Blades - La Serenissima
Constantino il Barbaro
Burly young Turk
A few years ago, a young man fled Constantinople and arrived in Venice. He was tall, burly, and content to be called Constantino. He was also willing to perform arduous physical labor for nothing more than room and board, so he found work as a stonemason’s apprentice.
It wasn’t long before Constantino found himself facing familiar entanglements. Other young men would hurl harsh words, and he, without words to defend himself, would respond as best he could with the tools he had. Someone would fall, and he would flee, pursued by a hue and cry.
And then, a kindness: Someone recognized his gifts and helped him put them to productive use. He called her Mercy, and she taught him to speak the local tongue, resist the local swagger, and earn the local coin. She also taught him to see underneath—and to move underneath as well, although he never came close to her mastery of that. She could swim through a bustling street without causing any ripples or leaving any impressions. He managed to learn to do so without causing any scuffles or leaving any bruises.
One morning, after Mercy handed Constantino his share of their take and vanished, Constantino was weary enough from the night’s work that he hailed a gondola. The gondolier, a young man named Gian, remarked upon the deep cut across Constantino’s forearm and nodded politely when Constantino explained that it had been a dining mishap. But as they reached their destination, Gian had said softly to Constantino, “You might consider visiting La Gattara and asking for Esme.”
And now Constantino finds himself with a small handful of trusted friends who call themselves the Magari. They move things, which Constantino has always found easy; they help people, which Constantino has sometimes found difficult; and they are just beginning to establish themselves, which Constantino finds invigorating.