(1874-11-04) Finding the Evidence
Finding the Evidence
Summary: Members of the d'Armaz hunt for evidence that one of the local Mayors is buying in suplies he shouldn't be.
Date: Various. Early Nov 2018
Related: Dockside Deceptions
NPCs: Mayor Davide of Basilico, Eleni the trainee Courtesan, miscellaious guards/servants.
Myrana  Ivo  Bertram  

Riverport town of Basilico

Mayor Davide of the prosperous town of Basilico, whose harbours service Armaz ships plying the great southern trade-route between Fiorello-on-the-River and the burning new kingdom of Bitralund in the lap of Aequor, has fallen under the suspicion of the D'Armaz, but he seemingly has yet to realize this. Rumours have been creeping about Basilico-town that Mayor Davide received a shipment of barrels marked with the al'Morena brand; one of them, they say, smashed open on the pier, and the lads who ran out to help salvage the leaking wine (what selfless guys), told their mates what they saw. Their mates told their wives. Their wives told their friends.
And friends, a D'Armaz never seems to run out of.
But Mayor Davide shows no sign of guilt, drinking as he often does in one of the faux-raucous kaffe houses of Basilico, where poets and painters are sometimes allowed to pay in trade for their meals and duels are a regular occurrence among the wealthy heirs of merchants and nobles. The kaffe is better in these places, any brave Aequoran youth will assert, because… well, just because! They are the regular hangouts of Cavaliers in Lyionesse, the capitol of Aequor, but here in Basilico it is largely Armaz sailors, merchants, artists, and people having rather private assignations.
"How long is he going to drink that?" Myrana growls impatiently into her kaffe, watching the mayor at his table with the very attentive woman next to him. Her blue eyes glitter evilly over the top of her cup. "Doesn't he know more than a cup at a time is bad for you?"
Myrana is dressed much as she was when she ran full-on into her cousin a few weeks past, the last time they were in Basilico together; tan trousers of a very flattering cut tucked into tall cavalier's boots, a silk blouse with much-too-dramatic sleeves that have been rolled and tied most extravagantly to allow her small white hands to escape in their kid gloves, and a disreputable tricorn through which some very pretty feathers have been laced. Her white braid is tucked up into it in some sort of profane ritual that prevents it from busting free, and her sword is slung at one hip in expertly fashionable fashion. There’re silver tips on her black boots. Heavy bracelets on her wrists, and a pistol at the small of her back thrust through her belt.
It is a disguise that says; Even dressing like a gaudy criminal, Myrana D'Armaz wears too much fucking jewellery.

"Doesn't he know that smuggling in your father's lands is bad for you?" Ivo retorts, hints of amusement hanging on the edge of his hushed words. "He'll move, and until he does, we get to see if he talks to anyone else." He seems quite content to soak in the atmosphere for now, slowly sipping his own kaffe to make the drink last. "Do we know who she is?" he asks, not looking over at the pair. He has a vague recollection of her being mentioned last time, but it's been a while, and a lot has happened since then. "How many of the others in here do you think are his lackies?" Like the ones she had to run away from last time…
He himself is dressed down for the occasion. Solid boots, unremarkable trousers, a cotton shirt with far less blacklace than he usually sports, and over the top a blue woollen cloak the covers the brace of pistols in his belt, and most of the sabre on his hip. Stretching his legs out under the table as they wait he offers conversationally, "the Vir Sidus Tribune who's been about Fiorello was after kaffe you know. Kaffe and spices. Was almost tempting to carry a cargo for them, just to get a nosy at what’s going on up that way."

"They would want those things," Myra thumps her shoulders back into her chair and lets her kaffe sit in its chipped demitasse on the table at arm's length, trying very hard not to smile. It isn't hard to distract her from her brooding impatience, however, and her cousin's good at it. She hitches one knee over the other and relents, covering her lips up with one gloved hand and snorting. "Maybe he thinks Adriono won't notice while he's with his ships. That," she lifts the cup up off of the table and tilts it to see how much of the thick brew is left over the mud of superfine grounds at the bottom, swirling with heavy cream. "Is Eleni of Four Corners, a novice Courtesan who lives part of the year away from the Guild to care for her father."
She looks at Ivo curiously. "Would you be willing to go to Paras?"

