Chapter 3

Sorry this is unfinished, I just thought I hadn't updated in a few weeks, so as I had this it's better than nothing I guess :) Once exams are over I can concentrate on writing a bit more though, so hopefully the updates will be faster. Any reviews or comments would be greatly appreciated, and I hope you're all having a lovely summer :)


School the next day seemed to drag on forever. Tom found himself incredibly tired, as if he really had been up all night, walking around the Conservatoire di Musicia. Tom assumed it had been a dream, but there were parts of it that made him think otherwise; some of the detailed architecture in the rooms of the Conservatoire for example. He had never been to a proper music hall, however much he had begged his mother to take him, so the full sound that echoed out of many of the vast music chambers as he walked by couldn't have been something he had imagined. There were also weird words Tom remembered. What was it Pepo had called him? A stravagante. Tom had never heard such a word before and as soon as he got home he Googled it. Tom guessed that if was real, surely Google would have an answer for it. The first few pages showed that it was useless. The only websites that were showing up were Italian websites or dictionary sites telling you the definition of 'stravagante'. Apparently it translated into English as 'extravagant'. That's certainly what they are! Tom thought, remembering the ruffled shirt the conductor had been wearing. Nevertheless, Tom decided to fall asleep holding the flute again, because that another thing Pepo had told him, and he would see whether 'Talia' was really real or not.


"Mother, I want to go to Volana." Isabellina's defiant tone made Silvia chuckle. She remembered when her daughter Arianna had worn that same expression when she first became Duchessa, and told her about the changing the rules about mandoliers. As a family, they were sitting in a smaller dining room eating breakfast. The main dining hall was saved for important meals, or if they were entertaining important guests. Today, the Bellezzan palazzo was quiet, which was why Isabellina had brought up the subject of Volana.

"Why dear?" said Arianna.

"Well, I play the violin very well, and I think I would benefit from the teachings of the musicians there. I would also like to play in one of their orchestras – do you know how lonely it can get when it's just me, scraping away on my violin..." Arianna rolled her eyes at her daughter. She did agree with what she was saying; she knew her daughter was talented at music. Rodolfo, who had been quiet up until now spoke:

"Are you sure it is not so you can be closer to your friend Falco, Isabellina? I hear Duke Alfonso has a lovely summer palace there, which would be just perfect for a young man to go for a holiday." His face was serious, but there was a twinkle in the corner of his eye that gave away the unserious way he meant the comment. However hard Isabellina tried to deny it, her blushing cheeks gave her away in an instant. It hadn't been the main reason for her wanting to study at Volana, but it was definitely a bonus factor for her being there!

"We'll think about it. Don't hold your breath though; you wouldn't be able to leave until next September anyway." Her father, Luciano finished the discussion with a sign to the servants that they had finished. Rodolfo took him to one side and said quietly:

"Be careful in your decision. Pepo tells me there is a new stravagante, Tommaso, and you remember the trouble that can happen around new stravaganti, don't you?" Isabellina caught the last part of his sentence as she walked past, back to her room. Stravaganti? She knew that word. It was something her father and grandfather were involved in, but she knew little about it. She remembered asking her mother about it but was told that she would know when she was older. By now, surely she was older so Isabellina was going to find out.