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La Reina Immortal

Sarah Tintagyl

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OOC: If you would like to join, as this does follow some story line, please PM me or talk to me on IRC. There is a plethora of parts which need to be played and I would love for more actors and actresses. That said, I won't take up your time with OOC, enjoy the story.


[i]Greetings and allow me to introduce myself, my name is Niccolo Machiavellli. Perhaps you have heard of me? I am a rather famous man of words having worked for families across the Italian Peninsula and in the service of Her Most Divine Majesty, Isabella of Spain. It is upon her request that I take my time to tell you this story and it is a story, listener that I believe you will appreciate, for it forms the greatest struggle that has befallen Europe since the invasion of the Hellish Asian Hordes nearly two hundred years ago. It is a story where God took upon many faces and fought against Himself more than once. Where heroes and heroines clashed swords together in a brilliant array of strikes and parries across the battlefields of our most beloved Europe and the world. Where the words of a Queen were heard from this continent and across the glimmering oceans and of the legends that formed and will never be forgotten for centuries more. I have never come across to my audience as a man of fiction or of fanciful make-believe, but I tell you now listener that I beheld most everything either by my own eyes or from the mouths of the men and women who lived through the Reign of Isabella, Queen-Immortal.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1ZirsTh94I"]The Quest of Ponce de Leon[/url]
Seville, Spain
September 15, 1504

Listener, it had been nearly over a decade since the first of the Spanish Explorers, Christopher Columbus, had set sail from the port of Seville bound to discover a fast route across the Atlantic Ocean to the riches of the Orient. What Columbus had found instead, however, was a new continent brimming with life, strange curiosities, and most importantly, what seemed to be a near endless supply of gold. Nearly all of Europe was in awe at what the Spanish and the Portuguese had accomplished in only a few decades. We Italians were not as thrilled, to see our beloved Venice and Genoa forgotten by our own countrymen as they set sail for the King and Queen of Spain.

Ah, they were a couple. Ferdinand and Isabella, King of Aragon and Queen of Castile, married together to create one of the strongest, if not the strongest state on the continent at that time. While England was fighting between their families and France was interfering in German and Italian politics, Spain and Portugal grew wealthy and with their wealth, their armies expanded, even to the miraculous point of pushing the barbaric Muslims off of the Iberian Peninsula. Yes, my friend, it seemed as though there was nothing to stop the Catholic King and Queen. They had discovered a new world, had beaten back Christendom's greatest enemies and turned the Iberian Peninsula into a Catholic Paradise, where faith was the rule, not the exception.

Yet it all seemed as though this dream of Spanish power and wealth would end. In the year 1497, the young prince of Spain, John, fell ill and died putting the Queen into a depression that she never seemed to recover from. With her depression, Isabella's health faded and with it, the hope of the country around her. Nobles and peasants both from across the country, sent their tokens of hope and appreciation, praying for the Queen's fast recovery, but nothing seemed to work. She became bed-ridden, her healthy skin fading to a pale white, her full lips losing their flavor, and her copper hair withering to gray. It seemed as though that death was inevitable for the Queen and while the people prayed, their prayers went unanswered.

One day, news drifted back across the Atlantic from the Spanish bases in the Caribbean. The talk among sailors drifted through the ranks of ship captains and to the conquistadors and knights of the army. There was a legend of a sacred fountain, somewhere north of Hispanola, which contained holy water said to restore the youth and health of those dying, the legend even said that it was enough to make the drinker, immortal. Such talk of course was not heard by the Nobility or the Clergy, but some young intrepid explorers were not so willing to just give up such stories while their Queen lay dying and in the Spring of 1502 the Conquistador, Juan Ponce de Leon, set out from Seville in the hope of returning with the fabled water of the Fountain of Youth.

It is upon his return to Seville that our story truly begins...[/i]

Edited by Sarah Tintagyl
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Ponce De Leon's appearance we disheveled, having just returned from his expedition to the New World. He had had a long and arduous journey across the Atlantic and her many storms. There had been many nights at sea where he yearned for his beloved Spain and its golden hills.

There had been many nights where he questioned whether it was worth it. Especially in the mosquito filled swamps of Florida. The searching seemed interminable in lands of swamp and sweltering humidity But he had found it, truly a miracle from God Himself... one which few could believe... and even fewer could know about.

The journey back to the Spain was one of great haste. De Leon knew that expeditions were coming back from across the New World with wonder after wonder. There was great favor and fortune to be gained, but there were only so many titles which the Crown could bestow. De Leon knew he had something special, and he knew that the sooner he returned, the more likely he would have his pick of anything that was available.

Upon entering the study of the King, De Leon bowed on one knee. His swords scabbard clanging against the stone floor below. He bowed his head, looking at the King through the dim Candle Light. "Your majesty, your humble servant thanks you for seeing me on such short notice. I come bearing gifts and fortune for the Spanish Crown beyond compare." he said, a touch of arrogance and extreme confidence in his voice.

