“So, do we continue to banter for a while, or can I skip right to ‘what the fuck?’” — Ettorio Iluni
With one of the Prince’s favorites dead on the floor behind them, and the covert necromantic operation in shambles, the first item of business is the logistics of hiding the Cenotic Cask. Vesper opts to rent a small storage facility on the other side of town, and asks Carenza to delegate a couple of the Ladies to keep an eye on it.
Invista also has to go into hiding. Although she’d rather stand openly with the shrine, she agrees that it would be best to lie low until the duel, to give them the best shot of exposing and possibly crippling or even killing Ludovir. She vanishes into the lower-income portions of town, claiming to have allies there.
So it’s time to rest again. With one day left before the duel, Ettorio gets back to the process of information-gathering in an attempt to locate Vittorio. Unfortunately, Donatessa Miraglia doesn’t seem to be a morning person, nor do her associates. He does discover that she has withdrawn from her recent opera, leaving her role to an understudy, claiming some form of illness.
As Ettorio is taking a break at an open-air cafe, a very eccentrically dressed person chooses the table next to him. The gentleman is dressed largely in yellow, and has either dyed half of his blond hair black or half of his black hair blond. A pair of halflings wearing black and white livery attend the gentleman, and a gnoll in warrior’s gear and a yellow cravat stands watch over him. The fellow gabbles with the server for a minute, then strikes up a sudden conversation with Ettorio and invites himself to the Iluni’s table.
“Cravino D’Ambergia,” he says in a self-satisfied tone. As the other customers turn back to their own business — perhaps aided by the level, assessing stare of the gnoll bodyguard — Cravino lowers his voice a bit. “And how are things with you, cousin?”
“Wait. What did you say?”
Looking past the blond facial hair, Ettorio recognizes Vestiri. He quietly interrogates his cousin. Vestiri claims to be in town on business, and that the D’Ambergia disguise is eccentric enough that few people even question it. The halflings — “Salt” and “Pepper” — are no ordinary servants, and the gnoll “Mustard” helps to keep people from looking too closely.
“I believe I mentioned that I did work for Prince Cortifo.”
“You did. And I was under the impression it was a singular event.”
“Did I imply that? Dear me.”
Vestiri explains that he hasn’t been in town very long, and that he’s mostly working to counter the Prince’s spymaster Helsperia. He mentions that he’s already discovered a troubling thread. He suspects that House Miriadis is building a case of infernalism to use against the group, and if they have Vittorio, he would make a fine key piece of evidence. He wishes his cousin the best of luck, and then gathers Salt, Pepper and Mustard and departs. Ettorio returns to the others, and informs them of the new wrinkle in their intrigues.