(2018-05-04) Rotten to the Core
Its what's inside that counts …
federico arabella antonella 
ponte.gif
Summary:
On the Ponte Speranza, a misunderstanding leads to the question of ones honor and dignity.
Related:
Part of the Smuggle theme for the month
Misc Info:
In the end, we are all Fruits and Nuts.
isabella giuliana raffiano 

A wonderful day, partly cloudy, slightly grey there leaving the sky betwixt warm blue and cool grey. Scattered bits of rain off an on has left the covered portions of the bridge over the Merzia an idea place to gather. Presently no rain of course, which is good. Raffiano is about, eating some fruit like an apple or a pear. Near enough a walkway near the rail of the bridge in that covered section. Such that, should the time come to be done with the core, he could play a game of sticks. Except he's on the downriver side, it would be more a race to the harbor out there than to be the first to make it under the bridge. He's just enjoying a walk. And someone has used a pulley and lever system to load and unload the skiffs that frequent the river. There are some empty barrels. That's more appropriate for his core. He tosses it in and walks past. He misses the fact that the core is returned from the barrel to soundly hit a random noble (sword at his hip) nearby. Thus begins, "How dare you, Signore?!" Towards Raffiano, an arm grabbing his shoulder to turn him about, and he does turn to face the other noble, "You surely have me confused, Signore?!"

(>-------<)
| Antonella (Awareness) |
| -----— |
| Success |
| -
------ |
| Skill: 10 Mod: 0 Total: 10 |
| Roll: 9 Status: |
(>-------<)

(>-------<)
| Arabella (Awareness) |
| -----— |
| Success |
| -
------ |
| Skill: 9 Mod: 0 Total: 9 |
| Roll: 6 Status: |
(>-------<)

(>-------<)
| Federico (Awareness) |
| -----— |
| Fumble! |
| -
------ |
| Skill: 10 Mod: 0 Total: 10 |
| Roll: 20 Status: |
(>-------<)

(>-------<)
| Giuliana (Awareness) |
| -----— |
| Fumble! |
| -
------ |
| Skill: 4 Mod: 0 Total: 4 |
| Roll: 20 Status: |
(>-------<)

A beautiful day for a lovely walk in the country, at least that was the plan Isabella has undertaken after morning shopping and errands. Her steps have her walking over the Ponte Speranza, leading a horse with a few items upon it given lend by the Contessa. With the traffic upon the route, the woman is focused very intently on navigating the people while giving the animal lead making her oblivious to situation going on about, even if it is not far away.

Federico is on what appears a late morning stroll as well, sword worn at his side, because you never know what or who you will encounter. The young man seems to be in thoughts, and thus completely oblivious to both, the apple core and the offense it causes. Unluckily for Raffiano, it is not Federico the core hit - he would have brushed it off like it had been of insect of sorts. And even worse! In addition to Raffiano's offense, Federico bumps against the offended, as he did not see him standing there after all!

While sunshiny days might be slightly more ideal for skipping out on one's studies and spending midday people-watching on the Ponte Speranza, drizzly days will do just fine in a pinch. Antonella's found herself a pleasant perch on the upriver side of the bridge, outside of the direct path of most foot traffic. Most who stop to admire the view might be turned to look out over the river, out at Matora as it extends along either bank. The idling blonde is, however, turned toward the commotion, which leaves her primely positioned to watch whatever weirdness just happened right over there. Apple cores — or pear cores, had it been a pear — are not meant to defy gravity like that. It's enough to have her straightening from her idle lean, blue-eyes centered with wide-eyed interest on what transpires. But no, no, she does not interject to clarify the situation. Not just yet. It's far too entertaining a show, especially as a new player joins the unfolding story.

(>-------<)
| Arabella (Valorous) |
| -----— |
| Success Valorous |
| -
------ |
| Valorous |
| Trait: 10 Roll: 1 |
(>-------<)

Giuliana is also on the bridge, traversing it with two of the household guards and within the company of one of her maids. It's quite possible that she's been caught in one of the light rain showers before making it to the relative shelter that the buldings of the bridge afford, for droplets of water sparkle like jewels where caught in the lengths of her hair and in the folds of the cloak that wraps her figure. She's wrapped up in conversation with the girl at her side, probably a discussion is being had about which silk was the finer of the two she'd just been considering, and so utterly fails to spot her brother and the accusation being thrown. Tromp. Tromp. The guards flanking her continue their rhythmical march, steps ringing out, and it's entirely likely that the whole cortege might pass everyone by. Perhaps her brother will spot her.

