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After the Turk introduced himself to the dockmasters he was made to wait some short time before he was greeted by a contingent of four Venetians in the finest robes of state, one amongst them stepped forward and spoke heartily.

"Khareiddin Pasha, Steward of Beylerbey Lalasahin Pasha, I am Nuncio Aletinin, first amongst the council to the Doge, I welcome you to Venice, and convey the heartiest wishes on behalf of the Republic for the health and continued prosperity of his magnificence, Sultan Murad." Aletini's well trimmed gray beard framed his strongly set face, and he looked like a man not to be trifled with as he looked stoicly towards the Turk.

"The Doge shall see you presentlyl, if you would follow me?" Nuncio came to the envoy's side and pointed down one of the narrow busy streets towards the Palazzo San Marco. His cadre followed behind him only a few minutes later they were at the gates to the Doge's palace. The gates were flung open as a matter of course, and the group made their way slowly through the courtyard which strangely silent on this warm spring day. Up the stairs they continued, and into the gold gilt staircase leading up into the halls of the Palace. Half way up the stairs the group stopped and turned to the left, where a large set of wooden doors stood open. Through them, at the far end of a great hall could be seen Antonio Veniero upon his dais, accompanied by all of the Signoria and Council of Ten that were not presently walking in with the Ottoman envoy. Nuncio presented the man loudly, and with due respect,

" Khareiddin Pasha, Steward of Beylerbey Lalasahin Pasha, emissary of his Magnificence Sultan Murad!" Nuncio bowed to the foreigner, and took his leave to assume his position at the Doge's side. Surrounded by his byzantine court the Doge smiled faintly and motioned for his caller to come forward.


"Noble Khareiddin Pasha," he began with a curious sigh, "Upon what business do I have the honor of welcoming a servant of the great Sultan? It has been some time since the Republic has corresponded on matters of such delicacy ,that require the presence of one so esteemed as yourself, with the Sultan. Though I must say our merchants tell of the honor and uprightness of your people in their trade dealings upon your shores. Pray, tell me what can the Republic do for his Magnificence?"
 
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A sealed letter arrived for the Doge of Venice:

Unto Antonio Veniero, Doge of the Venetian Republic,

The Docks of Naples is in great shape it looks, because a Duke from Crete has started to rebuild it, mainly the warehouses though. I wish to thank you for that, we can both gain from this. Venice with its unparalelled fleet, and Naples with it's long coast and plentiful harbours, in both the eastern and western Mediterranean. However, it is in this hour Naples might need the help of just this friendship.

You see, the island kingdom of Trinacria [Sicily], as it calls itself, has recently had much unrest, and as it is rightfully mine, I do think this is the time to take it back. The so-called Queen of the island is follower of the Anti-pope, or should i say, Anti-Christ in Avignon, and thus surely a grave danger to our prosperity. In numbers, Sicily is a country which we can defeat, however, her fleet is rather big and in better shape than ours. However, They can not compete with that of Venice. Venice has a navy unrivalled in the Mediterranean sea, and should Venice decide to help, the fleet could reassure its power, and gain even stronger naval bases in the western mediterranean. And the city of Athens, which is right at the Turks feet, will probably be overrun by them should they notice Sicily is in trouble, which I am sure they will.

What I ask of you is to consider an alliance with the Kingdom of Naples, atleast for the time being. Naples has as said many ports, and several posessions in both the eastern and western mediterranean. Some, I might say, suitable as a naval base for Venice. And when Sicily is defeated, Malta is a nice strategic position for the Republic, don't you think? I do not expect the Republic to help without gains.

If you consider to support me in this matter, I will consider giving you the claim on the Kingdom of Dalmatia, and perhaps, some other royal domain?

Charles III Roi de Naples, Jérusalem et Hongrie etc.
 

