- Dry Grass
- A Calming Breeze
- The Cruel Bright Sun
- Lazy Teens
- A Festival Remembering A Local Folk Hero And Their Adventures
- A Lonely Lute-Player
- Sweat-Soaked Clothes
- Carnival Games
- A Costume Contest
- A Farcical Play With A Raucous Audience
- Children With Noisemakers
- Lots Of Pranks
- Crops As Far As The Eye Can See
- Rusty Overgrown Weapons Of War
- The Scarecrow That Walked Away (folklore)
- Barnacle-Covered Rocks
- Sandy Coastline
- The Hubris Of The Warthog Captain (folklore)
- Tall Ramshackle Apartments
- Laundry Hanging From Windows
- The Truce Of The Three Gods (folklore)
“Heyia, gamberetto!” I heard someone says. It was Sabrinna Scoiattolo, from La Rosa Rossa. And I could see in the port, La Dolce Conigglio, the boat that brought me to Talmina almost two months before.
“Sabrinna!” I say, smiling
“Looks like you had a nice time after all. Heard what happened about Castello Porcinni? Hope you’ve had your answers before that happened.”
“Yeah, you can say this way! Ah, and this is Otello Lontrini, he gave me a ride to here. We had just arrived.” I say
“Yeah, that last farm was weird, that story about a buonnandanti di piagli, a walking scarecrow!” he says
“Heard about this one! Want the full story, gamberetto? Have some fresh polenta here, and the bumble pepperoni is fantastic!” she says, while his man was in aside the boat, playing cards or raucously playing songs
I just get inside, the boat locked to the port that connect Preccia to the river and the Sea. The La Rosa Rossa cook served us with a variation of polenta, fried and with some sauce, and some pepperoni, the spicy sausage so popular there. And there was some berry wine and grape juice too.
“So, it was a long time ago, in the time of the Signori, when the duchies principi and principesse fought each other for survival and dominance, before the Conigglia lineage risen to the Throne. Preccia wasn’t exactly one duchy, but a confederation of three duchies, or better, two duchies and La Chiesa, the Church, an old institution here in Talmina that has a belief that there’s only One God, they call Sacríssimo, the Most Sacred, and all the other gods are in fact entities, some goods, some evil, but all under Sacríssimo’s authority. But, it was when, in one of the Giorni del pasticcio at that time, some saw that strawman, walking all around. People thought it was a Commedia flick, but then another one came from the other duchy… And then, a third one, this one on a Fratello’s cassock, the suit of a Fratello, a Maestro from the Chiesa. And then, they looked to each other, like challenge themselves, and they sacked silver blades, and started to stab each other! And, in fact, no blood was drawn, except the one that was impregnated on the straw itself, paglia insanguinata, the Bloody Straw! This happened time and another for some years, always at the Pasticcio, and populace avoided it as much as its possible, fearing either the blades and pagila insanguinata, that was took as cursed since some people took them and got poisoned and died.”
“Wow!” I say
“It was when, the Last War started by the Porcinni against Talmina, and that happened more or less at the time of Pasticcio, and they feared that the Porcinni, or another warmongering Signori, sent assassins. But then, the three Strawmen came again, like in the past… But, that time, they got themselves in the Tripla Strada, the Triple Way, the point where Preccia city was split between Preccia, Old Leprione, and Chiesa territories. They stood each on one corner, looking each other, like before. But, this time, they did something weird: they took their silver blades, lifted than on a salute to each other, like calling old comrades and screamed ‘VIVA TALMINA! VIVA MARINA CONIGGLIA!’” she continues
“You see, Marina Conniglia was a Matronna, one of the most powerful kith in city, man or woman. And she was unaligned with all them: she was a Chiesina, a believer on Chiesa’s dogmas, but she wasn’t as strict as others, quite the contrary: she did lots of charity work and good work for everyone, no matter the God or gods they believed: “Il Sacríssimo gave us a Commandment: Il tuo vicino è importante quanto te, your neighbor is as important than thou. Me and my family will live under this tradition till The End of the Days!”
“But she wasn’t well cherished for the Leprioni, or by Preccian authorities, and some believe that they were co-conspiring with each other to take her life and blame the Chiesa” she says
“Talk about a lousy plan!” I say
“That it was, because, just when the Leprioni and the Preccian rose their forces against Marina, it was when the Porcinni came to invade Preccia, the Albionneri banners risen against us. And in the chaos of a three-team battle, the Buonnandanti di Paglia, as the Strawmen were called, rose the populace against either the Porcinni, the Leprioni and Preccian, and even against some Chiesini that was aside any of them! And they fought hard, the blood created the righe insanguinate, the Blood Lines, that split Preccia as it’s now. But the populace pushed them, even with this so big cost. The Principi and Maestri from Leprioni and Preccians were hanged, aside some that Martina explicitly pardoned and brought under her wings, almost literally as she was a big Matron hen. But, she wasn’t interested in the crown or in the throne, but on charity and Una Talmina Unita: she had saw enough pain all around during the Old Wars, and she wanted to unite Talmina, preferable under Chiesa’s banner, but otherwise if needed.”
“And it was when, the Supremo Fratelli, Supreme Brother, the biggest on Chiesa hierarchy, called Martina for a talk, and after some days confabulating, and calling some of the Leprioni and Precciani that survived all this, they instated a new lineage, with her young daughter, also called Marina, this one a real rabbit, instated as Queen with a Consort from the Leprioni and a Supremo Maestro from the Precciani. Since them, after the fall of the Porcinni, the Conniglia lineage is the one that commands Talmina. The crest on our banners shows this, the three colours from the Three Duchies: Orange, for the Leprioni, Yellow for the Preccian, and Red for the Chiesa, and for the Conniglia.” she says
“Well, sound like an incredible story… But do you think that the strawman we heard about could be a Buonnandanti?” I ask
“The legend says that, in times of crisis for Talmina in general and for Preccia in particular, the Buonnandanti would rise again, their silver blades ready to protect Talmina.” she says “Unfortunately, some 50 years ago, a group reinstated themselves on a corruption of this tradition, calling themselves Il Inquizittori, and they started to push away from Talmina everyone that, on their words ‘would not look upon the tradition of the Buonnandanti’ Spavalderia, I say: there wasn’t an unified Talmina from before the Conniglia! You can’t use this as an argument!” she says “And recently I’ve heard loads of weird rumors, about how some people wanted to break the peace from the Buonnandanti.” she says.
“Sounds like a problem.” says Otello “I mean, even for us, from Briatoli or Mugenna, Preccia’s stability means Talmina’s stability. And there’s still some old ladies that remember the Erano i Signori, the Age of the Signori.”
