Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our greatest strength

Versailles, 13th November 1713

--Are there any news from the Principality? --princess Elisenda asked.

--They're resisting well the enemy offensive so far... --marquis of Vilana answered in turn--, but I guess we ought to rush for concluding the treaty with France. The enemy is too numerous and powerful for our tiny Army.

From their Versailles stay, a thousand miles away from home, they didn't (they couldn't) know the terrible result of Montblanc battle, just happened the day before.

--In fact, we have an ultimate answer of France --she said slowly-- but, prior to giving a response, I wished to consult it to you...

The Marquis inquisitively glanced at his pupil: --And then?

--They shall not cede even an inch of sovereignty on Roussillon --Elisenda sighed--. What they are proposing instead is to convert these Counties into a French Viceroyalty with me for Vicereine. In the end, I would become subject to Versailles appointment and dictates.

--At least in affairs related to Roussillon, naturally.

He looked at her more attentively: the young princess looked haggard and tired. He felt tempted of ironizing about the frequent nocturnal visits of a famous roussillonais painter, for a portrait nobody had ever seen --but he immediately discarded it. No, her fatigue had nothing to do with affairs ascribable to her youthful vitality. It should rather be related to her unsuccessful attempts to regain those beloved lands north of Canigó mountain. He felt sorry for her.

He thought long and hard about the question before calmly answering: --And does it disappoint you? Isn't it perhaps the same kind of agreement you've had with the Emperor?

Princess Elisenda jumped from her seat, sincerely offended. But the Marquis did not stop talking: --What's the deal of Archduke Charles, then? The Empire shall guarantee the Liberties of our Principality, but in exchange of what? ...At the price of becoming His Vicereine at Majorca Kingdom. Such and no other is His pledge.

--Well, King Louis is performing exactly that very same manoeuvre --he continued--. In exchange for His endorsement, He's requiring a share of control too. Your Viceroyalty upon Roussillon is the pledge. It's a draw between both Major Powers.

Elisenda stayed silent and thoughful.

--But this makes us so weak... --she argued in a low voice.

--Listen, such apparent weakness might turn into our greatest strength. Such will be your task henceforth, my dear. Our task --he rectified--. On the other hand, have you thought of the quantity of useful things you can do in Roussillon, precisely thanks to such appointment? This is my advice, Eli: don't let them wait anymore. Please sign the treaty.


abdul666 said...

An almost perfect symmetry, from the Great Powers' point of view. Except that France is closer to Catalonia than Austria; but this immediate proximity (and the presence of French troops in the Principality) is probably a very positive point in the present situation.

In their currently desperate situation Catalans cannot expect to conquer Roussillon! Thus their Princess' viceroyalty will appear as an unexpected victory, increasing Elisenda's popularity.

An the Catalans regiments of Mountain Fusiliers in French service under Swiss-type 'Capitulations', in peacetime stationed in Roussillon, will remain under the authority of the Vicereine.

Clever, clever, clever.

Soldadets said...

It's amazing to watch at a which extent is your Imagi-Nation evolving by itself, with a relative independence of your own will...

I'd ever imagined such a result for it, with respect to relations with its northern neighbour --not at first, for sure.

True that the drama itself is written by me in the end, and it's me who has created this particular negotiations aftermath, but... but it's by no means the result of any previously planned storyboard. It has been developing by itself, thanks to readers' contributions.

As a matter of fact, the diplomatical agreement achieved by our story characters represents a real novelty, a dramatical change with respect to the general outline I imagined for my Imagi-Nation at the start of this exciting adventure.

I'm the first one to be amazed by this situation, really.

abdul666 said...

It's the mark of a successful Imagi-Nation: its creator sometimes feels like Dr Frankenstein.