(2018-05-16) Troubles of the Day
"Likely my youngest brother will be the first one ready to burden the responsibility, so perhaps when that time comes, we can have such a discussion. I, for one, would welcome closer ties to a family that has such a firm grasp of finances and foreign trade."
nicolo alessandro 
CountingHouse.jpg
Summary:
Conte Nicolo d'Albrici and Conte Cosimo di Gaspari meet to discuss the difficulties of current events.
Related:
Misc Info:
There was more to this, but that way led to secrets…
cosimo 

The Golden Ledger is a place for business; nearly all Albrici business is conducted there, though not all business conducted there is Albrici business. It is an elegant three story stone building tucked away in the trade center of Matora. There are always guards at the doors, for technically the Ledger allows only those who are members or have a referral from a member — but of course, this does not apply to the senior members of the Great Houses.

On the first floor, the counting house is laid out as a series of square desks, all hard darkwood gilded with polished brass. People are meeting, speaking in hushed tones, writing. Scribes are provided, as are people able to provide other services. This is not a restaurant, though refreshment — both food and drink — are served on demand.

Upstairs there are a series of offices for more private meetings, some small, some large. It is to one of those offices — a large one — that the Conte di Gaspari and his retinue are led.

Inside this office, there is a larger table set with wine, fruit, cheese and bread, and a stack of paper and ink nearby. In the offices, the dark wood is gilded in gold, the chairs a very comfortable soft leather, and in one such chair sits the Conte d'Albrici, awaiting his appointment.


And off to one side, stands Alessandro Nocera, awaiting the Conte's appointment, a leather-wrapped portfolio in one hand with some papers within, reviewing them quietly. He seems almost entirely lost to his reading, but that doesn't mean that he is not aware of the approach of others, and when the door opens, he tucks the papers away, wrapping the thin leather strap around the sheaf once more, and setting them off to one side for further review at a later time.


Cosimo is shown to Nicolo's office, but before he enters the large office, he issues instructions to his retinue to stay put elsewhere, and he enters the office alone, a small smile formed upon his lips, and a bottle nestled under one arm. "Conte d'Albrici, so good to see you. I hope business for the bank is proving to be quite lucrative for you and your family." The smile widens for a brief moment. He sketches a small bow, straightens and momentarily grabs a hold of the back of one chair, eyes scanning the office and spotting Alessandro. He offers the man a faint nod.

He returns his attention to Nicolo. "I wanted to speak with you about business in fact, but first let me present you with this gift from my wife and I." Leaning forward, he holds the bottle out to the other Conte. "A bottle of Avicorsan wine, I believe you will enjoy it, it is one of my favorites."


As the door opens, Nicolo rises and returns Cosimo's bow with one of his own, deferring exactly as much as was done to him, with a light smile rising to his features. "The scales continue to balance, Conte di Gaspari; the bank and the family are well. Welcome back to the Ledger, it is indeed, good to see you as well. I trust your family is well?" He steps around the table to reach for the bottle, looking at it with open admiration. "Ah, I have not had this vintage, I do not think. Shall we share the bottle now, or should I save it; what do you suggest? Please convey my appreciation to your wife." He turns and gestures to Alessandro, "Do you know my Seneschal, Alessandro Nocera? He manages our trading concerns, and assists with managing the bank." The secondary business of Albrici.


Alessandro's own bow of greeting to the Conte di Gaspari is practiced and proper to the man's station before he rises once more as Nicolo introduces him. He remains off to one side, a polite smile upon his lips that is echoed in dark eyes. He does not speak, however, instead deferring to the two noblemen, his attention given to their conversation. Observant and watchful, he seems content to listen.


"Well enough, Conte. Well enough. My brothers continue to pursue their interests for the time being. Some day soon they will have to come to terms with the fact that they cannot remain single forever though." Cosimo grins at this, amused at the very idea of one brother in particular being saddled in a marriage arrangement. "We can have a glass now, if you'd like, Conte, and your good Seneschal should join us as well." Another nod is given to Alessandro. "Speaking of trade, that is indeed one point of business that I would like to talk about. Undoubtedly you have heard about this business with Vinchia, yes?"


Nicolo moves over to settle into a chair, setting the bottle down and glancing at Alessandro with a slight smile and gesture to the bottle, wordlessly asking him to pour and then join them; the man is no servant, but in these meeting rooms there is generally no servants. The offices are meant for meetinigs where privacy is of the utmost importance. "Well, I have a few sisters…" suggests the Conte d'Albrici with a sly smile on the matter of brothers intent on the life of a bachelor. "Yes." His expression is a little bit grim, "It is concerning, this budding trade conflict. The disruption is unwelcome to my ledgers; we of course do a great deal of business in Vinchia."


