Upon return to the inn Luigi was rather cool but Stahl was pleased about our report and once again he mended me. Later while I was availing myself of my handmaiden’s particular skills, Alexi called on me to use my skills to assist a woman of his acquaintance. He pleaded me to shop with an ingénue he wishes to escort to a ball this evening. I did the best I could with his limited funding but she’ll turn his head no matter the dress – he is so easily besotted. My newfound servants have provided me with a wonderful new dressmaker, a Monsieur Rouge, who had just the right dress to spectacularly feature Luigi’s gift from last night. I shall make quite an entrance at tonight’s ball. But before that I shall have to deal with the unruly affections of Senior Rodriguez
I quickly dressed to meet Manuel and disengage myself from him for the evening so I might attend the ball with Luigi. This assignation was confusing to say the least. He tried to convince me of Luigi’s villainy but I suspect his lack of fluency in Vodacce was what lead to his twisted and unrelated arguments. Apparently he has challenged Luigi to a duel on the morrow and in keeping with the Vodacce style of combat I am likely to be losing a suitor.
I rushed back to the inn and was it not for Becca and Jemma’s quick hands I would not have been ready in time. I looked resplendent in my new gown which beautifully set off the magnificent necklace Luigi gave me and I was certain to cement his interest and looked forward with great anticipation an evening of elegance.
The ball was lovely until Alexis ruined everything by taking my aside and telling me Luigi is married which I wasn’t about to believe since he is constantly trying to ruin my fun since coming to this country but further investigation and a charming interlude with the Montaigne ambassador to Vodacce proved the truth of his words. I will have to come up with a way of handling Luigi but in the meantime he continues to speak of gifts of clothes and jewels so…
I did put in a good word for the ambassador, Pierre du Paix, and Luigi seemed to want to speak with him immediately leaving me to my own devices. Rodriguez appeared by my side as if by magic and the only thing to stop is tongue was to dance. He continues to say Luigi is “a bad man” and not that I’m not willing to give more credence to his words now that Luigi’s matrimonial state has been revealed but with no more to go on I can’t totally dismiss his role with the Rose & Cross safehouse as well as the kindness I’ve seen him give the orphans at the inn. Even his connection to a crime family does not mean he doesn’t work from within to leverage it for good. I can’t even hate him for being married as that truly appears to be the Vodacce way. Rodriguez is not that much better a candidate, neither are men I could bring home but at least with Luigi I would have luxury.
No surprise that before the evening could progress Alexis could not help but get himself into trouble again and I could not but help to defend him. I do not really know what sparked the fire but a large Crescent man had challenged him to a duel so I stepped in. The man called to the death and it very nearly was – mine. I had several moments fearing I was over-matched but once again Wolfie proved a value second to me and managed enough distraction for my swords to slip through. It was with great relief I tried to deliver the killing blow only to be blocked by Wolfie at the last moment! I still struck with my knife-hand but I believe my foe still lived. I threatened his brother, who had plead for his life, with my bloody knife and told him the burden of preventing his brother coming back on me was now his, but to my surprise Wolfie then declared the Crescent swordsman dead and me victorious.
Luigi introduced me to his uncle, Gespucci, the patriarch of his family and both offered hospitality and healing. Thankfully, Monsieur Rouge produced another gown so I did not need to return home in my dishabille. But sadly the evening’s festivities did not live on much longer.