Monday, May 20, 2013

The Crooked Kindness- Part 2

Lanfranco Covi was a man three armspans in height, with a head of raven black hair. His father, Salvi was a dockworker in Goshen and by the gods, Lanfranco was going to be raised as one too. The only education Lanfranco received was on the river docks, from passing merchant barges and paddle boats or from the noticably opinionated recollections of his fellow guild members of the Otterman River Guild. The docks taught him how to do basic numbers, basic business reading, how to communicate a few words of the Tribes and Orcish, and certain forms of less than savory articulation.

By the time he'd seen twenty two summers, sweating his ass off on the docks, Lanfranco became one of the luckiest bastards of the guild. His ambition and work ethic got him promoted to dock overseer, but that was one only part of the good fortune. Lanfranco's dock master sent him and his team upriver to dislodge a cog stranded on the banks. One of the passengers on the cog was a green eyed Amsernan lass, with a voice that even charmed her aloof elven passengers. A voice from the heavens, said Akab (one of Lanfranco's workmates), that would even give cherubim pause. Her hair was brown, with golden strands from her love of the sun. She helped pull the cog from the mud along with Lanfranco's crew. Lanfranco, true to his Jilipothan heritage, charmed the woman's name from her lips; Meridiana, eldest daughter of a general goods merchant.

Meridiana was a young woman of 19 when she met Lanfranco. Like her siblings, Meridiana was privately schooled with as many tutors as her father could afford. Meridiana wasn't content to be her father's dandizette on his estate in the Stonedale province. She had the fire for adventure and knowledge, always begging her father to allow her passage on his many forays down the Aisne River. Eventually her father relented and she was promoted to 'attache' status. Meridiana fell under Lanfranco's sway that fateful day. Before she accepted Lanfranco's proposal she visited a old seeress as was the tradition. The seeress gently grabbed her hands, looked into her eyes and said, 'My poor dear, there is a saying, 'Love will go where it is sent, even if it's up a pig's asshole.'” Meridiana did not heed the kindly old woman's advice. She married Lanfranco on the banks of the Cefron River the next spring, on the very spot where the cog that took her to him ran aground.

As with most marriages, the early years were blissful. The Covis moved to the Spire District of Goshen into a two floor apartment. Meridiana was able to educate Lanfranco with her knowledge of the Bright Empire and folklore. She encouraged him learn to read literature besides inventories and shipping ledgers. She would sing and submit to impromptu performances for their neighbors and some of the dockers at Lanfranco's employment. Lanfranco even toned down his nights of late drinking with his guildsmen. But it didn't last. Eventually Lanfranco insisted on continuing his nightly debaucheries. Meridiana was often alone many nights of the week. She would book passage on a river cog back upriver to where the Cefron met the Aisne, leaving Lanfranco for days. Things continued on a descending spiral until Meridiana found out she was with child.

In their third year of their marriage, Lanfranco and Meridiana Covi had a baby boy. Young Arrigo spared the union some more deterioration until his fifth year of age. At that time, the Senate passed the Universal Education Program which created public education for children throughout Anfekor from the ages of five to seventeen. This was unheard of in many lands. Lanfranco didn't like it, as his plan was to raise Arrigo as another docker in the Covi tradition. Meridiana loved the idea of little Arrigo receiving education outside of the expensive approach of her father's (and the upper classes) methods. This conflict was just one crack in the illusory mirror of the Covi marriage. Arrigo was blessedly unaware of this, but he had trials of his own to contend with. For many youth, some of the most heart-wrenching trials in their path to the loss of innocence; trials of social acceptance, of peer pressure, of the difficult passage to learn morality, or a lack thereof.

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