The Borgias - Season 3

301. The Face of Death


Previously on The Borgias... Now is the time of reckoning. The vultures are circling our family.
Our Rome. We must remove him from the chair of St. Peter's- and from this world.
Vengeance is mine, saieth the Lord.
Ah, vengeance will be ours.
Catherina Sforza. If she does not kiss the papal ring, we will drag her in chains through the streets of Rome!
You would have me kneel to him? Bow? I only kneel when it suits me.
Catherina Sforza shared her bed with me.
Did she beg to be friends with us?
She remains an enemy.
Now we're in need of another alliance!
I will not marry.
It is a daughter's duty to marry her father's choice!
Surrender to my forces! Journey to Rome!
I will never bend my knee to the whore master of Rome.
Sforza's Soldier:
Hernando de Caballos:
We are under attack!
What should have been a glorious victory is an ignominious defeat.
Father, we must discuss our brother. He is hurtling towards ruin. He will drag this whole family with him.
Sleep well.
The pope is surrounded by a ring of steel. I propose we use the weapon the Borgia family uses - Canterella.
I would gladly die to rid the world of the Borgia pope.
The thought of marriage turns my stomach. The warm touch of a lover might ease the pain.
We grow weary of this game.
It is no game.
You are marrying for all of us, Lucrezia! For family!
Who are you?
I'm Prince Alfonso d'Aragona, suitor to the Lady Lucrezia.
Yes, I will marry him. He has all the sweetness of an apple on the tree.
You want to inhabit my shoes, carry my sword. You must resign yourself, Cesare. One day you'll realize that everything I've done has been for your own good.
Leave my baby! Juan, leave my baby alone!
I will not have this family torn apart! Help him through his dark night.
Have you come to beg forgiveness for your insult? You're already forgiven.
We're Borgias. We never forgive.
Your brother murdered in cold blood. Who would do such a thing?
Many people, Father. I have wished him dead a thousand times.
Find his murderer. Scour all Italy!
There will be no need of that.
Do you know who did this?
I have taken upon my head the act that none other would dare commit. If I cannot have your affection, can you at least grant me your forgiveness?
We realize now that we have brought this upon ourselves.

Papal Guard:
Come with me! Hurry!
Help! Father!
Summon the physician!
Is he dead?
Papal Guard:
Stand back!
Papal Guard:
Make way, I say!
Papal Guard:
Physician, hurry!
Papal Guard:
Make way!
Papal Guard:
Move! Move aside!
Papal Guard:
Seal the city! Close the gates!
Papal Guard:
Make way!
Papal Guard:
Make way, make way.
Cantarella. What can you do?
Nothing. His soul is already departing this world.
His soul does not depart until I give it leave!
But-there is nothing-there is no remedy, no antidote- there is nothing to cure such a case.
No, there is. There is something - charcoal. But I have only read of it, never seen it done. I need water, water. Open his mouth. Get this down. Come on! Help me! Force it in until he can bear no more. And if he vomits, force more. You understand me?
But, this is witchcraft.
This is physick! Get to it!
Do what she says. Every detail. And, if his soul departs, I shall ensure it does not do so alone.
Yes, Eminence. Hand me water.
Push this down his throat!
Papal Guard:
Get these people out of here. I want this room clear.
Ave Maria. Gratia plena. Dominus tecum...
Get it down!
...benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Will he live?
Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur -
I found this in the boy's cell.
A Dominican salter in a Franciscan cell?
I have closed the city.
I must leave. Do what you can.

Hah! Yah!
Keep going.
Come on.
The last words I spoke to him...
They tore him apart.
Shh! It's not yet too late.

A Dominican:
Who's there, Brother?
A Dominican:
Stop! This is the house of God.
And God is angry.
A Dominican:
Ah! Ah!
A Dominican:
Whose room is this?
A Dominican:
Cardinal Della Rovere's.
Where is he? Where is Della Rovere?
My lord.
Cantarella. You, where he is? Tell me where you have hidden Della Rovere- or your life is forfeit. Show me - or I will gut you like a fish.
A Dominican:
You threaten me? We are men of God!
Men of God who have conspired to murder my father. Your father. Did you really think I would not find you out? Look at me. Look at me! Show me.
A Dominican:
Show him.
Get up!

There is nothing more I know to do.
Well, we cannot leave him here. Come.

We've lost him.
A Dominican:
Ah! Ahh!

It seems our prayers may not be answered.
That would depend on the nature of your prayers.
God forbid he should die. But should he die...
There will be opportunity. There will be mayhem.
God wants an Italian. The Holy Spirit wants a Roman. We should decide amongst ourselves. Find the safest pair of Italian hands and bless the martyr who brought about this outcome.
A Roman. One of the great Italian families.
Julius Versucci:
Colonna, De Luca, Piccolimini, Sforza, Versucci... Orsini.

He could be anywhere.
His arm, lift his arm.

Of course.
I would need to know where you consider me.
Cardinal Orsini. Cardinal DeLuca. Cardinal Colonna. Cardinal Sforza. My brothers; I came as soon as I heard.
As soon as you heard.
Of the pope's death.
Cardinal Della Rovere, your information somewhat pre-empts the matter.
He lives?

In nomine Patri et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, amen.
The life has not left him yet, Eminence.
Your blade! Cesare! Put up your blade!
No, no, no!
Cesare! The least disturbance may tip the balance.

Cesare-please! Now think!
Think of what?
Of what happens next. Of what becomes of us if he dies. You, me, Lucrezia. Do you think we've made friends here? Do you think we can turn to our allies? Where are these allies, Cesare? Who are our friends? I'm not pope. Neither are you. Without him, what becomes of us?
Will he die?
It hangs in the balance.
Then we must wait to see which way the balance falls. Meanwhile, look to me for your safety.

We should align ourselves now to reap what we can.
Julius Versucci:
There's nothing else.
There are the Borgia estates.
Are we agreed?
An Italian then?
And a Roman.
Julius Versucci:
Della Rovere is both.
He has been long in the wilderness.
Julius Versucci:
For far too long. How long will any of the Borgias survive once he's gone? I want the treasury. And I want land.
In nomini Patri...

Sh, sh, sh. Sh, sh, sh. He won't sleep.
Take him back to the villa. Put him in his bed there. We'll join you as soon as we know his grandfather's fate.
Thank you.
Shh... Be safe.
Yes, my lady.
You should go too. It's not safe here.
If it's not safe for me, how can it be safe for you?
It's not. But I am a Borgia, and my place is here.
I'm to be your husband -
Yes, but you are not yet. Go back to your villa and... When this is over - one way or the other - I will send for you, never fear.
I would protect you, you know.
The time may come. But not now.
The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners...

Papal Guard:
Take position!
Papal Guard:
In place!
Papal Guard:
Papal guard!
Cardinal... Tell me- um... Where are the lines of allegiance?
Please... Do not tell me that my father did not have you with your ear pressed to the wall on such matters. I wish to know. Which cardinals owe favours to which other cardinals? Who is in whose pocket? Who seeks the papacy? And who merely wishes an easy life? You know all this, do you not?
Yes, your father encouraged me to, uh... to know all of this.
I have a list in my private apartments. Names and notes.
Get it.

Did my cousin Catherina send you? You are not welcome here.
This is a dagger's tip upon which all events turn, Cardinal. We are at the fork in the road. Rome must not be allowed to take the wrong path here.
Did you do this?
No. It took us by surprise. But it was our intention, at the proper moment. Preparations have been made for some time now, certain... matters arranged. All this has done is move things along a little faster than we'd anticipated. You have always known this day would come, Ascanio. All that has changed is that now I require your assistance in the matter.
By what right dare you require anything of me?
By right of blood. Of family. Of kinsmen. And by right of what is good for Rome.
And if I refuse?
You should not refuse.
If he dies -
When he dies.
What comes after? Are you here to dangle the Papacy of Rome in front of me like a carrot in front of a hungry mule?
Are you saying you would refuse, if it were offered? Understand me clearly. Your cousin Catherina will not be denied this chance. He will die. As will they all die.
The whole brood of bastards die tonight. So you should give thought to where you want to be come the dawn. One step closer to the throne of Rome, or confronting a pope whose family just died at Sforza hands. Come home, Ascanio. You have been too long away.

It would be good if we could count on your support.
Of course.
Thank you. You believe that one of you can beat him. You can't. Sforza knows too well your strengths and weaknesses, your little corridor politics. He'll set you against one another, let you vie for position, and then take down the winner without breaking a sweat. I can beat him - if you lend your strength to mine. None of you wants to be pope in any case. What you want is power. And that I will give you, all that you could eat of it.
Your Holiness!
Water! Dottore, water, now!
Yes, my lord!
Your Holiness!
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.

Your place is in the Vatican, Cardinal.

You can leave us.
Shh... Don't try to speak. Your throat will be torn from the charcoal.
It's safe. It's safe, it's safe.
I saw the face of death.
Well, you're not dead, Father. You live.
For how long?
A day and a night.
By who?
Della Rovere. The Dominicans were hiding him right here in Rome. But we have him and I will know how many others, their names, their families... He will tell everything before I'm done with him, and then he will beg for death.
They settled like crows around me... I heard them... praying for my death. I heard them.
They're gone now.
I have disappointed them. How come I did not die?
You owe your life to Lucrezia.
And the grace of God.
Yes, and that.
No, not God. Ah... Where is he?
Who, Father?
Juan. Where is Juan? Juan.
Look at me. Look at me. You have us. We are here.
One day and a night. So much has changed.


What of my family?
Papal Guard:
Make way!
They're well, so far. And whether they remain so depends on your answer.
There are five guards inside the villa. I don't know how many outside.
Where placed?
The main doors. Two in the garden. The others move around, upstairs mostly. I'm not sure of more.
That's good enough. And the family?
They will return when the pope is well. Or when he dies.
The window in the washing room leads outside? When the family returns, leave the window unlatched and walk away.
But you must promise me - Please, spare the child. He has done nothing.
Of course. You have my word. No harm to the child. Let's go.

Okay, go ahead!
Yeah, yeah, yeah! That's it!
Hit him! Hit him! Peck his eyes out! Yeah! Get him! Yeah, that's it!
Call it off.
What's happened?
He's alive!
You're certain?
When I left he was calling for water. By now he's probably fucking some servant girl with a wine jug in one hand and a swan's leg in the other. It's over.
Don't be a fool.
Are you deaf? He's alive.
So make him die. The others die tonight in any case. I've already given the word.
Dear God.
There's no backing down now. Within the month Rome will have a new pope. Better for all that it is a man of moderation and wisdom such as yourself.
You're insane.
He trusts you. Toledo steel. It's one of a pair.
What have you done with the other?
I told you, preparations had been made. In the pope's chamber. Concealed in the crucifix upon his offering table. You know what to do.

My father lives. You've failed.
What say you to that?
Today he lives. One day he will not. And on that day, where will you be?
You do know what awaits you, hmm? What we did to Savonarola will seem like the merest whimsy compared to what I will inflict on you.
Wait... What I said, I meant. Give thought to it. Where will you be when he's gone? They will tear you down like jackals. I can help you.
I have no need of your help.
I can pave the way.
Every word from your lips is a lie.
I'm beaten. I have failed. I know that. What use am I to you dead?
I do not mean for you to be dead. Not for a long, long time.

I saw the face of death.
I know. You said.
And I was afraid. I am so afraid.
Don't be. It would take more than cantarella to fell an ox like you.
No, you don't understand. I didn't see the face of God. He was not there. Why did He not show Himself to me? But I heard the others. I heard them. Colonna. Versucci. DeLuca, Della Rovere. How they prayed for my death, and swore to see me buried and never again a Spaniard on the papal throne. Carrion crows pecking away. And where was God to protect me?
You must rest. Now close your eyes and sleep.
He sleeps?
He frets, as if in fever.
You've done such work today. Take mother home. Stay with her. Take some sleep for tomorrow. I'll stay with him.
Look after him.
I heard that voice. In the room, before the poison took hold and darkness dragged me down. I heard you call out to me. "Father, Father." And you held me in your hands. Come here. Come. There was something before the darkness. Something you said, something you told me... that the world must never know. Your brother's murder was a terrible crime, and every crime must be seen to have a punishment. So we must find the person who is to be punished. You understand?
And I?
You have to find your own peace.

Papal Guard:
Papal guard! Forward!

I will speak with the prisoner. You are relieved.
Papal Guard:
Yes, Your Eminence.
What is this?
This is your freedom. Don't forget who put it in your hands.
But why?
Others may succeed where you have not. And then, Rome will have need of you. Guard.
I will not forget this.
Go with them. They will show you the way. God be with you.
And with you.

Is this necessary?
Papal Guard:
My Lord Cesare's orders.

No... Guards!

Della Rovere! Find him! Follow me!
Papal Guard:
Yes, my lord!
Papal Guard:
Search everywhere!

Oh! You scared me. What is it?
Do you not hear the child crying? Look at me. I said, look at me.
I had no choice.
Hm. You had every choice.
Papal Guard:
Who's there?

Della Rovere is free.
There are dead men strewn through my father's house and Della Rovere is free. All is well here?
No... No, all is not well here.
Just tell me.
There is a plot to kill your family. It is my cousin Catherina Sforza's doing.
Tonight. Now.
Get in there!
Do not leave his side. Do not let anyone else in.

Where are they?
Your sister's bedroom.
Thank God.
Shhh... Shh...

They were warned. Ascanio betrayed us.
Then we will have to find another way.
That will be difficult. They will be watching for assassination.
No. No more assassination.
What then?
Those they have dispossessed... Those they have made enemies of... Those upon whom they have trodden in their ascent to power... Let us gather them to us.
The cardinals?
No. If our own cousin fails us, why look to the rest of the Consistory? Go to their families. The young bloods, blades for hire. Second sons. Roberto and Paolo Orsini. Vitelezzo Vitelli.
Prospero Colonna.
Gian Paolo Baglioni. The families of Bologna, Umbria, Siena.
An alliance. You think they would fall in? For the most part they hate each other.
They hate the Borgias more. Bring them to us. Marshal them under our banner. And then let us see where we stand.

What's this?
Papal Guard:
This is murder.
Taken out of the Borgia palace, so we heard. Run through and through with swords. Seems there's treason afoot. Best you keep your eyes open.

Were you in time?
I thank God for it.
Two men were sent in the night to wipe my family from the face of the earth and came within a blade's breadth of doing so. The maid's family is dead. The maid too, I'm sure, would have been disposed of had we not finished her first. There is someone thinking far ahead, tying up loose ends. Who?
Venite exultamus Domino...
His name is Rufio. He is a man of my cousin Catherina Sforza's household. I have known him since he was a boy. He's the most deadly, the most lethal -
We will find him.
No, no, you will not. He's not a mere assassin. He has made himself a student of the art of death. You will not find him unless he wishes it.
And so he found you.
He came to me and told me to choose my allegiance.
And you chose Rome.
Yes, of course I chose Rome! What do you take me for? A traitor?
Why should I be surprised at one more... when there are so many?
Where is Della Rovere?
Gone. Who knows where. He had friends. Friends within the Vatican.
I knew nothing of this. I swear it. I knew nothing before tonight.
You did well enough.

They came for our family?
It has passed. Everyone is well.
Who was it? Della Rovere?
More likely, this past night, your poisoning has rattled the grass and all the snakes in Rome have slid forth. Della Rovere may not be the worst of it.
Well, then who? Who did it?
Catherina Sforza.
That bitch. And you knew nothing of this until it was upon us? Who is to protect this family, if not you?
You are truly safe! And little Giovanni?
He's safe.
I told you, Father. He's safe. We're all safe.

This night is done, it is daylight. Open your eyes. We're not safe.
No. We are at war.
 The Borgias Fan Wiki

302. The Purge


Previously on The Borgias... They settled like crows around me - praying for my death.
Cardinal Orsini, Cardinal De Luca. I came as soon as I heard.
My father lives. You failed.
Where are these allies, Cesare? Who are our friends? Without him, what becomes of us?
You should go. It's not safe here.
I'm to be your husband.
Yes, but you're not yet. I will send for you.
What is this?
This is your freedom. Don't forget who put it in your hands.
Did you do this?
No. All this has done is move things along a little faster than we'd anticipated. Now I require your assistance.
And if I refuse?
Your cousin Catherina will not be denied this chance. He will die. As will they all die.
All is well here?
No. There is a plot to kill your family.
Tonight. Now.
All the snakes in Rome have slid forth.
Who is to protect this family if not you?
Ascanio betrayed us.
Then we will have to find another way.
The cardinals?
No, their families. Orsini. Vitelli. Baglioni.
They hate each other.
They hate the Borgias more.
Open your eyes. We're not safe.
We are at war.

Della Rovere's escape was orchestrated by whom?
Of that, I must plead ignorance.
We are in a snake pit, surrounded by venom and smiling vipers, and our son pleads ignorance? Maybe it was you, hm? Ow.
Let me.
Maybe you helped him to live to see another day. The day perhaps when your beloved father breathes his last.
If you believe that, Father, then you have lost all faith in me.
We have lost faith in everyone, everything, even the hand that guides us.
Surely not in your own family?
Our family. That... bosom of trust and tranquillity. No. We feel safe in the arms of our family. But as for that nest of vipers - called the College of Cardinals - we shall cleanse them. Purge it. As we ourselves have been purged.

So, Brother, who called us here?
This letter. Unsigned. It promised sport against the Borgia family.
And what if a Borgia wrote it?
Too clever surely - even for them.
Can you think of a better way to draw out their enemies?
Who's there? Vitelli.
Paulo Orsini - and Roberto. When did you take to writing letters?
We didn't.
You were summoned too?
Prospero Colonna.
We were summoned here by the Orsini?
You were summoned by me.
And you are?
I am the black heart of a Borgia nightmare. I speak with Catherina Sforza's voice and she invites you all to join her in a confederacy of hatred.
A hatred of the Sforza? We all sign up to that.
And she would call you fool. She would remind you of the days when families ruled this papacy of ours. Roman families. Sforza, Colonna, Vitelli - Orsini. Bury your enmities, bury them until the Borgia snake is lanced.
And she has the power to do that?
With your help.
And then, we can happily hate each other again.
She will drink to that.

Think of Rome as a spider's web, my son. Each family has its silken thread attached to an egg that is planted within these walls.
Orsini. Baglioni. Vitelli. Colonna.
And each one of those diaphanous threads go back through their families to the tarantula of Forli. The great Arachne, Catherina Sforza. And every egg wears a cardinal's hat and a smile of obedience and piety. And plots to murder you, your mother, your sister. And the plot to murder your beloved brother... succeeds.
Unforgiveable, surely.
So if you are to gain our love again, we would have you trace those silken threads - back to the families outside these walls. And let us deal with the cardinals within.

And then I never saw her again.
We're being followed.
Warn him off.
Yes, my lord.
You! Be wise and go home now.
I am never wise. Hey!
My Lord Vitelli.
My Lord Borgia.
You are in quite the hurry.
We were accosted.
Rome is a lethal place at times like these. Who bears you a grudge?
I know not.
My whole family was assaulted. And but for the actions of my brave manservant, my mother, sister, and nephew would lie like carrion in the streets.
Yes, I heard as much.
You also heard who set the dogs upon them?
No, I don't trust rumour.
Catherina Sforza, it is rumoured. It is also rumoured that she had help.
From whom?
Who covets the papal crown? The great Roman families: Colonna, Orsini, Baglioni... Vitelli.
A dangerous accusation, my lord. And one that would need evidence.
Indeed. Micheletto - call the night watch. There was some unpleasantness in the streets. And so I shall escort the good Lord Vitelli safely home.

No, no. It's no good.
Come here.
It's no good!
My love... it happens to every man once in a while.
Not to me.
To every man.
Why, have you known so many? No. I'm sorry. Forgive me. Forgive me. Come here. We have never been unmanned before. Maybe it's the poison. Hm? I mean, we want you. We desire you.
You are tired. You've been through too much.
We have been tired before. We have never been undone before. Perhaps it's age.
You are the most vigorous man I have ever known.
"Was," perhaps.
You are. And this will pass. Believe me, it will pass.

Cardinal Orsini!
Sh, sh, sh.
You could hear a pin drop, Micheletto.
If I had a pin.
Do you have a pin, Cardinal?
No, my Lord, I have no pin.
But you have relatives here. Could you introduce me to them?
The Lords Paulo, Roberto Orsini: Lord Cesare Borgia.
At your service. May I join you?
Be our guest.
You were here for the game, I would hazard. The pope falls ill. The game begins. Who will succeed him? An Orsini? A Colonna? A D'Este? Or, would anyone dare bet on another Spaniard?
But the pope lives.
Indeed. The game is over.
For now.
So then why do you still linger here in Rome?
We like the ruins.
You prefer them to your castle in Bracciano?
We like that too.
But you must confer with your cousin, the cardinal. Which is difficult in Bracciano.
His business is in Rome.
Yes, he serves the pope, in Consistory. Does that service include the attempted assassination of his family?
Be careful, my lord.
I am - most careful. I gutted those incompetent dogs. Sent by Catherina Sforza? By you? Or by a great combination of both?
But the pope survived, thanks be to God. Here, take it down. So, be careful with your calumnies and your accusations. Rome is a city of rumour. And you had a brother, who was murdered. And rumour has it that the culprit still lives.
He has yet to be found.
Ah. Well, perhaps he's here.
Are you accusing me?
Or me?