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Khareiddin Pasha inclined his head to Nuncio Alentin, a faint smile touching the man's lips. "May the Blessings of the Prophet be upon you and your lovely city." He replies to him before turning and gesturing back towards the galley. Immediately, a half dozen officials of younger features and lower more humble stations emerge. Yet all have one thing in common...They were clearly born of Christian stock. Two of them carry a small ornate bronze chest between two poles of wood, seeming much more heavier then one would expect from it's size. It is then this strange and alien company which sets off towards the Doge, as shown the way by Alentin.

He waits as the man introduces himself, dipping his head as his name is mentioned and offering the departing man a polite nod of gratitude for having brought him so swiftly. He then returns his attention to the Doge upon his dais, pausing to listen to his greeting as well.

Khareiddin Pasha then begins to speak in his fluent, molten Italian accent:

"Worthy Doge of the Venetians, and most Glorified Trader of Wealth. As a ducat passes through your hands, it cannot help but become two." There are Kings of Europe who may not enjoy being called a merchant, even a skilled one. Yet in the Orient, it is high praise.

"As for why I have come...There is a saying in my homeland. 'A wise man remembers his friends at all times; a fool, only when he has need of them.'

"In the realm of the Ottoman Sultanate there is much peace and strength. Yet Sultan Murad Hudenvendigar is a far sighted man, as an eagle from a precipice. He can see stormclouds, far off they may be.

"Thus, in his magnificence, he has instructed Beylerbey Lalasahin Pasha to once more open negotiations with your Most Serene Republic. And in his wisdom, Lalasahin Pasha has sent his humble servant, myself. Khareiddin Steward of my Master's Kitchen, Sword of the Faith. Orta Commander in battle.

"I have come with the authority to draft a treaty with your Republic. A Treaty which will give Venice favored trader status within the Mamara, Bosphorus and Adriatic, wherever the water is adjacent to Turkish land. I have also been imbued with the trust to sign on his behalf, a treaty detailing cooperation in any of those waters as well as a non aggression pact.

"There are many whom consider Sultan Murad Hudenvendigar to be a fierce and terrible foe. I say truly to you...This is so. But he is also magnificent, benevolent and gentle to those whom have been brought into the bosom of friendship.

He then gestures behind him and indicates for the two officials to bring forth the bronze chest, which is soon brought between the Doge and Khareiddin.

"As a token of the Sultan's esteem for your Republic, as well as his confidence considering future successful endeavors, he has given this chest of treasure to you. Much of it is Genoese in origin, having been taken long ago from their Merchant Quarter, when Gallipoli first fell by the Will of Allah.

Khareiddin then offers a bow to the Doge.

"If you will forgive me, it has been a long and trying journey. I would not be so uncouth as to expect an answer from you straight away. For it can be said that Sultan Murad and Beylerbey Lalasahin Pasha gave much thought to their approach. Should I not allow you the same grace?

"Thus, if your good man..." He gestures towards Nuncio Atlentin, "Will find lodge and boarding for the humble servants of the Sultan, then it will be vastly appreciated, and I will await a summons to discuss the finer points at your conveniance."
 

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Veniero looks upon the Turkish contingent curiously, though his eyes do not belie it. These men are of Christian stock is what he thought eyeing their fair complexions not far different from his own. Perhaps the Sultan chose them, thinking their fair skin would make their words also more fair? Antonio did not care, any messenger from the Sultan was an important one, for the Republic recognized the rising star of the Ottomans and sought to cooperate with them when they could. In that spirit the Doge listened on, as did his councillors and all were impressed at the well spoken servant. All eyes looked on stoicly as the gifts were brought forth, but it could not be hidden that a faint smile stole across the Doge's face as Khareiddin mentioned the goods Genoan origin.

"Khareiddin Pasha," the Doge began in his usual manner of always repeating those who he addressed name, "Your words, and in so much as they do convey the will of the Sultan are a blessing, for it is such good will and cooperation that the Republic does seek. All of what you have said will be considered in light of the grace with which The Most Serene Republic looks upon his Magnificence Murad Hudenvendigar and your master Beylerbey Lalasahin Pasha."

