Prologue

In the court of Prince Teodosio the name Cotres was not taken lightly. The Cotres' were the finest designers in ten kingdoms, thirty principalities and five feudal countries; it caused quite a stir when the greatest Cotres ever died. Rafaellis Cotres, dressmaker supreme, was found dead with a white linen scarf wrapped too tight around her throat. It was declared a case of suicide.

Mourning for one of his favorite subjects, Prince Teodosio wore a white linen scarf for a month. Other well wishers followed and white linen scarves became a veritable trend. The Cotres' were befuddled; how could a member of their family do such a terrible thing? When Princess Ridah's chamber maid was rumored to be carrying the child of her mistress' husband, Rafaellis became a thing of the past.

Many months passed and the Cotres' question went unanswered. Phillipos Cotres, an abstract cobbler with immense promise, was determined to find the truth of Rafaellis' unexpected death.

"She was happy! She had everybody's respect and devotion! She was free to do as she wished! Many would kill to be in that position! My aunt didn't die by choice!" he would insist.

Phillipos was poisoned fifteen months after Rafaellis' death. Again the court of Prince Teodosio was shaken by a Cotres' death. Tasters were hired by all who could afford them; no one was taking a chance. Now there was no doubt in anyone's mind that Rafaellis was murdered.

Some Cotres' began to panic, so many wished to run away. Terrified as they were; none dared to disobey the patriarch. Baltissareo Cotres was an experienced jeweler, who had come to the court of Givey's grandfather. Since then he had built a powerful legacy, one he thought would last generations.

He was saddened by his daughter and grandson's deaths but did not loose strength. Baltissareo forbade any Cotres to leave the court and promised severe punishment to those who disobeyed.

"It would be lowly to run! I have worked my entire life to gain such glory! We cannot allow the opposition to emerge victorious! We stay until the last Cotres falls!"

It was the next evening that in his sleep, Baltissareo was stabbed to three times in the chest. A note was nailed to the foot of his bed warning the Cotres' of more horrible things to come. Prince Teodosio took Princess Ridah to asylum in the countryside. The Cotres' spread far and wide to the four corners of the earth. One by one they were killed. Three years after Rafaellis' death, none were believed to be alive.