Between the rain and the fighting of the blue sky for more prominence in the day, Arabella had been attempting to shop at the market at Via Ovest. With just a couple of last minute things, she had been returning back when she catches on to what was going on. Of course Raffiano was a familiar presence already so she can only stand back as the scene unfolds before her. "Oh dear." With her packages she was not much use, but she stows them at the walk and looks like she is weighing options. Let him settle it or intervene? Stepping back, she hesitates before the better part of valor has her stepping in. "Please pardon me. What is the disturbance?" She knows very well what it was, having seen it, but this was at least a way to buy some time.

The offended, bruised in pride by the apple core, man blinks at Raffiano, "Surely you jest Signore, you've thrown your core at me."
To which Raffiano blinks again, "Surely you are confused, my core was aimed carefully at the barrel." He is about to point at the offending barrel, when Federico stumbles literally upon the situation.
The man stumbles, and turns to face both, like a triangle. "The two of you is it," the offended man begins, as if its a plot against his house, and they are choosing to jump him here alone on the bridge. "These men mean to disgrace my name and family … Russo di Ricci will not stand this indignance." This directed to Arabella. The name is barely known if at all, not even a Barone/Baronessa, some lesser for sure. Raffiano lifts a brow questioningly to Federico, clearly they don't know each other but its a questioning glance, like 'should we do this then?' His hand bends across his chest and down to the hilt of his own sword, ready to test this Russo it seems even though nothing really happened, truth be told.

(>-------<)
| Arabella (Recognize) |
| -----— |
| Failed |
| -
------ |
| Skill: 4 Mod: 0 Total: 4 |
| Roll: 7 Status: |
(>-------<)

"You are meaning to face both of us - at once?", Federico asks, and from the sound of his voice, he is surprised and intrigued at the same time. His hand falls to the pommel of his sword, even as he takes that half-step backwards, belated acknowledgement of his own part in the offense. "Russo de Ricci?", he echoes, glancing from Russo to Raffiano and back. "Federico di Fiscella, and I assure you, I didn't mean to…" he clears his throat, "disgrace your family, Signore. It would take more than that, don't you think?" His fingers curl about the pommel now, and a quick nod is given towards Raffiano, signalling that Federico for his part will not insist on evading the challenge, but oblige instead.

Enter the hero! Antonella perks when Arabella makes her approach to the developing scuffle… and then scowls ever so slightly when passing pedestrians obscure her view. Such an exciting show, ruined by poor seating. On swift steps, she winds her way through the crowd to cross the bridge and draw herself closer to the action. Closer, but yet outside, an interested observer with very little interest in being where the swords are. Once she's on that downriver side, her curiosity flicks to the barrel — doubtlessly housing some impish visitante testing the virtue of these men — to see if it might have something to contribute.

Giuliana might be oblivious, but her guards are not. That's why they're guards (and employed by the Albrici's as such). The one to the left of, and slightly behind, Giuliana touches her lightly upon her shoulder, and immediately points out to her her brother and what's afoot. And now she notes him, albeit belated. It's as his hand goes to his sword that she crosses the bridge from one side to the other to procure a better view, her guards making her passage easier than it might be for some. Luckily for her, and most likely Raffiano's nerves too, her guards keep her from approaching too closely. "Raffiano?" Her words are as much directed to her guards as to her brother, and her maid plucks at the lace on her mistress' sleeve, an anxiousness showing in her voice as she leans close to whisper something in her ear.

Commotion growing, Isabella's eyes are drawn in that direction but she does not move to approach to close, instead keeping the mare and herself at a safe distance. Dark eyes widen a bit as she recognizes some of the faces that seem to be involved in the exchange; those she has spoken to before and a small bite of her lower lip occurs in contemplation.

Things were escalating quickly! Swords? Not recognizing the name, Arabella gives the man a blank look. "You are speaking to members of the Great Houses." Not that Arabella knows Federico or anything, but she knew Raffiano and his name Albrici. With hands going to swords, she hurries back, stumbling back away from the blades and her mouth closes. She finds herself standing beside the packages she had placed and remains there just watching. "They are going to fight it out over a piece of fruit." The statement holds equal amounts of bemusement and concern. Breathing out a sigh of relief, she notes his sister and the guards for the house. Surely someone would intervene!

