Another long and gruesome night. It seems that normal has become fighting for our lives in various, well actually, wherever we go these days. After that awful fight in the brothel and dealing with Antonio I just want a hot meal and a warm bed. Hmm Rosa’s is oddly quite. Please Lord don’t tell me she has been taken or even killed.
As we enter it seems Rosa is still in one piece but all of her “friends” are gone. But she does have someone with her and he does not look like any philosopher I’ve ever seen. Rosa begins by asking us questions about the street urchin that helped us locate her. She wants to know if we found him. After telling her no she seems to press the issue and we tell her what we have been doing and assure her we have not even looked for him yet. Once she seems satisfied with our answers she walks over to a table with something on it, covered by a sheet. When she reveals what is under the covering we are all shocked to see the street kid with the imprint of a hand burned into his face.
It seems Rosa thought one of us may have burned the hand print into him. But from the the look of shock on all of our faces she seems to realize we had nothing to do with it and relaxes a little. I finally realized that we have been discussing all of this in front of Rosa’s companion. So I ask “Rosa, who is your friend?” She introduces him as Valentino Montesino, a member of the city guard. We explained that was the same mark we saw on the man that was guarding Dante Alighieri in Florence. The mark was on his chest but still much the same burnt hand.
Valentino offers to take us around the city and show us what has been going on lately. Apparently things are really heating up between Cangrande Della Scala and Lord Cavil’s supporters. He also told us that Lord Cavil’s wife and young son seem to be missing but his daughter still resides at the main house. We were all tired and still a bit shocked by the boy so we asked if he could take us tomorrow. He agreed and took his leave.
Rosa told us we were going to have to decide if we wanted to stay here and try to figure out what is going on and perhaps clear our names or move on to another city or even country. She also told us it is not safe to stay with her anymore. I wanted to cry She did say she had a safe place for us for the night but that we may not like it very much. Everyone agreed that we would rather stay here no matter what the accommodations, then try to hide on the streets or at an inn. Inns bring us nothing but trouble anyway. So she led us down a very old staircase which eventually led to our quarters for the night. As I left the narrow stairwell I realized we were in a CRYPT!! I just look around stunned but resigned. Rosa leaves and tells us not to go up the other set of stairs as that leads to the Cavil’s main house. Of course it does!
Ettore seems even more distressed than I am, which is saying a lot. He seems to be a bit off center with the fact we have to spend the night in a crypt. I am a bit surprised by his reaction seeing how he has become as bloodthirsty as Nizar lately.
I find a place to lay down, but sleep does not come right away…
Good Lord, what have I done to deserve this. I was a good little girl, okay maybe not perfect but I listened to my parents, mostly. I don’t think I have done anything bad enough to warrant life on the run and sleeping in crypts. I want my family back. I want to be home in my warm feather bed with mein Vater kissing my forehead as I drift off to sleep
I awoke the next morning with a backache and a sense of hopelessness. I have no idea what we are going to do to get out of this mess. Our only hope is that Antonio comes through for us and we can some how figure out what is going on with the Cavil family. Although I am not sure how that will help us. It seems to me Cavil did all this to make his play against Cangrande and we just were the unwilling patsies that walked into his plan and helped it right along. Then there is Cardinal Durante who wants Dante for writing his book. I am sure they are in league with the devil because the man tracking us is leaving burned hands upon anyone we contact. Oh and let us not forget the matter of the Corvo’s. Are they still after us? Does Donato Dell’Aqui know where we are? If he does would he actually bother to follow us all the way here.
How did I get here?
Ettore seems to have disappeared. Nizar, Dominic, and Fredrich seem to be a bit worried. All I can think about is getting out of this crypt. As we are heading up Ettore comes back down babbling something about a man with a dagger…he seems awfully upset for someone who is in one piece and has not been threatened with any harm. I suppose this is what boys go though when they become men. Sometimes they are tough and sometimes they are still little boys.
We make it back up and Rosa is there to greet us. She has a note addressed to me that came by raven. Before I can even read it Ettore starts rambling again. Maybe the stress of things is starting to get to him. He has certainly been a bit off in the head the last couple of days. Or maybe it’s still the boy, man thing. Is this the man or the boy? He certainly is mad about something that does not concern him.
