Welcome to Gloria Patri. We are a mature, alternate universe, historical RPG that is set in 1492 Rome, Italy. The Borgia Pope now sits in the chair of Saint Peters and rules the country with a proclaimed divine right and an iron fist.
Behind the curtains his children plot and scheme to secure their hold of power. They seek to carve out an empire on the Borgia name. Lies, treachery, murder and lust drive the forces of the Papal States and blood shall run through the streets of Rome.
Only one question remains; how will your story change the fate of history?
Two strings of sea pearls stood out against raven-colored curls as they looped through each and every tassel before meeting in the back at a small, white hair net that held a small amount of hair at the back of the head. Finally, four strings of pearls hung loosely from the hair net and swayed with the rest of the dark curls. A porcelain neckline hosted several strings of that hung in swag before reattaching to several large ruby pieces as a necklace. Large ruby jewels were crafted into a tear-shape and incased in silver. Each jewel took the form of a pair of earrings surrounded two layers of diamonds. These jewels were the most prized by the young Gonzaga as, unbeknownst to anyone, they were gifts from her secret lover, one of the sons of the Colonna family. For his safety and her own, it was best that this gift and their affection remain in hushed tones and tender words, for if anyone were to find out the scandal could erupt in a war between her brother and the Colonnas. It must also be mentioned that she was to be traded to the Naples Prince, and if he were to catch wind of the affair, he may also see fit to raze the Colonna family to the ground to defend his interests in her. It was all a disaster, a mess. The thought of the wrong person finding out such information and blackmailing her for money, or other means of value, didn't even occur to her.
Why did everything have to be so dramatic? Why did they have to be forbidden and stand on opposing sides of the battle line? Yes, her brother had fought for peace with the Colonna family, but it stood on weak grounds and Elisa understood how the smallest hint of treachery could that fragile peace crashing to the ground. But she loved him, or thought she might. Elisa had never known the meaning of true love, but she knew that she had never felt like this before, and that these feelings were strong, despite only knowing him personally for a few short weeks. She knew she cared for him, and knew that her feelings were growing, but how strong could it rival the love of her family, and how powerful could it be to ensnare the wants and needs of her city and people? War was an ugly affair, many lives could be lost, husbands, sons, fathers, and all their blood would be on her hands for the love of one man. This was not a price she could pay easily, and it was not a decision she was wanting to make. Thankfully she wouldn't have to tonight.
"You've been awfully quiet on the ride here." Commented her sister-in-law Isabella, who sat across of her in the coach. Both, she and Elisabetta had been forced by Francesco to attend the Ball, claiming that he was too "unwell" to go, but that the Gonzaga family must be represented.
Elisa turned her attention from the glowing streets of Rome to her sister-in-law. "Oh? I'm just tired is all." She retorted plainly, but in a lower tone than usual to express her exhaustion. If anyone knew her well enough to figure out her secret it would be Isabella, so she was forced to take extra care around her to ensure that nothing slipped.
Isabella eyes her younger sister-in-law curiously, pulling her lips to one side in the form of a smug grin. "That so? I think you're nervous. I know you've heard the rumors that Prince Alfonso may make an appearance at the ball tonight."
Elisabetta's dark eyes grew large at this news, she had forgotten all about the possibility that Alfonso may be there tonight! Prospero was planning on coming too! She would be in the same room with both of them at the same time?! It could almost be guaranteed that the Prince would want to dance and talk with her, examine the assets of his possible new bride, one who may one day be Queen of Naples. She just hoped that Prospero didn't see, or at least hopped he wasn't the jealous type...
Dark caramel eyes shifted from Isabella's broad and excited smile back to the window, watching as they approached the Palace. The door opened and Elisa was escorted out first. She was clad in a stunning silk gown made of a stunning red and gold demask. The neck line was low and gold silk embroidery ornate the hem. The sleeves were short in length. Her sister-in-law stepped out of the coach behind her, dressed in an purple gown. Dark eyes looked up the steps of the Palace before a soft sigh passed her rouged lips.This was certainly going to be a long evening...
Ilaria Alagona was a nobody really. She was a cousin to some important main family sure, but she was a no one. Hell she certainly never ever felt that she ever belonged in the circle of the Nobility and the Royalty. Ilaria was a dreamer and a child born to a man who broke code to a degree and did what he wanted rather than what his family wanted. Least till his death. Ilaria was heartbroken and her mother was cast out and down, marrying a man that tried to make things right for his new wife and step daughter. Ilaria knew her family. knew her real family and who truly loved her, but there came a day where she needed to go and make her own decisions in life.
