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Excerpt from the Journal of Giuseppe Uccisore
March 30, 1425 - Florence

Pia’s insolence taxes my patience. We’ve been here barely a day and she acts like a dog let loose from its leash, all the training and discipline, cast off like a collar. Hopefully, some temperance might rub off from spending time with Adelesia. I cannot speak too harshly, based upon my own foibles. After tracking down this Vincenzo fellow, imagine my embarrassment when this lying churl acted as if he wasn’t who he said he was! I nearly succumbed to the gratification of taking a pair of pliers to his balls, when that cox-comb Giovanni stepped in.

Luckily, a distraction, by the name of Agnola has a job for us. A Duchessa caught by her husband with her harp instructor’s delicate finger work in her knickers. Another Noble sob story, send in the street ruffians to fix it. If the combination to the strongbox doesn’t work, I’ll be taking Agnola’s delicate fingers.

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Hirow's tale, Pt. 1
Hirow sat down by Sister Orsolla at the hearth of the inn. The day had been warm, so no fire was lit. Nevertheless, the stonework was the focal point of the room.
"You never did tell me why you had to flee your homeland." she said as he settled. "And why you are hunted."
Hirow slowly pulled something from his pack wrapped in cloth. She glanced at the cloth, and then looked back at him. Hirow sighed.
"It is a tale I am loath to tell. Would it suffice to say that the Sultan and I had a difference of beliefs?"
Orsolla gave a quizical and somewhat impatient look and said nothing. From the cloth he withdrew a wooden flute, which he then used the cloth to polish. Without looking up, Hirow continued.
"The Sultan can be a cruel man, most especially to women. And though he has four wives, he also enjoyed a harem of almost a dozen young women; a most cruel enjoyment. One day I could bear his treatment of them no longer. Foolishly, I spoke to them, thinking I might devise some easement to their suffering."
Hirow paused and took a deep breath. He folded the cloth and set it on the pack. Then he brought the flute up to his lips.
"The Sultan was so enraged by my transgression that only by the grace of Allah was I able to flee with but my life. A fatwa was issued and a price was put upon my head. A most impressive price, I am led to understand..."
Hirow began a slow, somber song.
Orsolla listened and after a while the rest of the room seemed to fade.
She began to nod her head in time with the drums.
Drums?
She opened her eyes and glanced around the room. No drummer or drums could be seen.
She moved her head from side to side, tilting and turning it. The sound of the drums was coming from everywhere. And from nowhere.
Hirow stopped playing, and the drums stopped as well.
"A sound, it flies like a bird through the air and on into your ear. Once inside the ear it stops at a gate, and on the other side of this gate a musician sits at a harp." Hirow paused for a moment, checking for her reaction. "This musician, he replays faithfully all of the sounds that reach the gate. It is this music that travels into your head, where you hear it."
She looked pensively in the direction of the ceiling rafters, imagining it.
"When an angel sings to you or when he speaks to you, there is no sound that traverses the air. Another person in the room, he might hear nothing. There is nothing that reaches the gate of your ear. Instead, it is the angel sitting at the inner harp; he himself is plucking the strings."
Hirow put the flute to his lips and resumed playing. Orsolla closed her eyes and listened.
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Carl
Posted by the GM
Shadows of Florence
Session 01 Recap
March 29-30, 1425

Our campaign began with you arriving in the sprawling city of Florence on March 29, 1425. Giuseppe had hear a rumor that someone named Vincenzo, the proprietor of the Fox and Grapes tavern, was someone to talk to if one was looking for “employment” in the city, and thus you found yourselves heading there to make contact with him.

While on your way to the Fox and Grapes, however, you collided in the street with a young woman desperately fleeing a squad of halberdiers, church guards, who seemed intent on capturing her. The woman hastily thrust a scroll case into Giuseppe's hands and urged him (and the rest of you) to meet her on the Ponte Vecchio that night at midnight, claiming that she would pay well for its safe return and urging you to not open it. She then fled and disappeared down the street. Fortunately for her, Giovanni gave the guards misleading information and sent them in the wrong direction.

Later, after arriving at the Fox and Grapes, you were disappointed when Vincenzo claimed to have no knowledge of being an “arranger,” and told you that you had been misled. Both Giovanni and Giuseppi, however, had a strong sense that he was lying and simply did not trust you given that he did not know you.

Significantly, a woman who introduced herself as Agnola, overheard your conversation with Vincenzo and offered you a possible job. She told you that she is the servant of the wife of a nobleman, the patriarch of House Barzzini. Apparently her lady, Donna Serena, has been accused of adultery by her husband and has been imprisoned in their palazzo. Agnola is certain that her mistress is innocent of the crime for which she has been accused, but she fears that her lady will be put to death or tortured.