Come father, come!
Where we going?
That's the mystery. Come!
Come! Father!
Hold on!
Hold me, Father - promise you'll hold me!
I...I... No!
Cesare, Holy Father, your loving son.
Our only son.
Catherina Sforza seeks out allies.
Ah. You've come to talk to us about spiders.
In an alliance against us -
With whom?
All of them: the great Roman families.
Hm. So it is time to act. To snip those silken threads from their source. The great Arachne. And to give her a lesson in the elegance of revenge.
Can revenge be elegant?
Oh, yes. And eloquent. We shall begin with words. An inquisition, within these walls.
They will all cry innocent.
We will have one interrogate the other. Interrogate.
And of what do we accuse them?
Of a hand in the conspiracy. To murder our sacred person, and of our family.
The murder of your beloved son.
You surpass yourself, Cesare.
I have a lot to atone for.
Mm. We shall start with he who is closest to the tarantula of Forli: Cardinal Sforza.

Holiness, I swear by the living God that I am innocent in this matter. I have long forsaken all ties with my family. I am a nameless orphan, in the service of God, my pope, and the Borgia family.
You would rather be a Borgia than a Sforza?
In everything but name, I already am.
And you wish to prove to us your innocence?
Your Holiness, I must.
Then find for us those responsible.
Who else then lies under suspicion?
Everyone. Anybody who wears a red hat. Interrogate them all.
I am hardly an inquisitor.
Then become one. We will cleanse this Vatican of ours of anyone who even thinks to question our fitness for this most holy of offices.
Is thought to be a crime now?
Begin with De Luca. Threaten him with loss of office and banishment and - ...he will sing madrigals.
And if he doesn't?
Take him to the Castel Sant Angelo. Acquaint him with the instruments of torture.
You cannot torture a prince of the church.
I know that. You know that. But imagination is a great persuader. He saw Savonarola burn. He'll soon begin to sing - if he hasn't already - like a nightingale.
And then?
Then -seize his estates, strip his red hat. Banish him to some hermitage. And arrest all those he has implicated. And start the process again. We are in a new world, Cardinal.

You were married before.
Indeed, my love. The whole world knows that.
And yet this child is not your husband's.
True. The whole world knows that too. If we are to be married, and happily my love, we must have no secrets.
Then I have a confession to make to you, Lucrezia Borgia.
I'm listening.
I saved myself for marriage.
Ah! Thank God. So you are all mine.
You misunderstand me. I am that most un-Italian thing. A virgin.
Oh. Well, we can soon put that to rights.
I made a vow to Saint Agnes.
The patron saint of purity.
The first woman that I'd lie with would be my wife.
Well lie with me. I will be your wife.
Yes, but you are not yet.
Ah. We must wait then.
Yes, we must wait. And until that night, all this beauty will be just a promise.

Perhaps the poison is still within you. Perhaps it strikes at the root of you.
The doctor said that the poison is gone.
Perhaps it's God's punishment: your lack of vigour.
Or maybe His blessing. In the past we have striven to subdue our passions. Maybe now we can succeed. How can we love when the very air we breathe is poisoned with venom and hatred? And trust no one - but you? And we could not protect you when the assassins struck.
You can't blame yourself for that.
We are God's minister on Earth; He has abandoned us. If we cannot keep you safe, we would rather give up our calling.
Life without the papacy; what a thought. But how would you spend your days? Tending your vines?
Yes! Oh! We would sit together in the garden in the evening and watch our grandchildren grow.
A garden? We'd have a garden?
Mm. Flowers, a beehive -
-a soft spring well. Then we would find peace. With all that we have, all the trappings of office and power, we cannot protect you, our family. We would rather be a peasant in a garden with a pitchfork - if that would keep you safe.

Cardinal De Luca. I would speak with you.

He heard every word, the Holy Father. Every word, every plot, every insinuation.
Cardinal De Luca:
He must know what happens on the illness of a pope. He plotted so himself.
This is not just any ordinary pope. This is a pope whose son has been murdered and whose family almost died at the same blade. He will take action.
Cardinal De Luca:
So tell me, what must I do?
First, you must confess.
Cardinal De Luca:
Well, I admit it then. I am guilty.
Of what?
Cardinal De Luca:
Of avarice - for advancement. For, dare I say, the throne of St. Peter. Well, that may not be enough. Am I guilty of more?
Who murdered the son?
Cardinal De Luca:
The world awaits news on that.
There was a plot led by Catherina Sforza and Della Rovere to rid the earth of the Borgia family. The plotters are in the Vatican walls.
Cardinal De Luca:
I am a cleric, Cardinal. I am adept at strategy; perhaps arranging votes on conclave, on committee. As to my expertise in murder, I would plead incompetence. You are the cousin to Catherina Sforza. The finger of such an accusation must surely fall on you.
Indeed it does. Which may well explain my sense of urgency in this matter. When the Holy Father was ill, he heard no words of mine.
Cardinal De Luca:
And what are my options?
Cardinal De Luca:
To a crime I would never even dream of committing?
Then name those who would. The plotters.
Cardinal De Luca:
And who are they?
Orsini, Versucci, Colonna. Pick who you will. It doesn't matter. They all wanted him dead.
Cardinal De Luca:
I could never.
Yes, I know; the very thought seems outrageous. But we must learn how outrage becomes normality.

This Vatican of ours has changed... forever. Follow me.
Cardinal De Luca:
Follow you where?
Into the future.

Cardinal De Luca:
Am I, a prince of the church, to be to put to the rack?
The very thought appalls me. But there are others less delicate than I. So perhaps these instruments of torture may act as an aid to contemplation.
Cardinal De Luca:
Cardinal Sforza, Cardinal Sforza, Cardinal Sforza, please! Please, Cardinal Sforza! Please, Cardinal Sforza! Cardinal Sforza! Sforza! NO! Sforza!

May I enter?
Will modesty allow it? Please. Little Giovanni. He's a virgin. He will punish me cruelly. He will make me wait. Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh.
I have had word from my uncle, King Ferdinand of Naples.
Observe. The sleep of the innocent. You have come to kiss him good night? Or to kiss me?
My uncle's letter mentioned him: the child.
The child?
Neither mine nor your husband's.
What of it?
My uncle has expressed his disquiet at the thought of...
The thought of?
The thought of a child without legitimacy in the palace of Naples.
Well, you and your uncle will have to agree to disagree then.
Of course.
You would never -
Who negotiates your dowry?
My brother.
Well, then I must go to him and insist that -
Perhaps I should broach the matter with him.
My brother's passions can be intense where issues of family are concerned.

Cardinal De Luca:
Why have you forsaken me? Why have you forsaken me?
You are in the house of lies.
Cardinal De Luca:
The devil's house?
Think of them as your friends.
Cardinal De Luca:
The rack? The iron maiden?
They have a message for you.
Cardinal De Luca:
You have used them, I am sure.
I have suffered on them. Your inquisitor believes that they elicit the truth. They do not. A man will say anything on the rack to make it end.
Cardinal De Luca:
Then why am I here?
To learn to lie. To say whatever is needed. To avoid their embrace.

You are to negotiate my dowry, Brother. With his uncle.
The King of Naples; yes.
So must I trade one love for another?
Leave us.
My lord.
Do you mean me for him?
That too.
What do you mean?
I mean my son, Giovanni. His presence in Naples might be unwelcome.
Ah. I could have seen that coming.
The King of Naples feels that one cannot carry into one marriage baggage from the last.
Is your son baggage to you?
No. He's the light of my life.
Well, you could insist.
I will, as must you.But you must make the case for the son of a stable boy in a royal household.
Listen. You are Lucrezia Borgia. You are the scandal of Italy. You are also the envy of Italy. And soon to be a princess of Aragon. Whoever gets in the way of your happiness will meet my wrath. We are the unholy family. Let him know that.
I fear he knows already.
He will love you, he will serve you, and if Naples dares to take your son from you, I promise... it will never know peace again. Can I get help, please? Help now!
Yes, my lord!

Did you sleep?
Cardinal De Luca:
But I dreamed, Cardinal.
You dreamt without sleeping? Now that is miraculous.
Cardinal De Luca:
Call it a waking dream.
Tell me.
Cardinal De Luca:
I dreamed of a vast conspiracy encircling our beloved Vatican. It has its roots in the hills of the Romagna, in the great families that would claim St. Peter's as their own. And its tendrils spread like writhing serpents through the streets of Rome, breaking inside the Vatican walls... where it becomes a many-headed hydra and each head wears a cardinal's hat.
Why don't you tell me more?

Is that my brother?
The brother who loves me?
The same.
Come in then. See my wedding gown.
God, um -
Come closer, Brother. My gown. Do you approve?
The gold is um... divine. I - I should leave, Sis -
Why? Am I ugly, Brother?
The man who makes that claim will lose his tongue.
My foot. It is ungainly? Too large, perhaps?
Your foot is beautiful.
You can't tell from there. Feel it.
Is this a game?
It is a game of want and wanting. The toes are splayed a little. God has made better feet, I'm sure.
Not that I have found.
You are a connoisseur of feet.
Yes. And I have found none better.
My calf. Is it elegant? Is it smooth?
What is this game, Sis?
My betrothed will not bed me. He will not touch me. He is a virgin.
You have the means to change that history, I'm sure.
Are you sure? That this body has the necessary charms?
I am certain.
He has made a vow to St. Agnes, the patron saint of purity - to remain chaste until married.
I am a Borgia. And I feel unloved.
Positively foolish.
You look but don't touch.
My lady.
My lady, your fitting.
That will be the dressmakers to fit my wedding dress. You must leave us, Brother.
For delicacy's sake.
Yes, of course.
Come in!

Cardinal De Luca:
There was a conspiracy, Holy Father, devised by the mistress of Forli, Catherina Sforza. But it is a conspiracy so vast that we have no doubt that she had help.
From within these walls?
Cardinal De Luca:
Indeed. And have no doubt, Holy Father, that he that denies such a conspiracy existed was part of the conspiracy himself.
We had feared as much.
Cardinal De Luca:
A vast many-headed hydra, spreading from the families of the Romagna and each head wears a cardinal's hat. The end was plain: the murder of you and your entire family. In the instance of your most sacred person, it almost succeeded. In the instance of your beloved son, Juan Borgia, it succeeded only too well.
And the conspirators? Are they amongst us here?
Cardinal De Luca:
They are, Holy Father. And most shamefully, I must count myself amongst their number.
Your honesty is noted. But you must name names, Cardinal.
Cardinal De Luca:
Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini.
Liar! Accuse yourself, De Luca and that perfidious Orsini!
Cardinal De Luca:
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Orsini.
These are false accusations coming from -
Cardinal De Luca:
Cardinal Rocca Colonna. Julius Versucci!
Julius Versucci:
I have been party to no conspiracy, Your Holiness!
Those cardinals, those who have betrayed our sacred trust - will be stripped of their offices and titles, their properties confiscated and returned to our Holy Mother Church. They will be forbidden entry through the gates of Rome, and live under censure for the rest of their days.

Is this why you would speak with me? I who was once you. You who will become me.
Should I resign myself? To being a mistress discarded?
I should be hating you, not providing a sympathetic ear.
Advise me then.
Is there another?
Not that I know.
Perhaps it is you, then.
Something has changed between us. I have felt it for some time.
Does he still love you?
I hope.
Perhaps you'll find, as I have that... love deepens, regardless of whether you share the same bed.
You mean I may find it is truly over between us?
Perhaps. Then you must state your terms. Negotiate your exit. What would you have from him, if not his passion?
A palace like yours.
That's easy. The cardinals are falling like flies.
And... a cardinal's hat.
For you? Have you no shame?
For my brother.

Do you think she'd be happy here? La Farnese?
So she's to be banished from your life then?
No. But a little distance might be beneficial... between us.
Have you told her that?
I did mention it.
She was upset, but the tears didn't last long. I mean, I think she was... relieved, maybe, to be released from us.
Everything has its end. Whose palace was this?
Oh... one of the cardinals who betrayed me.
It'll take more than a palace to keep her happy.
Have you spoken to her?
She told me that your vigour had somewhat diminished. I told her I couldn't imagine such a thing.
As I said before, it's a blessing in disguise. Why do you laugh?
Because my life without you has turned out to be another blessing in disguise.
We are both blessed then.
Together we're cursed.
But apart, at least I'm at peace.
My God, what a bed. It would fit the whole Consistory. Perhaps it did. What?
This is a rare pleasure. Alone together. We find ourselves becoming a little agitated.
You should call the guard.
We lack the voice.
Little goat. It's been a long time since you called me that.
Well, every now and then I whisper it. But rarely. Ah no, no, no, no, no. You lack the vigour, remember?
It would appear no longer.
So the cause was not the poison, my love.
It would appear not. You know... We feel safe with you. As if we've come home.

These offices I relinquish willingly. These estates I place in the care of our Holy Mother Church. This hat... I now return to the hands that blessed me with it.
In nomine Patris et Fillii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
But I would ask one last blessing before I leave our beloved Vatican forever. Confession. I would confess to the pope's ear alone, and be absolved of my heinous sins by the successor to St. Peter.
This is most irregular. The business of defrocking alone will take hours...
Your Holiness, I have been asked to effect my retirement with maximum and unseemly haste. I have complied. If my request is granted, I will be gone forever. You need never set eyes on me again.
Please... Please.
We grant this blessing.
With the utmost efficacy. Cardinal Sforza, take our place.

Bless me, Your Holiness, for I have sinned. And my sins are many. But the greatest of them... is this murder.

I must protest against this outrage! This hat is red as a symbol of our willingness to spill our blood in defence of our Holy Mother Church!

Whose murder?
A murder yet... to be committed! For which the whole world will grant me forgiveness!

And I return it willingly since there is nothing of value - [murmuring] No residue of honour, of goodness, of sanctity left to defend!

Ah! Ah! There will be rejoicing in the Heavens as Hell welcomes you with open arms...

May it lie in the filth which will be its deserved home!

I'll gladly die with you. Ah!
As you sink into the darkness - call out His name, see if He replies. Or if you must hear the eternal silence.

Next! Cardinal Colonna!
This is one endless confession.

Close the door. God must want us to live.
 The Borgias Fan Wiki

303. Siblings


Previously on The Borgias... We are in a snake pit surrounded by venom. We shall cleanse the College of Cardinals.
Vitelli, Orsini. Let us gather them to us.
Catherina Sforza invites you all to join her in a confederacy of hatred. Until the Borgia snake is lanced.
Catherina Sforza seeks out allies.
Give her a lesson in revenge.
Cardinal De Luca:
There was a plot to rid the Earth of the Borgia family.
So tell me, what must I do?
Cardinal De Luca:
Confess. To a crime I would never even dream of committing!
Then name those who would.
Cardinal De Luca:
Cardinal Sforza!
My uncle has expressed his disquiet at the thought of a child without legitimacy.
You are to negotiate my dowry, Brother.
If Naples dares to take your son from you, it will never know peace again.
My betrothed will not bed me. He is a virgin. I am a Borgia. I feel unloved.
My lady.
Cardinal De Luca:
Why am I here?
To learn to lie. To say whatever's needed.
Cardinal De Luca:
Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini.
Cardinal De Luca:
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Orsini.
These are false accusations coming from-
Cardinal De Luca:
Cardinal Rocca Colonna! Julius Versucci!
Julius Versucci:
I have been party to no conspiracy, Your Holiness!
Those cardinals will be stripped of their offices and titles. They will be forbidden entry through the gates of Rome.
My sins are many. But the greatest of them is this murder.
God must want us to live.

Julius Versucci:
Your lies should make you choke, De Luca.
The sentence is banishment. Cardinal Versucci will be stripped of his position as procreator of the Office of Public Works forthwith and his property will be donated to our Holy Mother Church.
Julius Versucci:
How many more, your Holiness... until your coffers are adequately lined?
Take him from our sight.

You're running out of cardinals. What use is an empty Consistory?
An empty Consistory is at least free of traitors and assassins. We will cleanse our house and get rid of this deceit with our own hands, if that be God's will. And the fruits of their degeneracy will be put to God's use.

Your Grace.
Julius Versucci:
Out of the way! No, no. Not now.

A summary of the state of the papal armies.
This your work?
The articles of war demand the papal army at full strength number: 10,000 men-at-arms. You have less than half that. Of horses, wagonry, and six tenths. Of supplies, provisions, medicines, foodstuffs and general equipment half.
What good are our men-at-arms if we can only equip them with one sword between two? Are they supposed to share?
Well, what do you expect me to do?
What of your cardinals' fortunes?
There were debts. The treasury is filling, but not to the extent of equipping an army.
Well, we must find a way. Because Catherina Sforza gathers allies to her daily like flies to a corpse. And we are weak.
We are not yet at war, Cesare.
Father, we're already seeing the first gambits on the chessboard: plot, intrigue, assassination. But the endgame will be war, and it will engulf all Italy. Am I wrong?
No, you're not wrong.
Then give me command!
In time, Cesare.


You go to Naples to discuss the terms of your sister's wedding, do you not?
When do you arrive?
We offer Naples a chance to strengthen our kinship with them in a bond of blood and family. It is a joyous visit. But you might take the opportunity to judge how our friends and cousins in the south fare in terms of men, arms, horses, wagonry, supplies, general equipment, and the like. So that kinship may not be the only thing strengthened by this joyous marriage.
Is that smoke? Do you smell smoke?

The treasury's on fire!
Fire in the treasury!
The account books! Hurry!
Help! Help!
My God! How did this happen?
Your Holiness, it seems Cardinal Versucci was the last person in the room. Whether this is by negligence or by design I can't tell. Unfortunately, no one can find him to ask him.

God be with you.
Good day, Brother.
Julius Versucci:

Move back, I say! Give the swordsmen room!
Finish him!
Florentine Swordsman:
Yah! I've won.
Florentine Swordsman:
I won! I'm telling you. I had you!
I think not.
Florentine Swordsman:
I had you, Baglioni! If this were for real -
If this was for real, you'd be dead.
Florentine Swordsman:
I have a hundred ducats that say I get first blood. Whoa! Once more.
On my mark. My lords.
Florentine Swordsman:
Ya! Nothing either way. You're not so fast as you think, huh, Gian Paolo Baglioni? Huh? Let's do that again.
Look at your neck.
He's cut him!
Baglioni's untouchable!
You think you could do better?
Against Gian Paolo Baglioni, Lord of Perugia, the most renowned blade in all Umbria? I value my own shirt too highly. Blood is the very devil to get out.
I know who you are. You're Catherina Sforza's man.

Alfonso wishes me to ask you if he may accompany you to Naples.
Alfonso cannot ask me himself?
I think he finds you a little, um...
Frightening. Take him. He wants to see his family.
Ah! Well, if you insist.
How long will you be away?
It's difficult to know. To negotiate the harmony of two households -
Harmony of households be damned. You know what I want.
You wish your son to be acknowledged.
As much as I am, you are. As much as any other... bastard child in Italy.
I give you my word - I will do my utmost, for Giovanni and for you.
Come back soon.
Why do you say that?
I don't feel safe unless I know you're nearby.

What brings you to Florence?
I am on my way home from visiting friends.
Which friends would those be?
Prospero Colonna, Roberto and Paolo Orsini, Vitelezzo Vitelli.
A miracle even to get them in the same room together.
We share a common interest.
And these are now your friends?
We hope that they will be, yes.
I see. Your lady does not lack for ambition.
You have done well suppressing the uprising in Umbria. The Florentines speak highly of you. But... your contract with them is over. Perhaps it's time to consider where you go next?

Naples. I haven't seen her in too long a time. We're to be brothers. And, mindful of that honour, I should like to show you around the city. Its beauties are modest in comparison to Rome - but- uh, it is my city, so...
Impress me not with your love for your native city but your love for my sister.
I could not love her more, my lord!
Will your "more" be enough? You are marrying Lucrezia Borgia. Your sole allegiance is to her now - And to Rome. Never forget that.
Keep that wagon moving!
Palace is this way, my lord.
Our allies.
Cousin. My Lord Borgia. We welcome you in the name of the fair and ancient city of Naples.
Rather more ancient than fair, from what I've glimpsed. It seems the French army were not exactly considerate tenants.
Tonight we dine to honour the union between our own Alfonso and the most-gracious Lady Lucrezia. A union not only of man and wife, but of Naples and Rome. We beg you, you will grace us with your presence.
I would be glad.

