Monday, July 18, 2011


Vienna, 1st October 1713

Absorbed recalling the ordeal suffered a few days ago, when their retinue was ambushed, Lady Elisenda had lost her way, so that the girl randomly steps had led her pretty far from Schönbrunn's main building, into some remote part of the immense French style garden sorrounding the Imperial palace. "Fiona would have disliked this garden. She always said that French gardens were too... Cartesian" -she bitterly thought. Her faithful friend Fiona McGregor had been cowardly murdered by the attackers -who probably confused the girl with Elisenda herself-, and a few days later she was quietly resting at one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe, waiting for a courtly staging, as if nothing had happened. This made her feel even more sad, if such was possible.

Elisenda had started to grasp the purposes of Archduke Charles but, far from feeling happy or proud, she could only perceive the huge weight of responsibility the Emperor was just about to lay on her. During the trip, Count d'Erill had been unable to tell her anything about the matter; old and tired as he was, the old Valencian aristocrat's only desire was to attend a hearing at the magnificent Imperial palace, where he had never been before. No, Count d'Erill hadn't been any helpful to her.

In contrast, Marquis de Rubí had certainly shown a greater knowledge about Archduke Charles' intentions, but he had kept all the time a discreet silence on it. "Trust on us, my dear" were his only words when she tried to corner him with questions. Marquis de Rubí was a significant member of the Acadèmia dels Desconfiats (=Academy of the Distrustful) just as Marquis de Vilana was, both of whom had been the architects of her admission into that cultivated and semi-secret society, where no woman had ever been accepted before. "Trust on us", he said, so that she respectfully trusted and ceased insisting. But the evidences collected so far made her anything but happy.

Lady Elisenda steps finally led her close to the Neptune Well, where she remained for a long time watching in rapt silence the Danube plain while a slight breeze caressed her hair. A long while later, someone went to meet her. It was her Valencian uncle (1) Antonio Folc de Cardona, Archbishop of Valencia, who had gone in exile in Vienna little after Almansa battle. He told her: -Dear niece, Their Imperial Majesties would love to meet you now. We should not have them waiting for too long.

Elisenda sighed heavily and nodded: -Let's go, then.

(1) The Catalan expression "oncle valencià" is intended to name a distant relative. Coincidentally, Lady Elisenda's "Valencian uncle" -who is a historical character- is Valencian indeed!


MurdocK said...

The story resumes ...

Jeroen72 said...

So, is she ready to be Queen ;)