1450-1499 · Spain · The Ferdinand and Isabella Saga

Ferdinand & Isabella, part 2: A Queen Among Women

Spain 1468

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30 December, 1468

“Your Highness! Your father has requested your presence in the council chambers.”

Seventeen-year-old Ferdinand looked up from the large table map at the page boy standing in the doorway. Ferdinand allowed himself a small smile, tossing a small red wooden battle strategy piece in the air and catching it nimbly before asking, “He’s with the Castilian Ambassador?” The page nodded. “Tell my father and the ambassador that I’ll join them presently.”

The boy bowed and left. Ferdinand looked back at the map, more specifically at his father’s kingdom of Aragon, dotted with similar red and green wooden pieces, representing the forces of the two sides of the war which had been raging in the province of Catalonia four years. The words of Father Manuel, a humble priest in Ferdinand’s service, rang in his ears as his eyes flitted over the town names. “War is costly, my prince, and an evil to be avoided at all cost.” I’d agree with him if I weren’t so grateful for the opportunity to learn military strategy practically. Carefully, Ferdinand set his piece down next to a dot labeled “Estella,” facing a slightly larger blue piece.

Now for a different kind of war, he thought as he stretched his back. He looked at the door through which the servant had disappeared. Straightening his shoulders, he thought about the marriage negotiations he would join in a few minutes. The union was almost certainly blessed by God; still, the secular details had to be worked out: where they would live, how large the dowry would be, when they would be wed… and most importantly, how much power they would share in their dual monarchy.

Ferdinand chuckled as he left his chambers. And to think that I wasn’t supposed to be king in the first place…


25 September, 1461

“Queen Juana!” A breathless courier entered the royal solar and bowed hastily. “I bring urgent news from Barcelona! Prince Carlos is dead!”

Nine-year-old Ferdinand blinked, looking up from the letter his father wrote on the art of government. Prince Carlos was his father’s son by his first marriage with Queen Bianca of Navarre. His mother had never liked Carlos. Not only was the crowned prince three years older than herself, but he was also good looking and well liked by the entire realm. Catalonia, Aragon’s most influential province, especially loved him. Last year, they even demanded he be their governor until he ascended to the throne.

Carlos is dead? Ferdinand looked to his mother to gauge her reaction. She was sitting by the window, holding her embroidery to the evening light. She was so beautiful, clothed in a red gown, her hair tied by a ribbon and tumbling down her back. If he hadn’t been sitting so close to her and hadn’t turned so quickly, he never would have seen the brief smile that touched her lips before she turned to the servant with wide eyes. “Prince Carlos?” she gasped, dropping the fabric to her lap. “When? What did my lord the prince die of?”

“He died two days ago in his estate. The physician said he died of some sort of pulmonary infection. Pneumonia, perhaps. He wasn’t sick long enough to determine the exact cause.”

“Oh dear,” Mother murmured, looking down at her lap, her face gleaming triumphantly. She glanced around the room at her ladies-in-waiting. Ferdinand followed her gaze until he saw his little sister, Princess Juana, lay her head against her nurse, looking anxiously between their mother and the courier. Ferdinand swallowed, a nervous longing swelling in his chest. But he shook himself I’m nearly a man. I can’t act like a child! Still, this would change everything. He was suddenly not just his father’s favorite child; he was his only son. “We will certainly light a candle for him during vespers tonight,” Mother purred. “How are the Catalonians reacting?”

The courier shook his head, his dark curls bouncing around his face. “Not well, I’m afraid. Already, reports are circulating that contact with his coffin is healing tumors and skin diseases. Some blind man even claimed that his sight was restored when he touched it. Well, formerly blind man…”

“Lies!” The queen spat. Ferdinand flinched, a hollow feeling settling in the pit of his stomach. He shifted uncomfortably as he watched her. Her chest heaved as she looked out the window. She was so passionate and vehemently ambitious, but he couldn’t remember the last time she lost control like this.

“I-I’m afraid that’s not the worst of it, my queen,” the servant at the door stammered, his adam’s apple wavering as he spoke. “Th-the people of Barcelona claim that his death was too quick to be natural.”

Queen Juana’s gaze flitted from the window to the young man’s face. “Oh? And what does the rabble claim?”

“They say you, my queen, had him poisoned,” the words poured out of the courier’s mouth, as though he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get the whole message out. “They say that if King Juan wasn’t above throwing him in prison every time his highness was displeased with him, then my lord king wouldn’t have stood in your way. Especially since…” The man trailed off, casting a furtive glance at Ferdinand.

