CHARACTER PROFILE : Guidus Salvatore

Obsessed with coin, Provost Guidus Salvatore had been derogatorily branded ‘Fiscus’, meaning ‘moneybag’, by his invidious rivals. In time, the fifty-year-old came to regard the slight as a badge of honor. Fiscus was meticulous statesman with the power of the purse… Gherardus Fabbro’s right hand man, serving the Lord of Parthenope and Campania for eight consecutive seaons… the gatekeeper of trade… an eminent person.
And yet today the eminent man felt slighted. The Provost was a common errand boy…
Betrayal – Chapter 24

Guidus knew where all the bodies were buried, where the Fabbro family kept all its finances, what trades and alliances had been made with guilds and courts all over Europe. He knew his overseers were cruel and crooked but he had a long, successful history with them and never thought they would betray him.

But the Fabbro family are a devious lot. In their quest to destroy Pero de Alava and uproot enemies of the Court and the Church in Campania, Guidus became a pawn in a much larger game.

When he was sent to Capua at the beginning of the tale to deliver an important message to Pero de Alava, he had no idea a siege of the keep was coming and he was expected to die with the inhabitants there.

It didn’t take long for Francis and Ven of Black Leaves to find trouble. At the top of the only stairs leading into this part of the tower… four iron-clad, heavy-breathing invaders stepped up on the landing, the blood of their last victims still dripping from their drawn swords.
Francis and Ven engaged them at once, pressing them down the hall, opposite the way they had come. The fracas drove them clear beyond the stairwell and around the next corner near to the door where their distinguished guest, Guidus Salvatore, had been housed.
Fiscus emerged from his apartment swinging a surprisingly hale blade. He joined ranks beside Francis and Ven, and together the three men dispatched the four.
Betrayal – Chapter 34

They had no idea who was attacking the keep at Capua until they went down the stairs and stopped at the next landing, watching as Rugerius Fabbro, the Castellan of Parthenope, forced his way into Lady Anthea Manikos’ apartment.

With too many to fight and having this knowledge, they retreated back upstairs only to find that some of the mercenaries had made it up there already. Francis lost his family. Everyone else was dead, Ven volunteering to stay behind and block the curved stairwell and give them time to escape.

Francis tied off one end of the rope to a section of a wall in the privy and Guidus tossed the other end down a wide urinal opening. Fiscus climbed down into the putrid stinking portal…
Like the trifling waste that usually fell down from these pipes, Francis and Guidus dumped themselves down harmlessly into the sludge river that encircled the castle…
They calmly, despondently, toiled through the brown moat, pushed apart the reeds and willows on the western shore, and disappeared in the tree line.
Betrayal – Chapter 34

We learn at the beginning of book two, Blue Grotto, that Francis and Guidus walked all night, going west, waiting for some patrol to find them and kill them. But a patrol never came for as Francis had predicted, the attackers were self-confident and brazen and didn’t believe anyone could escape them. There were no patrols.

Resourceful, the two men both had coin on them. They made it to a countrified Inn called the Happy Spider.

Guidus Salvatore sat with his back propped against the wall, legs stretched out comfortably across the bed, hands busy whittling a piece of basswood into a bird figure. The former Provost of Parthenope didn’t have many recreational pursuits but he had learned at an early age how to whittle.
Blue Grotto – Chapter 32

We find that Guidus learned this skill from Umberto, a stableman at his parent’s home in Florence.

If you harry, the knife will glance and catch your fingers.” Umberto showed Guidus some old scars. “Experience, lad. You will suffer a few of these, guaranteed. But without these, without scars and experience, you’ll never be the master of anything. Suffering the work is what makes you a man.”
Blue Grotto – Chapter 32

Francis and Guidus had no direction until Francis overheard a conversation between two drunk patrons of the Inn. They said the English ship, the War Queen, was still docked in Mondragone.

What’s so special about the War Queen?” Asked the second.
The first coughed. “Everyone knows the War Queen is the Rose’s ship. It’s famous. And the Rose is a friend of the Lord of Capua… He got word of the burning at Capua… He’s pissed and asking questions, taking on recruits… Seems the Rose ain’t fit to leave these shores until he finds out what really happened.
Blue Grotto – Chapter 32

Francis and Guidus set out at once for Mondragone.

The Rose is Merle Gilmore, Francis’ former squire, grown and a knight.

In book three, Cold Knight, Francis is reunited with Merle and Guidus has a decision to make as these men of war prepare to march back to Capua and retake it.

I’ve spent my entire life planning my next move. Look where it has got me… When we were lost in the woods the first night… I thought you would… leave me for the wolves. But you didn’t… You came back, Francis… I never felt more connected with another person in my life. You made me feel safe, made me feel like I wouldn’t die alone… I never knew what chivalry really was until you came back for me. Other men only speak of such things. You, Francis Whitehall, are those things… I can’t speak for any other man here, but I, Guidus Salvatore… believe in the Griffin and his gut feeling. I will follow him back to Capua. My sword, for what it’s worth, is yours, my Lord.”
Cold Knight – Chapter 23

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

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