Things had not been going well for the royal family of Spain; the marriage of Carlos Dodabella to Evita of Castille did not have the effect Bainor expected, for one the house of Aragon was angered at the divorce forced upon them, and as a means to prevent a civil war Bainor installed Yolanda Diaz of Aragon as the queen until her son (by Dodabella) Sancho had come of age. The princess Elena of Aragon was still young, and Aragon was in the market for a husband, unfortunantly for them Bainor had made great strides at ensuring no Spanish nobility would take her hand in order to keep Aragon marginalized. For his part Dodabella's plan on taking the throne was gaining mixed results.
Meanwhile El Cid's Andalusian army finally had reached their goal and had set up a camp to the east of Madrid. From here El Cid would travel to Aragon in an attempt to gain the support of Yolanda...
Prince Dodabella entered the King's chambers very early in the morning, they were still awaiting news from Generals Mendoza and Cadrez on the situation in Mongolia, while attempting to maintain an army to defend Madrid against the inevitable attack on the part of the Andalusian rebels.
Bainor had been deteriorating mentally over the past few months, and everybody was fully aware what this could mean for them; the King was already a violent and passionate person, who didn't think twice about calling for a man's death for hardly a reason. Now his dementia was coming into full force and Dodabella needed to find out the extent of this ailment.
"My liege!" Dodabella said as he bowed to his King, he couldn't wait until Bainor was dead and he can restore peace to the Kingdoms of Spain. "I have come to discuss the situation in England."
"England?" the King asked "What situation in England?"
Dodabella couldn't believe it had become this bad, the entire royal court was too afraid to do anything about the King's situation, but if they left it unchecked Dodabella knew it would spell disaster for Spain, especially considering that half their army was an entire continent away from them. "With Mongolia sire, any word from General Cadrez?"
"Oh yes, General Cadrez, how is he?" the King asked pacing around nervously, he looked terrible.
"I don't know sire, he is headed to England, he was supposed to send word when he arrived, the courier should have been here by now." Dodabella said as he approached the King.
"Maybe you should ask Minister Olivares, he seems to know a lot about these things." the King said.
"Is he coming?" Dodabella asked.
"He is here!" the King laughed.
Dodabella was getting worried, he knew Bainor was developing mental problems, but this was getting out of hand "Sire, with all due respect we are the only ones here right now."
"Nonsense!" Bainor laughed, he began patting his hand on the top of a stone box "He angered me, so I put him in this box for a while, he's been there for quite some time now, I think I'll let him out."
"Sire, that box is far too small for him, are you feeling ill?" asked Dodabella.
"Don't be ridiculous Fiador!" the King replied as he opened the box.
"Sire, Fiador is dead, I am Carlos Dodabella, of Seville, I am married to your daughter Evita, remember?"
"Of course Fiador, how can I be so forgetful!" the King pulled a human skull from the box and glared into its eye-sockets "Juan, I've decided to let you out, Fiador here has something to ask you. Go ahead Fiador, ask away." he held the skull up to Dodabella's face, he cringed.
"Sire, please. This is insane." Dodabella said backing up "That's a skull, what happened to Olivares?"
"I told you Fiador, he's right here." the king said holding up the skull again to his face, he began laughing hysterically....
Queen Yolanda Diaz of Aragon stared blankly out of her window, she was growing older and thought to herself about her life. How she had been used by Dodabella, how she was now divorced and ashamed, and how her family was slowly dying away. Her brother Fiador, who she loved and admired, was dead now despite his allegience to King Bainor. Her son Sancho was far too young to rule, and her daughter was blacklisted by Castille from finding a new husband. She had stooped to dealing with the Andalusians, and she was going to see the legendary "Campeador," El Cid. This was her last chance at restoring Aragon to its former glory.
"Queen" her servant said, breaking her thoughts "El Campeador is here! He's quite a strapping man!" the servant said with a smile, "I'm beginning to think Elena may take a liking to him, she likes the rough types."
"Please, I will not have my only daughter married to a common rebel! I am only meeting with him because he asked me to, I can't afford to allow Aragon's future to be the same as this dying band of brigands. Now send him in." she said to the servent, who nodded and motioned for the guards to open the doors.
El Cid entered the room, he was still dressed for battle, but was very clean as he had taken up the Andalusian custom of daily, ritualistic, bathing. He approached the queen and kneeled at her feet "Queen Yolanda Diaz of Aragon, I am Rodrigo Diaz of Vivar, and I must request your assistance in the saving the Kingdoms of Spain from the tyrant Bainor."
