* Ella Lynch is an aspiring socialite living in Paris during 1854. She is close personal friends with Princess Mathilde, who supposedly has relational ties to Napoleon. She also meets Francisco Solano Lopez when he picks up a feather that has fallen out of Ella's hat. Even though he is 26-years-old, an ambassador to Europe, and his father is president of Paraguay, Ella pays him no mind.
* Ella is living with a Russian Count named Dimitri. She left Ireland at the age of ten, changed her name, married a French army officer at fifteen, got divorced, and now lives with the Count, pretending to be rich even though she hasn't paid her servants in months.
* Dimitri informs Ella that he's leaving to go fight on the Crimean front. Ella is devastated, and worried that he will die. She tries to convince him not to go, but he says...
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