“And even more that people saw that Castello Porcinni had fell, people got this as an algurio, a portent from the gods. For good or ill, no one knows, but nothing happened to that part of Albionne since the Age of the Signori”. says Sabrinna
I felt a small shiver, and couldn’t be about cold: Devildays are the hottest time of the year, and I’ve never got it on a so hot place like here in the South at Talmina.
“Tii hot for you, gamberetto?” smiled Sabrinna, noticing my uneasiness on this hot place, serving me another glass of juice “Drink this one: we call this Acidittà. It’s made with all kinds of tar fruits, more or less like an non-alcoholic punch. It’s a little bitter, but with bumble honey and correctly iced, it’s incredible.”
I take the yellow-white-ish colored juice on the glass cup and take a gulp. Really, she was right: it was bitter on the start, but some seconds after it grew very refreshing!
“This is perfect! Need to take the recipe!” I say
“Are you becoming a gourmet?” she smile
“Nah… I’m just… Well, Scholars from the Furrow Heighs normally have an old Tome that you copy by hand from your Preceptor page by page, just when we start. But recently I lost my one and decided to do a new one, but with things I’ve learned from my journey” I say, but without saying her that as Arlecchino I destroyed it by myself when we toppled the old Superior Maestro from the Univercittà.
“Now… Let us find some place: it’s time of festivities here. Aside the Pasticcio it’s time of Cellebrazionne: it’s anniversary of Melina Conigglia’s Queendom. She’s daughter of Old King Salvio, son of Old King Rastelini, son of Old Queen Maressa, daughter of Old King Apolonio, son of the Oldest Queen Marina Conigglia… Normally is a mascherata, a costume ball. It’s not that expansive, and maybe you’ll learn a lot, gamberetto!” she says
“Hope this year I can go: it’s not that cheap though. Even the most cheap admission ticket is not that cheap. But think the crop was right enough to allow me some fun before getting back my farm.” says Otello
“I’ll try to find some money for this… Maybe selling some old stuff…“ I say to myself “Anyway…“ I say, when someone comes to us, under a very official clothes.
“Would any of you be Maestro Puffers Underhill?” says the kid, a mouse one, with a very innocent look, but on formal vests. The Royal Conniglia Crest was there, and he was using the symbol of the Chiesa, a caret simbol.
“It’s me… But I’m not a Maestro…“ I say
“I have an Convocazione Ufficiale from The Queen itself, Vossa Maestà Melina Conigglia. She Demands your presence to her Quarters at the time of the afternoon meal.” he says, producing a roll of parchment, and we see.
“Porca Misera! It has the Official Seal of the Queen!” says Otello “Who are you?”
“In fact, you’re not just a wanderer as you show us, Puffers.” replied Sabrinna
“Indeed, I’m not!” I think to myself, knowing that calling me Maestro implied know, or at least suspice, about what happened at Castello Porcinni.
But, there was no way to run: an official convocation from a high protectorate, no matter the place, shouldn’t be avoided without dire consequences. And I thought on Otello and Sabrinna, that could suffer retaliations.
“Alright… I’ll go. However, you need to understand I’m just a wanderer, and don’t have appropriated clothes to go in front of Vostra Altessa.” I say
“No worries. The Court can provide something suitable for your station…“ says the kid “In four hours you’ll be expected at Your Majesty Quarters.” he finishes, doing a greeting and turning away
“On the Majesty Quarters?” says Sabrinna “Sounds like Serious business!”
“What had you done? Who are you, Puffers?” asks Otello
I just shake my head, trying to understand what is happening.
As soon I could, I greeted Otello and Sabrinna and gone for the Castello Precciana, Precian Castle. I showed the Royal Convocation, and a local Seneschal ushered me inside to a room.
“We are already ready for you, Maestro. I hope you understand that Regina Conigglia shouldn’t be in front of any foul smells, like… You know.” said the Seneschal, a very mellifluous badger “Like my smell!” I would like to reply straight, but I’m well versed on Courting to know it would be a big blunder. Better to play the game until I understand what is happening.
He presented me with a small visitor room.
“You can leave all your effects here and collect them after your audience with La Regina. You are to clean yourself and make yourself presentable as the Maestro you are. You can use anything on the wardrobes that fits, and that will be you after all, as a demonstration of our respect for the time you provided for La Regina. Hope you are acquainted with the Court behavior.” he said
“Varst! What an old fart!” I thought “If you really took me for a Maestro perhaps you shouldn’t be so condescending!”
“I’ll be back in an hour, and a maid will came to help you.” said the Seneschal, before doing a greet and going.
I go straight for the bathtub, ready for me: it was like the one at Martina’s place, but so… Royal… On a bad way: everything so Regal, and so… Cerimonially artificial!
“I got too much time away from this kind of stuff, for good and ill. Got a little unaccustomed will all this protocol.” I say to myself, undressing myself and cleaning myself.
“Maybe, I should not let the Albionneri stuff here. So weird they calling me a Maestro. They should knew I was instated as Ultimo Albionnere Maestro if so!” I think, while cleaning myself. I’m not so comfortable to take time, so I bath and dry myself fast, and opened the wardrobe:
It was a festival of rich clothes, things that even my old Scholar stuff would be rags compared to them: colorful clothes, sober and nice looking cassocks, overcoats with bouffant shoulder pads, even the underwear was on rich fabrics and embroidements.
Anyway, I though on what a Maestro used based on my experiences with Univercittà, and chose, aside underwear, a nice maroon cassock, that I closed with a belt with a steel buckle. For the feet I got a pair of nice leather boots with buckles, a pair of long johns under the boots, over my feet and till my waist. I chose a darker maroon overcoat with not so bouffant shoulder pads, and took a beautiful dark red beret hat to cover my head.
“Oh, Signore Maestro.” I hear a squeaky behind me, and look a somewhat pretty mouse girl, almost a kid, that just got inside on maid clothes: a big heavy black dress, a frilly white bonnet with small holes for their ears, and a white pinafore. Her fur was white and brown, with some light brown snout and whiskers. “Sorry being so late to help you with your dressing. I’m Elena Ratiratta, one of the Regina’s Chambermaid.” she finishes with a curtsy.
- Elena Ratiratta, Mouse Chambermaid (She/Her)
- Still lacks experience on her job, but very loyal to the Queen as a chambermaid. Chiesina
- Crafty, Honest, Watchful
- Point out the truth everyone else has been ignoring.
- Propose an alternate approach.
