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 the family manservant Galfrido (an entirely fictional character) returned to the house with Beatrice’s father Folco, whom he was asked to summon. Beatrice has been in the house since last night, very ill and injured, and now in a deep sleep.
“Please have a seat, Ser Folco,” I said. “Our conversation may last a long time.”
“Do you need money?” he asked. “Are your in-laws no longer providing financial assistance now that you’re a widower? Some filial loyalty and Christian decency.”
I shook my head. “It’s hardly a secret that my family has had problems with money for some time, but we’re still able to live fairly comfortably regardless. We just have to go without things like private tutors for my brother and multiple servants. Don’t you know me better than to think I’d ask you for money? I’m not a shameless beggar.”
The ten lines end here. A few more follow to finish the scene.
Ser Folco lowered himself onto the red velvet cushioned bench opposite the chairs. “What do you want my assistance with, if it’s not money?”
I had a seat to his right. “Were you aware that your son-in-law Simone de ’Bardi recently sailed for Cyprus on business?”
“Yes, we discussed the voyage and what he’d be doing at our Cypriot office for several months in advance. Manetto, Ricovero, and a number of other relatives accompanied him.” He looked at me closely. “I wasn’t aware you had a close friendship with Mone.”
My insides clenched as I recalled yet again what that demon had done to the lady I love most of all in this world. “I barely speak to him or see him. We don’t attend the same church or live in the same neighborhood, and he’s never invited me to his home. The few times I’ve encountered him were at your home when we were both guests.” I fought off a wave of bile rising up my throat.