Growing up in the inner circle of the elite wasn’t easy. Sharing his time and childhood with two princes more privileged than he, and yet being expected to maintain the same standards, the same aloofness as royalty, was confusing for a young boy, especially with the absence of a mother who, having died in childbirth left him no siblings, and a strict disciplinarian for a father.
Valerio did well to impress those of the court. Always acceptable, always standing tall and well dressed, and with a teachable spirit. He followed his father’s footsteps, earning recognition for his military achievements. No young soldier handled the sword, or the rifle as well as Valerio. Those were the fields of expertise that made his father most proud, and Valerio’s one and only aim in life was to please his father.
His father was King’s Chavez’ confident and best friend, and had been all his life. No military maneuver was done without Valerio’s father involved. He was the Royal Cavalry Captain, the man in charge! Medals adorned his uniform, expensive plumes festooned his helmet. He rode the proudest and most beautifully decorated horse in all parades, attended all ceremonies and sat next to the king during all political forums. Valerio oftentimes attended those same functions, and it was clear that should his father retire, his son would replace him.
The day came for that replacement all too soon. Grief and betrayal overwhelmed Valerio after his father was killed in battle due to a miscalculation made by King Chavez. There was no room for forgiveness in the young man’s heart. He had lost everything. Suddenly fame and power meant so very little to him that he sought another outreach.
He sought the love of a woman.
Valerio had, for years, kept in close contact through mail, with the only girl he had known well enough to establish a relationship. Elizabeth always had a soft and compassionate heart for Valerio, as she pitied the fact he had been raised without a mother, especially when she was so close to hers. So when her mother died, very near the same time Valerio’s father died, the two found themselves dependent on each other.
Unfortunately, that relationship was not in line with royal protocol. Needless to say, Valerio’s bitterness brewed until he could contain it no longer.