- Point out something people missed
“My pleasure. Puffer Underhill, at your service!” I reply
“Oh, no! I’m on your service, Maestro. In Nome del Sacríssimo, I need to learn to respect my superiors.” she says
“And you’re doing pretty well. But, from where I came, those that are superiors on ranking also needs to be kind with those from below stations.” I say
“You’re as kind as wise, Maestro Underhill. But now, we need to go! La Regina Melina has very few time on their Quarters, and even fewer that she can speaks with those outside the Castle. Il Preceptore don’t like this kind of things.” she whispers, while ushering me gently outside the room.
“Just a minute.” I say, getting a small leather satchel and putting inside the proofs about what happened on Castello Porcinni: I don’t want this to be too far away from me, the journal, the sigil and the cloak. “Now we can go… And… About this Il Preceptore, it’s the old badger that brought me inside?”
“Yep… Maestro Antonnio Tassini is the old preceptor and Seneschal here at Castello Precciana, and also works a steward together with the Housekeeper’s chief Porpinella Porcospina…” she giggles and then put the hands over his mouth “Sorry, Maestro, I should not laugh on my superiors.” she says, looking to me, that was almost to laugh too
“Don’t worry: you still have lots to learn, and no one should blame you otherwise. Just learn that is her name, and there’s nothing that can done about this.” I say
“You’re so kind, Maestro, like Signora Porcospina. Maestro Tassini, otherwise, is so strict. He commands everyone and everything here like he was the Il Re! And… she shudders He doesn’t believe in the Sacríssimo like the Queen and me. Do you believe on Him?” she asks
- Antonnio Tassini, Castello Precianna’s Seneschal (He/Him)
- Mellifluous Badger with those superiors them him, it’s not nice with those below
- Royal, Cunning, Learned, Venerable, Proper
- Inflict your will on the world around you.
- Get somewhere you’re not supposed to be.
- Reference a text no one else here has read.
- Tell someone how they will repeat the mistakes of the past. If they want to prove you wrong, they’re going to need to spend a token.
- Judge something for its inappropriateness.
“Honestly, I don’t know how to reply: my people is a little faithless, so we normally doesn’t care too much for god or gods, as the North is so unforgiven that looks like we were forsworn by any god that could exists. However, I think there’s things we can’t learn by books or mind, but only by our experience. And I believe above everything on the goodness on kith, even some of them being the worst.” I say, trying to not offend her feelings and believes
“You’re kind.” she says “Perhaps Il Sacríssimo has something for you Maestro. Hope you have the answers that La Regina wants: you see, some says that she can see the future in dreams, but sometimes even her can’t understand them, when she consults Maestro Tassini about them. But, for some reason, this time she demanded you, saying she heard your name on a dream, something about Castello Porcinni.” she says “Had you saw the Castello? We heard recently it got in shambles, and that the old puzza di morte is no more.”
“I saw it, coming here, but it was already in flames. Looked like the land itself was being cleansed.” I say, putting a small lie on the bigger truth.
“Wow… Looks like something important, as Albionne was really accursed in the past because the warmongering of Principe Porcinni, everyone knows that.” she says, when we get to a lateral door, with the royal crest on it. She gave what looks like a special sequence of knocks, and then someone looks from a small trapdoor
“It’s me, Elena. With the Maestro.” she says
Without no speaking, the trapdoor closes and the door opens.
“Welcome, my dear Maestro!” says a nice singsong voice. A pretty rabbit, totally white, except by the insides of ears, button of nose and eyes that all were pink. She is dressed on a beautiful peachy colored dress, and uses a crown over her head. She looks royal and proper, but on a good way, whe I put it on comparison with Principe Porcinni.
“Your Majesty. I’m Puffers Underhill.” I say, presenting myself
“I know who you are, Maestro.” she states on a light voice, and then she looks for some soldiers and gives a small hand flick, demanding them to wait outside. When Elena was to got out, she says “Not you, Elena. In fact, I demand thee as my tea-maid for today. Hope you have no other services by now, but if so, I’ll let they know I excuse you from them.”
“As your command, Your Majesty.” says Elena, with a deep curtsy, going for the tea service, while me and the Queen got to the chairs and small table nearby her bed. It looked like everything was setup for security and privacy: afar from the windows, all of them closed with big heavy curtains.
“Now… Mr. Underhill: I heard some stories about you and what happened at Univercittà Verde, in the Ablution… But this is not our topic today. In fact, I called you as Maestro suspecting you would understand…“ she says
“I… I don’t know how to say…“ he said
“I know what happened. Il Sacríssimo conceded me the gift of true dreaming. I can see thing in my dreams that happened, happens or will happen. I can’t see them totally, but what I see is as truth as truth can be. And I saw you on a dream, with the clothes and sigil of an Albionneri Maestro, even knowing that Albionne was destroyed so long ago. And I could see you had some… Chains on you, and that those chains linked you with Castello Porcinni.” she says
“I can say, Your Majesty,” I speak, in my not too good Talminare “that your vision is true. I can’t, however, talk you all the details, under a Superior Command, one beyond Life and Death. I’m sorry I can’t provide more information about this. And hope you excuse me for my not so good Talminare.” I say
“I excuse you, as in fact it’s pretty good for a foreigner. And I’ll not force you to forsworn a superior command. In fact, this is not the topic I made me ask your presence you here today. This year, Celebrazzione will specially be upheld together with other two festivals: first one is Giorno del Pasticcio, that you from North call Callaleah. And the second is Buonnandantara, or the Strawmen’s day, when we remember the Three Strawmen that, this is what legends said, helped in our unification, avoiding a big sort of plans to topple us that could bring war on Preccia, and would bring decease to my lineage before even it started with my ancestor La Vecchia Regina Martina Conigglia, daughter of Matrona Martina Conigglia. There’s some differences of view between us, from La Chiesa, and others, but the fact is, the Three Strawmen represented Il Sacríssimo’s plans, even that got some entities to help it.”
“Well… Pardon me, Your Highness, but I can’t see how this could imply myself.” I say
“I’ll speak now on a way that even Elena will not know. As you can see, I’m studied and can speak and understand Old Furrowian. Hope the accent isn’t too atrocious for you.” she says, and I can see Elena not understanding. I give an affirming look to her and she understands that it’s something that shouldn’t be understood for her
“Not at all, Your Highness. It’s pretty good for someone that could have no Furrowians to train with. Better than my Talminare, this I can say.” I reply
“You flatten me, Mr Underhill. Another advantage is, I don’t need to follow protocols speaking this way, as the only ones that can totally and truly understand what is said are you and me. So, I can open myself true and genuinely, as so rarely I can do, violating protocols if needed. You see… I need to say, I saw you on another dream… As one of the Strawmen!” she says
“One of the Strawmen?” I ask, raising an eyebrow
“I saw the Strawmen coming to the city. However, at the same dream, I saw people looking for me, trying to get me and to imprison me, even to kill me. You know, even with everything that happened, the Conigglia lineage isn’t 100% recognized by some poeple, even inside the Chiesa. Some say we are too much soft with the heretici, the ones that wants to follow the old gods and old costumes. But, and this is our motto since The Old Queen and The Matron, your neighbor is as important than thou, we could not do otherwise.”