The Doge nodded toward Nuncio who gladly stepped forward to accompany Khareiddin. Servants came forth to secure the gift of treasure and the Doge concluded the audience,

"I shall look forward to our next audience Khareiddin Pasha, all the hospitality of which the Republic is capable is at your disposal."

Nuncio smiled and showed the visitors out of the great hall and again down the stairs and through the courtyard, out the gates and into the bustling Palazzo San Marco. As they looked out across the square the towering Campanile looked down upon them as it did upon all in Venice. It was only a short walk strait ahead from the Palace to another building nearly as grand. This building which was as lavishly decorated inside as the Palace itself was adorned with the many trophies of conquest of the Republic and was home to all visiting dignitaries. Khareiddin was shown to a large, stately room on the highest floor, overlooking the Palazzo where Nuncio took his leave.

"I shall see to accomadations for all of your party Lord, if you have any needs simply ring and an attendant shall be upon you shortly." Nuncio indicated a rope hanging form the ceiling on the other side of the room. Soon another man, of a more humble stature than Aletini, but still adorned in the finest Venetian attire entered the room. Nuncio quickly introduced the man,

"Khareiddin Pasha, this is Blasio Gritti, he shall attend personally to any of your needs and act as escort if you wish to leave the grounds. It has been my pleasure." With that Nuncio bowed and took his leave, leaving the Turkish envoy alone with Gritti. The Venetian bowed deeply and spoke in a servile tone,

"If your excellency require nothing I shall wait outside your door, or perhaps you should wish for something to eat?"
 

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Khareiddin Pasha shook his head to Blasio Gritti.

"You are most kind. Yet my journey from Edirne was long, and oft over treacherous waters. For now, I must compose a letter to my patron and catch what rest as the Prophet will bless me with."

With this said, Khareiddin Pasha waited until he was left alone before finding his way over to a small, elegantly burnished desk. Seating himself, he spread a fine parchment of paper before him. Then, dipping the tip of his pen into the inkwell, he began to skritch in a swift and educated hand onto the paper,

To my dearest Patron, the blessed Lalasahin Pasha, Beylerbey of Rumili by the Grace of the Sultan Murad,

It has been seventeen years since I last set foot in Veneto, when I was still a young man. Our great and mighty Murad Hudenvendigar was still Sultan at the time, yet it feels like many a generation ago.

Before I left Edirne, you asked me to write back often as to the state of the negotiations, and of my initial impression regarding the mood in the city.

After meeting with the Doge, I can tell you truly that they are a noble and educated race. I see in the Doge a man whom is not moved by stereotype or ungainly passion, but one whom will see the profit and logic first in any course of action.

In short, he is the trustworthy sort of man there is. Nor is there any hostility to our people, as can be found in many other unenlightened courts. I will look forward to meeting with him again.

Your most humble servant,

Khareiddin
After having sealed the letter with the signet of Lalasahin's own household, he soon beckoned Blasio Gritti back into the room. Bowing his head to the Italian, he requested that the important document be sent back to his ship, whereupon a courier will be found and paid to deliver it.

It is only with the letter in his hands, that Blasio would realize the rolled parchment was actually sealed in a faulty manner, so that if one were careful, they could pry it apart to read it without unduly disturbing the wax. A tact long used by the Oriental courts to pay compliments to their host while preserving tact. For is it not the compliment paid in private and seemingly unknown that has the highest value?
 

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A letter arrives from Ghernata

A letter arrives via a merchantile vessel from Almeria.The message is perfumed with rose water and a strong aroma of Yasmine for effect.

In the Name of allah the Merciful and the Magnificent
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Unto the Noble Venetian Republica

I write to you my Grace asking that you send envoys unto us at Ghernta so that we may discuss matters of trade regarding Iberia and all of al-Andalus.
It is our aim to forge a treaty to foster good relations between our two realms.Al-Andalus is a bountful land full of riches and luxuries.Your merchants tire and trek the far off lands of the east whilst we produce far more superior and refined goods.From Silks to ceramics, our industries in Ghernata are powerful and able, but since we are Muslims, we have failed to export our products into Europe and seek middle men to do as such.I await your envoys with much earnest.