Sadly that day had come too soon and had ended as quickly as it had begin. Her cousin was a bishop, well one of them was anyhow. Her other cousin was a noble and partially royal lady that required a friend to have to make herself look more beautiful and proper. Ilaria wanted to refuse, but her cousin the Bishop well he had made things well worth her while. Least at first, lately she felt like she perhaps was being used too much by both her cousins. Tonight was no exception. She was to be each of their companions at the Papal Ball. Ilaria had been dreading tonight all week long. Sure she got a new and fancy dress out of the deal but that wasn't the point she was... being used once more.
Ilaria was between both her cousins as they made their way inside and into the main ballroom. She was in awe, her cousin, the Bishop whispered against her ear how beautiful she looked, she smiled to him in thanks and then heard him speak of the room itself and who was around them. "Vittorio, I am not blind, nor stupid, I know the main people around us. You have both introduced me more than enough times to the truly important people." Ilaria said, though softly. she knew how her cousin could get. he smiled to her though speaking low telling her he knew that she knew, he was actually reminding his sister, and at that Ilaria gave him a rare smile only he ever got to see.
Ilaria looked to Nicola, She was younger than Ilaria was by a year yet she held herself high and always looked older. Ilaria didn't mind, besides right now Ilaria was not looking for any sort of romance. least not from nobles. She wasn't actually worthy enough. She also didn't need it right now. she had Vittorio, though no one knew about them and their late night trysts. Ilaria kept a place inside the city that was all her's and Vittorio only visited her there, never when she spent the night at his sister's home.
Ilaria looked around and Nicola found some nobleman to enchant for the evening, Vittorio excused himself and she watched him make his way towards a few Cardinals and bishops. Ilaria stood alone and simply silent as she took it all in. She didn't mind she liked to watch people. She studied many, she watched closely the Borgia's though. One day she thought one day she would make friends with them. She knew the power they now held, she knew that power was important and she wasn't looking for power for herself, actually she found it would be wonderful if Vittorio held more power, perhaps a cardinalship. she felt he would look good in red. Ilaria was a dreamer, and well let's face it they were cousins but not blood cousins, so her and Vittorio weren't as much a taboo as it may seem.
Cesare had been dreading this ball all week. Hell he was no stranger to parties and balls, but that didn't mean he liked being here, nor did he like that he had to be civil with half the nobles that he knew for a fact would rather stab him or his father in the back. Cesare was here for several reasons to be sure, but bottom line was he was here to make sure his family remained safe. He had already promised his sister a dance and he was watching his father, and his mother, who was keeping as low a profile as she could, though that may be for several different reasons.
Cesare moved about the halls before finally making his way into the main ballroom. He stood near his mother for a few moments before he was pushed to go and mingle. Sometimes he hated being who he was. However he was used to mingling with the pretty ladies. He saw one of the Bishops, Vittorio, he was accompanied by not one woman but two. Vittorio was similar in look to one so Cesare figured sister, the other, well Cesare was determined to find out what that was all about. Cesare took in her appearance and then moved around the ballroom, following the young woman. He also observed Elisabetta Gonzaga as she arrived with, who appeared to be her sister in law Isabella. He was figuring he should go and be social with them at some point.
Cesare moved through the crowds. He continued to watch the women he was so curious about. Ok curious about the one, in some way dreading speaking to the others. Not that Elisabetta and Isabella weren't pretty they were, but Cesare knew regardless of his charm their families still weren't happy that his father was Pope. Cesare frowned slightly as the woman Vittorio was with seemed to be watching him as much as he was watching her. Perhaps it was time to speak with Elisabetta and Isabella after all. He began to make his way towards them and bowed gracefully to each. "It is wonderful that the two loveliest ladies of the Gonzaga family could make it tonight."