She paled. Her fists were clenched in her lap, knuckles white. “The late prince plotted against his father many times and should have been incarcerated more than he was,” she retorted stiffly, staring at the servant as though deciding the best way to punish him for bringing such bad tidings, “Nonetheless, Prince Carlos was the son of my illustrious husband. I may not have appreciated him, but I wouldn’t have had him killed to serve my purposes.” She turned to face Ferdinand, and a certain something– he couldn’t tell what exactly– flitted momentarily behind her eyes. It couldn’t have been fear. Ferdinand knew for certain that his mother didn’t experience those kinds of feelings. So what was it? Determination? Concern? Satisfaction?

Inwardly, a nagging voice rang in his head: What if she’s lying? She’s always wanted me to be king someday… He silenced that thought. Of course she wouldn’t lie. Not now, not to him… Would she?

Queen Juana lifted her chin, the flicker of strange emotion hidden again behind a mask of emotional steel. She looked back at the young man. “Has King Juan been informed?”

“Yes, my queen.”

“Good. You may go.” The courier bowed and left.

“Quite a piece of news, your majesty,” said one of the ladies-in-waiting, a plump young countess with the cunning eyes of a fox, when the door closed. “Prince Carlos’ illness couldn’t have been better timed.”

“Yes,” Mother sighed, picking up her embroidery with steady fingers. “My prayers have been answered at long last. Let us now pray that King Juan will be able to dispel these ungodly rumors before they can cause lasting damage.”

Ferdinand looked back at the countess, who leaned over and whispered something to her neighbor, a duchess. The older woman, dressed in a blue brocade, hushed the countess, never taking her eyes off of the altar cloth she was hemming.

Ferdinand leaned back into his chair. Something about their inaudible conversation made him feel chilled. “Mother? What does this mean for us?”

There was that small smile again. This time, however, it didn’t disappear when she looked up at him, a triumphant gleam in her eyes. “It means that as soon as the nobles of the realm swear their loyalty to you as their future king, I will be moving my court to Barcelona to secure the king’s hold on the city. You will come with me, of course. Certainly you would want to see the capitol of our most thriving province.”

“That and she wants to show off the new Heir Apparent to win over the warring factions loyal to Prince Carlos’ memory,” muttered a voice behind him, low enough that Mother wouldn’t be able to hear. But he did. He turned to stare at the woman. She was older than the duchess, and was one of the servants who came with Mother when she moved from Castile to marry Ferdinand’s father. Her face was passive except for her pursed mouth, looking for all the world as though she hadn’t opened it for hours as she jabbed her needle into the dress she was sewing. The marchioness beside her, however, nodded minutely until she caught the young prince watching.

Ferdinand turned back around, straightening in his seat. Prince Ferdinand of the house of Trastámara, heir apparent of Aragon and adjoined lands. He thought. Yes. I like the sounds of that.


10 March, 1462 • Barcelona

Metal clashed against metal, causing Ferdinand to back away from his opponent, a man old enough to be his grandfather. Although the man was no longer young, he was still quick, smart, and agile. Next to this master, the young prince didn’t stand a chance. Still, honor was at stake. Gripping the heavy blade with both hands, the lad rushed the man with a snarl. Despite the prince’s best efforts, the older man seemed to read Ferdinand’s thoughts, parrying a feint and a following thrust.

“You looked at my side, Prince,” the knight trumpeted as they pulled away from each other. “Quite a good indication of your next move, don’t you think?” The older man brought his sword down like a battle ax. Ferdinand didn’t have time to think. Just in time, he lifted his own weapon over his head, shifting one hand down to hold the flat side of the blade. “Good try though,” the knight said with a wink.

He’s playing with me! Ferdinand grunted, straining against the master swordsman, but to no avail. The man’s weight bore down on him. “Next time,” the knight continued, “keep your eyes on my face. You’d be amazed how much of my body you can gauge from– oh!”

Ferdinand had tilted his sword to the left and the knight stumbled away as his sword slid towards the ground. As the knight regained his balance, Ferdinand prepared himself for another onslaught. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could hold out. He was already breathing heavily. Not surprisingly… this was his third melee in the last hour. Nonetheless, Ferdinand felt alert and energetic, eager for the man to attack.

The older man raised his sword and grinned. “You’re thinking on your feet! Good! But check your stance.”

Ferdinand looked down, grimacing at how close his feet were. For dancing or observing court proceedings, this was fine. But here, an unbalanced posture was the difference between life and death. He moved so his feet were wider than his shoulders, knees slightly bent.

