Shessender 2720-Weyrun 2721
Chapelwood: While work continues on expanding the Chapelwood main house, Opilio’s family and a pair of servants are comfortably ensconced in the completed section. Opilio and Dechera aggressively embarrass their daughter with expectations of an ongoing stream of grandchildren. Ambira copes by spending more time over at the Borsari Estate, apparently finding kindred spirits in the Borsari daughters. Ivella is perhaps a little jealous that Ambira is now affianced to a swashbuckler while the dashing young half-elf that rescued her has returned to the arms of his city lover. Still, they apparently find much to talk about, and Ambira spends many a long day and evening at the neighbors’.
The Black Veils: Ettorio continues to socialize with the Black Veils, and more: sparring with Giancapri, who is a skilled knife-fighter himself; drinking with Rutesse, who shares a few poisoner’s tricks on what to look for; speaking metaphysics with Corveri, who knows a thing or three about living shadow. As he gradually becomes more accustomed to their morbid but not heartless ways, Ettorio volunteers to aid them in one of their assignments.
They select Gocho Pulsciri as the target: the wealthy Pulsciri who poisoned a bard for the crime of paying court to his daughter. Ettorio is offered a role as bait, engaging Gocho (while disguised, of course) and leading him into a place of danger, where the Pulsciri may suffer an accident, imbibe something that disagrees with him, or even simply fall on a knife.
Hunting in Maviolo: Vesper’s letters to the Vargari clearly take root. At autumn’s end Kosvach and Tarvana arrive in Maviolo with the intention of hunting some of the worst bandits that lurk in the far woods. They also bring Vesper a present, a black-and-silver swordbelt with twin wolf head motifs — a sign that the Vargari trust her with the blade of their forebear. Kosvach notes that Alesci is perturbed he was left behind, but the Vargari siblings deemed him not yet ready for actively seeking life-and-death swordplay. Vesper requests to go with them on their hunt. The three work well together, and end the career of the murderous Riloz the Razor. After Evernight, the Vargari return to Cinquedea.
The rest of the winter Vesper spends in study, further researching necromantic projects that are as yet beyond her. She keeps a distanced eye on House politics, remaining aloof from the three potential factions building to supplant Grandfather Sadavari when his time comes. In turn, her cooperation with the Vargari seems to be largely viewed as a personal project, though a few wonder if she is planning to promote larger House-to-House political ties.
The Ladies-in-Waiting: During the winter, the Duchess confronts Carenza privately about some of the rumors she’s heard. There are some similarities to their new member and the firebrand that reputedly lit a fire inside House Rovino, then quenched it with a visit to the Prince.
Clearly impressed by Carenza’s ability and reminding her of her oath to the Ladies, the Duchess tells Carenza the secret of the gang. As the oath hinted, the gang name is not entirely an affectation – the Ladies are indeed waiting for someone, the return of someone they refer to as “their Queen.” They have been waiting for generations, and the Queen is largely legend to the gang (many of whom don’t even know of the tale) – but the Duchess believes.