Jewelers of Ischia - Clarity
Recently, tensions between the Moreno and Salvino jeweler families have broken out into violence. It is also reported to the rulers of Ischia that a significant amount of rubies and precious metals have been stolen from both shops, with each accusing the other of theft. A legate of the Faith and a number of nobles look to settle the matter between the families, and restore order and prosperity to one of Ischia's most beloved industries.
[OOC: Part III of an investigative PRP. It's open to anyone, but please mail Dio if you plan to attend, or if you're interested but would prefer a different time.]
Dec. 6, 2020, 11 a.m.
Outside Arx - Ischia - Morisco
Comments and Log
The sun is high above a cloudy skin in Morisco on a warm spring day. It is hot in the city, but a cool breeze blows in from the sea, carrying with it the faint aroma of salt and flowers, which bloom throughout the city.
Inside a brick building with wide windows, beneath which are planters filled with buttercups, tulips, and primroses, visitors from Arx stand together, speaking with Vanessa Salvino, the family head of Salvino Jewelers. Beside Vanessa has been laid a leather apron, and the master jeweler, dressed in a silk gown of iris blue, frowns when Ryhalt points out the destroyed folio, which had held the names of those who developed their skills under her tutelage and that of her forebears. "Those documents are old too, and list those who have worked hard to become skilled jewelers. It was a base act. May the Sentinel punish the one who did it."
Beside Shyanne and Mirella, a security guard named Gudellio, evidently very pleased to be speaking with a peer of the realm and a stunning courtier, smiles ear to ear. "Yes," he says, "Hugo'll be starting soon, since I'm off for lunch."
Vanessa turns to Mabelle and Alessia. "I hope you will not judge our skill by quantity, My Ladies. We've been hit harder by the thefts, it's true - harder than the Morenos, but we do not plan to stand aside and let them steal the wealthiest clients in Arvum." She gestures, and Tullo removes a pillow, upon which rests earrings, bracelets and rings, crafted from polished gold and silver, and set with gleaming rubies, emeralds, duskstones and dawnstones. "If there's anything that interests you, My Ladies, My Lord, we would be honored if you would model the pride of our craft at the gala, or in your social gatherings in Arx."
Somewhat distracted by the jewels, Mabelle releases a vain admission, "I do not have to wait for a gala, it can just be a monday", her fingers trace the dragonweep hanging upon her collarbone. She does insist however, "I do not think it was the Moreno's, would then not benefit from stealing the list of clients? You two have a common enemy, for sure"
Equally distracted by the jewels on display when the pillow is removed, Alessia doesn't interject until after her Laurent friend. "As Lady Mabelle says. The fact that the client list wasn't stolen is very telling." She glances around. "You might do well with looking for other suspects." As for judgement of skills. "I never judge by quantity. I could probably develop an entire line of low quality rusty pendants." She chuckles. "Doesn't mean it'd be worth buying."
Mirella quirks courteous nod to both Vanessa and Gudellio, with the former given murmured thanks. Folding her arms around her waist, the pale-haired woman hmms a thought at Mabelle and Alessia's words. "It does make me wonder who benefits from the Salvino and Moreno being at odds against each other -- perhaps a third party, keen to make profit from the chaos." She turns back to Gudellio with a scintilla of a pretty smile, cool and swift and bright. "Perhaps I could speak to Hugo, then."
Vanessa laughs merrily at Mabelle's words, though as she makes an inference about where blame should lie, There is a twitch in Vanessa's eyebrows. "Perhaps," she murmurs, "but those devious Morenos might have thought ahead enough to leave it." She smiles, however, at Alessia, and says, "Aye, My Lady, we hope to provide our clients with jewelry that can be worn for centuries - perhaps with a new gown, or to the latest ceremony, when the tasteful display of wealth can change the fate of one's family - or," she says with a grin to Mabelle, "on a Monday when one wants to look her best. It is a shame about the Countess," continues Vanessa with a sigh, speaking of Imogene. "She was a proper lady of the Oathlands come to Ischia, and would have made us the most famous jewelers in Arvum. I've made some pieces for the Count, but he has traded them with some dirty shav chieftan or other." She shakes her head frowning. "He is absolutely useless as a model."