Presenting His Excellency, the Duke of Acquitane, Ambassador of the Court of his Highness Louis XII of France.
We are honoured to receive the Ambassador from France.
French Ambassador:
And France is most deeply honoured to be so received.
Hm. Your new king, Louis the XII, sends his ambassador. Tell me, does he bring murmurings of peace or of war?
French Ambassador:
Peace, Your Holiness.
Tell us more of this considerate young man.
French Ambassador:
He, uh, has the energy of youth but the wisdom of age. He is attentive to counsel, but decisive in his own authority. And most of all, he wishes no discord with Rome or with her pope.
Are we to believe he is without fault?
French Ambassador:
Well - you could perhaps, were you not to meet his wife.
His wife?
French Ambassador:
It is the most unfortunate match. The shame of France.
French Ambassador:
Arranged, of course, when he was only a child. Back then no one knew how she would develop. And now we know... All we can do is wish - wish for an act of God. My apologies, Your Holiness. I have entirely forgotten myself. Please forgive me.
Oh, you have our forgiveness. Let us talk... further... if you so desire... of, uh, the shame of France.

The Royal Guard. Here lies the true worth of Naples, my Lord Borgia, not in its buildings nor its peasants, but here.
And yet merely the razor tip of the great spear that is the Neapolitan army. Straight!
If I may ask... uh, how many men does Naples have under arms?
Ten thousand men.
Impressive. One might almost say... incredible.

Armourer Naples:
Put that down! No more fucking thieving, do you hear me?
You're telling me that people would wish to steal such shit?
Armourer Naples:
That's good armour, that. Just needs shaking in sand for 10 minutes; it'll come up good.
You shake this in sand for 10 minutes and all you'll end up with is rust.

Now as to residence - on her marriage, your sister will become the Duchess of Bisceglie.
We had-
Some attendance at the court would be in order.
We had already discussed it. She's happy to undertake any duties that are expected.
Very well; then I think our business here is concluded.
There is one other thing. The child.
The bastard son?
My feelings on that matter have already been made abundantly clear.
I do not ask that you parade him in public. I do not ask that you make any statement, any commitment. But to separate a mother from her child -
Her bastard child.
A child that she loves -
A bastard child nevertheless.
All I ask is that Giovanni should accompany his mother. Quietly, if you wish. In the company of a nursemaid. Out of the public eye, but in the bosom of his family.
His family is to be my family, a family that traces back its lineage to Aragon and Castille, the kings and queens of Spain and Portugal, and I can assure you, my Lord Borgia, my family has never encompassed the offspring of stable boys.
You would risk an open breach over this? An open breach with me?
Do not parade your empty threats around here, Cesare Borgia. Rome needs Naples - you know this as well as I do. Your father sent you here to consolidate an alliance, not to treat favours for an infant.
I'm not here to consolidate an alliance but to consider one. And I will consider one elsewhere if the need arises. Do not be hasty, Your Highness. Turn the matter over in your mind. Come to my sister's wedding and let us have your answer then.
Why did you say nothing?
You sat there, meek as a girl - and said not one word. Your wife! Your family! Have you nothing to say? Back to Rome.

There's a report.
A report in what?
The state of the army. Stores, powder, shots for the cannon, readiness of the men. Commissioned for the pope himself.
In preparation for war.
What else? I should very much like to see it.

Was it pleasant to see your home?
You and I should speak together.
He refused?
When he finally comes to his senses he will realize that one child's happiness is a small price to pay for the goodwill of Rome.
Yes, one child's happiness. And that of his mother. Is that so much to ask, that threats must be made, alliances held in jeopardy? Am I so hard to love?
No. No, my love.
Rome is the peak of the world, and we are at its pinnacle, and yet... still, no matter which way I turn, I still can't seem to find that which will make me truly happy. Why can I not be happy?
I will make you happy. I promise.

Forgive my prurience. Am I to understand she is so uncomely she is unbeddable?
French Ambassador:
In all honesty, then...
Yes, honesty, is always good.
French Ambassador:
She is what we must call a two-sack woman.
French Ambassador:
There are women one might take to bed only if they were to wear a sack over their heads. And then there are others where you too must wear a sack, lest theirs fall off. Sadly, she is more than likely barren.
Ah. Well, King Louis has our every sympathy.
French Ambassador:
I am most encouraged to hear you say so, Your Holiness.
Now, we should bid you goodnight. It could hardly have been clearer.
He wants an annulment.
And you're the only person in Christendom who can give it to him.
This is it. This is where the game turns. Everyone fears the French, and we hold their royal succession in our hands.
Everyone fears the French. Especially those who have felt her sword, like Naples.
Ah! I have seen Naples, Father. There is nothing there. Nothing but a king whose throat I would joyfully slit. A warehouse full of rust and spiderwebs. No army, no will, just a leper with his hand out begging Rome for coin.
Hm. Your sister marries Naples. Why don't you marry France?
And you would hold two states in the palm of your hand: France and Naples.
Cesare to France, Lucrezia to Naples. Two states, one who desires the other. A desire that is destined to be frustrated. Once your sister is married to Naples, you will take ship to France. You will take with you a papal brief granting annulment to the king's marriage. But you will not grant this gift lightly. You will use every advantage you can. Hm? As you said yourself: everybody fears France. Well, let it be everybody but us. And while you're there... find yourself a bride.

Your cousin banished Vitelli. Your family dispossessed. Your cousin- Cardinal Orsini- dead, at the pope's own hand. What more convincing do you need to come to my lady's side?
Your mistress deludes herself if she believes she can be victor over the Pope of Rome.
My mistress alone... perhaps.
The assassinations failed. He lives. The alternative you would bring us is open warfare against the papal armies of Rome. That is a great deal more of a risk than a blade in the dark.
And the blade in the dark failed miserably...
What if it was less of a risk? What if it was more of a certainty?
Dear God. Is this information accurate?
This is an exact copy of the report commissioned by Cesare Borgia himself. It's accurate. The papal armies of Rome... barely exist.

I was told to deliver these. Shall I take them through?
Yes, take that one. And over there.
Where would you like them?
Over there. Should we arrange King Ferdinand's retinue and family on the one hand, and ours on the other, or should we take the fashionable route and let the guests intermingle? What is it?
Cesare is to go to France.
What of it?
Straight after my wedding - the wedding that shackles me to Naples - my brother sets sail to court Naples's greatest enemy.
He said as much?
No. But it was in his eyes. He can't hide things from me.
Why are you so upset? This makes no odds between Alfonso and you -
What rules this family, Mother?
Ambition. Ambition rules this family. My father's. My brother's. And I will have to add to that, my own if I don't want to live in a garden of weeds.
Lucrezia... It was you who purged the poison from your father's veins. In that hour, you saved Rome. I believe you are the equal to any task, least of all that of taking care of your family. Do you hear? Have more faith in yourself.
I shall. There's no one else to have faith in.

He's done what?
Invited her to the wedding.
He would invite that bitch whore into our house?
Not alone. Gian Paulo Baglioni, Prospero Colonna-
The Orsini brothers. Vitelezzo Vitelli. Half the Lords of the Romagna!
And Catherina Sforza.
And Catherina Sforza. As honoured guests of King Ferdinand of Naples.
Why is he doing this?
I don't know. To show his strength? To show that Naples does not stand alone? To throw my own words back in my face and show that the alliance with Rome is only one of any number he would consider. You'll forbid it, of course.
What, and insult him publicly? Humiliate him?
Yes. Yes, why not?
Because the whole of Italy is watching! Would you have them see us divided even amongst our own family? Bickering like peasants? Do you not see that even the impression of weakness begets weakness? No. We are the Pope of Rome, the vicar of Christ. Let her come.

My lord.
I placed you here, as you see. At my side.
I see it.
Are you?
Of course, at your side. Whatever happens: France, or Spain, Naples... they can crumble to dust, for all I care. As long as you - Forgive me!

Il Cerimoniere:
His Royal Highness, King Ferdinand II of Naples.
You are welcome in the name of Christ. Peace be upon you.
Naples thanks you.
Il Cerimoniere:
Catherina Sforza Riario, Countess of Forli and Lady of Imola.
We had almost lost hope of having you kneel before us.
I bend my knee to no man... unless I choose to.
We should have prepared her apartments in the Castel Sant Angelo...
I knew she was clever, but I never realized how clever until today.
Well, put her from your mind. The die is cast and we must hazard everything or leave the game.

Have you lost your mind? What have you done, you fool! You invite her here? Into the heart of Rome onto the steps of the Vatican for the whole world to see? You're insane.
And you're naive! My invitation of Catherina Sforza is a move in the game, as is your marriage to the pope's daughter.
My marriage is no game.
Don't be a child.
I love Lucrezia. Maybe you can't understand -
Whether you love her, hate her, are repulsed by her - you marry her, and you secure our claim to the friendship of Rome. Why else do you think I put you forward to be her suitor? And therefore also choose to remind His Holiness that Naples has friends, friends beyond Rome. And if Rome wishes the friendship of Naples, that friendship needs to be cultivated, nurtured -
She tried to kill his children! His grandchild!
That, too, is the game; a game in which you are new and uninstructed. Now, play your part. Get married, fuck the pope's daughter, and leave the serious matters for your elders. Now go.

My lord. May I take the opportunity to offer your sister my congratulations on the occasion of her marriage.
I shall be sure to tell her. Should I also offer my father your congratulations on his recovery from poison? My family your congratulations on their escape from assassination?
If it pleases you to do so.
You risk everything, my lady.
Do you think me ignorant of that? You have your blade there. No one would stop you. I know what I risk. You could sink your steel into me - to the hilt - if you wished.
My lady.

Il Cerimoniere:
His Holiness, Your Majesty, my lords. Ladies and gentlemen - Pray open the dance.
French Ambassador:
Such delights! Your sister looks quite entrancing, does she not?
She does.
French Ambassador:
Would you take a drink with me? Marriage can be such a blessing. A man and wife united in the sight of God. It is a beautiful thing.
It should be. It can be. Even for the King of France.
French Ambassador:
Do you cry at weddings? I always find my eyes a little... moist.
I would cry at my own, perhaps.
French Ambassador:
Ah, why so, my Lord Borgia?
Because it would mean the end of a certain life for me.
French Ambassador:
Your father has mentioned the possibility of a French bride.
Ah. What would France say to that?
French Ambassador:
One marriage for another. Beauty and blessings all round.
Our little pack of wolves. What is their price?
Land. The restoration of what has been taken from them.
Tell them if they pledge their swords to me, they shall have all they had before, and the Borgia estates I will divide among them.
I will. So we are done in Rome?
Very far from it. Those who we would overcome we must first confound. I would confound this pope.
More than you have already?
Considerably more.
My lords. Orsini.
And who are you?
Do you not know?
You are no cardinal. You have no robes, and you are no soldier. You have no army. You're not even anyone's legitimate son.
So I ask again. Who are you?
Oh, take a breath, Roberto. Have some more wine, my wine. Take a dance in the garden, my garden. The pretty young noblewomen of Rome would, I'm sure, delight to have you paw at them.
I care nothing for your pretty young noblewomen.
Then I will introduce you to some pretty young noblemen instead.
Calm down! Brother! Take a walk.

So... Are you, umm... are you still a virgin?
You know I am.
Saving yourself for marriage.
I told you as much, didn't I?
And, um, are we now married?
I believe so. I seem to remember a ceremony.
I also.
What's this?
This board? It's nothing. It's seating arrangements for the wedding. Fuck me.
This isn't the wedding. This is ally on the one hand and enemy on the other. Who did this?
Only my brother would have -
Is this what I am to your brother? A question mark. A question mark. A QUESTION MARK! Is this what I am to your family?

What on God's earth?
Am I so hard to love?
No, Lucrezia - you cannot.
But I must. Only a Borgia, it seems, can truly love a Borgia. They already whisper it of us- throughout the whole of Italy. Why deny ourselves the pleasure of which we're already accused?
Your husband -
You will be my husband... tonight.
 The Borgias Fan Wiki

304. The Banquet of Chestnuts


Previously on The Borgias... The sentence is banishment. Cardinal Versucci will be stripped and his property will be donated to our Holy Mother Church.
Cardinal Versucci was the last person in the room. No one can find him.
May I introduce Francesco Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, and his bride, the lovely Bianca.
Divine indeed.
You know what I want.
You wish your son to be acknowledged. To separate a mother from her child -
Her bastard child. My feelings on that matter have already been made abundantly clear.
You sat there, meek as a girl, and said not one word.
Il Cerimoniere:
Catherina Sforza Riario, Countess of Forli.
We had almost lost hope of having you kneel before us.
You invite her here? Into the heart of Rome onto the steps of the Vatican for the whole world to see?
My invitation of Catherina Sforza is a move in the game - as is your marriage to the pope's daughter.
My marriage is no game. I love Lucrezia. Who did this?
Only my brother would've -
Is this what I am to your brother? A question mark? Is this what I am to your family?
I would confound this pope. Our little pack of wolves. If they pledge their swords to me, and the Borgia estates I'll divide among them.
What on God's earth?
Am I so hard to love? Only a Borgia, it seems, can truly love a Borgia. Why deny ourselves the pleasure of which we're already accused?

We hereby invest you, Alessandro Farnese, with the dignity of Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. Receive this ring from the hand of Peter and know that through the love of the Prince of the Apostles...
Who is he?
Your love towards the church is strengthened.
Remember Pope's whore, Giulia Farnese? That's the brother.
God help us all.

You shall report to Cardinal Grimani who is in charge of the Treasury. We need a comprehensive account of all funds and outlays, with each transaction recorded twice. I am sure you are aware of the principle of double entry? Tithes and taxes are garnered in the Treasury and deposited here; these dockets record the amounts, the various funds, sub-funds and sub-funds of sub-funds to which the amounts are due. You will make two books: one of credit, one of debit. This is your desk.
I'm sure your sister impressed on you the importance of counting the money before the client has rinsed off and walked away.
What happened here?
Cardinal Versucci happened here.

Sister... More water. There, Brother.
Julius Versucci:
The title deeds to the alum mines so graciously transferred to the Office of Public Works are now restored, in perpetuity, to the Little Sisters of the Poor. With all the income resultant.
You're a strange messenger to bring such good tidings. You look like a man in a hurry. What is it you are hurrying from, Father?
Julius Versucci:
Oh, at first I thought I was hurrying from. But now, I rather think I am hurrying towards.
Towards God?
Julius Versucci:
Towards whatever destiny I have wrought for myself.

So, Rome is well stocked with cardinals once more.
With loyal cardinals. When the garden is overcome with weeds, it is sometimes best to burn it down and sow again.
Are they competent? Do any of them know their duties?
Their only duty is loyalty to us. The rest they can learn as they go along.
Father, the envoy from Venice.
What does Venice want?
An audience. He's been waiting three days.
Ah! The new bride finally appears. How are you, my dear? Are you well?
Yes, Father.
Married life suits you? Last night brought you everything you could desire? Oh! We brought a blush to your cheeks. Look, Cesare. Your sister, the blushing bride. Well, there we are.

So... What brings Venice so far south? The price of indigo? The illiberal duties charged on imports from the Baltic states? Or are mosquitoes in the lagoon getting too much to bear?
Venetian Envoy:
It is the Turks, Your Holiness.
The Turks?
Venetian Envoy:
We have lost three trade convoys this year.
Venetian Envoy:
Innumerable smaller merchant vessels.
The price of doing business.
Venetian Envoy:
This past month they've been raiding the coastal towns along the province. They've not done that before. If trade suffers, we all suffer. Rome as well.
So Venice's suffering is Rome's suffering.
Venetian Envoy:
Exactly so, Holiness.
Except with rather more mosquitoes. Well, we thank you for bringing our suffering to our attention. We were not aware. We will give this matter the consideration that it merits.

So our cousin has married the woman all of Italy talks about. Who would have thought, of all those suitors, she would choose our little Alfonsito? You've done well, for our family and yourself. Very, very well, I might say. Lucrezia Borgia! Even a king hears tales. So tell me... What's she like?
She is, uh, kind, and gentle.
You idiot. Not like that. I mean in bed. What's she like in bed?
She's everything you could wish for, I suppose.
You suppose? Cousin, we're men talking here! I mean, how does she like it? Dog style? Up the back alley? How?
The usual way.
"The usual way?" What is it you're not telling me? What happened on your wedding night?
Nothing? What do you mean, nothing?
Nothing happened.
The marriage wasn't consummated?
Nothing happened!
Nothing happened? Nothing at all? But it must happen. For the sake of both our families, it must happen.
And it will!
Yes, it most certainly will.

Your Grace.
Cardinal Farnese.
Your Holiness.
Hard at work, I see.
Yes, Holiness. I am reconciling dockets, Holiness.
Ascertaining the true level of Vatican funds. Please, don't let me stop you. Your sister Giulia requested that you be created a cardinal.
Yes, Holiness.
You did not put yourself forward.
No, Holiness.
Not even to her? A suggestion, the merest hint?
No, Holiness. It - it was her idea.
So, you are not like the others. No ambition.
I am deeply honoured by the -
Yes, yes, yes. She told me that you have a felicity for numbers, for accounts. Which is why we have placed you in a position in our Treasury.
Now listen to me very carefully.
Yes, Holiness.
You'll not report to Cardinal Grimani. You will not report to Cardinal Sforza. To none of them. You will detail the full extent of Vatican finances, and your report you will place in our hands and our hands alone. Am I clear?
Yes, Holiness.

Giulia! What brings you here?
A sister's devotion. Is your head above the water still?
In truth - I fear the waves closed over me long ago.
What is this?
I no longer know. Lies and confusion. Would sisterly devotion go so far as to help me make sense of it?

Are you awake?
I wanted to say I'm sorry for last night. I wish it never happened. Can we pretend it never happened, and start anew?
I'm sorry. I cannot. I -
We're married now. We're married.
Last night... something more happened than just a question mark on a place setting.
What happened? I don't understand. What else happened?
A cloud descended on me - my heart.
Let me lift it then. You feel nothing?
I feel your hand.
Help me... to love you. Please - just -
Maybe... maybe our love has to be more of the soul.
Like... brother and sister?
No. Not like that.

We've been stripped bare.
Yes. Extraordinary, isn't it? With such ease.
You're laughing? Where is the outrage? The fury?
Because... we never would have thought he had it in him. Oh, we'll replenish the coffers. Meanwhile, seek him out, the old goat. Teach him the error of his ways.

Find him.

Leave us.
Holy Father, if you wish me to visit you, you have but to say the word. There is no need for Vatican Guards in the night.
Your handwriting on Vatican accounts. Your notes. Here and here. Don't try and deny it.
Yes, I was helping Alessandro to make sense -
You told us he was capable! That he had a felicity for numbers! We took your word!
He does. That rat's nest of figures would make a saint weep.
You lied to gain your brother a position!
He is capable!
Moreover, we ordered him explicitly to answer to no one but us, and he runs straight to you!
I was merely helping him! As I once helped you.
Give me one reason why we should not have him defrocked this instant!
There is nothing underhand here. He could not understand the numbers.
Could not understand the numbers!
That is all! I helped him! No one else, nothing more. Just a sister helping a brother to serve his pope.
But he is a man, is he not?
What do you mean?
All men are false. We had thought to purge our Vatican. As though the fresh blood of new cardinals would wash it clean. But it will not. New cardinals become old cardinals, and it will all begin again - the plotting, the scheming. We can see it all - as inevitable as the tide.
You are not yourself, Holiness.
But we are not mistaken either. We are so utterly alone.
You are not alone, Holiness. How can I prove it?
You can't... unless you can ensure a loyalty of an entire Consistory.
If that will bring me your forgiveness, and you some peace of mind, then I shall find a way.

It does require your attention.
You wished to speak to us? In private?
It's a matter of delicacy, Holiness, but a matter that can no longer go unattended.
Then speak.
The marriage of your daughter to our cousin. It has come to my attention that it is a marriage in name only.
It is unfulfilled. Unconsummated.
It's only been a few days.
Still. A few days become a few weeks and then come the lovers.
Do not speak of our daughter thus. You are a guest here!
Forgive me, Holiness, but God himself tells us, "Thou shalt enter unto her - "
Do not preach to us about what God tells us.
"...and thou shalt know her, and she shall be to thee for a woman." Now, unless this is done, this marriage is a sham.
If it is unconsummated, then whose fault is that?
How am I to tell?
Well, you tell me, you seem to know everything else!
I will tell you what I know. I know your daughter is married to my kinsman. Now, he's an honourable man. Meanwhile, your daughter -
You should -
...has a son already whose father is unknown.
You tread carefully, sir.
I am careful, my lord. I am careful of myself and my family. Now I will see this marriage consummated, lest there be any doubt, any confusion, weeks or months hence.
Then just tell your little cousin to get on with it!
No. I will take no one's word on this matter, do you understand? There must be proof.
What do you mean, proof?

It is a petty revenge for the slight you gave him.
It is an insult to Lucrezia! It is an insult to us!
Oh, quieten yourself. On how many fronts would you have us fight? And besides, there is a precedent.
I will see him burn for this.
There is a precedent! It may stick in your gullet as it sticks in mine, but when all is said and done, he is in the right.
Do you honestly think it matters one jot to me?
Well it should! It must! Would you have this alliance soured with Naples the moment it is struck? Huh?
Naples was, and always will be, an infected swamp. What about Lucrezia?
She must be told. I will tell her.
No. No... I will.