Sighed, Ibn Rizwan , Hajib of al-Andalus
 

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Giampaolo Mattera had crossed the Great St Bernhard Pass with a small merchant caravan and was slowly and as unobtrusively as possible passing through the Duchy of Milan on his way to Venice.

His caravan of merchants was small, but richly loaded, though mostly with goods not owned by him. In fact his entire value to the caravan rested in the letter in his purse, and the fact that he was a Christina, of a decent descend, with rights not granted to the rest of the caravan, and thus, his sole existence in the caravan protected the rest.

He fidgeted slightly in his saddle as they passed a small group of Italian soldiers as they approached the border to Venice, he had only his wits, and letter, to protect them, and possibly the gold of the other travellers.

He sighed with relief as he crossed the border. The faults of the Venetians were many, but if you came in peace and with purpose of trade they cared little who you travelled with, and protected you, and your goods equally.

He looked back at the long line of men and mules, it was an ordinary, yet exotic sight. He turned his attention on the escort they should be getting here in Treveso, no sign of them yet, but he was sure they would arrive soon.

As they finally crested a ridge they saw the small pack of Venetians and their soldiers, they would provide amble cover for a single Christian merchant, and a caravan of Jewish Merchants in his employ.

Finally they made it to Venice, and leaving the caravan outside the city he went alone to the Palace of the Doge making his way to the court and stopping in front of an official he bowed,

“I am Giampaolo Mattera, a merchant out of Savoy, I have been empowered to negotiate a trade pact on behalf of the count of Savoy. Further, I have in my employ a caravan of goods, and hmm financiers, that could take good care of any results such a treaty might bring. Perhaps you could secure an audience with the right man?”
 

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Blasio Gritti was not an ordinary house servant, but any who came to Venice and did not know they were being watched and monitored at all times was either naive, or plain stupid. As such, Gritti was rather pleased with the Turkish envoy who made his duties all that much easier. He bowed humbly to Khareiddin and then left to deliver the message. Before he did that though he would have to stop by the Basilica and offer a prayer to Saint Mark and no one would notice him as he jotted down a few notes. It was only fifteen minutes after the letters composition that Blasio appeared with it at the Rialto and finding Khareiddin's vessel paid a porter for its safe delivery. Some hours later with the knowledge of the letter in hand the Council of Ten, meeting as it was required with the Doge and his Signoria debated what approach to take towards the Ottomans.

It was a flat out fact that none there sought confrontation with the Turks. The heathens controlled the Bosporus, and momentum dictated that they would begin to control more and more of Asia Minor as well as Greece and the Balkans. The main question was wheter to cooperate outright, the path favored by the Doge, or to pursue clandestine measures of opposition to the Ottomans. Some argued that when the Turk became strong enough they would seek to push Venice from every market, and would not hesitate if ever they could to take the city of Venice itself. Stories of slaughter and merciless killing had come in from those who had lost to the Ottomans and wheter or not true, they had their effect on the minds of men. It was a heated debate, but finally owing to his stern posture and influence the Doge prevailed and a course of conciliation was elected.

"Lord Khareiddin Pasha," Blasio called from outside the Turk's door the next morning, "The Doge requests your presence at your convenience. I shall await you downstairs."

Blasio gave Khareiddin some time to prepare and then after meeting him they head out across the Palazzo towards the Palace, it was a short walk taking less than a minute but it did afford a beautiful look across the lagoon as the morning sun began its lazy climb up out of the mirrorlike water and into the azure sky that crowned the most serene city. The same path as before was followed into the Palace and in short time Pasha was in audience as the day before. Nuncio Aletini gave the Turk a friendly smile before the Doge addressed the envoy.


