The Garden District, New Orleans 1770
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.
"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.
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"
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
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.
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
(in the process of creation)
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