Friday, June 24, 2011

Foix de Rovellats

Vilafranca del Penedès, 25th September 1713

Loys d'Hauteville, who at present was Lieutenant-Colonel of the female infantry regiment generously funded by Lady Elisenda, was fully aware of how much slander had suffered his regiment at the hands of some sectors of society, judging it an extremely disturbing intrusion of women in the strictly male affairs of war. Some rumors received a discreet, unofficial support from the "Busca" popular party, which expected to decrease Lady Elisenda's influence by presenting her as an eccentric aristocrat -although such support was publicly cut off by Rafael Casanova himself. Nevertheless, pressure had grown up to a hard to bear degree.

But then it came the opportunity Loys d'Hauteville had waited anxiously for so long: Marshal Villarroel had ordered the Regiment to leave their Sabadell town headquarters and hurriedly march towards Vilafranca del Penedès and be put under the overall command of General Basset.

When they finally spotted the bell tower of Vilafranca basilica, Loys d'Hauteville experienced a double sense of euphoria and anxiety. His girls had been training very hard, quite harder than a male regiment as a matter of fact, and soon they'd demonstrate their capabilities... if General Basset gave them an opportunity.

Guessing her superior's mood, a pretty young officer closed to him. She was the regiment's Sergeant Major Foix de Rovellats: -Sir, you're looking troubled lately. Is there anything wrong?

Loys turned toward the woman. Lady Foix inspired a wide confidence to him, and her strength in difficult times had helped him to keep firm on the mission he had been entrusted by Lady Elisenda. Into his mind, he had to admit he actually liked her, in a number of senses -but he forced himself to bury such thoughts for the umpteenth time. He smiled slightly and replied: -Foix, I'm afraid about the kind of welcome General Basset will be deserving to us.

-Don't worry anymore, Sir. Some men still believe we women have no value or utility, but they're wrong. Do not fail, my friend, we shall be following wherever you lead us to. Our hour is coming. -and she smiled in turn.

For a moment, Loys feared to get lost in the abyss of her deeply dark eyes -but he managed to promptly react. Turning towards his regiment's women, he then shouted: -Flags forward!! Ladies, we've arrived in Vilafranca! Let's show them our proudest parade! Let people read determination in your eyes! Beating drums!! -and thus Daughters of Minerva Regiment reached by the town's old medieval gates open wide to them, while marching under Cardona March drums and fife.

[Still sad after Miss. McGregor's death, I've decided to take some advantage from this scene to introduce a new character intended to cover some aspects of unfortunate Fiona. This is Foix de Rovellats, a pretty young woman from the beautiful Sant Martí Sarroca village in Penedès county. Daughter of a soldier maimed at Prats de Rei battle (1711), she has got enlisted in Lady Elisenda's Regiment with the aim to supplement her father's poor pension. Most of her character traits are to be defined yet, although her image is to be based on that of the Catalan charismatic actress Ariadna Gil, whose portrait can be seen above. Some of you maybe have noticed her through her roles at movies such as Pan's Labyrinth, Captain Alatriste or Libertarias].

[BTW, when reading "Ariadna Gil" please note that letter "G" sounds in Catalan just the same as in French or Italian, not as "KH" like in Spanish. Oh, and the female name "Foix" (quite popular in Penedès county where I live) should be read as "Fo-osh" o "Fo-ish", more or less].


abdul666 said...


Soldadets said...

Hi Jean-Louis,

My initial plans for Fiona McGregor were introducing her as LTC or field commander of Lady Elisenda's regiment, after some time of joint adventures as RPG-like individual characters. During these shared adventures, Lady Elisenda and Fiona would have strengthened their friendship and confidence to such a degree that Lady Elisenda would naturally propose Fiona for heading her Daughters of Minerva Rgt. -and thus to replace in the office Loys d'Hauteville, whose role as field commander of an entirely female unit (except for him) had something of an anomaly.

However, the results of Carniola ambush have forced me think about another kind of female character, this one straightly linked to the Regiment from its very start. This way, the confidence to be winned by our new starring character is that one from a male. This has a number of additional and story-telling interesting implications, such as some kind of sexual tension between both characters -a non neglectable factor in any otherwise normal male-female friendship.

This was my aim at choosing Ariadna Gil actress as 'official portrait' of my newly born Foix de Rovellats character -because I've always found this actress as an intensely attractive woman, in spite of not being especially sex-appealing.

Such trial is completely subjective of course, so that I must admit in advance many readers would hardly understand the reasonings behind it. My only guess is that an accurate description of scenes along with emotions suggested by the 'associated face' help them forming an image of both Loys and Foix characters.