“Understandable your worry and some insatisfaction. Some people just want to subjugate everything and everyone, by power, and needs excuses to do this. Unfortunately, for some Chiesa and it’s Commandments is the excuse. Sorry being so blunt, Your Highness.” I say
“No worries… In fact, this is exactly what I expected from Il Ultimo Albionneri Maestro.” she says, using the title on Talminare, making Elena gasp “I’ve saw you where titled this way by the Albionneri fallen, in my dreams. You don’t worry about commands, because this is from my dreams, you didn’t forsworn your command.”
“I’m glad, Your Majesty, but…“ I was talking when she did a small gesture asking me to stop talking
“You see… There is a prophecy, an old one, that explains why none of the old Monarchs, Queens, Kings, Principi and Principesse got to take Castello Porcinni or even try to purify that place. It was said that the day Castello Porcinni was cleansed and Il Ultimo Albionneri Maestro got in Talmina, it would be the day Talmina could got back for the Erano di Signori” she says
“What? Are you saying…“ I say, and then she did another gesture of silence
“Now, my dear Scholar: I don’t believe on that one. Many of those that believes on this balderdash are from either the populace or that wants an excuse to conspire against me, as you said yourself. However, on my dream, I saw the Buonnandanti back to Preccia just when I was to be attacked, and I saw you as one of them, no straw hiding you and your marks of someone that Walked Between The Dead.” she says
“So… You believe that, in the end of the day, I’m here to save you from conspirators?” I asks
“Perhaps, it was a small tithe Albionne sent for their freedom to Go Forward to be judged by Il Sacríssimo. Perhaps, it’s something you’ll need to help us. I don’t know. What I know is, in my dream, I saw you as a Buonnandanti, in fact the one that protected Chiesa in the past!” she states
“Well… I’m not exactly an example on believe on anything, aside what I look…“ I say
“But, in fact, you had done this cleasing of Albionne someway.” she states “I can say you’ll help me.”
“I can do this… However, I want to make clear I’m not exactly a fighter. Had some fights, of course, but it was by sheer luck and some omens of the gods I’ve survived.” I say
“Il Sacríssimo put you in my dreams as a buonnandanti. Perhaps there’s ways to help me.” she says
“Had you got any menace recently? Something that could sounds like organized?” I ask
“There’s a group, called Il Vecchi Fratelli, The old brothers. It’s a very old conspiracy against us from Conigglia lineage, and they are basically from heretici that thinks we should shun and forsworn Il Sacríssimo.” she states
“And on the Higher stations on society… Anything you know?” I asks
“Nope, to be honest.” she says.
“And… In your dream, you saw if people were dressed like the hoi-polloi or like the noblesse?” I ask
“The problem is that I saw them dressed like it was for the Pasticcio” she states
“So, in costumes, probably in masks, like in a mascherata.” I say.
“Do you think you can help me, Maestro” she says
“To be honest, I can’t promise anything, except do my best. But I’ll need help. I have some affiliates here that can help with on how Preccia works… But I wanted someone that could help me and is linked with Your Highness, if I need to get into contact with Your Highness fast. Preferably someone that could pass unscathed through your own guards and could report straight to you.” I say
“Elena!” she says and then, back on Talminare she says “Elena, I Command Thee to help Maestro Underhill on His Demand, no matter what. His Word will be my Word, his Command will be my Command. And you’ll obey him as you would obey me.” she says
“Yes, Vostra Altessa.” she says, curtsying
“This is enough, Maestro Underhill?” she says
“Yes, it is…“ I say, accepting the demand (+1 Token: 2)
“I don’t understand why Regina Melina would allow you to have one of her chambermaid as a companion on this wild goose hunt for conspirators! I myself think she’s too much haughty on thinking on those dreams. Castello Porcinni’s falling wasn’t about if, but about when. It was something from more than 200 years ago.” said the Seneschal Tassini
“Neither me. However, I can’t feel that I should ignore her uneasiness… I heard weird rumors about Strawmen walking when coming to Preccia…“
“And you think this would be the Buonnandanti? Kid, you are like Melina, and you see too much outside the real world.” he states
“That can be, but there’s only a way to discover if she’s on fantasy or she is truth.” I state (-1 Token: 1) I say, back on my common costumes, and now with Elena on common costumes too. I have the satchel I’ve got to hold my Albionneri stuff now with the Court costume. I do a last nodding for the Seneschal and go.
Sabrinna and Otello were nearby, on a ristoranti, eating some bread and coffee.
“What happened?” she says “I thought they would at least allow you take the costume you’ve used as memento…“
“They let. But… I need your help, and is something very important. I can’t say all the details here, I need a safe place to talk.” I could say “The Pasticcio is coming fast this year with all the other holidays getting together with it.” I say
“We can go to my boat…“ Sabrinna says, while we walk there and I present them to Elena.
In the boat, Sabrinna brings us to her room as captain of the ship. I do a very fast summary on what happened and talk about me being Il Ultimo Albionneri Maestro.
“So, Regina saw you saving her from conspirators? But, who they are.” she says.
“I think we’ll need to go for some place where the riffraff stands. If nobles are conspiring against her, they’ll use the most ignomous and disposable people they can find. And only in a place were riffraff gather together they can find those kind of people.” I say
“There’s a place like that nearby!” says Elena “I only know that because I got there to take my father from there lots of times, till he died and I was accepted under Regina’s service. Il puzzore puzzolente, The smelly Skunk. It’s a terrible taverna nearby the sewers exit. Some people says that they are there because they can throw away the bodies of those killed there straight in the sewers.” she says
“Well, I can go there with you. I don’t fear a nice fight in a taverna.” says Otello
“And I’ll let my men and some friends know you can need help if things goes south.” says Sabrinna
Sometime later, I go with the others to the Il puzzore puzzolente. It’s a very smelly place, in fact, and very bad lighted. I got some old, dirty clothes and gave a small skunking on them, let them even filthier and smelly. Elena then used some soot to dirty us and I shagged my fur myself.
