(2018-05-15) The Trade Winds Blow
Gaspari Loves Money
Cosimo and Lorenzo discuss recent events and future trade dealings.
Some comments about the smuggling stuff that is going on, including deciphering a message that may lead to more soon.
Misc Info:

Cosimo sits behind the carved wooden desk that has been a fixture of this room for several generations. On top of the desk, some papers are strewn about, but his focus seems to be on a map of the Catellus Sea and the realms that lie around its shores. Fingers idly drumming on one arm rest as he traces over the eastern part of the sea with a finger. There's a light rapping on the door and he looks up to see a servant peer in to inform him that Lorenzo is here to see him. "Have him come in and bring us some wine." And with a nod the servant opens the door wider, gesturing Lorenzo inside.

Cosimo stands, smiling faintly. "Brother. Getting a bit restless remaining in the city so long? Sit, sit. They will bring us wine, but for now, how are you doing? Still recovering from that party?"

When the door is fully opened for him, Lorenzo steps past the servant with barely a nod and crosses the room toward his brother and the strewn papers. He has with him his leatherbound ledger, though his rapier is notably absent, having been left in his room for the time being. A smile sneaks across his face when he sees the older Gaspari brother, arms spread wide in greeting.

"Brother! You must know by know it will take more than a party to keep me down," he says, settling into one of the chairs across the desk. "I will admit to having found somethig particularly intoxicating that night, though." There's a playful twinkle in his eye, though he does not elaborate, instead letting his gaze fall onto the map of the Catellus Sea. "It seems I've come at the right time."

Laughing, Cosimo leans back in his chair. "You sound like Salvatore when you speak like that. Though I know you at least did not leave the party to go gambling and whoring for the rest of the night." If the middle brother's actions bother him at all, he certainly doesn't seem to be bothered by it. "Oh, yes I imagine so. Plenty of wine to go around that evening." He glances down at the map, lifting an eyebrow. "Oh? Have you some new notion of what we might want to focus on trading this year? That would be a welcome repreive over worrying about the political situations we find ourselves surrounded with." He waves a hand. "So what did you want to talk about?" It's about then that the servent returns, 2 glasses in hand and sets a glass before each man, filling Cosimo's first before Lorenzo's. With a gesture, the servant leaves, closing the door behind him. "Oh, and before I forget…" He opens a drawer in the desk and pulls a slip of parchment. "This was written in some code and I have no idea what it might mean. I've had some other people try, but no one has been successful as of yet. Want to give it a look and see what you might make of it?"

|           Lorenzo (Read)            |
|    -----------------------------    |
|               Success               |
|    -----------------------------    |
|    Skill: 5  Mod: 0  Total: 5       |
|    Roll: 3   Status:                |

"Well, we are brothers, after all," Lorenzo says. "Though, while you're right to say I'm eager to stretch my sea legs, I did not galavant after things wound down." His smile reduces to a sly grin and he inclines his chin to make another note. "Do tell Garden I feel the party was a complete success."

Settling in to listen to his brother then, he leans back in the chair to allow the servant to place the glass of wine in front of him. "I came to speak to you specifically about that," he says, referring to trading. When the parchment comes out, he reaches for it and settles again to have a look. "Where did you get this?" he asks, tapping a finger against his chin.

For a moment, he looks serious, then a flicker of a smile tugs the edge of his mouth. He opens his ledger and reaches for the nearest writing instrument, scribbling something down into it. "It's refering to a book," he says. "A specific passage in it, too. If I'm not mistaken we have such a book in the library." When he looks up, his brows perk up. "This is good fun, isn't it?"

"I have already told her several times, but I suspect telling her one more time will please her." Cosimo says, smiling. Lifting his glass of wine, he takes a small sip, nodding about the parchment. "I suspected it was some code, but I don't know why it eluded so many of us. My mind was probably scattered in a dozen different directions." He laughs, though he does seem annoyed with himself. "As to it's providence? An old beggar handed it to one of our house guard a week or so back in the markets. This… well, I will inform Garden of this and have her go searching for the book to puzzle things out."

Lifting the glass once more to his lips, this time he takes a drawn out sip. "Now, let us discuss this business of trade. What did you have in mind?"

Lorenzo writes down the name of the book and hands it over along with the coded parchment. "Don't be so hard on yourself brother. It's difficult to keep one's mind focused these days. Do let me know what you find, though. The markets are astir with something, to be sure." He isn't sure what's going on, but being of mind to work within whatever's happening in the market, he can't help but be curious.