"Khareiddin Pasha, servant of Lalasahin Pasha, representative of his Magnificence Murad Hudenvendigar, I welcome you once again and pray you passed the evening pleasantly." The Doge smiled faintly, before continuing in his usual stoic manner. "Much consideration has been given to the sentiment of the Sultan and it is looked upon with favor. Our traders have found a strong market in cotton and wool in your lands and Asia Minor, and passage through the Bosphorus, which none can argue you do not now control is of import to us for various reasons. As well the coasts that your Sultan does now control, and can argued will after time control are ones which Venice should seek always to trade in, hopefully with a friend and ally in your people. The Most Serene Republic has no desire of conflict on land or sea with his Magnificence Murad and would gladly enter into a pact of non-aggression. Before I say more I ask of you Khareiddin Pasha, is there something you should like to present, upon which to frame our further discussion?"

Antonio looked on the Turk as he looked on most with a stern, emotionless face that belied nothing. The assemblage behind him filled out their role looking on quiet and motionless in their opulent wardrobe, impressive symbols of the state's power.
 

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Khareiddin Pasha strode straight and tall across the Palazzo. Wearing the dark green robes of an Ottoman civil student, there was a thoughtful gleam in his gaze as he pondered the coming meeting, and what words might be exchanged. Yet whatever anxiety he might have felt was soon dissipated as his earlier confidence in the Doge's sound strategies was fully vindicated. Then, offering an elaborate, oriental bow of respect, he responded to his question,

"It just so happens that his magnificence, Sultan Murad Hudenvendigar is quite concerned about the safety of the straits. In recent times, many Turkish merchants have fallen victim to both Greek and Genoese predations. They are of the faulty belief that they are free to pillage and rape, so long as one is not of their religion. I do not believe the Prophet Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, would have agreed with such a reckless point of view.

"Thus, the Sultan Murad entertains the notion of a active cooperation between the Venetians and the Osmanli to bring stability and order to the waters. Beginning first with the Genoese, it is thought their presence should be excised from the region by removing the islands around Mytilene from their control, as well as their colonies in the Crimea where so many of their piratical expeditions begin.

"Then, if the Greeks do not change their ways, they can be dealt with as well. Though I believe the Genoese have been given many more chances then they deserve.

"If your most learned assembly did not object to such an endeavor, we could discuss such measures more specifically. All that can be assured is that the dignified responsibility and the immense reward would be equally shared in all ways.

With that, Khareiddin Pasha bowed his head and awaited the Venetian's response.
 
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Audience with the Turkish Envoy

The Doge was happy to hear the Turk speak of open cooperation, it was a sign that the Turks were willing to trust Venice, and that was important not only in politics, but business as well. Antonio listened intently as Khareiddin went on about the Genoese. After a pause to digest what he was told the old Doge spoke sternly,


"Khareiddin Pasha," He began as always, "The Sultan is wise to seek to secure the straits, and the wiser to recognize the bane that the Genoans are. One whould have hoped that the Genoans would seek to normalize affairs in Crimea to compensate for the disorders wrought there by the Horde, but instead they act as bandits rather than traders, and because of it Venice is almost completely removed from trade in that region, our black sea affairs being mostly limited to the Bulgarian, and Anatolian coasts."

Veniero shifted in his chair, and took a brief moment of counsel with several men at his side before continuing. "The Most Serene Republic has every desire to cooperate with the Sultan, and would certainly be overjoyed to wrangle the mytilenes from the dirty hands of Genoa, but we are not far removed from war with not only Genoa, but those that rallied to her side, notably the Hungarians, who we should not wish to engage in war again, at least not directly. The sinew of Venice is in its fleets, and in its capacity to fund war, sometimes it is better to leave the brunt of the fighting to those more advantageously positioned to do so."

