Tancred rounded the chair and found his wife sitting on the high back throne; her head slumped to the left, the ruffled feathers of an arrow shaft buried deep in her chest… fresh blood oozing down her chest, staining his favorite shirt. Tancred started to shake. He couldn’t utter a word or lift his hands to touch her. He felt dizzy and lightheaded. A curious tightness burned deep in his chest. The pain continued to metabolize until it radiated throughout his limbs, pounding feverishly inside his brain. Within seconds the sting in his chest overwhelmed his whole body, first the left side and then the right side. Tancred’s old heart burst. He fell down dead at his wife’s feet.
Betrayal – Chapter 1

My last profile was for the character Meliore Fabbro, Tancred’s wife.

Meliore Fabbro

Tancred wasn’t expecting to find his wife in his study that night. Their sons, Avenel, Gherardus and Turstin, had arranged for her a holiday in Melfi. She wasn’t supposed to have returned yet. He expected to find the room empty, a quiet place to get away from his responsibilities for a while.

Tancred Fabbro was the Lord of Parthenope, the Grand Duke of Campania, an Italian kingdom situated north of the Bay of Naples on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Betrayal – Chapter 1

Shocked by his wife’s death, Tancred didn’t have time to realize that arrow was meant for him.

You were there,” Gherardus scolded. “You saw what I saw. The room was dark. We saw someone stirring around down here. We both assumed it was Tancred… When the moon finally lit up the study and Pa was sitting here in his chair, in his clean black shirt, I took the shot. How the fuck was I to know it was Ma. She was supposed to be in Melfi.
Betrayal – Chapter 2

Herophile interrupted. “It does not matter for it all begins now. Right here, right now, with a man coming into focus. A powerful ruler. Tancred Fabbro.
Tancred Fabbro? Is he a hero?” Clio wanted to know.
No,”Alcy said, shaking her head, her crown nearly falling from her golden locks. “Tancred’s too vain to be a hero. His mind is on coin. If it weren’t for his wife, Meliore, he’d have lost his throne long ago. It is she that holds it all together.
Clio smiled big enough for all to see. “Meliore? She’s so beautiful, her soul and all. I like her.”
Cold Knight – Chapter 18

“Tancred Fabbro’s mind is tainted,” Herophile snapped at Clio, her patience gone. “He’s been corrupted by the madness of his daughter-in-law, Bertina. That woman is toxic, her and her unholy shades… Tancred is lost, Clio. He is not the hero we seek. I see no light in him... Like all men, Tancred wishes to be free of his sins without redeeming himself, without restoring the days. Given the chance, he would do it all again… He lacks the passion for things to be different. He cannot change.
Men,” sneered Cassandra.
Mortals,” added Lethe.
To turn the wheel,” continued Herophile, “avarice must be fed… We need something so enticing, so alluring, his ambition to gain it will overwhelm everything else in his life. It will blind him to his home, his country and his family. He requires a prize worthy of a devil.
Which devil?” Asked Urania, licking her marble-grey lips… “There are so many devils.”
Cold Knight – Chapter 18

Tancred never knew it but he was a pawn in a mightier battle, prodded into action by the devices of the Coronatus Mulieres, Crowned Women, eight powerful crones working at the behest of the Almighty.

Tancred, superstitious and fearing the mad mind of his daughter-in-law, Lady Bee, agreed to execute six young girls who exploited, abused and neglected her while she lay for months in a coma. No one expected her to survive but a miraculous resurrection brought her back, but not of sound mind. She could see things, hear things – and knew things, things she should not. Everyone was scared of her and her knowledge.

After the Foolish Six were executed, Tancred felt a dark spirit descend over Parthenope as well as his heart. He couldn’t function and was haunted by dreams and visions. Herophile, the Sybil of Cumae, instructed him on how the curse could be lifted.

Meliore, blinded by love for her husband, refused to see his illness, his determination to obey the ramblings of the Sybil.

Tancred’s sons, however, saw what was happening. Gherardus, the second son and Castellan of Parthenope, initiated the plot to remove his father. He enlisted Avenel and coerced Turstin. Focused on his desire to lift the curse, Tancred never saw his sons coming for him.

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

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