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The return of explorers and soldiers from the New World was always something that sent the city of Seville and all of Spain for that matter into a frenzy. It seemed every year a new colony was created, a new island was discovered, or a ship came lumbering back with it's cargo full of gold and priceless artifacts worn and treasured by the native people. Seville prospered because of this trade. As one of the largest ports in Europe, people from across the continent and across the world came to set up shops along the market square and buy what little stock they could in the ships that sailed across the Atlantic. When De Leon had returned, hundreds of hungry businessmen, noble and clergy alike, swarmed the harbor to watch the unloading process and while most of the treasure would go straight to the Crown, it was a marvel to see what would be pulled off the ship.

De Leon of course had a much more important mission than the safe unloading of his ship and upon entering the Alcázar, he would be eyed intensely by the courtiers and priests who walked the inner paths of the palace. The palace was at peace, serenity compared to the eternal hustling of the harbor and marketplace. Sweet smiling flowers grew from the gardens and the relaxing babbling of water fountains tired the weary explorer's soul. But the cheerful serenity of the palace gardens and courtyards seemed to vanish as De Leon entered the throne room. There, under the dim glow of hundreds of candles, Ferdinand, King of Spain sat for his audience with the conquistador.

Ferdinand had changed from Isabella's sickness as well, his strong figure had since weakened and his beard had grayed, but his eyes were still pierced through the room and he retained the power of God's gift of political power with every wave of his hand. He and the courtiers around the throne and down the aisle of red carpet leading to Ferdinand's feet, gazed silently as De Leon trotted down with solemness towards the throne. The iron greaves and steel sword echoing loudly across the stone floor, until the conquistador knelt at the feet of the King.

[i]"Your majesty, your humble servant thanks you for seeing me on such short notice. I come bearing gifts and fortune for the Spanish Crown beyond compare."[/i]

Ferdinand smiled and raised his hand, allowing for De Leon to stand. He noted the explorer's arrogance and chuckled. "That is a fairly large boast, General. Especially when your ship has not even been unloaded in the harbor." Ferdinand shifted in his throne. "I will be the judge of what is and what is not beyond compare to my throne." Then his voice softened and his dark eyes sparkled. "That said, that further expanding the map in what is called, Florida, I believe will turn up something of majesty. Her Majesty, the Queen, was the person who organized the Florida Campaign, was she not? It is a shame, she could not be here to see your return." Ferdinand sighed, "Isabella has all but removed herself from politics it seems, I don't think anyone can stave off her death, aside from a miracle of God, but she has lived a good life. Heaven will do well to receive her in due time."

Shaking off the melancholy Ferdinand nodded. "But we will see what you have brought back, General, and reward you fairly. Tonight I would hope you can join the Court for dinner."

Then the sound of clicking heels echoed from across the room, as an ancient nun in black robes walked with her head bowed towards the Court and King. "Your Majesty, forgive me, is this the explorer we know as Juan Ponce de Leon?"

"He is, what business is it of yours?" Ferdinand replied seemingly annoyed.

"Her Majesty, the Queen, has requested his presence in her chambers as she was the one who organized this mission, she believes she has the right to talk to the explorer personally."

The King growled under his breath, "Even dying she involves herself." Then nodding, Ferdinand cast his hand towards the nun. "Go with her, General, the Queen requires your audience."

The nun smiled and gestured towards De Leon and led him towards the antechamber, deep in the candle lit palace where Isabella waited for him.

Edited by Sarah Tintagyl
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Juan Ponce De Leon rose as motioned to by Ferdinand. He stood and listened silently as the King described the deteriorating condition of Queen Isabella. He knew at that moment that the King would be in his debt, and De Leon would be bound for great fame and fortune... possibly even a major position at court. It had to be the will of God himself for events to conspire as they did.

"Your majesty I..." he began to speak, but before he could explain his eyes shifted to the nun approaching. He was wary of the Church. They preached that man was saved through Christ alone... and while he believed that, it was also only through the intercession of the Holy Catholic Church and its priestly class that this could be done. Anything else was heresy and punishable by death. De Leon's discovery would turn this on its head. If he was to win the favor of the Royal Family, he would need to be cautious and mindful of an unexpected visit from the Spanish Inquisition.

As the nun requested his presence, he felt a knot in his stomach form. Had they found out already? he thought to himself. Had one of the men talked? Few of them knew their true prize, but their were some who did... no doubt spinning stories at the local cantina. Damn.

He eyed the sister suspiciously as Ferdinand ordered him to go, "As you command your majesty." he said bowing once more before being dismissed.

De Leon followed after the sister, he was ready to draw his sword should it be required. He half expected the inquisitors to pop out of the shadows. But to his great relief he was merely lead before the Queen. She had grown frail since he had seen her last. It would soon be her time.

"Your majesty." he said kneeling before her. "I come bearing a great gift from the New World, one of God's great treasures for his chosen regent on Earth."

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Isabella raised her head as the sound of footsteps approached her inner chamber. Her health had gotten incredibly bad since last she had seen the conquistador, setting out two years prior to the present. In that time it felt as though her body had melted away and all that was left was a thin carcass of her once strong frame. As the nun and the explorer approached her and the two guards on either side fixed their hands to the hilt of their swords, the Queen bowed her face away from the coming audience. He bright golden eyes which had watched Spain rise up from the tattered kingdoms of Iberia were now faded and gray. She hid her withered hands deeper into the long sleeves of her dress; the hands which had sent the Moorish hordes reeling back to Africa, the hands that had built a great power across the dry plains of the peninsula.

