January 3 1429, Tuesday.
Early morning, the crew picks up a coach arranged for them by Anatina Giaconi, and they travel towards Venice. They are given a carrier pigeon by Anatina to be used to give her any important messages, and the information of a friendly contact in Venice (a bakery near the gate from Padua). By nightfall, they arrive in Padua and find an Inn to stay in. Stella Fiori (very successfully) and Niccolo Russo (not as successfully) gather information and gossip at the Inn. They learn that Romina has apparently has frequent messengers coming to see her from Florence of late. They were also the ones to get directions to her apartment.
Luciano Giunnio and Hans Wulf, go to find Romina Albizzi whose apartment is humble. Luciano has the unenviable task of letting her know that not only was her husband murdered, but that the people who killed him-
most likely her own family-are probably going to be after her as well. She is incredulous that her family would do such a thing. Luciano try to press her to reveal who might have been after her (as her letters to her husband indicated). Romina is evasive but mentions the Zanetti family obliquely. She seems frightened and presses Luciano back for information, for example, who is he and why is he alerting her. Luciano gives her his name, and while he doesn’t completely admit that he works for the de Medici’s he implies it. She asks if the de Medici’s could protect her from her enemies, and- not wanting to fully admit his connection-says it is doubtful. He does recommend however that she leave her apartment and hide somewhere, because if he, Luciano, could find her, then so could her husband’s killers. She asks if she might be able to come with Luciano whereever he might be going now…but he demurs. She says that she’ll hide out in a local Inn for the next few days before she can find somewhere else to stay. He promises to meet her at the Inn on his way back from doing…whatever it is he is doing next.
Luciano and Hans return to the Inn and relate the how the conversation with Romina went. Stella was not at all impressed with how much information Luciano let slip and thinks it isn’t all that wise to leave Romina unsupervised with all that information. She thinks perhaps it might be wiser to take her with them. Luciano goes back to Romina’s apartment, but she and her son are already gone…and there are signs that she didn’t leave willingly. Hans, using his position as watch commander, has the bright idea of informing the Padua city guard of the kidnapping, ensuring that Romina won’t be able to leave the city openly.
They have a fitful night of sleep with much to think about.
January 4 1429, Wednesday.
In the morning, the crew decides to head off towards Venice with dark thoughts of the fate of Romina. On the way out of the city, they learn that no one matching Romina’s description has left the city. Between Padua and Venice, they pull off the side of the road and Niccolo decides to make a ritual that would allow him to track the whereabouts of Romina. As he draws the energy and begins to warp reality to his ends, something goes terribly wrong and he quickly feels the threads of reality slipping out of his control. The moment before it all goes boom, time stops for everyone but Niccolo. A beautiful woman in a lovely shade of green, clad only in bark appears to him. She is the Lady of the Forest and she sees that he needs her help. She promises to help him out of this predicament, but also to give him power beyond his imaginations…if only he might promise to give himself to her…as she would give herself to him. He asks her how long he would be giving himself to her…and she responds: “Forever.” He doesn’t really ask too many questions about the technicalities of the agreement…he just agrees. And then in an instant, time begins again. The unraveling has stopped and the compass is now working. However, it still cannot find Romina…which means she is either dead, or well hidden.
They continue on to Venice. While there, they find Granina Bambo’s shop shut down. They speak to the maidservant there, and Stella does an expert job in charming her. She learns that Granina has retired to her villa in the Village of the Angels, a bit further down the coast. Further, she gets a bauble that identifies her as someone Granina should speak to. With this information, they head off to the seaside village.
When they arrive, they realize that this is the same village in the paintings they found in Fastello Tozzi’s apartment. However, they aren’t sure where to find the home of Granina Bambo, and the locals are not talkative…valuing privacy. Luciano, uses his lower class status and his charm to expert effect however. He is able to pass himself off as a messenger to the mistress of a local tavern and get not only the location of Granina’s villa, but also a hearty meal!
The crew makes it up to the Villa. Hans plans to sneak into the rear of the Villa while Niccolo, Stella, and Luciano plan to distract her (and put a truth potion into her drink). Granina’s maid (this is the third one of hers the team has met, clearly Granina makes a LOT of money as a seamstress to the rich and famous) at first plans on turning the visitors away, but seeing the baubel invite them in. They are brought to Granina who looks absolutely terrible. She looks as if she’d been crying for days and also she looks freaked out. Stella, Niccolo, and Luciano slip the truth potion into her drink and question her. They learn that she was indeed having an affair with Fastello. They met during one of her trips to create dresses for Amina Albizzi and fell fast in love. He decided to run away with her and leave his other life (including his wife in Padua) behind. They wanted to be subtle about it, so she had been shipping his household goods bit by bit to her villa here in the Village of Angels. She got the last of them (including his boxes of books) this last trip. She, however, was also present when he was murdered. She wasn’t meeting with Amina, as she had told her maid…she was having her affair. She jumped out the window, leaving the three dresses she was altering, and split town immediately. They pressed to find out what she would do for money, but it became clear that she had quite a lot of money of her own…and that she was completely unaware of the gold…that was probably sitting in her basement.
Where Hans was sneaking around going through the boxes stored there. He had bad luck and generally got into every single box but the one with the gold.
The party explained that Fastello was killed for some ledgers that he had, and they are there to return the ledgers. She doesn’t want them and is fine with the group taking them away. She is concerned about what to do now, however. She’s concerned that people will think she has these ledgers and come after her. Stella tells her to continue to act as if nothing happened and no one will suspect her. Stella further says that they’ll retrieve the dresses from the apartment and deliver them to Amina Albizzi to allay any suspicion. Grateful, Granina says she’ll make a wonderful outfit for Stella as a form of thanks.
The crew goes to the basement and finds the crate…which is very heavy. Hans (who comes back in as “help”), Carlo the drover, and Luciano work to life the heavy crate out of the basement (Luciano has to use his strength charm to accomplish the feat). With the crate of gold in the carriage, Luciano releases the carrier pigeon with a message for Anatina telling them that they’ve gotten the gold and they are on their way back to Florence. In order to ensure that they can make it all the way back to Florence in one trip without having to stop in Padua, Stella casts a ritual on the horses speeding them up greatly. They tell Carlo that there is an old wives tale that says if you feed horses grass from the forest they ride faster. He thinks the whole thing is mysterious, but he’s getting paid not to ask too many questions.
They are speeding home…but…as they near Padua, Luciano says he has to go in to meet Romina as he promised he would. Stella is dead set against bringing the gold into Padua. The team debates what to do. In the end Luciano decides to go in alone, and the rest agree to wait for one hour. But if he doesn’t return in one hour, Stella promises they are leaving. So they wait as Luciano goes off to find Romina.
He arrives at the Broken Pitcher Inn, the place she promised to meet him. He knocks on the door of her room, and instead of her, he is confronted with two well dressed thugs who attack him! There is a big fight, and Luciano holds his own…until Romina shoots him in the leg with a crossbow! They clearly want to take Luciano alive…and he clearly doesn’t want to get taken. He is able to fell one foe, but in the end his wounds get the better of him, and he falls unconscious.
The hour passes, and Luciano doesn’t return. The rest of the crew debates what to do. Hans insists that you can’t leave a team member behind. Stella and Niccolo decide if he hasn’t come back, then their first priority it to return the gold. Hans decides to leave the rest of the group and try to rescue Luciano on his own. Stella and Niccolo ride off back towards Florence.