Vampires are very sensitive to light, and it is a bright day over snow.
The phrasing recalls the classic Dracula movie schtick: "I never drink... wine." (TDW vampires do drink wine, so the line is not out of context.)
He made a set of elaborate passes in the air, his patched blue sleeves flapping. "Abracadabra... abracavitti... dit! Dit! Dit!"
An egg appeared between his fingers; then there were two eggs, then three. Tommasi presented them to Kronig. "I should like those fried in butter, with the yolks whole... and, if you would, a little bacon..."
"Abracadabra" is not an anachronism; it dates to Roman times, as a word used on magical amulets. I cannot find "abracavitti."
In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, "avada kedavra" is a virulent death curse.
Speaking of anachronisms, Tommasi is ordering his eggs sunny-side-up with bacon. The combination is not out-of-period of itself, but the notion of this as standard breakfast fare probably is.
"My joints are like glass in the cold," said Hywel [...]
This will be confirmed when he bends down "very gradually" in the stable (p127); but matters will become more complex later. See p254.
"You see, kindness is deadly to vampires; it makes us less careless."
Should be "more careless"? Or perhaps Gregory means "careless of others"; he only came down to breakfast because he felt a need for company.
Then, more softly, "Why did you lie for me?"
The lie was on p119.
Gregory said "You don't believe that bat-shaped, wolf-shape nonsense! Or perhaps that I can turn into smoke and seep under doors?"
"No. And whoever did this doesn't, either. Look at the horrid care of it; the ropes, the quill, the cup -- he imitates a real gwaedwr, not any imaginary one with hypnotic powers or snake fangs -- and then he opens the window. Why?"
A quick list of traditional vampire abilities which TDW vampires are known not to have.
"[...] That Italian wizard--"
"Is no more a genuine worker than you are, and there's not one within twenty miles."
"Suppose he concealed his powers behind the tricks."
"Can you become a bat? There are many things magic cannot do, and hiding itself is one of them."
The symbol was referred to in chapter 3 as the palle.
The explanation, we will discover, is that the ring belongs to Falcone; the killer never noticed it.
Hywel rolled the ring over in his hand. "But some kinds of care and carelessness just do not go together."
"Unless... have you ever seen Nordic snowshoes, schees?"
Skis, that is.
There were some bits of partly burned paper, really only ashes held together by the ink on them. The English king's debts... Hywel read from a scrap, and from another ...interests of the Bank abroad... Then his first touch disintegrated them.
(As we will discover, Falcone has been a Medici agent all along.)
The fire, by the way, must have been doused by the servant who found Tommasi in the first place (p126).
Hywel said "No one expects a single inn guest to be in disguise. Why should one expect two?"
As Hywel noted (p126), Charles de la Maison was present the first afternoon p107; everyone arrived or was already there, except Nottesignore. However, the logic fails if one of the other guests was also a different person, disguised.
This is a slightly absurd concatenation of events; but no one would blink at it in a three-act mystery. (In fact, it will turn out that both disguises were perpetrated by the same person, so it's not as absurd as it seems.)
Hywel said "Suppose two men meet at a coach station. One is a wandering hedge-wizard, good at sleights and disguises as such people are, hungry as they usually are. Call him Guido. The other... call the Agent.
"The Agent offers Guido a chance to travel by coach instead of on foot, and a warm inn bed -- which, since it is November and snowing, sounds better than money. All Guido has to do is pretend to be the Agent for a little while."
"[...] The coach departs with Guido aboard; the Agent is left behind at the station with Guido's clothes. But he does not put them on. He dresses up as a mercenary, in leather and steel, gets on a fast horse such as mercenaries prefer to ride, and follows the coach; and passes it.
"So he reaches the inn that will be the next coach stop. He makes sure that the guests there see him, remember him, but don't become too interested in him; some well-placed coarseness and insult does that well. And when the chance arises, he changes into the wizard's clothes, puts in an appearance, changes again."
