This story occurs, obviously, during Mariotto's exile to France following his marriage to Gianozza. The date, which is historical, places it between chapters 28 and 29 of THE MASTER OF VERONA.
While this may seem as a mere ruse on my part to drag in yet more Shakespearean characters, it is actually a key plot point for a future novel. So much so that I considered making this the Prologue of the third book in the series, FORTUNE'S FOOL. But as Mariotto is not a key player in that novel, I scrapped that notion, keeping this in my pocket as a very short story.
It was the Cardinal's name that led me to think of Count Orsino (sometimes called Duke) of Illyria. For Cardinal Orsini was as real as the villainous pope he helped elect. It is John XXII's perfidious nature that matters to the future story, as things heat up for all our characters and they begin to travel the broader world. The church becomes embroiled in the affairs of Verona, with consequences for both Pietro and Cangrande's heir.
But, sadly, all that is for another, far-off day. With VOICE OF THE FALCONER "bought but not yet enjoyed" (as Juliet says), all these plots will linger for many moons to come.