What perversion is this? You would put me on display for every vile, lecherous creature to fondle himself to?
We had no choice.
You weak, shameless, pitiful excuse. If I was a man I would have run him through. I would have cut out his tongue before I let him speak about my own sister in this way.
It was for the good of the family. We had no choice.
You had every choice! Where is your honour? Where is your strength? Where is your love for me?
I would have killed him where he stood. I would have cut his heart out of his body. But I stayed my hand for the good of the family.
So the King of Naples is to watch me in bed - for the good of the family. Very well... Very well. When is it to be?
And from our family who is to bear witness?
Whomever you wish.
Then I want you.

Just tell us who is who.
Bankers, guilds, merchants.
Dear friends. We have invited you to break bread with us tonight, because the news we bring affects you most of all. God is our guide, but trade is our lifeblood.
Hear, hear.
As bankers, as merchants, you know this best of all. But a dusky menace shadows our prosperity. The Turk threatens our shipping. Our cousins in Venice find their storehouses raided, their cargoes stolen, their lifeblood seeping into the sand. But Venice is suffering. And I ask you, if Venice suffers, does not Rome suffer also? We must meet this menace head on. With God's help, we will raise a Mighty Crusade to drive the Turk back into the desert whence he came. And protect our homeland, and to sweep the seas clean once more. Christ walked upon the water. If the Infidel would prevent us, then we will consign him to the Gates of Hell!
Venetian Envoy:
Venice will do everything in its power to be behind this Crusade, Holiness. We could not have asked for more.
Then it is agreed. In the name of Christ, we thank you for your unhesitating and unstinting support for this, our Holy War.
In order to fund the Holy Crusade against the Turkish Menace, the following papal levies are hereby enacted upon trade goods outgoing from Rome to Venice, and incoming from Venice to Rome -
More taxes?
And also on assets in coin, note of hand, drafts upon banking houses, promissory notes, gold, silver, precious metals, and stones.

The matter of which we spoke before needs to be set in motion.
Is he ready to join our cause?
He is. He has many reasons to hate Rome.
And does he fully understand what will be required?
More than that. He relishes it.

I believe I have found a way, Holy Father, to bring you some peace of mind.
Go on.
You fear treachery. Now, a compromised man cannot plan treason. The sword hangs above his head day and night; he never knows when it may fall. But if he's compromised, and weak, that's when he's loyal.
Go on. We are listening.

Let me ask you this. What compromises a man more than anything else?
His prick.
And the horns of a cuckold are only sharpened by time. My Lord Gonzaga.
My lady.
Please, join us.

They are men, Holy Father. And as you said, all men are false. And, because they are also weak... I propose a night's festivities that might expose just how weak they are. It would need to be chronicled.
For posterity's sake.
Ah. Well, Master Burchard would enjoy that.
Now, if all goes according to plan, that chronicle would, I believe, ensure the loyalty of the entire Consistory.
If this succeeds, we would grant you a cardinal's hat. Now leave us, if you please. Our daughter's ordeal approaches.

Do I look pleasing?
You look beautiful.
Beautiful enough to satisfy a King of Naples?
One night, and it will be done. It will soon be behind you.
The act may be done in a night but I will have blood for this.

It is time.
Dear God. God's sake.
My eyes. Remember.
Oh! Beautiful!
Hey, hey. Here with me. Here with me.
Just me... Just me. Just me.
Excellent. Your sister's a lucky woman to have a husband that can bring her to ecstasy on his very first time. I didn't know the boy had it in him. Now, you may tell your father the matter has been dealt with to my satisfaction.
And you may get out of my house.

Father, a man has come for you.
Julius Versucci:
Oh. I have been expecting him. Tell him he will find me at the old Roman baths at dusk.

Any French princess of your choosing?
I believe that was the ambassador's suggestion.
The French King must truly desire to be rid of his wife.
Look at me. What happened before. What all but happened again last night. It belongs in the past. It has no place in your future, nor in mine. All is done now. You can go off and love your husband, and I can go off and find myself a bride. Maybe we both can work our way to happiness.
Come back soon.

Listen now. There will be a dinner tonight here in the Vatican. All the cardinals are to be invited. You will not attend.
Why not?
Because your sister tells you so. Become ill, stay at home. Don't come to the Vatican.

Francesco Gonzaga, the Duke of Mantua, requests an audience.
Has he brought the duchessa with him? Oh well. Fit him in.

So, all set for France? Now, before you give Louis his annulment, look to our advantage. Get him to renounce his claim on Naples and beyond that, whatever else you can to strengthen our position.
I understand.
You hold the fate of Rome in your hands. Go on then.

Julius Versucci:
So... You have found me.
Yes. I have found you. Now I would find the money you have stolen from His Holiness.
Julius Versucci:
How could I steal that which was already stolen? From good men and bad, from rich and poor, the pope steals from all Italy, regardless. I have merely redistributed.
Where is it?
Julius Versucci:
Julius Versucci:
Gone. All gone. I have wiped him clean away. Did I hurt his Holiness? Where it hurts most? In his pocket?
You wish to know the truth?
Julius Versucci:
He laughed.

Be seated. Eminencies, Sisters. Now, the Holy Father calls upon us all to give what we can to support his endeavours. Sister, please stand up. Your name, please.
Sister Angela, my lady.
Step to the front now. Don't be shy. Come on. May I ask you to begin?
But - my lady - we have sworn a vow of poverty. I have nothing to give. All I own is the clothes I wear.
Then, they will have to do. Who will give ten ducats to the Crusade for Sister Angela's veil? Cardinals, this is your night. Do not be shy. I know you have gold. Sister Angela only has her clothes. Now let's exchange the one for the other.
Ten ducats!
Cardinal Grimani! Please, Sister Angela, show us what you have. There we go. Look at that. Sister Angela, oh! Eminencies, how much for Sister Angela's habit?
Fifty ducats!
Fifty ducats. Anyone?
Sixty ducats!
Eighty ducats!
Item. Twenty-one nuns' habits, from the Carmelite convent in Trastevere. Item. Twenty - one decent prostitutes from the best Roman establishments. And as chronicler to our beloved Vatican, it is my sad duty to report that the said habits did not remain on the comely maidens long beyond the first course.
Mm. Sister Angela.
They divested themselves for gold and silver of garment after garment till they were naked as the day they were born. They flaunted their nakedness for the cardinals with the abandon for which Roman prostitutes are renowned. And as they auctioned their clothes, soon they auctioned their bodies to the considerable delight of the cardinals assembled.

Who's there?
Guards! Guards!
Bianca Gonzaga:
It is a friend, Your Holiness. Who means you no harm.
Leave us! How did you get past the guards?
Bianca Gonzaga:
They know me well enough by now.
Bianca Gonzaga:
My Lord Gonzaga had business in Rome.
I know. He requested an audience.
Bianca Gonzaga:
As do I.

Knowing this pope, I'd say he's entering your wife... just
Consider the bitch's insanity my contribution to your lady's war on Rome.

Item: 200 candied chestnuts.
Dear sisters, Eminences, please follow me.
The festivities began at ten and descended into debauchery around midnight.
Go at it!
La Farnese distributed the chestnuts on the floor and challenged the valiant damsels to pick them up using only their nether regions - in which enterprise they showed considerable invention. Prizes were offered for those cardinals most successful with the prostitutes.

Cardinal Constanzo was awarded six silken doublets.
Dear Lord. Who would have thought that youngster had it in him?
Cardinal Pertucci...
Oh. pairs of shoes.
Seven? Enough for a lifetime!
Cardinal Grimani... three feathered hats.
Master Burchard, we will spare you further elucidation. We will keep this record - under lock and key - for posterity.
For history, Your Holiness.
Well, you think future generations will be interested in such shameful antics? No, no, no, no. This will be for our eyes... alone.

You request from us a decree of annulment.
You heard me, Holiness.
But annulment can only be granted with a papal brief - in the gravest of circumstances.
The circumstances are grave - and gross - and constant. Infidelity.
With whom?
With His Holiness the Pope of Rome. The night before the battle of Fornovo, where I spilled my blood for our Holy Mother Church, and subsequently.
The very implication is outrageous.
Indeed it is. It would scandalize the whole of Italy.
Where is this wife of whom you speak?
Your Holiness, I presume, has no idea?
No, no idea.
Well, if you happen upon her, please inform her of my desire. And of your decision.
 The Borgias Fan Wiki

305. The Wolf and the Lamb


Previously on the Borgias...
Our little pack of wolves. Tell them, if they pledge their swords to me, the Borgia estates I will divide among them.
Your mistress deludes herself if she believes she can be victor over the Pope of Rome.
The papal armies of Rome barely exist.
The articles of war demand the papal army at full strength number: 10,000 men-at-arms. You have less than half that.
Il Cerimoniere:
Ambassador of the Court of his Highness Louis XII of France.
The king is a man without fault.
French Ambassador:
Perhaps, were you not to meet his wife...
He wants an annulment.
This is where the game turns. What happened before belongs in the past. You can go off and love your husband, and I can go off and find myself a bride.
I'm sorry. I cannot. Maybe our love has to be more of the soul.
Your daughter is married to my kinsman. And she has a son already whose father is unknown.
To separate a mother from her child...
I am careful of myself and my family.
Your sister marries Naples. What don't you marry France? You hold the fate of Rome in your hands.
My Lord Gonzaga. Please join us.
Bianca Gonzaga:
My lord had business in Rome.
He requested an audience.
Bianca Gonzaga:
As do I.
Consider the bitch's insanity my contribution to your lady's war on Rome.
You request from us a decree of annulment.
The circumstances are grave and constant. Infidelity.
With whom?
His Holiness the Pope of Rome.

You must be so excited to see your husband.
Indeed. He prepares our quarters. Which will have no need of a cradle. Sh... Shh...
No no no, Lucrezia -
I will not cry father, this King will not see my tears.
This marriage was your choice.
It was. And I still love my husband. I would not have our love poisoned with politics.
We will love him as our own, Lucrezia.
You'll be all right.

Gonzaga... He is not with us?
No, but he made a contribution. Of his own special kind.

Madame, you know you're going to have to leave us.
Bianca Gonzaga:
Is that what you want?
No, but your husband... muttering scandal. You are going to have to go back to him.
Bianca Gonzaga:
But I cannot.
Why not?
Bianca Gonzaga:
Because... I am the lily of the valley. And the King hath brought me to His chambers.
Scandal may be the prerogative of kings... But we are the Pope of Rome. We have a church to run.
Bianca Gonzaga:
Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth.
Must you always quote scripture?

I could exhaust myself in an account of the Borgia Pope's licentiousness.
But that would be boring.
Can licentiousness ever be boring? It can be tedious in the extreme. As His Holiness might soon discover.
Tell us what you are proposing.
A union. Of Italian families. Vitelli, Colonna, Baglioni, Orsini. Like the fasci of the Caesars. Together, we would be unbreakable.
And all that. Under you? A woman?
I propose myself. Feel free to propose yourself, Roberto. But I have the arms, the cannon, the castle. And, unlike you, my hatred of the Borgia Pope is public already. Common knowledge.
This Pope has an army too -
And we have all seen it at work. I dispelled it from beneath these walls. His son Juan Borgia -
His son, Cesare Borgia is nothing like his brother.
He has vigour, I admit. But does his father trust him enough to grant him the Papal army? No, he sends him to France. So father fights with son, like two bears in a pit. And this, believe me, this is our moment. So be with me, my family, my arms... Or against me.
Her rhetoric is persuasive.
As is her plan. All roads lead to Rome. And pass through the Romagna.
Yes Baglioni, yes. but what if it is just rhetoric?
What she threatens means war Orsini. Perhaps war with more than Rome. The Pope's daughter married Naples. His son journeys to France. I say we keep our counsel. Until he returns...

My Lord Borgia... You look quite sober for a Duke.
And you look quite priestly, for a King.
The King is hunting. And please do not take it amiss. There are diplomatic niceties to observe. Even for the son of a Pope. The bastard son... of a Borgia pope.

Bianca Gonzaga:
For His love is better than wine.
Oh but now, he needs... he needs sleep.
Bianca Gonzaga:
For the wolf shall lie down with the lamb. And the leopard shall lie with the goat... And a little child shall lead them... You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes... Lying in a manger.
Shh... shh...

Ah, Signor Machiavelli. Good Morning. I heard you had business in Avignon -
Sadly, as you come, we go.
Does Florence have an interest in France?
Florence has an interest in everything.
So, tell me... what do you think of this one?
Forsake the colourful display. Wear the simple black satin.
Really? Why?
They have never met a Riario, or a Medici, let alone a Borgia. Italian wealth unsettles them. As much as they want it, it offends their martial nature.
Hmm... Well... Black satin it is then.
Keep it black. As you do so well.
Do you have advice on anything other than presentation?
But presentation is everything. This King desires more than Naples. He has an equal fondness for Milan.
But I didn't say that.
No. No, you said black.

Has your heart ever been sick, Micheletto?
Some would doubt that I even have a heart, my Lady.
Well unfortunately, I do. And mine is weeping. Can you cure it?
You will be with your husband soon enough.
It's not weeping for my husband. It is weeping for my son.
Your brother tells me this King has forbid you see him yes?
And how do I make him change his mind, Micheletto?
You will find a way.

Lady Lucrezia Borgia - Duchess of Bisceglie!
There they are... Come, let me help. I missed you! Safe trip?
Yes, thank you. So this is Naples.
You must call it home.
Will calling it home make it so? Your Royal Highness...
My lady.

You are the Duchessa Gonzaga and you will always remain so. You have to return to your husband. Quench any hint of scandal between us - You've been here too long Madam.
Bianca Gonzaga:
The Pope is sad because his children have left him -
No, Madam you are not... you are not listening to me -
Bianca Gonzaga:
But that sadness may soon be put to rest.
How so?
Bianca Gonzaga:
I am with child, Your Holiness.
Your duty is to return to your husband -
Bianca Gonzaga:
And the child is not his. The fruit of my womb will be the fruit of your loins.
You imply this child is ours -
Bianca Gonzaga:
I am sure it is. As is my husband. We haven't shared a bed for a year.
Oh, this is madness -
Bianca Gonzaga:
Wonderful madness. A madness worthy of the Song of Solomon.
You say he knows?
Bianca Gonzaga:
He asked me to perform an act - so heinous and so bloody - that I could not bear to contemplate it -
He asked you to murder the child?
Bianca Gonzaga:
Our child. So I shall bear you a son, and you will be sad no longer.
Bianca Gonzaga:
For the King hath brought me to his chambers... Yes, and the angel said unto her, fear not for thou hast found favour unto God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son.

It is the French custom, Duke Valentino, to await their Highnesses' attention, before bowing low before them.
Is the Queen still in residence?
Of course.
The same queen for whom I carry the Papal Brief of Annulment?
Not on your person, surely?
In my back pocket. I shall take care not to bow too low then. Otherwise the queen might see her destiny... protruding from my bastard Borgia arse.
Presenting the Duke of Valentinois, and the ambassador of the Holy See, His Excellency Cesare Borgia.
Once a Cardinal, I believe.
Indeed I was, Your Highness.
And now a Duke. Please explain.
Well, I found the need, Madame, to divorce myself from my bride, the Holy Mother Church.
Ah. Can it be done that easily?
With difficulty. And not without soul-searching. But with the help of a Papal Brief, anything is possible.
Well, you are noble now, after a fashion. You may kiss my hand.
And you may kiss my cheek. In the true French manner.
You are in search of a bride, I believe? Among my ladies in waiting? Carlotta D'Aragona or Charlotte d'Albret - or... no, not for you.

If you were to return to your husband...
Bianca Gonzaga:
Then I must murder this child -
No... we would afford you every support - in the confinds that are appropriate to your condition.
Bianca Gonzaga:
Your chambers are more than appropriate -
No, that is impossible. We were thinking perhaps -
Bianca Gonzaga:
A Convent. With the Sisters.
Bianca Gonzaga:
And that is impossible. I am the Lily of the Valley. And the King has taken me to his chambers!

The wedding of Alfonso D'Aragona and Lucrezia Borgia was more than just a union, of body and soul. It was a restoration, of historic contacts between Rome and Naples, between the Vatican and Spain. So let us raise our glasses, to the falling of the French winter and to the coming of the true Italian spring. To harmony between our states... And to this new family, that we welcome into our bosom, as our own.
I have a child, Your Highness, who must someday hear those words.
A child, you say?
I seem to remember one, yes.
How odd. And is this child your husband's?
If he is mine, he is my husbands, surely.
We would welcome any fruit of your union. Meanwhile, all other fruit is best forgotten. As if it never existed. So let us drink, once again, to the harmony between our states.
To this family, that we welcome as our own.

This Queen is actually quite comely.
But barren. The King will be rid of her. I am aware you come here bearing one, quite significant, gift. And I am aware that this gift will not be given cheaply.
It may not, Archbishop, be given at all.
Then, I would propose myself as a facilitator in this matter. You need a well-borne bride.
The least of my needs.
Then let me guess the others. A French Duchy for the newly-made Duke de Valentino? One of the more ancient titles, to banish the arriviste odour?
Ah, do I smell, then?
Only of expensive Italian perfume. The Order of the Golden Rose, perhaps? The most prestigious the French King can bestow?
That would indeed be welcome.
And... French support for your father's Italian adventures?
What I need most of all, Cardinal, is an army.
An army?
Horses, cannon, infantry, savoliere lancers. An army. An army that can cut through Italy like a knife through butter.
You called me Cardinal.
I did indeed. A little premature, perhaps, Archbishop. But a Papal Brief is not the only gift... in my gift... Is this what you French call dancing? Your Highness.
Not her. She is properly noble. For you, the bastard child of a minor aristocrat.
You are too kind, Madame...
I am. My husband has often remarked upon the very fact.
Your husband is also kind.
My husband smells. Of horse manure, and the hunt. If you could persuade him to bathe more often, I might find you a better bride.
I will do my utmost, Madame. And if he comes to you smelling of roses, my reward is?
A Duchess, perhaps. Legitimate, maybe. Here, try this one, Charlotte d'Albret.
She hates me.
She must. She recommended you to me.
Ah, so she hates you too?
She hates us both.
Hardly a reason for courtship, surely.
But I come with some admirable qualities.
So I have heard. And what do you demand of marriage, Cesare Borgia?
A title. An heir. A dowry.
What about everlasting love?
Of course. That too. How could I forget? What do you ask of it, Charlotte d'Albret?
A child. I would have a husband whose physique promises he is handsome.
And what of everlasting love?
I'm glad you reminded me. That too. But Rome. I am not sure I could live in Rome. All that heat, that conspiracy.
You will not have to.
Are we married already?

Old Lady:
They went that way -
Should I care?
Old Lady:
The noble hunts the boar. The peasant scratches the grass.
But they both must eat, surely.
Old Lady:
They must. You should mind where he grazes.
It is just grass...
Old Lady:
Those ferns. They hide the Galerina. This tiny bolus could kill a horse.
You have a use for it?
Old Lady:
I have a use for everything. Some kill, some cure. Each has its moment. On your way, my lady... Kill that boar...

Tell us.
She is not with child.
So... She is deranged? Entirely without reason?
She is deranged. But not without reason. She was with child. The child was cut from her. Most cruelly. Her womb is scarred forever. And the event has unhinged her.
So what is to be done?
For her body, or her mind?
For her soul.
Rest. Tranquillity. Prayer.

Have you ever had a child, Micheletto?
No, my lady. I have none.
But if you had?
Then I would bind him to me with hoops of steel. And I would love them till death and beyond. And I would make all tremble who tried to come between us.
So you have a heart.
I must have. It is the thought of the child being kept from you, it's mother, that makes it break.
Bullseye! Yes!
If, God forbid, this King were to die, who would succeed him?
Your husband?
He is but a cousin, on the mother's side.
This King is strong, My Lady. His father lived a long life. He will be with us for a long time.
Until my son is a boy no longer.
That's why I'm the king!

So, you can free me of this wife of mine?
Your Highness, I would do anything to free you.
In return for the annulment - Charlotte D'Albert is yours if you desire it.
I do.
The Duchy also is yours. The Order of the Golden Rose, yours also. But, as to the matter of an army, we'll need them for ourselves.
For an invasion of Milan, I would hazard.
Do you read our thoughts?
Before one thinks of them Your Highness. This young man is clairvoyant.
The last French invasion ended in disaster. For all concerned. Maybe if the next was under Italian leadership...
Yours, I presume.
With the blessing of the Pope of Rome, of course.
And he would give it? He would sever his ties with Naples? And with Spain?
I would make sure, Your Highness, that he did.
My God. What you propose could shake the foundations of the Italian city states.
Perhaps. But it would give you Milan.
And it would give you an army. I would have your advice, Archbishop D'Amboise -
Well you can call him Cardinal D'Amboise.
Cardinal D'Amboise. I think I know your advice.

You! You came like a Greek, bearing gifts. May that shrew you are to marry suffocate you with her bile. May she bear you a dwarf, a succubus. And may you rot in that circle of hell reserved for the Borgia family.
There is no hell. No heaven either. This world is what we make of it. Forgive me, if my purpose here was to remind you of that fact. Bitch.
So this is the beast they would betroth me to...
Don't be too hasty. The negotiations are at a delicate stage.
For the pleasure of witnessing that scene alone, my answer would be... Yes... Can you promise me more of them?

