As Prometheus is exploring the lands around Etna he has found multiple rich farmlands and landscapes that suggest there is likely a tether nearby, but before he heads to the mountain proper he finds a scroll placed within his pack. It indicates a meeting to discuss a new cabal dedicated to pushing the Roman tribunal towards colonizing Africa, it meet in two weeks time in a tavern in the south of Palermo.
What a wonderful scheme, Prometheus was just a little envious that he didn't come up with it himself. If the cabal would be successful, putting the plan to action, there would be ample opportunity to partake in the resource richness of a whole continent. If they weren't, there would be a legion of magi upset with the tribunal decision, for them not to partake. Hermetic politics and jurisdiction would be largely occupied dealing with that and less likely to put their noses too deep into a little mundane interference here or there.
«Larione, I think I've found something better to do than crawling the countryside. Have you visited Palermo before?»
«Palermo? On the Northern Coast?» Larione stutters. «No, never. That's a bigger city, isn't? Maybe the trade is better there.» Larione is sure he can make a living in any city, and after that incident with the priest of St. Magdalena, he had better get out of Syracuse, sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, the more he knows the better are his chances. He asks, «what can you tell me about Palermo?»
«Palermo isn't just bigger than Syracuse» Prometheus addresses Larione with a smile, «Palermo is huge. I bet you'll gonna like it.»
«It is the capital of the Kingdom. I'd urge you to stay away from the royal palace, no matter how tempting it is.»
Prometheus picks up his pack and turns towards the road before he continues: «Let's talk while we are on our way.»
[Prometheus goes on to tell what he knows about Palermo from his Area Lore: Sicily (simple roll=11), while they are on there way.]
Larione packs up too, happy to get out of Syracusa. There isn't much to pack up anyway, but a selection of knives, a good 30' rope, and a few minor tools which fit in a small pouch in his belt. He is quickly ready to accompany Prometheus and eager to see the «huge» city. «Huge you say?» he says, «you mean bigger than Naples too?»
Prometheus is looking forward to the meeting and already pretty occupied with a strategy to keep his attendance a secret.
He will pick a good but ordinary disguise. Magic like the Clandestine Mask might in the end raise more suspicion rather than less. A little Aura of Childlike Innocence though will ensure that his disguise is believable.
«A lot bigger, by four or five times. Sorry Larione, I am already halfway there in thought.» he replies, after he realizes he has been spoken to.
The trip does not take long and the tavern you are meeting at is not part of an inn, which means that if you intend to stay long you will need a room at an inn, and can easily assemble your disguise there. You still have over a week until the meeting when you arrive.
When they arrive in Palermo and even before that while traveling through villages near Palermo, Prometheus keeps his ears and eyes open to soak up the latest gossip [news and/or relevant reputations as per the virtue]. He has an ear for anything that Larione could leverage pursuing his "profession", but most importantly anything with regards to the tavern, its host and its guests. When they arrive at an inn within the outskirts of Palermo, he says: «Larione, can you do me a favor?»
«There is a tavern when you follow the southern road. It bears a plate with a goose and a golden egg, but everyone local just calls it the tavern at the crossing, southern crossing if that shouldn't be clear by context. Just be a guest there and keep your eyes and ears open.»
Prometheus also travels south, finds a quiet place secured from watching eyes and Benessa, a portly lady, visits the inn as well. [Also he casts aura of childlike innocence.]
[To be clear, this is preparatory exploration. Prometheus will not attend the cabal meeting as Benessa, but rather put on a disguise. Not as somebody specific, but rather just to make sure he is not recognized. Could you please tell me what the ease factor of that is and if aura of childlike innocence applies, so that I can think about using a persona as the base for the disguise. Thanks.]
«Sure, why not?» says Larione. «Is it an expensive inn?» he adds as an afterthought.
Assuming he can afford it, one way or another, he does as suggested. Hopefully he has means to scout out the area for a few days, before picking up his trade. It is important to know who is who, and who will be worth robbing in due course.
