(1866-07-19) A Report Most Favorable
A Report Most Favorable
Summary: Philippe and Gastogne are summoned to the t'Corbeau manor to report on their findings. Finding the information obtained useful, Talia and Dominic decide what would be the best course of action for dealing with the brigands plaguing Hart's Home.
Date: 07-19-1866
Related: Related Logs - Shady Business
Players:
Talia  Dominic  Gastogne  Philippe  

t'Corbeau Manor
In Scene Set
Juillet 19th, 1866

Tonight, Talia is dressed in a rather flattering - and expensive dress. And, upon receiving word that Philippe and Gastogne were both completed with their little 'assignment' she'd sent word they were to meet at her home late in the evening. Sophia, far familiar to Philippe by now, and becoming more and more familiar to both Dominic and Gastogne only sees the boys into the meeting room where Talia and Dominic wait. She sits near, but not next to, her husband.

On the side table, next to her, a small wooden case that displays several vials of dark liquids of various colors. Dark green. Light green. Deep red. Black. Dark purple. Each vial is corked. And she is presently examining one, turning it this way then that, looking through the glass and the colored liquid against the torchlight.

Dominic sits and watches his wife as she examines each vial. He has been learning more and more and tries to remember each liquid and its property and best use as she examines another the last though. "I was doing rather well, but i've forgotten the name of that one." he says smirking as she might not have been aware of his internal quiz he was having while she was sorting. He knows they are expecting guests and so he does keep scanning to the door every so often.

With the word received, Philippe, of course, took it upon himself to ensure that he and Gastogne were present to the t'Corbeau manor at the appointed time. He is dressed as befitting of his profession, with a fine doublet and breeches. Boots of leather upon his feet, worn but still finely made. In fact, it was mostly the same well-to-do ensemble he worn when he met with their new contact…sans one particular item that is now strung upon his back. The lute rests comfortably back there, ready for use should the need arise. After all…Philippe is still the bard for the house.

There is a cordial greeting to Sophia as she greets the bard and the rogue together. There is a little flirtation from the bard, but nothing serious…just the usual play between Philippe and Sophia that shows the two are well acquainted with each other. He follows her with a smile, murmuring his thanks as she escorts the pair into the meeting room proper.

Gastogne is walking along with Philippe, giving a dip and a bow to Sophia as he comes in. Gastogne has made himself presentable (at least as much as he can). But, with his head still in place on his neck, he's in no mood to do anything to annoy the lady and the lord of the manorand risk that further. For now, he is quietly and obediently following along after Philippe, wearing an outfit of traveling leathers.

RUnning over events in his mind of the last few days then and of the pair's little mission, and how close he came on a few moments of it.

"I'm sure you'll remember it soon enough," ventures Talia, with a serpentine smile, amused a little but not overly upset or frustrated with her husband's inability to remember so much, so quickly. "Ah. Our guests have arrived." Her smile doesn't dissipate, instead turns towards the two men entering. "Gentlemen," she greets politely. "Do come in. I understand you've completed the task set to you?"

Purposefully, and with painstaking candid movements, a clink of the bottom of the glass vial, hard, into it's resting place in the display while her eyes match Gastogne's, and then Philippe's. Then, she leans back, only momentarily glancing to her husband, watching his actions as much as she does Philippe's and Gastogne's.

The door opening and Sophia steps in first as he'd been expecting to see and the two after her. Dominic looks back to his wife though she will not give him the answer, and so he will have to try and puzzle through it. He has met Gastogne a few times but the other he has only heard rumor of the Counts gaze is careful scrutinizing him a moment though he does turn to look back to his wife and smirks lightly perhaps at his view of the bard or maybe he's remembered the answer to the vial the smirk disappears though when he looks back to hear the report given.

A low, sweeping bow is given to Talia first. The bard dips low and returns to an upright position with a flourish, a sly little smile upon his lips. "Madame Talia, tis always a pleasure to be within your lovely presence." There is a flicker of a glance over towards the lord's direction, as sharp blue eyes note, in that fraction of a second, of the inspection Dominic is conducting on the bard's own person…which seems to only draw more amusement to Philippe. There is a bow to him, as well, though not nearly as grandiose as the one given to his better half. For Philippe knows exactly who he needs to cater to….and it isn't the lord of the hall at the moment.

"And yes, your Excellency, you understand correctly! We have most assuredly completed the task set forth. Though there was a minor bit of difficulty at first…" with that remark, those blue eyes of Phil's glance over to Gastogne…"we managed to win the trust of the merchant and discovered quite a bit about the fellow that could prove most useful." He then turns to Gastogne, extending a hand over towards Talia. "Would you care to share the information, or do you want me to?"

