As the sun sank into the Adriatic and the mantle of night slowly settled over the castle walls, long tendrils of mist rose from the valley floor and entwined themselves around the four tall towers of Castello Momiano. The Istrian castle stood on a high stone bluff connected by a stone bridge and overlooking the valley and river below. Servants moved about the castle shuttering the windows and bolting the doors while the majordomo slid silently from room to room with a burning wick, lighting tallow candles in heavy, black cast-iron candelabras and the few glass-ensconced oil lamps scattered throughout the drafty halls. High in her tower bedchamber, Catarina closed her eyes in prayer as she knelt beside her bed on the hard stone floor. As every night, she quietly prayed that the angel would visit her once more. She concentrated on her prayer, rosary beads with golden crucifix wrapped tightly around her hands, and tried to keep the thoughts of angelic passion from her mind, afraid that God would be offended. Her white night shift clung to her body in the humid air while her mind fought, and sought, the temptation of yet another visitation. Catarina had not spoken a word to anyone about her experiences, fearful that the whisperings of the servants would somehow reach the ears of her father, Baron Vicardo Morpurgo.