A rather corpulent fellow with lustrous black hair and green eyes enters the shop, just as Mirella mentions the name Hugo to Gudellio. He freezes, like a deer before stalking predator, and beads of sweat form on his forehead.
Mabelle concurs thoughtfully with Vanessa, "He doesnt have the neck for it", a gleam of amusement in her eyes, "I never met the Marquessa.. but perhaps those shavs are...", but when the man enters the shop, Mabelle's eyes settles on him, leaving him with her piercing gaze and Mirella.
Mirella allows the nobles to do their thing for a moment!
Vanessa's words have Alessia giving Mabelle a dubious look, her lips quirking at the corner. "I guess they *could* in theory." She lifts a shoulder. "But that doesn't really do much except moderately inconvenience /you/." She turns back to the woman. There's no comment on the count's trading, though her brows arch just a tiny bit.
"Oh hello." She waggles her fingers to the man entering the room. As if the easy greeting eases tensions. That being said, her amber eyes fix him with scrutiny.
Gudellio waves to the new arrival and says, "Hugo, come here. You were on duty the night of the break ins, no?" Grinning, Gudellio turns to Mirella and says, "Probably fell asleep, knowing Hugo. Love the wine, eh?" he says turning again to his fellow guard.
Hugo blinks, and paws at the sweat on his brow. "M-messere Vanessa," he says in a deep, Lycene accented voice. "I forgot my club at home. I'll be right back." Vanessa shakes her head, with a rueful laugh. "It's in your belt, Hugo."
"Oh," he mutters, glancing at Mabelle and Alessia, and unconsciously taking a step back. "Hugo," says Vanessa. "These nobles are from Arx helping investigate the -" Hugo turns around and quickly moves out of the shop, before breaking into a run. "Hugo!" shouts both Vanessa and Gudellio.
Alessia checks dexterity and athletics at easy. Alessia is successful.
Mabelle observes as Hugo does not even try to hide being suspicious. And as he tries running, she rolls her eyes, "Really?". She turns to Vanessa, leaving him to the mercy of Alessia, "How long has he been working here? Any chance he was working for the competition as well?"
Face dropping when Hugo begins to back away after Vanessa pokes a hole in his excuse, Alessia shakes her head when he simply runs away. "Wow." She says before breaking into a run out of the shop. It doesn't her take too long to run him down, grabbing his harm once she's overtaken him, her grip strong. "Where are you going, messere?" She asks him with an overly sweet smile. "Please, we won't bite."
With Alessia dealing with Hugo, and with Mabelle addressing Vanessa, Mirella turns to our friend Gudellio. With a raise of eyebrows above brightly inquiring eyes, she asks, "Well. What's that all about, then?" She takes a few moments to look the man up and down ever-so-subtly, as she tries to discern any details about his appearance that might align with Hugo's odd behaviour.
Vanessa frowns, and crosses her arms over his chest. "I don't think so. He's worked here for six years, at least. He's not good at his job, but I never thought he'd be one to steal from us. And if someone hit the Morenos too, I don't think Hugo would've been able to sneak in."
Hugo, sprinting as fast as one does when they haven't done so since they were a child, is caught by the arm by Alessia. "Eek! I, uh," he glances about the streets of Morisco, where a number of people are not pointing excitedly. "Look! The Lycene Lady has Hugo!" A loud murmur soon follows. Three Seraceni guards also take notice and begin to approach.
Hugo sweats, and tries to back away, wincing at the strong grip of the Glaivedancer of Ostria.
Alessia checks charm and seduction at hard. Alessia is marginally successful.
Mabelle checks charm and intimidation at hard. Mabelle is marginally successful.
