The Garden District, New Orleans 1770
"Ryan was the oldest by almost two minutes -a fact he never let his sister forget and Rowan was holding his heel." The elegant older woman laughed and closed a lace and ivory fan laying it across her lap while continuing the tale. "Life continued that way…the two were always together and when separated seem to somehow know when the other was returning"

Marianna Regina del Torres -Habsburg still lovely at 92, her deep green eyes sparkled with life, the same sassy girl who had won a kings heart 82 years ago, now hidden in this spry 92 year old's body. She sat straight in the porch swing on the wrought iron framed balcony. "It's all so long ago now… and so few knew about us." She took a crystal glass of mint julep from the tray a black serving girl offered. Sitting the glass down, she reached up took the child's long braid in her hand and tied the one of the little girl's bows. "There now, that's better. Madison." The little girl giggled and served Mr. Salinas a glass of the same beverage then skipped back inside the open french doors.

She looked over the mown grass below, the scent of Damascus roses, bougainvillea, honeysuckle were heavy in hot humid air their lush green vines trailed up over the portico. Then she met the eyes of the dark brown eyes of the historian and asked "How did you learn of us? And more importantly, why are you here? " Salinas stuttered then paused then started speaking " I came across the diaries of Rowan Julietta Marianna Del Torres… a story of some daring about twins born to Carlos II. I did some research and discovered, that you, Madam, did indeed exist and your children, -he crossed himself- had perished in the Succession Wars.

Tears glittered unshed in the old woman's eyes. "And you wanted to know if it was true?" She stood up slowly "Follow me, Mr. Salinas" She lead him inside the upstairs sitting room and pointed to a miniature picture on the mantle -an exquisite painting of a young man and woman who were unmistakably twins.
"That was a gift from Ryan and Rowan on their 16th birthday. "Yes, Mr. Salinas, the Crown Prince and the Princess of Spain did exist and they went to the University of Florence, that's how the diary happened to be there". She waggled her finger. " Shame on you for reading it"

"Now lets return to the balcony, the heat is terrible this evening" her ivory hawk capped cane tapped on the ground evenly as she strolled back to the swing. "I am surprised you have found me." Marianna sat down in the swing. "You've come along way for a story no one will believe. I lived it and I can scarcely believe it myself."

Spain was coming to the end of an era. The Military was decaying from within, Spain's possessions were slipping free of her grasp. The greedy, and the power hungry stripped her coffers. In 1665 the last of the Habsburg Princes came to the Throne of Spain: Carlos II. The queen mother & his Doctor had conspired against the prince-ling from birth and convinced the court and the Pope that Carlos was retarded and disfigured and unfit to rule. His mother, Mariana was named Regent. All things were done in his name by her hand. Carlos was married twice in 1662 to Maria Louise, the niece of Louis XIV and in 1690 to Maria Anna of Bavaria, Princess of Newberg and sister of the Empress. Both were childless.- so history recorded.

It was a sassy 17-year-old Courtesan looked past the labels and befriended the King. With love and respect Carlos began to come into his own. Naples and Sicily were slipping out of his grasp, suddenly; Carlos had the strategy to hold his kingdom together -only again to be undermined by the Queen Mother and his court. He became despondant. He could trust absolutely no one besides Marianna.

Carlos had been faithful to Maria, but the friendship so long denied by his wives turned to love for the beautiful -quick witted 17-year-old Marianna Regina del Torres of Castile. A king must have an heir! Okay, so it might have been an excuse to play around but he was wise man and kept the secret, and hid his treasure away from the rest of the court and the country with his sending his most trusted confidant and dearest friend to Zaragoza, Spain.

Marianna gave birth to perfect twins on Christmas Eve 1684 much to the King's joy. He named them Carlos Ryan Julian Martine and Rowan Julietta Mariana Del Torres. The two illegitimate babes were proof of his virility. - Now at last he had heirs to pass his beloved country on to. And Carlos made certain Marianna's every comfort and the care of his beautiful children was provided for. He visited as often as he could when the children were small -- they have memories of a happy family, a beautiful home in the mountains with every luxury afforded them.... and of their papa.

The weight of his imperfections fell away and the mouse roared and threatened the Queen Mother's power, she no longer held sway over her son. Carlos came alive at 23 and began to fight the nobility of Spain to strengthen the decaying military. Some of the lords of the court began to follow. Clearly Carlos had to be stopped… the Queen Mother had a new ally. Cardinal De Alvarez, a prince of the church had come to her aide. Curiously a strange illness began to plaque the courts hardly detectable beneath the white powder. The Cardinal and the Queen Mother plotted her son's destruction and yet found no way to accomplish it.

Meanwhile Marianna and the twins remained hidden in Zaragoza. When she felt the twins were ready, she told them the truth about their father and why they remained in seclusion. Why they must continue their studies…and with great effort she convinced Ryan that he could not march into Madrid and protect his father. Rowan was not affected in the least.. Ryan would wear the crown of Spain just as Carlos swore to Marianna. Ryan was an excellent strategist; witty and clever, wise beyond his years to that his sister gave intelligence, grace, and intuition about the people they socialized with in their limited world. Little did the twins guess their whole world would change in two years….

Later that same year, De Alvarez began to suspect where Carlos "vacationed"
The twins and Marianna escaped several death squads and numerous traps. And Marianna sent the twins off to a cousin in Florence where they would continue their educations at the University there. For 3 three years glorious years the twins studied and came of age. Ryan grew more cunning and adventurous -a daring leader for those who would follow. Rowan excelled in academics and became deadly with bow and arrow and Ryan the sword and black powder. He was skilled in all the technologies of war of the 17th Century. He also learned acrobatics gave him the edge with the blade and the hunt. (and the chase.=) And gave heed to the instructor.

Thru her inquisitiveness and curiosity Rowan found the meeting place of a secret order, through one of their tutors…where she learned things deemed occult and heresy by the church. The mysteries intrigued her -there she learned of vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beings…alchemy and explosives. Her inquisitiveness caught the attention of one of the older members of the society a man she swore was made up of shadow without substance. Was it a premonition that made her ask? Her new found mentor taught her how to destroy a vampire. Which she jokingly told her brother about later.
(here's our first mentor -winx)

The year was 1699 - when the Queen Regent and the Cardinal's spies discovered that Carlos was planning to marry his Marianna and with that discovery he also discovered the whereabouts of the twins… in the Summer of 1699 the Children were abducted by the Cardinal's Coterie and became guests in the Cardinals home. Hostages of state were well treated. Ryan's somehow always knew when their wine was drugged or their food was poisoned. He always seemed to show up when the Cardinal had Rowan alone and remained to escort his sister to her rooms. De Alvarez also held their Mother.

De Alvarez held all the cards it seemed and Carlos was forced to make a will that named Phillip Duke of Anjou, Grandson of LouisXIV as heir to the throne of Spain. But Carlos knew this was not wise and so did Rowan who predicted the War of Spanish Succession
(1701-14) That England, Holland, and the imperial authorities would react against the extension of French authority that came with the accession of a Bourbon monarch. They would not agree and several treaties would be signed…… And so it happened… It ended with several treaties, collectively known as the Peace of Utrecht, in 1713

(in the process of creation)

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