While Ettore is ranting about the evils of Rosa reading a message addressed to me I pick up the note and read it to myself. The color drains from my face. I read it again, this time out loud and then I notice who it is from and I am elated. “I am dead! I am dead!” I shout as I dance around waving the note. The others give me a curious look and I explain it is from Antonio and he has come through for us. Finally some good news. Maybe we can walk around the city without the big angry Arab giving us away every place we go
Rosa tells us how she intercepted the raven at the inn where we told Antonio to contact us. The innkeeper is dead and he has the same burn mark on him. Outstanding! More trouble and more people dead because of us. How will we ever get out of this mess? Apparently Nizar’s only concern to this news is the well being of the raven that delivered the note. Oh no I hope he’s not cracking up too. Dominic is already a little off and Ettore seems to be in some sort of man/boy struggle. Only Fredrich and I are still holding it together.
Ettore is still blabbering on about the note and seems to think I called him a child. When he acts like this who can blame me. I try and explain what I meant but he just keeps rambling on. I hope he figures out how to be a man soon. This whining is getting tiresome.
It seems Valentino arrived. Thanks goodness now maybe we can focus on something important.
Valentino is going to take us around the city today. He decides the coliseum is the best place to show us what we need to know. Before we can get there we see Cangrande Della Scala coming down the street. I am so frighted I hide behind Fredrich and try to make myself as small as possible. Wait! What are they doing? They are firing at the men attacking Cangrande. Oh my Lord we are all going to jail again. After several deep breaths I manage to summon up the courage to begin playing to help my friends. I try to sing but the words won’t come so I just play. My fingers are shaking so badly I can barely pluck the right cords. I can do this, I can do this After what seems an eternity the battle is over and Valentino is speaking with Cangrande. He actually doesn’t seem to pay any attention to us at all!! It seems Valentino had to assist so the others felt this might buy us some good will with the very scary Cangrande. I am not sure it worked but at least we are not in jail. I will call that a win.
We manage to get the coliseum and Valentino points out many different families and who they are siding with. He also shows us the Cavil house where the Lady Cavil and her son should be staying. They have not been seen in a long time. We decide that we should find out what has happened to her. Perhaps it will help us figure out why Cavil has decided to make a move against Cangrande.
Many different ideas are discussed but the one everyone is leaning toward is breaking in and questioning the servant. Well I know what THAT means. Nizar will kill her once we are done. I just can’t bear the thought of it so I suggest that I dress up and pretend to be a noble from another house. I will knock on the door and ask to see Lady Cavil and then find out what I can. I reassure Nizar that if I fail he can always beat the poor woman to death at a later time.
After squeezing a few silver out of the stingy man I go about making myself look presentable. First order of business, get some clothes that did not come off a street urchin. Next a bath. I found a brothel that offers this service and I spent about an hour getting the grime off me. Then donning my clean garments I went about the real shopping. After 2 shops and 45 minutes of searching I found a beautiful yellow dress. It is simply perfect. They had a matching yellow ribbon for my hair too! Off to the cobblers to find the perfect pair of shoes. Oh the cobblers wife was very helpful in picking just the right ones. They remind me of a pair mein Vater got me on one of his trips. Now some jewelry and a bit of powder for my face. Now to really clean up and get ready. Off to a different brothel this time. I make sure the water hot and scented. Now this is how a bath should be. I sink into the hot tub and this time I pay the servant girls to bathe me. They are very good and soon have me looking and feeling better than I have in months. I pay them to have my hair done and then tip all the girls a little extra keep my visit to themselves. I let it slip that I am going to meet a gentleman and his family would not approve of me.
Feeling fairly confident that no one will be looking for me dressed like this I take the main roads to Lady Cavil’s house. I walk up and knock on the door and wait. I was beginning to think no one was home when the servant answered. I introduced myself as Delicia Della Torre and asked to speak to Lady Cavil. She seemed to have a nervousness about her when she was telling me that the Lady and her son had left town to travel abroad and would not be returning soon. As I peered into the house beyond the woman, I noticed some oddities. The house was sparsely furnished and very dusty. There were no candles about the place to light the way in the dark. It felt as if the only one living there was this servant woman.
I reported what I found out to the others and Nizar seemed to feel as if the woman knew more than she was telling. I am not very good at sensing these things so I can’t say for sure. I just no she seemed nervous. We still were not sure how to proceed so we decided to go talk to Antonio that evening to thank him and pay him the rest of his money. We found him without incident and I made the final payment to him. I told him we might be willing to pay for any useful information about the Cavil’s or specifically the daughter or the wife and son.
We are left with deciding our next step.