Margherita is devastated. When brothers, Iago, the
Sword, and Ferdinando, the Rose, return from a sea voyage, she
wants a proposal from one, but instead receives it from the one she didn’t
want. She is sent to her sister, Isabella, in Valencia, where she is introduced
to yet another potential suitor, Don Ramón de Cabezon. This turn of events
upsets Margherita’s brother Miguel, who comes to take her back to Cullera.
Brother and suitor come to blows. While one comes out the winner, the
other meets his demise.
Iago and Ferdinando’s quest to find justice for the
deceased leads to sibling rivalry between the two. Who will come out the winner
in a duel between the two brothers? And more importantly, which one will win Margherita’s
gaze at the stars during hot summer nights, or to watch ships as they sailed in and out of the port of Valencia, which was located further up the coast. He walked over to it now and peered through its delicate lenses, focusing it to
bring the ship clearly into view. Her sails, pink in color from the early evening sunset, bellowed in the wind. Every inch of canvas stretched out from every mast speeding her journey through the azure blue water. He followed her
lines to the bow which was being coated with a fine spray of white foam. As she sliced through the waves, the ship’s figurehead, a woman’s torso scantily dressed in what seemed to represent a fine white gown. Rich chestnut hair
flying in the wind in her hands a crucifix held to her bosom was being bathed.
A thin smile appeared on Juan’s lips as he recognized the Santa Theresa.
to early evening devotions. He stepped back into the bedchamber. His wife, Ermelinda, stirred in her slumber. She was a fine, tall woman, with dark brown curly hair and blue eyes. An unusual combination for someone of pure Spanish
blood as she, although it had been rumored that several generations back, her mother’s part of the family may have originated from either Southern France or Northern Italy. Although their betrothal had been arranged by their parents, as
was the custom, almost twenty years before, on meeting her for the first time, Juan had immediately fallen in love with her. Apart from being quite stunningly beautiful, he discovered Ermelinda had a wonderful personality and a good sense
of humor, a trait that he found lacking in some women, especially those of the Borja family themselves. Despite having no sisters, Juan did have several aunts, and he and his brothers always found them too severe and stuffy. Having Ermelinda
about him added zest to his life. Her laugh and demeanor was intoxicating in themselves they were the recipe for their happy and successful marriage.
children. Veronica was sixteen years of age, Dorotea and Alfonso, who were another set of twins, were fourteen. Juan felt he was truly blessed to have such a wonderful family.
stepped over to the bed, kissing his wife lightly on the cheek and whispered in her ear, “The Santa Theresa is home.”
evening meal as he crossed the courtyard, deciding he would attend Mass in the village in order to give thanks to God for the safe return of his brother’s ship.
On the opposite side of the cove, the Castillo d’Almansa stood on a massive rock overlooking the village below it, which spread out beside the mouth of the Rio Jucar. The church was full with the local population wishing to attend Mass
before resuming their daily chores.
his way to the family pew. His presence caused a whisper amongst them, as it was unusual to see him amongst them in the church itself. The Borjas only ever attended it during formal functions or whenever there was an occasion that
needed a great deal of space, as the Villa Sant’Angelo boasted a small chapel in its grounds. Mass was usually only said there at mid-morning in order to allow the family members to awaken properly. Juan, however, although he had
attended morning Mass wished to pray for his brother’s safe return, and then set off to Valencia to welcome him personally and to look upon his sons after their lengthy absence.
entered the church flanked by two altar boys.
Mass in Latin.
thoughts were of his sons, seeing as how it was in this very church three years before, they had all attended a service to bless the Santa Theresa and all who sailed on her, on her impending voyage to the New World.
been listening, but he knew that, even in his youth, the tranquility and peace he felt whilst at church, always resulted in his mind drifting to other things.
This time he was anxious to see the Sword and the Rose. Iago, the Sword, due to his quick, sharp mind, always so determined and delivering his point of view with precision and impact. Ferdinando however, similar to a Rose,
had a gentle nature, and like a bud coming into bloom, showed promise of one day becoming a much sought after prize. Juan smiled at the simile, an observation his dearest Ermelinda had once remarked upon, and had since stayed within the
family as private pet names for the boys.
Louise Roberts was born in Alexandria, Egypt in August 1951
to British parents by Maltese descent. Following the Suez Crisis in November
1956 her parents were compelled to abandon their assets and home, and leave the
country as political refugees. Louise grew up and was educated in London,
England and has always held a passion for history and English Literature.
In 1988 she immigrated to Sydney, Australia and presently
lives with her family in the northern bushland suburb of Berowra, which is
located just south of the Hawkesbury River.