At this point Doge Veniero became more conversational and his voice lost its sternness over to an inflection more of friendship, "The zealotry of those envious of Venice prohibit our forming any sort of formal alliance with those of your faith, though it is most revered and respected in the Most Serene Republic, regardless Khareiddin Pasha, I hope what I have said here makes it known to you that I am willing and able to pursue cooperation in other fashions."
 

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Khareiddin Pasha dipped his head to the Doge in understanding before responding in fluent Italian.

"You have spoken wisely. You are most correct in that it would be to our advantage that Venice does not directly involve herself in any war. She is a powerful nation of merchants and fleets. Becoming involved in a war on land with such hostile neighbours would only be folly."

Khareiddin then gives his broad shoulders a slow, stretching roll of a shrug as he smoothed out his greying beard against the dark green robes of his office.

"Greek spies have brought word that these so called 'Romans' have engaged in a treacherous undertaking to break our old treaties and join with the Hungarians to ensure their domination in the Baltic. At first, I did not believe a mere spy. Yet now it has become known that the Emperor himself is travelling the corners of Christiandom to rally support."

"It is a long and dangerous march to our lands. One that I think the Christian powers take far too lightly. They also underestimate the morale and discipline of our fine troops or the allies we have to call upon. There are many warriors of the faith in the East whom will come to our aid."

"Thus, all that is asked of the Doge in Venice is to decide if he would prefer a free market in the Baltic that Venice would have a controlling interest in...Or a simple brutal domination by the Whore Queen of Hungary. In the event of a war between the Sultan and the Jezebel, the Heirs of Osman would expect only ducats from the Venetians with which to raise the armies we need. We would then be confident of success."

"Yet be well advised. This is not a war of aggression on Christiandom. This is to preserve the lands that the Emperor of the Romans himself deeded to us and now seeks to take away. If in the process, it will insure the domination of trade...That is a civilized goal as old as time, is it not?"
 

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The court at Venice was always a place where rumours brewed, and as such it was not news to the Doge and his courtiers to hear of the rumblings of war in the Balkans. It was also true that the Doge was not naive enough to think that all war was precipitated by the Turks. Indeed there was much more to be gained by seeing the Turks humble the Hungarians than to the contrary. The Byzantines were of late disdainful towards Venice, and best kept under the yoke of the Ottomans who were far easier to deal with confidently. As well any weakening of the Hungarians could potentially loosen the hold of their vassals on Dalmatia, a land La Serenissima still considered her own, despite the relinquishing of claims. What was important that there remained a buffer of small states in the Balkans to insure that none became too powerful. With all this on his mind the Doge answered thoughtfully,


"Khareiddin Pasha," began the usual refrain, "I am certain that your most Excellent Sultan would do more to preserve the freedom of Venetian trade in the Black Sea than either the Hungarians, or the Byzantines, who have become a sordid and desperate group." The Doge looked almost sad for a moment, but it quickly faded, "The support of Venice is yours if your Lord is aggressed against, that I can gaurantee to you, as to the level of that assistance I believe it would best to let circumstance dictate."

Antonio paused, and clenching his hands before him continued, "Of course we can not forget about Genoa, and in time we shall come to removing her from the the Black and Aegean seas. As for now, perhaps, Khareiddin Pasha you should like to present a treaty of a more peaceful nature to secure the rights of trade and commerce we had briefly discussed day before this one?"
 

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The Savoyard merchant had been waiting patiently at the Venetian court for some one from the Doge or the Council of Ten to grant him audience to discuss the trade between Venice and Savoy. He had also had hopes for him to set up a personal agreement concerning his caravan of Jewish merchants and their goods outside the city, or rather, on dry land.

Now as he seemed unable to gain a lucrative deal with the Venetians on behalf of the Count he stood with a sigh and left the palace of the Doge to see if he could find someone who would at least set up a private trading arrangement for the goods carried on his Caravan. The merchant was worried, he had paid dearly for the rights to negotiate the trade between Venice and Savoy, and the access to the passes of Greater and smaller St. Bernhard, but perhaps it had proven all in vain? He hoped not, because he could see personal ruin for his family looming ahead if he had been wrong. The Jewish merchants on his caravan, and their families back home, had financed most of this enterprise, and they would extol his weight in gold and then some if he failed.

