The early spring sun rose gently and gradually over the top of the manor house, the gentle sounds of the morning belying the tempestuous night that had preceded it. The long winter had ended in a final, vigorous storm, and now the world seemed refreshed and hopeful. The mild air and clean-smelling breeze failed to prevent the sun from removing the final traces of rain from the ground, while the gardeners cleaned and trimmed the gardens. On this fresh canvas, boys lingered outside, lounging on benches and against trees, a few chasing each other about the grounds, savoring the long-absent sun before heading inside for their lessons. The idyllic setting was very suddenly interrupted by the sound of heavy hooves and iron wheels, a whirlwind of sound and activity that raced its way through the gardens and up to the door of the manor. Several boys jumped back to avoid being trampled, while others barely caused a glimpsed the carriage through the cloud of dust as it flew past. No sooner had the dust begun to settle that there was a pounding on the manor door, and a voice calling for the master of the house. A few of the boys ventured closer in curiosity as the master opened the door. There was a very heated, one-sided argument, interrupted only by stern, quiet responses before a sealed letter was roughly pushed across the small distance from one owner to another. Then, just as violently as it had arrived, the carriage departed; the driver whipping just as much at the horses as he did the boys who'd gotten in the way. They scrambled away until the storm of activity was over, and quiet rushed back into the vacuum it had left behind. But the peace seemed, forced somehow. The boys drew close once more, hoping for reassurance and answers from the master, who remained in the entrance, reading the letter which had been so forcefully pressed upon him. Suddenly folding it, he quietly informed his students that there would be no lessons that day, and were dismissed. Bartolomeo di Rossi closed his front door and hurried up to his study, calling for his apprentice as he went. He rushed to his shelves and began gathering up rolls of paper, spreading them out on his work table. There wasn't a moment to lose.