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In the The Bull Among the Lilies Novel:

“The only good imitations are those that poke fun at bad originals.”
François de la Rochefoucauld

There was once a time when Rome was the center of the greatest empire the world has ever seen. In the time of the Julio-Claudian family, in the time of heathenism, there were tales abound of the blind being blessed by Apollo, their god of truth and prophecy. They were given a second sight—a foresight—that would allow them to see what everyone else could never see. As oracles, they were given the honor of being a source of wise counsel and prophetic visions to the emperors. But those are only heathen falsehoods. The blind aren’t blessed by Apollo or by any god, not even Him. They never were. The blind are cursed. Even if they received foresight, they would be so, for

He whom the lord Apollo, who works from afar, makes a prophet,
knows in advance what evil is lying in wait for a man.
The gods themselves give warning. But neither knowledge of omens
nor sacrificial bribes can avert the sentence of Fate.

Solon, fragment 1, 53-60 (Diehl).

Not even the oracles could prevent the downfall of the greatest empire to have ever risen. From the glory of ancient Rome that was so long ago, the blood of the Julio-Claudian family survives to this day. Their Florentine descendents, the Orsini family, struggle to return themselves to their former glory by all means. Or that is how my family tells their tale. No one, not even I, can be certain that we’re truly descendents of the Julio-Claudian family. But that’s a part of the endless argument. If we can’t disprove our glorious relations, they can’t disprove our glorious relations. However, what I do know is that we do maintain our struggle to return to the former glory of our so called ancestors.

“Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.”
Dr. Joyce Brothers

Our Lord punished my parents for their sins. Niccolò Orsini and Antonia Tornabuoni lacked the fruitfulness of their majestic houses. The few children they managed to sire never survived past infancy. Only in the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ 1477, He granted them their only child to do so. Born in Florence, the prize jewel of the Medici family, I was hardly the son they hoped for, nor the daughter they hoped for. It was soon discovered that I lacked sight. Yes, I was born blind as those supposed oracles of ancient Rome. No god blessed me with foresight, thanks be to Our Lord, for I would never want such a gift. Not honored as the oracles of yore, I have struggled alongside my relations. I have struggled especially so because my hardships, but my blindness has never deterred me from anything I set to do.

I have lived the relatively normal life of the Renaissance woman. Beautifully educated, I pass the years by enjoying the arts: poetry, music, and, yes, even dancing. I only have to be familiar with where I’m dancing or, if not, trust my partner to lead me. Despite these talents, they don’t compensate for my shortcomings. Females my age would have been married and became mothers years ago. My father has tediously sought countless possible suitors, but finding a husband for a blind heiress of even my status is nearly impossible. It has taken all those years to procure only a betrothal for me. As all the details of my betrothal were settled, all was foiled by the exile of the Medici family and their relations from Florence. The Orsini family has come home to the city of our ancestry. It is in Rome where I will do what I must to help return my family to our former glory.

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