The knight lunged. “In a battle,” he grunted, “That kind of quick thinking–” clash. “Will save not only your life–” clash. “But also the life of the soldiers around you.” The white haired man twisted his sword in a peculiar manner, coming under Ferdinand’s blade, moving in a circle until the prince could no longer keep his grip. The sword fell to the sand at their feet. An instant later, the knight’s sword was at Ferdinand’s neck, stopping a finger’s breadth from his flesh.

Ferdinand pulled his chin away slightly, chest heaving. Not again! “Will I never beat you?” Ferdinand groaned impulsively as Sir Pedro, Baron of Gerona withdrew the sword. If Mother had seen, she would have reprimanded him sharply for such an ignoble and childish display of emotion. Now, though, Ferdinand couldn’t care less.

“My dear prince, you have only studied with me for six months and you are already far beyond most men twice your age! As for me, it took ten years before I was a master swordsman, and I’ve been improving my skills for years since then. Besides,” Sir Pedro added with a twinkle in his eye, “you beat me yesterday.”

Ferdinand stooped to pick up his fallen sword, more to give himself a few seconds to swallow his annoyance than to tidy the practice arena. “You let me win,” he muttered.

Sir Pedro chuckled, wrapping an arm around his pupil’s shoulders, steering him toward a table in the shadows of the arena, two men standing beside it. “Well, yes. But it’s not flattery when I tell you that you’re a prodigy at swordplay. I’ve had some cold ale brought up from the cellar. It will refresh you before you return to your book studies.”

As soon as Ferdinand and Sir Pedro reached the table, the two men bowed, but not quite deep enough to convey the respect Ferdinand knew he deserved. “Prince Ferdinand, it is good to see you again.” the one on the right greeted none too convincingly. He was a tall, thin man with shoulder-length brown hair, like most men of the Iberian peninsula, and was dressed in red velvet robes. The feather on his matching hat fell past his shoulder. Obviously, he was a local politician. His white-haired companion, on the other hand, bore himself like a soldier, standing erect; his sharp, dark eyes assessed Ferdinand. He wore a deep blue embroidered warrior’s tunic over his breeches and a rapier hung from his belt. Ferdinand had no doubt that he would prove a worthy match for even Sir Pedro.

“This is Francisco Pallarés, Deputy of the Council here in Barcelona,” Sir Pedro murmured stiffly in Ferdinand’s ear, gesturing slightly to the man on the right. “And the other is Hugh Roger, Count of Pallars Sobirá.”

Ferdinand nodded politely to his visitors, hoping his tutor’s wariness was unfounded, or at least based on personal reasons. “My lords, you are welcome.”

“Thank you,” Pallarés said. “May I say, sire, that your skill with the cut-and-thrust blade is quite impressive. May I assume, then, that Barcelona agrees with you?” There was an edge to his voice, but his face was passive.

Ferdinand glared Pallarés, resenting the deputy’s snide tone, as he took a sip of the ale. The two lords had full cups too, but they were untouched. “It does. But I can only assume you came to discuss something other than Sir Pedro’s ability to teach?”

“A statesman as well as a swordsman! Royal training certainly reaps good results early!” Pallarés commented dryly to Count Roger.

The Count grinned crookedly. “He’d certainly charm thousands with that silver tongue.”

Ferdinand’s lip curled, his irritation growing. Francisco smiled at him craftily. “To be frank, sire, our message is more for your royal mother. Could you get us an audience with her?”

Ferdinand raised an eyebrow, heat spreading in his chest. “Do I look like a page to you? There’s a customary procedure to obtain an audience with the queen. Pursue your designs that way.”

“Sire, if I may,” Sir Pedro spoke in Ferdinand’s ear. As the boy subtly bent his head to his teacher, the older man’s blue eyes glistened with a subtle warning. “These men are part of of the Busca faction, people who Queen Juana specifically came here to uh… deal with.” Count Roger snorted, but Sir Pedro ignored him. “It may prove advantageous to acquiesce to their wishes.”

Ferdinand tilted his head to one side. Could their news worth the bother of taking them indoors? The Busca was a fired-up faction of noblemen that worked closely with a network of craftsman called the Biga. Slowly, he nodded. “very well, then. I must go inside anyway.”

◊ ◊ ◊

“Mother,” Ferdinand said, entering her suite a few minutes later. “Some men from the Busca want to speak with you. They’re in the receiving room.”

