Fort Frontenaut, 7 September 1638
“We are most honored that you grace us with your presence, Your Majesty and Your Holiness”.
Queen Anne and Cardinal Richelieu both smiled in the predawn twilight and the cardinal replied, “As we are grateful for your hospitality Captain d’Iberville. We do plan on staying in Ville-Marie for an extended period; Her Majesty is still distraught over King Louis’ untimely demise and we pray that the autumn colors here sooth her wearied soul”.
“I pray this is the case, Your Holiness. For now, I offer you what hospitality I may in this rugged place. I’ve sent our best hunters in search of our afternoon repast; God willing, they shall return with some turkeys or an elk, which while subtly different from the fowl and venison of our homeland are quite tasty.”
The queen inclined her head and replied, “That sounds most wonderful, Governor. For now, I need rest; we were unable to sleep during the journey here last night, and ask that I take my leave with my handmaid, Kaliyah.”
The Captain and Cardinal bowed slightly and then silently watched as the exotic Kobold led the queen to the captain’s quarters, temporarily surrendered to Her Highness during this impromptu visit. Only after the handmaid had closed the door did Richelieu turn to the officer and speak.
“You know of course, that the queen’s allegiance to her brother may very well betray us. Spain is also feeling the pressure as followers of the pagans exert their control over the continent.”
Raising an eyebrow, the d’Iberville leaned toward the cleric, “So the rumors are true? The Norse have risen now that Gustav Adolph is dead?”
“Verily, the rumors are true”, replied the Cardinal. “Even as the Celts reassert Britain over England and Brittany, the Baltic is aflame as the Swedes, Dutch and Finns reject Christ, falling to Satan’s false promises in the guise of a return of the Norse gods, and while many have fled to New Amsterdam, the Dutch have a taste for bloody vengeance against Spain for their years of oppression.”
“Perhaps then the Spanish will ally through ties of blood and common enemies?”
“If only it were so simple. While the Spanish will ally with us for the immediate future, their holdings in Cuba and New Spain are neither large enough, laden with sufficient resources nor secure from the Dutch pagans for a promising future. They covet westward expansion across the new world so that they might build strong defenses against Cromwell’s witches, and will likely attempt to absorb the French people here in America.”
“On my honor as an officer of the French crown, Your Holiness, that shall not come to pass”, replied the captain.
Richelieu raised an eyebrow and cocked his head before speaking, “God shall be with us”.
Meanwhile, at a ford across the Hudson river...