Mabelle lowers her eyes to inspect some of the gems on that pillow, observing Vanessa's face askance. She collects a dawnstone in her hands and then flashes Vanessa and unsettling smile, "Why keep someone for six years if he's not good at his job?", she glances at Hugo aside, fondling that dawnstone as if she's about to take off with it.
Noticing the Seraceni guards approaching, Alessia's smile turns suggestive, though her grip doesn't ease. "Nothing to worry about here, messeres. The man was merely nervous and I'm assuring him he has nothing to fear from me. I'm in fact /very/ interested." Her eyes sparkle as she tries to dispel any concerns. "This doesn't need to get worse. In fact, it could get much better for you, if you simply tell me what is wrong." She turns back to Hugo, her voice lowering.
Mabelle's words Mirella turning a keen, curious look towards Vanessa. "Lady Mabelle asks a good question." She turns to face Gudellio with a frown, almost sympathetic. "Is that true, that he's not good at his job? You said Hugo likes his wine, yes?" Then with a tilt of her head, "Does he spend much coin on it?"
Vanessa sighs, and says to Mabelle, "He's a kind man - soft really, but strong. He keeps the rabble away mostly with humor and a good nature. Sometimes that is the better kind of protection, though sometimes not."
Gudellio nods to Mirella. "He's not the hardest worker, Messere, that much is true - and gods! does he spend his money on wine." Gudellio laughs loudly. "Hugo perpetually broke. We could've been paid yesterday, and he's askin' for silver."
Vanessa smiles to see Mabelle take an interest in the dawnstone, but the sounds outside, bring her out to the front of her shop, along with Tullo and several other apprentices.
"L-listen, m'lady. I-I didn't mean no harm. I just looked the other way was all," says Hugo to Alessia, turning and doubling over, trying to catch his breath. The Seraceni guards glance at each other, and then the captain says to Alessia. "Do you suspect this man of a crime, My Lady?" Her hand rests on the hilt of her saber, and her eyes narrow at Hugo.
Mabelle echoes Vanessa and Gudellio, "Broke, drunk, soft. Sounds like someone I would let keep my treasure safe". Whatever Huge told Alessia, Mabelle was too far to hear, "What going on outside?", she inquires.
"Crime? What he needs now, is rest and water." Alessia's tugs Hugo toward the shop, her voice softening a little as she side steps the question. "As I said, messere. Things could get much better for you, if you are more specific. Looked the other way for whom?" She nods to the shop. "That man or woman in there?" Her voice is a whisper.
Mirella furrows her eyebrows lightly as she glances out of the shop. "Hm," she replies to Mabelle. "Perhaps Lady Alessia has caught up with him. Shall I go and see?"
Vanessa glances back at Mabelle. "I know how it sounds, My Lady, but this isn't Arx. People don't steal in the city unless they wish to lose a hand or risk their lives at sea. Crime in Ischia is strictly controlled, and those who are inclined to it are crewing ships."
The Seraceni captain nods to Alessia, giving her a brief salute. Hugo, being lead by a gentle but potent force back toward the shop where Vanessa and Mirella are standing, says in reply to the seductive offer of Alessia, "It was Volino, m'lady. I owed him some money, and he'd thrown in with the Malera sisters. I didn't want to lose my ears, and he said my debt'd be paid in full."
"That bastard!" shouts Vanessa.
Mabelle nods faintly to Mirella, considering heavily what Vanessa said, perhaps contemplating her being wrong, but when the woman exclaims, Mabelle nearly jumps out of her gown and turns unsurely to ask, "Who is Volino?"
"I'm bad with names, have we met this man?" Alessia asks Vanessa with a raised brow, her grip on Hugo loosening now. Letting him relax, as promised. "Well you still have your ears, so I'll give him that much." She tilts her head. "What was his angle?"