But first, business. The young Gaspari reaches for his wine and takes a sip, eyeing the map on the table. Reaching with his free hand, he taps a spot on the eastern reaches of the Kataro Kingdoms. "I'm concerned about our trade in this region. Ships are being stopped regularly by the Reign of Masud and inspected for lord knows what. Something to do with rebels in the area. Though our goods haven't been confiscated, yet, I'd like to make steps to avoid any future misunderstandings."

"Yeah, I will keep you and the other members of the family informed." Cosimo leans forward glancing down at the map, particularly where Lorenzo pointed to. "Mmm, yes I had heard the rumors but I hadn't checked up on them. I'm glad my assumption that you too would be curious paid off." He studies the region, particularly Masud. "Masud rebels? Cazzo. A damned rebellion can be good for business if we want to arrange for arms and armor to be sold, but I would much rather there be peace and for us to fetch good prices on their more exotic merchandise."

Biting his lip, eyes roaming over the area, he puts his hand on Kataro. "I need to speak with one of their representatives at some point. We should formalize some trade contracts to put a fortified trading post in a good location. Offer them a fair rate of taxes to fill their coffers…" He trails off, drumming fingertips on the surface of the desk. "What are your thoughts brother? Know what troubles might be hailing from Masud more specifically?"

Lorenzo lifts a brow and asks, "Whose, specifically?" He sips a bit more wine and considers his brother a moment longer before dropping his gaze back to the map. "I don't know many specifics, but prisoners are being taken and shipments are being confiscated should they be believed to heading into rebel arms." There is a slight tilt to his head then as he bounces a dark idea around in his head. "There could, of course, be opportunities to oust some of our competition in the area if we play into this." A dirty game this could turn into.

After another sip of wine, he reaches out to set his glass down. "What we need is more information in the area. I can coordinate communications with our vessels in that regard, but perhaps we should seek an audience with the Shah?"

Cosimo lets out a long breath, nodding slowly. "Tell you what, Lorenzo. Why don't you work with Salvatore and perhaps Benedicte." The Avicorsan's name might be an odd name to throw into the mix, but he has his reasons. "Try and talk to sailors as they come into port, find out more information. You are absolutely right that we can possibly rid ourselves of some competition in the area, but we will need more information should we wish to have any sort of audiences. I am more than willing to seek one, mind you, but I want to approach such a thing with information we can bargain with, things that will ingratiate ourselves, and Matora, to the Katorans."

Lorenzo does give a puzzled look, though it's a brief one. He's an eager beaver when it comes to these things, but will generally follow a more cautious route if it comes from Cosimo. "Of course, and I'll brief those loyal to the family to keep an ear to the ground when they're in the area." It's the least he could do. After all, knowledge is power and they may have a head start in learning how to deal with the possible rebellion. "What were you considering when I walked in?" he asks, one brow lifting in curiosity as he reaches for his wine again. "Please tell me you plan to send me somewhere exciting."

"Good, good." Cosimo says, nodding. He then points at the map. "I was studying the various trade routes we have going. I have concerns about some of the recent events, especially those mercenaries that caused trouble on our borders. Land-based trade may become more problematic in the near future, we need to perhaps have Garden's family provide us with some more ships in order to increase our sea routes. Should be far safer, though the troubles with Masud do complicate matters a little." He glances up at Lorenzo with a slight shake of his head. "Divines. It seems that each passing week presents us with new challenges. Let us hope we can solve some of these sooner than later. Particularly this Exiled Prince."

Lorenzo chuckles a bit at the comment, nodding as well in agreement. "We are involved in quite the state of affairs at present. You're right to be concerned about land-based trade. I would focus our eyes on Vinchia in that regard. Not only have they closed their doors on us, but the Order of the Boar was headed that way before House Sabastino fell on them. And they weren't the only ones. I smell more violence in the distance."

The young Gaspari looks less concerned about this than he should be. To him, these are exciting times! "What is going on with prince? I don't believe I made an impression on him, but he certainly has on me."

"Indeed, Vinchia is a concern. I tried to send some of our merchants there, but they were turned away and I was unable to learn anything of use." Cosimo says, shaking his head. "Have you learned anything else about Vinchia and what might be behind their current situation? I have to expect it is more than just the Order of the Boar. Something else is going on, and I would like to know what it is. We cannot have disarray within the City States if larger problems start rearing their heads."

