Front pages: maps, illustrations, family trees, etc.
Pendaunzel anxiously awaited news from Europe. In May, the Emperor summoned Juan Maria to London, where the renegade swore his fealty. Before Kharles’s court, he declared himself a Norman Prince. Juan claimed that his betrothal to Serafina hadn’t yet been formalized, but he felt unable to refuse her. His kinship to the Spanish imperial family was as strong to the Norman house. He hated to disappoint them, but he would do his liege’s will. If Kharles insisted that the marriage-contract be dissolved…
Juan returned to Naufarre still in possession of his lands and titles. Since he didn’t retract his promises immediately upon his return, the tension between the two empires relaxed a little, but the situation remained unresolved throughout the summer.
That summer, the Dowager Penelope died and Kharles married before his court left off its formal mourning. His bride had been one of Penelope’s ladies-in-waiting, a damosel of an obscure noble family. It was said that she had been Kharles’s lover for some months and that the late Dowager had tried to discourage her son’s attachment to this unimportant maid, as she’d discouraged all of the young Emperor’s previous, ill-advised dalliances. It was also rumored that the bride was already pregnant and that Kharles had wed so swiftly in order to secure his heir; he didn’t want the coming child to be removed from the line of succession as his children by the Lady Mellisaunte were.
Kat returned from London with a small delegation of the Emperor’s advisors and spent several days in private conferences with Dafythe. When Mara asked about her travels, her cousin described games of chess and tennis with the Emperor, the memorial ceremonies for Penelope, the role she’d played as Guenithyre’s kinswoman at the royal wedding, since Kharles’s timid bride had no relations to stand with her, but she remained taciturn on political matters.
With the Emperor newly married and the rebellious Prince of Naufarre acquiescent after his broken betrothal, the situation was calm. Difficulties might arise again—indeed, no one expected things to remain quiet—but the crisis had been averted for a time.
Mara was disappointed.
Continue reading “Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 16”