The servant girl standing in the corner lifted her head and blinked. Mother glanced up from her writing desk, quill in hand, a moment later. “From the Busca?” Her tone was soft, almost fragile.

Facade. Ferdinand thought admiringly, glancing at the servant. Mother was brilliant at this kind of thing. Most men thought she was weak-willed, only to be surprised by her political daring. Someday, I’m going to marry someone just like her. He nodded. “Francisco Pallarés and Count Hugh Roger.”

The Queen’s eyebrows shot to her hairline. “Pallarés? Here?” Her voice suddenly hard, she dropped her pen and rose, sweeping past him toward the door.

“Mother?” Ferdinand asked. She stopped, framed by the doorway. With her hair tucked under her hair dress, she looked taller and more regal than usual. Her dark, flashing eyes only added to the image. “May I come, too?”

She looked into his eyes briefly and nodded. “Your father does want you to have as much practical experience as possible,” she said before disappearing around the corner.

In the receiving room, the two lords rose when they saw the Queen and inclined their heads. Ferdinand frowned. They owed her more respect. A cold, hollow feeling lodged itself in the pit of his stomach.  “Pallerés,” Mother purred, her soft, feminine voice flowing like syrup. “What a surprise. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Queen Juana, we have come on behalf of the people of Catalonia to discover the truth behind your policies.”

Mother blinked. “Whatever could you mean? I can assure you that all King Juan and I want is the best for the joint kingdoms.”

Count Roger huffed. “Which would explain why his highness besieged Lleida and burned down all its crops last fall.”

Mother drew herself to her full height, her eyes flashing. “The town was rebellious and had to be reminded whom they serve. Believe me, it gave us no pleasure in subjecting the town to a hungry winter.”

“Roger,” Pallarés cautioned then returned his steely gaze to Mother. “Be that as it may, your husband’s actions horrified us. What outrages us even more is the rumors we’ve heard about the King’s ‘secret’ treaty with the new King of France.”

“We constantly negotiate with kings all over Europe. King Louis especially, since we all eagerly wish to avoid war with him, but we also have ambassadors in Castile, England, Italy…”

“Yes,” Pallarés drawled. “But how many of those are organizing their armies as we speak?”

“The French are volatile,” Mother waved her hand dismissively. “The young men in their armies grew up with their fathers’ and grandfathers’ stories of earning glory in battle against the English. The foolish pups want stories to tell their own children and grandchildren.”

 Pallarés’ eyes grew dark. “Then explain to me why the fortresses at Perpignan and Collioure recently received official instructions to prepare for a turnover of authority? If I were King Louis, I’d want those two counties myself. They’re rich, coastal, close to France, and most importantly, in our territory.”

“And if I had King Juan’s vibrant temper,” Roger simpered, “I might be willing to try something so foolhardy as putting those two counties up as collateral to a foreign king if it meant getting extra lances in a province on the verge of rebellion.”

Ferdinand tensed. Relations between France and Aragon–especially Catalonia– had always been complicated at best, violent at worst. Nonetheless, they had no business speaking so disrespectfully to his mother or about his father! He longed to speak up, but he knew he would be sent away if he spouted.

“My lords,” Mother’s voice was cold as winter. “We will not be spoken to this way. Get to the point and then leave.” Ferdinand was sure that her next order of business would be to send out assassins to determine their homes and schedules. Very few people spoke like this to her and lived to tell the tale.

Pallarés smiled back just as coldly. “The nobles of Catalonia have met and voted to strip you of your title as queen, and have ordered you to join your husband in Aragon, never to return to these lands. We will formally declare war within the month. As for your son, we will not accept him as our future king any more than you accepted Prince Carlos.” He turned to look at Ferdinand.

“Don’t think you’ll be able to make it out of the castle with him as your hostage,” Mother’s voice was deadly quiet; her fiery eyes starkly contrasted her ashen face.

“Oh, don’t worry. I have no intention of taking him with me,” Pallarés’ voice was silky but Ferdinand wasn’t fooled. He had some other trick up his sleeve. Roger looked smug, too. “I’ll even leave it to you to determine whether or not you take him with you.”

“Leave my son and heir here? I think not! At best, you would try to turn his heart towards your cause. At worst, you would kill him.”

“Oh, no, your majesty,” Roger growled sarcastically. “We would imprison him and see how he would hold up to the treatment the saintly Prince Carlos was given the three times you imprisoned him before he became our governor.”