Ivo returns his cousin's smile, it’s hard not to. "I can’t help but feel that anyone who relies on your father not noticing something can, at best, be described as a fool." There are other terms he could use, but refrains for now, choosing instead to ask, "and her connection to your friend is? Please tell me he's not the father…" There are a lot of links between this part of Aequor and Four Corners after all. He watches out of the corner of his eye as a couple enter the establishment, but they seem a little old to be hired lackies, so he just makes a mental note of where they sit and focuses back on Myrana. "I would," he replies, then qualifies, "in the right circumstances. The mercantile cover is a useful one, but not one that should be over used if it is to remain so. If there's a need though, then there is likely a way."

"That would be interesting," says Myrana, blinking. "Actually, I hadn't thought of that at all, I wonder if he is her father."
A waiting girl carrying a platter of food passes by and sets down a plate of paella so heavily spiced with turmeric and ginger that Myrana is for a moment utterly divorced from her powers of speech or observation beyond breathlessly thanking her and handing the girl a tip, transfixed by the food.
Seated up at one of the cheaper tables on the second floor of the establishment, connected to the floor below by a wooden stair and allowing space for the chain of the dusty chandelier and the tall windows of the front of the place, Ivo and Myrana have a commanding view of everything going on below. It is really excellent for this, as long as one doesn't have a fear of heights or do anything like leaning on the railing next to the tables. If one were to drop through the floor of the second story seating, they'd crash into the kitchen below.
While Myra's quite distracted, Eleni leans over and puts a big kiss on the mayor's cheek, who chokes and sputters into his napkin at something she whispers into his ear.
"I heard from our cousin Vincent, and him from her." Having tugged her gloves off, Myra spoons a heaping serving of the rice onto her plate and plucks a crawdad the size of her thumb with its bright blue whiskers and green-dotted shell right off the top of the platter.
Myra thumps a heel on the wooden floor three times, raising her boot up each time high enough that if she were wearing a skirt she'd be flashing the floor below in order to get a good, loud THUMP!. Others at the tables behind them, away from the precarious old railing, have been doing the same thing, but with much greater rates of success. Myra's nothing if not determined, though. Even if, realistically, the serving girl has probably just caught this ridiculous act out of the corner of her eye when it works.

Ivo rolls his eyes slightly in mock-exasperation at his cousin's reaction to the question, he's still smiling though. Reaching out for a crayfish of his own he pulls the head off first, then sucks out the contents as Myrana fills him in further. "So, what’s the plan then, see who comes to talk to them? See where they go when they leave?" He's peeling shell away from the tail section as he talks, then devours the rest of the meat. "Hmm, not bad. What are the odds do you think, of us being able to finish this in peace? Or now it's in front of us do you think they're going to make their move?"

"Well maybe he's a traitor but he doesn't have to be rude," says Myrana, very happily availing herself of the beautiful food. Like a savage, she eats the slightly more tender tail, little leggies and all, but like a noblewoman she hides what she's doing politely with the fingers of one hand, like a man who suspects he's gotten sauce in his moustache, daubing her lips with a napkin.
Even as Ivo is asking the question, though, the Mayor is getting up, with the courtesan on his arm.

"I shouldn't have said anything," Ivo mutters to himself, then glances up to the ceiling and beyond before repeating, "I should not have said anything." Flicking the remains of the tail that's in his hand onto the floor he grabs his kaffe and drains the last of it before rising to his feet and setting his leather hat on his head low enough that it'll go at least some way to disguising his features from a distance. Trusting that Myrana won't let them out of her sight he scans the crowd for the Mayor muscle, or anyone else who might clock them as on his tail.

Myrana half chokes on her second shellfish when Ivo gets up, and in her rush to follow suit gulps down her cup in the act of standing, getting a bit more sludge than she would have liked and strangling down a 'EUGH'. She coughs into her hand as she throws her coat on and hurries down the stair with light rapping bootheels.
Scanning the crowd reveals a beautiful thing to Ivo; the Mayor seems to have come tonight to meet with the Courtesan novice with only a pair of men. They are near the door, not far from the mayor's table.
By the wobble up and down his spine as he staggers away from the table with audacious bravado and red-cheeked gallantry, the mayor of Basilico has had more than just kaffe tonight. Or perhaps kaffe with a great deal in it.
"Come my dears!" He waves an arm out to include the serving girl in this invitation, which Eleni courteously ignores with a sly smile as the younger woman just steps right out of the Mayor's reach like she didn't hear a single thing, having had it with this sort of shit for one night.
"Come my dear!" He tries again, and gropes for his hat, which is not on the back of his chair but has fallen to the floor. "I will… uhp. I will show you the collection, since you're so inter-hp!-interested. Haha, it is admirable! Quite, you know, admirable, to pursue the arts. Where is that damn- oh!"
Groping for his hat while unable to quite look away from the woman on his arm, his hand suddenly encounters it! Aha!
"You dropped this, good mayor," says Myrana, who is down there handing it right to him with a polite Cavalier's bow, touching her hat without removing it and smiling like the devil's own mischief as she does it.
The guards at the door peer at this, and one takes his shoulder off the post he was leaning on with a grumble.

