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Return to Sorrentina ~ Part 10 ~ The Past Haunts Hugo Dieter

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Somehow, some way, the beast within had been released. Hugo was losing his grip on his reason, his pride and perhaps even his sanity. The last encounter with Mercury Gandt in the cafe at Rocca Sorrentina, had been a complete and utter disaster. Poor sweet Beatrice and Lady Aphrodite MacBain had looked on and then made a quick exit as Hugo raged, while the Conte Filippe Foscari had been forced to intervene. A duel between Mercury and himself may have happened right there on the spot, or even a summary execution.

Rocca Sorrentina had been so inviting and a haven from all the strife of Venezia. Beatrice, Elisabetta and Hugo has found a new home there and some solace, as least that is what Hugo thought. The tides of change were upon them and the past was coming back to haunt him. Hugo was muttering to himself as he sat on the beach, "Damnable sbirri, like a pebble in my shoe that won't cease to torment me. Beatrice and Elisabetta are probably no longer safe here, with Gandt being the sbirri pig that he is."

Hugo felt ridiculous, he had his suspicions about Gandt for some time now, but he had hoped it was lack of sleep and had managed to keep his temper in check, until now. His so-called friend, it was devastating how Beatrice has secretly learned of Mercury's true nature with the Conte leaving a document out revealing the truth. "Even helping Mercury with the Aubrey family mess back in England as I did, such stupidity, with Gandt's connections now, what difference does it make. I was such a fool."

Hugo was staring out at the waters surrounding Rocca Sorrentina, thinking of his own past dealings with the sbirri. Back in Venezia, Hugo had been so cocky, thinking he could outwit the sbirri at their own game. Always trying to keep one step ahead, he realized long ago he was dealing with the devil and he no longer wished to play. Cristoforo de Cristofoli, the head of the secret police, had kept his promise, allowing Hugo to run his opium through the Venetian port so the British East India Company didn't get wise. But at what cost?

Making his way to the church, the Chiesa di San Valentino, for some prayer and perhaps some absolution, Hugo thought back to the terrible night when he was called upon to do a despicable favor. Etched in his mind, he recalled the smell first, when the sbirri and Cristofoli himself had ordered him to a small warehouse near the docks and uncovered the bloated body of a dead man. The heat had created quite the stench, among other things, and Hugo had tried his best not to wretch in their presence. "Disposal," said Cristofoli in a hushed tone, pointing at the dead man and explaining further, "And we will never speak of this again else I confiscate all your holdings here in the city and leave you without so much as a wig to wear on your head. Delivering you to the British East India Company for violating their opium monopoly would bring me great pleasure, Signore Dieter. I doubt your countrymen would let you go quietly back to England to run the family tin mines, what will your dear parents think?"

887_blogs.png?width=750 Hugo remembered Cristofoli's menacing sneer and the smirks of his sbirri companions in the room. Hugo remembered the chill that ran along his spine as he held his coat sleeve over his own nose and mouth. He had nodded at Cristofoli and whispering quietly had asked, "Who is he?" Cristofoli had crossed the room quickly and gotten so close to Hugo's face he could almost smell his breath, even now that time had passed, "It's no concern of yours, you will take him on one of your ships, Signore Dieter, out of the harbor, far from shore and get rid of him, NOW!" Hugo had stepped back, away from this evil man, and simply nodded in compliance. Cristofoli had barked orders and his sbirri minions had covered the dead man up again and loaded the body into a crate, placing it in a small cart for transport to one of Hugo's ships.

The longest walk of Hugo's life had taken place that night, with darkness covering them but not necessarily the stench, the group found one of Hugo's ships and loaded the 'cargo' aboard. Cristofoli and the other sbirri stood on the dock for a moment, watching the ship leave the harbor of Venezia before being swallowed up by the darkness. Hugo's crew and captain knew better than to ask questions and they quickly made their way out to sea, the ship always stood ready.

Hugo had wondered who the poor dead soul was and stared at the crate as the Captain was steering the ship to open waters. Steeling himself against the stench, Hugo remembered opening the crate once more and looking for something, anything that could be useful. Hugo had then spied the ring, an elegant ring on the corpse's hand. "One step ahead of them," he whispered into the night as he took the ring off the dead man's hand and carefully tucked the limb back into the crate. Hugo had pocketed the ring for safekeeping as the Captain had announced, "Far enough Signore Dieter, let's be done with our task." Pulling the crate to the edge of the ship's deck, Hugo ordered two small cannonballs to be placed in with the deceased before the crate was nailed shut and then pushed overboard, quickly sinking and being swallowed up by the sea.

