Chalk Outline

The truth is lost in time. Erased by centuries of chest-pounding men. What power could a mere teenage girl lacking noble birth, hold over her betters? I’m here to tell you, women have their ways.

Fluent in Latin, an educated mind grasps diplomatic intricacies and gathers skillful, wealthy, and intellectual people into a formidable defensive circle. Ambitious men heed the girl’s counsel and indulge her whims. Ludovico the lover, patron of Milan provides influence and fortune. Rare books, animated discussions, beautiful music, and a sitting with the court painter are the order of the day. A compliment here, a good word there, helps ensure the rising star of a talented artist.

Tokens and favors are currency more valuable than gold. Love is not an emotion to consider when status, livelihood, and beneficial concords are the prize. Diplomacy dictates marriage alliances, and it sweeps aside feelings. But an acknowledged son forges deep bonds with his father and protocol insists on a mother’s security. A gift of Carmagnola Palace serves as a just reward and an advantageous wedding seal the deal.

My life would have been forgotten except for the brilliant painter and a young woman’s captured image as she tried to keep her one true love. The work was both cursed and charmed. Recused, hidden, found, exiled, stolen, almost destroyed, a heavy army boot left its insult upon my face. Its survival is a miracle

Safe today, the painter’s reputation dances with my legacy. For now, my story endures.


*** The chalk image is a representation of Lady with an Ermine – Cecilia Gallerani.  A painting by Leonardo da Vinci ***


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

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