"Your Majesty," said the nun bowing her head. "May I present to you, the explorer and conquistador, General Juan Ponce de Leon."

Isabella smiled and gently leaned forward on the small wooden chair. Her private study was nothing like the grandiose throne room of Ferdinand. It was darker in here, only an iron chandelier of candles offered little light into the room, while the walls were absent of any political or secular tapestry or design. Instead the stone walls featured heart-wrenching depictions of Christ on the cross and the coming judgments of the sinners on earth. In her right hand, gripped tightly between her fingers, was a rosary of ruby beads that flickered against the soft candle light.

"De Leon? It must have been two or three years at least since you set out from Seville." She watched him approach her throne and kneel.

[i]"Your majesty," he said. "I come bearing a great gift from the New World, one of God's great treasures for his chosen regent on Earth."[/i]

Isabella couldn't help but blush and felt a bit of lost life return to her cheeks, brightening her face and smile. "You do me too much honor General, to propose that God has any set regent to watch over His world, but I thank you for your kind words. Though forgive me if I do not show the thrill and happiness I once did for the discoveries of the New World. I have seen gold and jewels and I have heard men speak of long lost civilizations, yet to be found. It pains me to know that I will not see everything that this world has to offer." She put her hand to her mouth and coughed violently, her entire body shaking from the sickness, but the Queen turned back to De Leon with a smile. "All the better though, that this suffering will finally be over."

Then pushing herself onto the floor, Isabella stood in all her majesty even in her advanced age carrying the power and beauty of a queen. "That all said, General, what of God's treasures have you brought for the Queen of Spain to marvel at?"

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De Leon paused. His eyes wandered the room noticing the guards and the nun there. He breathed in deeply summoning the courage for a bold request.

"Forgive me, but this is something I must speak to the Queen about in private." he said, staring down the protective gaze of the nun. "I must request that you take your leave." he said firmly.

He waited for a moment as they seemingly paused for the Queen's objection, but there was none. They filed out, the sister's icy gaze once again meeting De Leon's. The Church jealously guarded its access to the monarch, especially in her dying days.

Waiting for the sound of the door to be shut De Leon rose to his feet approaching the Queen. "Your majesty..." he said, within whispering distance. "Forgive me my boldness. But caution is imperative here. I come bearing a miracle." he said.

He reached into his pouch removing a dark green glass bottle. "One which is wholly outside the possession of the Papacy." he added offering it to her. "The crystal waters of Florida, housed a treasure, which has been fading, as if a lingering part of the Garden of Eden. It seemed to be waiting for us to find it."

A large smile came to his face, brimming with confidence. "What I have here..." he began. "Is the elixir of life, the last waters of the Fountain of Youth. I humbly present it to your majesty." he said bowing and offering her the bottle.

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Isabella had not rejected De Leon's request for her guards and the nun to leave, but it placed her on edge. The worst that could happen is for the conquistador to draw his sword out of some madness that had possessed him in the jungles of the New World, but even then, it would only hurry her oncoming death and he would be killed in the most brutal way possible. The emotion in the explorer's eyes however hinted at no thoughts of such treason and instead bordered on the most intense fervor to offer to his Queen.

When they were alone, though Isabella knew that the guards and most likely the nun were only just out of ear shot, De Leon came forward. [i]"Your majesty..." he said, within whispering distance. "Forgive me my boldness. But caution is imperative here. I come bearing a miracle."[/i]

"A miracle?" Her eyes lit up in curiosity. "What do you mean by a miracle? A piece of the true cross?"

[i]He reached into his pouch removing a dark green glass bottle. "One which is wholly outside the possession of the Papacy." he added offering it to her. "The crystal waters of Florida, housed a treasure, which has been fading, as if a lingering part of the Garden of Eden. It seemed to be waiting for us to find it." A large smile came to his face, brimming with confidence. "What I have here..." he began. "Is the elixir of life, the last waters of the Fountain of Youth. I humbly present it to your majesty." he said bowing and offering her the bottle.

Isabella stood frozen De Leon presented to green bottle to her. She held it in her fingers looked at the liquid inside and a bemused smile fell upon her features. "The jungle must have driven you mad, De Leon. The elixir of life is a fairy tale, told by explores to amuse themselves on long journeys across the ocean, not to humor a queen on her deathbed." Her smile faded, replaced by an aura of annoyance. "To even tempt me with the idea that I might live longer, is a jest I can hardly take. Do you wish to make a mockery of God? Do you..." She looked at him, still kneeling on the ground, the tired look in his eyes as though the contents of this bottle had been the obsession of two years of his life gone by. Isabella looked back at the container she held in her hand and closed her eyes. "You journeyed across the world to retrieve this for me?"

The explorer simply nodded.