You listed several activities, I'm not sure what you are asking for the ease factor of...
the tavern (not an inn, there are no rooms to rent) is of a sort that craftsmen and workers come to eat in the evening, and has very little traffic for the midday meal. In fact in the middle of the day, such as when the meeting is arranged for, there is but a single serving wench in evidence, the food having already been prepared by the cook who is apparently out to meet a woman who is not his wife when the few lunch customers arrive. Of the evening crowd you quickly discern which are the wealthier craftsmen and which are the journeymen...
Apart from scouting out the people in the area, Larione needs to find a place to lodge ... or squat. Preferably something discrete. He wears his hair long, and the hood drawn down over his forehead, to avoid the brand being immediately obvious. He got a decent amount of coin from the job which forced him to flee Syracusa, so he is no immediate need. He can afford to scout out the area for a week or so before he needs to replenish his resources. He knows, however, that the time will come when he has to do that, so he spies out optimal targets.
When he meets up with Prometheus, he gives his impression of the tavern, and asks, «what exactly do you want to know?»
Recognizing that the initiator has chosen a spot and time that will give some privacy, but also might raise suspicion, if the attendees are too many, Benessa chooses to prepare a local disguise. She tries to inquire some trivial facts like the names of the serving wench, the host, the cook and the guests.
She would return every day - disguised as a washerwomen and gossip, so by the day the meeting was arranged, she would be part of the background. She could decide if and when to reveal herself to the other magi.
[I'll add a post, talking to Larione as soon as I have am answer on Discord about the gossip]
You do hear some gossip about a local carpenter, where his neighbors and associates complain that he works too many hours, is stingy with his wealth, does not buy the niceties for his wife that she deserves, and spends too much time at his business. they are apparently considering asking the priest to admonish him for his avarice- again.
The gossip was heard by Prometheus...
[Apologies, if I was overusing Discord. I thought to keep ooc in the story minimal, but I see that changing medium can introduce a lot of clutter. Will prefer ooc posts for questions like this in the future]
«Really nothing in particular. What was your impression of the location, the host, the guests? If you needed to leave the tavern, quickly, where would you go?»
Prometheus listens to Larione's observation, checking if the professional thief had seen anything different from what he had seen.
«Thank you Larione, for your efforts, I will keep an eye on this tavern for a while» he says and gets to another topic. «I heard about a carpenter you might want to check on. People say he works a lot and doesn't spend a coin more than he must. I suppose he has a lot of these excess coins somewhere.»
[A simple reordering of posts probably resolves the gossip issue]
«Hmm,» thinks Larione. «Wonder where he hides his wealth? I need to find out.» He will still help Prometheus with the scouting, but this carpenter sounds like a good target. At least he will get little sympathy if he looses some of his excess.
[OOC. Sorry, @eldarin had already indicated that Prometheus would share, so I just skipped ahead.]
The carpenter's shop is well located, and easy to watch. He has three journeymen working for him, and they take turns heading out for lunch which he apparently does not provide for them as would be traditional, but there are always at least 2 journeymen present. During the day you see them take payment and make change from a small moneybox, but it is clear it would not serve as any type of reserve of great wealth.
[If I should do any rolls, just tell or roll them yourself instead.]
The tavern for the next few days has a routine of regular customers, during that time you get used to them as they get used to you becoming a regular, in a very casual sense. You discover that the serving wench is not "the usual girl" but is apparently filling in for her after the regular girl came down with something (some patrons have suggested what she came down with was pregnancy). Most of the regulars are journeymen, or the rare merchant who can either afford to close their shop for lunch or who have underlings they can trust alone in the shop, and they seem to have formed friendships outside of the tavern, such that even after being a regular for several days you are still seen as a bit of an outsider. This becomes less remarkable, however, as other newcomers seem to be taking up a habit of frequenting the tavern for lunch and somewhat afterwards.