WeWriWa—Ser Folco’s business wraps up

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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 right after last week’s excerpt, when Beatrice’s father Folco discovered not only that his daughter is very ill and injured, but that her husband beat her because he believes she was committing adultery. In the middle of his rant against his son-in-law and his own poor judgment in arranging the marriage, Dante’s stepmother comes into the room.

My stepmother smiled at Ser Folco. “I presume you’ve come to take your stricken daughter home. This scandalous arrangement can’t end a moment too soon.”

Ser Folco stopped in his tracks and stared at her. “Scandalous? You dare call human decency scandalous? Have you been speaking with my son-in-law Simone de ’Bardi? Who knows, perhaps you’re one of the women he’s been sleeping with in secret.”

Monna Lapa gasped and ran out of the room, almost tripping over her skirts.

“She refused to help Bice last night,” I said, hoping she overheard and felt even a smidgen of shame.

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

“When she saw me carrying Bice into the spare bedroom, she accused me of bringing her there for illicit purposes. Thank God, my eight-year-old sister volunteered her feminine assistance without complaining.”

“I’d be more than happy to give you one of my maidservants,” Ser Folco said. “It’s not fair to make a child provide all the assistance.” He pulled his cloak tighter around himself. “I think my business here is just about concluded. Praise Christ no one harmed Bice when she was walking alone at night, and that she collapsed where she did, when she did. I don’t want to think about what might’ve happened to her in different circumstances.”

I saw Ser Folco to the door while my siblings went to eat their morning meal. Once I bid him farewell, I dashed upstairs to check on Beatrice.

She was still deep in sleep, and her face hadn’t lost any of its redness. I made the sign of the cross over her, sank onto my knees, and began reciting every Biblical story and prayer I could think of about healing. All our days are numbered, but I couldn’t bear the thought of my immaculate dream being taken away before she was even midway our life’s journey.

WeWriWa—Several more shocks

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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 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.”

WeWriWa—Stepmother’s shock

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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 right after last week’s excerpt, when Dante, newly widowed, carried Beatrice into his house after she collapsed at night, alone, with a fever and other symptoms of malady. Her husband beat her before leaving for Cyprus on business, discovered and destroyed the herbal concoctions she secretly used for birth control, and accused her of adultery. 

Dante’s halfsiblings are very willing to help, but his stepmother Lapa is quite displeased to learn about this situation.

They raced up the stairs while I staggered up, each step taking thrice as long as usual to pass, my halted foot always the lower. By the time I finally cleared the last stair on the first flight of steps, Galfrido was in the hall and pulling on his cloak.

“What in the world happened?” Galfrido asked.

“She’s ill and injured, and needs Dr. Salvetti immediately. Please hurry.” I stumbled down the hall to the ladies’ guest bedroom. “Francesco, Tana, you can read quietly in your room while I take care of Bice. We’ll pray Compline together a bit later than usual tonight.”

Though Beatrice was quite short and delicate, even as an adult, she felt heavier and heavier the longer I carried her. It was a relief when I entered the only remaining spare bedroom and could deposit her upon the mattress.

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

As soon as she was situated, I hurried out into the hall to grab a lantern.

“Am I seeing things, or did you just carry a woman into that room?” Monna Lapa asked, her arms crossed. “I was reading the Bible in my room with the door closed when I heard a lot of agitated voices talking at once, but I couldn’t make out what anyone was saying from that far away. When I investigated, I saw you walking down the hall with a woman in your arms. How could you take a new lover so soon after losing Gemma, or sleep with anyone outside the bonds of matrimony? That was sure a quick mourning period, easily forgotten.”

“It’s not what it seems, Madonna. A dear friend collapsed outside the house, injured and feverish. What kind of Christian would I be if I left her there to suffer and possibly be abused by unsavory men who found her? Galfrido is summoning the miracle-working doctor who saved my life as a child.”

Monna Lapa shook her head as she followed me back into the room.  She turned white and jumped back when she recognized our guest.

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