The Fabbro family is the most powerful family in the city of Parthenope and in the Campania region. Much that happens in The Crystal Crux tale is a direct result of decisions made by the people of this family.

Talento is the 2nd and youngest son of Gherardus and Bertina Fabbro, brother to Rugerius.

Bertina suffered a stroke bringing him into the world and he’s never known her in her right mind.

Talento was raised by wet nurses and handmaids. He never really looked at Lady Bee as his mother, and she never offered him any affection or consideration. She was preoccupied with disembodied spirits who whisper secrets in her ear and entertained her in manners and methods he didn’t want to consider or imagine.

Talento has never been inclined to violent outburst and rash decisions like Rugerius.

Talento kept his nose in books and embraced the art of stealth and patience, listening and learning, exploiting weaknesses in other people’s thoughts and purposes. He keeps a stable of agents at his disposal. They comb the streets as peddlers and barmaids, fish mongers and whores. They whisper secrets in his ear.

Talento knows Rugerius is the eldest and most beloved but still he has his eye on his father’s throne. He would never confront Gherardus or Rugerius outright, face to face, man to man, but behind the scenes, in shadows, he will take his shots.

When Rugerius was engaged to the Greek, Anthea Manikos, Talento predicted a miscarriage. Despite all the plans, he was sure his brother would screw it up, and he did, but Talento aided in his downfall.

When Anthea arrived in Parthenope, eager to meet her fiancé, Rugerius was nowhere to be found. Men searched every tavern in the city.
Talento knew where his brother was and did not intended to reveal his whereabouts.
Gherardus and Bergus wasted as much time as they could, leading Anthea and her father through the city as a slow, leisurely pace.
By the time they arrived in the palace, Gherardus was frantic and steaming.

Talento got his first look at Anthea, emerging from the shadows behind a magnificent statue of Janus, the two-faced god.

Where the fuck is he?” Gherardus whispered loudly, knowing the halls in the south wing amplified sound… “Have you anything to add, Bergus?”
As I told you earlier, my Lord. He’s whoring. It’s what he does when he’s bored. I don’t know where he is whoring or with whom he is whoring, but we are talking about Rugerius.“…. Bergus turned and leered at Anthea… “That sweet young thing has no idea the shit-storm coming her way… We can’t shield her from this truth much longer.”
Gherardus breathed mad through his nose before turning back to his son. “Keep looking, Talento. I’ll buy you as much time as I can.” ….
Talento licked his lips as though his father’s distress tasted good to him and he was hungry for more. “Why not take them up to Suadela. It’s discreet, remote and far from all the commotion in the rest of the palace. Our distinguished guests from Greece must be famished by now.
Blue Grotto (Chapter 7)

The thing was, one of Talento’s agents had discovered Rugerius in Suadela with two young women. He wasn’t sure when this information would be useful but he decided to use it now.

Gherardus took his time leading Anthea and her father, Nikitas, up to Suadela where they discovered Rugerius in a primal state, naked and intoxicated, fornicating with two young women. Rugerius proceeded to embarrass his father while assaulting Anthea and Nikitas.

When Gherardus finally left the hall, Talento wasn’t far off.

An odd sound reached his ears.
Still hunched over and perturbed, Gherardus glanced sideways down the hall. Talento was standing at the far end of the corridor, peering around a corner, biting into a fresh peach.
‘He wants to be seen,’ Gherardus thought.
Talento nodded toward his father and retreated with an arrogant grin.
Little fucker,” Gherardus whispered, shaking his head. “Son of a bitch knew where Rugerius was the whole time. I should have laid him out.
Blue Grotto (Chapter 9)

Talento had long been at odds with the giant magician Sinibaldus. He knew information was power but despite his ability to infiltrate great houses and guilds, Talento had yet to get an agent inside the black tents of Sin Circus. Sinibaldus was as much a mystery now as he was the day he arrived in Parthenope. In fact, just to send a message now and then, Sinibaldus killed an agent of Talento, some of his most skilled, and always from behind. Talento knew they were battling for the shadows, for the secrets, and he was losing.

Talento is instrumental in arranging the downfall of Pero and Capua. He deals directly with Bishop Anselm and assures the Bishop that the traitor and traitors in Capua will be dealt with. There is a battle for the throne of the Emperor and Pero has chosen the wrong side. Pero also recently broke Rugerius’ jaw, which rather amused Talento.

As reward for networking the conspiracy, Talento assumes the Provost position, a title formerly held by Guidus Salvatore. Guidus is chosen to carry the ill-fated message to Pero in Capua. Guidus, it is believed, is killed during the siege. He knew a lot of secrets, all the banks and charters, treaties and contracts. Dealing with banks and guilds, as well as the courts, will be Talento’s job now.

Talento, however, is not up to the task. He doesn’t care to get to know the facts of cases and give the common people even the illusion of justice. His first day serving on the High Seat at the Rail of the Petitioner is a shambles. Gherardus is reminded then at how disgusted he is by Talento. As Lord Commander, he calls an end to the court for the day and orders the court members into a backroom.

Gherardus Fabbro stormed across the black marble floor, balled up his fist, and did precisely what he dreamed of doing in open council. He leveled his son with one powerful blow.
Talento collapsed… he cried and he wailed as if he had been stabbed.
Shut the fuck up,” Gherardus commanded, standing over his son… his fist cocked and ready to fire again.
Cold Knight (Chapter 8)

Talento stews and bleeds, knowing he has the title but not the power. His father, the Lord Commander, can still silence and embarrass him. Talento has much to consider before he acts again.

Allen M Werner is the author of the epic fantasy series The Crystal Crux

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