Sorry for the delay: a mixture of uncertain exam results and CKII have distracted me. Still, things should be a little better now.
TKFS: Thanks! And a few more things will be revealed soon...
loki100: I'm afraid not- check back a few chapters, De La Fuente was the only officer who Goya actually thought highly of, and his only friend in the army.
The Concert of Vienna
18th December 1837.
Now, they came to him freely. He didn't even have to try to whip up the crowd any more.
The Firebrand looked at himself in the mirror, critically. His short, dark goatee, already flecked with grey, went nicely with the sober black of his robes. He held a grey, austere Bible in his left hand; clean and neat, he certainly looked the part.
His war had been lost, of course. Texas was now the latest state of the godless Protestant Yankees, but it had served its purpose anyway. His name was now whispered from town to town; the Saviour of the Masses, the Priest of Holy War.
But, as he was painfully aware, Mexico City was not a rural desert outpost. Mexico City was a sprawling hive of hedonism; the kind of people who would not respond well to his rhetoric.
But, by the Lord, he would try. He had to try.
"Sir, shall we go out?"
Jean-Baptiste was a good boy. An immigrant from France, he had proved an invaluable assistant. He always spoke in a Mexican accent in public, of course; if the people knew that he had a foreigner in his entourage, they wouldn't take his nationalist message quite so seriously.
"I think we are ready."
The Firebrand stood up, and walked towards the door. He closed his eyes for the briefest of moments, muttering a quick prayer to the Almighty. Then, he spread his arms wide, and smiled.
Time to shine the light of Mother Church.
Captain Miguel De La Fuente, son of the Duque of La Fuente, frowned.
His Mestizo heritage was still faintly visible upon his pale face, giving him a slightly serious expression at the happiest of times. But at a time like this, he looked a fierce sight.
Goya was becoming more and more powerful, and Miguel wasn't sure if he was best pleased at this. Goya had been his friend, his only real friend, but still... he shuddered at the thought of the things that man was capable of.
And now he wanted information. Information not on Xavier, or the Liberals, but on the Queen Regent, the Sicilian who ruled in the infant Isabella's name. And also, his own party leader; Rodrigo. Somewhat strange, as he could've wrapped the arrogant sod around his little finger, and found out all he needed to know for himself. But then, he reasoned, Rodrigo was powerful, and well protected.
Miguel was not a strong man. He'd been ordered around by those larger than him for his whole life; his brother, his parents, the army... he didn't have the stomach for rebellion.
So what should he do? His loyalties were split; his friend or his Queen?
For Miguel knew things. The Dukes of La Fuente were powerful, rich, and important. He had heard whispers, decoded those dinnertime conversations of his father, listened intently to those who held power. He knew what Goya wanted to know, and he knew what would happen if he told him.
Part of him balked at the thought. But another part of him saw something beyond that; that part saw a chain of dominoes, all lined up and ready to fall as soon as he gave the word. That part saw what could be, what would be...
Slowly, with trembling hands, he began to write back to Goya. He told him it all; of how Rodrigo had slept with the Queen Regent, of how he'd found out all of her darkest secrets, of how he was blackmailing her to do whatever he wished. Of how the wastrel was leading Spain to ruin, and how he wished that his dear friend Ekaitz Goya would do everything he could to stop this.
He sealed the envelope, blew out the candle, and crept downstairs. He found a courier, and sent the message.
And the wheels began to turn...
The Dukes of La Fuente are totally fictional, in case anyone was wondering.
Also, don't forget to vote for your favourite AARs in the AARland Choice AARwards, if you haven't done so already; there are tonnes of great AARs out there that deserve recognition.