The year is 1746...

  At 11:30 p.m. the streets of Rome were dark, foggy and wet from the day's drizzle. 
Few wandered Rome at this hour. 
But one man moved with particular purpose.  His robes covered his face and rustled thru the damp evening air. Without trying… he exuded power.  The Vatican loomed high above him, dark and dirty, and it gave him a feeling of invisibility.  He kept close to the walls, then descended down one staircase and turning into another, entered the secret rooms of the  Vatican. Candles lit the way as he went deeper into the bowels of the most powerful edifice on earth.  

  "The Room", as they had come to call it was dark and smelled of earth, tobacco and sweat.  Lit by a huge fireplace at the end of the room, it was massive and covered an entire wall. As everything else in the Vatican, it was built to make you feel insignificant.  Italian marble adorned each side of the fireplace, as well as the mantle, with intricate and ornate scrolling to impress and intimidate all who entered the Room.  Close to the fireplace was the table... "David" was the name of this table.  Because, although it was strong and beautiful, it could also succumb to the weaknesses of the flesh on occasion.  As many men in this room did.  And although David was massive in strength, he was scarred and battered by many fights when heads of state were losing, banging their fists or canes on this old oak table.  

  The Duke of Wales pushed the heavy wooden door open.  He could no more stay away from the Room than he could quit breathing.  Many times he thought, had his desire for his wife been as strong as his desire for this game, their marriage might still be worth something.  

   Already seated were the Pope Pius VII, (Giovanni Angelo Braschi), the Dauphin, grandson of Louis XIV,  Duke of Venice, and King of Toledo.  All had much to lose, even though they only met once every 4 months.  This game would eventually become illegal, which didn’t mean they didn’t play anymore, just that it was illegal.  Too many fortunes were lost too frivolously.  This game evolved into the Roulette wheel, changing lives each time the wheel spun.

   As the game embedded itself into the night, the old men became noisier and more vehement.  All night cards flew around David, yelling, banging and cursing, until the Pope himself lost!!!  The old men let out guttural shouts of delight!!  For once the Pope had lost, it had been decades!!  Time to pay up.  But the Pope was furious, slamming his meaty fist on David.  He marched out of the Room.

  The others scrambled to find out what he had bet!  But the  betting box stayed locked until the Pope returned.  What does a Pope bet???

   The Pope went to his chambers to throw a private tantrum. Then he summoned Pierre Hapsburg, his cousin, hIs fixer.  

  “Your Excellency?”

  “I LOST!”   

  “Lost what , Sir?”    

  “The bet, I LOST the game!!”      

  “And you want me to …?”  

  “I promised the daughter of the Duke of Avignon to the Duke of Wales, thats only good for us if we can eliminate King George!!”    

  “Sir, thats risky, to say the least”  

  “Your job is to take the paper I wrote this bet on and get rid of it,…let the Duke of Wales think he really has something, let him walk out with it and later…get rid of it, do you understand?”   

  “Of course, Your Excellency”