What the barrel does hide is dark and dirty. Hard to make out, wait, no. Two eyes blink out of the darkness, surely one of the Cattivo or some teinted creature sent by a Brutta. But wait, it seems to be making a gesture. Its more than eyes, it lifts up a little, bit. It seems more like a dirty street urchin of a child, pressing a finger to lips in the universal 'shhh' sign. A quiet whisper, "Lid?" THe shushing finger points to the side where rests a lid for the barrel. Followed by a thumb up. It looks like the barrel is destined for a skiff and the urchin hopes to be lifted down there and away from the bridge. It holds up a loaf of bread, perhaps not acquired by legal means?
Though, meanwhile, meters away, in the order of 5 or 10, swords are nearly being drawn. Raffiano returns, "Albrici will not suffer such disgrace Signore Ricci. We make cause with House Fiscella in this dubious matter." Raffiano may not help by turning the tides on who's being disgraced. His sister nears, he turns half towards her, not taking eyes off Russo. "Sis, careful, scoundrels of House Ricci are afoot it would seem." Does he have a smile, does he enjoy a good clash of swords, a test to see who walks away with the newest trophy scar.
Russo nods to Federico, "Great Houses or not, they've not right for such a travesty as this. It is not the point of the fruit so much as the dignity, I'll not have my honor thusly slighted." Over fruit? Then, again his look is questioning too. Its like a standoff, but Raffiano is playing along, his sword is heard coming free, Russo reaches a hand for his own, backing a little to give room for sword arms to maneuver even, but eying carefully about, just in case he needs to leave the situation just the same.

(>-------<)
| Antonella (Trusting) |
| -----— |
| Auto Success: Suspicious |
| -
------ |
| Trusting |
| Trait: 12 Roll: 20 |
(>-------<)

(>-------<)
| Federico (Prudent) |
| -----— |
| Success Reckless |
| -
------ |
| Prudent |
| Trait: 10 Roll: 16 |
| Reckless |
| Trait: 10 Roll: 5 |
(>-------<)

There have been graver squabbles, but most often about greater offenses. While in this case, a mis-aimed core had been the first insult taken, and then the check of a shoulder against Russo, executed by an absent minded Fiscella. The indication of disregard are obvious - but today it would take someone other than Federico to acknowledge the offense given. Instead, a grin begins to curl his lips, as the Fiscella begins to move, slowly in that predatory stroll of a seasoned duelist. Steal sounds from the blade of his sword as he draws it from its scabbard. "You will apologize," Federico tells Russo quietly, his eyes darkening with that calm that usually precedes the quick storm of blades. "You will apologize for daring to confront House Albrici as well as mine own of Fiscella." The situation is clearly in danger of escalating further, but Federico doesn't mind, his nerves already alert with anticipation of a good sword fight. "Who's to go first?", he asks Raffiano, glancing his way inquiringly. An adequate courtesy, given how easily people elect to be offended today.

Another day, Antonella might express more sympathy for the urchin, trusting in the poor thing's plight. Today? Today, there are swords being drawn, blood about to be shed over that kid's bit of mischief. At which point, really, it's no longer mere mischief. It is malice. It is sin. It requires intervention. "Signores!" calls the blonde as she very, very cautiously draws nearer to the impending scuffle. "Gentlemen. The culprit of this misunderstanding hides in the shadows while you draw blades against one another." A little more quietly, she adds, "Though I'm sure apologies are almost certainly due by this point," as she tries to draw attention to the barrel with its stowaway, pointing thattaway while doing her best to keep outtatheway.

"See if my brother would like your help." Giuliana says, a quick chew given her lower lip as an instruction is given her guards. Whether to accept such an offer or not will be up to Raffiano, but heeding the orders given, both Albrici guards step forward in a show of unity, hands moving to the pommels of their swords. They won't act unless instructed, but it's a nice show of strength. "Do not worry, Signora. Raffiano is excellent with a sword," Giuliana says to Arabella as the Sabastino arrives where she stands. And if her voice is a little raised, it's perhaps so that her words can carry to the man that now faces her brother. Antonella's words catch her attention, and she can't help but look in the direction of the barrel which, alas, shows no signs of occupation. At least to her.