He made his way to the market place in hope of finding a smaller merchant house to trade with.
 

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"Eh, Savoyard!" A gruff voice called out to Mattera from across the market square, "Eh, Sir Giampolo Mattera, Eh!" The voice called out again growing closer and more coarse. Finally the source of the unsoothing voice made itself known in a palace guard.

"Have a little patience eh, Sir?" He sighed heavily as he finally came to the Savoyard's side. "His Grace and the most esteemed council of ten," the words seemed unusual coming from the lowly guard, "They been locked up in chambers all day and the one before, some important business I s'pose."

He motioned for the Savoyard to follow him and headed back towards the Palazzo San Marco.

"Anyway, the Doge does send his apologies and ask if you would, so as not to waste your time mind entreating in the meanwhiles with a most esteemed lord, and patriarch of one of Venice's most noble families." By this time they had shoved their way through most of the crowds and arrived again not far from the Doge's palace, they quickly made their way to the impressive building across from said palace, where the emissaries were housed and gained entrance. Once inside a tall, proud, bearded man rose and addressed the visitor haughtily,

"Noble Giampolo Mattera, of Savoy, I am Jacopo Foscari, the Doge has granted me leave, with his apologies to speak with you on behalf of the most Serene Republic." The stately Foscari waved off the guard and motioned to door nearby that led into a small room which was light with an array of candles. A platter of exotic fruit sat upon the table and was flanked by a carafe of wine, as well as simple water. The dark room, beset by the shadows of the candles seemed more fitting to clandestine meetings than to matters of trade, but nevertheless it was the room that Jacopo Foscari sat down and offered a seat to Giampolo in.
 

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Giampolo sat down,

“Actually, I am from Peidmonte, but you are right, my task here is twofold. I am empowered to negotiate on behalf of the young Count the regulation of trade between our nations. I presume the access to the passes of Greater and Smaller St. Bernhard is of value to Venice?”

He smiled slyly,

“And that coincides with the second issue, I am in control of a small merchant house, and in the respect I have with me a small Caravan, on which I am empowered to negotiate the sale of its content on behalf of my self and its financers. Off course said merchant house will likely be interested in trade that benefits from anything that I negotiate on behalf of the County of Savoy.”

He looked knowingly at Foscari.
 

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Jacopo's expression remained unchanged upon his noble face, but the shadowy room gave him a sinister appearance. His interest was piqued by the mention of the passes, ones Venice had not oft used, instead going through Germany, but he wondered what opportunities could arise via cheap passage through the alps into lower France and Iberia. Foscari answered Giampolo's sly smile with his same stoic visage, and finally retorted with his haughty aire,

"Oh, most definitely would passage through the Alps, in your area be benificial to Venice. I presume some decrease in tolls for Venetian merchants could be arranged, pursuant to the greater agreement I hope we should come to right soon."

Foscari slowly, with the grace of a man much concerned with the niceties of society, took forth the wine from the table and poured it out gently into two glasses, holding the vessels delicately in his opposite hand in turn. He offered the glass to the man opposite him as he continued after a dainty sip of the wine.

"Of your caravan, " he began again casting his eyes on the Savoyard envoy, "Are its goods of some special concern, or interest, or is it something better left to the usual merchants to negotiate? More to the point of my setting with you though, I should ask what does the Count of Savoy seek from Venice, knowing now what he has to offer to the Most Serene Republic?"
 

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Giampolo smiled,

“Well my goods are wine and cheese from Piedmonte and Savoy, the highest quality, I guess I could sell them directly on the market, however…”

He winked,

“The better price I get the more lucrative is the commercial deal likely to be.”