Ivo eyes the balcony, and the chandelier chain for a moment, a plan clearly already formed in his head, but then sighs to himself at the need to be more subtle and follows Myrana down the stairs. Stairs are boring. Keeping his head tilted down but his eyes looking up he clocks the guards, and their reaction to Myrana, using that distraction to gently weave a path to the door that would bring him in on their flank if they decide to try anything. He keeps his cloak close, as if he's readying himself to step outside, but mostly it's a move to he can have his hands on a weapon or two should he need to be quick on the draw. His eyes do flick briefly to the Mayor though, at the talk of a collection, then he lets them drift momentarily to Eleni, wondering just what it is she wants to see. He's still closing towards the guards though, and reluctantly looks back towards the door incise Myrana needs an extraction.

Myrana straightens up with a smile and flourishes her lace-edged handkerchief from her blouse like a magic trick, bracelets clamouring richly together. "Mistress Eleni, a pleasure beyond compare to see your beauty shining through the smoke of a kaffe-house like this one. Will you introduce me to your distinguished friend?"
The courtesan novice seems just as surprised to see the little Armaz as the mayor is, but as he goggles in confusion and tries to find his tongue, Eleni slips her arm free of his and leans elegantly down to put a kiss on the Armaz's cheek. "It's good to see you, miss Thistle."
"Miss Thistle?"
"Davide, this is my friend Thistle, a-"
"Musician!" Myra supplies with that cat's smile of hers, wiping her hands on the silk handkerchief and favouring the mayor with her gaze from one end to the other, sizing him up.
He doesn't know any better, and interprets it very incorrectly.
"The Mayor was just telling me about his art collection," Eleni supplies, and slips her arms back through one of his much doughier ones, pressing the orange velvet of his doublet with her fingers. "It sounds fascinating."
"Oh, I did not mean to interrupt," says Myra, putting a hand to her chest just below the bell pendant she wears. "I only meant to-"
Meanwhile, the two men guarding the mayor have yet to notice Ivo lurking by the door fussing with his coat. But one of them groans, rolling his head back on his shoulders to give the other some serious side-eye.
"This shit again."
"Shut up, Tom," says the other one. "This job is easy."
"Oh, he's going to want the wagon," says Tom. "Do you think Gabe's fallen asleep out there?"
"If he has, his ass' got to be frozen to that bench by now."

Ivo isn't sure what he's continually surprised at more, the ease of his cousin's infiltrations, or the low quality of retainer supposedly intelligent people choose to hire. With the guards apparently oblivious he snags a passing serving girl for a spot of causal flirting to give the mayoral party time to clear the premises before he'll drop in behind them. Keeping his back to them so his face isn't seen him doffs his hat to the lass, but uses the glasses she's carrying to keep an eye on what's going on behind him. Art. Hmm. Not as interesting as he'd hoped, but still, it might keep the man occupied enough in sowing it off that he can get a look elsewhere and see what is really going on.

Clever and sober, Myrana is silver-tongued enough to gain an invitation with the help of the courtesan Eleni to see the Mayor's collection. It isn't terrifically hard; she's a beautiful young woman, and the ease of Eleni's familiarity with her suggests that either Myra paid her ahead of time to give her a hand here (likely), or that Myrana has, upon occasion, gone to try out playacting in Four Corners dressed, essentially, as her late twin Achille (also likely), and in doing so learned to mime the outrageous behaviours of young Cavaliers in the city. The latter is just… too ill-advised for the romantically oblivious young woman to be considered as possible. She must have asked for Eleni's help.
The little party goes out to the mayor's carriage, where the mayor's carriage waits where it was parked just out front, right in the street.
But where's the driver?
The two guardsmen have their opinions, obvious from their exchanged glances while the mayor huffs and shivers and cusses at the empty bench. One of them rushes forward and opens the door of the carriage with his huge mitt.
"Must be around the corner," he says once he gets the mayor and his feminine guests in the carriage and the door is shut. Looking around, he cups his hands around his mouth and seems about to shout for the driver into the neighbourhood, but his fellow reaches out and grabs his sleeve in time, hissing: "You don't need to get him in that much trouble, damnit!"

