures, and the young woman's attention is snagged again. When the contessa looks her way, she flashes a bright smile. With a flash of amusement toward Cosimo, she notes to Marsilia, "It seems opportunities for adventures abound. To Avicorse and all its culture. To the underwater galleries of House Farro. I wonder what else the future holds."

*

"Oh yes, I am sure the Kataro losing their monopoly would be a turn that would upset them VERY much and… greatly please just about everyone else," Vittore observes, with a certain lack of sympathy for said Empire. "But in any case, I think you overestimate the conspiratorial value of it. My brother's curiousity is hardly unique, as the Signora Antonella demonstrates." He makes a vague sort of gesture. "I encourage him because of what *might* become of it, and of course also because he is my brother. But as of yet, it is philosopher's work - thought provoking more than practical. And all the spies," and he makes something of a show of looking around in a few bushes, "whether from Kataro, Avicorse, or more local… I am sure will be truly bored to hear as much." He shrugs, and then turns to the other topic. "My grandfather fought there," he says of Avicorse, briefly eying his wife as if she might already be plotting a vacation. "Though I have not had the chance to see it myself."

*

Cosimo's suggestion visibly brightens up Marsilia's face. Now it is her turn to give her husband that hopeful look, though hers is a more pointed stare. "That would be lovely, Comte." She says without even waiting for Vittore's approval or disapproval. "It is on my list of places to visit one day." Then of course, Vittore brings up a sore spot in his family's history, something which the young woman had not considered. With her husband's words, however, she does not press the matter any further. Not yet. Instead, she refocuses her attention on Antonella who seems to be interested in doing all sorts of things. "I am sure that once we are done with our work and find time to ourselves for a little break, a vacation would be quite the reward." This is said to ensure Vittore that she isn't about to just flitter away to a far away foreign place on a whim… "It would be nice to have you visit the island. I… can't say that I've been there very long myself, though my family's own home is just across the way from it."

*

Cosimo rolls one shoulder in a slight shrug. "Likely." He shifts the topic of conversation to something else. "Have you heard anything more of these Sisters of Concordance in Pelcortia? Interesting timing that some of the Emperor's agents would appear in that port city, when so much else is going on." He even offers up something of his own. "Some of the merchants in my employ were turned away from Vinchia without so much as a word." To the Contessa, he nods. "Vacations can be a good opportunity for just more than seeing a new place. Think of the art and fashion that's available from going outside of the City States." At this last, he smiles at both the Contessa and Antonella.

*

"You're a wise man to cultivate such curiosity," Antonella says to Vittore. "A great many pragmatic pursuits once began as dreams and philosophy." The prospect of potential trips surely delights, but she doesn't make further remark upon that until after regarding the counts curiously with the mention of the Sisters of Concordance, interested in their thoughts. It is, however, the words from Cosimo which follow which pique her humor again. She tilts ever so slightly to Marsilia to stage whisper, "What do you think artists further inland do with their unwanted works? Might we find whole forests draped with paintings?"

*

It seems that Vittore's prediction soon proves itself true in his wife's reaction. In turn, he does not seem all that bothered, although perhaps not quite so enamored of the idea as she. "I do not know that I would make the trip purely for recreation - I might prefer other destinations still in that regard. Then again, it may be some time before such a reward is warranted, and perhaps I could invent some business to justify the whole thing in the meantime. On top of the lure of foreign art." Which is all to say, he's not wholly against this business of Avicorse, though hardly brimming with enthusiam. "Wise I don't know, but I like to leave open my options," he allows, answering Antonella with a faint smile. And then as all attention turns to the newest bit of rumor, he shakes his head to answer Cosimo. "I've no special insight I'm afraid. Your issue trading sounds like it may be somehow reciprocal with whatever has happened here?"

*

"While I believe that we represent the very epitome of what is fashionable in the world," Marsilia starts in response to something Cosimo had said, "it is always a good idea to learn new techniques and interesting styles, I suppose, to go along with the various cloths and colors that there are to trade for." She said trade, something which she knows will make her husband's heart aflutter. As Vittore doesn't outright tell her that she could not visit Avicorse, the young woman will keep that option open. Though it is to Antonella whom she leans close to to return the quite chatter, "If they are anywhere near as passionate about their work as my brother-in-law.." A pause, "Then again, they are artists. They are nothing if they are not passionate. I just hope, for their sake, that their discarded works are not utterly horrific or else they would offend those who live in the forest." She is speaking of animals and trees… of course.