Reaching a hand up to pat the mare, Isabella's eyes drift in the direction of where Antonella gestures, eyes blinking some almost like an owl as a few of the pieces of information she's picked up listening fall into place. Then it happens, she cannot help it, a soft giggle escapes her lips as she quickly moves to cover her mouth and return to decorum..

"He has mentioned he practices with it and with his lance, but I am glad you have every confidence in him." Arabella remains nearby Giuliana, watching as the culprit is called out and things begin to unfold as puzzle pieces of the stray apple core find explanations. "There is going to be a swordfight over a child being impish?" Her words hold incredulity, but mostly just to Giuliana, since they are not spoken so very loud. "I think the merchant will find himself on the wrong end of two blades if he keeps insisting."

"I would gladly have the honor," returns Raffiano to Federico, if the other man is offering, his smile turns up a litte. Ay, but then, maybe the disappointment lies with Raffiano, as a culprit is found, his brows lower some of that smidge of a grin feints to the side.
The man not liking the odds and being informed these are sons of Great Houses, comes forward some, "If this culprit confesses, I shall apologize for the misunderstanding." THen a look about from him, "We could summon the guard for this matter." As if he's looking for a dark red cloak of the Wyvern Company.
Raffiano lowers his blade to the scabbard. "Well, if this is true and he apologizes as Signore Fiscella has indicated, his slight upon our houses, then it shall be but this misunderstanding that is has been spoken."
The dirty urchin child lifts head from the barrel, "It was me, don't call the guards, I am sorry." He lifts the bread, as if to indicate why he doesn't want the guard, his left hand looks like its held the irons more than once too. But the porter working to move barrels to the river below says, "Get him out of here, I've work to do." As if he wants none of it, other than to get about his work, without stow aways.

There is an inhale of breath, as Federico di Fiscella realizes the situation loses some of its prior momentum. And despite him having offered the Albrici the honor of teaching Russo, there is a hint of disappointment tugging at his features, now that the heated clashing of egos dissolves. Lowering his gaze, he sheathes his own weapon, quietly accepting the apology of the man. A sideways glance is given the street urchin in the barrel, and Federico shakes his head. "No need for guards, we can consider the matter… settled.", he opines, even if that statement goes along with another inquiring glance in Raffiano's direction.

As the urchin reveals himself and tensions release, Antonella casts a tight smile — not nearly so cheerful as intended — toward those gathered. See? All's well! Probably? Rather than engaging any of the gentleman so resignedly putting their swords away, she skirts off toward that barrel with a clean, well-manicured hand held out in offering to the grubby, grimy kid, promising a potentially safe escape for the offending mischief-maker while everyone's distracted.

Giuliana breathes an audible sigh of relief since it seems that the matter will be settled without bloodshed, though her guards do still lurk close to Raffiano should he need them. Slim fingers brush back hair behind her ears from where it's escaped its pins, and she turns her head to look at the barrel and the urchin it holds. She draws a breath, and where her fingers had previously laced together behind her back, they now come apart as she reaches for her coin purse that hangs on her belt. "He looks hungry," she says quietly to her maid, and a tilt of the pouch settles some coins in her hand. "See that he gets these." Her eyes do flick to Antonella where she's offering aid of her own. "But best be quick, before he leaves."

(>-------<)
| Arabella (Trusting) |
| -----— |
| Success Suspicious |
| -
------ |
| Trusting |
| Trait: 10 Roll: 13 |
| Suspicious |
| Trait: 10 Roll: 2 |
(>-------<)

Arabella keeps her eye on the kid and where he is offered a hand out and then coins for food, she finds his behavior to be suspect and remains with a healthy dose of suspicion towards him. "Perhaps someone should follow him and see that he remains out of mischief. Make sure he reports to no one else that makes the kid do these things for their own entertainment." Her own guard is given a nod, he will be the one to follow the kid and ensure he remains out of trouble. Or to report his activities if he does try and start more. "I am relieved there will be no fighting," she says softly to Giuliana. Collecting her packages, she holds them as she remains to listen and watch, apparently here for the duration to see what else ends up happening, if anything.

As people scramble to bring the kid coin and address it, Isabella's giggle turns to a momentary frown but that as well passes. Reaching up she pats the mare again and glances, looking to speak to no one in particular but speaking nonetheless. "So the day's festivities are done? We can pass once more without fear of infringing honor?" The tone is serious but a humor strikes her eyes.