The bar itself is what I’ve expected: foul-smelling, dark, full of all the worst seamen and hoi-polloi you could imagine, drinking some kind of old wine, smoking a smelly tobacco and otherwise talking rowdy jokes, playing cards and other rowdy games and being ill-behavioured in general.
“Newer guy in the block?” said a ferret guy, with a eye-patch. “Never saw you, and skunks are not common this south” he speaks on a very ill accented common, mixed with words on other languages.
“Name’s Starn” I say, trying my best dirty impersonation of a riffraff “Otello here said I could find some work here. This is my woman, Callisteni.”
“Furrow Heighs?” says a cat guy “Looks like, there’s many skunks there, training on with the Seneschals”
“Nah, I loathe’em, those sissies.” I spat in the ground in the most horrible way I could “Carnverash is from where I came. Callisteni here is from Altalus, and we found ourselves at South Glens.” I say
“Hey, guys!” said a skunk guy, bigger and really mean looking “Chap here looks like a nice fellow, nah? Let me test him on a nice skunky game of Stankart.”
Stankart: played it only as a kid, when my stink glands came with when I got teens, as many skunks does. Basically two skunks wraps their tails on each other’s snout and blast their stink successfully in rounds, first turn at the same time, until one of them gasps, pukes or passes out. Like a skunk version of slap fighting. Not my kind of stuff normally.
“Whatcha say me, huh? Worried to see if you’re not smelly enough?” he says, with a mean, brutal, but honest and truthful smirk. He knew that, no matter what, a skunk stink is his pride.
“Dunno, but I’m up to try!” I say, and them people open the circle, Otello and Elena waiting aside.
“Alright!”, a weasel came “Ya both know da rules: first to gasp, puke or fall out, loses! Winna win da prize! Now, up your tails, boy-os!”
I feel his old, rash tail running around my face, and now I feel a little worried: I bathed myself some hours ago at the Castello, and maybe he’ll notice it!
But… On this preparation… I feel his smell, and he’s not that stinky. Looks like he’s also not that hard guy. Maybe I can find a good friend here, after all (+1 Token: 3)
I feel his tail grasp over my snout, and I finish my own grasp over his snout… We are skunk locked as its said… It’s time for Stankart!
“Nah! Uno, Dos, Tres… Go!” says the weasel.
A thing that few people know about Stankart: it’s not just about how smelly you are.
It’s about how smelly you can feel the other skunk think you are!
And there’s lots of techniques for this in the end of the day.
As soon the weasel opened the account, I concentrated my stink to bombard it, but I just let a tad bit goes before he get the go. So it would open that guy snout somewhat.
And then we released our stinks.
And I noticed it worked, otherwise I would be puking out because he was really smelly.
He tried the forceful way, by blast his stink on a single note. But, when I did my trick, he lost some of the concentration and could not skunk me enough, while made to feel my stink full round.
And me, I just finished the service by skunking him hard.
“Yuck, that was a shitshow!” commented a monkey nearby enough to be the unfortunate one to feel two smelly skunks together, on our remaining stink getting into his nose!
The guy released his tail and, even feeling ill, I released my one. But I was not gasping as he was.
“Yeah, new guy is da winna!” says the weasel and some people cheered, other booed, but I could hear some coins exchanging hands. In some moments, the tavern got back his normal activity
“You’re pretty good on Stankart, and looks you is stinkier than old Fredal here!” says the old seaman, sitting on his table, feeling a little sick, but smiling hearty. “Take a drink! Looks like you wanna to know something!” He fills some eartheware cup with the contents of a recipient made from bumble hide. I take a sip: it was not the best wine I’ve ever drank, but it was at least drinkable. Hope Otello and Elena could hide any disgust.
“Yeah… Heard about some guys wanna to mess with Chiesa.” I say openly
“Who wouldn’t? Chiesa make difficult our job selling stuff here. Butcha know, there’s some Chiesini on big guys pockets and vice-versa. Overpious guys need some stuff, I heard. Big, nasty, stuff. They want to do big mess during Pasticcio. What their problem? Just have fun, I say!” says Fredal
“Don’t know… Heard a weird gossip. Says Chiesini want to topple Regina” I say
“Only in their dreams. She’s though, I say, but she’s fair. She knows how shit works. She doesn’t mess with us, we don’t mess with her… Except…“ says Fredal
“Except?” I ask
“Heard that gossip about her dreams. She’s cuckoo, I say! But some guys said Castello Porcinni was an omen. Old dead fart was freed, they said, to help them topple the Queen. Balderdash I say. Old dead fart is dead, I say. Lady cuckoo is cuckoo, but let us in peace.” she says
“Anyone you can say that was on this idea with the old fart?” I asked, when I see someone throw a dagger against the guy. I put myself in the way, being hit in the shoulder! (+1 Token: 4) I scream in pain, the blade getting all the way through my shoulder
“Shaddap, smelly fart. The Old Prophecy happened! Time come for Chiesa falls! For Porcinni!” screamed a hog looking pirate, and some guys started to throw things trying to hit us and going for us. But this only made start a bar brawl!
And then, I see some guys I knew from the past: the La Dolce Conigglio’s crew!
“Take the girl, Biggia! Sabrinna said to bring her there! I take Puffers and the other guy! Stolas, open the way for us. Falstaff, your darts!” said the raccoon captain, while an eagle guy started throwing darts, probably with some narcotics as people fall in ground asleep, and a big brown bear, just pushed people away, throwing them against the others.
“Tanis!” I screamed “Take Fredal, we need to help him!” (-1 Token: 3)
“Right!” he said, and pushed the big skunk pirate with him, some of his tripulation helping us!
“To the ships!” screamed Tanis “Biggia, the signal!”.
Biggia pushed what looked like an old baton and, after using a flintlock to lit, threw in the air, making it explode in colors!
We splitted into three ships: La Dolce Conigglio, La Rosa Rossa and one that I could read like Savaltare.
“On the way, everyone!” screamed Fredal, on Savaltare “To the sea!”
The three ships sailed away, before anyone could follow them.
“I’m glad you saved my life, chap!” says Fredal “Need to say normally I don’t give a damn for anyone messing or not with Queen, but those fuckers are conspiring to topple them. Looks like some big kahuna has a nice cut on graft money for allowing some goods to get into Preccia, under Chiesa’s nose. Big stuff, as far I know. Me? I’m more on ‘common’ pillaging. Easier to deal, sell fast and don’t mess more than I can deal with.” he finishes
“Do you know who could it be?” I say, from the La Rosa Rossa, while Sabrinna’s physician was patching me. The wound was big and profound for a dagger, but thankfully looks like there was no nasty stuff on that blade.