Philippe is letting Gastogne do the report? Either the bard is feeling rather magnanimous, or he is testing the fellow. Of course, there is no indication as to which is true.

Gastogne gives a light bow over to Philippe, "Thank you, Master Philippe." Then a bow is given to Dominic, "Lord." Then over to Talia. "My Lady." He takes a breath then over. "Thank you for the honor Master Philippe." He knows which side of things his bread is buttered on. He closes his eyes, and mentally reviews events then, deciding to give a summary of things as best he can.

"Mister Tommard is a businessman in the city with many contacts underneath the table. He sponsored a group of brigands outside of the city who would conduct raids around the countryside. In turn the brigands would give him a stake of what they took, and he would sell it. Also he seems to have been selling the wares from the countryside which drove up the prices from the woodsmen and hunters that i turn he could put up within the city." As far as Gastogne can tell, making money off both ends.

He lets out an ahem, and continues on, "He seems to have a great deal of information on events around the countryside and the city, as well as a.. Paranoia against the local lords. Once we were able to convince him we were not members of the lord's party or the constabulary, he was much more cooperative." Well, after being nearly roughed up and risking 'disappearing'. He turns over to Philippe for either a signal of things that the bard deems important to be elaborated upon, or to give Philippe a cue to pick up on the 'wares' that were taken and the bard's analysis of tem as well as the information gathered.

Talia sets her hands into her lap, idly flicking some miniscule speck of dust of her thigh. She looks expectantly to Dominic, as if - well, as if at least for now, she was going to let him ask the questions. To see where he might take this. For she? For now, she says nothing at all.

Dominic had listened to the report on the subject and getting closer to this merchant. He thinks upon them a bit looking between the two before he catches the look from his wife as she folds her hands into her lap, and gives a single nod given. He looks back two the two. "What business does the merchant think you had or really whose business might be more correct." he figures they will continue though and to the point of the task. He and his wife asked them to set out upon, and so is silent to hear if there is more.

"We are certain he has no Syndicate contacts?" Talia follows, after Dominic's inquiry, her tone almost conversational.

Philippe holds up a finger to Gast, indicating that he will answer the questions of the count and viscountess. He turns his attention to regard both equally, rather than Talia alone, and speaks to both questions at once. "Master Tommard is not aware of our association. He believes that I was inquiring of surplus stock as a tip that Gastogne gave to me as part of his indentured servitude to me. Tommard believe that his mercenary friends, lured by the promise of drink and flesh, were to blame for our inquiry."

Then, the second part of the question has Philippe turning his attention back to Talia. "The merchant is a fence. Granted, a well connected fence, with family positioned within the watch and judicial system, but just a fence, nonetheless. He merely takes what the bandits in the area offer him and sells what he can. He only got himself into a bind because what goods he had left was too recognizable to be sold back to the people it was taken from. The operation is too localized to be Syndicate, I believe."

Gastogne nods over at Philippe then as the questions are asked, and he goes quiet then as he looks over at Talia and at Dominic. A quick nod is given then as Philippe goes on, him confirming his agreement with Philippe's statements. After a few moments he closes his eyes and murmurs, "Aye, he said he had family over amongst the local constabulary.. A brother in law I believe? He didn't mention whether they were in on the take or not however."

Talia clucks her tongue, shakes her head just a little. "So," she ventures, looking thoughtful and exchanging a look with Dominic, "It would seem we've two options. To either exploit the man for profit, and his operation, and reign in these - bandits and measure some control." She tilts her head, sweeping her gaze to Gastogne, and Philippe, "Or. Teach them a lesson."

The Count will listen to the story and follow the trail as it were. Dominic looks between the two a moment while he thinks on this before back to his wife. "Hm." he says thinking still a moment a placeholder. "It would come down to what profit, and what perks this would gain.. versus the time and manpower it would take, and any risks that we might be exposed." he says as a conclusion though which is best he's still weighing.

"The window for gaining control is established. Without a third party to take the items too hot to sell and clear them out, Tommard's operation stagnates. He needs to clear out his inventory or he will get pinched. We…" Philippe pauses, then shakes his head. "Actually, more precisely, I am in position to be that clearinghouse for Tommard. I stop on my end and he stews. He cannot risk fingering me because then it points back to him."

There is another pause, as the bard considers a thought. "As it is, it may not take much to set up the chain. Tommard and his two goons were more than happy to load the wagon themselves. If anything, we would only need someone to make the run from Hartswood to Pacitta, if we were to use the storefront as our distribution point. Though, I would rather than I not be that connection. I am a better performer than a businessman…among other things."