Ivo is almost suspicious as to how well this is going. With the others out of the door he promises the barmaid that he will absolutely, most definitely, be back later before leaving her with a flash of a smile and a tip of his hat. Out in the street he's surprised to see the carriage still there and has to quickly improvise. "You waiting for Gabe?" he asks the two guards, using the name he'd heard them refer to earlier. "He.. er, said he wasn't feeling well, asked me to cover for half an hour so her can.. " he mimes throwing up, "you know." Then, without waiting for them to agree, he moves to mount up to the driver's bench and asks as he collects the reins, "where too? Home?"

The two guards exchange another pair of looks, but one of them nods and the other turns to Ivo-
But Ivo is already up on the driver's bench, and the thug stares at him suspiciously.
"Alright," he says, clearly not happy with this, but with the missing Gabe and the mayor banging impatiently on the wall of the coach, he just gets on his horse, as his friend is already doing, and hurries to flank the carriage. "Gabe'd better be fucking dead when I see him, you tell your friend that in the morning!" The two guards keep a close eye on Ivo and one of them says "Up the hill! I'm fucking cold out in this fog!"
Out of the corner of his eye, Ivo might see a flicker of motion.
It is Gabe, way down the alley, running up with his pants half down around his legs and an arm thrown up to catch Ivo's attention as he shouts.

"Up the hill," Ivo confirms cheerfully, encouraging the horses into motion. Knowing full well they're going to be suspicious he makes no move to do anything at all other than drive that carriage along, although he does gives the horses just that extra bit of encouragement as he sees Gabe advancing. "Terrible weather isn't it," he notes to the guards, working on keeping them distracted for long enough to get a big enough distance from the kaffe-house, "do you think it'll lift overnight, or are we stuck with it into tomorrow?"

Fortunately for Ivo, but very much unfortunately for poor Gabe, who was only trying to die of hypothermia rather than a tragically full wallet in the fun part of town (for goodness sakes!), the horses are quite used to the streets of Basilico-town, and once Ivo turns them about and points them up the hill, they get along without too much coaxing. Stamping and snorting, they seem to be eager to warm up, but shy at the echoes of laughter and shouts from the foggy city, which throws sounds around weirdly in the night. Overhead, both Summer and Winter Moon grow from the barest slivers that follow All Soul's Night to glimmering crescents, golden blush and icy pale. Filmy clouds scud over them and the stars, and the air is brutally cold and wet.
The two guards are more than happy to gripe about the weather, riding on either side of the carriage as they lurch along noisily over the cobbles. Ivo is obliged to come up with a good deal of information about the girl Gabe is seeing, and whether he's really sick, or if he's blowing all his pay on women. They are irritated with him, and not too worried about leaving him behind in whatever state he's found himself. How do you know him again? Is he an asshole to his folks, too? It's really just a pain to deal with that sort of thing, they've got their own problems to worry about without some young idiot coming in and wrecking up their n-
A window pops open and Myrana leans out, shoving her head and one arm out, hat and all, and leaning on the window that way with a deeply irritated expression. Looking at the guard on her side, she sears him with a glare that'd peel paint off a figurehead, then crams her way back in through the window in icy silence.
"I WONDER HOW FAST WE CAN GET THERE?" comes out the open window in a gaily excited tone.
The guard on the opposite side goggles at the road ahead like 'what a thing to be in a hurry for, what is wrong with these rich people'.

Ivo does his best to reply with conversational answers that contain as little actual information as possible, taking every opportunity to bounce back with questions of his own to deflect. He feigns annoyance at Myrana's interruption, but only once her head is back inside. "They always like that?" he starts, knowing that bitching about nobles should be a good time filler, but then his cousin hands him that winner of a line and he glances to the outriders with a mischievous grin. "Let’s show her, shall we?" Not that he waits for an answer mind, just pushes the horses on faster. He still keeps his hands in clear view though, no point in ruining the illusion just yet.

Away up the hill through the town of Basilico, it isn't hard to figure out where to go; the Mayor's house is the finest in town, and the oldest as well, overlooking the splashing cold fountain that, in the daytime, might be extremely picturesque. Instead, as Ivo pulls the horses around the curve of it with a clatter, it gurgles half-visible in the thick fog.
As they come to the front of the house, the grandiose front-doors are thrown open and light pours out from the square. A footman comes out and sets down a stool and helps the Mayor down, then the two ladies from the carriage. When she emerges after the other two, Myrana looks no more ruffled than she did going in, but Ivo would catch the way she takes a greedy breath of the cold air; it was stuffy in there, and she's terribly claustrophobic about that sort of thing.
"This way, ahem, my dears," says the mayor, still drunk, still very hopeful. The courtesan Eleni is clearly in control of the situation, though, and keeps his arm through both of hers. Moving like a swan, she helps him gracefully up the stairs. Myra lingers a moment at the side of the carriage a little distance from the driver's stoop.
"The kitchen looks over the stable yard," she murmurs, while the guards are dismounting. "Or I hope it does. Can you get inside?"