“Dunno… Only saw the fucker one time: on cloak, could not distinguish the kith. Honey-mouth, those are the worst fuckers: they do some saalam, you fell on their stuff and then, poof, it’s you that have a noose around your neck over the scaffold.” he says
“But he deal with heretici?” I say
“Not only. Didn’t you noticed? There was Chieserini there. When you ass is ready to be bitten by sharks, you pray for anyone.” he states
“I saw what is happening in the cards, Puffers!” she says, opening her Tarot and sacking three cards. “L’Imperatore, Il Tredici, La Giusticia. The Emperor, The Death, The Justice. Looks like, whatever happened at Castello Porcinni triggered some kind of… Reckoning… For Preccia, and maybe Regina’s life is really at danger. And so the Buonnandanti risen again for helping Talmina like in the past.”
“I don’t know about you, but I’m not up to redo the Old Captain Warthog Folly, thank you! He was stupid enough to join the Precciani at that time, and only think he got was to put he and his family on the noose! I like me neck exactly where it is, thank you.” says Fredal. “Maybe it’s time getting back sea for a while, before shit start to flies like stinky pies all around.” he says from the height of his pirate ship, Savaltare, when he points to a direction.
A ship has just arrived. Sabrinna got a Pirate Lens and pass some other for us. I put it over my eye and look to the boat, even with some pain still on my recently patched shoulder.
“It was that Hog!” I say “The one that tried to kill you, Fredal, and left me with this gift.” I show him the dagger Sabrinna’s physician extracted from my arm
“Yeah, that fucker Hans. Heard he was making big dough with stuff for the Preccia Noblesse, under Regina’s nose Pretty pushy posh, I say he is cuckoo, but he has balls to do this…“ he says
“…or have help.” says Sabrinna, pointing to the other side, a small boat rafting with some guys, coming from Preccia “Look they are coming from the Noblesse Porta, the Noble Port.”
“But Noblesse Porta can be used only by Royal boats, or by the Nobles!” gasped Elena
“Maybe we have part of our answers now about them!” I say… “Looks like really some pirates have support from the Nobles that wants to topple Regina Melina.”
“Look! There it is! Someone got from the boat!” says Otello
I could say. It was a big guy, with a slow noble walk, and a hunchback… A so familiar hunchback.
“This guy sounds familiar…“ I say, looking
“I can do some lipreading, even that distant. I’m really good on this.” says Fredal
We can say the men talking. The Hog guy looks very angry, while the cloaked kith looked wise.
“He was saying about… Discovery… And… Angry… And… Queen… And about Castello Porcinni.” says Fredal “Looks like this fucker is really on this and… They are talking hard!” he states, while we say they where bickering each other, till the Hog took the cloak!
“Sacríssimo mio!” sweared Elena “It’s… Maestro Tassini!”
“Hide themselves! Turn off all the lights!” says Fredal, and we hid ourselves behind the ship’s gunports.
“I can’t… I can’t believe it!” states Elena “The Maestro? Why? Why he’s doing this? He’s Chiesini! And the Chiesa is with Conigglia lineage!”
“I can think: he’s from another side of Chiesa, a stricter one, one that is against the old gods and wants to shun them away from Talmina. Or, at least, put people that has belief on the old gods under their wraps, and this can be the way for this… Perhaps…“ something grew on my mind “Elena, do you know if Supremo Fratello will came for the mascherata?” I ask, worried
“Of course he will: mascherata is the biggest social service at Preccian Court. And is always did via Convocazione Ufficiale.” says Elena
“And so, undeniable unless under the dire straits!” I say.
“What are you thinking on?” asks Otello
“Looks like that the Dreams from Regina isn’t only for Preccia, but also for Chiesa!” I say “Maybe he intents to topple not only Regina Melina but the Superior Fratello!”
“Il Sacríssimo! But, why?” asked Elena
“It’s what happens when faith become excessive.” said Sabrinna “He believes in Una Chiesa Unita, One Only Church. But this Only means One Faith, no other faith accepted at Talmina, unlike stated by Matrona Conniglia.”
“Those fuckers!” says Fredal “He wants to turn Talmina on a Church State. This is really bad news! Last time this happened, a country was turned into a carrion’s feast.”
“Could this be… The reason of ressurgence of Buonnandanti?” asked Elena
Then I think…
“You know… They want the Buonnandanti? We’ll give them the Buonnandanti!”
“But how? Some magic? Or praying and calling Il Sacríssimo for a miracle?” she asks
“We don’t need to get so far… Sabrinna, do you have any straw?” I say
Some days after, the last week of Devildays came, and with it, Giorni dei Pasticcio, Cellebrazionne and Buonnandantara. Carnival Games, Costume Contest, Drinks For Everyone, Children With Noisemakers, all the merriment and raucous rowdy anyone could imagine, even some of the Noblesse involved.
But, on the last day, was the finish of Giorni dei Pasticcio, with Cellebrazionne, a mascherata with all the Noblesse of Preccia…
Including those that wanted to topple Regina Melina.
But our plan was ready… (-1 Token: 2)
We contacted Regina in secret, and Elena brought Otello and Sabrinna inside, disguised into the mascherata but always nearby Regina. Also, some loyal soldiers helped me get inside.
“Hope your plan works, Maestro Gamberetto.” one of them says while I ready myself
“If anything goes south, you can always says it was a Commedia and spanks me with a Batocio.” I say, while dressing myself on my costume, the surprise I was holding to myself, even Regina not knowing, only me, Elena, Sabrinna and Otello knowing about this.
Outside the castle there was raucous and noise and mischief, while inside things were royally well-tasted.
It was when the clock strikes the midnight, Devildays finishing and giving start for Swarming, Bright giving way Breath, and Regina rises to proclaim the Last Dance, some men got from outside in black costumes, sacking blades.
“You’re, Queen Melina, and all the Conigglia lineage was, is and always will be corrupted by evil and lost the service under Il Sacríssimo. The same came for Supremo Fratello Tiesto. Time come to bring you both down! We’ll bring a new regime to Telmina, under Il Sacríssimo’s Commandments!” someone said, coming from forward, while the other black clothed conspirators pushed the Noblesse aside, except some that already knew about the conspiration. And some guards came to try and fight them!
“So, you dropped your own mask, Maestro?” she said, when Otello and Sabrinna could avoid being put under wraps.
“So it will: today, the Conigglia lineage and Supremo Fratello Tiesto will fell thanks their cowardice. On the Noose with them! The portent came! It’s time for us to expurge Talmina from the Old Gods, like what happened with the fall of Castello Porcinni. Their stench will disappear, and Il Sacríssimo Livorno will restart from Talmina to all Haeth!” he says
“Not that fast!” I screamed from the heighs of a balcony, isolated by the guards. On my costume! Regina looks and see on the other balconies, other two person on the same costume.
