31 - One Week

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April 22, 1478

Florence, Italy

The week after Vieri's death passed by quickly, jumbled up in the hours of celebration, recovery, and preparations. There was a thick blanket of frivolity about the city for those that could, although even those who were stuck in the make-shift hospital took part as they could. Yet, there was not all cheer: in the following days they lost three men to their injuries, and some would never fight again. It was a tough time, but the city and their brothers and sisters were there to keep them going, and the people were able to keep their cheer. There was plenty of time for peace for them, after all.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for four particular people. While others cheered, drank, ate, danced, sang, and had a fun time, Catherine, Ezio, Mario, and Claudia prepared. The latter worked to keep the city intact and ensure that the hospital was well supplied. Furthermore, some more repairs were coming that would finally finish off the brothel. The Barracks would be renovated soon, too, and shops and homes would have secondary improvements, which would increase their revenue. Already more people were visiting, and their profits were doing far better than before. It showed in the state of the city, and in how pleased Claudia was. She still always kept a sharp retort or slap on the wrist handy, though-just in case, and especially for the Commander's Captain.

Mario was busy ensuring the city was kept strong and sending some of his men to San Gimignano to help keep it safe and ensure the bodies of their men be treated well. Over the week news came every day by pigeon, and it seemed the area was calming down, but it would still be a long while before it was truly peaceful. It was also highly likely the Pazzi would return to reclaim it, remising their work. The older man mentioned it would probably take the end of the Pazzi for true peace there, but for now the family and their allies had retreated out of the city for their plans, allowing the Auditore and Monteriggioni to begin setting up a presence there. It was but small, but it could be much stronger and the land could become an even stronger ally, he was certain. First, though, the Pazzi and their allies would have to be taken care of.

For that, Catherine and Ezio's celebration ended early, and as soon as their bodies' aching lessened, they were training yet again. They could not afford rest while the enemy remained on the move. They didn't know when the Pazzi would do whatever it was they were after, so they recovered as quickly as they could and trained as hard as their bodies would allow. Their experience from the battle of San GimignanoI was impeccable and served as a good place to increase their efforts. They now knew what it was to really fight and kill men, and so they incorporated it as best as they could. Catherine was able to do so with an extra lightness-the death of Emilio had eased something within her, and her mind felt all the more clear. She had spoken of it to Mario-of how she felt no regret, and although he had told her to show respect for the dead as he had told his nephew, he did not blame her. He warned her not to become Emilio as well, however. She assured him there was no chance of that, but the notion remained: stay the better man-or rather woman.

It was one of many lessons they kept in mind as they trained, and although it wasn't enough time to really learn anything new, they did ensure their skills were kept warm and fresh. It also gave time to enhance their gear as best as the blacksmith could make it, and each were given sturdier leather armor for their journey, along with better pouches for their medicine-which the Doctor was happy to provide-and their coin. Dea, along with her new seamstress and helpers, were equally happy to mend, wash, and adjust their clothes as need be. Catherine's hood was attached proper, and it was fun playing around with it; pulling it off and on-much to Ezio's bemusement. The young man, meanwhile, was given a full-repair for his, the young man foolishly forgetting to do so the whole time he had trained. Dea worked magic, though, and his outfit was pristine by the time they were done and well before it was time to leave.

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