Isabella smiled and leaned over to kiss De Leon gently on the forehead. "I will not soon forget such dedication, though I am afraid that this question, General, will be in vain. God will never let even his most chosen live and relive their lives. But," she said loosening the top of the bottle. "I will at least humor you as you humored me. If nothing else to show the folly of such an expedition." And in her mind, that the explorer may be right.

The Queen took a brass cup from a nearby table and poured the water inside. She was entranced by the very sound of the water as it poured from the cup. It sounded like small bells chiming as the splashes cascaded against the brass walls of the chalice. The water smoothed like a crystal lake and glowed with a strange brightness and clarity whilst in the cup. Isabella could feel her hands shaking, just looking at the inside and as she pushed her hair back and placed the cup to her lips, the sweet scent of water tickled her nose. Finally, she pushed the liquid down her throat and could feel it's cool waves rushing against her insides, filling her body with a strange serenity. Surely she was imagining this only in her mind, but not in all her life had Isabella tasted water so delicious, so clean, so crisp, so pure.

Though after a minute had passed and she looked at her reflection in the mirror, the Queen smiled with a happy sigh. "And as you can see, General, my complexion has not changed. I am still myself, Isabella of Castile and Spain, a woman on her deathbed about to enjoy the eternal bliss with G-" Suddenly her eyes widened and her body lurched forward in pain. The Queen grunted and moaned as she fell forward, her entire frame writhing in pain. "No! What is this!" She whispered like a snake. "P...poison? What's happening to me?"

The guards and nun came rushing into the room in a panicked frenzy and when Isabella looked up at De Leon from in his arms, the veins all across her body had grown blue and pulsed with grotesque strength through her body. "Pain..." She said and collapsed in the explorer's arms.

Edited by Sarah Tintagyl
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[quote name='Boy God' timestamp='1319055312' post='2828771']
OOC: "Isabella smiled and leaned over to [b]kill[/b] De Leon gently on the forehead" Typo or am i not getting something?

OOC: Thank you there, it should have been 'kiss' not 'kill', edited for correctness.

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Juan caught Isabella as she collapsed, his eyes widening. [i]My god.[/i] he thought his face turning white as the Queen seemed to go limp. His mind briefly contemplated escape before the guards rushed into the room seizing him. He looked as the nun eyed him, "To the dungeon." she ordered. "This heretic has poisoned the queen." she said.

Juan was simply too shocked by the situation as he was taken from the room, dragged down... down... down... the stairs of the palace. He felt the cold iron chains being attached to him as he was strung up into the air and a cloth placed over his mouth. He felt water poured over him as he began to choke and gagged before it stopped.

He could see a man in the crimson colors of the inquisition standing before him. "Juan Ponce De Leon, you stand accused of regicide against the Crown." the man said in a grave tone. "We have testimony of you conspiring with pagans in the New World... you will be sentenced to death, but before that you will tell us what sort of satanic magic you used to poison our beloved queen!" he barked. "If you repent for your sin, you shall have a chance of saving your immortal soul!"

De Leon shook his head, "I have nothing to confess, I swear, what I gave the Queen was medicine given by God."

"Again." the man ordered.

Within seconds De Leon was once more being water boarded.

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The Queen groaned in pain as one of the guards took her from De Leon's arms. She heard the struggle behind her, but was too weak to turn her head and look at her poisoner. Isabella felt as though her entire body was on fire, she could hear her heart's beat in every portion in her being. Her arms pulsed rapidly as copious amounts of blood flowed through her, for a body that had just been reeling in sickness the amount of energy that coursed through her was just too much to handle. "What's happening. I can't feel anything." She moaned as the guards, accompanied by the nun, pushed the Queen towards her private room.

"Everything will be fine, Your Majesty, the pain will be over soon." Said the nun sweetly, but Isabella couldn't tell whether the woman meant that she would be facing God by the end of the night or that the physicians would help her recover from the attack. Looking down at her hands and seeing the pulsing blue veins crawling up her skin, she doubted there would be any cure for such an exotic toxin.

Reaching the bedroom, the two guards laid the Isabella down onto her bed. Already, a gathering of priests, inquisitors, ministers, and the King had assembled. Ferdinand immediately crossed the room as her head touched the pillow and he took her pulsing hand. "My pearl, Isabella," he said as his rough hand gently ran across her forehead. "I swear, De Leon will be punished with all the fires of Hell, on this earth and in the next that he tried to take you away from me. The physicians will tend to you, it is their lives or yours, I will not let God take you like this."

She wheezed, lifting up her hand and resting it against Ferdinand's beard. "He was already going to take me. Don't be so irrationa-...aaahhhh!" Isabella leaned forward in the bed as she could fell her stomach catch aflame and sweat beaded on her face. "Help me! I feel like I'm on fire! It's so hot! Aaaahhhh!"

The priests and ministers covered their mouths in horror and stepped back at the sight. "What black magic is this, to make Her Majesty suffer so? Truly this New World is an evil place." Said one of them in a whisper.

