05 - Name of the Game

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July 9, 1476

Florence, Italy

All her life Catherine had disliked dresses. They just weren't her thing. She didn't even like skirts. They always felt weird and she never liked not having something covering her legs and keeping them from rubbing together. Maybe it was because she did so many different sports and so needed lots of pants and under-armor, or that children generally didn't wear dresses to public school where she was from. Whatever the case or however it happened or for whatever reason her natural mindset was to trend towards pants and shirts, she didn't like wearing the feminine garb.

She especially didn't like Renaissance dresses, though.

One of the only things she could really give the clothing was that it didn't have a corset, which meant she wasn't suffocating. It was still a little tight, but not uncomfortable—just more than she was used to. Then again, dresses were supposed to fit tighter to show off your form, and the Renaissance was not a stranger to it. On the other hand, the dress had some amazing colors and designs to it, which was pretty much the only other thing she could say nicely about it. She might even reluctantly admit it—couldn't have anyone thinking she did like it—that she though the designs were wonderful, so there was that.

Even so, she sorely wished she was in pants and a tunic.

Unfortunately for Catherine, after almost four days of working with Ezio and Federico, it was finally time to work with Maria Auditore, the terrifyingly beautiful matriarch of the family. That beauty was all too apparent in her red gown with red-leaf designs, how her obsidian hair was held with golden lace, and especially in the way she sat so perfectly; back straight, head raised high. However, it was also her nobility that gave the sense of terror. By no means did she show a snarl or even a frown—in fact, her lips were set in a pleasant smile and her eyes showed no hostility, but the sense of it was there in the air. It was like a smog that threatened to suffocate Catherine when she got too paranoid about it. The woman's gaze was terribly foreboding, too, and the redhead just wished the lady would ask what she wanted or do whatever she wanted and get over it.

At the very least, she wished Maria would do something to change the monotony that had settled in for the past hour or so. As soon as she'd woken up, the woman was there and waiting, telling her to come down when she was dressed, and it was pretty obvious which clothes were intended. After that, it was a breakfast alone together—the others were out or busy apparently—where the woman gave her closer instructions on proper eating etiquette. Again, it seemed impossible to Catherine, but Maria looked pleased at the end. Maybe. Regardless, she moved the redhead to a room she hadn't been before, but similar to the main parlor. This one appeared more suited to Maria and no servants came in and out, so she suspected it might be a private room for the older woman. Whatever the case, it was there that she set them down and had her read through various books; no doubt to test her education without really asking.

'Now that I think about it,' she hummed, looking at the book before her. As she had realized when first coming here, she understood Italian somehow. It should have been impossible being she'd never learned Italian besides whatever her grandmother had picked up during her stay there and used whenever she could, which was generally one or two words. Not to mention this was old Italian, or she assumed the language had changed in the last few hundred years like English had, so she should have had even less chance of comprehending it. Yet, here she was, reading it like it was perfect, modern American English. The letters and words hadn't changed at all, but it just made sense. Like it was an instant translation, and apparently she hadn't been wrong so far.

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