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 Chapter VI

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Cecilia Gallerani
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PostSubject: Chapter VI   Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:32 am

1494



Omnia Vincit Amor

All conquers love - Virgil

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Ezel

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Location : The Papal States, Italy

PostSubject: Șehzade   Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:50 pm

“Well that was nice, my love,” Ezel stated flippantly as her husband rolled off her, lying on his back. Korkut sighed; his chest rose and fell as he tried to catch his breath. She laid a hand on his stomach, feeling the soft ridges of muscle beneath his skin. For a moment, she felt a faint, ethereal buoyancy – bliss.

But her husband had no patience for conjugal intimacy, and swatted her hand away.

She sighed, and turned around, feeling the relief of cool breeze coming from the window. She tried to disentangle herself from the damp sheets. The prince’s young wife could not help but wonder, a little bitterly, if he was really fooled by her moans into thinking she was sated.

She tried to ignore the fact that the bare, ramshackle little room around them was little better than the cell they had in Rhodes. Incarceration had then, as now, forced them to share the same room – forced them, it would seem, into remembering their conjugal duties. Both their sons had been conceived during the two years they passed on that island.

Assisi was the name of the town they had arrived in the night before, a provincial Perugian commune the locals of which, quite inexplicably to their Turkish guests, seemed to be in the habit of governing themselves. Ezel had listened in awe as she was told of the council – the comune – that met every month to discuss the matter of how the town should be run. The Italian peninsula as a whole was made up of hundreds of these comunes and signorias; in the South of the country, she was told, there did preside a King, but his kingdom comprised mostly of the city of Naples and a patchwork of small islands and Roman ruins! What need was a monarchy in the face of serfs who ruled themselves?

The signore’s fortress into whose custody they had been entrusted sat on a small hill upon which grew scattered olive trees and cypresses, and stone peasants’ cottages, which sat above the town with its steep, cobbled streets, dense with buildings leaned onto and crammed against each other. From the narrow window in this tower, she could see the sun rise over the low Umbrian mountains, over a patchwork of golden, grassy fields crossed by the long shadows of poplars.

But now it was late evening; the night shadows obscured the view from the window, and the only light came from the glowing coals of the brazier next to the bed.

She looked at the back of her husband’s fair head thoughtfully. “Korkut?”

“Hmm?”

“Are you sleeping?”

There was a pause.

“No.” He took a deep breath. “I was thinking.”

She turned towards him, leaning on her elbow. “What were you thinking about?”

Silence, again; he always took a long time to reply to the simplest question, as though he weighed each word carefully before voicing it.

“Home.”

She sighed, pursing her lips. “I was thinking yesterday that our boys have never seen Istanbul.”

“We will return one day.”

“You can’t. Beyazit will have you killed. You are a șehzade*.”

“Perhaps it would be better that way.”

She thought for a moment. “The Papal States would lose half their revenue if you died, without the fortune your brother is paying the Pope to keep you hostage. You could bankrupt all of Christendom.”

He gave a bitter laugh. “And here I was thinking you might say you’d miss me.”

She sighed, and kissed his shoulder. “I would miss you.”



*Title given to Ottoman princes who will not inherit the throne.
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Afonso das Neves
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PostSubject: Agony   Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:39 am

The sun kissed his face, causing to Afonso flicker his eyes, waking up. He was lying on his back, not moving for a moment, staring at the canopy of the bed that he had only seen once in his lifetime. He had immediately recognized it as being his wife’s.

He looked down and saw a delicate hand clinging to his white shirt and turning his head slightly to his right he met a sleeping Clarice de Medici, next to him. She presented a tranquil expression during her sleep and he could swear he could see a hint of a smile on her lips.

Afonso did not move, afraid not only to wake her up, but also of her reaction.

The more he tried to remember last night’s events the less he could. Instead his head was aching as a sad result of a huge dose of wine. Afonso looked to the open windows, from where the sunlight came and cursed the sloppy servant who did not close the curtains.