When Hugo sings like a little bird, Mirella rubs the fingers of one hand across the smooth skin of her brow. The faintest of sighs escapes from her mouth. "You poor, foolish man." There's a hint of world-weary exasperation held within her voice, but there might even be a touch of empathy there too.
"A failed apprentice, and a fucking scoundrel!" Vanessa replies to Mabelle, unable to constrain her rage. Turo frowns, and glances towards Alessia, shaking his head. "No, m'lady. Volino's been banned from or shop. He tried selling our designs in Setarco." Venessa storms back into the shop and picks up a small steel hammer, before turning and making again for Hugo. "I trusted you..." Hugo's eyes widen, and he turns to Alessia. "Please m'lady, don't let her kill me."
Tullo nods in agreement with Mirella, but apparently is not inclined to protect Hugo from the wrath of his master.
Mabelle checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Mabelle is successful.
Mirella checks dexterity and legerdemain at normal. Mirella is marginally successful.
Despite Mabelle's growing impatience with the lack of common sense in this shop and her thinking someone SHOULD be hit with a hammer to maybe straighten their priorities, she rolls her eyes, takes a deep breath and tells Vannesa, "There, there, if you bash his head in, we might not discover where to jewels are, they might still be salvagable". Worst trade deal in the history of trade deals, but she does not think too highly of them at this point.
"She won't kill you." Alessia assures Hugo with a shake of the head, before turning back to Vanessa. "As she says, he's still valuable. And if you harm him then fewer people will be inclined to step forward, if this grand crime has more culprits."
Alessia checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Alessia is marginally successful.
Mirella looks over to Vanessa just as the jeweler is headed for Hugo with the little steel hammer of head-crackiness. Yikes. Time for some quick action! A few blinks are given before a snow-pale hand darts into the air to deftly yoink the tool out of its wielder's grasp. It's then held behind the small of Mirella's back against the umbra of her dress. She's keeping hold of that damn hammer. No braining people, Vanessa!
The Voice of House Laurent is not one that can be easily dismissed, and Vanessa pauses a moment to consider Mabelle's words before letting her stroke fall on the gasping Hugo. The moment of hesitation enough for Mirella to yoink the hammer, and hide it with casual grace. Gudellio and Tullo look at each other, clearly impressed. "Fast hands, no?" whispers Gudellio. "Aye," replies Tullo.
Vanessa spins around blinking. "What in Tehom's -" Hugo breathes a sigh of relief, nodding vigorously to Alessia. "May I ask a favor, My Lady," says Vanessa to Alessia. "Will you visit the Seraph, and let her know all that's transpired? I will deal with Hugo. Mercifully. But Volino deserves none, and he must be brought to the Sentinel's justice."
Mabelle regards Vanessa puzzledly, "So you're just taking his word for it? Goodness this island, you are lucky I am not your Marquessa." She shrugs and since the others seems to be resolved, she does what she came here for, shopping.
"With pleasure." Alessia says to Vanessa, turning to the store briefly. "I really should get a few things as a souvenir though." Her eyes glitter at the prospect.
Giving some serious side-eye to Vanessa, Mirella nods once. She hands the hammer off to Gudellio when an appropriate moment presents itself, because there's no way she's giving it back to Vanessa. Still, all in all a great success! A mystery solved, and nobody got their brains splattered across a jeweler's shop. Lovely.
"Hugo is not the sort to devise elaborate schemes, My Lady," Vanessa replies to Mabelle, unable to take her eyes off the disgraced guard. "He is weak and scared." She closes her eyes a moment, and touches her fingers to her temple. "Thank you for your help," she says to the nobles and Mirella. "I was sure that Analisa and her family were behind this, but," she pauses and draws a deep breath, "I was wrong." Alessia's words bring a smile to the master jeweler's face. "Please do, My Lady. Let me show you a few that might be prefect for your completion, if I may? Tullo," she adds, "please see Hugo to the barracks, and see that his statement before the guards is consistent." Tullo nods, while Gudellio grins to accept the hammer from Mirella.
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