Hugo had made sure to stay away from Venezia after that awful night, as much as he could. And then sweet Beatrice's letter had come, asking for his help, in the one city he could barely stand. Hugo had been reunited with Beatrice, met Gandt and heard of the tale of the missing Contessa Elena Foscari. Beatrice's sister, Elisabetta, had been wrongly imprisoned by the sbirri in Venezia to gain the knowledge of the whereabouts of the Contessa Elena. The dead man's ring came in quite handy, trading that ring for the freedom of an innocent. Beatrice was overwhelmed with happiness when her dear sister, Elisabetta, was released. Hugo had assured Cristofoli that the ladies and himself were never going to be heard from again. Cristofoli had laughed and toyed with the ring, letting Hugo know he was sure that nothing more would come of this favor as Cristofoli announced haughtily, "Dead men tell no tales, do they Signore Dieter?"

888_blogs.png?width=750 Rising after his long prayer or rather re-living his tortured memories, Hugo was stiff and stretched his muscles. The ladies and himself had sailed here to Rocca Sorrentina for a fresh start. But, it was not to be it seemed. Walking out of the church, he made his way to the lawn in front of the Villa Vesuviana. Staring up at the beautiful facade of the villa, Hugo thought out loud, "The Conte is here yet his elusive daughter, the Contessa Elena, is still missing. Signore Gandt is in fact sbirri and the Conte made a slip with Beatrice, on purpose or by accident, of his occupation. The Conte uses his influence to control Gandt and myself, almost like the sbirri and that bastard Cristofoli. Will sweet Beatrice and Elisabetta be safe here with sbirri pigs at our heels? To duel or not to duel Signore Mercury Gandt, that will be the next question." Shaking his head, thinking of sleep, Hugo walks away with unclear and scattered thoughts still running through his head.

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Return to Sorrentina ~ Part 10 ~ The Past Haunts Hugo Dieter

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Somehow, some way, the beast within had been released. Hugo was losing his grip on his reason, his pride and perhaps even his sanity. The last encounter with Mercury Gandt in the cafe at Rocca Sorrentina, had been a complete and utter disaster. Poor sweet Beatrice and Lady Aphrodite MacBain had looked on and then made a quick exit as Hugo raged, while the Conte Filippe Foscari had been forced to intervene. A duel between Mercury and himself may have happened right there on the spot, or even a summary execution.

Rocca Sorrentina had been so inviting and a haven from all the strife of Venezia. Beatrice, Elisabetta and Hugo has found a new home there and some solace, as least that is what Hugo thought. The tides of change were upon them and the past was coming back to haunt him. Hugo was muttering to himself as he sat on the beach, "Damnable sbirri, like a pebble in my shoe that won't cease to torment me. Beatrice and Elisabetta are probably no longer safe here, with Gandt being the sbirri pig that he is."

Hugo felt ridiculous, he had his suspicions about Gandt for some time now, but he had hoped it was lack of sleep and had managed to keep his temper in check, until now. His so-called friend, it was devastating how Beatrice has secretly learned of Mercury's true nature with the Conte leaving a document out revealing the truth. "Even helping Mercury with the Aubrey family mess back in England as I did, such stupidity, with Gandt's connections now, what difference does it make. I was such a fool."

Hugo was staring out at the waters surrounding Rocca Sorrentina, thinking of his own past dealings with the sbirri. Back in Venezia, Hugo had been so cocky, thinking he could outwit the sbirri at their own game. Always trying to keep one step ahead, he realized long ago he was dealing with the devil and he no longer wished to play. Cristoforo de Cristofoli, the head of the secret police, had kept his promise, allowing Hugo to run his opium through the Venetian port so the British East India Company didn't get wise. But at what cost?