"Rodrigo Diaz?" the Queen asked "You must be mistaken, there is no way YOU are of the house of Diaz." she said surprised, "Please arise warrior."
"It is no mistake my lady, I was adopted by Fiador Diaz of Aragon, your brother." El Cid replied.
"I know who my brother is!" the queen responded bitterly "I don't appreciate your lies sir!" the guards readied their weapons, as did El Cid.
"Please Queen Diaz, I wouldn't want to kill your guards in your presence, you must believe me. I was his adopted son, I was accompanying him to Leon when he was killed, I have taken up his name." El Cid replied.
"Very well Campeador, I shall entertain this ridiculous story for now, what are your plans?" she asked.
"Simple, our army can not overcome Madrid alone, we need Aragon to help, for your support we could have your family installed, your young son Sancho could become the King of Spain, and peace would prevail." El Cid explained, the queen seemed to consider the offer.
"You do understand if we fail we will all be killed." the queen replied "And not only me, but my family as well, Bainor has already seen to it that my daughter goes un-married, and I can only assure you that he intends on Sancho never seeing any power. You will certainly die if he ever finds you."
"Which makes this more necessary, Bainor can not be allowed to maintain power, he has committed our army to a situation thousands of miles away in England, he has nearly destroyed Andalusia, and has propped up puppet leaders in Leon to assure his dominance, if we allow him to continue we are only ensuring the continued oppression of the Spanish people." he approached the queen, again kneeling at her feet "Please great queen, save your people!"
"Did you see him Elena" the servant said as she combed the princess' hair. "He is a strong man, very handsome, not like these nobles you see around here. I heared he's killed over a thousand men single handedly!"
"Mother would never entertain it, I coulnd't even look at him without getting into trouble." Elena said with a sigh, she knew she was destined to an arranged marriage with a man she hardly knew, the worst part about it is that the marriage would be set up by Bainor, not even her own mother would have a say in it. "Besides, El Cid is a monster, he eats children!"
"Please, spare me princess!" the servant said laughing "You know quite well that Bainor spreads such propoganda to get all of Spain to loathe him, but he is a great warrior, and you know men like that make amazing lovers."
Elena smiled "Well, what do you expect me to do?"
"Go in there, get a look at him and tell me what you think, Bainor will never let you be married Elena, he doesn't want your kingdom to grow in power, he is afraid of losing his control of Spain." the servant explained.
"How do you know all of this?" Elena asked her as the servant finished combing her hair.
The servent turned her around to face her "Well, when we have guests here sometimes Queen Yolanda makes me do things for them, especially the men."
"I didn't want to know about that!" Elena said...
Back in the Queen's chambers...
"It wouldn't require many men, twenty thousand maybe." El Cid explained to the queen, he had now pulled out a map showing the route he wanted the Aragonese to take, his plan was simple; pinch Madrid in and attack before the troops sent to England can respond.
"That seems like a lot of men, Aragon's army isn't that strong since the wars against Castille, even after that Bainor made sure our army was no bigger than fifty thousand, if we lost this attack on Madrid we'd hardly have proper defenses against the inevitable Castillian response." the Queen explained, just then the door opened and princess Elena entered.
"Oh, I am sorry mother, I didn't realize you had company." the Princess said, El Cid turned around and couldn't believe his eyes. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life, for a few moments he lost his train of thought.
"Elena please, this is an important discussion, don't interrupt us." the queen said as she hurried to her daughter's side, she grabbed Elena's arm and whispered "I know what your'e doing, this man is beneath you, he'll be dead soon anyway, he's an animal you know!"
"Mother, stop it!" Elena said, pulling her arm away "I was leaving anyway, it isn't important. Hello by the way." she said as she smiled at El Cid.
"Hello, I am Rodrigo." El Cid said, he felt like an idiot, but he couldn't help it, her beauty caught his throat and nothing else came out.
"Pleasure to meet you Rodrigo" Elena said, smiling, her mother motioned for her to leave.
"Elena must go Rodrigo, we can continue this discussion tonight over dinner, for now my servants will take you to your quarters, there is no reason for you to leave until nightfall, in case anyone is watching the palace." the queen said, as she pushed Elena out of the room.
"Your daughter, the uh, the princess, she is quite breathtaking, you must be on your toes with her!" Rodrigo said, "I mean, you know, there must be many suitors for her hand."
"There are none, Bainor forbids it for now, he says we must wait until the right time." the queen explained.
"Since when does Bainor have say over your daughter's affairs?" Rodrigo asked.
"Since when were we talking about my daughter? come now, those clothes aren't proper for tonight's feast, let's find you some proper attire..."