The Queen felt the room spinning and the world began to slip from her sight. She could feel the nuns stripping her body of the heavy velvet dress she wore. Her bed-gown underneath was covered in sweat and underneath the white cloth, everyone in the room could see the protruding blue lines that ran across Isabella's body, her body still actively pumping the crystal water through her system. The physicians simply shook their heads, no one had ever seen a poison like this and they estimated that he Queen would expire before the morning, in a terribly painful manner.

"Leave us then!" Growled Ferdinand, "If the only thing you will do is stare at her and shake your heads, then I have no time for my 'loyal' ministers and servants." He stared back down at Isabella and smiled as his hand ran across her sweat coated neck and cheek. "I promise that I will not leave you and I will not abandon you, no matter what transpires. Isabella, can you hear me?"

"God...help...me..." She said, looking up at the sky as the blue veins traveled into her eyes and she became silent, except for her rigid breathing.


Sometime that night, Isabella felt the paralysis that covered her body vanish and the moment it did, she let out a gasping breath. She sat up and grabbed her neck. Looking around the room, the Queen saw that she was still in her room and that the fire in the hearth was slowly dying, while the candles had all but smoked out, but bright rays of moonlight shown in from the open window. She was cold from the breeze and the sweat that drenched her nightgown and it matted her hair against her back. Pushing it back from matting around her shoulders, Isabella fingered the copper-golden strands of hair that shimmered against the moonlight and then she stopped and began to shake at what she saw.

Hands which had been withered only hours ago were strong with tight and healthy skin that ran up her arms. Her healthy sun-kissed color had returned and her hair and regained it's volume and fullness as it ran down her shoulders. She jumped out of the bed and ran barefoot over towards the window and let the cool breeze rush over her face. Her body was flushed with energy and a new power she had never possessed before in her life. Isabella could still feel the pulse of energy within her, but it was no longer painful, it was exhilarating, she felt she could ride a horse across Iberia in a night, or go toe to toe with a trained champion on the battlefield.

The sound of movement behind her perked up the Queen's ears as Ferdinand stirred in his chair and opened his eyes. Isabella watched him hold his heart for a moment when he saw that the bed she laid in was empty, then as he lifted his eyes towards the window where she stood, he jumped back. "Isa...Isabella? Spirit? My eyes betray me, I see an angel."

Isabella laughed and smiled walking over to where Ferdinand stood and touched his cheek, her touch was soft and real. "No, no spirit. It is a miracle." She said and kissed him on the lips. "De Leon did not betray the Crown, what he said is true, it was a miracle of God." She looked at her hands and her bust. "I've been given a new chance, to devote myself once again to Spain and to God."

Ferdinand was speechless. People just didn't regain their youth, their strength, their drive. But there stood Isabella, beautiful as ever and with a new strength that set even the King of Spain on edge. "I think you have bedazzled even God, my pearl."

"Where is the conquistador that brought me this elixir? Where is De Leon?"

"Being tortured by the Inquisitors for 'killing' you, Isabella."

"Have him released, he saved the Queen of Spain and will be rewarded for his service."


When De Leon's jail cell was opened, his torturer nodded at him solemnly as he unchained him from the wall. "The Queen has asked for your audience. I've been told to return your armor so you look presentable. Get dressed and follow me."

He would soon be led back up from the dungeon in the palace to the throne room, where the candles were still dim. Both thrones were occupied and beside Ferdinand's graying beard and aged frame, sat a woman in a long red dress with gold lace running down from her bust to the floor. The golden crown of the queen sat daintily on her head and her copper-golden hair fell down from her shoulders. The Queen of Spain was restored.

"General, I believe the Crown owes you an apology and I owe you my thanks. I am eternally in your debt." She stood and he would realize, the elixir was a total success.

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De Leon struggled to maintain his composure as he tried to kneel. The injuries from the Inquisitors were still pulsing through his body. He simply looked at the queen, startled by the success of the elixir. He had assumed that it would freeze one in place, but to make them return completely to youth... incredible.

"Yo...your majesty." De Leon bowed. "I am... pleased to see you well." his voice overcome with disbelief and fatigue. He looked at the Queen and then around the room. This would certainly not stay quiet. He looked around to see the faces of the Church, for now they too were simply speechless. But for how long. He was not eager to make another trip to the inquisitor's dungeons.

Finally recomposed himself, De Leon spoke,"Your majesty, I am pleased to that you honor me with such kind words. But it is your soldiers, treasure, and the will of God that made this possible. I am merely your humble servant, whatever the Crown wills I shall undertake."

He would need to keep his ambition in check. Good things came to those who wait. The Court was a treacherous place. If he seemed overly eager, he was liable to lose his head. But he knew as he gazed upon Isabella's renewed youth that this would be a new beginning... not only for the Queen, but both Spain and De Leon's fortunes.