Making his way to the church, the Chiesa di San Valentino, for some prayer and perhaps some absolution, Hugo thought back to the terrible night when he was called upon to do a despicable favor. Etched in his mind, he recalled the smell first, when the sbirri and Cristofoli himself had ordered him to a small warehouse near the docks and uncovered the bloated body of a dead man. The heat had created quite the stench, among other things, and Hugo had tried his best not to wretch in their presence. "Disposal," said Cristofoli in a hushed tone, pointing at the dead man and explaining further, "And we will never speak of this again else I confiscate all your holdings here in the city and leave you without so much as a wig to wear on your head. Delivering you to the British East India Company for violating their opium monopoly would bring me great pleasure, Signore Dieter. I doubt your countrymen would let you go quietly back to England to run the family tin mines, what will your dear parents think?"

887_blogs.png?width=750 Hugo remembered Cristofoli's menacing sneer and the smirks of his sbirri companions in the room. Hugo remembered the chill that ran along his spine as he held his coat sleeve over his own nose and mouth. He had nodded at Cristofoli and whispering quietly had asked, "Who is he?" Cristofoli had crossed the room quickly and gotten so close to Hugo's face he could almost smell his breath, even now that time had passed, "It's no concern of yours, you will take him on one of your ships, Signore Dieter, out of the harbor, far from shore and get rid of him, NOW!" Hugo had stepped back, away from this evil man, and simply nodded in compliance. Cristofoli had barked orders and his sbirri minions had covered the dead man up again and loaded the body into a crate, placing it in a small cart for transport to one of Hugo's ships.

The longest walk of Hugo's life had taken place that night, with darkness covering them but not necessarily the stench, the group found one of Hugo's ships and loaded the 'cargo' aboard. Cristofoli and the other sbirri stood on the dock for a moment, watching the ship leave the harbor of Venezia before being swallowed up by the darkness. Hugo's crew and captain knew better than to ask questions and they quickly made their way out to sea, the ship always stood ready.

Hugo had wondered who the poor dead soul was and stared at the crate as the Captain was steering the ship to open waters. Steeling himself against the stench, Hugo remembered opening the crate once more and looking for something, anything that could be useful. Hugo had then spied the ring, an elegant ring on the corpse's hand. "One step ahead of them," he whispered into the night as he took the ring off the dead man's hand and carefully tucked the limb back into the crate. Hugo had pocketed the ring for safekeeping as the Captain had announced, "Far enough Signore Dieter, let's be done with our task." Pulling the crate to the edge of the ship's deck, Hugo ordered two small cannonballs to be placed in with the deceased before the crate was nailed shut and then pushed overboard, quickly sinking and being swallowed up by the sea.

Hugo had made sure to stay away from Venezia after that awful night, as much as he could. And then sweet Beatrice's letter had come, asking for his help, in the one city he could barely stand. Hugo had been reunited with Beatrice, met Gandt and heard of the tale of the missing Contessa Elena Foscari. Beatrice's sister, Elisabetta, had been wrongly imprisoned by the sbirri in Venezia to gain the knowledge of the whereabouts of the Contessa Elena. The dead man's ring came in quite handy, trading that ring for the freedom of an innocent. Beatrice was overwhelmed with happiness when her dear sister, Elisabetta, was released. Hugo had assured Cristofoli that the ladies and himself were never going to be heard from again. Cristofoli had laughed and toyed with the ring, letting Hugo know he was sure that nothing more would come of this favor as Cristofoli announced haughtily, "Dead men tell no tales, do they Signore Dieter?"

888_blogs.png?width=750 Rising after his long prayer or rather re-living his tortured memories, Hugo was stiff and stretched his muscles. The ladies and himself had sailed here to Rocca Sorrentina for a fresh start. But, it was not to be it seemed. Walking out of the church, he made his way to the lawn in front of the Villa Vesuviana. Staring up at the beautiful facade of the villa, Hugo thought out loud, "The Conte is here yet his elusive daughter, the Contessa Elena, is still missing. Signore Gandt is in fact sbirri and the Conte made a slip with Beatrice, on purpose or by accident, of his occupation. The Conte uses his influence to control Gandt and myself, almost like the sbirri and that bastard Cristofoli. Will sweet Beatrice and Elisabetta be safe here with sbirri pigs at our heels? To duel or not to duel Signore Mercury Gandt, that will be the next question." Shaking his head, thinking of sleep, Hugo walks away with unclear and scattered thoughts still running through his head.

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~ The Tale of the Silhouette Ship ~


By Lady Leena Fandango, 2014-06-02

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~The Tale of the Silhouette Ship ~

And they were arriving, the men aboard the ship tired and wary of their cargo. The journey had not been long, but the strain was beginning to take it's toll.