Ivo dips his hat as if in deference to the Mayor as the party alights from the coach, keeping his voice low as Myrana pauses for that moment. "Give it five minutes for everything to quiet again and I'll be there." Once the 'important people' are gone and the doors closed again he does what any coachman would do and moves to see to the horses. Moving around the coach to unhitch them gives him ample opportunity to scope out the layout and locate the kitchen before leading the beasts into the stables for the groom to deal with. Noting the guards are sorting their own he offers them a good night and heads for the gate, before slipping around the corner of the yard and into the shade of the main building. Not that the fog allows much shade mind, but every little helps.
Progress is initially slow, as he takes great care not to kick a pale, or make some other giveaway sound, but it's still one a few minutes before he reaches the kitchen door. Putting his ear to the wood he hears muffled voices, but the fade away into the interior of the house, allowing him the time to jimmy the lock with his main gauche. It's not easy, as the damp in the air has caused the wood to warp slightly, but with a bit of perseverance he's in and closing the door behind him.
So far so good, but then there's an almighty hissing sound and a giant ginger tom cat jumps onto the servant’s table in front of him with its back arched and heckles raised. Fearing for his face he's forced to improvise as he edges his way round towards where the cold meats are hanging, whispering as he does so, "gooood boy. Now who wants some chicken eh? I bet you do, don't you?" in what he hopes is a calming voice. It seems to work as well, for he survives long enough to swipe a chicken wing for the creature, and the back of his hand is only lightly shredded as it swipes it from his grip and runs off to find somewhere hidden to eat.
Cursing slightly and shaking his hand with the sting of it he scowls at the retreating form, then turns his attention to the various pantries and stores, trying to find the one down to the wine cellar before the cooks and servants return.

After parting ways with her cousin at the steps, Myrana follows Eleni and the mayor into his home, bootheels rapping smartly on the wet stone and the skirts of her green cashmeri coat brushing against the wet leaves of the potted gardenias. At the top of the steps, Eleni draws her in through the doors with a smile, and the footman closes the golden warmth in with them.
The two women are led with gracious cheer to a parlour where, much to Myrana's surprise, the mayor is as good as his word and has collected a very amusing handful of paintings, books, and a few interesting antiquities. As he shows Eleni around the room, putty in her hands and quite happy to be led through conversation as well as his own parlour, Myrana turns her back on them both and looks out the window into the foggy courtyard. Her own reflection meets her thanks to the bright light of the lamps inside, and for a moment she freezes; Achille stares back at her. But the morbid apparition is as quickly killed as it's given birth, for she collects herself at once with a shudder and breaks the illusion with a toss of her head.
"Silliness," she murmurs, and goes to the glass, looking out through the shadow she casts on the pane to the dark courtyard; that must be the stables below. She looks to the left and leans against the pane ever so slightly to peer at a sharp angle.
"Aha," she smiles to herself, hearing behind her the liquid sound of the courtesan's laugh. "There you are."
"Mistress Thistle?"
She whirls around and sketches a theatrical bow, blue eyes lighting with sudden sharp life and her hands a pair of kid-gloved birds eager to fly into artistic gesture. "Did you say that you have a zither?" she asks, and quits the window at once. "I know just the air!"

The dark kitchen sighs and creaks to itself; red light licks out in banded teeth through the grate of the large oven, lapping the tile of the floor before it and splashing against the cook's stool. Ivo's footsteps on the chipped tile floor follow him quietly over the kettle still giving steam where it hangs before the stove, the herbs and onions twisting on strings overhead from the rafters.
But that may be how he finds the door to the cellar, for eventually as he hunts this way and that for the entry, the sound of tile gives way abruptly to the dull thunk of bootheels on wood.
The big tom leers at Ivo from its place on the servant's table, eyes glowing witchlight green. It keens deep in its throat, then turns its face away and leaps down onto the floor with a loud THUMP. Chicken, you say. Bullshit! says the cat.
There are bottles of wine on the sideboard, and a tray of cups that need washing.

