Dona Isabel de Bivero moved cautiously around the throng gathering for the evening's entertainment, her eyes downcast and her hands folded at her waist. Her family's position at court had suffered since King Enrique IV had given the County of Altamira to Perdo Pardo de Cela, the change in their fortunes leaving her open to all manner of insult, not that the court of Castile had been an easy place before her family's present difficulties. The king was rumored to be impotent, but he most certainly could do little to rein in the power struggles of the grandees, and there had been no queen since Juana had been set aside for her adultery. Without a queen, there was nothing to control the women's equivalent of their husbands', fathers' and brothers' battles. Poisoned words were barely even veiled anymore, and reputations rose and fell with rapid turns in the politics of court.
As for Isabel, all she truly wanted was to be safe, but she knew it wasn't likely, not when her appearance kept her from fading fully into the background. She was young, barely seventeen, unmarried yet, and lovely, with large, dark eyes and pale honey-hued skin that contrasted strongly with her raven-black hair, all but a few artful ringlets currently pulled back and tucked under a small cap that matched the deep green brocade of her gown. She stayed back, where the light from the many branches of candles left the deeper shadows. Trouble could, perhaps, go unnoticed there, but she hoped she could simply remain out of anyone's attention, no matter how much her mother chided her for it.