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[i]By the look of curiosity and awe on your face, listener, I can tell that you don't believe the words that are coming from my mouth. But I do not lie, check any historical reference to the time and they will tell you as I have, albeit without the mastery of words, that Queen Isabella of Spain did not die in the year 1504. No, if anything, 1504 was a great change in the world and while we did not know it at the time, everyone would soon be effected by the miracle De Leon had brought back with him from the New World. Now, as I said before, when news began to spread that the Queen's youth had been restored, no one actually believed it. From the nobility to the peasantry of Spain to the ambassadors of countries ranging from France all the way to Muscovy, God or no God, it was simply not possible to restore one's youth. Everyone believed this to be a rouse, that the Spanish Court had dressed up one of Isabella's daughters to fool the people into thinking their Queen was not dead. But as the months passed and this new Isabella appeared on the street and in Court along with her daughters and other ladies in waiting, many began to believe that the impossible was true. The Queen had been transformed.

Of course, this was a miracle in itself and became something of great controversy for the Spanish Court and soon all of Christendom. There was, I believe, the greatest exploration movement ever conceived by every state in Europe. Louis XII of France, Henry VIII of England, the Pope, and other kings all sent explorers bound for Florida in the hopes of obtaining the fountain for themselves, but the sacred water was never found. Though a great war did erupt across the Caribbean and the Floridian coast, as small makeshift naval bases were constructed in the region, thus beginning the War of the Fountain. Christendom made a pact within itself, if Isabella would not share her immortality, then she would not be allowed to possess it at all.

The Queen, unfortunately, had her own problems at home. While Isabella had been the most devout and dare I say, fanatical Catholic up to that point in Spain's history, many of the clergy distrusted her power. The peasantry seemed to treat her as a living miracle from God and while the Crown and the Church were firmly tied at the hip, many of the more influential inquisitors began to chafe under the rule of the new Immortal-Queen. There were no royal princes to disagree on the term limits of the Queen's reign and as for Ferdinand, he was happy to have his queen returned to him, and though his old age began to show, especially next to the young Queen the voice of treason or intrigue never ran across the King's lips.

It seemed as though that with each passing month, as Isabella grew more beautiful and stronger by the day, that the dark clouds of Europe drew ever closer to Spain. Perhaps this was God's way of punishing the woman who had tasted the fruit of knowledge a second time.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X28q4EMMpW4&feature=related"]Los Conquistadores[/url]
Seville, Spain
April 10, 1510

I remember when the War of the Fountain began, Listener. There was so many chaos across Europe and in the New World. The armies of Europe began to muster and in repulsion to them, the great Spanish hordes of armored conquistadors formed their lines on horseback to begin their marches to the Pyrenees, whilst the great galleons of the Spanish Navy were outfitted to defend the Spanish coast. Isabella of course found a great deal of help, forced help, from those unfortunate souls locked in inquisition prisons, who were marched to the front line or onto ships by the point of a lance. Yes, at this time, it meant something now to be Catholic and under the guidance of not only the Holy Father in Rome, but also the 'Holy Mother' in Seville.

Which brings me to my second point. While most of Christendom began to move against Spain. The Papacy, with Spanish soldiers on Rome's southern border tried hardest to stay neutral, but the Princes and Dukes of Italy knew that soon French and Spanish soldiers would march up and down the peninsula and the loyalties of our small states would be tested.

Yet, for all the dark clouds threatening her kingdom, Isabella stood firm like the cross on the hill against the attackers, both within Spain and beyond. She told her private legion of knights once, "This coming battle will be more than the survival of Spain. It will be the survival of the One True Church as we understand it. For too long, the European Kings and Princes have turned away from the teachings of Doctrine and the word of the Holy Pontificate. Spain, as the last daughter of the Church will restore Christ's faith in the world. We will do that with the blood of our enemies which will stain the plains of Spain, Portugal, France, and beyond. This, my most loyal servants, begins a new age of worship and service. Remember, you ride for Spain and for God."

And as the knights rode out and the ships sailed, there were rumors of new, terrible machinations being created in workshops deep underground...I knew, listener, at that point, the world would never be the same.

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When Juan Ponce De Leon's caravan arrived in Florence, it was of little affair. The General whom had become known as the Queen's General, was not trying to make an entrance instead arriving in humble clothes on a modest trade caravan. He had come to Italy, the heart of the Lion's Den. There had been many attempts on his life since his return from the new world, he was sure that the Vatican was behind at least some.

His dress was that of a modest merchant. The caravan's manifest had it loaded with wines from the Spanish province of Portugal. Disembarking he took in the land scape spread out before him. Florence had become the heart of the Renaissance. It was the home of the one great master: Leonardo DaVinci, and it was he whom De Leon had come to see.

The world was afflicted with jealousy. Spain was becoming strong, nearly invincible, and it was only a matter of time before all of Europe united to strike down its savior. Juan felt fire stir at the thought. Europe was at the mercy of the Saracens, Constantinople had fallen, and instead of embracing the Queen and her glory, the rest of Christendom was seeking every alliance it could to fight her. Such arrogance could not be permitted.

As he road through the streets few paid his caravan any head. He couldn't help but smile. Even in these dark times nothing stopped the flow of trade in Italy. He was just another merchant here.

About an hour later, his wagon stopped outside the door of the legendary but humble workshop of Leonardo Da Vinci. The man whom some had described as the 8th Wonder of the world. Knocking on the door, De Leon heard a man on the other end answer. "Huh!" the voice said somewhat befuddled. "A Visitor, oh dear me! Just a minute... I am in the middle of something."