The room was warm, almost too warm. The heat of the day had not lessened much as the sun fell. The cluster of bodies, hot breaths, thick gowns and wool and leather doublets made it feel like the southern marshes rather than the northern jewel of Italy. The Countessa felt stuffy, as if the very life was being suffocated out of her. She twitched and fidgeted in her corset, feeling every steel bar shift and dig into her ribs. Perhaps it was the nerves that both The Prince and Prospero might be present and that all could explode right here in front of all the influential people of Rome... And Itala. All the Cardinals had been forced to attend, though some did not look as pleased to be here as others, many of the Archbishops and foreign diplomats from across the mountains have come to pay their respects and size up the new Pope so they could report back to their masters' thrones. And lastly, all the old families of Italy were also all present. The Orsinis had gathered in the back corner discussing politics with with the Orsini Cardinal, their Patriarch of their family. The small gathering of Vitell mingled with the Cardinal Piccolomini and his brood, and Piero Medici and his wife clung tightly to their advisor Niccolo Machiavelli, father always said he was a brilliant man. All of these groups occasionally glanced over their shoulders, as if someone lurked in the shadows attempting to eavesdrop on their schemes, operating in fear that their rivals might find out the others' plots. Do doubt all were in a roar about how to handle the Borgia Pope.
All stood in whispering groups, huddled around one another, all except for the Sforzas. No, Caterina and her brother Giovanni strutted around the dance floor like a band of cackling peacocks. The Lady Sforza stole all stares in her lavish black and gold gown and dazzling gold and diamond jewels, glittering like the sea itself. Her brother Giovanni was in a matching doublet made of a matching black suede, simple for the most part, but made ornate with his gold chain collar, bright diamonds were the center piece of each link in the collar. It was almost a shame how they flaunted themselves, but perhaps it was all just a ploy to, to make an over the top display of themselves. It was no secret that the Sforza family openly despises and speaks out against the Borgia family and Borgia Pope. Thus, it was a shock that her own cousin was made second under the Pope and there was even word that he had voted in his favor. Such strange things.
It was almost sad how her two sons trailed behind, the younger, Bernardino was it, trudged like a whipped puppy, keeping heel to his masters demands. His shoulders slumped forward and his head hung lower and he appeared more like a servant rather than a man of noble blood. There were even whispers that he had been adopted for it was nearly impossible for an offspring to fall so far from the family tree as he did. But, the older son stood erect, shoulders rolled back and firm, head held high, a stance that obviously demanded attention. His hand rested on the hilt of his blade, as if ready for anything, everything about him screamed discipline, force, honor. Elisabetta had run into him several times, thinking him to be very attractive but he lacked the art of conversation. He was certainly the strong and silent type.
Carmel coated eyes scanned the room once more, the Prince and his outlandish entourage had not yet arrived, and thankfully neither had the Colonna family, but as her gaze swept the room they focused on someone closing in and she remembered him to be the older of the Borgia children, Cesare. His attention swept between she and another red-haired, bright eyed girl. The girl was not as ornate in fine jewels as the other women of the ball, nor even herself, her gown was also of a thicker material and not the thin and sheer satin as the others. It was obvious that she was from the lower class of Nobles, which was more likely as she did not recognize her face, and hair and eyes like hers were not easily mistaken. She stood and chatted with a man fashioned in a Bishop's robes, though his face also escaped her as no name came to call. At first Elisa assumed Cesare was looking to speak to the Bishop, but as the Bishop walked away to mingle with the crowd his gaze remained fixed on the girl for a moment, as if just as curious of her and her title as Elisa was. Curious, however, that instead of approaching her and speaking with her, the eldest Borgia decided to make his way toward Elisabetta and Isabella.
He approached with all the grace and charm of his father, but he was far easier on the eyes. It was no secret that many women of the Italian courts, and even foreign courts, found this man very attractive, and had it not been for his namesake and the fact that he was fixed in Clergy drab, he would easily have his pick of the women. It was also possible that he still had his pick as it was not uncommon for men of the Church to take mistresses and bare children, that is after all how he was created was it not? A son of the Pope of Rome. Shameful, but true.
He bowed and Isabella and Elisa both curtsied as was custom, and just as he had introduced himself Isabella spoke up, blushing softly. "Ahh Bishop Borgia, such a pleasure." She pipped up quickly. But just as the words left her mouth a member of the Medici family came up behind her, demanding her attention on matters of money and the Gonzaga family funds. Isabella excused herself from the conversation and Elisabetta was now left alone with Cesare.