The curtains…

Soon he was recalling the discussion he had with Clarice and how he tried to please her. Then, for some reason, he had planned to visit her chambers. Afonso then recalled the bottle of wine in his study and nothing else. All was blank from that point.

Clarice emitted a contented sigh during her sleep and she moved a little bit, without waking up. Her hand did not relinquish its grip from his shirt.

What had happened last night? Afonso looked to the crucifix on the wall, seeking answers that did not come. His arm moved around his wife in an embrace, his fingers playing with her soft auburn hair. He then decided to use logic to try and guess what had happened. One way or another, their marriage had been consummated. Otherwise she would not be holding him so firmly. He had pleased her indeed.

A smug smile arose from his lips only to die the moment it was born. She was just a child and he had the responsibility to be kind and gentle. But he had take too much wine. Driven by the drink he probably had been brutal. He had hurt her.

Guilt started to invade Afonso as well as panic, as he watched his beautiful wife sleeping. She was innocent no longer. He had ruined her. Suddenly, like sensing she was being watched, Clarice started to wake up. His heart missed a beat in agony, not knowing what to expect.

He would run away if he could like the coward he used to be. But her hand was still holding his shirt keeping him prisoner of her bed.
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Clarice de' Medici

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PostSubject: Humiliation   Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:40 am

Clarice moaned softly, uncomfortable with the morning glare in her eyes. She did not wish to open them; the light was too bright, and she was too comfortable in her warm bed. She was aware that her head was resting on her husband’s shirt-clad chest, and not on her own pillow, but she had no complaints – he was warm, and she could feel the gentle, steady thud of his heart. She was smiling, burying her face deeper in his shirt, when she felt his heart skip a beat.

He was awake.

That was of little significance, she decided; she would go on pretending that she was asleep.

“Clarice.”

She groaned but made no reply.

“Clarice.” He shook her shoulder gently.

She was forced to open her eyes. “Yes?” she asked meekly.

He shifted a little, so that they were face to face. He brushed a russet curl away from her face. “What happened last night?” His voice was gentle, and still gravelly with sleep.

“You do not recall?” she asked, a little furrow of confusion creasing her smooth brow.

“No. Enlighten me.”

“You came to my room to consummate our marriage.” She sighed. “You were very drunk.”

At this he embraced her, and gave a pained sigh. He kissed her forehead. “Did I hurt you, little one? Tell me honestly, was I rough?”

She froze as he kissed her warm cheeks. “Afonso...”

“I did hurt you. I knew it. Forgive me, Clarice, I am such a fool...”

“Afonso,” she tried again, but her husband was lost in his own reality.

“I promise I will be gentle next time.”

“Afonso, stop...”

He pulled away a little, his bemused face blinking at her in the broad light of morning.

“I am still a virgin. Nothing happened last night.”

His head fell back with relief. “Are you certain?”

“You fell asleep while I was still at my prayers,” she said quietly. “I heard you snoring, and came to bed.”

He looked pensive for a few moments. “I apologise, dear wife. I must have humiliated you. I should leave.”

He kissed her forehead, and pulled away.

“You don’t have to go...”

It was only when she felt him take her hand away from his shirt that she realised she had not let go the entire time.

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Renata Ferrari

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PostSubject: Guests arrive at Palazzo de Ferrari   Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:51 am





A month have passed since the death of my late father, Duke de Ferrara as well as the celebration of his life. Normalcy has been slowly returning to the Palazzo de Ferrari family as well as those who are employed at the Palazzo….




Following morning after the feast, I could slightly hear birds singing outside my open bedroom window on a nearby tree. Hearing this, I rolled back to sleep in my bed. Sometime later on in the morning, one of the maids entered into my bedchambers and began slowly opening curtains from the windows. Hearing the curtains being drawn revealing the sunshine through the windows, I slowly opened my eyes to see Mercedes and Dolores entering into the room as the maid curtsey before me and then left the room.

“Good morning, my lady.” I heard Dolores said to me smiling.

“Good morning, Dolores.” I replied back to her smiling as I got out of bed and grabbed my silk robe from a nearby chair and put it on.

