Posted in 1280s, alternative history, Dante, Middle Ages, Writing

WeWriWa—Several more shocks


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 right after last week’s excerpt, when Dante’s stepmother, Monna Lapa, discovered Beatrice in their house, taken to the ladies’ guest room after collapsing. She isn’t exactly happy about this situation, particularly not after she recognizes the visitor.

“That is a married woman, Dante!” Monna Lapa shouted. “A married woman!”

“Not for much longer, God willing. I’m certain her father will agree with me that an annulment must be sought.”

“Only disreputable people seek annulments! Marriage is supposed to be for life, not until a couple has an argument or one spouse tires of the other! How do you intend to explain this woman’s presence to visitors? No one normal does this!”

“It’s not as if I live alone or there are no ladies to ensure respectable conduct. And why would I sleep with a seriously ill and injured lady, married or not?”

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

Monna Lapa shook her head and stalked back to her room. After she was gone, I knelt by the bed and uttered every Psalm that mentioned healing, rescue, and wonderworking. I had just finished reciting Psalm 116 when I heard the downstairs front door opening and Galfrido coming in with Dr. Salvetti.

I ran out of the room and to the landing. “Please make haste,” I called downstairs. “This is a very urgent matter.”

Dr. Salvetti went up the stairs two at a time, Galfrido keeping a close pace behind him. Once they were on the second floor, I grabbed another lantern and led them towards the ladies’ guest room.

Dr. Salvetti stepped back slightly when he recognized his patient. “May I ask how in the world a married lady came to be in this house at this hour? I know you’ve been dear friends since youth, but ladies usually don’t visit men without a proper chaperone, particularly not at night.”


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

8 thoughts on “WeWriWa—Several more shocks

  1. Everyone is so focused on her presence in his house, not that she’s in dire need of attention. But that’s been true for centuries. Most often people are more interested in having rules broken than in actually helping people. Tweeted.


    1. Dr. Salvetti will get down to treatment very soon, but he’s naturally curious about the story behind this situation. For the era, he’s quite a progressive doctor, having trained at the University of Salerno’s famous, innovative medical school.

      Liked by 1 person

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