The dark haired maiden did not blush nor shy away from the Borgia Bastard, but rather held her own in perfect stride. She stood straight, shoulders gently relaxed yet firm in confidence. Her arms were bent at the elbow and her hands were held one on top of the other just at the base of her ribs, as was proper for a woman of such blood. "I thank you for your flattery Bishop," she started, her voice cool and calm, but quiet. Dark eyes scanned the room once more and noticed that none of the other Borgia children had yet made themselves known, nor had their father. Surely he was waiting till the last moment to make a grande entrance. Elisa brought her gaze back to Cesare's dark stare, holding his gaze. "I do not see your sister nor your brothers, will they be attending this evening?"
Cesare figured he would corner Vittorio before he went to speak with the woman he had brought along with him for the evening. It wasn't strange for Bishops and Cardinals to take lovers, Hell he been with more than a few in his time. Most never knew he was a bishop until the morning after. It was remarkable how some were so blind. Cesare however was also used to having to shoo his dear sister away some mornings after. It was for awhile a nice little game. everything had changed once their father was elected Pope. Cesare knew some changes were good and others not so much. He was dreading his soon to be new position. He was not looking forward to rising higher within the church.
Cesare was polite and mingled with a few before he made his way towards Elisabetta and her sister in law. Cesare thanked them for coming and also complimented them. Cesare smiled to Elisabetta as she seemed to speak first, her sister in law excusing herself. Cesare nodded and then felt a slight need to admit his Bishop title wouldn't last for long. "Soon to be Cardinal Borgia, but please call me Cesare." He sometimes hated the title he had. He knew it meant a lot but lately he hated being his Father's right hand in the church. He understood it had to be done, however he was not looking to stay in church robes forever.
Cesare looked about then his eyes focused on Elisabetta once more. He met her gaze as she asked about his siblings. "Oh they will be along I'm sure, and you certainly would not miss Juan and whatever grand entrance he may have in store. As for my sister, well I am certain a fair amount of hands will be taking hers in a dance this evening." he paused then smiled. "Much like many would be taking your hand this evening as well. I mean woman of your beauty and position, who wouldn't want to dance with you." Cesare was laying it on thick. He had caught Elisabetta looking at Vittorio's escort as well. He moved a bit and found the young woman with his eyes again. "she is a rarity is she not, not noble from the looks, yet dear Bishop Alagona decided to bring her along anyhow. Shall we go and see who she is?" He said his eyes asking as much as his words.
Peripheral vision kept tabs on her dear sister-in-law, they were the women of the Gonzaga line, thus making them viable assets to any of their enemies or those who would seek to up their hand by holding them for ransom. Though this would be a foolish plight, her brother commanded enough of a force to crush most in the Hills of the Romagna. Elisa was also fully aware that if any harm came to her person not only would her brother come to her aid, or seek revenge, but Prospero would also accompany Francesco, finally united under a common enemy. It was even possible that Prince Alfonso might be alarmed and enraged enough to follow suite. Small goosebumps crawled up her arm and the hairs on the back of her neck stood erect, such a force of a united Gonzaga and Colonna houses and the armies of Naples was enough of a swarm to bring around the certain Second Coming. The fact that their long-time family friend Tiziano Della Rovere were to join the campaign surly they would be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, brewing death, vengeance and destruction in their wake as they raged on fiery steeds. Such thoughts were frightful, to be aware that such things could all come about just because of harm done to her was terrifying.
Such dreadful thoughts were shaken off as the eldest Borgia spoke once again. Her dark brow furrowed as she noticed his once light-hearted expression fade to a look of regret. He chose to correct her and state that he was soon to be Cardinal. Ahh so the rumors circulating the streets of Rome had been true, the Boriga Pope had intended to go through with declaring his bastard son as Cardinal, despite all the protests and claims of simony. But, Elisabetta picked up on the disdain in his voice, he spoke as if he did not long for this elevation in the Clergy, despite the fact that it meant a great deal more wealth and power. Surly that was what all men strive for is it not? To rule the World, carve their name in History so their legacy would not be forgotten? And yet here he stood before her almost rejecting the idea. This was very curious to Elisa and there was an urge to question him about the matter, but she thought it wise not to press the issue further.
