Chapelwood: Opilio transfers his old flock and some choice cuttings from his old vineyards to the owner’s demesne on the Chapelwood Estate. A small house has already been erected for his family to stay in, with plans to expand it to a larger “squire’s house” over the autumn. He makes it known that any second sons and other hardworking men and their families who don’t stand to inherit can come and see him for a parcel of land to work in the coming spring.
Opilio offers to go hunting with Andelac Borsari, but Andelac’s wife remains wary of the idea. The disposition of the dryad Quercinnarra towards hunters in the wood is uncertain. Alesci Tyliel keeps a correspondence with Ambira, and visits Chapelwood for two weeks in Kolvoar, where they spend hours each day in (chaperoned) conversation.
At the end of Alesci’s visit, Opilio throws a large harvest festival. Ettorio travels from Cinquedea to take part, attended by Carpa (who has received explicit instructions from Bessari to keep a good eye on her fiancé). During the festival, Alesci and Ambira finally make up their minds, and Alesci informs the Chapelwoods of his formal intentions.
By the end of autumn, thanks to the expenses of building a home, contracting servants and throwing a sizable festival, and by refusing to raid Ambira’s dowry for some of the payoff, Opilio has comfortably begun the landowner’s slide into debt.
Blackharvest Reclaimed: A Chanethi priest (a strong, raggedly handsome woman in her early 30s by the name of Hedera Threevines) and three acolytes arrived during the group’s stay in Cinquedea. They have been hard at work cleansing and preparing the befouled Blackharvest Chapel for reconsecration; they camp in the structure. They are friendly, but fraternize little with Opilio and the locals, wanting to have their work finished by spring.
Ettorio Courting: With the negotiations with Rasselo reaching a suitable point, Ettorio begins formal courtship of Bessari Rovino. Bessari proves a playful, receptive, and surprisingly insightful target for his attentions, though he still must conceal a level of awkwardness regarding his family’s intentions. As he gets to know Bessari, he discovers that although she is not quite an adventurous sort, she has a shrewd financial mind, and helped her family immensely by careful auditing of the house expenses.
He spends his idle time carousing, drinking with friends and allies, engaging in philosophical discussions at the Bridemaid’s Tear, and corresponding with Opilio and Vesper.
Ettorio quietly makes inquiries into Marvino’s father-in-law, and learns that sailing ships are indeed expensive; ten thousand reganti is a fair rate for a pair of ships of this particular class. Master Batholus was likely foolish to commission two at once, even with the discount he received from the Barcamir for purchasing two rather than one. He had been turning an excellent profit on his one ship, but his ability to make regular payments without that ship is deeply in question.
Carpa begins training as an official valet for an Iluni of Ettorio’s standing, and begins to draw a formal salary. As negotiations with the Rovino continue, Ettorio suggests that at some point, Carpa may need to hire an assistant, someone to help him with his duties.
Plague Apples: Of the Cinquedean residents named in Clyressa’s ledger, Palisax and Lossifo are sentenced. Paretta Avicca (who apparently used an apple to kill her husband and his mistress) and Gocho Pulsciri (who allegedly poisoned a bard paying court to his daughter) remain out of the reach of the law. These last two become topics of conversation at the Bridesmaid’s Tear, as the Veils chat idly about “abuses of power and station.”
The defrocked priest Ortifo is murdered on Gallows Night (Kolvoar 30), and a blood-smeared gold coin is found in his pocket. The Veils theorize that the Red Tithe may have found a fallen priest of the Higher Nine a tempting offering to their Queen of Knives.
With Calcarro functionally immune to prosecution (and possessing an arguable right to the plague-apples by way of investiture), the remaining sources are the Discreet Brethren (presumably the wererats allied with Fair Clyressa) and the Chelindran merchant Sacrador.
Ettorio learns a few things of Sacrador:
- He is a smuggler by trade, dealing in illicit exotic goods such as drugs, poisons, peculiar weapons and the like.
- He has friends in Cinquedea and Redoris, the swampy port “City of Sins” of Raggavante; he may also trade with Scarpedra and other ports.
- His ship, the Slippery Eel, is reputedly the fastest on the Saanwater; it is a modified Barracuda-class, formerly of the imperial Mako Fleet. It is assumed the Chelindran Empire is not happy with him.
Vesper’s Research: Vesper spends some time delving into the unhappy history of House Vargari, from the legends surrounding their rise to the vicious feud with House Vycalaca and the bloody horror that precipitated their fall. Old maps pinpoint the House seat of Wolftowers in the lost principality of Lamosca. Other holdings dot the boundary between Maviolo and Lamosca, with a few in unclaimed and neglected sections of Maviolo. The Lucovol Villa stands out to her, a now-haunted ruin that was once home to Styriax and Alorem.
As far as the disposition of Prince Lazzaretta is concerned, it seems to be an uncertain question. The Prince has a history of condemning adventurous blades who stir up the ancient Maviolan dead, yet her ties with House Sespech seem to indicate that she is much more amenable to those who can reliably lay the angry dead to rest. It is uncertain that she would have much confidence in the Vargari – particularly given their reputation – but her reticence may not be insurmountable. One possible ally in the Prince’s court is the spartoi Captain Argonest, who is prone to more favorably regard competent warriors. Vesper corresponds with the Cinquedean Vargari regarding these findings.
Secordis Ossomont’s notes mention nobody by the name of Salzar. There is, however, some record of his travels in Invicci, where he and his colleagues (including Ramilante) brought the infernalist Taribolto to justice. If the doppleganger assassin from the Red Tithe and Salzar both learned the art of shadow-stitching in Cinquedea, then perhaps Salzar may have been tied up in this affair.
Vesper’s Birthday: Vesper turns 18 on Rathender 11. Her mother sends her a lovely letter full of good wishes. Peculiarly, she also receives a visit from Grandfather Sadavari, who commends her on her hard work and unflagging courage, and leaves a present of some very good port. Ettorio sends her a present as well.