The Barber of Monty Crisco

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By Erik Mortis
Leander Montreano was not a noble man, nor was he a rich man. He was not the son of a noble, nor the heir to royal or extraordinary blood. He was neither powerful, nor influential. What Leander was however, was a barber. He was the son of a barber. Who's father had been a barber, and his father before him. Generation after generation of barbers was the great distinction that marked his family.

What was more, Leander was fine with this fact. He had no lust for power, for the trappings of nobility, or the inevitable burden that came with blue blood. He was happy with his little shop in the city of Cerce, the heart of the County of Monty Crisco. He was happy sweeping his floors after a honest days work, chatting with his customers, or training new apprentices who would some day go on to be great barbers themselves.

A simple life for a simple man, this was all he ever desired; well, almost all. Yet, Leander had no complaints with his job, it put food on his table, and provided for his wife. Ah, his wife. The most lovely and radiate woman to whom he had been happily wed all these long years.

It was on a hot day such as this that they first met, a balmy summer day in a park near the city's heart. In those days it was his custom to walk among the reeds that grew along the edge of the lake, watching the ducks and other water fowl watching him trudge noisily through the stalks. And it was in those reeds that they encountered each other. She was in a slight opening, sitting on a fallen tree log, with an easel before her, painting the island in the middle of the lake. So enraptured in her arts was she, that she didn't even notice that he had stumbled upon her. Didn't even notice for the minutes he stood there, admiring her work.

That was decades ago, when they were both young, full of life. She still painted, even now. Though her eyes were starting to fail, and his grip slightly shaky. And he still would sit watching her paint when they went to the park together, as in love as in the days that they courted. Still enjoyed the silent and simple joy of each others company. Still enjoyed nights of gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, passion in their bed chamber.

The joyous life of a simple barber; free from the cares of the world. But one ache filled Leander's soul, one ever present emptiness which crept in on him when he let his mind wander. Leander Montreano, son of Handranu Montreano, for all his many possessions, and fulfilled desires lacked one thing. And it was, as he lay collapsed on the floor of his shop, his two apprentices rushing to his side, feeling his life slip out of his worn and aged body, that Leander realized he had failed in the only thing that had ever truly mattered to him. Leander had no son. Leander, Barber of Monty Crisco, was the last of his line; last of his name.

See Also: Monty Crisco