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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Capibara

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canonized - That's right, finally the two stories are coming together

Griffin.Gen - Pretty much that, isn't it? :p I think I took enough time for this update :D

Slinky - You always have the Bulls for that job ;)

Snugglie - Of course it's alive! I wouldn't let this die. A new ally is gained indeed, we'll just have to see how much he helps our heroes.

Qorten - Oh! Whatever! :p Thanks!

EUROO7 - Five months actually ;) That phrase means "Together until dead, nothing will make us fall". You'll see more of it in the next chapters. And a little reminder. If Visconti falls probably Ranieri will fall too :D

Enewald - We'll see, we'll see ;)

balkanite - The question is, for who is he good?

Thanks everyone for the comments despite the long time without an update, I really appreciate it. I hope I can post updates more frequently now that school is coming to an end.
 

comagoosie

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Blah, down with Giovanni is sick and can't think straight. I trust the Szfora. ;)

Now only if the Pope could get that decree out a little faster than a week...
 

EUROO7

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Capibara said:
EUROO7 - Five months actually That phrase means "Together until dead, nothing will make us fall". You'll see more of it in the next chapters. And a little reminder. If Visconti falls probably Ranieri will fall too

Ranieri is too smart to let himslef be dragged down with the Milanese.

Because the Pope and EURVII are close friends. :D
 

aldriq

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Finally got to read your update (yes, I saw your note ;))

Nice to see the Venetian doge finally involved -totally impartial here :D It was a huge missing piece in the big Italian jigsaw, after all no one made any important decisions in Italy at the time without taking Venice into account. Surely the doge supports the Pope, and the Sforza pretender I imagine?
 

Capibara

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aldriq said:
Finally got to read your update (yes, I saw your note ;))

Nice to see the Venetian doge finally involved -totally impartial here :D It was a huge missing piece in the big Italian jigsaw, after all no one made any important decisions in Italy at the time without taking Venice into account. Surely the doge supports the Pope, and the Sforza pretender I imagine?

The doge has his own private agenda, and we'll see that soon ;)
 

Capibara

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trekaddict said:
It's probably a bit late, but count me in.

It's never too late, new readers are always welcomed! ;)
 

Griffin.Gen

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New updates are also always welcomed! :rofl:
Just kidding, take your time.
 

Capibara

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Griffin.Gen said:
New updates are also always welcomed! :rofl:
Just kidding, take your time.

Keep it that way and you'll see the Pope with an arrow across his chest :D :p
 

Capibara

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Good notices. In order to celebrate one year of my canonization, I'll be posting an update tomorrow. So stay tunned!
 

unmerged(83622)

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Good notices. In order to celebrate one year of my canonization, I'll be posting an update tomorrow. So stay tunned!
Hallelujah, that is exactly what I will need tomorrow. :D
 

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I'm late as usual. Sorry. Hmm, I don't know wether I trust Sforza either, a man who wants power is always hard to trust. But as for the Pope, loosing the Pope as an ally would be a big blow for the forces arrayed against Visconti; not only the excomunication order but also a military ally... the situation is tough.
 

Capibara

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I'm late as usual. Sorry. Hmm, I don't know wether I trust Sforza either, a man who wants power is always hard to trust. But as for the Pope, loosing the Pope as an ally would be a big blow for the forces arrayed against Visconti; not only the excomunication order but also a military ally... the situation is tough.

The loose of a powerful ally if the Popes gets killed it's a small problem compared with the reaction Griffin.Gen may have. He could come all the way to Mexico and personally kill me. :p
 

Griffin.Gen

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The loose of a powerful ally if the Popes gets killed it's a small problem compared with the reaction Griffin.Gen may have. He could come all the way to Mexico and personally kill me. :p
Its not actually that far, at least i dont have to cross the atlantic or Pacific :p
 

Capibara

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phargle: We'll see who we can trust soon.

GriffinGen. : Still, you have to cross all the US and find your way through the mountains of Tijuana ;)

One day late, but as I promised, here is the update.
 