A wise thought indeed for no sooner had it arrived did the exasperated expression disappear and his once cheerful nature returned. His dark and intense gaze left hers for a moment as they scanned the room, and rather than follow his vision Elisa observed him... Watching, making mental notes about his behavior. He did not seem as foolish and devilish as all had laid claim to be. He was a normal man behaving as any man would in such a social circumstance. Her mental track was shifted as he looked back at her and he explained the absence of his younger siblings. Still observing him, she noticed the way his lip curled when speaking of his brother, as if catching wiff of a foul smell. Elisa had also heard many stories of the notorious Juan Borgia, how he was far more rash and dim-witted of the entire bastard brood, constantly in bar fights and causing problems with acts of impulse, behaving like a child throwing a tantrum. Elisa had no doubt that Cesare might be right in thinking that he would not be missed by her this evening.
Things took an interesting turn as Cesare commented on Elisabetta's beauty, charming her as it were. This was curious, there was always word that Cesare was a ladies man, and it was hard not to be with looks such as his, but why try to seduce her? He was soon to be a Prince of the Church and there was no way her faith could allow her to go against the Word of God and sleep with a member of the Papal Curia! She was almost offended for a moment, but forced down such impulses. All she did was not at his explanation if his brothers and sister. "Ahh I see." Was her simple reply. But things once again changed direction as he edged closer toward her and looked out into the crowd with her, his guidance made their eyes land on the red-haired girl she had noticed before. He spoke and it was obvious that he had made the same assumptions Elisa had a moment ago. She was of low birth, but had a little bit of money, somewhere. Her brow furrowed for a second. "Why? What purpose is there to speak to her if she is not of noble blood?"
Cesare was a man of complexity and no one ever truly fully could figure him out. Some thought they could, Cesare knew only he himself knew him fully. Cesare showed different sides of himself to everyone around him. Cesare showed his softer loving side to those he deemed worthy of it, his sister and mother amongst those special and worthy enough. His father.. well his father saw him as an ally in the church and would make him a Cardinal. Cesare no wish of that, but there was little he could do to persuade his father against it. However Cesare laid plans daily to free himself of the robes he would soon wear.
Cesare watched Elisabetta's facial expressions and he had to wonder what she was thinking of him and his words. He had no desire to bed her, no even he had his limits not to mention he knew her reputation, and he knew... knew very well that Elisabetta was slated for a marriage. Cesare knew things were at unease in Rome, all because of his father's Papacy. Cesare knew who were more likely enemies than friends. It was part of why he was being so charming towards Elisabetta. Not for any other reason of trying to show her that the Borgias were certainly not as bad as everyone said they were. They were human and were as faulty as every other family in Rome and in Italy. Cesare was more than convinced some words of kindness could earn at least himself some greater respect. However he knew sometimes prejudices were hard to ignore and change.
Cesare had to smirk. "Ah so just cause one is not of noble blood they are not worth talking to?" Cesare paused a moment. "If that were the case no one would ever find out anything in life. she arrived with a Bishop, one I have known fairly well. I did not think him capable of knowing a beauty that is she. I mean as another woman surely you see even though she is not noble she is beautiful." Cesare asked pointedly. Cesare was curious, especially since he was almost certain the young woman had been watching him as much as he had been watching her. Cesare was more than certain that Vittorio was more man than Bishop when he was with the young woman. Cesare knew full well that not all was what it seemed as well Rome was full of surprises it seemed.
It was standard fare for the evening. Everyone had turned out: well wishers, naysayers, the envious and the sycophants. Each clamored for their own piece of this moment, sensing that something fundamental was shifting. For the second time now, a Spaniard sat St. Peter's chair. For the first time in memory, the saracen menace had faltered, driven from the ancient gates of Herakles. The peninsula boiled, pregnant with controversies ready to birth a new world entirely. The one who sat astride it? That man could leave his stamp on all of history. So they'd all come here, clamoring for the chance to be that one, and only lately realizing their failures. Chiefest amongst them, his present partner in conversation, the Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere.
“Even the Kings of Israel were admonished for this, seeking glory in their houses of cedar,” he was saying, deep in a homily-cum-rant.
Prospero was only paying passing attention. The man had a point, though. The weight of Borgia's grandeur was likely to drag down this whole edifice. Cloth of gold was draped everywhere. Mother or pearl inlays sparkled in the evening lights. There was more wealth hanging off the collected bodies here than in several whole provinces combined. None, of course, were more glorious than Borgia and his bastard brood. He caught Cesare's entrance, the young archbishop strutting through ballroom like the thing was his very inheritance. Of course, if the rumors were true, it was exactly that.
