January 2 1429, Sunday.
Sunday morning finds the party off to church, with the rest of Florence. Stella Fiori and Niccolo Russo attend the same neighborhood church, while Luciano Giunnio attends church alone. The service lasts for hours and is completely in Latin. But the music is good, as is the people watching—and the people watching is telling.
Luciano notices that one particular member of the congregation is surreptitiously observing him. He recognizes the man, Rogério, as a the thug who burned his home to the ground oh so many years ago. After the service, Rogério exits the church first. He hides amongst the crowd with the hopes of following Luciano. But Luciano spots him. Rogério realizes he’s been spotted and tries to escape from Luciano. Luciano uses his Bird Talk Charm and calls forth a pigeon. He orders the pigeon to follow Rogério. Rogério, secure that he lost Luciano, travels back to the Albizzi palazzo. Luciano heads off to Anatina Giaconi’s salon to report back and talk to his compatriots.
At the service across town, Niccolo notices a burly man of too low a status sitting in the church he is attending. He then notices that the man is spying on Stella…though not on him. He tries to gesture to Stella, but she doesn’t get what he’s on about. However, when, after the service is over, she can’t find Niccolo, she goes to the tavern on the other side of the piazza and takes a seat. Niccolo watches the man follow Stella into the tavern. He also moves in and joins Stella as if an old friend. He whispers what is going on, and after a while, they decide to exit together and head to the Salon. They don’t particularly try to lose the tail and bring him right to their salon.
The team, with the exception of Hans Wulf who must prepare for the swearing in ceremony and parade the next day, meet and confer. They discuss what happened to them, and Anatina express her displeasure that Stella and Niccolo led the thug to her doorstep. Luciano draws a picture of the thug that followed him and hands it to Anatina to see what she can learn about him. Stella draws a picture of the man who was following him, but the drawing is not specific enough for anyone to recognize him.Speaking of drawings, Stella shows the copy of the drawing from the apartment to Niccolo. Niccolo doesn’t know the seaside town depicted, but can tell that it is: 1) amateur but with good use of perspective, 2) not in Rome or in the Tuscan style. The team thought that maybe Luciano should take the drawing to the monks at the monastery Santa Maria degli Angeli to see if anyone there might recognize the church depicted in the drawing. Before they turn in, Anatina takes the group through a secret door down to a basement chamber which serves as her ritual magical space. There she has Niccolo draw the magical symbols for the ritual, then crafts a protection charm for each of the team. With that the group retires. Well…almost all of them do. Luciano steals away in the middle of the night to Fastello Tozzi’s apartment. There he cuts a swatch of Tozzi’s bloody shirt, which he keeps for later. He bundles up Tozzi’s body in the dead of night, weighs it down with rocks, and then drops the body into the Arno River.
January 3 1429, Monday.
Today is the huge parade of all the new members of the Signoria. They travel through the city, go through a large public swearing in, followed by large public celebrations. Niccolo and Luciano attend the parties in order to survey the political landscape of the city. While, Niccolo surveys the political landscape, Luciano surveys Rinaldo degli Albizzi, his protection, his family and his allies…with revenge in his eyes. Amina Albizzi is present, however she is looking distinctly unhappy for an unknown reason. Niccolo notes, watching who gets sworn in, that the balance of power between the Medici and the Albizzi seems still up in the air.
Over at the Mercato Nuovo, Stella goes to the apartment where Granina Bambo’s stays when she’s in town. She finds the apartment empty save for Bambo’s maid. Stella, who it turns out is quite generous and understanding of the maid’s need for expensive heating oil (to the tune of $200), is able to get quite a bit of information from the maid. She learns that Granina Bambo travels with large stocks of clothing and that in Florence, she is the exclusive seamstress for Amina Albizzi. The maid, after informing Stella that Granina was here with 4 expensive outfits for Amina, notes that Granina and Amina generally spent a lot of time together…more than usual for fittings. This led the maid to believe that perhaps Granina was covering for Amina for something. However, she is concerned that something must have caused a rift between Amina and Granina because Granina ordered everything packed up on Saturday after coming back from a meeting with Amina somewhat disturbed. Granina left Sunday morning for Venice. Stella also learned that Granina was collecting books for someone and shipping them back to Venice. The last thing that Stella got from her brand new friend, was a letter of introduction to Granina Bambo.
