Thessalonica in 1371 is a heartbeat from disaster. While Duke Doychin lies bedridden, poisoned by his cousin Uroš the Weak, the Ottoman Empire is reaching closer, the Venetians plot to divide and conquer, and the city mob is rioting. Into this impasse steps a midget less than four feet tall, the emotionally controversial 24 year-old court jester who has an instinctive ability to see into events and into people, whose face beams sunlight amid the shadows of age – Pierra. She is adamant to defeat the flaw of her fate and save the duchy for her master.

 

There is no shortage of bastards in the late fourteenth century, yet Doychin stands out among them. Even as he breaths heavily like the minotaur abandoned in a labyrinth of his immobility, his portentous face shows the energy and brutality of someone born to get things done his way and has no time to be ecumenical about it. Pierra is resolute to see the duke walk again, she sacrifices her virginity in order to stimulate his spine out of stupor. Saturating herself in the atmosphere of their nightly routine, she falls in love with Doychin. It soon becomes clear that Pierra’s weakness for romance is poorly balanced by an obvious truth: albeit sophisticated, generous, and highly introspective, Doychin is essentially a ruthless, selfish male oblivious to her flaming passion. Back on his feet, he is unmoved at the sight of Pierra pushing her tiny physique into exhaustion while pleasing his growing lust. She cannot endure any longer and gives Doychin an ultimatum: either he will stay away from her or she will poison herself. Addicted to her body, Doychin marries Pierra, fakes his emotions so wholeheartedly that they gradually turn true, and he mirrors her passion with his own. A changed man, he revives his youthful fascination and paints Pierra the way he sees her: unique, precious, beautiful. And he does it in an exclusive secular masterpiece of the fourteenth century: Pierra the Jester.

The superstitious, envious citizens of Thessalonica – to whom exposing a heretic is an illicit thrill on a par with risking syphilis – are fast to proclaim Pierra a witch for the miraculous cure she performed. Placed in the midst of this turmoil, she craves for the fulfillment of a girlhood fantasy, daydreams of a secluded country life by the sea. She wishes they could simply leave everything, history included, walk away and vanish from the view. At this moment Pierra stares at her husband with that look of a sacrificial lamb, and it dawns on Doychin that unless he accommodates his lovely wife and his aroused artistic ambition he will die without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important ideas of his being. The story moves on, leaving the couple behind and out.

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