Blood of my Blood

Aftermath of Bertha
pre-post for game 2

ante Diem XVIII Kalendis Octobres CMXCVI

And so it was that the clumsy attempt by the entertainer’s group formerly known as the Bastards of Dionysus to clean out the coffers and pantry of Domino Iustus was foiled by his lesser children, random foster child and minor magus. Unfortunately for this motley crew, not a word of their heroics escaped the gory events in the lower levels nor did the Domino acknowledge it ever occurring. In fact, the only proof of the events after the corpses went to feed the moat was one Fulvius Russus, cousin to Ragdar, the traitor. The unfortunate Russus was given over to the castle’s best torturers to have some rather poignant questions answered.

Even though news of the break-in never reached the ears of the visiting Prefect, the visit went far from smoothly. Once more Domino Iustus’ flexible tax structure, which has a long tradition with the Sangunii and their liege lord and serfs, came into question. The Prefect suggested, then insisted upon the more structured taxation structure of the Empire, even though a provincial Praetor has the option to tax as he would. The Sanguinii use a system based on yields for the season which assures the people always have enough, but keeps the tax flow in constant flux. Your father, as usual, gave as much polite aversion as he had in him but not a man of diplomacy, after a time, he simply dug his heels in and stonewalled the smooth-tongued Prefect. The Prefect laughed it off but noone could mistake the edge on the man when he left, an ill omen if ever there was one. On top of that the prisoner spoke nothing of how he came to try to steal from Avium, or more importantly, how he gained access to the lower levels, the guard’s wine and the secret passage ways. In fact, despite the torturer’s caress, the man said nothing, as if he feared speaking much worse than any pain. All in all it made for your already short-tempered and brusque father to be right down bear-like around the castle. Wards and servants avoided him like the plague.

A couple of weeks pass by and the castle returns to normalcy. Even that doesn’t last as the normal travel from Delirci, the merchants and peddlers and family visiting, turns from a trickle to then a thick influx of peasants trying to find refuge. It seems the open lands of Delirci have become infested by bandits. Your father adds inquiry about this, along with requests for their overdue taxes (the last two Publicani, or tax collectors, never returned) on top of pointed inquiries as to why a Fulvius would be in Avium with a band of thieves to the ever growing concerns regarding the Fulvii in Delirci. It is bad enough that Mori and Connexio both were late with their taxes, but with Delirci apparently challenging his Provincial lordship and the Prefect unhappy, it puts House Sanguinii in a tight spot. Surprisingly, your father does not ride out in force to Delirci, a change from his usual iron rule. With the eyes of Connexio and Mori on him, and the Prefect possibly looking to replace him, your father chooses to remain in Avium. Instead, he takes a more diplomatic approach and sends a small band of 20 men and a retinue of Sangunii nobles and entourage, to discuss things with the old man Domino Fulvius Decimus. Namely, you lot. And so it is that about 6 weeks after the incident beneath the castle, you find yourselves getting prepared for a diplomatic mission to Delirci to hopefully answer some uncomfortable questions. At the same time the fact that Fulvius Russus is being held by the Sangunii must be kept a secret. If it were found out that the Sangunii were keeping nobles in their dungeons, it would cause some anger and antipathy from many of the liege lords. At the same time, if the events that resulted in that imprisonment came to light, the Sangunii would appear weak, vulnerable. And if news of Russus reached Delirci whilst the Sangunii nobles were staying there…well, the Fulvii might return the favor and fill its dungeons with Sangunii.

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Greetings and Salutations

Dies Lunae i Augustus CMXCVI

Bright garland of fresh pine interwoven with bright flowers hangs back and forth across vaulted ceilings like some mad spring web. Brass gilding shines freshly polished reflecting lights from scented candles and aromatic oil lamps. The castle is claustrophobic with an army of servants, one it seems at every corner. The Sangunii are receiving guests most high as the Praetor Prefect Tiberius Claudius Lucius comes to visit the province of Minnovium. Such visits are customary affairs expected every other year on kalends Augustus, the 1st of August just after the summer solstice and right before the Praetor of the Province starts collecting all the grain and tax from the province; A gentle reminder that all is collected in the name of the Emperor. However habitual the affair, it was just the sort of thing that could send ill word to the Emperor about a far-off province that otherwise managed to escape the rather uncomfortable attention of Rome. Dominus Faustus Sanguinius Iustus, usually a penny pincher, spared no expense in treating the Prefect to the luxury his station was due and much coin was always spent at these affairs. An entire Circus was hired to entertain for the event, no mere group of troubadours, and famous poets and philosophers invited to share their prose and pomp. Much of the day is spent with the Prefect’s vast host entering the castle – nearly a Cohort of armed men accompany him, with twice that number in servants, caravans of goods, mules, horses and hanger ons.
It is dies Lunae (Monday), and tonight will be filled with more wine and revelry than most every night in two years combined.

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