Capibara

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Chapter XII
Saving Mission

Everything was quiet and calm at the Palazzo della Madonna. It was still early in the morning and only a few servants had woken up to start with their daily chores. On one of rooms of the second floor, the first rays of sunlight were starting to enter through the window. Cardinal Alessandro Canciani was planning to stay in bed all the morning. He didn’t have any important appointment that day. Visconti had not bothered him in weeks and that was good, the duke could be unbearable in ocassions. He had sent several requests to the Pope asking for a change somewhere, but he hadn’t answered and now with the political situation in the region, the chances or moving somewhere else soon were very thin.

However, he was uneasy, the calm atmosphere that surrounded the morning was just the prelude of a storm that was gathering in the horizon. This one confirmed moments later, when one of his servants rushed into the room.

“Your Excellency! Your Excellency!” he yelled.

“Bruno, how many times have I told you not to wake me up like this?”

“I’m very sorry your Excellency, but there’s an important matter that needs your attention.”

“What would that be?”

“Urgent news from the ducal palace.”

“I knew this wouldn’t last...” muttered the Cardinal “I’ll be right there, just let me dress myself.”

What would Visconti be planning this time? Didn’t he had enough with conquering everything in his sight? Hopefully the Pope or someone else would do something about him soon. He was just going to far. Maybe he had already rethinked the whole issue around. Unprobable, but it was always good dreaming. He was now ready. Better end with this as soon as possible; that way he could finish with the Canzionere of Petrarca he was reading.

Cardinal Canciani exited his room and headed towards the meeting room in the first floor. He greeted everyone who crossed his path in his way downstairs. The messenger from the ducal palace was already waiting for him when Canciani arrived to the room. He looked tired and was covered in dust; he seemed to have rushed all the way to the Cardinal’s palace. He definitely wasn’t bringing good news.

“Antonini! Dear friend, what brings you here with such urgence?”

“Could we talk in private, your Excellency?” said the messenger, still trying to recover his breath.

“Certainly” Cardinal Canciani made a sign with his hand to the servants in the room to exit. When they were out, he started talking.

“So, what brings you here with so much urgency my friend? What’s Visconti up to now?” asked the Cardinal in a serious tone.

“I think this time he is out of his mind. I had to come here secretly, at the risk of being discovered and killed. He is planning on killing the Pope.”

“What?!” Cardinal Canciani could not believe what he was hearing. “Everybody knows Visconti has something wrong in his head, but I never thought he would ever think of doing something like that. Do you know more details?”

“Yes. Apparently by removing the Pope from the scene, he can install a puppet one in St. Peter’s throne and be able to continue with his conquests without a major obstacle. That way he avoids excommunication as well.”

“How and when is he planning on doing it?”

“He will hire an assassain. The hit will be in about a week.”

“A week? That doesn’t give us a lot of time, does it? We must act quickly if we want to save Italy from Visconti’s tyranny. Could you go back to the ducal palace and get more news for me? I would appreciate it deeply.”

“It would be an honor, your Excellency. Now, I must go, before someone realizes I’m missing at the ducal palace.”

“Go. And do remember to inform of everything that happens there as soon as possible.”

“Yes, your Excellency. Goodbye.”

Cardinal Canciani made a gesture with his head as Antonini. He then returned to his room where he started writing a letter to an old friend, he would probably help him to take down Visconti. He just hoped his friend still remembered their friendship from long years ago when they had travelled together thourgh Europe.

***

“So he knows...”

“As I told you sir, it would be advisable to neutralize him before he can do something that would put in jeopardy the whole operation.”

“He has already know for long enough, but I agree, he must stop him. We’ll do it tomorrow’s night when nobody notices. We’ll put him in one of the dungeons. As for what we’ll do to him, that will be decided after. Now go and gather a group of soldiers for the assingment.”

“We’ll do it sir. However, we can’t do it tomorrow night. It’s the first Sunday of the month and everyone is expecting to see him at mass, we’ll have to wait until Monday.”

“I see. Still, put a couple of soldiers outside his house and inflitrate someone so we can know what he’s doing. Take care of Antonini afterwards.”

