Sitting in the confessional of the Ducal Chapel after vespers, Msgr. de Chiaroscuro, S.J., made use of his privacy by deciphering in the flickering candlelight the dispatch lately sent from Nebbio concerning the movements of a network of agents headed by a darkly mysterious lady lately identified by Nebbio's sources at Versailles.
Reviewing the sketch rendered by Nebbio of the equipage of this black widow, de Chiaroscuro reflected for a moment on the cipher which remained--the face and identity of this dark lady. Nebbio's sources had been unable to provide a likeness or any description of this woman, leaving the imagination to fill in the gaps.
Blonde, brunette, who could say? Her facelessness gave her a certain power of which, de Chiaroscuro felt certain, she took full advantage.
This train of thought brought him, upon reflection, to consider his own public image and appearance. Well known enough in court circles, his position as confessor and tutor to the Ducal Household created a certain image for him independent of his actual appearance. He wondered if his circumstance and public vocation completely overshadowed the man beneath the clerical garb in which he accomplished his tasks both secular and religious. If an image of him were to be cast into bronze or lead, how much would his own countenance matter in conveying that image?
Seen from any distance, would anything of Baldesar even be perceptible? Or would the black robe and Roman collar be all that was seen? De Chiaroscuro had taken several self-portraits of himself both in oil and charcoal over the years, both as a lesson in humility and as a form of discipline in maintaining his skill in rendering likenesses from different angles, but he had only passing experience in his youth with sculpture and the rendering of tangible form in space. He resolved therefore, knowing of several silversmiths who trafficked in such things, to find an image in miniature which could be plausibly supposed to represent a priest of his order, and explore the question further.
But who could provide the figure he sought?
[Ed. note: Suggestions for figures to represent Msgr. de Chiaroscuro, S.J., are hereby solicited; any plausible 25-28mm clerical figure is welcomed for consideration]