Christoph stood at the window of his favorite room high atop WorbCastle, in a turret where he used to play as a child. He looked out over the thriving city of Bern, trying to imagine what it must have looked like over 500 years before when his family settled on the banks of the AareRiver in 1191 in the new capital of Switzerland. The original buildings were made of wood, but since the great fire in the early 15th century, all the houses were now made of stone, most of them looking remarkably similar to one another in their architecture.
His family had built this town. They had been among Bern’s most prominent citizens for generations; wealthy businessmen, war heroes, landowners, politicians. But what did Christoph have to offer beyond his charm, and fodder for the local gossips?
He suspected that there were many young men, heirs to fortunes and large estates, who felt the same way. But he was no longer a young man. He was nearly forty years old.
Undoubtedly, one of his four sons would grow up to be the man he should have been; the kind of son his own father had hoped for, one worthy of the Graffenried name and legacy. But what would become of Christoph? How would he be remembered? Would he be a mere link in the chain of his esteemed family, like some obscure monarch who did little besides
siring an heir who would go on to accomplish great things?
His own wife, Regina, had been chosen for him by his father. Christoph had wanted to marry another girl, an impoverished noblewoman, for whom he cared very deeply. But his father wouldn’t hear of it. He insisted that Christoph take the hand of the very wealthy and prominent Regina Tscharner, whose noble lineage stretched back to antiquity. How could he
have said no to the union simply because he did not love her? After living in luxurious Worb
Castle his entire life, with an allowance and an expensive education, it was the one thing his father had demanded.
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