Leaving Naples had been the easy part. The Captain and the crew had heard the rumors, the island off the coast, called Rocca Sorrentina could be more forgiving when it came to cargo of questionable origins.

The Captain went below, checking the manifest once more and muttering under his breath, "If I would stay out of the damnable brothels and gambling dens I wouldn't have to make these types of deliveries."

Walking back on deck, the Captain closes his eyes and lets the warm sun touch his face. Turning around and looking onto the horizon, he sees the island of Rocca Sorrentina coming ever closer.

"Make ready for our arrival," says the Captain to his First Mate. "And here's hoping our stay be quick and without incident. Best be done with this and on our way as soon as the tides favor us."

The First Mate grimaces and answers him, "Aye Captain, I hope there aren't any brothels on this island to tempt us or games of chance to distract you this time around." Then the First Mate wanders off shouting orders to the rest of the small crew to make ready.

Watching the First Mate walk away, the Captain slips his hands into his pockets and sighs carefully, whispering, "I hope not, I certainly hope not. Damn my soul if there is."

(( Note, there's no brothel at Rocca. Just a little writing I did and thought I would post here on the Ning :) ))

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~ The Tale of the Silhouette Ship ~


By Lady Leena Fandango, 2014-06-02

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~The Tale of the Silhouette Ship ~

And they were arriving, the men aboard the ship tired and wary of their cargo. The journey had not been long, but the strain was beginning to take it's toll.

Leaving Naples had been the easy part. The Captain and the crew had heard the rumors, the island off the coast, called Rocca Sorrentina could be more forgiving when it came to cargo of questionable origins.

The Captain went below, checking the manifest once more and muttering under his breath, "If I would stay out of the damnable brothels and gambling dens I wouldn't have to make these types of deliveries."

Walking back on deck, the Captain closes his eyes and lets the warm sun touch his face. Turning around and looking onto the horizon, he sees the island of Rocca Sorrentina coming ever closer.

"Make ready for our arrival," says the Captain to his First Mate. "And here's hoping our stay be quick and without incident. Best be done with this and on our way as soon as the tides favor us."

The First Mate grimaces and answers him, "Aye Captain, I hope there aren't any brothels on this island to tempt us or games of chance to distract you this time around." Then the First Mate wanders off shouting orders to the rest of the small crew to make ready.

Watching the First Mate walk away, the Captain slips his hands into his pockets and sighs carefully, whispering, "I hope not, I certainly hope not. Damn my soul if there is."

(( Note, there's no brothel at Rocca. Just a little writing I did and thought I would post here on the Ning :) ))

Posted in: default | 4 comments

791_blogs.pngThe Flight to Fanciful ~ Part 6 Of Men and Rooftops

Moving day had been a bit eventful, as Lady Leena had nearly moved into a gentleman's apartment purely by accident. Once the slightly uncomfortable exchange with Signore Gandt was over, Lady Leena and Madame Savatier decided to take a moment and have a breath of fresh air on the small balconey outside her apartment. The ladies could barely believe their eyes when they looked up and yet again saw Mercury Gandt, but this time, on his own roof top.

Madame Savatier had been desperate for coffee for quite some time, and made a hasty retreat after seeing this Gandt fellow begin a slow climb down the building. Leaning over her friend and patting her arm, she murmured, "Best of luck my dear Leena, I'll be off to the cafe' to get some coffee now." Lady Leena realized she was on her own since her agent, Silas Becker, had just left .... heading back over to the Villa to see to the last of her things.

Coming ever closer, she realized that Signore Gandt was heading towards HER balcony. "Of all the places he could come to, it has to be mine, naturally," Lady Leena whispers under her breath. Watching and waiting, Gandt indeed makes his way to her balcony as if he were a cat, without any trouble whatsoever.

Signore Gandt begins with a very strange request, "It is very awkward to ask you for this, but would you let me in? I will leave your apartment through your door."

"Let you in? You crawled from the roof but you can't make it to the ground?" Lady Leena smiles brightly and responds.

"As you see, I can't and I will break my leg if I try," answers Gandt mockingly.

Lady Leena speaks plainly and carefully, "As a Christian woman, I should let you in Signore but my reputation would be in tatters if I do."

