WeWriWa—High emotions at Mass

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. The rules have now been relaxed to allow a few more sentences if merited, so long as they’re clearly indicated, to avoid the creative punctuation many of us have used to stay within the limit.

I’m sharing from my alternative history, with the working title A Dream of Peacocks. It starts on May Day 1274, when Dante met his great love and muse Beatrice Portinari, and will give them an eventual happy ending, with lots of Sturm und Drang.

This comes from Chapter XVI, “Permanently Broken Bond,” right after last week’s excerpt. It’s now 1287, and Dante just lost his wife Gemma Donati in childbirth. The baby was a premature stillborn.

Despite being submerged in grief, Dante feels obligated to attend Mass with his much-younger halfsiblings. Before the service starts, his longtime love Beatrice, whom he’s never abandoned hope of someday marrying despite everything, senses something is very wrong. Dante’s little sister Tana tells her what happened.

Beatrice’s emerald windows softened, and she crossed herself. “May God grant them eternal rest. If your family needs anything, my family won’t hesitate to help you. No favor is too great to ask.” She smiled down at Tana. “Would you like to stand with me during Mass?”

Tana shook her head. “I’m staying with my brothers.”

“That’s perfectly understandable, carissima.” Beatrice put her hand on my arm.

The ten lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.

“Once again, I’m truly sorry to hear about Gemma and the baby. We should all be eager to taste eternal life in God’s presence, but that doesn’t mean make death easier to accept. God put us on this Earth first for a reason. He didn’t create us to exist forever in Paradise.”

“Your kind words are very much appreciated.” In the thick of so much grief, I couldn’t bring myself to think about how I was now legally free to marry her as soon as she lost her own first spouse. Gemma wasn’t even enshrouded or in a tomb yet, while de ’Bardi was still very much among the living.

Mass passed in a blur, and my legs were like meat jelly wobbling about on a platter. My arms were trembling too wildly to cross myself, and not one prayer escaped my throat. I collapsed like one paralyzed at the conclusion of services, and had to be helped home by Ricovero and Forese. What happened next I cannot recall, so lost was I in a dark, dismal, and wild forest of anguish.

Author: Carrie-Anne

Writer of historical fiction sagas and series, with elements of women's fiction, romance, and Bildungsroman. Born in the wrong generation on several fronts.

4 thoughts on “WeWriWa—High emotions at Mass”

  1. Does he feel remorse for thinking about Beatrice when he should be mourning his wife? And did this happen in history? Did his wife die or is that where your timeline diverges? Wonderful snippet! Tweeted.

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