Ivo finds the beer cellar, and the meat cellar, and the pantry before he finally ducks his way through an archway and finds the wine cellar. "Ah ha!" he mutters to himself, a pleased grin spreading across his features as he lights the stub of a candle and uses the light to study the bottles within. "Hmm, nice," he notes, as a few bottles of a particularly expensive vintage are spotted, but he doesn't let his attention tarry for too long. He has a job to do, and a limited time in which to do it.
The cellar appears to be organised by grape and so he starts with the reds. It's his preferred style, and thus gives him the best chance of spotting anything out of place quickly. Working his way along the bottles he nudges forwards any that look wrong, so he can come back and double check once he's finished the sweep, ending up with half a dozen or so that he'd class as 'suspicious' on first pass. He's about to go back and take a closer look at them when he hears footsteps heading his way. Pinching the candle out between his fingers he sets the it down on a shelf and very slowly draws his sword and flattens himself to the wall to try and avoid detection. It's too enclosed to use a handcannon without alerting the entire building, but hopefully he'll not be spotted in the dark, or, if he is, he can use the blade to persuade whomever is approaching to stay quiet without actually having to resort to violence.

The footsteps fall dead the instant the candle is snuffed, and so there follows a long, tense silence as both parties wait in the dark.
"A-Alright if it isn't you, Ivo," Myra's voice quavers out of the pitch black. "Just prepare to fight me or strike another light!"

"Cousin," Ivo replies quietly, sheathing his sword as Myrana makes her identity known, "watch out for the cat." He doesn't immediately have anything to relight the candle with but it only takes a moment or two for him to duck back into the kitchen and fetch a taper from the kitchen. Once light is restored he points to the bottles he's flagged already and reports, "I've not checked out everything yet, but I suspect those might be our evidence. Is he otherwise engaged upstairs?"

"He is," says Myrana, who once Ivo returns with a light breathes a shaky sigh of relief. There are few things the little Armaz likes less than cellars, but she takes one of the bottles that Ivo shows her and holds it up to the candle's light, bracelets cascading down into the bulk of her tied-up sleeves with a clatter. "Are there barrels further in?"
"I'm in the guardrobe," she tells Ivo with a smirk. "Thank you for the hustle earlier; that carriage reeked.

"Barrels are over there," Ivo indicates by tilting his head towards the far wall, "haven't got around to them yet though so please be my guest." Using the taper to relight his candle he offers her one and turns in that direction himself. "The guardrobe," he repeats with an amused smirk, "we'd better be quick then, lest he start to worry that you're ill. Crossing to the aforementioned barrels he starts at one end, going methodically from one to the next looking for the vintner’s marks on the casks.

Further into the cellar they go, and the damp rises up to meet them. The stone is wet with it down here; perhaps not the best wine-cellar in Basilico.
Barrels on stands are stacked here three high in rows. Myrana begins down one aisle with the taper Ivo gave her, giving her cousin an apprehensive glance over her shoulder before padding away in a puddle of light.
"I hope he is a traitor," she says, voice small in the dark. "Terrible taste in poetry. I recited…" she stops to look more closely at a barrel, but then disregards it and moves on. "I recited five verses of the Lay of Minus and he asked if I wrote it," she grumps. "Tasteless asshole."
Water drips from the ceiling. A huge icy droplet splashes off Myra's shoulder and she has to stifle a yelp, jumping out of her skin and slapping a hand over her mouth. She stands collecting herself, shuddering. Jumpy.

Deeper in the cellars, there's a cough, then the sound of what sounds like feet stumbling over something and a muffled swear. Boots on the ground thud rapidly, as if someone was jogging towards the two d'Armaz… out of the shadows comes a crazed looking hell beast, face and beard painted with black grease - a demon perhaps? The short creature holds a similarly short sword. "Traitors!" He hisses, eyes squinted as if blinded by the meagre light which Myrana and Ivo hold.
It's not a demon. It's Bertram.

Ivo doesn't seem particularly bothered by the damp, although the chill does cause him to pull his woolen cloak a little closer over his shoulders to keep in what warmth he's generating himself. At the cough he extinguishes his light once more, slipping backwards into the shadows between two rows of barrels and drawing his sword. Once the nose becomes jogging steps he pulls a handcanon to his offhand, squinting into the darkness to try and make out what is assailing them. "Behind me," he mutters to Myrana as he edges sideways to put himself between his cousin and the danger. It's only the reluctance to make noise that stops him from firing, but as the shape becomes distinct in front of them he raises his sword and is quite clearly about to strike when the form speaks. Perhaps it's the voice, perhaps it's just the addition of light meaning he can get a decent look, but something in the d'Armaz recognises the engineer and manages to divert the blow wide and to the side, where he almost manages to wedge it into the side of a barrel. "Steady man!" he mutters harshly, "we might have killed you. What in the name of The One are you doing down here?" As if he and Myrana can talk.

