Carlo di Chimici is dissatisfied with his life in Giglia, particularly because his father and older brother, Fabrizio, have secured the family's perfume distillery business and Fabrizio has styled himself the Duke of Giglia. When business takes him to Fortezza, Carlo contemplates making the city his own just when he receives word that his father has passed away.
Using his inheritance, Carlo decides to try his luck in Fortezza, where its Signoria becomes sympathetic towards Carlo's ideas to finance the means to protect and fortify the city. Along with recruiting soldiers for a permanent standing army, Carlo plans the building of the Rocca di Chimici, a massive castle where his family eventually calls their new home. Carlo gains influence and effectively becomes Fortezza's leader when he is elected Signore of the Signoria.
Upon the completion of the Rocca, the Signoria agrees to a new project to build a series of walls to surround the city and Carlo commissions the engineer Matrielli for the job. Before the project begins, Carlo is visited by a mysterious man who warns him that the walls will not hold unless a man sacrificed to its foundations. Carlo is unsettled by the warning and reluctantly decides to sacrifice a condemned murderer.
However, the idea of sacrificing a man haunts Carlo until a Manoush woman offers a solution. On the day that the foundations for the walls are to be laid, the condemned man's shadow is measured with a rope. The rope, representing the man's shadow, is thrown and buried in the grounds of the foundation. The man is willingly exiled from Fortezza for the rest of his life, doomed to die within forty days.
As Carlo leaves the site, he notices the condemned man has been joined by a mysterious figure. But with his burden lifted, Carlo thanks the Manoush woman and Matrielli and invites them to a meal to celebrate.
- Carlo di Chimici - The second son of Alfonso di Chimici, a wealthy perfume maker and banker. He feels restless and out of place in Giglia, where his older brother Fabrizio had recently styled himself as the city-state's duke and is most likely in line to become head of the family. As a man who inclined toward action, Carlo seeks to build his fortunes in Fortezza.
- Eleanora - Carlo's wife, the mother of his two surviving children, Jacopo and Beatrice. Though she prefers to live in the more elegant Giglia, she supports her husband's endeavours to make a name for himself in Fortezza.
- Mariano Matrielli - A temperamental, though excellent, painter and sculptor whose skills allow him to be recognized in the emerging definition of an engineer. He is hired by Carlo to design and build the walls of Fortezza.
- Hooded Man - An unnamed man who warns Carlo that the walls of Fortezza cannot be built successfully without sacrificing a man's life out of responsibility to the Rassenan ancestors, whose ancient city are the foundations of modern Fortezza.
- Murderer - An unnamed man who murdered his wife in a jealous rage. He is condemned to be executed and deeply penitent of his crime. Carlo considers using him as the sacrifice for Fortezza's walls, but is deeply troubled by the cruelty of the sacrifice.
- Daria Vivoide - A leader of a group of Manoush, a tall woman with long dark hair streaked silver. She offers a solution to Carlo's dilemma of appeasing the old gods of Fortezza, one that is considerably less cruel than what was originally intended.
Notes and ReferencesEdit
- ↑ The son of the di Chimici progenitor Alfonso di Chimici and the younger brother of Fabrizio I of Giglia, not the deceased younger brother of Fabrizio II of Giglia
- ↑ Under the Walls is the most recent short story
- ↑ Under the Walls is only online, it has never been published, so it does not have an ISBN
- ↑ stravaganza.co.uk
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A Talian Tale · A Sting in the Tail · An Impossible Task · Sugar Fox · The Fourth Wise Man · Under the Walls