Gastogne nods over at Philippe, "Aye, the existing structure is mostly there and seems competent enough, if somewhat small in scale." He offers. "Though I can't speak for his operation as a whole." He nods back over at Philippe as he speaks on, thinking. "And he seems to have a degree of useful information at the very least." He muses then, shrugging and thinking some. Trying to calculate, in his mind, the best way to keep the 'subcontractor' separately networked if it came to that so they could cut it off if they had to or undercut it.

"I am not concerned about - competency," Talia says gently to Gastogne. "Or coin, in this case. As seems to be the case, it is a small operation. And, with minimal effort, we infiltrated it. They affect their lands in - what I would consider a significant way. They draw attention to themselves, and without operating in the bounds of the Syndicate." She clucks her tongue a measure, looking to all three men. "I wonder if each of you considers them, then, more valuable as allies than - examples to be made."

With a slight shrug, Philippe offers his honest opinion. "In truth, it is a toss-up for me. I know that, with the chests he sold to me, he tried to sell it for much more than what it was worth, which annoyed me. I still ended up paying slightly more than what I felt it was worth, but that was to gain information and alleviate suspicion. The information he has and the tie to the bandits may be useful, but only marginally so. The goodwill of the nobility may be worth more, in my opinion. Though, honestly, it is rather close."

"He did mention that once the heat dies down from the murder of the priest that he and the bandits will resume. The criminal activity does place the respectable goods coming out of Hartswood at a premium, as well."

Gastogne nods over at Talia, "Aye Milady, his outfit seems.. Marginable but profitable, though as Master Philippe said they are experiencing a slight downturn. He seems to be the primary fence and contact for the bandits, so he could probably be squeezed for any information on them as necessary and it passed along to the nobles of the region."

The Count is considering his wife's words as well as the other two. In getting all of the information that he may need to make his answer well thought out at least. "Perhaps, a mixture of both? They may make us profit and provide information, but we can.." he pauses a brief moment. "Pursued them of the wisdom perhaps of respecting our authority, and seeing to the rules?" Dominic wonders out loud looking to his wife after his words.

"There is merit," ventures Talia, tipping her head slowly, "To all options so far provided that have been laid upon the table." Her eyes first move to Dominic, then graze over the others in the room. "There is a problem, however, innate here that none of you yet see. This - these brigands. This establishment already has defined itself. It has it's own merits, policies, procedures, implementations." Her tone is more lecturing, than anything.

Talia glances to Dominic, "It would be like taking a band of Knights that have worked together for years, and telling them that their methods of fighting and hierarchy were no longer effective, and pooling them into another group. It -would- work. But would require much time. And much effort. And this venture does not have the capital to back such."

Talia settles back. "And there is another option. Which none of you have voiced, or perhaps considered. Turning them in. I do happen to be on fairly loosely good terms with Sir Elrick. And they would be, in a fashion, indebted to us for exposing this in their lands without letting rumor of it upon the winds of their - inability to quash this little operation. And it would also send a message. The Syndicate controls the crimes within The Edge. Not - brigands."

There is a shift in the bard's stance. There isn't any objection to Talia's musings. In fact, he was considering such, though his phrasing may not have made it apparently so. Still, Philippe chuckles. "I did promise Tommard that I was not law. I did not tell him I was the complete opposite of such. Taking the brigands out will certainly bring about favor in the eyes of the t'Tremaine. Perhaps enough to have Sir Elrick forgive Gastogne of his misstep at Rovilon."

Yes…Philippe has not forgotten the first time he saw Gastogne.

"Quelling this rabble would also provide cover for establishing a more controllable operation. One far more subtle as to not attract attention."

Gastogne takes a moment then and goes to look over at Philippe, remembering over at the encounter and letting out a cough then at his own recollection of the event. "As well as the area is in a state of.. Possible revolt. Removing the brigands will bring about the peace as well as opening more business opportunities much more quickly to fill the void." Going with what the boss lady says.

"In that case, the contact person would be Tommard.." he muses, "As well as the mercenaries over.." Recalling his encounter with them over in the brothel. Letting out another sigh as he tries to think of what other ends would need to be touched upon then or useful information to pass along.

Dominic listens to the words and nods, as he'd not considered this course of action.. "Ahh, hmm that does make sense and would require much less effort to be certain and leave us many opportunities." He nods in appreciation to the lesson given by his wife. He is trying to learn in earnest everything he can both upon the physical fighting side and the operations side. It is just him being silent for the moment.