“Il Buonnandanti!” praised Regina Milena.
“Il Sacríssimo sent their soldiers, Il Buonnandanti!” replied Supremo Fratello
“You are against me? Buonnandanti, you should serve the Sacríssimo Livorno, the Most Sacred Work!” he screams
“You call about Il Sacríssimo, but your mouth smell like a skunk tail! You are the one that violates the work of Il Sacríssimo. When me and my old fellows fought, we fought to understand each of us. But when the Folly came, we raised our blades for Conniglia lineage, loyal to them while they were loyal to the Commandments of Il Sacríssimo, what they did since then. But you, you humiliate the poor, you explore the weak, you flatten the rich, you take the side of the powerful, you scoff the suffering of those below you. No more! The weak and poor risen their prayers to Sacríssimo, and He Commanded us to rise, and he sent a Gamberetto to Castello Porcinni, to undo the Curse of the Folly, to cleanse that land, to free Principe Porcinni to go forward… And now, this Gamberetto became one of the Buonnandanti!” I say, getting down though the drapes and going forward.
“Il Ultimo Albionnere Maestro!” said Maestro Tassini, seeing the crest and cloak below my Buonnandanti costume. A makeshift Silver Blade I unleashed and, weirdly inspired, maybe by the old gods, maybe by Il Sacríssimo, maybe by both, I started to fight some of the ruffians and conspirators, while Otello and Sabrinna started to do the same.
We were no more 3 kiths, in fact. At least that Moment, we were the Buonnandanti! (-1 Token: 1)
“Yeah! I’m the one that got into Castello Porcinni. I was commanded by Principe’s spirit to find her Daughters spirits and reunify his family, split since his Folly and the Fall of Albionne. I was Commanded this way as Il Ultimo Albionnere Maestro, the Last Albionne Maestro, stated by him as His Last Command. And now, I’m here to protect Regina Milena Conigglia from conspirators!” I say and then I speak “Precciani! I’m Puffers Underhill, I’m a Foreigner, a Wanderer, Il Ultimo Albionnere Maestro, one of the Buonnandanti. And I Conclaim thee, no matter your social status, to defend your Regina. You know what those conspirators wants in the end of day: the end of good things, the end of respect to each other, the end of a civilized life, based on freedom and respect, to one based on norms and fear. Don’t be afraid: remember the Buonnandanti, remember when they risen against Albionne Folly! You are Talminare or not?” I say, a force growing. I wasn’t Puffers Underhill there. I was Il Ultimo Albionnere Maestro. I was one of the Buonnandanti!
And I’m there to defend Regina!
“Elena, go with the Queen for the Chambers!” I screamed, while some guards were fighting some of their brothers in arms that were to betray them and kill Regina!
I ran to Regina Melina and, before a conspirator came to kill her, I cut his Achille’s Tendons and this made him fall in the ground in pain. And then did the same for another that came for Elena!
“Not that time.” said a conspirator, but then he saw someone getting inside with a big group!
“A pirate! A goddamn pirate get to the Castle!” screamed a guard.
“Don’t!” I say “He’s with us!”
“Aye, Buonnandanti.” he says and them he claim “C’mon, you fool that want to topple Regina Melina! I’m Fredal Oldsmell, son of Thabald Oldsmell, from Icy Winds! Come and play! Let us dance the danse macabre!” He says, taking a big claymore sword and going for them, bloodlust and honor in his eyes and smile!
- Fredal Oldsmell, Skunk Pirate (He/His)
- Bloodlusted, but a sense of honor, a good scoundrel, but a scoundrel nevertheless
- Furious, Heroic, Honest
- Express your rage in a constructive manner.
- Declare someone fundamentally good or irredeemably evil. If anyone wants to prove you wrong, they’re going to need to spend a token.
- Point out the truth everyone else has been ignoring.
There was a very intense battle, chaos spreading around, the city split in two basically: partisani, those who supported Conigglia Lineage, and conspiratori, the ones that wanted to topple it.
“He’s trying to run, Puffers!” screamed Elena, that was now running with Regina and some soldiers! And I could see the Maestro Tassini running!
“Fool, I’ll never be get…“ he said for someone. When he saw something that brought fear for him…
And to me…
And to everyone around, and everyone in the city.
Making the fight stop on a silence that screamed!
The REAL REAL BUONNANDANTI!
- Il Buonnandanti, Spirits of Honor dressed into Straw (They/Them)
- It’s said Il Buonnandanti come to Talmina when things are wrong or at danger. Always on three.
- Dead, Heroic, Honest, Mighty, Oracular
- Send a chill down someone’s spine.
- Show someone something they truly don’t want to grapple with. If they want to avoid thinking about it, they’re going to need to spend a token
- Know what’s best for everyone else.
- Present a perfect persona to the world.
- Point out the truth everyone else has been ignoring
- Move the unmovable
- Tell someone the bad news about what their future holds. If they want to defy you, they’ll need to spend a token.
“We are Il Buonnandanti.” one of them said, looking the leader, on an spectral voice like I’ve hear at Castello Porcinni, like a big yell coming to the deeps of a big cave.
“O, Buonnandanti.” Maestro Tassini was saying “You know what is happening and how Regina Melina betrayed Il Sacríssimo…”
“Silence, fool Maestro. We are not here for thou. We are looking for Il Ultimo Albionnere Maestro, that was dreamed as a protettore for Regina Melina Conigglia.” said the smaller one
“I’m the one.” I say, getting on my knees “Sorry to use this ruse and your name, O Buonnandanti!”
“Rise Protettore del Regno, protector of the Land. Since Ablution we heard about you and your sense of Justice. You are fallible as any man, but you tried your best.” says the middle heighed of the Buonnandanti, getting nearby him. He just got his Silver blade and sacked it and pointed to me. “Look to La Spada! Let us see you are really the one.”
I felt fear… But, at the same time, I recognized the wisdom on Il Buonnandanti: I wasn’t being judge by my courage, but by my heart. I look humbly and the most courageous I can, even knowing that he could go off with my head with a blink of eye. And, if got too much fear, my stink would reveal it.
“You are the one!” says the Buonnandanti, satisfied “You are really Il Ultimo Albionnere Maestro. And that” he said, pointing Maestro Tassini “is the one was conspiring against Regina Melina Conniglia!” he says, ready to kill him
“Please, no!” says Regina Melina, when getting again inside the courtroom “Please: don’t draw his blood on this courtroom. It’s said this would bring desolation for Talmina!”