“Yes, sir.”
***

The last two days in the Venetian Republic had been wonderful. After the meeting with Sforza, whom they haven’t seen almos in these days, they had moved to Venice. It was of the prettiest cities Giovanni had seen, with its canals and gondolas, but it didn’t compare to his beloved Siena, while Giulio insisted Bologna was the most beautiful. They could never reach an agreement. They used the whole day to visit the city or recover forces. The rest of the Sienese soldiers did the same. As long as Sforza could not gather men and money they could not move. That would change that morning.

Valentino Sforza entered their room at about noon. He had a gloom appearance and didn’t seem in a good mood. However, he was well dressed and it appeared he was going to party or something.

“What’s up with you, Sforza?” asked Giovanni laughing “who died?”

Sforza didn’t find the joke funny an limited to comunicate them the news. “The Doge wants to meets you in one hour, so get dressed and hurry, that he is doesn’t like to wait.”

“But why the face? Don’t you like him?” insited Giovanni.

The Milanese pretender didn’t even bother in answering. He just turned and exited the room.

“What’s up with him? Giovanni smiled “I was only trying to be friendly. You know, after all I have said about him.”

“Yeah, sure. Although I do find strange he is so concerned about us seeing Drique. Actually, now that I remember, he hadn’t mentioned him in all the time we’ve been with him.”

“You are right. You see, I was right about not trusting him. But let’s hurry or we might get in trouble with the doge.”

They day they had gotten to Venice, they had been provided with new cloths. The rags they had been wearing for weeks were now burning somewere in the city. They met with they other companions outside the building. They were just as well dressed as they were.

“Come on” said Giulio. “It’s almost time.”

They quickly walked through the Venetian streets, which were pretty busy this hour of the day. They passed next to a construction. They had been told it would be the new Palazzo Ducale, but the it would still take years before it was finished. They finally arrived to the house of the Doge, Alessandro Drique. They were received by the butler who conduced them to the dinning room. The doge was sitting in the far side of the table and was talking to a woman. They stopped their conversation as soon as they saw the Sienese group had entered.

“Welcome, welcome, my dear guests. I’m very glad to have you here. I hope you’ve been treated well. I was talking with Valentino this morning and he happened to mention you, so I decided to invite you, so I could get to know you better. This is my wife, Beatrice.”

“A pleasure to meet you.” she said.

“Please take a seat” continued the Doge. “The meal will soon arrive, in the mean, please tell us about yourselves.”

The group of Sienese refugees proceed to introduce, while drinking from a wine that had been brought moments before. Both the Doge and his wife listened with attention to each one of them. When they had finished the food had already arrived, so no much talking was done while they enjoyed the delicious Venetian cuisine. When they finished, the conversation resumed. However, this time the Doge was the one talking.

“You are direct victims of Visconti’s expansion, so you know what he’s capable of. I received a letter yesterday informing me of a plot to kill Pope Carlo. He is my friend an is urging me to take action. However, my troops are not ready to face Visconti and a war right now would be disastrous. I need to send diplomats to France and Germany in order to concert an alliance. In the mean, I must find out more about the plot and inform the Pope in someway. My idea was to...”

He was interrupted by a servant who entered the room with a letter. He handed it to the Doge and retired. Drique quickly opened it. His expression changed as his eyes skimmed through the letter. He gravely looked his guests and his wife.

“It seems that Visconti discovered that Cardinal Alessandro Canciani knows about their plot and is going to arrest him next Monday. We cannot let that happen, he has valuable information about the whole thing, we must go and fetch him. Borrelli! Go and find captain Gianluca and...”

“Wait, we can do it!” Giovanni speaked so suddenly that he surprised everyone present. “No need to movilize your soldiers. Better prepare them for the eventual war. My companions and I can go. During the last weeks he have learned how to move without being seen.”

Alessandro Drique hesitated for some minutes until he spoke again.

“Fine, but it will be under your own risk. I will provide with the necessary things for the success of this rescue mission. Who of you will follow your friend?”

“I will” said Giulio almost automatically.

“I’m in” Del Vecchio said.

Other soldier named Baldovino Canitti offered to as well.

“So be it then” said Drique “We’ll be waiting for you here. Ah! And take this.” He took a ring from one of his fingers and handed it to them. “When you find him show him the ring and say Insieme fin la forte, niente ci fará cadere, that way he’ll know you are there on my behalf. Good luck my friends, and may God be with you!”