"I'm sorry," says Myra through her hand, still shaken. For all her bluff, maybe she didn't expect the wine-cellar to be so deep. "I hate the- I hate being under-"
The cough stills her though, and though her heels seem for a moment to be frozen to the spot she stands in she rouses herself and does as Ivo asks, slipping behind him quiet as a cat and balanced on the balls of her feet. Under the brim of her disreputable tricorn, her blue eyes scan the dripping dark ahead, and she clutches the bottle of wine to her chest, prepared to thrust the evidence into her vest. Somehow. By brute force, and the tears of her tailor.
And that's when, on the other side of her cousin, a demon out of hell comes hissing out of the fucking dark.
She doesn't hear Bert's voice at all, not one bit, because the poor little Armaz has had quite enough of THAT in her lifetime, thank you very MUCH! And with a scream she wings the bottle of wine right at Bert's head.
It smashes a good foot wide, because she's a lot of things, but 'accurate' isn't one of them with glassware.
"GOD SHAT, BERT!" She erupts at him.
"Is there someone down there?" comes a voice from upstairs.
Myrana's face does a magic trick and goes from irate to innocent in record time.

Bertram's blood is up, and it's a challenge for the short knight to control it and not strike out towards Ivo, but as recognition dawns a few seconds later in his head, the man known as The Terrier lowers his own sword, his breath ragged. "I… wha?" His eyes are still nearly bugged out of his head. Bertram is wearing a dark, charcoal grey long sleeved tunic and matching trousers, with a similarly coloured padded gambeson and matte black boots. He's got a short sword in hand and a dirk on the other side of his waist. He barely even registers the bottle of wine go past him, or its smash. "You told me you'd be in the bugger's cellar! He's a traitor!" He hisses back. His still wide eyes snap up to the stairs. He makes a motion with his free hand of slitting a throat, but in a questioning manner.

Ivo winces as Myrana screams. Not just at the shock of the noise, but because it's right down his ear. He relaxes a fraction as the engineer checks himself, and answers the silent question with a quick shake of his head before he glances back towards the stairs himself. Flipping his hand cannon in the air so he's holding the end of the barrel he mimes using it as a club so the other two know his intentions, and then slips quietly back towards the stairs. If the servant comes down, then they'll wake up in a few hours with a sore head, if they stay up there.. Well, so much the better.

"Well I didn't expect you to come dressed as the devil!" Myrana snaps back, stomping her foot hard enough that her pendant jingles.
God must be personally mad at Ivo tonight. He could be back at the Foxglove, having a cupful of coffee and a lapful of waitress. But no. No, he is doing…
Family Business.
"Oh, shoot!" Myrana jerks, coming back to her senses. She turns her face up to Ivo with bald apology, lips sucked into her face in a big horizontal 'my bad' as she obediently gets behind a barrel and out of the way.
A servant comes in. Or, at least, you might assume he's a servant. He's wearing a thick coat and he's shivering as he looks around with a lamp in one hand, smelling of cold the fog outside. He looks like he's been running.

"The devil? S'neaking around in a dark pla…" Bertram manages to choke his already low, whispering voice off when he realises that firstly, he won't win an argument against his liege no matter how disagreeable a person he is and secondly, he'd better not speak at all. The man sucks back towards a wall out of the way, his sword lowered astride his trouser leg so as not to cast light about. He looks intently at Myrana, as if for instruction, and then at the servant.

Ivo holds his breath as the servant enters, stilling himself so he makes no movement that might give away his presence to his intended target. The wall is cold against his back, even through the layers he's wearing, but thankfully the man moves forward enough that he can swing the butt of the handcannon at the back of their head. There's a crack as wood meets skull and the poor lad starts to crumple to the ground. He's caught part way down though, and lowered gently so as not to cause more damage to his head, and the lantern is carefully removed from his grip before his unconscious form is dragged a little way from the door.

"Do we have the evidence we need?" Ivo asks, turning back to Myrana and Bertram, "I doubt we can stick around much longer unless you're wanting to go make the arrest now."