“As Our Lord was born in a manger, sometimes the greatest satisfactions are those we might overlook. So we might joy in the simplest things in life,” della Rovere finished.
Prospero's eyes settled on long, dark tresses, hanging just so, as if cherubs flocked to hold the whole thing in place. He felt his heart suddenly more forceful in his chest. Wondered if a slight blush spread on his cheeks, or if his lips curled upwards. More, he wondered if she would to the same, if she saw him from across the room. Then he chided himself that they couldn't and wondered at the madness of it all. The torrent that Fabrizio had drawn him into. A paradox where the most gentle thing he knew had been imbued with an explosive power to rip their world apart in war. And one where he, ever cautious, was drawn forward anyway.
“Cardinal, I believe you are right” he said.
He went further. A few minutes later, when their conversation concluded he was making his way across the ballroom. Not that he was going to speak, of course. Only, she happened to be on that side, and wearing the things he'd given her. Even if he were to admire them--to admire her--no one would ever know. Not when she was in an entirely different conversation. And so his heart joined his feet in edging him closer to the one thing he ought to have avoided that night.
The sound of brass instruments and woodwinds filled the air as the band was started up. Excitement swelled in the room and all eyes turned to the dance floor. Many grabbed the hands of their wives and quickly made their way out onto the polished hardwood. The younger and more shy gentlemen frantically eyed the crowd trying to find a pretty girl to dance with and mustering up enough courage to ask.
It was then that dark eyes noticed movement toward her. A tall figure with light brown curls. Her heart rate quickened and she felt a warm sensation rush to her cheeks. Elisabetta tilted her head down slightly and looked away, making vain attempts to hide the growing pink in her cheeks. They had to remain discrete, they had to remain discrete. She kept repeating this mantra in her head over and over as she tried to force the blood from her warm cheeks, praying no one noticed.
Suddenly she looked up quickly and searched the faces for her sister-in-law, praying that Isabella hadn't noticed her blushing, and praying to the Virgin Mary that she wasn't able to put two-and-two together and figure out that Prospero was the cause of such antics. If Isabella did discover their secret trysts she didn't think she really would tell Francesco, she would frown upon it and tell her to cut it off, but the fear that she might tell him was a risk she was not willing to take.
Once she found Isabella she realized she was all the way across the ball room and surrounded by several members of the Cloth, foreign diplomats and even a few artist seeking a commission from her brother Francesco. She was easily distracted enough not to notice Elisabetta and Prospero, so she took this moment and looked back at him. Their eyes locked, just for an instant and her breathing hitched, her heart paused before feeling as if it were about to pound out of her chest. She felt the warmth filling in her cheeks once again and knew she had to distract herself. Thankfully Cesare spoke up once again, good a descent distraction. But, he was scolding her! Looking down on her for her comment. Her brow furrowed and her lip pressed in a hard line, but she honestly felt bad about her comment when she looked back at it. "I just mean...." She paused for a moment. "I meant she has no political pull is all." She tried to choose her words carefully and dig her way out of this mess she had made for herself. But, it was hard to explain that she didn't often get the chance to mingle with others below her station so it was a different experience.
He changed the direction of the conversation and she was relieved, albeit still a little uncomfortable. "I suppose so yes, yer hair color certainly is striking for a woman in this country, perhaps she is foreign?" It was a possible and logical guess, but Elisabetta never gazed and women in that way, knowing it was a sin to gaze lustfully at those of the same gender, an even grater sin to lay with one of the same gender. It was also a in to be jealous, so to look at a woman in such a way Elisa avoided all together.
(((OOC: Sorry, not best work... Don't know why I guess Im just distracted)))
Ilaria was so far taking it all in. She looked about Vittorio and Nicola were still mingling. Ilaria didn't mind actually she would catch Vittorio's eye once in awhile and give him smiles to show that later if they still had strength her apartment was open to him. Ilaria felt pretty and yet she felt eyes on her as she looked about her. She was surprised a few times she swore Cesare Borgia was watching her as well as Elisabetta Gonzaga. Ilaria wasn't sure how she felt about that young noble lady. She knew the Gonzaga's were a powerful family and they opposed the Borgia pope, however Ilaria held no opinion either way. Besides she would need to make friends with the Borgias if she was gonna get Vittorio a higher place in the church.