Before he leaves indeed, as they ponder the guard and the barrel man wants the urchin gone, the child is quick to get one arm on the lip of the barrel to start getting out, half way even when there is an offer. He takes the hand offered by Antonella, and tucks the bread under an arm, to have a free hand to accept coins. He's gracious about it, "Signoras, many thanks, the Paragons surely favor your houses." The sort of compliment that could come off nice and well practice, but the edge of genuine is in the childs voice.
Raffiano nods, "Settled." See he agrees, muttering a little, "For now. Signore, you have the thanks of Raffiano di Albrici." Tucking sword away he offers a nod to Federico with that greeting as his name is offerd tothe other noble who almost joined causes. Then a grin, as he looks at the other gathering to his sister, "He does look hungry, we should keep him." That grin showing, as if the street urchin were a pet, or a project. "Good day Signora's, Arabella, and," those he doesn't know, nodded to at least. "Seems you have a friend, it is you we should thank for finding the culprit.'
The bridge barrel worker grumbles, "Work to be done." As if not trying to imply the nobles and their swords and causes need to move along, as that really isn't his place.

A fine smile shows on Federico's features as he offers a courteous bow towards Raffiano. "Fine," the Fiscella says, even as he, straightening, glances towards Russo di Ricci. "I believe we shall keep an eye on this one," is added at a low, almost conspiratorial volume, before Federico remembers his manners and offers a bow towards the ladies as well, unbeknownst to him all of them. "For now, I ask you to excuse me, Sigorinas. Signore." This last he adds towards Raffiano before he takes his leave, moving over the bridge in the direction he was heading initially.

Money. Right. That would've been the smart, elegant way to address the kid's predicament. There might be a touch of color in Antonella's cheeks as her attention tracks back from the maid kindly handing over the coin to the source thereof, a warm smile offered to Giuliana. Arabella gets a puzzled look from the trusting young woman, and she's about to offer a counterargument, lips parted, when other remarks draw her attention away. Almost certainly for the best. Isabella's dry humor earns a quiet laugh, but it is to Raffiano that she's curtseying as best she can with one hand still holding the boy's. "Antonella Capello," she offers to the gentleman, to the others gathered, before dipping an apologetic nod to the porter and shuffling off further to the side, urchin in tow. "Glad to have helped and eager to help further. By all means, if the young man is in need of a home — " She looks down at the kid curiously. " — and you've a home to offer, perhaps some good can come of this misunderstanding?" She might just be calling his bluff, but she looks so terribly, achingly optimistic.

Giuliana is quick to move to Raffiano's side, lifting herself onto her toes. There's a smile for him at Arabella's words as the faintest of sisterly kisses is brushed to his cheek. "Be careful with what you offer, Raffiano. That is, unless you intend to make good on it." Her eyes are full of a tease for her brother, and her eyes skip past him to settle on Antonella. "We could perhaps use a lad in our stables should my brother so wish, but he would know of such things better than I." And leaving the matter adroitly in Raffiano's hands, having stoked the fires a little, she smilinging goes on to make her introduction. "Giuliana di Abricci."

The guard had his orders and Arabella had not altered them any and so he surreptitiously will spend his day keeping track of the kid and his doings. As she watches the Fiscella, she offers a warm smile, dipping her head, "A pleasure making your acquaintance, Signore.." Though he had not given his name that she had heard, she watches as the Capella Signora introduces herself to Raffiani, but her own attention is given to Giuliana. "I wondered, were you going to be able to make it to the Spring Feast this evening?"

If no one's taking the kid home, Antonella will, at the very least, take him off to find some lunch and help him get to wherever it is he meant to go. Or nearly. And the guard will surely report that back. And perhaps that she and the kid discussed utterly frivolous things: stories and imaginings and little of actual substance. Plainly, she had no intention of actually getting to know the poor thing and having her heartstrings tugged. Let's just hope she still has her purse on her when the good deed's done and she heads back home.

No city guard alerted, no scars added to anyone this day. Raffiano stands a moment as the scene unfolds. The child in good hands, Russo lucky to avoid the fate of two swords to his one, and Raffiano now wondering what to do for the day. Thus, he moves along and another barrel, moving fruit, has one less fruit in passing. Another core to be had eventually, another adventure.

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