What Luck Betide Us
Duke Calogero Bassanelli
However, Calogero has a dark secret — he appears to be infertile. It is fairly certain that he believes his infertility problems to be the fault of his wives, not fully understanding the limitations of his own biology.
Far darker, however, is his allegiance to an old Zarus cult in town. Evidently, many of the important people in Duchy Bassano belong to this secret church, and subtly work to keep the town free of demihumans and their ilk.
So, while he was overjoyed when his kidnapped Duchess Juvela was returned to him, he was likely less-than-pleased that she was rescued by Bosabrieln, Dareisyn, Desire’lya, and Godfrey — two elves, a half-elf, and a human.
He was likely far less pleased when their “fertility treatment” story did not correspond to the kidnapping tale he understood to be true.
When he ordered his guards to seize the travelers, however, they quickly dispatched he and his guards, escaping with him and his wife beyond the city walls. In the woods, they interrogated him and tortured him, taking one of his testicles and threatening to return for the other if he came after them. They sent him home, drugged and maimed but alive.
Over the following few days, the duke found himself caught between his desire to cut his losses and the desires of his Zarus cult masters — they apparently had a Vistani woman arrested to lure the demihumans back to town for justice, and he used his political power to make the whole mess go away.
Of course, who knows where that leaves him with Bassano’s church of Zarus?
Also, credit where credit is due. Original image source:
Bryullov, Karl. “Portrait of the Archeologist Michelangelo Lanci” (1851). WikiArt. Retrieved May 18, 2014, from http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/karl-bryullov/portrait-of-the-archeologist-michelangelo-lanci