Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Troubled journey (14): A murky story

Dijon, 3rd September 1713

Fearing someone might still be on their pursue, the small retinue of Marquis de Vilana continued incessantly for several days, always spending the night at humble, modest lodgings, where they would only stay just long enough to rest. Once arrived in Burgundy lands, they started relaxing and agreed to stop at a comfortable inn close to Dijon, to rest at will for a few days. On that night, the old Montesa monk --whose name resulted to be Pere Arenós-- explained his odd story.

Vilana, who had been eagerly awaiting that moment, realized of the transformation experienced by Arenós. He looked like another man, quite different from that challenging, impertinent grumpy monk they had met at Bonnevaux Abbey. He was calm with a hint of resignation, while slowly started telling with hoarse voice the odd chain of circumstances leading him to the remote French abbey.

--As you know, the Order of Montesa to which I belong enjoyed a privileged status in Spain, in spite of not being as important as, let's say, Santiago, Calatrava or Alcántara Orders. This was due to Montesa was the only order not located in Castile, but in the Crown of Aragon instead --in the former kingdom of Valencia. As with the rest of Military Orders, the Catholic Monarchy had obtained the Grand Mastership of Montesa too, but their full control was severely hampered by the particular Valencian Constitutions prescribing the Grand Master to be a resident in that kingdom. Therefore, the successive Spanish kings had no other chance than appointing a Valencian knight of Montesa as their Lieutenant. Besides, that appointment had to be agreed with the Council of Aragon, so you can imagine the royal dissatisfaction with that particular issue...

He briefly stopped to drink some water: --You know, the Order is no longer that spartan military society it had been in the past. Now is an organization in decline grouping members of powerful lineages from Valencia and all around the Crown of Aragon, who are no longer committed with the old martial spirit or the strong sense of loyalty towards the Crown, even in their conflicts with Castile. They are just committed in preserving the natural state of things and, through it, their own personal status.

--This way, some Montesa knights sided to Philip d'Anjou since the very beginning of war, and many else joined them after Almansa battle, all those more directly threatened by the airs of social revolution voiced by the popular party supporting Archduke Charles. Others wouldn't join them however, and a serious struggle inside the Order started. As king Philip had just abolished the Valencian Constitutions after Almansa, he had finally free hand to perform at will with the turbulent Order. So that, fearing a ferocious retaliation, Montesa Order chose to show a submissive attitude of reconciliation... and here is where I started playing my role in this story.

--As a relatively humble knight, I was soon persuaded by king Philip's legates to become his agent and informer from the inside. When I finally agreed to, I was quickly promoted to an outstanding office in the Order, so that was soon granted open access to many things behind the scenes and, by these, I managed to increase my personal power, you know?

He then deliberately stopped once again and stared at Vilana, who quickly understood the monk was about to unveal the core secret of his story:

--Among such things behind the scenes, there was the Treasure of Montesa.

Vilana exclaimed: --Oh no, my Lord! Not a treasure! ...are you perhaps trying to fool me with old fables about treasures?

Arenós curtly replied: --The Treasure of Montesa is a real thing. It does exist. I had its inventory into my hands.

Skeptical as he was, Vilana shut up however, ready to watch the full story.


abdul666 said...

A treasure... Not the Holy Grail, for sure, but 'Nervi belli pecunia' at the collective level, and a treasure can easily turn wise men into rabid predators. Tricky...

Could the treasure, or some map of any nature, be hidden in that estate that disappeared from one of the two copies of Vendôme's testament?

Soldadets said...

Jean-Louis, unnecessary to tell you how does this story end!! :D :D

Bluebear Jeff said...

I await the next installment.

-- Jeff

abdul666 said...

Vendome's widow certainly knows nothing of the 'ghost' estate absent from one version of the testament: this is thus 'free game', as Philip V intended. But the Castillan king cannot claim it openly, thus Versailles can throw a third party in the 'competition'. Maybe the Proncesse des Oursins, still so influential, against a compensation of some sort.
Btw this would explain -a fact ignored by academic historians- why she fell so fast of favor after the queen's death :)

Soldadets said...


I do share feeling with you. I'm persuaded Fra Arenós is wrong at believing that Philip V himself actually ordered him to murder His cousin; I'd point instead towards the ever powerful Princesse des Ursins --who would enjoy both the tools and the opportunity to persuade King Philip for signing a death sentence through deception, or even to falsify such a document.

Recent events at Madrid Court are to test your hypothesis about Princesse des Ursins very soon --our dice have shown a really significant event is about to happen in Madrid.