In essence, she wants you to rescue the Duchessa. Agnola has little in the way of money to offer as reward, but she knows the combination to the vault in her master’s office. The Duchessa, Serena, is the daughter of a minor noble house (House Dinofre) in the city of Ravenna (one of the Papal States) but she does have a cousin (Baron Piero DiNofre) who lives in the city who could protect her and perhaps smuggle her from Florence. When asked by Pia and Adelesia, Agnola strongly asserted her lady’s innocence; she hardly leaves the house, she said, though the Duke has accused her lady of having intimate relations with Taddeo, her music tutor who visits the palazzo two days a week to instruct her in the harp. Taddeo currently resides in the Duke’s dungeons beneath the palazzo.


(A Florentine Palazzo)

According to Agnola, the Duke is a cruel man who rules his household with a heavy hand, beating the servants or even having them whipped or branded for the slightest infraction. Serena’s own family , House DiNofre, can’t move to free her because they lack the power, it would seem too obvious, and they have no proof of her innocence. Thus, adventurers or those outside the law and society are perfect for the task.

Serena is currently locked in her chambers on the palazzo’s third floor. Agnola does not really know how you should affect the rescue, should you decide to do so. She can provided information about the dispositions of the guards in the palazzo, and she also revealed that a secret passage connects the cellars to the sewers, though she does not know its location. She also claimed that in four nights, Duke Barzzini would be absent from his palazzo, having been invited to a banquet, and that this might be a good time to strike.

You all carefully considered Agnola’s offer, several of you having grave concerns about antagonizing a noble, but eventually decided to take her up on her offer.

Having arrived at this decision, and despite the entreaty of the fugitive met earlier, you decided to open the scroll case that was thrust upon Giuseppe earlier in the day. Within you found a scrap of parchment apparently torn from some ancient book. The scrap, combined with your subsequent inquiries, revealed that the location of the ancient and long sought tomb of Count Rodrigo DeFausti lies beneath the abandoned and deconsecrated Church of Santo Spirito.

Apparently, the Count had been a Florentine noble who traveled to the east in 1095, a little more than three centuries ago, to wage war against the heathen Saracens in the holy lands. He returned deeply changed by the experience, and was purported by some to have lost his faith. He did return, however, with powerful relics of magical power, and became a person of great power and influence in Florence. Before his death, he commissioned the construction of a secret tomb somewhere beneath Florence, where the legends say he was buried with his relics. Rumors also had it that he had his wife, his sister, and his two favorite mistresses put to death and entombed with him as well. The tomb has never been found, though many have sought it through the centuries.


(Ponte Vecchio)

Later, at midnight, the mysterious woman from earlier in the day failed to arrive at the Ponte Vecchio, and you presumed that she might be dead. Seeing an opportunity, you decided to investigate the old Church of Santo Spirito yourselves and in fact did find the entrance to what appears to be an ancient tomb hidden beneath the abandoned altar.

Who knows what treasures and what terrors may lie within . . .
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Pie Crust and Session 14 Notes
Pie Crust

Ingredients:
2 1/2 C flour
1 C cold butter, cut
1 t salt
1 t sugar
6-8 T ice water

Instructions:
Mix flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter pieces at a time, mixing throughout. Add ice water until dough starts to hold together. Make the dough into disks and cool for at least an hour.

Session 14 Notes
We talked with Baba Yaga, and she said she would show me her apple pie recipe if we gathered a few ingredients for her. We fought some drakes and a squirrel and got an egg and apple for the pie. The last thing we need is syrup. Faith is reprimanded and Burly is a demon squirrel.
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Epic!
Sesame Kale Salad and Session 13 Notes
Sesame Kale Salad

Salad Ingredients:
4 cups kale
12 mushrooms
12 cherry tomatoes

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup water
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1/4 t black pepper
Salt

Instructions:
Tear kale leaves, slice mushrooms, and halve tomatoes. Set aside. For dressing, grind the sesame seeds, then add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Mix kale with mushrooms and tomatoes and top with dressing.

Session 13 Notes

We fought a bloody wizard and some bloody zombies, and we got both Ras'af and Vasili back from the red robed figures. Tagrimm jumped off a tower and broke his leg. We all managed to escape thanks to some erina, which are hedgehog like people that live in the Margreve. We decided to go back to Zobeck, and looking for a place to stay the night, we went into Grandmother's house. Faith is blessed and Vasili is back.
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