Oh! You frightened me.
I've been charged with your safety, my lady. It was your empty room that frightened me.
You wish to do some cooking?
Call it husbandry.
Galerina. You would poison a whole dinner table with this. Do wish us all to die?
Not us all of us. No.
Then be more specific. Bide your time. It will come. Trust me. Please.

Bianca Gonzaga:
I must eat, Your Holiness. This child will be a Hector, or nothing at all. Made of good Roman meat and Spanish blood.
Maybe a Helen.
Bianca Gonzaga:
No. A boy. His Holiness deserves nothing less.
You must sleep. You haven't slept in days. These Sisters are from a house, beyond the hills of Rome. You will be safe there. You will sleep there. Sisters -
Bianca Gonzaga:
My beloved!
It's for your own good. For the good of your eternal soul.
Bianca Gonzaga:
No! No! No!

The negotiations are concluded.
Fifty thousand ducats from your father. And the estates in the Auvergne.
Is it to your satisfaction?
You are to my satisfaction, Madame.
As are you to mine. And all this is in return for?
Only me, I'm afraid.
Ah... I am being robbed.
But happily robbed.
Very happily.
There is of course the issue of your maidenhead.
My maidenhead?
Are you a virgin, Madame?
I was my Lord. Until I met you.

Bianca Gonzaga:
For the wolf shall lie down with the lamb - And a little child shall lead them -
Bianca! Bianca!
Bianca Gonzaga:
You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Oh, please...
Bianca Gonzaga:
You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. ...lying... ...lying in a manger.
What have you done? Bianca! Pray with me... Pray with me...
Leave us, say nothing. Not a word.
Yes, Cardinal.
Let me handle this.

Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up... does not behave rudely, does not seek its own. Is not provoked. Thinks no evil. Does not rejoice in inequity but rejoices in truth. Bares all things. Hopes all things. Endures all things.
Tell me about love, my husband.
Love suffers long, and is kind. Love envies not.
Is there one you have loved?
Is this one close to you?
Is it me then?
You lie to comfort me. Because you leave tomorrow?
And I love you for it.

For a Papal Brief of annulment, a statement from your wife will be required.
Let His Holiness write it down. From her own adulterous lips. And then I can return to Mantua, and leave this Roman swamp -
His Holiness has no knowledge of her whereabouts.
A suicide...
And God forgive the man who drove her to it. Beg forgiveness, Lord Gonzaga. Beg forgiveness, on your knees for the ice that resides in your heart.

You were a Cardinal once.
I was a bishop, too.
And why the change?
I lost my faith.
In God?
I woke up one morning and I realized... He is not in His heaven. And the world will not change, if I do nothing to change it.

After him!
What does the boar fear? More than this arrow?
I know not.
The pool. My uncle Ferrante had it built. Stocked with lampreys, flesh eating eels. For the ones he hated the most.
An original idea.
Nothing original about it. He came across the idea in Seneca.
Yes, I have heard of him. Or maybe it was Cicero? Watch this part, when the eel... No!
Dear God.
For God's sake!
Oh, my Lord!
Get him out of there!
I would avert your eyes, if possible.
I see nothing but slime.
Get him out.
Get some rope!

Should I weep, Micheletto?
For yourself my lady, no. But for this King, perhaps... Do you read books, my lady? Have you heard of a man named Seneca?
A little.
Did he write of the pool of lampreys?
Indeed he did. Vedius Pollio, friend of Augustus, stocked a pool by his villa in Naples.
Should I bring my child here, Micheletto? Into this theatre of cruelty?
Well at least now, my lady, the choice is your own.
 The Borgias Fan Wiki

306. Relics

Previously on The Borgias...
One of your Cardinals fortunes...
They were debts. Treasury is filling, but not to the extent of equipping an army.
Catherina Sforza gathers allies to her daily, like flies to the corps. In the end there will be war.
What do you expect me to do?
Give me command!
A Union of Italian families. Together we will be unbreakable.
Under you, a woman?
My hatred of the Borgia Pope is public already.
Catherine Sforza son, Benito. Remember this moment, as an act of mercy.
This dog will come back and bite.
Let us raise our glasses! For this family, that we welcome as our own.
I have a child, you must hear these words...
We would welcome any fruit of your union. All other fruits, is best forgotten.
Should I bring my child, to this theater of cruelty?
Well at least now my lady, the choice is your own.
Your Highness.
This king desires more than Naples. He has an equal fondness for Milan.
You need well born bride.
The least of my needs.
What I need most of all, cardinal...
Is an army that can cut through Italy.
What you propose, could shake the foundations of the Italian city states.
But it would give you Milan.
And would give you an army.

Give me the child. Here we are. You have suffered your mama's absence for too long. Come. Hush now. You will be with her in a minute. My Lady. There will be no more barriers, to the mother's affection, for her son. None.

Next year, the year of our Lord, 1500, will be a year of Jubilee. Jubilate - jubilation. And we would have it with the greatest, the most glorious the Holiest year of jubilee in the history of our Holy Mother Church. And we look to you, our cardinals to ensure its success. We are putting on, a show here. Pilgrims will be flocking to Rome, from all over Christendom. And we would create in our St Peter's a spectacle of such magnificence, to satisfy the universal longing for salvation. For example, the shal which bears the imprint of our savior's face.
Is in Constantinople your Holiness.
But, must it remain there?
In the absence of your Holinesse's great Turkish crusade I am afraid it must.Yes.
Well, there must be others. Relics which have touched upon the lives and bodies of our beloved saints. Oratorial celebrating the life of our most blessed Savior hymns, yet to be written. We will provide the spectacle. And the pilgrim who kneels in aura, will be more likely to contribute generously to St. Peter's pence. We awaits your suggestions with anticipation.

No further, my Lady. Plague lives in this rag. Back Away now!
God preserve you.

Your Holiness.
You asked for ideas.
Oh yes, we did indeed.
This idea is not mine. It was your predecessors, Pope Innocence.
God rest his soul.
Pope Innocence proposition was a bank of sinners.
Oh yes, we remember his idea. We opposed it, at the time.
I see. But rather than repentance by means of prayer, penance, fasting, flagellation the sinner would pay for his or her forgiveness In coin, gold, silver, promissory notes. The liar, for example would pay more than the fornicator, less than the usurer. The usurer would pay less than the murderer. And so on. And so on. A sinner saved, is a sinner saved.
And the coming and our Rome will be flooded with pilgrim, penitent, all sinners. All fluning the confessionals for their share of heavenly grace.
The simple expediant of a coin box, outside each confessional may make the process manageable.
We will consider it.
Your Holiness.
The diversion is noted.

Why ask to meet me here, in the middle of nowhere?
Neutral ground.
Neither Rome nor Forli.
Near La Spezia.
So, surprise me with what you want.
Your allegiance. And that of the Orsini, Baglioni.
And why would I give you that? The Pope did not even give you the full charge of his army.
Come. France did me some favors, my lord. Why would I need my father's army, when I have one of my own?

Observe our new bees, Cardinal Sforza. How ever far they swarm, in search of pollen they always return with their bounty. To the hive! Like the pilgrims of Christendom, flocking into Rome.
They are not the only ones flocking into Rome. There are also, the Jews.
Ah, good.The Jews?
Yes, from Constantinople, more of them come every day.
Begging for trading rights, within the city walls.
Taste that, Cardinal. Vatican Honey. How is it?
Marvelous your Eminence.
Tell us, at present how stand the taxes particularly the taxes from the merchant guilds of Rome?
They are somewhat in arrears.
By how much?
You can see it for yourself.
Let us meet with the Jews.

A message. For the Borgia Pope.
My lord.

So you were driven out of Constantinople by the Turks? We too have issues with the Turks. We have taken this upon ourselves to rid the civilized world of their presence. The great and glorious Crusade against the infidel. The Crusade which must necessarily benefit, you.
Jewish Merchant:
The Crusade follows the Christian cross, your Excellence. We Jews have no business with the Crusade.
Rome follows the Christian Cross. And you Jews, would do business with Rome. We offer you a home, a place to prosper, and the opportunity to contribute to the downfall of your enemies.
Jewish Merchant:
And in return, what can we poor merchants offer you?
Not so poor, I suspect. A fair price for trading within Rome's walls. A small contribution towards our Holy Crusade, and a ties towards next year's Holy Year of Jubilee.
Jewish Merchant:
You ask for much.
As do you. Or would you rather return to Constantinople?
This matter cannot wait, Your Holiness! The French army is landed at Liguria.
What? Let us know your decision. The French Army?
Papal Guard:
They pulled into the Port of La Spezia in the cover of darkness and disembarked. Made their way inland.
How many?
Papal Guard:
Reports conflict Your Holiness, some say 10, 000 some say more.
Are they heading south towards Rome?
Papal Guard:
I do not know, Holiness.
Then you don't know much!
Papal Guard:
Forgive me Holiness, I...
Summon all the generals of the Papal Army! Go immediately. What is he done? Is he insulted the king? Raped some poor princess? And what in Heaven's name, gonna pull this upon us?

An entire army lands, without your knowledge? King Louis of France invades our shores without our knowing? And without our permission?
He has our permission. Allow me to present the, Archbishop of Rouen. I have taken the liberty of pledging to him Cardinal's hat. As acknowledgement of the continuing amity between France and Rome. So, Your Holiness, gentlemen. Cardinal D'Amboise.
Your Holiness. Tres honoré!
Give me joy of my marriage father! I am an honest man, at last.
What do you say of this army?
The French army that is landed in Liguria has done so with my permission, and is under my command.
With your permission?
In your name, father.
We gave you this dispensation?
You told me to ensure the safety of Rome you told me moreover, that there were no limits to the extent of my negotiations. I took you of your word. I bring an army.
Out, out, out! All of you. All of you. So you appoint cardinals now?
In your name, father. He's most likely spying for King Luis, but at least he is where we can keep watching him.
You would bring an army into our land?
An army that answers to me alone.
But we have our own army!
Ill Equipped, ill funded, spread thin, unprepared. My army stands 4 days march for Milan. And Milan is not ready for me. I propose that I ride north. That I rally Italian families to my cause. That I overthrow the tyrant Ludovico Sforza. That I take Milan.
In the name of King Luis of France?
The full Catherina Sforza even realises, that the fight has come to her doorstep.
You would give away cities as if you were playing cards?
We will eliminate the Sforza dynasty. Ludovico first and in need or trouble, the Papal army is what I oath to. Then Catherina.
Without the Frenchmen, Milan was not our design.
No, but it was the only design that it showed success. And you told me to secure our every advantage. And I've done so. I brought you an army father. Would you have me send it back? Doors!
Ride north Cesare! That is our command.

Jewish Merchant:
You spoke out of turn! They will throw us back to Catalonia.
Jewish Merchant:
I am well aware of that. But I think I can read this Alexander, I know what he wants.
Jewish Merchant:
The Holy Crusade against the Turks, requires coin. That is what he wants. Wha coin do we have? He already looks to drain us bloodless with this taxation.
Jewish Merchant:
Yes, yes, yes, yes. So you must convince him not to. Think! What do we have, that they do not?

The Spear of Longinus.
Jewish Merchant:
The Spear that pierced Christ side while he was up on the cross?
Jewish Merchant:
The same.
But... It has been lost for centuries!
Jewish Merchant:
No, not lost! Kept, hidden, safe. A secret known only to the jews.

So the king died.
Most horribly. And you have your son back?
Well, for now.Until the new king is crowned.
There are several claimers, I've heard. Is your Alfonso among them?
There are two in line before him.
Did you marry the wrong man, sis'?
Of course, is it of my habit. If I'd marry 1, 000 times and all would be the wrong choice. And you brother, did you marry, the wrong woman?
Of course. But she is beautiful. And cultivated.
And came with an army, I am told.
France gave me the army.
Ah. The same which devastated the lands, that I have moved to. Are you sure about this?
Now you take issue with me? Just like our father.
Well, neither of us like surprises.
Our Father may forget that one day, his son will follow his example. Not his advice.
My darling brother. In whom politics, stratagem, and affection always linked.
Not unlike my sister.
I love my husband, Cesare, however difficult this be. Do you love your wife?
Love is not an issue between us. There is none other like you.
Hold it... Promise me. That you will return victorious, and that your french engagement will never put my marriage in danger.
Your marriage to Naples?
My marriage to my husband, who is of Naples.

What is this?
Cardinal Costanzo:
A message, from Lady Catherina Sforza of Forli, to His Holiness, Pope Alexander VI of Rome. Treating for peace.
Peace? Wasn't aware we were at war?
Cardinal Costanzo:
For a continue peace my lord.
Burn it!
Cardinal Costanzo:
My Lord...
Catherina Sforza has no more interest in sewing for peace then I do. She sees to saw a confusion. Count on, mind would doubt. She thinks a Pope who seeks a peace, would not ready him's of war. This is a bluff.
Cardinal Costanzo:
Is that not for his Holiness to decide?
I would not have His Holiness judgment in the matter tainted one joke with Catherine Sforza's poisoned words. Burn it!

Your Eminence.
Cardinal Costanzo:
Burn it! Burn it!
As you wish.
Cardinal Costanzo:
Wait. Wait. We should at least preserve the box. It is exquisite.
Yes, Your Eminence.
Cardinal Costanzo:
More wine.

Your choice of drinking holes, have fallen off of late, Vitelezzo.
The wine may have little to recommend it. But the location, does. Halfway from Milan to Forli.
Convenient for all of us. I'm sure this intrigue of yours, is convenient for us all, Vitelezzo.
Judge for your self! We threw the Papal armies in his face, We Called this bluff. And now he has an army of his own.
As does Catherina. The scale is balanced.
For the moment,
And what of us? Our men, united under a common banner. We tip the scale, one way or another, did we not?
So? Do we toss a coin?
There is Rome, there Forli. Now I tell you plain, I care little for the Borgia Pope. But I have looked the son in the eye. And I have seen his army. Massing on the key in La Spezia. And this much is plain. Rome is no longer the Borgia Pope alone. Rome is Cesare Borgia also. And that in all truth, is a fight I have no stomach for.
So? Do you ride with me?
I was talk of an army.
This is just a small fraction of the army already on the march to Milan. You're all second sons. Bastard sons. Fathers who deny you, your rightful estates. I offer you a chance. To carv out your own faith. To damn your fathers to the past. Or to hell. Ride with me, my bastard army. To the only future allow to us.
Shall we drink?
To the bastards!
Speak for yourself.
To the bastards!
To the bastards!
Bastards! To us!

And the content?
Cardinal Costanzo:
An honest application of peace. Even as we tremble on the brink of war and this application is intended to the Pope alone.
This is dangerous.
Cardinal Costanzo:
Well, perhaps. But also an opportunity. A lever. Cesare Borgia seeks to suppress the one piece of news that could entirely alter the tapestry of politics in Italy. Why?
Cardinal Costanzo:
Does it matter? He seeks to suppress it. To keep it from his father. But whatever their personal enmities, may be, this is treason! Is not? And I command the one piece of evidence.
May it benefit you.
Cardinal Costanzo:
I'm sure it will.

The Spear of Longinus!
Jewish Merchant:
It is touched the very blood of your Christ.
You know where it is?
Jewish Merchant:
It's set deep beneath Jerusalem, buried for centuries. It wasmoved with our tribe to Constantinople. It travels with us. We keep it hidden. For events of great "import", ... important! Such is our imminent entry into Rome.
Jewish Merchant:
We poor jews have little in the way of coin. But we are rich in history. And we would like to show our gratitude to Your Holiness, in which ever way God allow us.
Jewish Merchant:
We can gain entry into Rome.
Can You send to us here?
Jewish Merchant:
Is is already on it's way, Your Holiness. I could gift to you, if...
We understand. We will have a relevant ball, thrown up and on receipt of the spear of Longinus you and your people will be welcome, to make your homes here in Rome.
Jewish Merchant:
Your Excellency's generosity knows no bound.
It's good to see at least one of our Cardinals takes our purposes so close with the heart.
Thank you, Holiness.
Well, Cardinal Farnese will go far.

French Soldier:
Allow me! We're under attack! That way!
Get me my horse.

Their word, the Spear of Longinus.
To quote the Holy Father's words of approval: that young man will go far.
Again. Apparently.
I detect a note of irritation, Cardinal. If I may be so precipite even jealousy.
No Cardinal. Nearly of caution. Jews have sold Christians, dart relics for centuries. Why, Pope Innocent was offered the Ark of the Covenant by an itinerant rabbi from Salamanca? We are children, to that guile, Cardinal. Innocence, like our Savior himself. And someone must knock this fake antiquarian off his purge.

Your Holiness. May I present to you A treasure that we feared was lost forever at the eyes of Christendom. The Spear that touched the blood of our Savior himself.. The Spear of Longinus.
Jewish Merchant:
Even the wrapping, Holiness, falls away at the touch.
May we hold?
Jewish Merchant:
Indeed. It has been awaiting hands as blessed as yours. Legend has it, sometimes trembles to the touch.
Indeed. We felt it. Tremble.
Holiness, if I may interrupt this sacred moment. May I also present, The Spear of Longinus.
Are there two spears? Are they two Longinuses?
Sadly Your Holiness, having researched the matter, It appear to be many, one in Alexandria, one, in a monastery in Sicily and one was promised to your predecessor, Pope Innocent by a Maur, fleeing from the siege of Grenada. This current claim to the title, was found in an etruscan ruin, north of Rome.
Jewish Merchant:
Does it tremble to the touch?
It can be made to.
Jewish Merchant:
Would you Cardinal be so kind? Looks authentic. Feels authentic. But as to the tremulation, there is none! And there is fresh sap. I see. Oozing from the wood. This wood was cut from a roman beach tree I would hazard, within, a month past? Are there beaches in the Holy Land?
No Cardinal, they are not. There are seeders in the Holy Land. Use, there are no beaches. But we thank you, Cardinal. For proving the authenticity of the real spear of Longinus, which we will present to the world, when we break down the doors of St. Peter, at the begining of the next year jubilee. And you Cardinal, mai consign this piece of pretend relic, to the trove of forgeries from which you found it.

Sforza's Soldier:
My Lord Sforza.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
My mother was right. Come tomorrow's dawn. There will be revised plan.
Sforza's Soldier:
But now?
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I've seen enough.

Tomorrow, our fathers will know our place in history. Until tomorrow!
Until tomorrow!

When we take Milan, my brother, will see who the better fighter.
Are we ready?
Soon, My Lord.
How long to pull a cannon into place?
4 hours?
Not one living soul gets in or out.
Of course.
My Lord, you must come see!

The gates are open, my Lord. City looks unguarded.

Welcome to Milan, my lord.
Where is Ludovico Sforza? Where is Il Moro, where's the Duke?
Gone, my lord.
And his army?
Gone with him.
What's this molten thing?
It was a bronze horse once, 10 houses high. Designed by Leonardo...
Da Vinci.
Duke had it melted down for cannon. And abandoned the cannon and rode up into the hill.
The French king would meet with Leonardo.
If you can find him. Da Vinci is gone too.
You have Milan, my lord.
No, the french have Milan. And Ludovico Sforza lives to fight another day. And it he has a rightful claim to Naples. Damn him!

So... You say it trembles.
Jewish Merchant:
So legend has it, Your Holiness.
Or does it just "seem" to tremble?
Jewish Merchant:
No, Your Holiness!
The Judgment of Solomon. I think we will have to make do with "seems". Our Holy Mother Church is driven by belief, and we choose to believe that this is the spear of Longinus. So that you and your tribe, may make your lives here in Rome. Now, what are the gifts do you have to bring us?

Cardinal Costanzo:
Stefano! Stefano, I need you. Stefano! Stefano?
Do not enter, Your Eminence.
Cardinal Costanzo:
I've been call... You sick, what's the matter?
I am burning up with fever.
Cardinal Costanzo:
Plague! Plague!
 The Borgias Fan Wiki

307. Lucrezia's Gambit

Previously on The Borgias...
The Jews, from Constantinople. More of them come every day.
You were driven out by the Turks. We offer you a home, a place to prosper.
Jewish Merchant:
And, in return?
So, the King of Naples died.
Most horribly.
There are several claimants, I've heard. Is your Alfonzo among them?
There are two in line, in front of him.
Your Highness. The last French invasion ended in disaster. Maybe if the next was under Italian leadership...
King Louis of France invades our shores without our permission?
He has our permission.
You would bring an army into our land?
I would eliminate the Sforza dynasty. Ludovico, first. What is this?
A message from Lady Caterina Sforza, treating for peace.
This is a bluff. Burn it. Caterina Sforza has no more interest in suing for peace than I do.
Are you sick? What's the matter? Plague.
This king desires more than Naples. He has an equal fondness for Milan.
Sforza's Soldier:
My Lord Sforza.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
My mother was right. Come tomorrow's dawn, there will be rivers of blood.
The gates are open, my Lord. The city looks unguarded.
Welcome to Milan.
Where is Ludovico Sforza?
You have Milan, my Lord.
No, the French have Milan. Ludovico Sforza lives to fight another day. Damn him.

