“I’m going to the Estate. If you want me to get the medusa out of your pocket you’re welcome to come along.” — Vesper Sespech
Vittorio drops by the Vargari compound for breakfast. There Vesper and Carenza are discussing the days ahead with Rodivar, Inyavka and their three children. The conversation wanders through the various threads leading to Brassado — the Vycalacas, Vico and the Fisher Knights, the likely plots of House Miriadis. More immediately, Vesper is determined to travel to Lucovol Villa and undo the blood curse there. This topic causes some frustration among the Vargari. Although it’s clear nobody of Vargari blood should visit the villa before it’s cleansed, it’s also clear that none of them are happy with the situation.
During the meal, Inyavka says little, focusing on Carenza with a raptor’s eye. Perhaps uncharacteristically, the mercenary doesn’t challenge the Vargari matriarch. Carenza actually seems somewhat modest and nervous under Inyavka’s gaze. But whatever tension may exist at the table, Vittorio notices (or cares) much more than Tarvana does.
Again the Vargari make the offer of one of their pledges. Again the three choose Brosetta; Vittorio and Carenza are particularly taken with the half-orc bon vivant. They find her shortly after breakfast, and invite her along. Rosette accepts, of course, having another opportunity to distinguish herself.
Vesper spends the first part of the ride to the Sespech estate instructing Brosetta on the history of Lucovol Villa. She then goes on to explain that she wants to do the talking when they interview Savaquin. “Savaquin is smarter than anyone. Anyone. Even me.” She stresses that the prodigy is likely to be irritated by conversation he deems below him, and he doesn’t have much of a sense of humor. Carenza and Vittorio promise to behave.
They arrive at the Estate at midday. As they ride up and begin giving their mounts to the grooms, Brosetta picks that moment to ask Carenza, “Hey, so you’re banging Tarvana, right?”
Carenza turns on her, glaring furiously. “Shut up,” she growls under her breath.
“What? Why would you be embarrassed? Look at her.”
It takes a few minutes for Carenza to push Rosette into silence. The half-orc is seemingly impervious to intimidation, but eventually the Rovino’s sergeant glower triggers enough martial discipline that the brawler abandons the topic.
Vesper, paying as little attention to the two as possible, busies herself with her arrangements. She has a light lunch brought to the group, catches up with some of the latest Estate gossip, makes an appointment to talk to Savaquin, and spends some of the time before that appointment investigating the necromancy labs. By her estimation (and also that of Vittorio), the laboratory has what she’d require to be able to transfer the medusa into another vessel. The two agree that a silver hand mirror would be ideal for the purpose.
Savaquin meets Vesper and her associates in the Sespech armory. The armory is filled with unusual weapons, many of them unexceptional save for their age, which piques Vittorio’s curiosity. Each one, he decides, must have a story.
Vesper asks Savaquin about his interest in Cormarro Dusaam’s ring. The duelist responds that he owed Cormarro, and he pays his debts — a very necessary principle in his line of business. He had hoped to contact Cormarro’s spirit after the elementalist’s death, but had no luck when he tried in the Tower of the Heron. The signet ring would have served as an ideal focus to determine whether or not the Dusaam’s spirit is at rest. He asks Carenza to return the ring to him when she finds it. Carenza agrees, though she privately marks down dislike for the aloof necromancer.
Dinner at the Estate is almost mundane next to the recent meals at Salvina Villa. Brosetta chats openly with apprentices and cadet Sespechs, rambling through somewhat exaggerated tales of her and her friends’ exploits. Carenza and Vittorio keep their own company, and Carenza contents herself with fantasies of stabbing the insufficiently obsequious Savaquin. Vesper, on the other hand, attracts the attention of other ranking necromancers. Dellascura in particular speaks lightly of politics with Vesper. The politically ambitious mage eventually asks Vesper what she thinks of Savaquin, and how she’d feel about him being named Sadavari’s successor as House Grandfather. Vesper politely but clearly deflects the question: “I’m sure the House Grandfather will make the right choice.”
After dinner, Vesper retires to the laboratory to begin the rituals of spirit transference. Carenza chooses to go for a walk in the garden — an ideal choice, according to Vesper, given the ample constellas hung about. Vittorio spends the time visiting the Estate’s music room. He’s intrigued to discover that it’s stocked with a wide variety of musical instruments, many of which seem to be older models or precursors of modern forms. He studies the various instruments and browses the collections of old and mostly forgotten compositions. Before leaving, he slips a few sheets of music of his own design into the Sespech musical library — works celebrating and perhaps exaggerating the achievements of the Bladed Banshee.