The Assassins' Archives, Misc. Correspondence, 1480-1490, Document 19:

Dear Ezio;

You need not think, dear brother, that just because you've been off with Uncle beheading bandit chiefs that we haven't been busy here, because we have. Ginevra finished compiling her father's manuscript for the printers, and since it didn't make sense to send the only copy, we (that is, Mother, Ginevra, and I) spent two weeks copying it. Twice. One copy was for Lorenzo and one was for the printer. Lorenzo says it is the foremost book of the modern world, and more importantly, that the first copies should be ready by Christmas. He says he will send a copy to everyone he knows.

But that isn't the big news, and this news is very big. We're going to have a new cousin! It's true. Both the midwife and the dottore have confirmed it; Ginevra is expecting a baby. They say it will arrive in May.

You cannot imagine the excitement this has caused in Monteriggioni. Everyone is very glad, of course, but they all have some advice on what she should do to ensure that she has a healthy boy. If Ginevra isn't there, then they tell me so I can pass it along to her. If it keeps up like this for the next six months, I will go mad! I don't even know why they're telling me. Aren't I a maiden of tender years and delicate sensibilities?

I can hear you saying 'You?' and laughing your head off even as I write those words, so I send you a big punch in the stomach in return. Uncle is, of course, the proudest father-to-be in the world, despite the jokes his men make about this late-in-life child, but that is because they are actually very proud of him too. I guess that as their leader, his prowess, military or otherwise, reflects on them, and I can't believe I just wrote that! Ugh!

I think the only way Mother could be happier about the baby is if it were her own grandchild and not her niece or nephew. With Mother being so much older than Ginevra, it really is more like she is there in place of Ginevra's own mother. Anyhow, it turns out that our old cradle was the family cradle from the villa, and it's probably kindling now like the rest of the furniture from the townhouse. Mother said the worms had eaten it almost to pieces and we would need a new one anyway, so she is having the local carpenter make a new one. As a surprise for Ginevra, she plans to have it sent to Firenze so that painter fellow Ghirlandaio can decorate it. Speaking of surprises from Firenze, when Donna Clarice heard that Ginevra was expecting, she sent her a lovely medallion of St. Margaret set with a fine emerald, to protect her and her baby.

For my part, I'm going through all the old baby clothes and toys to see what's still good and what will have to be replaced, which is mostly everything since it's all more than fifty years old. The tailor has most of what we'll need, but since you're in Venezia, do you think you could hunt down a piece of really fine lace for the christening gown? I will pay you back, of course.

Now Uncle, who is sitting across the room, wants me to tell you ( I don't know why he can't pick up a pen and write to you himself instead of making me do it) that he has not forgotten the person who made his present happiness possible by introducing him to Ginevra, which is to say, you. He has rewritten his will to reflect his changed circumstances, and in it he makes provision for you, our mother and me.

You will be affected most by this change, so he is leaving to you the estate he is buying not far from here. It has extensive plantings of olive trees and vines, but the present owner is an imbecile of a gentleman farmer who doesn't know that olives prefer lean soil to rich, and so he kept on fertilizing and fertilizing until the trees got sickly, so Uncle can now pick it up at a bargain. It will be a few years of careful husbandry before it's yielding well again, but the land also has a castello and a village, so when you marry, you will have a home of your own. And now I refuse to write another word from Uncle Mario!

Concerning town business, I think it would be profitable if we could bring a coppersmith into the town as you did the tailor and the art merchant, one who also works in brass and bronze, by preference. Ginevra bought some distillery equipment in Firenze with copper tubing coils but the business is expanding so rapidly that we'll need more and if something breaks it could be days or weeks until we could get it repaired. Our blacksmith won't handle copper, he says it's too soft. So if you come across someone who might do, keep our needs in mind.

To close this letter, I will write a few lines about Caterina, who asked to be remembered to you as she left. I don't know if you love her or not, and it's none of my business either way. If you have thoughts of marrying her, well, Uncle and Mother both have their reasons for thinking it a bad match. If that is how your thoughts are turning, Ezio, I must tell you that while I like Caterina, I wouldn't want to live with her permanently. She's kind of exhausting. I don't think she would want to live with us permanently either. I think she finds us just as exhausting, only in a different way. If she is the lady of your heart, though, I will gladly help prepare the castello on the lands Uncle is buying so you and she can be comfortable there.

Having written all of that in a way my old composition teacher would have approved of, now I want to say this: Ezio, if you bring Caterina home to live among us at Monteriggioni as your wife, I will set fire to the villa. I mean it, too.

Your loving sister,

Claudia

PS: Remember, a large piece of fine lace, and a coppersmith.

PPS: I really do mean it. I will burn the villa down.

PPPS: No, I'm not going to explain why.


A/N: I meant this to be a chapter from Ginevra's POV dealing with her pregnancy and going right to the birth, but somehow it seemed rushed, so I fooled around a bit and this letter happened. Thanks, Noor! I like to think I nailed that scene just about right.