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August 4th, 1781

We finally arrived at the Chateau Almaviva late this afternoon. It is very grand and imposing, and the estate goes for miles and miles. The whole place seems to shine in the light of the sun as you approach it – or maybe it was just the colors of the sunset reflecting off the sand-colored walls. The turrets stretch up into the sky, their spires scraping against the clouds. I have never seen anything so high, nor so magnificent. Geoffrey says that it took 100 years and ten thousand men to build, but I’m not sure I believe him. He’s very wise and knows many things, but he’s still only a steward.

Servants met us at the gate, and guided us up the long sweeping road to the chateau. When we could go no further a footman opened the door, and I must admit I pushed both him and Geoffrey out of the way to be the first one outside. It felt absolutely glorious to be out of that stuffy carriage!

We were shown our rooms, and then I was taken to the Count’s study. He was there waiting for me, and stood as we came in. He is a tall, dark-haired man and he seemed to fill the room with his presence. His words to me were kind and I felt greatly reassured; I would never say so out loud, but leaving our manor and travelling so far away from Mama and Papa makes me nervous. Not scared, never that, but a bit anxious is all. It seemed like the Count was pleased with me. I hope he’ll teach me well - I want to be a good Baron one day, just as my father is now. The count has promised to guide me in my training and my studies, to be a guardian and teacher as I grow. I have no doubt now that he is telling the truth.

After, though… at dinner I met her grace the Countess for the first time. My mother has spoken of her fondly, and she is my godmother (so they tell me). But from looking at her I cannot imagine her as anyone’s godmother – more like a goddess or a queen. She is radiant, so noble that she seems to cast everyone around her into shadow. If I may serve her I know I shall have a splendid future. With the wisdom of the Count and the grace of his Countess, what more could anyone desire?