Pressing herself against the belly of a barrel, Myrana shoots an apologetic look over at sooty Bertram with her big eyes like the devil himself, but earnestly. At his query, she holds up a stilling hand and points back at the flat of the barrel, towards Ivo where he's waiting.
"Oh dear," she gets up and gives the young man a concerned look. "Nice catch Ivo. No, we-" but she pauses, and looks where her hand is still held flat to the brand of the barrel she'd hidden behind. The arms of the now defunct al'Morena are under her fingers.
The gruesomeness of that again stills her, and it takes her a heartbeat to draw herself out of it with a shudder.
"Oh I hate cellars," she mutters, and taking off her hat shakes her head. Her braid falls free and sways down to her calves in a snowy plait and she gives a huff, feeling gooseflesh go up her back and a crackle of static follow it. "Here's one of the barrels. Mayor Davide has an interesting collection of antiquities after all. Here is my uncle's wine." She pats it again.

Bertram watches Ivo step in and smash the back of the servant's head with the wooden butt of his weapon with a detached, clinical eye. "Might not wake up, that one." He notes, though he doesn't really seem to care either way. This is business, after all. He steps to peer instead over Myrana's shoulders, and states very obviously, "al'Morena. Rest in peace to those bastards. Didn't the heathens cut the head off the Duke or something?"
Bert's sword remains in his hand, naked but held low. Never know if any more nosy servants will rush downstairs.

Myrana sets the tricorn back onto her head, much more comfortably now, if a little too big, making it sit askew. Her eyes are half-lidded as she looks at it, thinking, and listening to Bert.
"…I am wanting," she says, thoughtfully. Her normally smoky voice pitched low and thoughtful in her throat, softly fricative. "To drown that man in this wine."
But she takes a breath.
"We should let the Count decide what to do." She nods, and points towards the exit, moving away from the barrel and picking up Ivo's dropped candle and relighting it with hers. "Let's go."

"He breathes yet," Ivo replies off-handedly to Bertram as he re-joins the pair of them at the barrel. Noting the mark, he takes a quick look to satisfy himself then looks to his cousin. As the decision is made to take this to her father he nods his understanding then tilts his head back towards the unconscious man. "We should probably take him with us so he can't give away that we were here. That.." he looks to Bertram, "or make it look like he fell down the stairs."

"My god!"
That's when the Mayor announces himself. He made no noise coming in, because he is wearing slippers, and has a bottle of wine tucked under his arm and a plate of cheese in his hands

"What? Duke James? Naw, he's deader than a toad with a brick up his arse, m'lord. They sent the fooking head to the King!" How Bertram and the others miss the entrance of the Mayor is both surprising and not - given how engrossed they were in their silly conversation. The mercenary turns towards the man with naked steel in his hand and quickly moves to cut him off from the staircase.

The Mayor gasps, and drops his cheese plate.
Myrana makes a noise that she doesn't mean to when she sees that happen.
"God in heaven!" He exclaims! "You're here about the wine!"

Ivo closes his eyes for just a moment as the Mayor arrives. Then, having had their plan to sneak out blown entirely out of the window he just flashes Myrana an apologetic smile, draws his pistol, and points it right at the Mayor's head. "So, you admit your treason then?" he states flatly, cocking the weapon as he does so, "good, that saves us a lot of time."

Bertram doesn't seem to know anything other than the man is supposed to be a traitor. He doesn't even know what the man is traitorous to - the King? The Count? The Syndicate? It doesn't matter to Bert. "You know what we do? We pike their heads, put it right above their house on a stick." He is blocking the Mayor's exit, grinning evilly.

"It- It wasn't me!" The mayor quakes, backing away from the devil so quickly that he nearly trips on a rind of cheese, and tries to catch himself on Ivo's shirt, arms reaching- only to snatch them away. Unnoticed, the bottle of wine rolls into a corner. "Oh! My lord, have mercy on me! I was only doing what I was told! Please don't shoot me! I only took the wine to give it to the Count and save it from being drunk by those barbarians!"

Ivo feigns a bored look as the Mayor starts to splutter his story at them. "Told by who?" he starts, before adding quickly, "no, actually, save it for the Count. I'm sure he'll be fascinated to hear it all." Keeping his pistol trained on the man he gestures towards the stairs. "Go on, and no funny business mind, or I might become inclined to let me associate here," ie. Bertram, "speed things up a bit."

Bertram is, at the end of the day, a faithful servant without much skin in this game. He looks to Myrana for instructions of what to do. When Ivo seems to direct things, he turns and begins to move, evidently with the intention of acting as the front guard preventing the mayor from running, while Ivo plays the rear guard.

Myrana steps out once things are well in hand, bringing up the rear while Bertram and Ivo have the mayor under arrest. "Thank you," she says to them. "Take him to his carriage. We'll drive him out of the city." She looks at Bert. "…Why don't you keep him company in there, Bert. Shut him up if he screams." She circles around in front of the mayor and looks him up and down. "Your taste in poetry is horrible. Okay, let's go."

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