With a soft smirk on his face Gandt offers, "Yes, but your reputation would be even more damaged if you are standing with me together in your balcony for everyone to see."

Glancing around to see if anyone is watching them, Lady Leena says "Alright, you may go in."

Entering the apartment quickly and closing the door behind them, Signore Gandt says, "Thank you a million times - you saved me!"

Laughing a bit Lady Leena can't help but ask, "May I ask from whom? You climbed down from your own roof?"

Mercury Gandt looks out the window carefully, "My creditor's agent arrived a minute ago. He wants me to pay and I can't right now .... so I escaped, while my footman tries to stop him entering my home. If I leave your home through the cafe', I can be safe." Letting his eyes wander about the room he comments, "Nice bedroom."

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Blushing profusely, Lady Leena steps closer to the doorway, "Well, the door is over here and safe travels to you Signore."

"Please forgive me ... I hope I'm not much trouble to you," Signore Gandt adds as Lady Leena tries to escort him to the door.

Lady Leena curtsies, hoping that he will leave quickly, "Not at all Signore Gandt and I wish you luck in your .... future travels?"

Pausing and appearing less in a rush now, Mercury asks, "How can I express my thanks to you?"

Lady Leena waves a hand in front of him really wishing he would be on his way, "No need Sir, it was my Christian duty."

Mercury Gandt offers a wry smile, "Christian duty for a sinner like me... you are too generous."

Lady Leena Fandango smiles gently, "Am I?"

Pointing to the door Mercury says, "I'll just check if the air is clear before I exit your door... I wouldn't want to hurt your reputation more."

Lady Leena Fandango offers, "I wouldn't have wanted you to injure yourself by falling off the building ... men can be so dangerous."

"Signorina, if I survived a balloon duel, I can survive anything," Signore Gandt replies.

"I heard about that balloon duel Signore. The man Dieter was shot and injured?" Lady Leena asks.

Nodding, Mercury answers, "Yes, my opponent's second."

"And was the honor satisfied?" Lady Leena asks, curiously.

Mercury Gandt answers quickly with a wave of his hand, "Of course... we are best friends since then."

Lady Leena looking shocked, "You shoot a man and are now best friends?"

Signore Gandt asks her, "Were you there? Did you seen the duel Signorina?"

"No Signore, I didn't see the duel, well .... not too much," shaking her head.

Mercury Gandt looks disappointed, obviously he wanted to impress her by his eccentric duel.

Lady Leena states, "I saw some flying things out the window, but it's my opinion that only God should fly and perhaps the angels, not man."

Signore Gandt looks into her eyes boldly and smiles, "Then you can see an angel now in front of you."

Lady Leena blushing and looks down, "How bold you are Signore!"

Mercury Gandt answers quickly, "And how bold you are, to let me in to your home informally? We are both bold, we are alike."

Lady Leena let's her jaw drop for a moment, closes her mouth quickly and looks at Gandt in the eye, "Perhaps we are alike Signore, one never knows about people, do they?"

Signore Gandt becomes embarrassed for the first time, "How do you mean?"

Lady Leena shrugs her shoulders, "It's nothing Signore, I'm a simple English girl enjoying the warm air here on the island."

"English? How charming. From London?" and bites on his lips.

"No Signore, Cornwall ... St Just in the Penwith. I'm a country girl ... you are of London?" Lady Leena asks curiously.

Mercury Gandt sighs with relief, "Ah yes, I was born in London, though I left it behind many years ago."

Lady Leena Fandango smiles and answers, "Oh? I know many people in London, Signore, I write to them often. I do like to hear the news from back home whenever I can."

Signore Gandt slightly blushes and then looks like someone who wants to escape again, "This is wonderful. I have no living contact there."

"I can certainly pass news along to you if you wish," Lady Leena offers and watches the facial expression change on Gandt's face, "Is there anyone I can ask about for you Signore?"

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Signore Gandt suddenly and quickly reaches for her hand to give her a goodbye handkiss, very eager to leave, "No, certainly not... it is better not to. Thank you," and smiling at her provokingly, "All my interest is here, in Italy."

Offering Signore Gandt a smile and a curtsey, Lady Leena turns a bit red and a takes a step back from him after his last remark.

Signore Gandt then peeks out the door to see if there's anyone about.

Watching him, Lady Leena says, "Enjoy your day Signore .... is anyone there?"

