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...