There is a glance toward Cosimo for a moment, at the mention of his brothers. Though when he is invited to join them, he moves to retrieve glasses from a sideboard and sets them down, pouring the wine for their guest first, and then for the Conte, and then his own last, presenting one to each after the wine has had a moment to breathe. The wine is then set aside but near at hand so that the glasses might be refilled as desired. He acquires a seat for himself and sets it off to one side of Nicolo's. The mention of Nicolo's sisters draws a slight involuntary uptick of a smile at the corner of Alessandro's lips which he manages to quell after a hair's breadth of a moment. Though as things turn to business, he grows more serious once more, settling with his glass to one side and turning his full attention to the topics at hand.


"Likely my youngest brother will be the first one ready to burden the responsibility, so perhaps when that time comes, we can have such a discussion. I, for one, would welcome closer ties to a family that has such a firm grasp of finances and foreign trade." Cosimo says, nodding faintly. Alessandro earns another nod when the glass is offered, and he takes it, breathing in the scent of the wine before taking a small sip. "Admittedly, I have had my own disputes with the Kingdom of Avicorse, but some of their nobles in the south do produce good wine."

Finally taking a seat, he nods as the Conte expresses his concern for the trade conflict. "It is concerning, I agree. I sent some of my merchants to the city on the pretenses of selling some goods from abroad, but the gates were shut to them. To add to my general concern, there was that recent business with those mercenaries who had to be confronted by our own ventura." A small pause. "And if that wasn't enough, now ships to and from the east are being stopped and searched as well. Which brings me around to this exiled Prince. Have you any opportunity to speak with him and hear him out?"


"I look forward to the day when your brother is ready, then, Conte." As Nicolo takes his wine, he swirls the wine in the glass for a moment, and he too takes a few moments to taste its scent, before actually tasting the wine itself. "I have no disputes with Avicorse, myself; disputes are bad for business, I find. They limit opportunities. That said, I would certainly entertain investing in this product's increased export. It really is quite good." He shakes his head slowly, sharing a glance with his Seneschal, asking them both, "Do we know what is causing this tension with Vinchia? Not what it is but why? I have been occupied negotiating a new relationship with an interest in the Divine Empire." He then wrinkles his nose slightly, "And no, that has also kept me from attending this Prince. That I have kept more of a watch on, however. I admit I am not well pleased that he has taken refuge within a Sacario House. Have you spoken to him?"


Alessandro doesn't actually take his seat until after both of the Conte's have taken theirs, of course. Until then he remains by the chair with glass in hand, which he lifts and takes a sip from as the conversation on marriage continues, his attention deeply captivated by the wine, a fine vintage indeed. The mention of the ships being stopped draws a slight nod from him; being so involved with the imports, exports and trade routes of their own interests, he was aware of that state of affairs, and there is some concern evident in his expression. When Nicolo asks regarding the why of the tension with Vinchia, he shakes his head slightly, and only then does he speak. "Not the particulars, no, though I had heard about the ships being searched — but not for what, in particular."


"Oh, I agree. I may have my issues with Avicorse, but I do not let that keep me from pursuing business opportunities that can make me money. Also why I ended up marrying an Avicorsan as well. Lucrative business opportunities." Cosimo says, taking another sip of his wine while flicking his gaze towards Alessandro, and then back to Nicolo. "No, I am unaware of exactly what Vinchia is doing. This troubles me more than I would like to admit. I am having some members of my house attend to this matter to see what they can find out."

Letting out a breath, he shifts slightly in his chair to better face both men at once. "Let me be a bit forward with the both of you. Often times, information is best kept among oneselves as it can lead to lucrative business dealings. I know this, you both know this. It's how business is done. However, I believe we are heading towards some troubled times, and I think it imperative that some relationships be formed in order to better serve Matora as a whole." He looks to Nicolo and then to Alessandro, ensuring he has their attention before continuing on. "The Prince is currently being housed by the Sabastinos. So yes, a Sacario house, though I don't view this as a Sacario versus Caroligio type of issue, rather a Matoran issue. The Prince is a problem and we need to get him out of the city. The reason he is in Exile is because he seemingly had an inappropriate relationship with a Sister of Concordance. This has upset the Katorans, who want him dead. The Eastern Emperor wants nothing to do with him as well."


