I know not much of Francois’ personal matters with his wife. Those matters did not concern my situation, and that family was one that regarded their personal affairs as just that? They were not ones to cause such disturbances as to be considered a topic for court gossip. In fact, I believe the precarious situation that Francois’ affair with Marie had placed the houses of France and Spain in… being that Marie and Gerard were French Nobles… had shaken both houses to their core? It was one thing to have an acceptable by all accounts in France, Mistress… it was an entirely different matter to have that Mistress turn out to be involved in such traitorous actions! I do know that from that point on, Francois and Isabel presented a united front to the world and did indeed produce an heir during their stay at Royals Castle!
They remained at Royals Castle for some time due to Isabel’s pregnancy and the son was born in Dragon Valley at the Castle. Juan Carlos also remained in Dragon Valley for the duration of his sister’s confinement but did take up residence with his son at a smaller castle. I know little about him, he was a quite private sort and did not much associate with the others. It was said that his main purpose for staying the longer length of time was to find a suitable, appropriate wife for his son, Philip who would eventually be the next ruler of Spain. Juan Carlos was intent on making sure there were no scandals or skeletens in the future bride’s past that should come out later to haunt them? I am supposing that finding a young lady of these requirements was becoming rather difficult!
As to my situation then, I remained at Royals Castle getting used to my new responsibilities and new charges. I had not previously met Mary of England but quickly realized that she might be the bane of my existance! I began to believe that this was truly the punishment extracted upon me by Henry? This young woman was perhaps the most grating and annoying creature I had ever chance to meet? She was religious to the extremes and felt an overwhelming need to save us all with her self rightious beleifs that we were all sinners and should surely burn in Hell if not for her saving grace? In contrast to her religious extremes were her desperate attempts to find a husband, and her love of lavish finery and food! In addition, although she was well educated and intelligent, she was easily swayed and gullible to what ever an attractive man might want to convince her of?
Her two younger half sisters were as different as night and day but for their physical appearances which were somewhat similar. Despite their differences, they immediately developed a close bond with each other and were seldom any trouble for me other than the usual plights and fancies of young girls! Elizabeth was gregarious, flirtatious, and a bit mischevious… if ever there was a prank or such of unknown source, I knew who was responsible! Jane, whom I had raised for the most part, was the opposite. She was serious, studious, painfully shy. I often had to drag her from her books to join us or participate in social activities which were paramount and necessary for her to be seen as a suitable candidate for marriage!
While the Royals were in Dragon Valley sorting out the messes that Marie and Gerard had created, they all set about putting down footholds in the place and firming their various connections with the now much recognized and approved Ruler, Lady Leona Woodville. Her Highness preferred to be addressed by Lady Leona, she made note that her clans would be far more comfortable with that title than any others? She was much respected, trusted and truly liked by all! Lady Leona had shown compassion, honor and spirit in all of the events that occured. Sir Francis as he was now known, had given up his service to Henry and took his rightful place in the Woodlyon house. It was felt by all that even though he had little understanding of Clan ways any longer and possbily closer ties to England, he would one day become an honourable and just Protector and Ruler of Dragon Valley. One of his first priorities was to honor a request by his Mother to return her daughters home where they belonged!
This task proved far more difficult than first imagined. It took much involved work by the House of France to in the end, accomplish! The first daughter’s return was not so entailed or difficult other than the fact that she did want to return and had to be forced to only with assurances that she would be allowed to return to the land she now called home, the Highlands of Scotland! It took much convincing of the Highland Clans to allow their ward to come to Dragon Valley. She was not only thier ward, but their bargaining piece, their own pawn now in determining their future? They had been distrustful of Gerard in the first place and now were proven vindicated in that respect. They had little trust as well for the English, or the French… and what trust they had in Lady Leona had been strained to it’s limits! The Highland Clans suspected all of the parties involved of gaining the young Leora back then turning on the Clans? Leora was of this thought herself and held little trust for a Mother whom she felt had abandoned her? Sir Francis had traveled to the Highlands, made a very fragile peace and escorted his sister home. To say the least, it had not been a pleasent homecoming on any level!
The youngest daughter was a difficult matter in all respects. She had been removed as an infant by Gerard. Lady Leona knew nothing of where he had taken her other than to be raised in France? It took an intense search and investigation of what little accounts Gerard had not destroyed to unearth the girl’s identity and whereabouts… Imagine my alarm, distress and surprise when I discovered that she was none other than a young orphan placed in our household to raise during our time in France! Lady Marie had accepted a small child into our household during that time known as Diantha DeJewelle. Marie had stated that she was a distant relative and was in need of a proper upbringing that we could provide. Of course at the time, I had not questioned it… I was in no position to question anything of Marie at that time!
So, it seemed that the child, Diantha had survived a timeslip of her own… or Gerard’s? I am still certain that Gerard is in some part responsible for these or know how to use them somehow? Diantha had suffered as a child from those horrific headaches as well so now it appeared to make some sense? I willingly admit that Diantha was much adored and favored by me. I know it is not proper or correct to display such favorites to the young one’s in your care. But, it does occur that you become more attached and fond of one child over others? I did attempt always to keep my pleasure and my favor of her in limit and control so as not to cause Jane undue heartache. Diantha was such a sweet, loving, and beautiful child it was difficult for any around her not to be enchanted by her! She was dutiful, obedient, always wanting to please those around her. Her one youthful passion was books? Books of any kind… But, she was not overly bookish as was Jane’s tendancy? The books were a bond between her Jane though, they had become close friends through their years of being raised together. It tore at our hearts when Lady Marie had decided that Diantha would not accompany us on our future but would be placed in a Noble house of France as a young Lady of Waiting in training.
Marie assured all of us that this placement would ensure the young Lady Diantha a place in French Nobility and we should all be happy for her! Before she left, I had taken her aside and reminded her quietly that I had not raised and trained her to be anything other than proper? She should not compromise her values, her personal beleifs or her reputation to gain fleeting status in an uncertain future. My greatest fear for her was that Marie would have her trained and tutored in other ways of gaining status… such as those of a Mistress? I knew not of which household Marie was sending her off to. Marie of course said, “That is not of your concern! You attach far too much fondness to a child who is not yours to govern the future of!”
My heart was broken, but I knew far better than to show it to Marie, to give her any additional ammunition to hold over or against me at a future time! I had far more pressing concerns to deal with at the time… those of preparing our household for the fateful journey to Dragon Valley.
Now, much to my relief, Lady Diantha was on her way back to Dragon Valley. I knew this would be traumatic for her. A child who had been lied to, told her parents were deceased only to find that her Father was a much hated traitor to all countries and her Mother was ruler of a land that would in many ways appear Barbaric and primitive to Diantha? When my role in her life had been discovered, I was called upon to assist in her arrival and her transition to her new family? I was firmly reminded though that I should not interfere or hinder her return to her family. I was merely to be a go between, a liason in persuading her to be accepting of her new circumstances and her place in life.
She had been escorted to Royals Castle by members of Francois’ family, whom it was revealed that she had been placed in service to. Diantha had been told little of the situation surrounding her because no one was quite sure how to approach it! She assumed that she was there as a serving member of the household visiting Francois? It was left to me to explain the details and the circumstances… I continued to feel as though these chores were all part of my ongoing subtle punishment! The Royals did not see it so, they felt that it was better for her to hear it all from me. My heart filled to see her again, yet broke to have to tell her the details. My one consuming fear was that she might in some way hold me responsible for a part in all of it though I had no knowledge what so ever of her situation or the circumstances of Gerard’s deception and betrayal with her? Once again, all I could do was put my faith in a God that I was not so certain about, and pray!