(2018-05-06) Stolen Property
"I'll have them all hanged."
baldessare antonella 
An
Summary:
House Capello learns of certain stolen property.
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?
morosina 

Dinner has come and gone, and Baldessare has retreated to one of the areas away from the dining table. He seems to have a small stack of letters that he's slowly making his way through at a small table serving as his desk. He reads each carefully and drafts out a reply from the stack of fresh sheets there with him. The only noise he's making is the occasional one of exasperation at something he reads, or the scratch of his quill.

Outside, the sun sinks low upon the horizon, casting Matora in lovely twilight hues. Inside Palazzo Capello, servants bustle about as they clean up after dinner and tend to the family's needs. Antonella — who is most certainly not going out after dusk at risk of arousing the ire of one elder sister or the other — loiters downstairs, tucked into a chair with a dense book about who knows what. It's questionable how much the girl's really reading given that her gaze is lifted to watch others moving past at least as often as it's turned to the page, but she is making the attempt to at least look studious in her daydreaming. Baldessare, who has the misfortune of being a fixed point, might see an awful lot of her idle consideration. Or absent staring. Depending on your point of view.

It's quiet, a lovely picture of Matora domestic stability. So, of course, Morosina has to ruin it all. The door to the living area opens - it would probably be 'with a dramatic bang', but there's a servant there to open it for her. So she just walks in. Her hair is tousled and her laces on her dress a little loose, but otherwise still perfectly presentable. Clearly, the night's drinking hadn't progressed too far. In her wake, though, is a sunburnt man of middle years, his clothing travel and sweat stained. He smells strongly of tired horse, and Baldessare might recognize him as one of the hands from the country estates. Morosina pauses to look around, then her eyes light on Baldessare, and she strides in that direction. "Conte? A moment of your time, I beg." Behind her, the servant bows deeply.

Baldessare's attention is already interrupted just at the sound of arrivals, and he looks over with a frown to see Morosina in all her state of — low-level Morosina-ness. (At least it's not high-level. Yet.) His brow arches into something more serious when he sees the man beyond her, though. "What is it?"

Ah! A totally legitimate reason to not be looking at her book! Antonella's blue-eyed attention turns to the pair the moment they arrive, though her curiosity falters when her cousin heads over to address the conte. That might be important business, and important business isn't the sort she really cares to stick around for. But it's Morosina, which hikes up the likelihood that it's interesting, and so, with finger tucked between the pages of the now-closed tome, she watches.

Morosina runs a hand through her hair, her expression uncommonly and un-Morosinaly serious. "My apologies, Conte, Signora," a quick smile in Antonella's direction. "But this man is known as Vecchio. He is one of our people on our estates. He has a rather…interesting tale I thought you or the Contessa needed to hear." She steps back, waves him forward.

Vecchio's steps are halting, and he bows again. It seems as much fatigue as anything else - from the stains on him, he's been riding hard. "Conte, forgive my appearance. I…well, I don't know…I…" he stops, takes a deep breath. "They've made a damned ringer for Airs Under the Moon and stolen him away, my lord. That's what they've done, sure as anything!"

For those well informed of the horse side of the Capello's livestock trade, they might recognize the name of one of the prized stallions, a young stud who (it is hoped) will be the forerunner of a strong line.

You know who is very familiar with the Capello's horse stock? Baldessare. Vecchio's words have him rising in a sudden snap of rising fury. "He's /gone/?!" He's drawn up to his full height, back straight, shoulders set. "/Explain yourself/."

Spotted, Antonella flashes a… rather concerned smile at seeing Morosina so terribly serious. Rising to her feet, she sets the book aside — surely, it will magically find its way back to a desk or shelf rather than languishing on a side table — and takes a few steps toward the trio as the tale is told. Though she's surely interested in the news, she's more interested in Baldessare's response, her eyes on him. And her posture suddenly stick straight when he is so quickly, so angrily upon his feet.

Annnd, Vecchio hits the floor on one knee, head bowed as Baldessare leaps to his feet. "It weren't me, my lord, I swear! It was Orielle and people she brought from the outside! Look!" He gestures at the back of his head, pulling up a clump of sweat-matted hair. Or, not just sweat - there's lingering blood over a significant bump on the skull. "I walked in on them making the ringer, and she coshed me over the head, she did!"

Morosina, who has not flinched away from the angry rise puts in, quietly, "Orielle is a recent hire - stable girl and general labor. Impeccable references, but she has some unsavory associates. Including a brother who was exiled for thievery. She indicated she had no contact with him for years, but it appears that may not have been the case. My apologies, Conte." She rattles it off easily, like she's got people's employment records memorized. That, and booze halls.

Baldessare's frown creases fiercer when Vecchio shows him the blood and bump on his skull, and then his gaze snaps sharply to Morosina as she begins to provide more context. "I'll have them all hanged," he snarls. "Is there any sign of where they've gone? Is this Orielle girl missing with him?"

With Baldessare's anger focused on those not immediately present, Antonella ventures a little closer, situating herself indirectly beside her brother-in-law to regard the other two. And maybe take a peek at that bloody bump on the back of Vecchio's head, her nose scrunching unpleasantly for the sight. "Might they have an employer? Seems a touch reckless to steal a stallion in the hopes of selling him before anyone notices."

Vecchio hasn't looked up at all. He says, hesitantly, "Last I remember, they said they had a buyer already. In the city. That's all I heard, m'lord! But when I woke up, they were gone. I came as quick as I could."