"Secure the goods you obtained, Philippe. The t'Tremaine's will undoubtedly reimburse you for your expenses in purchasing this illicitly obtained merchandise. Dominic and I will meet with Sir Elrick shortly." Talia then looks towards Philippe and Gastogne, "Well done. Philippe, you continue to impress. I do hope you are teaching this one well." Her gaze then solely fixates on Gastogne, "Learn from him. It very well could save your life."

Philippe nods, a small smile touching his lips. "Of course, Madame. The merchandise shall remain whole and intact and awaiting your request to return it to Hartswood." There is another slight bow as Talia offers her praise, but not another word. This time…the bard chooses to be silent.

Gastogne gives a light bow then over to Dominic and to Talia, "As you say, My Lady. And yes, I will, as Master Philippe permits, I will be a dutiful pupil." He then quiets, giving another bow of his head as he waits for further instructions or to be dismissed. His head is still on it's shoulders!

The plan is given and he will nod in agreement to it. "Of course, it will be a good meeting." Dominic ponders further the other two and will nod to the words about their jobs in the matter. It’s more thought though as he tries to see the point to which he could have gotten this course so that in the future he can learn to provide them proper insight.

"Where have you stored the goods, Philippe? And what was your cost to obtain them?" Inquires Talia, thoughtfully. "And what, if any, information did you disclose to this - Tommard, or these two brigands you befriended in order to expose this little operation?" Talia half-smiles towards Dominic, inquires, "Do you know Sir Elrick well, Dominic?" Curious.

There isn't a moment for Philippe to collect his thoughts, nor is there any other sort of pause given. He answers Talia straight away, as if he either knew the questions were coming or he just had the information handy. Which, as Talia knows, is definitely the latter, with Philippe's talent for mnemonic devices. "The chests are currently stored in the storefront in Pacitta. I had delivered them there just in case Tommard decided to have someone watch over us to ensure our veracity. The cost was a bit higher than the merchandise was worth. I paid 160 crowns for the lot, but it was most likely not worth more than 150. When the fenced items are turned over, it would be perfectly adequate to lowball the cost, should we want to further ingratiate ourselves to the t'Tremaine."

Then, with a glance to Gastogne, Philippe turns back to answer the last question. "As far as information shared….I told Tommard the truth, which was something he did not expect. It was an edited version of the truth, which makes for the best cover. Tommard knows I am a bard. The finances used to purchase the goods came, in part, from my winnings at the coronation tournament. I could not very well tell him I was a businessman when it was entirely possible he or members of his crew saw me at the tournament. He knows I am not law…and he knows I have a shop in Pacitta. Beyond that, nothing more." The posture shifts, to regard Gastogne. "Gastogne would tell you more of the two brigands. I did not have the pleasure of making their acquaintance."

Gastogne nods over at Talia, and he crosses his arms, "They said that they worked over within the city, acting as guards on shipments and such. Given their knowledge to a degree of Tommard's activities it's likely they're associated or at least aware of the bandits, though I did not confirm it at the time." He goes on, "They were fluent with Tommard and quite emphatic on that he was doing business on the sly and not to bring it up to the local lords, and to confirm with him we were not affiliated with the lords." Scratching his chin, "Which, given the emphasis he put on that while we were talking, indicates either they know him well and worked with him extensively given it was a rather major quirk, or they know him well by reputation."

A shrug over from Gastogne and a nod, "And I told them that I was working as a middleman. Trying to find markets to sell goods in and move things from city to city to get better prices and to act upon information. It's a simple enough story and one I've used a few times. I got them some drinks and some girls."

"Not very well, just as a fellow knight mostly besides the bit I know of his family public knowledge, though I saw him fight during the latest tournament a bit which is something at least." Dominic explains his knowledge of the other knight but at least it is a start in striking up some conversation perhaps at least of things. He turns back to listen to the further report and considers the information before his focus lands on Talia once more.

"Very good." Talia seems pleased enough, inquiring thoughtfully, "Any questions? I think we've wrapped things up rather nicely, for the nonce. And we'll let the t'Tremaine's sort out the rest of it. We'll be handing over to them a rather significant measure of peace of mind, and sanctuary to their people. A success, certainly. Again, I say, well done, gentlemen."

"No questions spring to mind, Madame." Philippe allows himself a certain measure of comfort, enough to allow more of his personality through. "I am, as always, at your disposal. Should you have need for any of my particular talents, you have but to say the word." There is one more bow given, as Philippe takes a step back…this time, given equally to Viscountess and Count both. "Thank you for the opportunity."

Gastogne gives a bow to the Count and the Viscountess, "It is an honor to serve and to further your plans, My Lord, My Lady. And I am ever your humble servant and you have but to instruct." Stepping back along with Philippe.

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