His face turned sober,

“In all seriousness, the Count has let it be up to me to negotiate the finer detail of any trade agreement, that is the level of taxation on the passes and the goods brought to his fiefs from Venice. However, what he seeks of Venice in return is something that the republic is uniquely positioned to supply.

Ships.”

He spread his hands,

“The Venetian galleys control large portions of the Mediterranean Sea and what the Count would like is for a favourable agreement concerning trade on the high seas, as well as other, more hmm shall we say military transports?”

He sipped the offered wine,

“You may recall that the late count, called the green, was embroiled in the debacles of the Byzantine Court? And Venice is by far the most powerful force at sea in that area. Add to that the numerous trade routes controlled by Venice, its cargo galleys that ply the trade upon them and the factors and representation of Venice in numerous harbours around the middle sea. Savoy will grant Venice extensive discounts through the passes of St Bernhard, and a generous deal on buying Savoyard goods for resale, if Venice will grant Savoyard traders preferential access to a fraction of the space in the protected convoys and trade routes of Venice in the Mediterranean Sea. And in case of need a fair price for transport and protection of troops, say to Naples, or Byzantium? To name but a few locations.”
 

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The Venetian smiled slightly at Giampolo's comment and answered back with a chuckle,

"I suppose some expensive cheese is not too much to pay for the good of the state!"

As the Savoyard continued on more seriously Jacopo returned to his familiar austere visage. The man opposite him seemed quite clever, and he spoke plainly, Foscari at least knew this was a man that could be dealt with reasonably. As Giampolo laid out what he sought in an agreement the Venetian gave a few affirmitive nods and looked on attentively, losing some of his superior aire.

"You speak well sir, and what you have proposed is very amenable the Most Serene Republic. Though as you know much of our trade is directed into Europe north through the passes into Germany, as such for what you wish to receive from Venice, the decrease in costs for use of the passes would have to be fairly substantial. There is one other matter though that I think needs to be considered, before we go further with the very satisfactory proposal you have made, and that regards the state of Genoa."

Jacopo looked bitter as he spoke of the menacing rival of Venice. "By operating out of Savoy our traders shall be very much encroaching upon the traditional areas of Genoa's trade, and it would be reassuring to the Most Serene Republic to know that your Lord would not ally himself with the Genoese, or in any other way seek to aid them."
 
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Giampolo smiled insecurely, he had not been briefed on what the count intended for Genoa, however, he had some fairly good ideas on what way it would go.

"Sire, the count is of all things a knight, and his father, the green count was above all the embodiment of all chivalric ideals. I doubt he would try to take advantage of the situation, even more so I doubt he cares much for the trade as for the military possibilities of the Venetian navy."

He looked shrwedly at the Venetian,

"How much is it worth to Venice NOT to have Savoy ally with Genoa? At least militarily?"
 

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The patriarch of the House of Foscari looked on the man he had sat across the table from for some time now and folded his hands neatly on the table before him. He thought for a moment on the matter before responding drily,

"It is the adventures of men, like your Count and his father, who care so little, as you evince, of trade and commerce that so often run contrary to the goals of the Most Serene Republic, as well as all men of industry."

Jacopo said these words intending nor conveying any disdain or offense, simply stating what he saw as fact, "But to convince your Count to remain cold towards the Genoans, and to maintain profitable and unprecedented trade between the Most Serene Republic and Savoy, Venice would happily puts its word on paper to commit to back your lord financially in any wars of defense, or if it be of aggression, those against one not disposed as a friend to Venice. On top of our pledge of naval assistance already given I feel that this is most generous, but I most reiterate that not only do we seek Savoy to look coldly upon Genoa diplomatically, but also to forsake them in trade, for by this agreement it should be manifest that Venice is the primary consumer, and transporter of the goods of Savoy as our traffic in your lands will be so much increased by our greater commitments there."

The stately man set back in his chair allowing his words to sink and sipped from his wine. He savoured the sweet flavor in his mouth as he looked interestedly over the glass at Giampolo.