Silver Nephil
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Vidimus Chapter XV
Rome, Italy
April to June, 1500


At ground level, a man on a horse stood. He was dressed in black and red, from what the newly-made Master Assassin could see of his clothing--a black poncho-like piece of clothing slung over a red tunic. His hair looked buzz-cut short, though in the back it curled slightly just beneath his ears. For being one of the most famous men of his time, Niccolo Machiavelli certainly had a plain face, Lex found.

He had an Italian's shade of tan, though it looked as if he hadn't seen the sun for some days, the faintest hint of five o'clock shadow. His lips bowed upward, giving him the look of having in his possession a source of perpetual smugness.

"What are you waiting for, ragazzo?" he called up. "Open the door."

"What's your name?" Lex called back down.

"I am Niccolo Machiavelli. Perhaps you've heard of me?"

"That I have, but what's your quest?"

"Currently, to get through this damned door."

"What is the capital of Assyria?"

"Ninevah."

"Correct! Now what's the password?"

"What password?" By this point, the smugness had retreated a little from his face, replaced by a scowl.

"I can't let you in unless you know the password."

"No one told me this!"

"Well, too bad. You still have to know the password."

"And what is this so cunningly crafted password?" Machiavelli spat.

"Bacon." The youth grinned as he ducked his head down behind the wall, lest the man find something to hurl at him besides insults.