*

"Of course we are." Cosimo says, bowing his head to Marsilia. "But sometimes it can be interesting to incorporate other styles, or improve upon them as we improve upon everything else others have done." He glances at Antonella and shrugs, "I'm not entirely sure what they do. Maybe they burn them as a means to keep warm some places up north. Certainly they lack the same appreciation of the arts that we do, yes?" He considers Vittore a few moments before smiling faintly. "I'm sure those in Avicorse would love to talk wine or even ships with you, had you a mind for such conversation. Of course, who's to say you could only vacation there. You could always go a little further west as well. Having dealings with a number of nobles and merchants around the sea, I can tell you that most anyone is willing to entertain someone who has some manner of business to discuss. Everyone loves money after all."

*

(>-------<)
| Antonella (Reckless) |
| -----— |
| Critical Success! Reckless |
| -
------ |
| Reckless |
| Trait: 13 Roll: 13 |
(>-------<)

*

Antonella lifts her head and angles a knowing look at Marsilia, as if seeing her in a different light now. "A curious consideration," she muses. "What do squirrels" For, of course, they are discussing tree-critters. "think of discarded art? Do they judge by the same scale that we might, find similar themes resplendent or repugnant? I find myself inclined toward experimentation." But her attention turns to the darkening sky as she straightens, a faint, fleeting frown finding her lips. By the time she straightens, her smile's back, turned toward Cosimo as she very sincerely tells the conte, "Then the squirrels and the hearths shall both have an abundance of finery, I expect, while the walls suffer under the poor judgment of their curators." As if she's making any sense at all to anyone who's not been paying particular mind to her thread of nonsense. Really, that madness isn't likely the sort of picture her sisters would like her to present, but at least she's well-spoken in her frivolity. "It is, however, time that I return to my keepers." She dips a curtsey to those remaining then turns an impish look toward Marsilia, "May we explore a science all our own when next our paths cross, Contessa." With that, it seems the young silly thing is off for the evening.

*

"Those are words I can find little room to dispute," Vittore must admit to Cosimo, grinning a little. "The opportunity for business is always a good motivator." And for him as well, a fact that his wife has seemingly already uncovered in even the brief history of the marriage, playing to his interest in knowing fashion. "It is something to consider. Especially if you think the textiles, or opportunities in fashion, might be exploited. You've a far better eye for that, and given that they produce a good deal of wine as well, we might have more luck in that approach." It seems as though Marisilia may come out on the winning end of this whole discussion. As for the other conversation that she has been having, on art with Antonella, he's not paid much mind, enough that the young woman's sudden oddity probably comes across all the stranger. "Er, what?" He glances sidelong at his wife, on the odd chance she might be able to 'translate.' "Well, in any case, be well, Signora. Perhaps," and again, a look to Marsilia, "We ought also be on our way? Conte di Gaspari, its been a pleasure discussing business. And if you've a mind, we might discuss some of the foreign matters more at later opportunity. I do have interest, and perhaps by then we may both have learned more."

*

"You are so right, Conte." Marsilia says in agreement to Cosimo regarding the different styles and how fashion can grow and become more innovated. "As one who designs and makes some of her own dresses, I definitely am on the lookout for something new." Antonella, however, gets a curious look from the young contessa, when she goes on about… squirrels of all things. "I am sure that there are some colors and images that may put a squirrel off." She starts in a matter-of-fact tone, "but I cannot say that I'm an expert." Surely, she must be humoring the other young woman. "It's filled with so many wonders, but I would be interested in seeking out the opposite as well, what beauty the forests have in store for us in part less traveled." And here, she turns to Vittore once more as he announces that it is time for their own departure. "But yes, Signore Antonella, we shall meet again to enjoy the beauty of nature." Then to Cosimo, "And it was wonderful gaining some insight from you, Conte di Gaspari."

*

Cosimo stares at Antonella for several long moments, silent during her outburst and remaining quiet while she runs off. Blinking, he turns towards Vittore and Marisilia and says, "I believe she has a passion for squirrels and other small forest animals." He shakes his head, likely clearing it of thoughts of squirrels, and nods to Vittore. "Indeed, it's worth looking into. I hope you and the Contessa both have a pleasant evening." He says, bowing his head to the both of them. "I will send you a message in the next couple of days, so we can sit down and perhaps talk about matters both foreign and domestic. It seems that with the Spring, everything has decided to start moving all at once. It keeps things interesting, but it seems like moments of respite will be few and far between." He nods once again. "But please, enjoy the rest of your day and may good fortunes fall upon your House."

*

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