He studies his younger brother for a long moment and then says, "The Prince was exiled, yes? Well Kataro wants him, the Eastern Empire closed their doors to him, and the Sisters are here to try and protect him. To be perfectly blunt. I would rather they protect them elsewhere. I don't care what the Sabastinos may gain from having such a prestigious visitor. His presence in this city will mean more problems for us the longer he stays. I am trying to see if we can pawn him off to Avicorse."

Lorenzo shakes his head when asked about Vinchia. "No, I wasn't able to find out much in that regard. Only that several companies were en route to Vinchia. If they're hiring on so many mercenaries, it would be wise to consider our martial capabilities, or those of our allies." This does carve a frown into his expression, but it doesn't last long as he considers the exiled priest some more. "Yes, it doesn't pay to have him around. Can we actually afford to be in the middle of so many squabbles?" That draws out a bit of laughter, because of course they prorbably can't. Not without careful planning and strategy.

"Curious. Maybe see if you can have Salvatore or Benedicte worm their way into the company of some fighting men and women and see what they can learn. I'll try to pass along the message to them as well." Cosimo glances at his glass of wine, sees there is some remaining, and then takes a sip. "Your question is one that keeps me awake, dear brother. The last thing I want is for Matora to be in the center of all of this. I want to trade, I want to make money. I don't want to have to be worrying about who might have grievances against us and want to try and make war." He puts the glass back down. "But we may need to prepare." A long pause. "Shit. See what you can do about outfitting a few ships with some smaller siege weapons from that Arbore fellow who Rossana will be marrying. He is supposedly a genious at such things. If we are to face some more military conflicts in the future, I would have us be prepared to load up weapons on some of our ships to support land campaigns, and to defend the city by sea."

Lorenzo notes these instructions and files them away, adding them to the list of jobs to do happily enough. For him, the more there is to do, the better. "Yes, I think arming the ships is a good idea, and I've been looking for the chance to speak more with Livino. I'm afraid I didn't make the best first impression." Though he admits this, he still wears his grin as a reminder that, although he does take things seriously, they're rarely ever considered dire. "Remember, brother, you and I have the same desire to see our family rich and prosperous. I'll do what I can to make it so, considering the circumstances."

"Eh. Take a bottle of wine from the cellars and go gift it to him. He can hardly hate you for such a gesture." Cosimo says with a slight grin. "Besides, we will have a closer relationship with the Arbore's soon enough, so mending fences is better done sooner than later, brother." His fingers wrap out a little tune on the desk as he nods, "Good, good. Yes, let us work on becoming more rich and prosperous. Then we can find you some nice foreign bride to come to us and help wrangle out yet another trade deal. Unless you find someone in Matora more to your liking who can provide us with some boons. If you do, do let me know. It would make my job easier."

Lorenzo lifts a finger into the air as he works on his wine. Swallowing it down, he smiles and says, "That's a brilliant idea. There's very little a good bottle of red can't smooth over." A chuckle at the thought. Then, the topic of marriage and a bride is broached. He nearly shudders at the thought. "Don't work too hard to wed me just yet. I have yet to find a woman at all who moves me in the way, say, Salvatore seems to be moved so often." He shrugs, though, a look of resignment on his face.

Cosimo grins. "I am sometimes known for coming up with brilliant ideas. Anyway, I can understand where you are coming from, and there's no real rush. Salvatore is up next anyway. Once Garden gets with child, the clock will begin ticking for Salvatore, I think. Don't tell him though. Let him enjoy his freedom while he can, yes?" Chuckling, he leans back in his chair and steeples his fingers in front of him. "Well it seems we have a plan of action moving forward. Oh, do see what other news and rumors you can pick up too while you can. I'd rather start hearing about things through people in our family than from dock-side chatter."

Lorenzo finishes his wine and sets the glass down. "I would never dream of breaking such news to Salvatore. That, dear brother, is your burden." He smiles and stands, picking up his ledger as he rises. "Leave the dockside chatter to me, I'm there frequently enough that little passes by without my hearing of it." Of course, this is in small part a boast, but not entirely untrue considering his job. "I'll take my leave now to see if I can't put in motions a few of these wheels before day's end. Good luck with whatever you find in our library."

"Ha. Excellent. Our dear brother should be surprised whenever he finds such news out, I think." Cosimo stands then, nodding as he slides the wine glass to one side. "Be well brother, I look forward to whatever else you find out about the events that seem to encircle Matora." He watches his brother leave, looks to the map once more, then sighs as he sits down to pen a missive to one of his fellow Conte's. He probably should arrange a meeting or two.

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