October 30th, 1506
Reading your previous response got me interested about you and Federico's temporary alcoholic probation. What did you two do? I bet it's an interesting story. I'd really like to hear it."
The story is a lot less complicated than I may have represented it, though it is quite embarrassing. You may have noted I was not interested in discussing it earlier. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised my father only imposed one prohibition on me. Looking back, I possessed an incredible amount of freedoms I took for granted.
let me think. Perhaps June 1473. In honor of my fourteenth birthday, Federico took me on an outing.
Now, I was quite an active teenager (ask the women of Firenze). But whenever I was with him, Federico tended to act
reserved. We never did anything particularly exciting until after that summer evening thirty-three years ago.
I remember, the night started out like any other. Since the hours of daylight had expanded, Federico and I had taken to relaxing outdoors during the later hours, at some annoyance to my mother. I complained to Federico about how he always seemed to hide his private life from me.
He looked at me strangely and said something like, "You are not old enough to handle my private life, baby brother."
I assured him that fourteen was plenty old. As it was June, I hardly counted myself as a thirteen-year-old still. And then he smiled at me and told me that since I was such a grownup, he would bring me with him tonight.
As we walked, Federico informed me that a few of Father's associates worked at the establishment we were going to. I remember being disappointed. Most of Father's co-workers were round, beady-eyed men, far more interested in my studies than me as a person. I never liked any of them, and when my family was destroyed they abandoned us.
Finally we approached the place. Federico treated it like some grand palace, but it was rather seedy looking to me. The building was clearly old, and not well built. Once inside, my older brother led me to a booth and we took our seats. The interior was filled with similar booths, with a long counter in the center.
"Federico, is this a tavern?" I asked.
"No, Ezio," He answered me, but before he could explain his face brightened and he said, "Ah, here she comes now!"
And that was when a beautiful girl sauntered over to our table, grinning at my brother, who grinned back. I don't particularly remember what she looked like, as most of my memories of that night are distorted and warped. But she was very beautiful, and Federico knew it.
"Auditore," She spoke to him as though I were not there. She shook her head. "I thought you were banned from this place last week!"
I frowned at Federico, but he only laughed.
"True, but I didn't come for myself."
To this day, I do not understand what he meant by that.
"Who's this?" The gorgeous woman tilted her head at me, and I lost my ability to introduce myself. Federico took the honor of revealing my name, but I felt ashamed. There I had been trying so hard to prove that I was a man, and I couldn't even find myself exchanging pleasantries.
"I'm sorry, Ezio," She told me, "But we do not allow children at this establishment."
"I am no child!" I protested deeply.
"Prove it, baby brother," Federico smiled and folded his arms on the table, "Fiorella, get little Ezio a bottle of Rose please."
While Fiorella whisked herself away, I asked him what 'Rose' was. He explained that it was a type of wine.
Soon the girl returned and placed it on the table, along with a pair of tall glasses. Federico popped open the small container and emptied it between the two cups.
I was quite excited, but also nervous. Father did not usually allow me this much alcohol at once. Whenever we had wine at home, which was often, my father would give me small amounts. He let Federico take what he pleased, but I sensed he was watching him as well. This was the first time I had ever been given my own glass of wine.
"Drink up, Ezio."
Rose was not a bad wine. It was fruity and had a tangy aftertaste, which burned my throat after I swallowed. But I managed to gulp it down and smirk victoriously at my brother, who laughed.
"That's good, tartaruga. Let's see you down another glass."
And so Fiorella brought another bottle of Rose, and Federico and I drank that one as well. By that time I was beginning to feel tipsy, but I remember loving it. At first, Rose was too sweet, but then it began to melt against my tongue. Each swallow felt as though I were drinking nectar straight from the vine, and it was entirely invigorating.
Finally, the next bottle was finished as well.
"I think Ezio has more than proven himself," Federico told Fiorella, "Why don't we bring out something a bit stronger, eh?"
The next bottle procured was much smaller, and its label read: "Ram's Horn."
"I don't do this for just everyone, Auditore," She said, "If anything happens to the kid I'm telling your father exactly where you were when it took place."
The glass given me was tiny. At first I felt cheated, as though I were not old enough to be given a standard glass, but Federico explained that each wine had its own serving size, and this was the one recommended for Ram's Horn.
They gave me a miniscule amount, and I quickly drank it, hoping it would be more Rose.
And that is where my memories of that night end.
When I woke it was with a severe headache. I was in my own bed, back home, and I could not for the life of me remember what had transpired. Weakly, I called out for Federico.
It was my mother who approached. And she did not seem happy.
"Ezio Auditore da Firenze," Every single word was like a blow to my skull, "What in heaven's name were you thinking?!"
"Mother," I moaned, "What happened? Where's Federico?"
"Your brother," When my mother became furious, she liked to accentuate random words in her sentences, "Is out slaving away at your father's bank. As he should be, for what he's done to you!"
"What happened?" I asked again.
"Ezio," She shook her head, "Do you know what day it is?"
"Martedi?" I answered tentatively.
"It's Mercoledi, Ezio."
I remember being quite surprised to find that I had slept through an entire day. My immediate thought was that I'd told my friend Vito that I would visit him the next morning, and I hadn't.
"Oh." I replied.
"'Oh'," My mother mocked, hands on her hips, "'Oh', he says." It was then that my father appeared on the scene.
"Has he awakened?" He asked my mother in the doorframe, then paused to look at me.
My mother turned to him, "This is your child. There is no way on terra that he could've descended from anyone else."
And then my father looked proud.
But then my mother gave him a certain look that I cannot describe, because all the shouting had caused my head to stimulate a pounding sensation that made the room spin. I laid back down and pulled the thin summer quilt above my head.
"Ezio," My father drew near, "I heard you danced on a table Lunedi evening."
It was then I began to consider suicide.
"You also apparently tried to mate with a cat."
I do not care to list the other things I may or may not have done that night. In the end, Federico and I were forbidden to touch any alcohol for the rest of that year.
I hope my explanation has satisfied you, Jacob. Because even as a grown man, when I relive this story, I am possessed with the urge to drive my hidden blade down my throat.