“Good morning, milady, how you this beautiful morning?” I heard Mercedes said to me as she moved about my bedchambers getting everything prepared.

“I’m doing little better this morning, Mercedes.” I replied back to her with a smile as I walked over towards the window and looked out of it. I then turned slightly and watched both of my Ladies-in-Waiting moving about the bedroom. I then said to Mercedes, “The past month was the most heart wrenching experience that I have ever hand in my entire life.”

“It is very understandable, milady, losing a parent or in this case both parents. It is always the toughest on everyone involved.” Mercedes replied back in her words of comfort.

“But there is one consolation, milady…”

“And that is, Dolores?” I asked her.

“One name comes to mind…” Dolores started to continued on…well that is until I interrupted her.

“Whose name?” I asked her curiously.

“Raffaele de’Medici.” Dolores replied back smiling.

Hearing Raffaele’s name brought warmth to my face as well as giddiness as my two younger cousins Diamante and Giada would say. I quickly turned away from my two Ladies-in-Waiting and looked out on such a lovely view gardens; which was situated back of the castle in the courtyard. I blushed when my two Ladies-in-Waiting were talking about Raffaele de’Medici and his siblings but mostly it was about the handsome condottieri named Raffaele de’Medici.

As I stood looking out of the window towards the gardens below, I began to think about Raffaele, how handsome he was, his beautiful brown but haunting eyes that seemed to haunt my very soul. My thoughts were rudely interrupted by the voice of Mercedes.

“Milady. Milady, what would you like to wear this morning?” I heard Mercedes asked as I turned to see Mercedes standing next to me.

“I don’t now, Mercedes. Please feel free to pull out a gown for me wear.” I replied softly to her.

“Ah it seems that our little Ren has fallen in love.” I heard Mercedes said as she was looking over at Dolores who also noticed the faraway look on my face.

“And I know who…” Dolores replied back to Mercedes; who giggled, just as Elisabete walked into the room. I noticed she looked a little confused for only a brief moment, which changed into a happiness and all three young women started giggling. I sighed at this as my three Ladies-in-Waiting were quietly talking about Raffaele and then giggled. I just shook my head in disbelief.

“Mi excuse, I’ll be in the bath.” I said to all three of them as I headed off towards my bathroom; adjacent to my bedchambers.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Once in the bathroom, I saw that the tub was filled with hot water of milk-water and rose petals. I began undressed from my night gown and my robe and stepped into the hot water of milk-water and rose petals.



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Sometime later, I came out of my bathroom dressed only in my silk robe with my long golden blonde hair still wet and noticed that my pale blue silk velvet gown was laid out upon my bed and at the foot of my bed was a matching pair of shoes. Seeing this I walked over towards my bed undoing my robe ties as in preparing to get dressed.

With the help from Mercedes and Dolores, I went from my silk robe to my linen drawers and then my kirtle; which was then covered my chemise. This was done before I put on the pale blue silk velvet gown with silver thread that was delicately hand-sewn around the neckline, as well as the sleeves.






With the help from both Mercedes and Dolores, I put on my the pale blue silk velvet gown with silver thread that was delicately hand-sewn around the neckline, as well as the sleeves. Once the gown was on, I put on dark blue to ebony ankle high boots. Finally dressed, I walked over and sat down at my vanity table put on my gold and pearl floral necklace as well as my earrings before having Mercedes brushing my long wavy golden hair. After brushing my hair, and with the help from Dolores, braided my hair with dark bluish-golden thread amongst my golden hair and wrapped the braided hair around my head like a circlet. Finally finished dressing, I stood up in my pale blue silk velvet gown and walked over towards the mirror and looked at myself and made sure that everything was in place.

During the time that I was dressing, I saw the reflection of the looking glass, Elisabete walking back into the room with tray loaded with food, ranging from fruits to cheese, bread and pitcher of mead for breakfast with Dolores following behind her.

“Milady, the breakfast has arrived.” Elisabete said to me smiling as she placed the breakfast tray down on nearby table.