Nicolo reaches out to snag a slice of bread, and spread some soft cheese on it before he settles back. After washing a small bite down with his wine— using this time to think— the Conte d'Albrici inclines his head slowly, "On the matter of the Vinchia, I personally find that issue more pressing then the Prince, but that might be my own biases in play. It is not my natural inclination to do things in order to ease the minds of the Katorans. On the contrary, if they wish this Prince dead, I must admit a certain amount of favor for the man. Of course…" He shrugs, "…not so much that I would aide him if it would put Matora in jeopardy. Do you suspect the Katoran Empire will take steps against us for offering the Prince refuge?"


There is no lack of attention on Alessandro's part. He clearly has a vested interest, both in the ships and in trade — and when merchants can't trade, that doesn't do well for his portfolio. He gives a nod of his head though, about having people looking into it. He doesn't seem averse to the Conte being forward, either. Instead, he seems only more engaged for the forthright thoughts offered by the Conte di Gaspari. There's an involuntary twitch at the mention of the Katorans, a flicker to his expression that might belie his own opinion on the topic, but he keeps it to himself. His nod in concordance with Nicolo's statements seem to indicate that his thoughts are in sync with that of his Conte, and his curiosities the same.


"I am in agreement that the matters in Vinchia require more immediate attention, but there are Sisters of Concordance already in the city, and they have been looking for the Prince. Fortunately, these Sisters seem to want to protect the man, but can we expect future Sisters to have such beneficial viewpoints? Who can say." The Gaspari Conte rolls his shoulders in a shrug. "Speaking only for myself, I don't know that I would be feeling especially hospitable to people harboring an enemy of mine. Or think of how the ladies in the city might react if they were unable to obtain any more silks?" A faint smile crosses Cosimo's features, but it's hidden behind his wine glass as another sip is taken. "Honestly, what troubles me the most is how these things all seem to be happening all at once. Troubles involving the east, troubles involving our immediate west. Troubles are bad for business. I prefer peaceful neutrality and the pursuit of more and more profit, personally."


Nicolo arches a brow a moment, looking at the Conte di Gaspari for a long moment, "The Prince had an inappropriate relationship with a Sister, and there are Sisters in the city… seeking to protect him? There is something to this story that does not make sense to me." He shakes his head, "No, I don't expect the Emperor would be pleased with us, but there is a difference between ill will and active hostilities— or hurting his own financial interests. Still, besides he novelty of annoying the Katoran's, I see no benefit to us to host the Prince. Therefore, unless anyone can come up with such a benefit, he must go." There's a questioning glance at Alessandro. He nods his head to the other Conte, "I agree, peaceful neutrality is generally a better environment for business, that said: there are always opportunities to be found as situations change. The Vinchian merchants have withdrawn, that means there are now products that they once provided that are in demand but not available. Now, should someone wish to risk a venture to provide alternative sources of those products, they will find the bank looking favorably upon those investments."


When Nicolo looks over toward him, it's clear that the Seneschal is of two minds on the topic as he tilts his head slightly one way and then the other. However, logic and business wins out over his own feelings about the Kataro Empire, "I see no particular purpose in our hosting this exiled Prince unless doing so would afford some benefit, and thus far I don't see where we would benefit from his presence — where we clearly will benefit by not raising hostilities where there currently are none. Whatever he did with the Sisters, they seem to have a vested interest in his well being; they coul take him in."


It's about then that there comes a knock at the door, with some business that needs attending. So that the Contes are not disturbed, Alessandro rises to address the matter, giving both men a polite and respectful bow before withdrawing.


Alessandro leaves, heading towards the TinyPlot Rooms [O].


Alessandro has left.


Cosimo spreads his hands, careful to keep the glass held with one of them. "Do not ask me, Conte Nicolo. I was as surprised to hear about the whole situation when I first heard it as you are now. Something else is at play there, and I don't particuarly like it. What I do know is the Emperor of the Eastern Empire has no love for this man, so any benefits he might have provided us with improved relationships to that nation don't exist." Though it sure doesn't hurt to also undermine a Sacario every once in a while, but that doesn't need to be said. Finishing his wine, Cosimo places the empty glass down and rests his arms on the armrests of the chair, steeping his fingers in front of him. "There is one other matter, though I ask you to hear me out. In fact, I think the void in the market of Vinchian goods might afford some opportunities for what I have been considering as well."


…. fades out ….

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