A loud explosion was heard through the door.

"Master DaVinci?" De Leon asked. No answer came back. De Leon placed his hand on the knob, ready to open the door before it opened on its own. A man with a greying beard dressed in a tunic, was looking up seemingly confused. The bottom of his beard was smoking seemingly having been on fire.

"Oh my... I'm afraid I can't quite see or here." the man explained. "Just a moment my senses will return to me... they always do..."

De Leon couldn't help but be amazed... this was the great inventor the world had always heard about? He seemed nothing more than an absent minded scribe.

"I am Leonardo Da Vinci." the man said.

"Yes I know." De Leon replied losing patience with the man.

Da Vinci chuckled, "Another Spaniard hah, I told you people to leave me alone. I'm not interested in being your pawn." he grumbled.

De Leon shrugged, "Perhaps we did not offer a high enough price, her Majesty has offered you to make you Governor of Cuba and enough gold for your great grand son to splurge all his life."

Da Vinci laughed again, "Hah! You conquistidors with your land and your gold! So hollow. I am not interested in such things. Such things come and go! No... what I am about is SCIENCE AND DISCOVERY! Something your sorry land with its inquisition is sorely lacking in. How many great Saracen scholars have been put to the sword by Isabella's hand. Barbarians."

De Leon felt the urge to draw his sword at such treasonous words, but sadly this man was irreplaceable. He merely exhaled before calmly making a new offer.

"Perhaps... I can make you an offer in that ball park." he said.

"How so?" DaVinci asked looking at De Leon.

"I am myself a discoverer." De Leon replied smiling, "I am Juan Ponce De Leon."

DaVinci looked up, color coming to his face, "The discoverer of the elixir to give the Queen..."

"The very same... but you should not say that too loudly here. I come to offer you service to the Queen, in exchange you shall get to study the most miraculous and wondrous thing since Christ rose again." De Leon said with a arrogant smile on his face. He knew he just made DaVinci and offer he could not refuse.

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Far from the political influence of the Royal Court in Seville, a different court had always held power over Spain, the influence of the soul into the afterlife. What would later become known as the Spanish Inquisition was, perhaps, the only rival to Royal Power on the Iberian Peninsula and had benefited well during the years of prosperity that Ferdinand and Isabella had brought to the nation before the transformation of the Queen's person. Though no major drastic changes occurred to the clergy in the years since Isabella had taken the elixir, rumors had begun to surface within priestly circles that it would only be a matter of time before the power of the Crown; now deemed not only figuratively and spiritually, but now physically eternal, would begin to change the entire dynamic of Spain. The Inquisition and the Church had enjoyed their power and it had been with Royal assistance that scores of Muslims and Jews were brought to the Light of Christ. Now with religious threats and heresy being reported across the Kingdom as well as the reports that various spiritual rebellions were happening over Northern Europe, the Church needed a figurehead, a savior, to bring back its former glory. The problem was, however, many priests did not know if Isabella was this savior.

In secret and with hushed voices the highest ranking cardinals, bishops, and inquisitors met in the catacombs of Toledo Cathedral to speak of the future of Spain's existence both in the physical world, but also in the spiritual world. They drew their aged faces near to dim candles and spoke in their deep, coarse voices.

"There are reasons, brothers, why the Queen must step down from her throne and these reasons should be clear to you from the scriptures. When the faith of the world requires to be saved, it will be Christ's time to come again. He will come as himself as he did so many ages ago and I will be damned to believe he would come in the guise of a woman." Inquisitor Diego Lucero stood as leader of those of the clergy who opposed the new "eternal" Queenship of Isabella and their reasons were spiritually sound. "First, brothers," Lucero continued over the wooden table, the hollow smell of death still traveling through the air. "We must not forget that what has become of our Queen is not a miracle of Christ, but a curse brought forth by the savages of the New World and the evil doings of our own military. It is not the first time that soldiers have created cults of personalities around leaders they respect. Think of the heresies committed when Rome and Byzantium still stood strong. But will we let this happen here?" He said and pounded his fist. "This is witchcraft, no being, blessed by God or not, is able to relive their life or, and I am aghast to think this, to live forever. Brothers, our Queen is in a miserable state which she does not understand."

Many of the priests nodded their heads as Lucero turned to his right and smiled at another inquisitor, Diego Deza, who was equally influential in the voices of the opposition. "This witchcraft, as Brother Lucero has said, is keeping Her Majesty from beholding the delights of the Eternal Kingdom. In addition, a woman, no matter how holy can proclaim herself as an eternal ruler and a pillar of God. The Queen, with King Ferdinand, has completed miraculous accomplishments; the purging of the Moors from our homeland, the various reforms of our generation, and so on. But we must not forget the sin that her species of woman brought into this world. If Isabella remains alive, she will become little more than a true daughter of Eve, to bring about another age of terrible sin."