“Grazie, Elisabete.“ I replied back to her smiling. I then sent on to say to her and those in my bedchambers, “Come let us have breakfast.”

With that said, my Ladies-in-Waiting and I sat down at the table and began to have breakfast and began to talk about this and that but mostly it was about Raffaele de’Medici.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


It was sometime later after breakfast, my Ladies-in-Waiting and I decided to visit the library. The library is one of two places that I considered to be my favorite places to be hidden from the rest of the world. The other place would be a white marble gazebo situated and slightly hidden amongst the overgrown by four ancient wisterias that are around the four-sided gazebo along with some variety of flowers and other plants.

Ten minutes later my Ladies-in-Waiting and I arrived and walked inside the library, I
Looked around the room until I spotted my book that I was currently reading lying in the window seat; where I left it from the day before. I walked over towards the four long-gated windows with a window seat built right into the wall. I noticed that it was raining as I stood before the window seat with deep burgundy silk velvet pillows on either side of the window sill. I took my place as I sit sideways on the window seat with my knees drawn up to hold my book and my Ladies-in-Waiting were either doing their embroidery or reading as well.

Little did I know that we had guests arriving.




++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Meanwhile the de’Medici family namely Piero, Raffaele and also their young sister, Clarice arrived by carriage and by horses at the entrance of the Palazzo de Ferrari and were greeted by Cardinal Francesco.

“Good day, everyone and welcome back.” Cardinal Francesco said smiling to the new arrivals.

“Thank you, your Eminence.” Piero replied back to Cardinal Francesco as he bowed and kiss the Cardinal’s ring as a sign of respect for a man in holy robes. Then Raffaele and Clarice followed their elder brother’s lead. The guests followed the Cardinal inside and stood in a beautiful marble entry way with a table with a beautiful floral display sitting in the center of the table.

“Where is your sister Renata?” Clarice asked Cardinal Francesco.

“I believe she is in the library, Donna Clarice. I can have one of the servants show you.” Cardinal Francesco replied back to her smiling.

“Thank you, your Eminence.” the young woman replied as she bowed her head in respect. They all watched Cardinal Francesco spoke with one of his servants.

“Donna Clarice, my servant Maria, here will show you where my sister is.” Cardinal Francesco said to her smiling as he points to young woman named Maria.

“Come milady, I will take you to my mistress, Renata.” Maria spoke to Donna Clarice

Seeing his sister looking over at him, Piero said to her, “Don’t worry, my sister, the Cardinal and Raffaele and I have a lot to talk about.”

With that said, Donna Clarice smiled to her elder brothers and then followed the young servant named Maria towards the library.



Tbc….

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Giulia Farnese

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter VI   Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:24 am

“ I think, he doesn’t like you Donna Giulia.” Tessa said, gently folding a light pink, gown her mistress had worn for dinner that night. Giulia turned her pretty head to look gently at her maid.

“Do you blame him Tessa? I am taking the place of his mother in his father’s bed.”

“All the same, Cesare Borgia is not someone to have as an enemy.” At this Giulia sniffled a very unlady like snort. That her maid thought Cesare Borgia was a threat to her was a sign of her maid’s loyalty. However, Giulia herself was not concerned. Cesare Borgia had far more important matters on his hands, than who was in bed with his father.

“Tessa, really, what do you think he is going to do to me?” She asked softly, her voice never raising about gentle tone.

“ You cannot tell me you haven’t heard the stories.”

“Yes, I’ve heard them. Honestly Tessa, that’s all they are. Stories.”

“ You do not know that Giulia.”

“Tessa, Rodrigo, is not going to let anything happen to me or to you.” She said full of confidence in the word she was saying. Giulia knew she was perfectly safe under the Pope’s care. To defy the Pope was defying God, wasn’t it?

“All the same Donna Giulia… I would keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Be friendly and civil towards Cesare. Let him know you do not fear him.” Giulia looked at her maid for a moment then shook her head. It was obvious that Tessa, was listening to far too much gossip. Perhaps she should lock her maid inside, as some had told her to do. But, she couldn’t do that to the lively girl.