“Indeed. There’s no need of this, Buonnandanti.” I say, nodding for them “If you accept a suggestion of this one he should be branded traitor and expelled from Talmina. And he couldn’t get nearby Talmina for at least 10 years.”
“No! This means…“ he says
“You’ll die alone, outside Talmina.” said the Buonnandanti “This suits you nicely, as you had grown into folly, losing your wisdom to a Folly of unifying Talmina and La Sacra Chiesa. Your folly would bring Haeth to Doom! It’s well suited for you to be a proscribe!” he says, looking for Maestro Tassini “Now, you’ll be Proscribed! With my Sword I bring justice! With my Sword, You are Punished! With my Sword, You are a Proscribe! No Talminare will help you! No Talminare will assure you! No house in Talmina, no matter how low, will provide you shelter! No one that recognize Talmina as friend will provide shelter!” he says, touching Tassini’s shoulder with his blade, with made him yell in pain, a terrible wail that could make anyone beg for pardon, if he wasn’t a conspirator.
“Now… Off you go! And beg you are not in Talmina as the sun rises, or even the Bugs of Swarming will peck you and feed on your blood!” said the Buonnandanti, and some of the insects and bumble that were nearby started to peck him, making him run, yelping in pain.
“Now, for the other conspirators, O Ultimo Maestro, what you suggest?” they say
“They should be stripped from his stations and wealth.” came Regina “Their folly should not pass unscathed. However, they could stay here. But they’ll lose stations and wealth, the latter splitted between Talmina and La Chiesa to help the poor according Matrona Conigglia’s teachings. And they should be branded conspirators. Otherwise, they should not be expelled Talmina. Their folly will be a painful teaching for Talmina, but one I believe it will be healed” she said
“We hear, and we obey, O Regina Melina Conigglia!” says both the Buonnandanti, flicking their hands and markings showing on at least 50 nobles and other 100 people as conspirators “Now go! And be glad Regina is so lenient with your lot! We had come to spill blood like in the past, but that wasn’t needed on this day!” says the Buonnandanti, and they ran away, some Guards following them. “Our service here is done, O Regina. Now, we need to go back for peace!”
“So you can go, O Buonnandanti. Your deed was done, your peace was ensured and deserved. Go and leave in peace back to your rest, and hope Talmina doesn’t demand your service for a long time.” she says, and the Buonnandanti departs, leaving our reality like dreams and straw.
“Rise!” says Regina Melina Conigglia.
Elena was totally pretty on her new Signora Dress, now Signora Elena Ratiratta, his family now a noble one, she now a Gentildonna, a Friend of The Queen. Otello also was reward, claimed as a Scudiero for his region. Even Fredal received some pardon on his previous crimes. Sabrinna also receive a commerce ship to be Captain, Il Ratto delle vendite, the Seller Mouse.
“And about you, Ultimo Maestro?” she said
“I don’t know. All my time here was so incredible, but also remembered my all the problems I’ve left behind at my country, Vossa Altessa. I still needs to wander, to learn, but now I’m thinking… I had already my reward. You see, I exiled myself from Furrow Heighs, and I’m not yet ready for go back, but I’m ready to go forward, healing myself. I learned about Death and Life, and about Follies, and about Freedom and Happiness. Think I’m ready to heal myself. Maybe, I’ll come back here, maybe not, but I’ll proudly say I’m Il Ultimo Albionneri Maestro!” I say
“Elena, the box!” says Regina, and Elena gives her a small wooden box. Inside it, a very nice crest:
“This, O Wanderer, is a Maestro sigil from Talmina. Whatever a Talminare is and you need help, you can claim help using this sigil. It also will provide safe haven and free transportation by any Talminare, even beyond the Hospitality traditions. But, above everything, this is a way to say we recognize you as a Talminare. Talmina will be your home, no matter what. Il Sacríssimo put you on my dreams, Gamberetto, but not as a Sigil of Death, but as a Sigil of protection and change. Yeah, I know there’s lots to improve here, and this is the bitter lesson that came from the conspiratori. But now, I believe we can build a better Talmina. Rise, O Maestro Puffers Underhill, Il Ultimo Albionneri Maestro”
I hear the claps, and I understood:
I did run from Scholarhood because I thought I was not enough, or because I was a death omen.
But not because what I’ve feared: putting my father and my family in shame.
Now, I proved myself to myself. I now trust the me that trusts me.
I’m ready to start healing, and becoming, in the end, a real Maestro.
“So, are you really going?” said the rabbit lady in rags, speaking in common, following the mouse Chamber-lady and the otter with a Scudiero suit, while looking me embarking the big ship Il Ratto delle vendite, with its Captain Sabrinna Scoiattolo.
“I need to.” I say “I really thought on take some more time in Talmina, but heard about other places in the Northwest that sounds good. And Sabrinna is going there, it will be nice to go with a friend.”
“You are always welcomed here, O Wanderer!” says the rabbit, with her sooted face hiding the fair completion of Regina Melina Conigglia now under the disguise of a small servant of Her Chambermaid Elena Ratiratta.
“Be quiet, servant!” says Elena, playfully, hitting the Queen lightly between her ears.
“O, sorry, Signora!” she replies playing the role
“It’s needed to know the social rules, so appearances be upheld, even in front of friends. But it’s tardy, and we need to go! We wish you a great luck and that Il Sacríssimo helps you on finding the answers you are looking upon, O Maestro Gamberetto!” says Elena, curtsying, and Regina Melina, or better, Celina, doing the same, while they go away.
“Yeah… It was a short but fun time! And what a history I’ll have back Calabrona. Even in Briatoli and Mugenna they’ll not believe me, but a Lettera di Abilitazione, a Letter of Entitlement from the Queen herself will be accepted for sure.” says Otello, when a mink page come to him.
“Signori, it’s time to go. The guards only are going with us because they need to go to Forte Nortissa and this is under our way.” he says
“Alright, Alberto, we are going. My wife will think it’s a fairytale, but… In some way it was: Pirates, Dreams, Castello Porcinni, Il Buonnandanti… Well at least there will be nice news!” says Otello, getting over a nice chevrette with top snails and gone away too.
“Are you ready to leave behind Talmina, Maestro? We are going for some diplomatic business at Herringland, at Northwest. Nice place, educated people, but sometimes too much boring and posh.” says Sabrinna in common.
“That I am… Looks we’ll take at least 10 days at the sea, right?” I ask
“If everything is right. But this ship is fast.” she says
“So… let us go!” I say, using in my new travel clothe the sigil of a Maestro. “I’m as ready as ready I can be!”
“And… Maybe… Some day I get back.” I think to myself