The opening of my WIP “Turn Toward the Sun” set in 18th century Siena. The Italian word for sunflower is “girasole,” literally, turns toward the sun. 🙂
After passing through the Camollia gate and the steep walk up Via Fonte Branda under a brash sun, Count Salvesto Masello unwrapped the soggy linen cravat from around his neck and blotted his face with it. The clandestine nature of his business forced Guelfetto to work out of a wine cellar hidden deep in the contrada of the Goose. The cool, damp air of the wine cellar washed over Salvesto’s heated skin as he removed his waistcoat and tricorn hat and hung them on a peg. His pulse beat hard in his neck, and sweat crawled through his clothes as he dropped himself to a stool.
The ugly servant thumped a jug of wine and a cracked terra cotta cup down beside the spluttering lamp on the rickety little table. He slapped down a plate of bread and cheese, his mouth curled in a perpetual grimace.
“Grazie.” Salvesto thought back a moment. “Anselmo.”
Surprise flickered in the servant’s dull eyes, and he gave a deferential nod, followed by a slight bob of a bow before leaving. Salvesto, alone with the damp and the scent of fermented grapes in ancient wooden barrels, poured the wine and tasted it gingerly, pleased to find a well-aged red as good as any from the old Medici vineyards. Guelfetto fattening him up before the kill, perhaps. Salvesto had retained a few casks in his own dwindling wine cellar and wondered when he could bear to part with them. The time was coming when the last of his most cherished belongings and mementoes of his family’s former glory would make this journey to Guelfetto the pawnbroker, pimp, and former bandit.
I imagine because of the HAHAT blog hop on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is why this particular hop is a little thin this week. It’s for a good cause, though. I mistakenly signed up for both, so two posts are going to have to share the day. I apologize if this bugs anyone.