Friends of the royal family, Elizabeth grew up with Marques, Martim and Valerio. Once a tom-boy, the lovely duchess learned to ride, hunt and shoot, as well as any man, thus spending her childhood competing against the king’s sons and Valerio in friendly tournaments, and sporting games. Inseparable, the foursome seldom parted until their coming of age when Elizabeth’s father moved his family north across the waters.
He had inherited property in Leinberg, and he and his wife had responsibilities to their tenants. Elizabeth fell in love with the estate, the rose gardens, the temperate climate. She would never have left if she had had a choice. Regardless, she missed her friends back in Alisubbo.
Elizabeth’s attempts at staying in contact with her childhood friends eventually filtered into correspondence solely with Valerio. Marques and his younger brother became absorbed in affairs of the state, and princely duties as heir to a kingdom.
A distant love affair developed between the two, be it only with pen and paper. Valerio swore he would marry Elizabeth, and she vowed her love to him. When Elizabeth’s mother died, Valerio offered a long distance shoulder for her to cry on, and in turn Elizabeth filled Valerio’s loneliness with poetic words that offered him a gentleness he did not find at home with his military father.
She kept her correspondence secret, as she kept many things for she was a quiet person when it came to intimate matters. Not even her father knew she had lost her heart to a man overseas.
When the Duke of Leinberg worried that Elizabeth’s grief was affecting her health, and that he would never be able to fill the needs a daughter has for her mother, he brought her back to Alisubbo to see her childhood friends again.
He was not aware that Elizabeth was in love with a common military man.