Slipping out the door Signore Gandt looks back and says, "I'm grateful to you forever, Signorina and no, no one is there."

Seeing him finally leave, Lady Leena breathes a huge sigh of relief and whispers, "Thank you Signore..."

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783_blogs.jpg?width=750The Flight to Fanciful Part 5 ~ Of Men and Their Manners

Although the Villa Vesuviana was lovely, the sea called to Lady Leena. Missing the salt air and the breezes, her faithful agent Silas Becker, made arrangements with Don Alfonso for her to move closer to the shoreline on Rocca Sorrentina. It was moving day and to Lady Leena's utter delight Madame Savatier had arrived not long before by ship, having received the previous letter about the balloons while on her travels.

Silas Becker met the ladies at the door of the new apartment and bowed while Madame Savatier returned his kindness with a curtsey.

"Good Day to you ladies. I believe your new apartment will be suitable, my Lady," Becker said.

Madame Savatier answered, "What a pleasure, Mr. Becker!"

"'Tis an honor Madame Savatier, my Lady Leena has told me much about you." Becker replied.

"Why, thank you." Madame Savatier said.

"How was your journey to the island?" asked Becker.

Madame Savatier shakes her head, "Miserable ... the ship was taken over by a huge swell. It was most displeasing."

The small group was about to enter the new apartment and start getting settled when a gentleman approached, later to be known as one Signore Mercury Gandt.

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And the gentleman speaks, "Ladies, Signore, what is this commotion at my door?"

The ladies curtsey with polite puzzlement while Becker bows in shock, offering the gentleman a simple greeting.

"Why, I'm moving of course, this is my new apartment Signore." Lady Leena looks on with an odd look on her face.

"Your new apartment? Where I live? Signorina, I would be the most happy man on earth to live together with you, but this is my apartment," says the gentleman.

Lady Leena Fandango with her mouth gaping says, "Begging your pardon?" while Madame Savatier looks totally shocked and offers, "Oh, Mon Dieu!"

The very forward gentleman with a smirk on his face states, "At least it was mine when I left it behind this morning."

Silas Becker, glaring at the gentleman asks him, "Have you paid the bill? You presume much Sir, about my Lady."

"Signore, we haven't met before so I can't take it an as offense only as a misunderstanding. My name is Gandt, at your service, and this is where I live," now the gentleman is finally introduced.

Madame Savatier asks, "Are you sure?" and begins laughing while Signore Gandt laughs along with her and shakes his head in disbelief. "I merely jest with you, Monsieur... there must be some misunderstanding. Monsieur Becker has obviously been misinformed."

Becker raises and eyebrow, "Don Alfonso or myself must have misunderstood Signore, it was thought this was to be Lady Leena's new apartment."

Signore Gandt bows again formally, "Mercurio Gandt, at your service, Mesdames."

Lady Leena Fandango curtsies again, "I am Lady Fandango, Signore. May I present Madame Savatier and this is my agent, Silas Becker."

Madame Savatier curtsies, "Well met, Monsieur."

Mercurio Gandt offers, "Enchanted, Madame and Madamoiselle."

Madame Savatier answers him, "Merci," while Signore Gandt nods politely.

"Well, Madamoiselle Leena, I am sure the gentleman knows where he lives," Madame Savatier states.

Lady Leena Fandango says "Well, this is a dilemma it seems Signore Gandt ... now what?" and looks over at Becker with a small frown. "I'm so sorry Madame this was to be a better afternoon for you than your journey."

Madame Savatier asks, "Perhaps we can allow Monsieur Becker to sort this out while we take coffee and Signore Gandt would like to join us?"

Mercury Gandt with a smile on his face, "I would gladly help, as soon as you tell me where do you want to move."

"Monsieur Gandt, how civilized," laughs Madame Savatier sweetly.

Silas Becker eyes the man up and down and hiding a scowl, finally speaks, "I shall go to Don Alfonso at once, and get this straightenend out," bows and walks away to the office to have a word, "If you'll excuse me."

Mercury Gandt, completely amused by the situation looks over at Lady Leena, "So you are a local here, Mademoiselle? How long? We haven't met yet."

"Perhaps as you two are going to be neighbors, you should get to know each other better," Madame Savatier offers with a bit of a sly smile on her face.