How do you know this place?
I know Milan very well. I know a boy, who knows a boy whom Leonardo painted. You understand me?
Who is this boy you spoke of?
We call him "Il Saliano".
The Little Devil.
Yes. He's that, and more. But, Leonardo loves him dearly.
Leonardo loves them all.
Um-hum. The more he steals from him, the more he lies to him, the more Leonardo loves him.
That's why.

French Soldier:
The King of France, my lord.
Your Highness.
So. Ludovico is alive. His army is intact.
His army is no longer what I call an army. It's scattered.
You promised me Milan. And, while the Duke Ludovico is alive, he has a claim to it.
I will hunt him down.
Excellent. Do that. And, when you've captured him, tell your father, the Pope, I hold this city in his name.
His. Not mine.
But, you share the same name.

What is that thing?
A bird. A mechanical bird.
Can it fly?
Perhaps some day it will.
For what purpose?
No purpose. Maestro likes to dream. So tell me, where does this lead us?
Us? Nowhere.
Where does this affection go?
There was no affection. Affection leads to weakness. And I have no use for either. What is this?
An arquebus.
Arquebus. So, he's an artist and a condottieri.
No. He designed the sight. It has two notches. Here, and here. You line them up with the eye.

Your son hopes to capture Milan.
Is he not your son, too?
Sometimes, We wonder.
I do not. And I should know. Giulia Farnese has captured a suitor.
Oh, must you?
I must, because she asked me. She wants to present him to you.
For Our approval.
For your blessing.
What's his name, this suitor?
Terrible name.

Can we be happy, now? Like any family?
This is not just "any" family.
Things have been difficult between us, but I wanted to thank you for your kindness. For your patience.
Kindness ever satisfy a Borgia?
All I ever wanted, was to be loved by a prince like you. You could be king, one day.
Don't you see, my love, it is the only way we can ensure our safety, as a family, with my beloved child. If you rule this kingdom.
I'm the Duke of Bisceglie, which means I'm third in line to the throne of Naples and I have two cousins, who would fight to the death for that very same throne. Prince Frederico and Prince Rafael. And I have no interest in that kind of power.
But you must, if you want to ensure your survival. Our survival. Well, I must.

My Lord. Cardinal Costanzo requests you posthaste.
Before I have changed and bathed?
He is in, in his palace. He made mention of the letter.
The letter?
From Caterina Sforza.
Make way. Make way! Where is the Cardinal?
Show me, then.
See for yourself. My Lord, wait. Wear this. Over your mouth.
Costanzo. Costanzo. Costanzo.
Cardinal Costanzo:
Do you recognize that?
I commanded you burn it. And the letter inside it.
Cardinal Costanzo:
But, I didn't. Now you must burn this palace, with me inside it. And forgive me, for my disobedience.
Why must you burn for disobedience?
Cardinal Costanzo:
There was a plague-infested hankerchief, in the box that contained her overtures of peace.
Oh, my God. There are quicker deaths, than burning.
Cardinal Costanzo:
Then, throw me a blade, and burn all that remains.
Papal Guard:
Make way for His Holiness.
Is this how you announce your return to Rome?
There was a plot, Holy Father. A plague letter, designed for your Person. Costanzo's curiosity got the better of him.
So you burn down his palace?
Better his palace, than the whole quarter.
Where is Costanzo now?
Burning, inside. Your sacred Person is healthy still.
Caterina Sforza?
Who else?
Walk with Us. What do We need to know of this matter?
As little as possible.
But a letter was sent.
A false overture of peace. I ordered it burnt.
And the King of France is in possession of Milan. Was that to be kept from Us, as well?
I wanted to tell you in person.
And Ludovico Sforza is still at large.
Ah. You have heard.
We do not live entirely in the dark, Cesare. He is in hiding, with Caterina's son, Benito whom, it seems, he is willing to hand over to us, in exchange for a pledg of his own safe passage.
Where is he now?
That is not for us to know. Ask your friend, signor Machiavelli. It was him, who delivered Ludovico's letter to us.
Do I have your permission to...
To deliver our pledge into the hands of Ludovico Sforza? To lay hands on the pair of them? And to bring them, in chains, to Us, in Rome? You do.

You know Constantinople, don't you?
Jewish Merchant:
Judea will be captured, returned to Rome.
Jewish Merchant:
By some miracle, perhaps.
Ah. Well, we don't trade in miracles. We're amassing funds, for a great crusade. But we fear, they could be needed closer to hand.
Jewish Merchant:
May I enquire why, Holiness?
The French have taken Milan.
Jewish Merchant:
Wait, your son had taken Milan.
Is there a difference? Rome needs arms. And funds for our Constantinople endeavor could have provided them. We can't leave her undefended.
Jewish Merchant:
If I may be so bold to suggest, Holiness. The main threat from the Turks, is to shipping. If the entire Turkish fleet can be disposed of, would not his Holiness' Crusade have served its purpose?
How would we achieve that?
Jewish Merchant:
If the Pope is lacking funds, perhaps the tribe of Abraham could do it for him.
Again, how?
Jewish Merchant:
There are Jews in every port on the Turkish coastline. There may be a way, if the Jews in Rome could be assured of His Holiness' favor.
Do you think he has caught us?
Jewish Merchant:
He has caught the office. Catching the man is more elusive.

And the knight moves thus.
Rafael d'Aragona:
Yes. So I imagine you knew that already.
No, my lord. I am a novice to the game of... What was it called, again?
Rafael d'Aragona:
You fool on there.
No, chess. Oh, my lord. Now, that was unkind.
Rafael d'Aragona:
It was meant to be. The game is cruelty personified.
Or, rather, strategy personified, my lord Rafael.
Rafael d'Aragona:
You are beautiful, Lucrezia Borgia. But even I, a simple Neopolitan prince, can tell that your beauty hides a design. Why did you wish to meet with me?
To learn the game, of course.
Rafael d'Aragona:
The game of chess or the game of inheritance?
There is a difference?
Rafael d'Aragona:
In both, the rules are fixed and have been for centuries. And the room for manoeuvre is limited. A king dies, and the game begins again.
So, the players are...?
Rafael d'Aragona:
My half-brother, Frederico, and I. There can only be one winner.
Rafael d'Aragona:
That is how I intend it. And that bastard child shall find no more favor in me, than it did with my uncle, the King.
Rafael d'Aragona:
You will be returned to Rome. Or to a stable. You can choose which. I will ensure all the traditional proprieties are upheld. And Lucrezia Borgia shall have as little influence on the court of Naples, As your queen on this board.
So, I have a king, and two bishops. And a knight. Is there a place for a pope in this game?
Rafael d'Aragona:
There is no pope in the game of chess.
But the game of succession has a pope. Surely.

You. Who are you? You followed me here?
Surely, it is you who followed me, sir.
To Rome?
I have a friend here, who paid for my journey. You, gentle sir, have followed me.
I'm not gentle.
I remember.

You will tell no one of this place. You do not ask where I go or where I've been. If you do not see me for a week or more, then you will wait. And if you cannot, then all this comes to naught, and you will leave. And you will leave in silence. And that silence, you will carry to your grave. But if you break that silence, I will find you. And believe me boy, that you do not want.

She writes to me. Tells me her every move is watched.
She should wear a veil, then.
To hide her true feelings.
She loves this husband, Cesare. She chose him.
Is it only me he disappoints?
You are too harsh.
When I pleaded her son's case to the king, her husband just sat there beside me, saying nothing.
Naples is not Rome.
No? And Naples may soon not even be Naples. A French presence there would see that they did our bidding.
A French presence there would end her marriage for good. She hopes to wield some influence, Cesare. On the next heir to the throne.
Just how will she manage that?
From your father. Investiture of the crown till lies with the Pope, does it not?
Not the choice of who wears it.
What power has a crown, without papal investiture?
Clever girl.

Fredirigo d'Aragona:
If I were to die and my half-brother were to die, your husband would take the throne.
Well that's a lot of dying.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Death happens all the time, here. By accident. Look at my uncle.
That was a horrible accident. Who could have thought?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
His father, actually. He had that pool stocked, for that very purpose. Naples terrifies me. It has terrified me ever since I learned to walk. Little Sebastian here, I have to feed him from my own plate. Lest my half-brother try and poison him.
Why would he do that?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Any number of reasons. For sport, to frighten me, or... merely to show me he can eliminate what's dear to me, at will. I know your plight, Lucrezia Borgia. I even pleaded with King Ferdinand, to let your child live here. But my words meant little then, and will mean even less, when my brother takes the crown.
Must your brother take the crown?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Unless he dies. Believe me, I'm no murderer.
But the Pope must invest the new-crowned King of Naples.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
What of it?
If there is any scandal, any rumor of public ignominy, the Pope may refuse.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
My brother has a heart of ice, But only I know that heart. The world knows a paragon of manliness, duty and virtue.
We all have our secrets.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:

I will be gone. Perhaps days, perhaps weeks.
Where are you going?
I told you, never ask that question. Now you stay ignorant, you stay alive, boy.
Days, weeks, what am I to do?
Enjoy the delights of Rome. There is wine in that jar. Hang around Bramante's studio. Maybe you'll catch his eye. No? If you are here when I return, I would like that.

There is a quarry, north of here. It is arranged the exchange will happen there. And Ludovico will deliver the boy, have no doubt.
Guide us there, signor Machiavelli. Then absent yourself.
There are... complications in the air?
No. The outcome will be simplicity itself. But I would recommend you keep your hands clean.

Benito Riario-Sforza:
What is this place?
A disused quarry. Here, we will meet with forces loyal to the Sforza family, who will escort you home, to mother. Have no fear.

Sebastian. Oh, God.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
He did have secrets, poisonous ones.
Poison? What poison? Would it be cantarella? I know something of it.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
The dog ate from my plate.
Forget the dog. Guards. Anybody. Quickly.

There are two sights, and a double notch.
This your invention?
I wish I could claim so, but no. Leonardo's. My lord, my lord.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
It's empty. There is no one here, Ludovico.
Well, Benito, it seems we are the first to arrive. You must be patient, and wait.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
Half of Italy wants our heads and you're asking me to be patient.

What happened?
Poison. Cantarella.
Who did it?
Does it matter now? Go and get a physician, love. Quickly.

So you align one sight with the other?
And the sights with your target, my lord.
What have you done!?

Here, here.
Water. Water. I need water.
This is the Roman cure?
It is the only cure.

I said "capture". Not kill. It was agreed. There was no mention of killing.
That dog will bite no more.

Your cure is useless. My lady, he cannot breathe.
But if this is cantarella, I've done this before.
It's not cantarella, it's galerina. A poisonous mushroom. He's dying of lack of breath. His whole throat is swollen.

What of our agreement? I am guaranteed safe passage. Now. I will have it now.
Benito Riario-Sforza:
I trusted you. You barbarian.
Ludovico. There.
I thank you.

He breathes. We must hold his throat like this for two hours, until the swelling subsides.
You. I accuse you of the murder of your brother.
Rafael d'Aragona:
How could I have killed that, which is not yet dead?
Of the poisoning of the only barrier that lies between you and the throne of Naples.
Rafael d'Aragona:
An enterprise at which I failed miserably. Choke him on his own bile. I'd like to see that.
Be still, cousin.
Hold him still.

What are you doing here?
Checking on my lady's investments. We all need vermin, like you to search out secrets, communicate anything that cannot be held in a diplomatic pouch.
You should leave. Now. He could return.
He's in the north, I heard. Far from here.
Doing what?
Are you not being paid good coin to find that out?
I have to tread carefully with him. I have to earn his affection.
The long game. That will last only as long as his love lasts.
Well, then, there is time. Even for vermin like me.
Is it possible? Have you fallen for him?
I'm in the Devil's bed, Rufio. Have you ever been embraced by the Devil? Have you ever felt his touch, have you ever dared to touch him? I doubt it.
Yes, that's love. It doesn't smell good. What a dingy place for it. But, then, certain love thrives best in the gutter.
I see. You come here to pass judgment.
No, I came to inhale this odor. He is my double, here in Rome. We will meet one day, he and I. Stick to him. Sooner or later, he will tell you everything. Nothing is too small. Remember the book?
Catullus' Carmina.
Good boy.

Would you play more chess, my lord?
Rafael d'Aragona:
I would be alone.
I can understand why. You failed.
Rafael d'Aragona:
How did I fail?
It's foolish, to attempt murder and to fail.
Rafael d'Aragona:
Better to succeed, I am sure.
If you embark upon that course, yes, much better.
Rafael d'Aragona:
My brother has always been histrionic. As a child, he accused me of drowning his pet newt.
Did you?
Rafael d'Aragona:
How does one drown a newt?
There will be consequences.
Rafael d'Aragona:
And you, the Pope's bastard, will be the judge of that?
The Pope has in his gift the investiture of the Kingdom of Naples. How could he, in all conscience, place a murderer on the throne?
Rafael d'Aragona:
You lack evidence, madam.
I intend to find it.
Rafael d'Aragona:
You are on dangerous ground, my lady.
Yes, I can see that. You have your fingers against my throat. Failed again.

Old Lady:
I was given word that some great lady needs a potion. A love potion? Your husband sleeps between the sheets? I know you.
What if my needs were more lethal?
Old Lady:
I only deal in cures.
I heard a different story.
Old Lady:
I can't understand your words.
You provided certain potions to a certain party.
Old Lady:
I still don't understand you.
Do they burn witches in these parts?
Old Lady:
I am no witch, my lady. I tend the forest, I gather its fruits.
And sell them to whoever has need of them, for good or for ill. But, the truth might yet save you.
Old Lady:
The truth?
You gave the galerina mushroom.
Old Lady:
I gave no galerina. I gave a dried powder, mixed with juniper.
To whom?
Old Lady:
Pay me first. To Prince Rafael.

I asked you to meet with me.
Rafael d'Aragona:
To play the game again?
We could do that, too. I asked you to meet with me, to suggest that there might be two options available to you. One, you pursue your quest for the crown, for the Pope's blessing, and you will be accused of the attempted murder of your half-brother.
Rafael d'Aragona:
I repeat, my brother lies.
He has evidence.
Rafael d'Aragona:
And I've heard of your evidence: an old crone from the forest. She should be burned, as a witch.
Well, who knows? Perhaps, one day, she will be.
Rafael d'Aragona:
What did she say?
That she gave you a mixture of dried galerina and juniper berries.
Rafael d'Aragona:
Someone primed her to say that. Find out who put the words in her mouth.
Well, who then?
Rafael d'Aragona:
You, perhaps. Your reputation does precede you.
Your second choice is to hand the field over to your brother, whom the Pope will happily invest. And retire to your hunting lodges, with your reputation intact. Thank you, nurse. Hunting is a good life.
Rafael d'Aragona:
I have a third, you know?
What's that?
Rafael d'Aragona:
I could poison the both of you. All of you.
And succeed, this time?
Rafael d'Aragona:
I'll take the second choice. If only to see you realize the folly of your strategem. You will lose. You will lose most horribly.

He's very young. Will he be faithful?
One hopes. Raise. His palace has fountains, a belvedere, extensive hunting grounds.
He hunts. Not a good thing in a husband.
You hunted.
Rarely. And only with you.
I will hunt with him, then.
Well, let's get it over with.
Dearest. Holiness. May I present to you, Vincenzo Salvatore.
Vincenzo Salvatore:
Your Holiness.
Your hands.
Vincenzo Salvatore:
My hands?
Yes, let me touch your hands. Soft. Never worked with land.
Vincenzo Salvatore:
They toil with the feathered quill, your Holiness. They plow with that.
Is he deranged?
No, Your Holiness. He's a poet.
Poet. So deranged.
He may be another Petrarch, Holiness.
Yes.Can you make her laugh? Well... Marry him if you will. Our son, come closer. What of Our command in regard to Ludovico Sforza?
I executed it. He is no more.
That was not our command. You were to bring him to Rome in chains. What purchase can we get with a dead Sforza?
Two dead Sforzas.
Are you to be the one who decide Rome's future...
Who shapes our fate, who dictates our strategies? Why in God's name did you kill them?
Because the French king demanded it.
What of Our wishes? Who are We to trust, if not Our family? Whom are we to rely on?
You can trust me, Father.
We can? Why?
Because you have no alternative.

Fredirigo d'Aragona:
You are wonderful people. Thank you.
So we are safe now?
As long as this king lives Yes, we are safe.

I'm Caterina Sforza's eyes and ears in this nest of vipers. And I would beg you, my liege, to make no hasty moves, until my exit is secured.

Bring me my copy of Catullus. Carmina.
Yes, your Majesty.
 The Borgias Fan Wiki

308. Tears of Blood

Previously, on The Borgias-
I will eliminate the Sforza dynasty. Ludovico first.
He's in hiding with Catherina's son, Benito.
I said capture, not kill!
What purchase can we get with a dead Sforza?
Two dead Sforzas.
Are you to be the one who decides Rome's future?
You followed me, to Rome?
Where does this affection go?
Affection leads to weakness.
Sooner or later, he will tell you everything. Remember the book.
Catallus's Carmina.
I have two cousins who would fight to the death for the throne of Naples: Prince Frederico and Prince Raphael. I have no interest in that kind of power.
The Turk threatens our shipping. We will raise a mighty crusade!
Jewish Merchant:
The crusade requires coin. That is what he wants.
The spear of Longinus.
Pilgrims will contribute generously to St. Peter's pep. We are putting on a show here.
I accuse you of the poisoning of the only barrier that lies between you and the throne of Naples. Hand the field over to your brother.
So, we're safe now?
As long as this king lives, yes, we're safe.
I am Caterina Sforza's eyes and ears, and I would beg you, to make no hasty moves, until my exit is secured.
Bring me my copy of Catullus.

Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus. Amen.
Open ye to me the gates of justice.
I will go in to them and give praise to the Lord.
I will come into thy house, O Lord.
I will worship at thy temple, in fear of Thee.
Wait! Wait! Wait!
Open, Lord, for me the gates, for God is with us.
And in God's house there are many mansions.
Behold! The spear that touched the blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior! Behold! The spear of Longinus!

Bless me father, for I have sinned.
A Hail Mary and 20 ducats.
Eleven ducats-
for my sins... I have fornicated.
Be faithful to your wife, pray for forgiveness for your sins, and donate sixteen ducats to our Holy Mother Church.
Be pure of thought and deed, and donate twelve ducats to our Holy Mother Church.
I'm a carpenter, not a banker. Can I not say my penance in prayer?
It's twenty-five.

Benito, my son. Can we both taste revenge now, Cardinal?
Cardinal De Luca:
I am but a common prelate, and revenge will be sweet.
The holy year. The pilgrims flock to Rome, filling the papal coffers, for what I have no doubt about it, will be an assault on me. But the pilgrims way passes through Marino.
Cardinal De Luca:
Through Sforza territory.
There are catacombs in Marino. If we could display a relic there, of such magnificence, of such sanctity, that it would divert all of those pilgrims from their journey to St. Peter's, what would it be?

What have we here, Cardinal DeLuca?
Cardinal De Luca:
The shroud of Constantinople.
It looks convincing.
Cardinal De Luca:
Thank you!
It definitely cost enough.
Cardinal De Luca:
It wrapped our blessed Savior's sacred body. It bears the imprint of his sacred face.
Will it fill the faithful with awe, Cardinal?
Cardinal De Luca:
It should. It's the most sacred relic known to Christendom.
So, we charge the pilgrims a hefty fee for onward passage to Rome, or, they can view our shroud for no fee at all.
Cardinal De Luca:
But, is the shroud wonder enough? Perhaps we should add a miracle. Tears.
Cardinal De Luca:
Tears of blood, on our Savior's face. It should draw the faithful, like flies to honey Better than any spear of Longinus.
Do it!

Adultery, no doubt.
Diamond and black pearl.
A word, young man.
All these donations to the confessional fund go to-
The Vatican treasury, your Holiness.
No. No. To a side account in the Vatican treasury.
The Constantinople Endeavor.
The Constantinople Endeavor?
Our crusade against the infidel, the Turk. And the account books for this fund, are for your eyes only.

Mattai the Hebrew:
The entire Turkish navy could be burnt to a cinder, with oil.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Lamp oil. Pitch. Tallow. Olive oil. If we spend the coin, place the order now, for shipment to the Christian lands, Come the month of Ramadan our oil-laden ships could be berthed in Kefalonia for the holy month, alongside the entire Turkish fleet.
How does it burn?
Mattai the Hebrew:
There are Jews in Kefalonia.
Can you ensure its success?
Mattai the Hebrew:
If, and only if, your Holiness withdraws his demands to tax my people. If we can live freely, trade freely, in this city of Rome.
You ask for much, Murano!
Mattai the Hebrew:
I am no Murano!
Mattai the Hebrew:
You, on the other hand-
Mattai the Hebrew:
I have heard the rumors, that Jewish blood runs in Borgia veins. Why do you think they hate you so?
We could have your hide, for this presumption.
Mattai the Hebrew:
But you're wiser than that. So follow my guidance, and your crusade is won! The Adriatic is free of the Moor and the Turk, as is the Mediterranean. All that is needed is the coin to buy the oil.
Well, if you can ensure the success of this scheme, you will have your Papal bull.

