The wind blew outside the door, and the rain made a dull rat-a-tat-tat on the roof. Ludovico glanced outside, shivered, then turned to the fire, and warmed his hands. It was nights like this that made you happy to be a Palazzo, and thus certain of at least a roof over your head if you couldn’t find an inn willing to take you. Indeed, siege or no, this was a good time for the Palazzos. Fine food and drink from across the river, folk from across the land needing to be entertained--and the Nightfolk themselves, who were quite happy to pay for a bit of music. And even better didn’t know all the old songs by heart.
Ludovico shook his head. He’d never have imagined it, but he was starting to think this war had turned out to be precisely what Montalban needed.
Aside from all the death, of course. That bit was unpleasant.
A head peaked in from the doorway. “Hola!” shouted Rosa, as she slid into the room. “Hogging a good fire as usual, Ludovico?”
“Go on, make yourself at home,” stated Ludovico as Rosa plopped down in front of the fire opposite him.
“Much obliged,” she stated stretching cheerfully.
“Where’s Ippolita?” he asked casually.
“Ahh, she’s with her new love,” muttered Rosa. “Leaving me to pine by my lonesome self in the wind, and the cold, and the rain...”
“Yes, yes, you are sad and woebegone,” muttered Ludovico with an irritated shiver.
“Sad, and woebegone, and bearing many fine, fat pigeons,” she stated, pulling the birds out from beneath her cloak.
“And yet even in this state, it gladdens my heart to see you,” noted Ludovico. “Now--hand me a pigeon.” Rosa tossed him one, which he immediately took to plucking.
“We probably won’t be seeing many of these much longer,” said Rosa. “Winter’s on its way…”
Ludovico nodded. “Still, I’m making a pretty penny off the Nightfolk…”
“You aren’t the only one,” said Rosa, chuckling, as she got to work on her own pigeon.
“Well--that’ll pay for a lot of firewood and good food this winter,” he noted casually. “If the war doesn’t drive prices up too much.”
“Ippolita is thinking of crossing over the river, when this is done,” said Rosa quietly. “She suggested I could go with her.” She glanced at Ludovico. “What do you think?”
Ludovico paused for a moment. “I think it’s a changing world,” he said, at long last.
Rosa nodded to herself, and then went back to plucking her pigeon.