“Darling, he’s not going to harm me.” She said firmly. “However, I shall take notice of your advice.” Giulia added the last bit more for Tessa’s sake than her own. Suddenly, she felt a little pull on the bottom of her foot, and laughed when she looked down to see her little dog playfully, nibbling at her bare toe.

“Besides, Niccolo will attack anyone who tries to harm me.”

“Niccolo couldn’t harm a fly if he wanted too.” Tessa said laughing softly as the dog played with Giulia’s foot.

“He doesn’t have too, he’s so adorable, his cuteness will melt the person who tries to bring me harm away.” Giulia said, picking the small dog up. “Isn’t that right?” She asked receiving a very wet kiss from the dog.

“Honestly, Tessa, don’t worry. I’m perfectly safe.” She said when her maid still had not left her chambers. Tessa sighed, taking that as a cue to leave.

“I shall have Bartolo stand watch over your door tonight.” The maid said. Giulia shook her head, laughing softly to herself. When her maid got an idea into her head, there was no telling how far she would go with it.
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Alessandra de Sismondi

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter VI   Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:31 am

The clatter of broken glasses, Venetian, drunken, oaths and the smell of bad, human odor, with the drunken touch of vulgar men, finally drove Alessandra Vestia de Sismondi to a back alley street, where she stumbled up against a wall, to regain her balance. She glared at a small cut on her arm, right under her silk, teal sleeve. How dare they cut her like that! She was a Sismondi, it wasn’t her fault she had lost the money she apparently forgot at home to a liar and a cheat of a stupid man.

“Alessandra!!!” She could hear the man scream down the alley, and she shuddered. Yes, she would have to get that money tonight, before she went home. Otherwise, she might not live to make it home. Not that she herself would come to any harm. No, the man, what was his name? He would be the one to come to harm. She thought as she lightly touched a silver knife she kept safely hidden in her boot.

Standing up, Alessandra swiftly came upon the lenders she was hoping to find in the alley. She swayed from too much wine as she came to the desk of such a lender and laid her hand down on it to steady herself. Eyeing a dark haired man, she slid her cloak hood off and cleared her throat. Waiting to be notice, least of all the drunken man followering her, heard her voice.

“We are closed for the evening.” Another man came forward, and joined the one standing by the bench. He lit an extra candle, and used it’s sputtering light to illuminate her face. “What is your business, and so late?”

With the flickering of the candle, playing images on the alley wall behind the man, Alessandra, blinked several times. Trying to keep her drunken mind from wandering. Her eyes, darting back to the man that she knew was standing in the entrance to the alley. Maybe she drank too much wine. She always drank too much wine.

“I need to borrow 5 ducats, because I drank too much wine, and gambled money I didn’t have with me. There is a man standing in front of the alley who may create some trouble for me, if I don’t give him the ducats.” She, manage to say.

The man studied her face for a moment, and looked at his companion at the desk. Both of them erupted in simultaneous laughter. “Forgive us, my lady, but we do not usually deal in such minute sums...particularly at this hour of night.” The man set the candle on the table, and moved closer to her. “What is your name?”

Considering for a moment, telling the man the name she normally gave to people when she didn’t want them to know her real name, Alessandra sighed. It would be better for her if she told him who she was. Perhaps it would help her gain his trust and thus the money she desperately needed.

“Alessandra Vestia de Sismondi.” She said without giving a curtsey. “My parents thought it proper that I should have two names.” Alessandra added the last bit for humor. The middle name was meant as an inside joke in the family. She wondered briefly if this man would understand the joke or not. “I assure you that I can pay you, even double the money you lend me.”


He turned to the man at the desk. “Leave us for a moment, Giuseppe. This deal requires some...privacy.” The other man nodded, and disappeared behind a curtained hallway. The dark-haired man turned to her again. “I know the name de Sismondi – you could easily repay such a trifling loan. But I wonder, why come here? Why not go to your generous and more than adequately wealthy father?