The trio reconvenes at the Salon, determined to question Amina about the presumed affair she’s having with Tozzi. They figure the best way to get ahold of her is at the big Albizzi bash happening that evening…which is unfortunately very exclusive. Stella can’t get an invite, but Niccolo comes through and gets an invite from the parent of one of his pupils. They decide to have Niccolo and Stella go as a couple, while Luciano poses as Niccolo’s Valet. But before they do that, Niccolo decides to try some magic of his own. He casts a ritual on the swatch of shirt and one of the nails that Luciano took from the scene of the crime. The ritual allows the caster to see through the eyes of the object.
From the point of view of the shirt, he sees Tozzi stealing the gold bars from the bank and placing them in a crate. Later the shirt sees itself on a chair in the front room of Tozzi’s apartment. Then he sees Tozzi come into the room half dressed from the bedroom, put the shirt on, and then open the door. At the door are the two men who’d been following Stella and Luciano. They question him repeatedly, beat him up repeatedly, then a hard blow from the burly man sends Tozzi backwards…and then he moves no more. The men check the body then move out of vision. The next thing the shirt sees is another set of two men coming in looking and leaving…then the Luciano, Stella, and Hans Wulf coming and going. Then the original duo of Rogério and his accomplice coming back. Lastly, Luciano comes back and cuts into the shirt. The shirt, with that, is destroyed.
From the point of view of the nail, it is in a bag for quite some time. Then it is taken out and falls on the floor. It sees Tozzi building a large crate, then fill it with heavy, heavy bags (perhaps full of gold?), then cover the contents with lots and lots of books from the apartment. That is all the nail sees. At the end of the ritual, the nail oxidizes and turns to rust.
The magical rituals complete, the trio heads off to the Albizzi party. Luciano stays in the kitchens and tries to memorize which valet is connected to which nobleman. The team is worries that they may run into Rogério, though he isn’t there. Stella slips some of Luciano’s truth powder into Amina’s drink and then proceed to tag team her with questioning. Presenting themselves as a couple, Stella does a good job of engaging Amina, who is thoroughly unpleasant. And when the truth powder kicks in, she doesn’t become any more pleasant. The team learns that she ordered four dresses from Granina Bambo, one she wore to the New Year’s Eve party, but sent three back for alterations. She is irritated with Bambo, because not only did Bambo not return the dresses, but wasn’t even in town for their final fitting on Sunday. Amina is not amused. They question her about if she’s having an affair with anyone…but she admits that she isn’t. She has to keep her reputation flawless, especially if she is to land a royal like she wants. The team decides that it wasn’t Amina, but Granina who was probably having the affair with Tozzi. Amina also tells Stella to stay away from the mysterious new Doctor in town, because she is interested in him. They also learn that Rinaldo degli Albizzi has some sort of plans to get the Medici’s, but she doesn’t know what they are, because she doesn’t particularly care. Finally, Amina lets slip that Stella’s mother was murdered, something that Stella didn’t know about. Out of spite, Stella steals 6 golden spoons from the Albizzi household, one of which she gives to Lucianno.
With that, the trio leaves to go home…late at night in the dark. They are set upon by three thieves with batons, an unfortunately common occurrence in nighttime Florence. Luciano activates two charms which increases his strength and dexterity. He dispatches one foe with a blow through the heart with his rapier. The second foe lands a powerful strike at Niccolo’s knee. Niccolo knows the blow was powerful enough to cripple his leg…but instead of the leg being crippled, the rose quarts amulet created for him by Anatina breaks instead. The third foe attacks Stella but misses. Stella tries to stab the man who attacks her, but she, too, misses. Niccolo stabs the man who attacked him in the heart. Luciano brains the last thief and sends him immediately into a coma. The thieves on the ground bleeding and dying, the trio decide to leave them and quickly make their way off back home.
They decide to travel off to Padua and Venice early next morning.
Next Episode: View from the Villa