Welcome! Come inside. Please, take one. It's a miracle, you will see.
A miracle!
A miracle!
O Lord, I have lived to see the glory of your tears.
In nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.
Behold! The tears of our Savior. A miracle.

You've heard?
She's blocked the pilgrim way! She claims that some random rag hanging in Marino is the shroud of our blessed Lord himself! Our son finds it amusing?
I merely wonder where this will end. What next in this competition of relics? The Ark of the Covenant? The tablets of Moses?
The ark of Noah, perhaps.
If she could find the manpower to build it.
My son, whatever our failings, we do not trade in fakery.
No? The spear of Longinus.
It's genuine! We have it on the best authority.
Of course. That wandering Jew.
He has been more help to our cause than the entire consistory. You will ride north. You will expel the bitch of Forli from Marino, and bring the shroud back here, so that we can vouch its authenticity ourself.
With what army?
With your own army.
Surely, papal arms should be used for such a task. I would not waste my own blood and treasure to free up pilgrim coin. One last time, father...
Give me command.
We will pay you. By the day, by the horse, by the man.
Your mercenary, Holy Father.

Cesare Borgia is headed toward the shrine at Marino, to open up the pilgrim way.

Keep that torch back! You're too close.
We have word, my lady, that the Borgia is coming. If there are pilgrims here, there will be deaths. Many deaths.
They will die with good in their hearts, as my son did.

Out! All of them, out! Move along! Clear the square! Send them away! Send them to Rome.
It's a miracle! Tears of blood.
What's he saying?
Something about a miracle, tears of blood.
The shroud of Constantinople. Tears of blood, my friend.
I shed them often, my lord. Paint.
Red pigment.
The wrath of God, my friend.
Jesus must love you, Cesare Borgia.
Yes, he wept He wept bloodied tears. He does. He does. He loves me. Jesus loves me!

Tears of blood?
And then the earth exploded.
Thank the Lord you were spared!
Thank God, indeed!
A false shroud.
One has to admire her invention. If it is hers.
You think there is another hand involved?
She has a dark shadow. It has crossed us twice, now.
What is the name of this dark shadow?
Rufio. We need all the friends we can get, which is why we are investing King Frederico of Naples.

Your cousin, I believe.
Once removed, yes.
Can you trust him with your fa mily's future?
I have no option, my lord.
Which means, you don't.
No. No, which means your sister was the author of these events. Not I.

What is that?
Your name. You can't read, can you?
I have no learning. I worked with my father, when I was meant to be at school.
Then, how can you write?
I remember shapes, all shapes, like pictures in my head. I do not forget. I can copy. I saw these shapes on the floor, over there. Why?
I like to write your name when you're absent.
It is the language of love.
So, if I cannot read, I cannot love? How do I learn?
I can read to you.
Then, read.
"Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris? Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior."
What does it mean?
"I hate and I love. Why, you may ask. I don't know. But it happens, and I burn."
I've known this feeling, all my life. All my life.

Fredirigo d'Aragona:
I have one last favor I would ask, your Holiness.
Tell us.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
French arms are on Italian soil, once more.
And they will stay in Milan.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
One hopes. But, to guard against any misunderstanding between us, I would ask for the appointment of a special ambassador between the Holy See and Naples.
We already have one.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
One of little consequence. But, to keep our ties of friendship intact, I would plead for one of mighty consequence, with all the wisdom and stagecraft necessary to the task. Your daughter, Lucrezia Borgia.
That is, indeed, an honor. Lucrezia?
I am surprised, and honored.
So, she will reside in Naples?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
She already does.
With her husband, and her child?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Of course! I would have her travel back with my retinue, as my most honored guest.

Peace, brother. Peace.
My embassy awaits.
Do you trust him?
Yes. What does it matter now? I have my child. I have my husband. I have everything I wanted.
Almost everything. Come and visit, soon.

We need bread.
Yes, and milk, and honey, and cheese.
Go to the market.

When do you learn to write?
I do not read, and I do not write. But I remember, and I copy, and I must. Before the sleight it is lost.
What is this?
I see pictures in my mind's eye. Shapes on the page. Like a map that will lead us to all. But, I... I do not know what it means.
We need a mirror. Look! This is mirror writing.
You can read this?
These are all numbers. Each one of them has to mean something different. It must be a code. A book code, I think. Where did you find this?
You do not need to know.
I'm afraid I must!
The letter, my lord! What does it say?
Nothing, as yet. Who did you copy this from?
Someone I know.
A friend? Well, you make sure he remains your friend. He'll have a book. Find it! The book is the key to this.

King Frederico!
How would you define my ambassadorial duties, your Highness?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Quite simple really. You must keep me informed of your brother's designs, And your father's. Your home is Naples, Your heart must be in Naples. Your allegiance, solely to Naples.
Your tone has changed, my liege.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Of course.I am king. What else did you expect? Ladies first.

Read to me.
"Let us live, my Lesbia, and love, and value at one farthing the talk of crabbed, old men."
Crabbed, old men.

You have the letter? Sit. Each number refers to a verse, then a line, then a word. Nine, that's verse nine. Then, "novem", another nine. That's line nine. Seven; seventh word, line nine, verse nine. That's "They." Beginning... Who are "they"... I wonder? Twenty-seven, that's verse twenty-seven. Line six, word three. "Must." "They must."

"Forli." The message. "They must not suspect.He will lock the cage. We must know when they will move on Forli."
A cage is for an animal, or a prisoner. So who is in the cage, and who is the prisoner?
Forli. Catherina Sforza. But, who is this "he"?
I could... beat it out of him.
Beat it out of who?
The boy who had the letter.
A boy? What boy?
The boy I took to my bed.
The spy... you took to your bed.
Kill me now, my lord. Please. Please?
No! No more killing. You must keep on loving this boy.
I can hate and love.
These words are worth more than gold. They will tell us what she thinks, and what she plans.

All eyes! Are we in need of protection?
Not that I know of.
Well, then, why do we have it? Is Naples always thus? Eyes watching one's every move? Guards in every corner? Will they even watch us make love?

"They suspect nothing. She thinks the King of Naples is a friend." My God! I knew! Some way I knew!
Knew what, my Lord?
He's in league with Caterina Sforza. King Federico of Naples. She chose the wrong brother! My sister is no ambassador. She and her child will be kept hostage, the moment we attack Forli! Kill him! You kill the boy!

My lady!
However irregular it may be, I would speak to his Highness, and ask him to explain my confinement.
I apologize, your Highness.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Leave us. You are a prisoner, my dear. Plain and simple.
And why am I a prisoner?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Because you chose the wrong brother.

Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Lent it was passed. You will be missed, Sebastian! He did have secrets. Poisonous ones!

Fredirigo d'Aragona:
As a Borgia, you should have known better. Poison is your hobby, is it not? So, you are in a cage, my dear. Your every need will be catered for. You will dine on gold and silver platter, the best Neopolitan cuisine. But you can never leave. Borgia bitch!

Could she be with child?
I truly doubt that possibility.
Where do you are, my love? There's a woman in the forest. She knows every cure this earth provides. I will be examined by her.

"I hate, and I love. Why, you may ask? I do not know. But it happen, and I-" And... how does it go?
"...I burn."
No, in the Latin, please.
"Excrucior!" "Excrucior!"
It is a big word for "burn". Why? Why did you become my lover? Why?
Because I was made an offer.
From whom? You enjoyed the thrill? The danger? Yes?
Yes! Yes! I admit, I did.
I should flay you alive! But I will be merciful.
You will.
You tell me how you wish to die, Pascal.
I die? In your arms.

Old Lady:
You love another, who is not your husband. Close to you. Too close.
Tell me more.
Old Lady:
You are a prisoner here.
Whose fault is that?
Old Lady:
Mine. Forgive me. I knew that he wanted to be king, but I did not know that he would confine such a splendid witch as you. But you have a future, away from here. So your hand tells me.
How do I leave?
Old Lady:
You could make them sleep. Everybody sleeps, do they not? Just never at the time we want them to. I put a whole village to sleep once, with this.

The bull is prepared, and awaits your signature, Holiness.
All is ready?
Mattai the Hebrew:
Ships loaded with oil are docked in Kefalonia.
And the Turkish fleet?
Mattai the Hebrew:
Docked alongside.
When will this happen?
Mattai the Hebrew:
It may have happened already.

A Borgia bull.
 The Borgias Fan Wiki

309. The Gunpowder Plot


Previously, on The Borgias ...
Mattai the Hebrew:
The entire Turkish navy could be burnt to cinder.
What other gifts do you have, to bring us?
All roads lead to Rome, and pas through the Romagna. Our men, united under a common banner. Would tip the scales, one way or another.
I have my child, my husband. I have everything I wanted.
Almost everything.
Caterina Sforza has a dark shadow. It has crossed us twice, now.
What are you doing here?
It's code. "We must know when they will move on Forli." Who did you copy this from?
The boy I took to my bed.
Your Highness, how would you define my ambassadorial duties?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
You must keep me informed of your brother's designs. You are a prisoner, my dear. Plain and simple.
Who are we to trust?
You can trust me.
You have no alternative. King Frederico of Naples is in league with Caterina Sforza. She will be kept hostage, the moment we attack Forli!
And why am I a prisoner?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Because you chose the wrong brother.
The spy - kill him!.
How do I leave?
Old Lady:
You could make them sleep. I put a whole village to sleep once, with this.
Why? Why did you become my lover?
Because I was made an offer.
Tell me how you wish to die, Pascal.
In your arms.

Hold me.
Give me your left hand.
I see colors, like stars.
They say that is your soul, leaving your body.
Never let me go. Never! You're crying.
Tears of blood. Forgive me.
You have killed so many!
But none like you, boy.

Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Naples may have her failings, fair Ambassador, but let no one deny: she knows how to celebrate!
So, you approve of my little display?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
It's a wondrous addition! To Bacchus! To a full grape!
These men, our guards, my liege, they will not partake?
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Your guards?
Our jailers.
Fredirigo d'Aragona:
Your protectors! No, they must stay ever alert for the slightest hint of danger to your person.
Given the day we are celebrating, let me thank them for their service. Do you guardians have names? And would you share them with your humble charge?
I'm Oliveretto, he's Francesco.
A token of my gratitude, overdue. Good health!

My God, Lucrezia!
Don't worry, Maria. They're not dead. They're just sleeping.
Lucrezia, it's as if a witch had cast a spell!
We are in a fairy tale. And the witch, is me. A magical carriage will come and whisk us to safety, in Rome. My thanks.
Old Lady:
If you do not mind, my lady, we take our pickings. It would not have been possible, without our little trick.
No, of course! My thanks.

I'm right behind you.
Take care,my love.

Micheletto doesn't flee!
He has, my lord. There's no sign of him.

So, you say you've been searching?
Since the morning. He has vanished, without trace.
You will find no trace, unless he wants you to. His only code was loyalty. Can one of you replace him?
My lord.
Don't even try to answer that. We ride to Naples within the hour.

Do you expect to die soon, dear?
The grave awaits us all, Vanozza. We would have our family rest together.
Is there room in there for me?
For you? A nook, perhaps. Have you spoken to our eldest son?
Hardly. He comes and goes, like a ghost in the night.
Well, if he has plans, we would know of them.
Do you think he shares them with me?
You are his mother.
Cesare Borgia is well-nigh unknowable.
Yes, like a sphinx! You know he has the French king in is pocket, and a French army at his beck and call. I haven't any idea what he's going to do next.
Have you tried talking to him?
I never see him to talk to him.
Have you tried forgiving him?
For what?
For whatever lies between you two.
What's that?
Well, only you two know. That's the trouble: you're too alike.
The trouble is... I miss him.

He called Naples a garden of weeds. Micheletto.
But you will need a hundred times these men, to take it.
I don't want Naples, yet. I want my sister!
Stop, stop! Cesare! Cesare!
At last!
We were captives.
I know. You were betrayed. I was betrayed. All of us. Never again!
Not everyone can love like that.
Like what?
Like brother and sister.

Another relic?
Mattai the Hebrew:
Yes, Holiness.
The head of John the Baptist, perhaps?
Mattai the Hebrew:
No, Holiness. A relic of a more recent drama. A relic of your crusade against the Turkish navy, achieved in one fell swoop.
So that Venetian ships can ply the Adriatic once more.
Mattai the Hebrew:
You can charge them for the privilege, and forgo your tithe on my Hebrew brethren.
You worked your stratagem with oil; can you do the same with sulfur?
Mattai the Hebrew:
We would control the supply of sulfur in this land.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Sulfur and saltpeter make gunpowder.
Yes. Now, any alchemist can make saltpeter. But sulfur must be drawn from the bowels of the earth. And there is only one source.
Mattai the Hebrew:
The Solfatara Caldera.
We would use the coin you have saved us, to buy up the whole supply. And deprive our enemies of gunpowder.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Your enemies being ...?
Oh, it doesn't matter. Milan, Sforza's, Naples, France, whoever wants to wage war, will need our compliance.
Mattai the Hebrew:
How does this help my people?
There will come a time, favors will be repaid. You will be our agent in this. You should present yourself as a Christian.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Holiness, I cannot.
You will be trading beyond Rome's protection.
Mattai the Hebrew:
The laws of Abraham forbid...
We ask you to present yourself, not to convert. Get rid of that... Hebrew garb. Trim those locks,... and pray to whom you will in private. But in public,show a little piety.

Jewish Merchant:
You are a Christian now?
Mattai the Hebrew:
No, but I can pretend. I serve a Christian pope,, so you can remain a Jew. I may have a task for our brethren, Come.

You're home.
Thank the Lord!
Orsini. I have a task for you.
You know I'm at your service, my lord.
The only one I could trust with my family's safety has vanished.
You can trust me.
Well, we'll just see. You're charged with my sister's protection, and that of her husband and her child. You will choose her staff, her cooks, her child's nursemaid, and manservants. I would know where she is, and where her husband is, at every hour of every day. Is task enough for you?
He's home once more.
Does he remember? The Vatican? Home.
Home. It doesn't feel like home.
Are you lost, sister?
He will need a bigger cot. As will he.
He made you smile.
No,you did.
I did? How?
Because you are the joy of my life. The light of my days.
You know, that I know, that that isn't true. How long could we last like this?
How long does marriage last?

Mattai the Hebrew:
Tell me, the income from this pit in a month.
Sulphur Mine Overseer:
You must speak to the proprietor.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Where is the proprietor?
Sulphur Mine Overseer:
There are many, scattered through the region. Their families divide the spoils.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Tell them I would buy this year's supply.
Sulphur Mine Overseer:
In total?
Mattai the Hebrew:
Tell them I would buy every ounce of sulfur this mine produces throughout this coming year, and whatever else lies in storage.
Sulphur Mine Overseer:
You are contemplating a war, sir?
Mattai the Hebrew:
A war, or a peace. Does it matter?

This palace is yours. Signor Orsini will see to your protection.
Why here?
You need premises of your own, to avoid prying eyes. A place that is safe, protected. I will not have your safety compromised.
And my husband?
What of him?
If he were to ride back to Naples.
I will not allow it.
If you cannot prevent it.
You know me, sister. Certain things I will not countenance.
He could cause public scandal, if he...
If he what?
Intimates any impropriety between us.
We are family; we love each other. We are Spanish; we embrace. Where is the scandal?
You know where the scandal is.

Mattai the Hebrew:
There's a warehouse, filling with sulfur as we speak.
I'll make a Christian of you, yet.
Mattai the Hebrew:
My reward being your heaven?
A Christian and an optimist. We like that! Nobody knows of its location? They will all blame each other for the lack of powder.
Mattai the Hebrew:
You wanted to sow confusion.
You read us too well.

Papal Guard:
Twenty-five silver? Is there gold in those wagons?
Mattai the Hebrew:
What did I pay you for?
Papal Guard:
Silence. Gold that burns.

Father? Caterina. We must resolve this, or it will resolve for us.
She plots with Naples, she reinforces her stronghold, she requisitions cannon. She will soon be impregnable.
Are you so sure?
Yes! Yes, I'm certain. I cannot understand why you don't share my certainty.
Certainty is the preserve of youth.
So I still have to wait. I know your coffers are full. I know your crusade was an illusion. I know you are re-equipping the papal armies, as you should. Can you give me permission to survey them, at least?
Survey them, my son. See our Rome's defenses secure. Blast the spider of Forli! I have reason to believe she will wait.

Sforza's Soldier:
Open the gates!
Florence will neither help nor hinder us.
And Machiavelli?
Will do nothing.
His nothing is worth a lot.
He will deny them passage across Florentine lands.
Good news! Now the bad: our powder is almost out.
Gunpowder. For the cannon. Supplies of sulfur have dried up. Some agency and person has bought them wholesale.
Cesare Borgia!
Is he that clever?
Let us hope not.

Nurse, I need an earthenware jug. Where is my maidservant?
She is indisposed, my lady.
Who appointed you?
The master of the household.
Who is master of the household?
The Master of the Household:
I am, my lady.
Who appointed you?
The Master of the Household:
Signor Orsini.

This behemoth fires a ball of 300 pounds.
But there is a problem.
The powder to fire the ball. Gunpowder is made of saltpeter and sulfur. Saltpeter, we have in plenty. But the supplies of sulfur have dried up.
How can they just dry up?
Someone has been buying the supplies from Solfatara Caldera, and that someone has in their power a moratorium on warfare.
It's a clever move. Catherina Sforza?
Too clever even for her.
We need a spy out there. Someone to smell out sulfur. Prospero?
I shall sniff it out, my lord.

A bird in a cage. How appropriate.

We are fully armed, my lord.
As I can see. But, for what?
For whatever his Holiness intends.
Cesare Borgia!
Finally, we're on first-name terms. Spar with me, brother!
You could love me as a brother, ...if you ever loved your brother.
I did. Mightily.
So I've heard.
Do not provoke me, my lord!
I said spar, not fight.
You're good with a blade.
Are you surprised?
I would not harm that which my sister loves.
Does she love me, as she loves her brother?
You're in bad humor, my lord.
Yes, dangerously bad humor. And this Vatican is a hive of whispers, and rumors and innuendos that set my imagination to a fever!
You should never heed rumor.
But you're the source of them, my lord! And rumor has it that there are three in this marriage, not two!
You are both so dear to my heart.

Just follow the wagons.
Papal Guard:
Thank you. Close the gates!
Mattai the Hebrew:
You seem curious.
You have a treasure, here.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Just the scrapings of the earth.
From where?
Mattai the Hebrew:
We collect gravel, shale; sell it where we can.
Hebrews! You would sell the very soil, if you could.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Does soil have any value?
Does it burn? That burns. I've seen it.
Mattai the Hebrew:
I am no Hebrew. I am a Christian.
Bless yourself, then. You have a master, who? A mistress, perhaps.

This is our moment, if ever there was one.
Be careful, Propsero. You tread on splintered glass.
He is starved of powder, and for all we know, so is she.
Someone paid for those shipments. They've a purpose, hidden from you.
But, does it matter? The point is: those stores exist. I know where. We should capture those stores, hold them both to ransom. And we have neutered Cesare Borgia!
You hate him, don't you?
As do you!
I love my hide, more than I hate him.
If you love your hide, follow me in this. There is only one end for us, with him. Come with me now.
Not now. Tomorrow.

I was prisoner in Naples, and now I am prisoner in Rome!
Maybe we're all prisoners here.
Is there another city? Another realm, where I can be free? ...Of my father, my brother.
You love them both.
Love can be another chain, mother, in this Borgia family. There is a great reckoning coming, that will leave none of us the same. I would leave now, if I could. Take my child, take you.
And your husband?
I'd take him if he would come, but I doubt it.
Go home, Lucrezia. You brood too much.

You see the wheel tracks? Follow the trail of yellow.
If I ever get lost.
You're not lost!
I am. In a maze of betrayal.
He would betray you in a heartbeat!
They leave it unguarded.
A guard would draw too much attention to it. Here, look! A store of yellow!
The color of betrayal.
Baglioni, no!
I'm afraid, my friend, yes!
My lord, I found powder.
Yes, you found powder! For which, I thank you. Now show us around. Show us what you found. Seize him now! You didn't quite betray me.
Not yet, my lord!
Because I didn't give you time enough? With enough time,you would have burned me in that mound of sulfur. Is that true, Baglioni?
Too true, my lord.
Why, Baglioni? Why?
Because, my friend, this is what we do!
We are connoisseurs of treachery. But can anyone tell me: who owns this pile of dust?
Catherina Sforza.
Why would she store it in Rome? Who was it? King Frederico of Naples? Louis of France? Whoever gathered it here did so for a purpose!
Mattai the Hebrew:
I brought it here!
And you are?
Mattai the Hebrew:
I am a humble merchant.
Who holds the power of life and death. War and peace.
Mattai the Hebrew:
I bought it for another.
Take him outside.
And do what?
Burn him.
Do not do that, my lord!
Take him outside, at least! Go home, any of you who would not witness this!
I bid you good night.
He'll light up your way.
No! No! Wait! No! No! No!
Go home now. Let this be a lesson to those who would betray me.
Mattai the Hebrew:
You are cruel, you Romans.
We do not forgive. So, sell it to me.
Mattai the Hebrew:
I cannot.
I haven't named my price.
Mattai the Hebrew:
It doesn't matter.
Merchants buy and but they always sell. Always have their price.
Mattai the Hebrew:
None of this is mine; I bought it for another.
Let him name his price, then.
Mattai the Hebrew:
He has no price.
Why does he want it?
Mattai the Hebrew:
The thought of war disturbs him.
A man of peace. You could say that. Well, I would meet with this paragon.
Mattai the Hebrew:
He is a paragon. It could easily be arranged. He's your father! The Pope of Rome.
He would deny me powder?
Mattai the Hebrew:
Mattai the Hebrew:
Isn't it obvious? Because he fears you!
But we share the same names.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Fathers and sons. It is always thus!
I will have my powder.
Mattai the Hebrew:
With your father's permission!
Must I beg?
Mattai the Hebrew:
No! But, perhaps I can intercede.