The priests chatted amongst themselves for sometime as they whispered back and forth. It was a terrible crime to commit treason against the Crown and with Ferdinand's age, it would not be long before Isabella reigned as Queen-Sovereign over the Kingdom and many believed it would be at that point, that the Age of Sin would occur. Lucero and Deza's arguments were strong and many of the priests sitting on the edge of loyalty or rebellion began to shift towards supporting the overthrowing of the Crown. However, in the shadows of the catacombs, stood a priest who had never taken a seat and stared down at the gathering with an intense fear and anger in his eyes. Cardinal Ximénes de Cisneros, was one of the few members of the ranking clergy who did not see the changes in Isabella as an influence of sin. Instead, Cisneros saw the reforms the Queen had accomplished before the elixir as evidence that Spain could only continue its rise to prominence aided by her rule. His closeness with the other priests, especially those willing to openly express their opposition, made him an irreplaceable agent to the Crown and in the coming conflict, an adviser who would carry significant weight.

The problem that faced him was simply to survive the Hornet's Nest as Lucero looked into the dark corner. "And you Cardinal, what say you about our Queen's unfortunate metamorphosis?"

Cisneros chuckled and leaned his ancient body forward, he was nearing seventy. "I am too old, to involve myself in such volatile matters of state. But if I must profess my opinion, one should not go looking for the Devil, lest they find him everywhere."

"The Devil is everywhere, Cardinal de Cisneros." Said Deza.

"His voice is especially profound in this very room." Cisneros said and turned his head to a skull looking out of one of the catacomb's shelves. "A morbid place for morbid business. I believe Dante placed Hell in this very room, where Satan would chew on traitors until the end of eternity." The ancient cardinal laughed. "Eternity, is a very long time."

"All the more reason, the Queen should not experience it." Said Lucero.

"Then I will not involve myself, I have grown too old for the chasing of devils and the exorcism of demons. A good day to you all. God Bless You." Cisneros said and began to exit the catacombs.

"God Bless You as well Cardinal." Said Lucero and then as the Cardinal vanished, he turned to Deza. "Make sure there are people to watch him. I was hesitant on bringing old fossils to this meeting and my suspicion proved correct. If he tries to talk to the Queen or King, have him killed."

"In God's name, Brother."

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[b]The Return Journey[/b]

Leonardo vomited over the side of the caravel as it sailed through the crashing waves of the Western Mediterranean from the Italian Coast to Seville. De Leon continued to astonished that such a man could produce the legend that he did. To De Leon he seemed nothing more than a absent minded fool.

"I cannot wait for the day, when we can sore above such despicable seas." Leonardo said.

"Sore above?" De Leon said dismissively.

Leonardo's eyes brightened, "Indeed my friend, someday man shall take to the skies. I have several designs in mind. You shall see, Oceans shall be connected not by ship, but by giant birds, who shall ferry men across in fractions of the time."

De Leon laughed at the suggestion, "I think you have been reading too much Greek Legends. Pretty soon you will tell me you've developed heat resistant wax."

Leonardo smiled, "I think you will find that such things are no less believable than a death ridden queen regaining her youth and health in mere hours." he retorted.

De Leon scowled, "The healing of our Queen was a miracle of God. Not a creation of man."

Leonardo raised a finger smiling once again, "Ah but is not the greatest miracle of God the imagination and inspiration of the Human Mind? He gave us this." Leonardo said pointing to his head. "To be used! To create our own miracles not to blindly follow old stories!"

De Leon's face turned red. "You would do well to temper your tongue when we reach her majesty's Holiest of Kingdoms!" De Leon barked, annoyed at Leonardo's continued insistence on mocking the Church and Isabella's policies.

"Haha, I meant no offense of course. Perhaps, in time you and your Queen can both see the true face of God... oh my!" Leonardo exclaimed, the color once again draining from his face as he ran to the side of the boat vomiting once more.

De Leon laughed at the man's feeble constitution, leaning back against the mast he looked around. He imagine DaVinci would not long survive a journey to the New World. As he leaned back he looked up at the sky as the sun began to set. As his eyes grew heavy he became aware of foot steps behind him.

"Bonjourno." a voice said. DeLeon turned to see a man, dressed in clothes of moderate station looking back at him. "Or is it hola?"

"May I help you?" DeLeon asked.

"Haha. Yes well... I am a traveller... rather a immigrant. I am Spanish you see but I have spent many years in Italy. I am looking to return home and find some better employment." the stranger said. "I thought you may be a man who could help me with that."

DeLeon looked annoyed, was he to have no rest from these nosey Italians. "If you are Spanish why were you in Italy." DeLeon asked.

The stranger smiled, "My father accepted a high position with one of the larger businesses. He asked I follow him there. He wanted me to follow in his foot steps, but it did not work out very well. I ended up seeking fame and fortune on my own... lately I have been unsuccessful. However, I assure you I am quite skilled, and her majesty as well as her most trusted servant could find my services quite useful." he said, "The family business required a great deal of... delicate work to be undertaken."

DeLeon could not believe the disrespect he was hearing, "I do not have any desire to associate with whatever organization your family ran."

"Ah but you already are!" the stranger replied arrogantly.

"And just what organization is this exactly?" demanded DeLeon.

"The Catholic Church. Hello my friend, my name is Cesare." the stranger said extending his hand.

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