I have recently visited my favorite Palace in Portugal, the Pena Palace. I hadn't been there in a long time. It's just a half an hour drive from where I live in Lisbon, but I rarely get out of the city. This was, however, a chance to visit the Palace at night. Something that only happens once a year, as it usually closes before sundown. So, together with a small legion of other Lisbonites, I set off to see the place under the moonlight. A visit I had made many times, albeit only in my mind. You see, for everyone else, the Pena Palace is just a monument. The ancient summer palace of the Portuguese kings of old. But for me, this is where the Imperial Citadel was born.
You can obviously visit the palace yourself (and you should). You can also google all about it. You'll certainly find much better photos than the ones I took. But I don't want to give you a photo tour of Pena. No, I want to do something much better. I want to take you on a tour of the Citadel.
As most things in my books, the Imperial Citadel began as a vague notion. A vision of sorts that I couldn't quite describe. As the idea matured - a small, walled-off city, made exclusively of palaces - I started to realize there was a very specific aesthetic for the place in my mind. This rarely happens. I'm a writer, not an architect. It usually takes a lot of research to picture a location or building so vividly in my mind. So where had I seen "the Citadel" before? The answer, of course, was - at the Pena Palace.
The Imperial Citadel isn't exactly a copy of Pena. It's much larger, and comprised of several palaces instead of just one. The look and feel, however, are the same. Pena is also a mixture of different architectural styles, which gives the impression of several different buildings melding into one.
As I walked along the courtyards and balconies of the palace, I felt like I was taking a stroll inside my book. sometimes, if I turned my head too quickly, I could swear I had seen one of my characters passing by. So let me show you the Citadel as I see it. Maybe you'll spot Aric, Fadan, or Cassia, too :)
In the Citadel, it's very easy to get lost, almost as much as it is to hide. There are countless tunnels, covered passages beneath archways, nooks and crannies everywhere. When Doric's father, Faric, became head of the Legions, the two of them were forced to move to the Citadel. At the time, Tarsus was still the Crown Prince, but his obsession with Cassia was already well known. So, whenever Cassia visited the Citadel, she and Doric would meet away from meddling eyes. Luckily for them, the Citadel isn't without its romantic spots.
But it's not just the lovers who seek to hide in the city of Palaces. The Citadel is a place of political intrigue, and almost everyone inside is involved in a game of espionage. From government officials to nobles, everyone has agents trying to snoop on other people's information. Secret meetings are common place and an occasional assassination isn't out of the question.
Once the seat of the Imperial Mages, the green tower (it's green in the book), became the home of Macael and all the other non-magical tutors responsible for Aric and Fadan's education.
The Imperial Citadel of Augusta is a vast, sprawling place, its multitude of architectural styles lending from every corner of the empire. As the centuries-old seat of power for House Patros, it has witnessed countless fascinating stories within its walls. I hope you'll stick with me as I tell you at least some of them.