Ilaria watched them both and they didn't move as they conversed. and yet she clearly saw them looking at her. Though she was certain that they didn't know she knew. Ilaria caught the eye of Vittorio once more and smiled to him before she moved into the crowd. She moved through and around the dancers and then she soon found her way closer and on a course of approaching Cesare and Elisabetta. Ilaria caught someone else moving towards them as well. Well this was going to be interesting. Ilaria thought of nothing else aside from introducing herself and being as polite as she could to both of them. Ilaria also wouldn't entirely mind have other friends in the city aside from her cousins.
Ilaria smiled and gave a curtsey as she approached Cesare and Elisabetta. "My Lord and Lady." She said remembering her manners. "neither of you know me, and surely we run in slightly different circles, but my Cousins have instructed me well enough that I thought it proper to come and introduce myself. I am Ilaria Alagona, cousin by Marriage to Bishop Vittorio Alagona and Lady Nicola Alagona." Ilaria wasn't sure how well the family name was known but she was certain Vittorio was known well enough inside the church. Her mother had married and Alagona after her real father had passed and they were left almost destitute.
Cesare was more than aware of the slight change in Elisabetta. He tried to follow any gaze she was giving, yet she had composed herself and had quickly looked away from whoever had made her blush and smile. Cesare wasn't stupid. However he wasn't going to ask either. Much as he could, he wasn't going to. He knew about secrets and how some things were best kept secrets. Cesare had to smile a bit. "Ah see, she may not have political pull, but she has the arm and ear of a BIshop, means she probably might want something, not for herself but him. Love can make people do some desperate things don't you agree?" Cesare had no idea how true hid words might be, and he hadn't meant to insinuate that he knew anything about Elisabetta and her personal life.
He didn't think the woman was foreign he had seen many red heads, though most came from elsewhere other than Rome. "Her hair is not that unique, though I suspect she is certainly not Roman born." Cesare figure maybe Florence but he could be wrong as well. Cesare was confident in many things, but he could admit when he was wrong too, even if he didn't like to admit that he was wrong. Cesare was about to get his feet moving and hopefully Elisabetta's as well to go and speak to the young woman when he looked up from his gaze at Elisabetta to see the young woman standing right there.
Cesare smiled and gave a slight bow as the woman introduced herself. She was not noble but she was related to nobility. Well that was a bit of a shock. She was pretty he would admit that freely. not much younger than himself. Cesare was more than happy to not have had to move but that meant he hadn't been as discreet in watching her as he thought given she had been watching him. "Pleasure to meet you milady." He then introduced himself and then dropped a nice little bomb for her. "I know Vittorio well, he is a good man. HOwever I had no idea he was keeping such a pretty thing like you hidden from all that know him." Cesare was cocky not to mention he figured if she knew he knew then, perhaps she might come out and say or ask what she really had walked over to ask. Everyone always wanted something from a Borgia.
Micheletto had this semi-horrified look on his face when he was asked to attend the Papal Ball. He could not fathom a worse nightmare than having to mingle and socialise among the upper classes, scraping and simpering, pretending to be interested in their stupid stories. Luckily, Micheletto knew that if he tried to looked as menacing/irrelevant as possible, then no one would try to rope him into some sort of social discourse. With the exception of Cesare, of course, who 'might' get the idea that it would be good for his friend if he were to be introduced to some ladies.
Still, Micheletto followed the Borgia bastard like an ever-loving shadow. He didn't trust any of the hired guards, despite being one himself, and he felt that the Borgias were not properly protected unless he was doing it personally. He stood by the walls, and while he was not physically trailing behind Cesare, made sure to keep his master within his sights at all times.
Micheletto, armed with a sword at his side, looked every bit like the hired retainer of some noble family. This was the first time he had appeared publicly with Cesare Borgia, and so not everyone would associate his presence with that of his master's. Given his appearance, he could easily be ignored as just part of the security detail. Skulking around in the background, Micheletto tried to do a little of what he does best – eavesdropping. He took note of who was seen with whom, and tried to subtly listen in on conversations whenever he could. Of course, nothing interesting so far. Piero was having trouble with a shipment of Tuscany wine, and della Rovere thinks the Pope should take joy in the simpler things in life.
Micheletto retreated back against the wall to watch Cesare interact with some noble ladies. They were too far away for him to make out the details of conversation. He could only imagine that Cesare was up to his usual tricks, schmoozing and flattering, employing his dastardly charms.