Mattai the Hebrew:
Holiness! I have commandeered every ounce of sulfur in this land.
So, you're both a Christian and a peacemaker!
Mattai the Hebrew:
Is that your intention, an Italy of peace?
Not entirely.
Mattai the Hebrew:
I suspected as much. As I have done all I can do for you, I would return to the tribe of Abraham.
No, no! No, we have need of you. We have further plans. We have need of a man with your resource.
Mattai the Hebrew:
But, you are surrounded by advisors, Holiness. Cardinals, cannon lawyers...
No! What do they know of the real world? Can we trust them with anything, apart from drawing up the papal bull? No, we need you further yet. We need you in hand.
Mattai the Hebrew:
I may have found just the man, Holiness. He has talent to burn. It pains him that those talents are so underused.
Is he another Jew, like you?
Mattai the Hebrew:
A Christian. A warrior.
A warrior ?
Mattai the Hebrew:
A leader of men. One that you should take close to your bosom. May I introduce you to him?
What, now?
You would play games with me?
Don't you talk to me about playing games!
You would deny me powder! You would make me think it was Caterina Sforza's doing!
You would invite the French army to my doorstep!
We share the same aims!
But what are your aims? You do not share them with us! You keep them secret! We are the Pope of Rome!
You are also my father, and you still cannot give me your trust!
Mattai the Hebrew:
Enough! You are family, are you not? In my people, the bonds of family are unbreakable! Even stronger than family the bond between father and son.
Do you have a son?
Mattai the Hebrew:
It is sacred. Adam begat Cain.
Who killed his brother, Abel.
Mattai the Hebrew:
Abraham begat Isaac.
Whom he offered up for sacrifice.
Mattai the Hebrew:
And God stayed his hand! So, here we are. All of us, children of Abraham. So I ask this father to embrace his son. Give him his sanction, his support, his love.
His powder, his army, ...
Mattai the Hebrew:
His love!
His love.
Mattai the Hebrew:
He is made in your image.
You think we don't know that? He is me! All the fire, and the fury, the drive! The pitiless ambition! I look into his eyes and I see myself! Do you expect me to love that?
Do you not love yourself, Father? Must we hate each other, then? Father, please, just open your heart to me.
What have I wrought for this family? On the altar of power and ambition. A temple built on rotten foundations. And you're asking me to let you continue down the road? I can't do that.
You have no option, father. If we weaken now, they'll destroy us. There is only one road, and that is forward. Trust me. I'll carve you out an empire there. But, abandon me, and you'll live in ruins. So, give it to me, your trust. At last.
From now on, you have it!
And your forgiveness, for my sins.
Ego te absolvo.
 The Borgias Fan Wiki

310. The Prince


Previously on The Borgias...
You are the joy of my life.
You know that I know that that isn't true. How long can we last like this? Rumour has it that there are three in this marriage, not two!
Do not provoke me, my lord.
He could cause public scandal, if he... intimates any impropriety between us.
We are family; we love each other. Where is the scandal?
I would confound this pope.
More than you have already?
I have the arms, the cannon, and the castle. This is our moment.
Catherina Sforza plots with Naples. She reinforces her stronghold. She requisitions cannon. She will soon be impregnable. You are charged with my sister's protection. I would know where she is, where her husband is at every hour of every day.
I was prisoner in Naples. And now I'm prisoner in Rome.
Cesare Borgia comes and goes like a ghost in the night.
You know he has the French King in his pocket and the French army at his beck and call, and nobody knows what he's going to do next.
You hate him, don't you? I love my hide more than I hate him.
Let this be a lesson to those who would betray me. As Catherina Sforza gathers allies to her daily, the end game will be war. Give me command! We share the same aims, Father.
But what are your aims? You do not share them with us!
If we weaken now, they destroy us. I will carve you out an empire. Trust me.
Rome is no longer the Borgia Pope alone. Rome is Cesare Borgia also.

I have no servants when here in Rome, my lord. Florence can no longer afford them.
Ah, democracy, Senor Machiavelli.
They say it has its merits. What would you say is the perfect crime, my lord?
The one without a victim?
Hm. The one without a suspect. And I have often thought that whoever killed your brother remained unsuspected- but made a suspect of everybody. Such a one has committed the perfect crime. And such a one may, one day, make the perfect prince.
How can one be a prince without a principality?
One cannot. Which is why, I presume, you came to talk to me of Forli.
If Rome moves on Forli, what would Florence do?
You know well what Florence will do. What we always do. Nothing.
We must cross the borders of Florence to get there.
Do so then at night. But armies make noise.
I'll make sure they move quietly. No disturbance, no pillage.
Two armies I have heard. Double the noise.
Can you keep a secret? The French Army is already there in the Romagna forests. Well beyond Florentine borders.

I will send the papal army ahead of me under cover of night.
What, no grand departure? No cheering crowd?
No, nothing like that. And it is better if you know nothing of my progress. I will have them at the borders of Florence before Florence awakes.
Well, we cannot justify to the Florentine ambassador-
You will not have to. I have his assurance we can skirt their territories and move on.
Hm, well, as Socrates said, "True wisdom is knowing that you know nothing."
I will carve you out an empire, Father.
But who will rule it after we are gone, huh? All this rancour, this discord. Votes in conclave bought and sold. Families and factions, blade against blade. Would it not be simpler just to hand on the keys of St. Peter's from father to son? Primogeniture. It's the simplest and most efficient transfer of power known to man.
Like... like a monarchy.
Hm... God's true kingdom, here on earth.
Handed from father to son?
Is God served well by the papal elections? Is the College of Cardinals mentioned in the gospels? No. That is the past. Primogeniture is the future. Simple, preordained.
The world would not tolerate...
Not yet. But... See, we have the power to make and unmake monarchies but we have no kingdom of our own. No, if you create for us a kingdom, we will write the book of our future. The future of the church, of the world we live in, will be ours- yours, and your children's. You say nothing?
I am... stunned into silence.
Why do you think we wished you a cardinal, hm? So you would be pope one day. Carve us out a kingdom, Cesare. And be both king and pope. Hm?

You saw what happened to Colonna, so you know the rules.
We knew them already, my lord.
Good. Never presume that I will not act on my worst instincts. Or that it is not in your best interests to stay loyal to me. We have an army here. It is well stocked, powdered at last. It has generals. They imagine they rule. They don't. You rule. Armies act like locusts on the lands that they move through. You will prevent these armies from doing so. You will attack one citadel, and one citadel only. The citadel of Forli. And now my friends, meet your troops. What does this sword read?
Aut Caesar! Aut nihil!
So, we are with him now.
I would not be against him.
What does this sword read?
Aut Caesar! Aut nihil!
Aut Caesar! Aut nihil!
Aut Caesar! Aut nihil!
Either Cesare or nothing.

We have shamed him, Brother.
I have?
In more ways than I can count. He knows. Somewhere he knows. Oh. Mm... Why is it your touch is the only one that soothes me? You have spent a lifetime pulling away from me. I am tired of that. I am tired of my husband. I am tired of life. The only thing that never tires me is you. Can you tell me why? Why... Why we're cursed with this feeling that feels so... natural... and good? Why, when we're together, God seems to sit in the room with us? And when you're away I manage to forget you... and then one touch of your hand and God comes rushing back.
God or the Devil.
Whatever it is, it overwhelms.
I have to leave soon.
Yes, I know. You have your army at last. You have castles to knock down. Will you think of me a little? And will you promise to protect yourself?
What could console you, Sis?
The one thing that could, I think, is another child. My husband seems only capable when he's in his cups... Oh! As he is now.
Ah, Brother.
Or is it Il Duce?
That too.
Have you- have you met my shadows? They watch me drink, they watch me fuck!
I had a brother who smelt like that.
Like what?
Wine. Too much.
Ooh, but he died.
Yes, of the same.
Of what?
Indulgence! Stop, my love.
Can't you hear? His army's on the march. Can I join them?
Oh, no, I think we can all agree I'm useless here, but I can wield a sword.
Put it down, my love.
I can even draw blood.
I'd welcome a challenge. A conquest of any kind. Am I hired then?
When I return, I will consider a commission. Until then, rest your blade.

Steady on, men! Guards, to the battlements!
Yes, Captain!
Hold your lines! Rear guard to the battlements!
Remain in cohorts! Hold the pennants high!
Keep formation at the front, there!

Would that you could fight, Mother.
I can scratch. Like a cat.
I have lost my henchman. I miss his counsel.
I could counsel if I cannot fight.
He could read me like a book. He knew how to move, without a sentence, without a word.
Armies need whores, don't they? I used to be a whore.
The truth hurts?
You were a courtesan. I would not be the son of a whore.
It made you what you are.
So we came from nothing.
Not if your father has his way.
He has ambitions. More than even I could have dreamed.
Tell me.
I can't. I fear to even think of them.
Fear? You? I haven't heard that before.
I have many fears. Most of all about Lucrezia. Keep her safe.
She can hardly move with the guard that minds her.
It minds her husband.
You don't trust him?
To keep her out of harm's way? No, I don't trust him. Rome is about to change, Mother.
Not again.

Rider! Open the gates!
Tell me.
What do you think? It's begun. His army marching at night from Rome.
Ten days away.
You can count; good, you will need to. They are in their thousands, equipped for a siege.
Well, we have ten days at least to prepare.

Our plan, unless someone has a better one... is to stock up on enough supplies to outlast any siege. I want every ounce of grain, all poultry, livestock brought to the city.
Captain! There's movement!
General! Look!
I want to cut all the forests around Forli, every tree, every bush, every hiding place. I want an open plain below these battlements, a clear field of fire where everything that moves is a target. Dig trenches along these borders- here, here, and here- with a covering of wattle, and ditches, dykes, sharpened spikes below.
My lady!
We will engage the enemy on their approach, draw them toward the trenches -
My lady, forgive me but -
-our cavalry leap the trenches, draws their infantry in-
My lady, you must -
And their cannon cannot cross. What is it?
You must see this!
Can't it wait?
No. Cesare Borgia does not wait.

Close the gates! The gates! Quickly! To arms!
You saw his army leave Rome - ten days away.
He had a second army from France that he managed to hide somewhere, somehow.
God. We're under siege. We're under siege already, and winter is coming.

Go on.
But as Christian merchants, they must also contribute a tithe to the church.
They have heard rumours that...
The siege at Forli has begun.
Oh, well, that's a surprise. The papal armies have barely left Rome.
Your son hides armies the way a juggler hides carnations. The forests at Forli are sprouting cannon as we speak.
The Venetian ambassador demands an audience, as do the ambassadors of Umbria, Ferrara, Bologna, and the Holy Roman Empire. It's gonna be a busy morning, Your Holiness.
Get them to address their questions to our son, the Gonfaloniere of the papal armies, Duke Valentino.
And where might we find him?
Well, with his armies, we presume. Wherever they may be.

You have raised a hornets' nest, and it's not yet noon.
Good. Let surprise be our secret weapon.
One army in place, another one lumbering along in full public view. We would have appreciated being told.
Is it better to know or not to know when you must plead ignorance?
Well, we would rather speak the truth, if truth be told.
Then I must leave you in ignorance.
There will be a price to pay for your French involvement.
Naples. The French ambassador will be seeking an audience.
Oh, well, we would happily send Naples to the dogs if your sister could be spared any further discomfiture.
I wasn't here.
You haven't seen me-
Oh, oh -
-or spoken to me.
Oh, no. We address an empty bed. We had never realized it would provide such sport. So, remain invisible. To everyone but us.

Papal guard, forward. Steady...
Make way!
The Gonfaloniere!

Tell me your worst.
Florence was so surprised by your siege at Forli, she hardly notices the army moving past her hinterland.
Hm. Can I impose on you once more, then?
Does it involve the security of my homeland?
Perhaps. King Louis of France is at present in Milan.
And he will not long remain there.
No, he wants his beloved Naples back.
And how can I be of help with such a terrifying prospect?
You could advise him - that once I have taken Forli, I will deal with Naples. My sister Lucrezia will act as his regent and will rule it in his name.
Does your sister know of her intended destiny?
She is the most capable person I know.
And her husband. Will he have a role to play? I shouldn't have asked that, should I?

Hold your positions!
Hold your positions!
I need more men!
Vitelli! Why the need for siege towers? Don't you trust your cannon?
Those walls are 12 feet thick. They've never yet been breached. So we may need other options.

You must eat, my lady.
What is on offer? Trapped pigeon? Boiled rat?
The usual broth... of whatever remains.
What if this is the end?
I cannot believe you say that.
I've lost my son. My people starve. And freeze.
Something will come.
Some deus ex machina?
Mm. And you've no option but to fight. You've nothing to negotiate with.
My body? It is no longer young. But it teased him once.
Hm. I have heard the rumours.
My legend?
You cannot negotiate with that.
No. No... And my legend demands I go down in flames, or die on some blade. Or live... in triumph. But I do not see a triumphant outcome unless I am missing something. Am I?
It is not yet the end.
No. No, these walls are 12 foot thick. No cannon can fell them. So our choice is to starve... slowly... or surrender. And I will never surrender. Promise me one thing. Here. Whatever happens, do not let him take me alive.
I will do my utmost.
And if you survive, you should consider your future.
What future?
Hm. Cesare Borgia. He may be the future.

Micheletto. Where have you been?
Talking to God.
And what did He say?
So you're with me once more?
You can batter those walls for weeks. You'll have no effect.
You just came to tell me that?
I was born in Forli, do you forget? Come. There is an old Roman quarry that runs beneath the north tower, next to the gate. If you measure your distance, triangulate a path, put down a marker above. Bombard that spot. That tower will fall.
You can't just leave like that.
Who's to stop me? You? I'm dead. Follow the old river bed. There is some overhanging vines. You'll find an entrance. Goodbye, Cesare Borgia.

What is this place?
It's an old Roman quarry. So... if my informant is right, the north tower is above us. And the gates are there.
And if he's wrong?
Well, if he's wrong, he's wrong. Let's assume he's right. How do we measure it?
We would have to pace it out, figure out north by northwest. And then triangulate.
Let's get to work then.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight...

This can work but we have to be exact. It's 248 steps-
Northwest. Exactly.
It's never going to work.
No, it can work! It can work.
How can you be so sure?
If you don't believe, just sit back and watch.
I never thought I'd see you holding this.
Not for long.
Here, my lady.
Five, six, seven...
One hundred and twenty, twenty-one...
I should kill you now!
You can. But I bear a white flag. You could also talk...
Not with a Borgia. I've had duplicity enough for a lifetime.
I am not my brother, Catherina.
No, you do not torture boys - you kill them.
He was under arms. There are many - thousands - within these walls who are not.
Ah. There are boundaries you draw.
Don't you even want to hear my terms?
I think I know them. But refresh my memory.
Surrender - you, your arms, your castle - and I will spare the populace.
As I told your dead brother, I will never bow to the whoremaster of Rome.
To the line!
Get out of range!
Out of range!
Come on!
Ready ranks!
Open the line!
My lord.
Did I pace it right?
I counted; 248.
And the direction?
I checked. Northwest.
Let me be clear on this. You want to strike the ground beneath the wall, not the wall itself.
The white flag.
Be prepared for laughter. Derision.
I'd welcome it.
Preparez les cannon!
Load it up! Aim... Fire!
Ah, it's too short.
Out of range.
Change the range!
It's target practice!
Couldn't even hit that!
Once more!
Reload! Fire!
Well done!
Give him a prize!
En guard!
Reload! Fire! Again, again!
Fire! Again!
Faster! Light it up! Fire!
What's happened?
Captain, we're moving!
Take a look!
What's that sound?
I don't know!
Get back!
Move! All of you!
The wall is down!
Oh ye of little faith. Get the armies in line. Now it begins.
Form up! Prepare the attack!
En formation!
Present arms!
Present arms!

Ride them down!
Come along, hurry!
Stop! Stop!
Slow down! Halt!
Hold your arms!
Stop! I don't want a massacre.
You want me? You want me? Have me. Blow me into a thousand pieces! Come on, aim your bows, every one of them. I want to sprout a hundred arrows. Like a porcupine!
Aim for the rope.
Come on!
You can have your life, Catherina.
No... but I don't want it anymore. Come on, give me a legendary death. Does it take a Catherina Sforza to kill a Catherina Sforza? Damn you, Spanish half-breed!
You will live. I insist.
Because I want you to.

The key.
I should have stabbed you on this bed.
We both know that. But you didn't.
Ow. Do not touch my dresses!
Forgive me. But I would not have you seen in public like... that.
Why do you care?
I have tamed a legend. The Tigress of Forli. I would have you dress to the occasion. Yellow and black. Tiger stripes.

Make her a cage. A golden one. Line it with ermine and black satin like a hearse. Have it pulled by liveried, feathered horses. I want her entry to Rome to be spectacular. We have captured a legend. She should be seen as one.
And then?
I will prepare premises in the Castel St. Angelo. Her prison can become her castle; she deserves nothing less. She had an assassin, didn't she?
A master of the art of death. Is he among this sorry lot?
Then see this Rufio is sent to Rome as well.

Come, but don't claw me.
I have no claws left.
Then take my hand. No. Take my arm.
This is my wake, not my wedding.
Still, take it.
You took it once.
My lady.

Welcome to Rome!
Good day, my lady!

Would it not have been simpler, my lady, to have come of your own free will?
I'm sure in the end it would've been the same.
Am I to be put to the rack?
No. We have rooms prepared for you above. Fit for your station. With a beautiful view of St. Peters.
Don't be so rash, Your Holiness.
I still have teeth.

Release him from the wall. Have they abused you, Rufio? I had a man like you once. Capable of any task. Beyond virtue. Beyond good and evil. Beyond everything but loyalty.

I asked you to meet me in confession, Father.
Because you have sinned.
No, because it is the only place I cannot be overheard. My brother has his spies everywhere.

Should I put myself forward?
You seem unbreakable. I like that.
Is this an offer of employment?
I could set you a task, see how you perform.
Tell me.

I've been a bad wife.
You have strayed?
As I said, Father, this confession is false. As everything around us is false. But I asked you here to meet with me to tell me privately just one true thing.

I need someone done away with. In such a way that suspicion can never rest on me, my family, anyone to do with me.
Do you have a name?

It is rumoured that Cesare has designs on Naples. I know that you have had some dealings with the French King. If all of this is true, then my husband is as good as dead.

Alfonso of Naples, Prince of Bisceglie.
Husband to your sister.
And you want to use me. That's clever. And if I'm caught at the task?
Will you be?
What do you think?

You should not listen to rumour.
I have no other confidante. And this is a simple inquiry from a daughter to a father... who once believed that she was close to his heart.
There is no one closer-
Oh, don't lie to me, Father. Now that your ambition is at one with my brother's, then that ambition is multiplied tenfold. So I ask again about Naples. That silence is my answer.

Time to go home.
My lord.
Lucrezia? Lucrezia! Lucrezia! Lucrezia!
She's indisposed.
Alfonso. I told her I would be coming here tonight.
Come to release us? Is that it? To release me, finally.
Yes. Yes, you're free to go.
The city is yours.
Without shadow?
Go wherever you want-alone.
The way your brother went?
I warn you.
An anonymous blade, a splash in the Tiber- or was the blade your own?
Prince to you, not brother! Husband to your sister!
Of course you love your sister!
Too much. Stop!
Oh God! Oh God!
It's not what you think.
No! Brother, no! No! No!
He challenged me.
He tried to run me through and he fell onto my blade.
No! Let me go! Call a medic! Call a medic! No! No! Go!
He's killed me... He has killed me, love.
No. No.
He has killed me- just as you both wanted.
I should never... I should have never loved you... I should have never loved you... I should have never loved you...

I can't feel my hands! My side's burning! Give me something - Give me something - anything!
Sh, sh.
Chew on this - chew, chew!
Okay, my love. For the pain! For the pain. Hold still. Hold for a moment.
Wait here, I may yet need a professional.
Stay still.
What can you do?
Nothing. Let it run its course. It could take days.
Ah, my love.
Leave him with his family then.
I know you have the means to end this agony. So if you ever loved me, you'll do me this one last favour.
I cannot.
Yes, you can! You're a Borgia.

Is that all I am now, Brother? A Borgia.
A professional.

Lucrezia? Lucrezia. Lucrezia!
I will never wash this blood away.
Then I must. You will be naked... and clean... and bloodless again. And mine.
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