“Should you choose to stay in Catalonia, we will find you,” Pallarés continued, “And when we have beaten your allies, we will take the boy.” Mother paled even more, making her dilated eyes seem absolutely luminous. Pallarés smiled diplomatically. “As I said, the choice is up to you. We will take our leave now.” With that, they bowed and left.

So, am I no longer the crowned prince? Ferdinand opened his mouth to voice the question, but before he could say a word, someone was clearing his throat in the doorway. Ferdinand turned to see Sir Pedro standing there, sweeping them a low bow. “Your highness, I came up as soon as I could. I wanted to make sure that more than just the guards were around in case you needed help.” Mother only nodded distractedly. “My queen, if it please you, I suggest you fall back with your court to Gerona.”

“What?” She said, focusing on Sir Pedro as though she had never seen anything like him before. Even in the one word, her Castilian accent was more pronounced than Ferdinand had ever heard it before.

“Allow my men and I to escort you and the prince and your retinues to my fortress in Gerona. The cathedral has an especially defensible tower that can comfortably house everyone for an extended period of time while I and my men defend the town around you. There, you will be surrounded by strong allies and you won’t have to worry as much about Pallarés’ spies.”

“Sir Pedro’s plan is a good one, Mother,” Ferdinand ventured quietly. He hadn’t learned much about military strategy yet, but at least he knew that. “Certainly we can defend your honor and our titles quite well there.”

Some color seeped back into Mother’s face. “Yes,” she breathed. Her voice returned to normal. “Yes. It is a good plan. We leave tonight or tomorrow afternoon at the latest. I have no doubt that Pallarés and Roger will give chase as soon as we leave here.”


22 July, 1462 • Gerona

“Your majesties! I have news from the front!” Sir Pedro burst into the room that had been converted into a boudoir-solar for Mother and her ladies-in-waiting, and dropped a low bow. Ferdinand glanced up from the book he was reading. Normally, he wouldn’t have dreamed of entering a woman’s private bed chamber. His mother’s solar was one thing, but a boudoir was quite another. Since the siege had begun, however, there were only so many rooms available, and Mother had insisted on Ferdinand keeping up his studies under her watchful eye.

For seven weeks their little court wondered daily if Count Roger and the Catalonian militia would break through the fortress’ walls. Whenever he wasn’t studying, Ferdinand had been as close to the battlements as the soldiers allowed. Mother had gone even further. Every day, she fearlessly traveled from battlement to battlement, encouraging all the men protecting them.

Now, though, as she looked up at Sir Pedro, her eyes had dark circles under them, evidence of all the effort she had exerted since arriving. “What is it? Has King Juan finally arrived?” A couple weeks after the siege began, a spy made it past Count Roger’s defenses with the message that King Juan would rescue them, but was hindered by the Catalonian armies along the western border. The spy also brought news that King Louis had sent reinforcements, but they encountered similar troubles along the northern border.

Sir Pedro shook his head, but he was smiling. “No, my queen. But Count Roger has surrendered.”

Mother’s shoulders relaxed instantly. “Surrendered?”

“Yes, my queen. His men are demoralized and his support from Barcelona is wearing thin. Apparently, the leading craftsmen in the Biga got tired of taking orders from the Busca and rebelled. The Biga lynched three of the leading members of the Busca, one of which was Francisco Pallerés. Without his support, Count Roger ran out of funds.”

Mother smiled genuinely for the first time in weeks. “I couldn’t have chosen a better end for him myself.”

Ferdinand reached the door and tiptoed out into the hall before anyone realized he left. Darting into his own bed chamber, he grabbed his rapier and secured it to his belt, just in case some Catalonian rebels still hung around. With that, he sneaked back into the hall.

“… until my husband arrives to give us safe passage back to Aragon,” Mother was saying.

“As you wish, my queen,” Sir Pedro replied. “I’ll see to the details immediately.”

Ferdinand broke into a run, not stopping until he had turned at least two corners in the crooked corridor. Finally, he stopped to catch his breath and gain his bearings. The door leading to the street was down the right-hand corridor, then the third hallway on the left. eventually, he reached the church’s large wooden door. Grabbing the handle, he pulled it open, letting in brilliant sunlight.

Holding his chin high, he stepped out and trotted down the road. People milled around timidly, as though they expected the Catalonians to continue the battle at any moment. We’ve won the battle, but the war is still on. Ferdinand threw a coin down on a merchant’s table and chose the best looking apricot before walking away. His thoughts twisted into a daydream of his Father calling him to join the king’s battalion on a campaign, using every opportunity to teach him how to fight an enemy on the battlefield, most importantly, how to win. Ferdinand grinned at the prospect, especially since Mother had recently commented that Father would probably do just that.

