Isabella, Don Diego, and Captain Hawke reunited with Julianne and Jacques-Louis at Ole’s Inn. The couple had kept themselves busy cataloging the documents stolen from the cultists and were eager to explore Five Sails. Isabella gave Julianne the medical tome titled Marengo’s Anatomy [stolen by Don Diego and Captain Hawke] to Julianne as a gift and proceeded to tell her about the masquerade ball that evening at the home of Don Constanzo Scarpa. Captain Hawke told the group his crew needed a day or two more with their families and it was decided the ball was a good way to spend the evening (and would advance several individual agendas although no one said this aloud).
Hawke searched and found William Scraggs, master of the Tores school of dueling. Hawke petitioned Master Scraggs to teach him the Tores style and the dueling master put Hawke to the test. The captain was good in a fight possessing some natural talent but his manifestation of Porte during the duel impressed the dueling master. Master Scraggs agreed to teach the pirate captain but said it would need to wait until after his business that evening. He had been brought to Five Sails to represent the political interests of Don Scarpa in a duel to the death. If he survived the duel, he promised to teach Hawke.
Captain Hawke returned to the Ruby Star and found a bit of unrest between the old and new crew. Despite his generous offer and transparency, not everyone seemed comfortable with the upcoming journey. Hawke sets things right, although he does not uncover the source of the unrest. Mary passed him a sealed message delivered to them on behalf of The Benefactor. Their mysterious patron knew about the masquerade ball and informed Hawke there would be an agent of the Montaigne royal court in attendance and Hawke would know him by the golden Apollo mask he wore. However, the Benefactor did not know who the Montaigne court favored in the conflict between Don Constanzo Scarpa and his daughter Sibilla Scarpa.
Don Diego, also wishing to learn a new dueling style, learned Felipe Fernando, a master of the Ambrogia style, was in Five Sails but was preoccupied with the duel this evening. Master Fernando was set to represent the political interests of Sibilla Scarpa. If Don Diego wanted to learn Ambrogia before setting out for Black Skull Isle, he needed to make sure Master Fernando survived the duel.
Julianne and Isabella went shopping! A proper lady could not appear in court without the proper attire and spending an afternoon with the best tailors was a good way to probe for information about the local aristocracy. The ladies learned about the duel that evening and the conflict within the Scarpa family. Don Scarpa would soon retire and named his eldest son, Servo, as the heir to his position. Servo had all of Don Scarpa’s bravado and a great deal of skill with the blade but none of the political acumen needed for such a position. However, his sister, Sibilla, possessed all the tools needed to excel as the governor of the Vodacce district in Five Sails. However, she was a bit of an embarrassment to the family as she possessed no sorcerous ability whatsoever. Fate sorcery was strong in both Don Scarpa’s family as well as that of his wife. They also learned Sibilla had been caught by her father having an illicit affair with Vittoria “Aquila” Anselmo, a street thug who ran the Red Hand Gang for Don Scarpa. The family had been scandalized.
While the ladies explored the city, they realized they were being followed by two members of the Red Hand Gang. They tricked the thugs to follow them into an alley and Isabella gave them a good thumping. Isabella learned they had been sent by Vittoria before sending them running with a warning to leave them alone or else.
Don Diego and Jacques-Louis also secured appropriate attire and learned more about the political intrigue that would flavor the evening. Jacques-Louis also learned Don Scarpa’s home was built atop Syrneth ruins and he hoped he would find an opportunity to explore the ruins that evening.
Hawke did not procure new clothing for the ball but he still had the outfit he stole from the Montaigne dandy in Arisent.
Gathering at Ole’s Inn, the group exchanged information about what they had learned about the Don Scarpa family, the ball, and the duel that evening. However, the group was split on which side they should favor (and which master they wanted to survive the duel). Let the games begin!
The crew arrived at the home of Don Scarpa that evening and found the masquerade ball in full swing. Musicians played the latest and most fashionable music. The crowd was mostly Vodacce but there was a decent crowd of Castille and a sprinkling of others although no Montaigne.
Isabella spotted Vittoria and approached her discretely. The thug was as rough-tongued as she had been when the crew encountered on the Ruby Star but did not divulge why she had her brutes following Isabella and Julianne. Isabella warned the woman to stay out of their way and left the rest of the threat unspoken.
Julianne kept an eye on the crowd and the servants. As a physica in training, she was most concerned with ensuring no one was poisoned or drugged this evening, especially the duelists.
Soon enough, Hawke and Jacques-Louis spotted the man in the gold Apollo mask. The man was a tall, well-muscled individual with golden hair who carried himself with the arrogance one would expect from the Montaigne high court. Apollo approached Don Scarpa and it became immediately evident who the Montaigne favored in the duel. Jacques-Louis approached Don Scarpa and Apollo and engaged them in banter. Apollo was arrogant and ostentatious but offered some fine wine he had brought with them. The vintage was excellent and Jacques-Louis recognized it immediately. This vintage could only be owned or shared by Empereur Leon Alexandre du Montaigne XIV. No one else would have it. The evening suddenly became much more dangerous.
Don Diego decided it would be in everyone’s best interests if the duel did not happen at all. He committed himself to prevent it. Don Diego befriended the Castilian in attendance and after some skillful manipulation, convinced them to send a beautiful woman to keep Master Scraggs occupied for the evening.
Hawke approached Master Fernando and proceeded to get him drunk! The good captain wanted Master Scraggs to win the duel.
Isabella and Julianne approached Sibilla and made idle conversation until they noticed Don Diego had gotten Master Fernando drunk and the dueling master was beginning to make a fool of himself. She stormed after Don Diego with Isablle and Julianne in tow and verbally berated the Castillian.
Don Diego quickly retreated and found himself in Vottoria’s orbit. He felt strangely attracted to her and although he knew a dalliance with her would do him no good, he could not help himself. Much to his surprise, Vittoria was willing and the pair retreated to somewhere more private. Apparently, Vittoria enjoyed the company of both men and women.
Jacques-Louis found Julianne and subtly informed her who he believed Apollo to be. Julianne determined the group needed to leave immediately.
At this moment, Apollo approached the group laying his strong hand upon Captain Hawke’s shoulder. Jacques-Louis quickly began making excuses for the group to leave but Apollo quickly moved his mask aside so he could sneeze, revealing his identity.
Captain Hawke was shocked to find his mortal enemy, his half-brother, standing beside him but he quickly gathered his wits. He introduced himself as Captain Nathan Hawke and as the Emperour locked eyes with him, the captain knew the Emperour knew who he was and what he was doing there, They had fallen into a trap!
END OF SESSION
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