Saturday, November 10, 2012
As I ponder how best to chronicle the events I am about to share with you, I am reminded by Danto, my closest friend, that it is usually best to start at the beginning. A daunting task since this tale began almost six hundred years ago in what is now known as Andorra, a tiny principality, nestled in the Pyrenees on the French-Spanish border.
Narrow valleys and mountainous terrain dominate the landscape but sprinkled here and there one would see a pretty little village or the occasional small hamlet. Clear mountain air, clean mountain streams, and simple living are often attributed for the general longevity of the populous, with many Andorran’s living well past 100 years. Unfortunately, my life ended at the ripe age of 21, but I get ahead of myself. The year was 1381, and at that time the country was under the join rule of
a unique agreement to be sure. Spain’s
interests were represented by the pious and portly Bishop of Urgel and due to
his influence Catholicism was and still remains the predominant religion of the
however, chose a nobleman, the esteemed Count of Foix, Gaston III Phoebus often
referred to as Lord of the Pyrenees and as
luck would have it he was also my father.
Beauty, a word not usually associated with male appearance, was in Gaston’s case an apt description. Blessed with an Adonis physique, a thick mane of curling blonde hair, and eyes as blue as a summer sky, my father was an exceedingly handsome and charismatic man.
My lady mother, Agnes of Evreux, was the beautiful and very spoiled daughter of Philip III, Count of Evreux and his wife Joan II, whose brother Charles II was King of Navarre. As a member of two very old and powerful families she was raised with wealth and privilege and expected to be treated as no less than the royal she was.
My parent’s arranged marriage was intended to expand and strengthen their aristocratic families but unfortunately it was destined to failure from the beginning. My father wanted nothing more than to pursue his interests prior to marriage, namely hunting, arms, and chasing attractive women not necessarily in that order, and my mother was ill-suited to pay the role of dutiful wife to a narcissistic, unfaithful husband.
Although my parents marriage was accrimonious they somehow managed to produce an offspring. I was born in 1360, and was christined Gaston IV Phoebus. Three short years later my mother returned to
Navarre with me in tow and later
divorced my father who I rarely saw after that. I became a ward of my great-uncle, King
Charles, also known as “Charles the Wicked” or “Charles the Bad”,
both well deserved monikers.
Charles was deceitful and unscrupulous by nature. In the power struggle between
he alternately allied himself with both powers, repeatedly switching sides in
order to further his own agendas. He had
no compunction in taking advantage of my youth to foster a deep resentment towards
my father meanwhile instilling in me a desire to revenge the
disregard shown my mother.
When I reached my twenty-first year my uncle succeeded in his encouragements that I exact retribution. A plot was hatched to poison the Count during one of my rare visits to him. Ultimately the attempt was unsuccessful. My father, furious at my duplicity, attacked me with such ferocity that I was caught completely by surprise. In the ensuing brawl I was heaved over his shoulder and pitched head first down the great stairway of my father’s manor resulting in my immediate demise from a broken neck. Of course many believed my death was no accident and this dear reader is where the story begins.