A young boy about his age was standing across the street at a blacksmith’s booth, but as soon as he recognized Ferdinand, his jaw dropped. The prince smiled magnanimously back. The boy turned to the man beside him. “Papa! Look! It’s the Prince!”

The man and the blacksmith both looked up and bowed low until Ferdinand passed them. Yes, he thought, I am Prince Ferdinand of Aragon, son of King Juan and Queen Juana. Someday, I will be king of Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Sicily.


30 December, 1468

“Ah, Ferdinand. Thank you for joining us,” King Juan II said as Ferdinand approached the table. The prince bowed respectfully to his father, then dipped his head to the ambassador from Ysabel before joining them at the table that took up most of the room.

“Wine, your highness?” A servant asked behind him, a full silver goblet in hand.

Ferdinand took the cup, enjoying a sip before setting it on the table. He looked from Father to Ambassador Palencia. How many hours had they been discussing the finer terms of the marriage contract to Ysabel? Then again, such was politics. Someday, he himself would spend long days debating treaties with foreign dignitaries. Unpleasant business, that. If only such things could be discussed at jousts or on a field of battle. Ferdinand pushed the thought away. “Ambassador, tell me: how is Princess Ysabel?”

Palencia froze, looking down with a pinched look for a second. Before Ferdinand could analyze the look, it vanished, replaced by a politician’s smile. “She is well, your grace. Eager to hear from you, I dare say.”

Ferdinand raised an eyebrow. “And her relationship with her brother, King Enrique?” Out of the corner of his eye, Ferdinand watched Father’s mouth pucker.

“King Enrique, God have mercy on him, is an obstinate–er–soul. He suspects us, of course, but since he has no proof we’ve been discussing these terms, there’s not much he can do. Except, of course, break just about every vow he made to the blessed Princess last September at Guisando.”

Ferdinand felt like letting his jaw drop, but he kept his features schooled. “What?”

Palencia sighed, shaking his head. “He’s refused to grant her the entire amount of the annual revenue she needs for her court, he’s trying to push her into another marriage, and although he divorced his queen, he hasn’t renounced her illegitimate daughter or formally established Ysabel as his heir apparent with the Castilian nobles.”

Now it was Ferdinand’s turn to shake his head. “But the treaty of the Bulls of Guisando should have worked as a formal establishment of Ysabel’s claim.”

Father nodded, his brow furrowed. “Should, yes; but that scoundrel Enrique is a lying, cheating, weak-willed son of pigs,” he spat. “I am no more surprised at his treatment of Princess Ysabel than I am that the girl wants jewels included in her wedding gift.”

Ferdinand exhaled deeply. “Well then, we must move these arrangements along as quickly as possible. The sooner I can be by her side, the better. At least then, she won’t be alone.”

Behind Palencia’s blue eyes, a new light sparked. “Yes, your highness. I have the marriage contract with me, and you and your noble father can sign it tonight. The sooner the better, I say. Not only are you the saving grace for the princess, but I believe your marriage will begin a new era for this sad, war-torn land.”

Ferdinand took another sip of wine, its bold, tart cherry flavor rolling over his tongue. He had to agree with Palencia’s statement. Certainly, if he didn’t, he would have to believe that not only his marriage, but also his reign was doomed to failure.

Click here for part 3!


Author’s Notes

Several of these characters are known in this part of the world by the Anglicized form of their names, but I have chosen to keep their Old Spanish names. Following is a complete list, along with their Anglican names: Bianca (Blanche) Carlos (Charles), Enrique (Henry), Juan (John), Juana (Joanna), and Ysabel (Isabella).

During his childhood, Ferdinand had many tutors in various arts, and swordplay was most certainly one of his subjects. Sir Pedro de Gerona, however, is a fictional character.


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For Further Exploration

Isabella: The Warrior Queen by Kirstin Downey

Ferdinand II: King of Spain by Britannica Encyclopedia

Catalonian Civil War by Revolvy

Alfonso de Palencia (1424-1492) by MCN Biografias

John II of Aragon by Revolvy

Charles, Prince of Viana by Revolvy

Catalan Revolt (1461–1472) by Encyclopedia of Wars, Vol. 1

Louis XI by Britannica

The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella: The Catholic, of Spain, Volume 1 pub. 1859; Part the First, chapter II (pg. 48-61)

Photo curtesy of Kirsten Downey, Isabella: The Warrior Queen, ©2014


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