Lady Leena Fandango looking quite horrified at Madame's statement looks back at the gentleman and answers, "Not long Signore ... I was in the Villa Versuviana," then moving her eyes back at Madame with a bright red face, "I don't know Madame, it's not proper for me to get to know any gentleman I think."

Lady Leena stands a bit closer to Madame and watches the gentleman closely while Signore Gandt offers, "It is perfectly proper to introduce myself to a lady in my neighborhood, especially if we will meet in public places."

"After you suggested we perhaps 'live' in the same place Signore?" Lady Leena retorts.

Seemingly unaffected Mercury Gandt asks, "So you lived in the Villa? And why do you leave it?"

"The sea Signore, it called to me .... to be closer to it and the views of the beach," answers Lady Leena and begins tapping her foot wondering where Becker could be.

Madame Savatier watches the exchange and says coyly, "She loves a view..." and turns away stifling a giggle.

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"Ah... the salty air, you say .... it's very healthy," Gandt answers as he carefully examines the roses of Lady Leena's face, she doesn't seem to be sick.

Lady Leena Fandango nods, "Yes, and the coffee at Aphrodite's Cafe' is quite enchanting I hear ... along the company."

"We love our cafe au lait," offers Madame Savatier with a beaming smile.

Signore Gandt, looking back and forth between the two women, "Are you sisters, ladies, if I may ask?"

Laughing softly, Madame Savatier answers, "Oh no .... but very close friends."

"Madame is most kind, she is like family to me," says Lady Leena while she looks over at Madame with a large smile.

Madame Savatier blushes and adds, "Indeed, we could have been sisters."

Silas Becker finally returns and bows to the ladies and gentleman, now able to solve the problem before them.

Mercury Gandt looks over and asks, "Well Signore Becker, where to escort the ladies?"

Becker narrows his eyes at Gandt and offers, "Yes ladies, the apartment is indeed Gandt's here. We are just below HIM."

"Thank you very much, sir," quickly trumpets Gandt, looking quite satisfied with himself.

Madame Savatier becoming quite exasperated, "Ahhh, so the gentleman does indeed know where HE lives ... perhaps you've discovered where my friend is to live?"

Lady Leena Fandango quickly states, "Sincere apologies Signore, it was our mistake."

"Oh, it has been my pleasure to meet you," Signore Gandt offers, looking like he just won a card game.

"Such nonsense. Monsieur Becker is surely responsible. But he can redeem himself!" Madame Savatier says with reproach.

Becker, now feeling a bit sheepish, "Rest assured my Lady I shall move your things over to the proper dwelling straight away."

Smiling gently at both Becker and Madame, Lady Leena asks "How can Becker redeem himself Madame?"

Sighing Madame Savatier answers, "By conveying you to your new apartment, of course."

Mercury Gandt can't help himself and adds, "Do you allow me ladies, to escort you? I promise I won't force myself invited in, only escort you till your door is reached."

Madame looks over at Signore Gandt and breathes, "How thoughtful ..."

Becker grimaces and sighs, "If the ladies will allow it, it's this way."

"That will be fine Becker, lead the way," Lady Leena answers, eager to right this obvious wrong.

Mercury Gandt offers his arm to the ladies, which Lady Leena politely declines and moves past him quickly. Madame Savatier did allow his escort and takes his arm. Winding their way through the staircase, they come to the new apartment, the right one this time.

Becker stands in front of the large wooden door, "Here we are my Lady, Number 2 is your new home," and slides the key into the lock.

"Oh, so you will live above the cafe'? It will be a bit noisy," observes Signore Gandt, "Now this is the moment I should say goodbye. Madame, Signore, good luck and Madamoiselle Fandango, enjoy your new home."

"A pleasure," Madame Savatier says as she curtsies and smiles.

Lady Leena curtsies and responds "Thank you Signore," while Becker hastily shuts the door and slides the lock back into place, turning around he has a rather large frown on his face.

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The Flight to Fanciful ~ Part 4 Of Men and Balloons

Rising early, Lady Leena decides to write a letter to a dear friend to tell her of the recent events of her new home. Sitting at her desk she puts quill paper and begins the tale ......

30th October 1783

My dearest Madame Savatier,

I hope you are well and in good spirits. I know you've been traveling of late so I sincerely pray this letter finds you on your journeys. Some extraordinary events are happening here at Rocca Sorrentina of almost a fairy tale nature that I can scarcely believe myself.