Given this scenario, we can already put a name to the Agent. When della Robbia got off the coach, his voice was rough (p106-107); when he came down to dinner, it was fine (p108). We can deduce that it was Tommasi who got off the coach (ostentatiously dressed and disguising his voice). He then went upstairs with "Charles," exchanged clothes, and went out the window to the stable. The mercenary vanished, and della Robbia had dinner.
The appearance referred to by Hywel was not Nottesignore's introduction (p108), but "Nottesignore"'s original arrival at the inn (before the chapter began). Della Robbia had to establish that, because Tommasi had not yet arrived in his coach.
"If the hair were colored with saffron, would pinning it up in the Grecian style protect it through a bath?"
Cynthia denies having been Charles, which of course she was not. But she is also deflecting Hywel's implication that she too is in disguise, which she is. (Her hair was pinned up, as described, when she came down from her bath on p109.)
"How else would a man in a forever-mended gown and wooden shoes be wearing new woolen hose when he died?"
"All Medici bankers were agents... spies... to one extent or another."
"Well," della Robbia said, "guilty."
Without any surprise, Hywel said "You admit it."
Della Robbia's brief hesitation is probably his (admirably quick) decision to stop protesting innocence, and fall back to plan B. He will claim that he has done a good deed by killing a Sforza courier.
The first appearance of Cynthia's name since chapter 3.
Hywel is moving so that he can quickly touch Cynthia (p133). But he touches the stair rail in passing. That rail was mentioned on p109; Falcone touched it while looking for Cynthia. It is not impossible that Hywel is preparing his magic at this point, sensitizing himself to a possible connection between Falcone and Cynthia.
Della Robbia said "I learned the cuts from a book. In the inn library."
Della Robbia said "Why, that's mine. Where did you--" He reached for the ring.
Della Robbia again shows himself to be commendably quick on the uptake. He probably knows that Falcone had such a ring, but he has not seen it until this moment. (Hywel has had it since p124-125.) Della Robbia nonetheless reacts consistently with his cover story.
"Spies have signals to recognize one another; words, gestures. When you didn't respond to his, he knew you weren't what you were claiming."
"Dottorina Ricci, do you see what this is? These men are all Imperials--"
The significance of this, however, is not clear. The wax is from the seal of the message that della Robbia stole and then burned. Possibly red wax is most commonly used by the Medici.
Hywel felt along the hose. "There is a legend that a murdered wizard curses his killer. I think Nottesignore has left us one last trick." He reached into the stocking. His hand came out holding a large white egg.
The hose have been in della Robbia's possession since he and Tommasi went upstairs the first day (p107; see p129-130). Therefore, this must be a spare egg which Tommasi had stashed for his coach ride. He forgot to remove it when he removed the hose, and della Robbia did not notice it. (Della Robbia has not worn the hose himself since then.)
Gregory literally tore apart the curtains entangling him, ripping the heavy fabric with his hands.
A display of vampiric strength.
A black horse, the kind mercenaries prefer to ride, stood in the snow...
Dimi said "I wonder if we could even have gotten the message out of him."
Gregory said "Perhaps not. But between you, and I, and the wizard and the woman, were there any other kinds of fear to offer him?"
Dimi, Gregory, and Hywel are all frightening in obvious ways: violence, predation and infection, transgression of the mind. Cynthia is less clearly a figure of fear. Her medical knowledge earlier allowed della Robbia to torture Falcone; possibly this is what Gregory means.
"When we touched -- I felt how much you hated them."
"That is a danger of the technique."
"...We have to act for those who aren't yet hurt." She smiled then, like a flower opening. "An ounce of prevention."
Cynthia is able to cast their private war against the Empire into medical terms. This makes her feel better... or perhaps feel dangerous; the "flower opening" recalls her pendant, which has revealed both medicine (p87) and poison (p79).
Hywel poured brandy from his own glass into hers. He put his hand over his left eye for a moment. Then he uncovered it, blinked, smiled.