Alessandra gave a tiny sigh. The thought had occurred to her to go to her father. Or just go home and get the money. However, the man was surely to try and harm her, before Alessandra even got out of the alley for not having the money on her. Not to mention the fact that if her father knew where she was, no if her mother knew where she was… She could hear it now. Why did normal, working class people always think it was so easy for rich people, to get money from their parents when they wanted it?

“My father does not know where I am.” She said finally after several minutes of silence.” He would easily have this man killed for so much as laying a finger on me. However, this is my mistake, my stupidity, and I need to pay the consequences of getting drunk and gambling without having my purse with me. So, I came here as a result.”

“Ah. I see. Well...confidentiality comes at the price of additional interest, my lady,” he remarked slyly. “Not that you would have any trouble making up the difference. That gown cost many thousands more ducats than the sum you are trying to loan tonight.” He pulled a drawer on the desk, and took out a small, silver chest. He took out a leather purse, and counted out a few coins. “Fifty ducats, at twenty percent interest, brings us to a trifling matter of...sixty ducats, awaited at your next convenience.” He handed her the pouch.

Alessandra smiled sweetly. She knew he was being sly with her. Of course, he could tell her father after she gave him the small amount of the sixty ducats. She didn’t really care if her father knew where she was or not. She just didn’t want him to know right now. She looked at the dark haired man for a moment. “You are right of course. My dress costs far more than the 60 ducats plus the clothes you are wearing. Perhaps I should double the amount so you could buy nicer clothing for yourself.” She said with a smirk. Not that the man’s clothing was poorly made but she had to make her point didn’t she?

He laughed. “This doublet cost an average craftsman’s yearly wage! I know, because I fleeced him for it. Now, to conclude our business, will you be needing any assistance with your ‘friend’ waiting in the alley?”
Why did men always think they had to assistance women when they seemed to be in trouble? Alessandra wondered. She was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. Her thoughts moved down to her knife hidden safely away. “No, thank you. As difficult as it may seem to understand, I can take care of myself, but thank you for the offer.” Alessandra said.

He smiled, though there was a sardonic edge to it. “Very well, Donna Alessandra. It was a pleasure doing business with you. As it will be to watch you get pummeled into the plaster shortly.”

Alessandra sent him a glare, then turned and walked out of the building into the alley. She knelt down quietly, and slipped the knife she had hidden into her cloak sleeve. Hiding it there as she began to make her way out of the alley.

“Alessandra… We meet again.” Her friend said suddenly standing very close to her. She could smell his foul breath and feel the heat of it on her face. She staggered backwards slightly. “Ah you have the coins you promised.” He said shoving her up against the alley wall. She sighed. Of course she should have seen this coming. She had no time to pull out her knife as he reached for the coins she had in her hand.

The bag of coins dropped as the man was suddenly pulled backwards, and stumbled onto the cobbled street. “Pardon me, Signor, but our policy does not permit rough dealings within the immediate vicinity of the counting house.” Alessandra looked up to see the thug being held against the opposite wall, with a thin cord around his neck, held by the still-smiling clerk from the moneylenders. “Are we prepared to be civil?” The man made what could be considered a nod, given that he was close to being strangled to death. He was let go, and quickly made his way out of the alleyway, forgetting the pouch of coins. The man from the moneylender stooped to pick up the pouch of coins, and approached Alessandra, helping her to her feet. “A little less pride next time, perhaps?”

Alessandra slipped the knife out of her hand sleeve and mimicked the man who had just saved her life. Knowing full well that he was right, she couldn’t help it though. Pride was something the Sismondi had an abunce of. She wondered if she could beat him in a sword match on her terms. But decided against asking. “ Perhaps a little less wine as well.” She said with an annoyed sigh. She was so sure she could handle this. She pouted.

“Don’t look so put off, my lady,” said the man. “You’ve learned your lesson. Will you be needing this loan any more, or can I take my money back?”

“Thank you for lending me the money, but as you may well guess, I do not need it.” She said. “However, I shall make sure you are aptly rewarded for your services to me.” Alessandra added, then as if she just remembered he saved her left, added; “ And thank you. For saving my life.”


(Written with Durante)
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