Some of the gentleman here on the island of Rocca Sorrentina have decided on a very peculiar course of action. Men can be men of course with all their requirements of duty and honor, as we know well. Two of them, Mercury Gandt, I think you remember him Madame, and Friedrich von Brenneysen, a native of Prussia have decided to have a duel.

I know perhaps you are sitting back wondering why I might consider this a fairy tale? The duel is not an ordinary one my dear friend. It shall take place in of all things a 'balloon' which floats up in the air making them able to fly. Yes Madame, fly in the heavens like the birds or the angels themselves.

Fabrics filled with heated air or something called hydrogen, some alchemists concoction perhaps, will allow the duelists and their seconds to rise into the sky where fate will decide what is to become of them. I can imagine your surprise Madame, for I'm quite certain many of the residents here on the island share your wonder.

I include a pamphlet for you to see, some French brothers named Montgolfier, decided to try this in Annonay, France this past June. One can only imagine how the people of the French countryside took to seeing something other than a flock of geese flying above them.

With Fondness,

Lady Leena

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The Flight to Fanciful ~ Part 3 Settling Up with Don Alfonso

Now that Lady Leena has settled into her apartment in the Villa Vesuviana, it was time for her to settle her account with Don Alfonso, who handled the financial affairs of Rocca Sorrentina. She's been putting it off a bit as Silas Becker, her agent, had nothing much to say about the gentleman in question and only managed to offer that he seemed dedicated to his work and then Silas would laugh. Becker was laughing yet again as she explained to him that she needed to meet the gentleman and was hoping for directions to his office.

Silas led the way down the path from the Villa and through the village to his office and politely decided to wait outside instead of going inside with her.

"Becker?" Lady Fandango asked yet again, "Why in heavens name are you laughing?"

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"No reason M'Lady," as Becker bows graciously and starts to wander off to the beach. He can hardly wait to hear his Ladyship's reaction to what the gentleman may or may not do. Humming a tune Becker decides to walk along the beach and await Lady Leena's return.

Standing up a bit straighter and smoothing her gown, Lady Leena enters the dimly lit room and approaches the desk where she sees a gentleman standing. "This must be Don Alfonso," she thinks to herself and begins with an introduction. "Good Day to you, Sir, I'm Lady Fandango here to settle my account for the villa apartment, my agent Silas Becker told me where to find you." Offering the gentleman a cordial smile she waits patiently for some response from him, and waits and waits.

766_blogs.jpg?width=750 Finally, Don Alfonso opens his ledger and points to a page, quickly handing her a quill. With raised eyebrows Lady Leena takes the quill, signing her name and offering the proper amount of coin to him. Again she waits for a response from the gentleman, as their transaction is now concluded. Don Alfonso looks her over and grunts, while Lady Leena tries to keep her mouth from gaping open and her chin from hitting the floor. Biting her lip and trying hard to control her own laughter Lady Leena thinks to herself, "I've just handed this man a fair amount of coin and he grunted at me like a swine! Now I know what Silas found so amusing."

Wishing Don Alfonso a pleasant day, again with no response, Lady Leena turns and leaves the office. Once she closes the doors behind her she covers her mouth with a gloved hand and laughs, now that's she away from him and he cannot hear her. Walking off to the beach now, she sees Becker gazing off into the horizon with his back to her.

767_blogs.jpg?width=750 Silas hears not only her footsteps but Lady Leena's soft laughter as she approaches. Grinning to himself, he can only imagine her reaction to Don Alfonso and his, in turn, to her. As he spins around to face her, he can't help but ask, "Did you find your meeting pleasant M'Lady?"

Eyes sparkling with laughter, "Silas Becker, you know full well how it went, you devil!" Lady Leena replies, teasingly. "He actually grunted at me!"

As Silas looks down and then back up quickly with his eyes as innocent as possible he says, "A curious fellow don't you think? Perhaps when one deals with numbers all day, you forget how to have a conversation?"

"Perhaps," Lady Leena replies with a huge smile on her face. "Our business is done for now, all is forgiven for not warning me. Now, it's time for tea." Lady Leena and Becker slowly walk away from the beach and back toward the villa, where tea and refreshments are waiting for them. They cross the great lawn, admiring the spectacular view of the facade of the villa as the sun hits it.

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