"He found me at the docks," Morosina puts in. "I've left messages with a few folks back home about where I could be found if urgent things came up." Please don't ask where, please don't ask where. She flashes a pleased smile at Antonella. "Correct, Signora. This wouldn't be a random theft - not if they brought in a ringer and planned for it. I imagine they have a buyer here in the city who will take the stallion out of Matora's reach. Once the animal's been passed off, and the money distributed, there won't a lot of trail to follow, and once it's out of our reach…"

"Then he'll be gone," Baldessare finishes Morosina's thought sourly. "God/dammit/. Losing this stallion is not an option; the entire line we were going to build from him —" Is not one to be lost. He finally seems to /see/ Vecchio, on his knee there, and his expression sours. He glances over to one of the household servants. "Get him a change of clothes and a bath. And someone to look at his head."

Antonella's smile is tight, uncertain. Almost apologetic when it's turned toward Vecchio. Looking between Morosina and Baldessare, she poses cautiously, "It's not as bad as it could be. There's a trail. All a matter of… finding it." Which has her fretting and falling quiet. This is surely not quite her area of expertise.

"Thank you, my lord!" Vecchio still doesn't raise his head, until the servant taps him on the shoulder, then he staggers to his feet with help, and is guided away. The smells mostly go with him, thankfully. "He'll have our brand," Morosina says, "so they won't want to bring him by the main gates - too much chance that they might run into a Capello factor or someone who knows we wouldn't send a quality animal without escort. He'll probably have been dyed and the brand obscured, but that doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. They'll have to get him into the city quietly, and then make the exchange quietly. Luckily, they'll have had to have taken lesser traveled roads, while Vecchio came direct. We've got a little time." She gives Antonella another smile, this one warm and reassuring. "It's like a treasure hunt, really. And we'll drink a victory toast at the end."

Baldessare's brow creases as he looks to the window, considering the potential routes and methods they might have for thwarting the sale. "We should put eyes on the other entrances into the city," he says. "We need to identify them on their way in and find out where they'll be before the exchange happens. If we don't catch it before then, it will likely be too late."

(>-------<)

| Antonella (Awareness) |

| -----—— |

| Failed |

| -----—— |

| Skill: 10 Mod: 0 Total: 10 |

| Roll: 14 Status: |

(>-------<)

(>-------<)

| Baldessare (Awareness) |

| -----—— |

| Failed |

| -----—— |

| Skill: 6 Mod: 0 Total: 6 |

| Roll: 16 Status: |

(>-------<)

(>-------<)

| Morosina (Awareness) |

| -----—— |

| Failed |

| -----—— |

| Skill: 10 Mod: 0 Total: 10 |

| Roll: 16 Status: |

(>-------<)

(>-------<)

| Morosina (Worldly) |

| -----—— |

| Success Pious |

| -----—— |

| Worldly |

| Trait: 12 Roll: 15 |

| Pious |

| Trait: 8 Roll: 4 |

(>-------<)

(>-------<)

| Antonella (Worldly) |

| -----—— |

| Auto Success: Pious |

| -----—— |

| Worldly |

| Trait: 11 Roll: 20 |

(>-------<)

(>-------<)

| Baldessare (Worldly) |

| -----—— |

| Success Worldly |

| -----—— |

| Worldly |

| Trait: 10 Roll: 4 |

(>-------<)

"That or we'll watch as the conte burns the whole city down around us," Antonella answers Morosina with a grim bit of cheer. She flashes Baldessare a small smile before nodding. "I can see to the arrangements, Conte, if you'd like. I might also have a contact I could ask…" Though she seems hesitant on that point, involving outsiders in family business.

"I could handle the watchers at the gates," Morosina suggests. "I can't go with you to find the animal - I need to be seen to be the black sheep, and no one invites a black sheep on an important task. But I can distribute a description to a few people who can keep a lookout on some of the less watched gates. They can send a message to you when they spot a likely candidate while you go talk to Antonella's contact. And then, whoever finds it…" she clears her throat. "You both /could/ try to nab her as she comes through the streets, but if you wait until the buy, you could get her and the buyer. If you wanted."

"I want the whole lot of them," Baldessare growls. He considers a long moment, jaw a hard line of tension. "Someone may have mentioned something over a game of cards once — something about the black market for such things. He never mentioned an establishment by name, but I know the area of the city. That may be enough to hunt down something more specific." He looks to Antonella, his gaze narrowing. "A contact?"

Antonella's nose scrunches at Morosina's proposal, that phrasing which might leave more than just her going off to meet this 'contact' of hers. Still, there's a nod for the soundness of her cousin handling the lookouts and keeping her own reputation, well… not clean, exactly, but as she likes it to be. As Baldessare talks about the black market, about his own gaming, the teen may well think she's off the hook. But no. There it is. Though her expression remains serious and candid, her cheeks color a rather rosy shade. "A card-player, as it happens, who owes me a favor."

Morosina stays toooootally out of this talk of contacts, even going so far as to rock on her heels and whistle a cheerful little tune. "Sounds like they could be useful," is all she says, with a glance towards the Conte.

"A card player who owes you a favor," Baldessare echoes back at Antonella with /distinct/ suspicion. He stares at her a long, hard minute, and then he finally just huffs an irritated noise. "Fine," he says. "Meet with your contact. /Swiftly/. We'll need to determine more specifically where this horse trading takes place."

Antonella's cheeks go from rosy to red under that scrutiny even as she keeps that straight, innocent face of hers. She's not lying, that's for certain, even if there are undoubtedly details left out. Her shoulds might sink ever so slightly when Baldessare gives her the go ahead to talk to whoever it is she thinks might be usefl to talk to. She preathes a quiet, "Conte," before turning off, undoubtedly to go make arrangements to meet this mysterious card-player.

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