1st day of Quartus, 1669 AV
Elena waits until everyone is seated at the long table before rising. She scans a sheaf of papers that bear the seal of the Castillian king and clears her throat to claim everyone’s attention.
“As many of you may have already heard, King Sandoval has given his blessing to the chosen location of the new colony, and has indeed allowed the settlement to be named Santa Marina. He has generously granted the use of two of his ships, bringing our total to four, not including Captain Mason’s generous offer of the Queen Mary for the westward voyage.”
She shuffles the papers absently, again glancing down at the ornate script.
“While he gave due consideration to our other suggestions for settlement leadership, he has granted Governorship of the new colony to Conde Enriqué Salazar, as a reward for his accomplishments during the war.”
Elena gestures to a heavy-set, middle-aged man seated to her right, dressed in rich clothes. He stands and gives a thin smile and shallow bow. His voice is higher pitched than expected from a larger man, but the tone and cadence of his speech carries well, and reverberates through the room.
“Thank you, Marquesa. I have been honoured by the King’s confidence and I will ensure that this endeavor is more worthy of his faith than the previous attempt. While I’m certain that His Majesty bears no prejudice against Commandant Mondalvo, this is a position that requires the firm hand of a noble son of Castile, not a rank-and-file officer. Once I have been able to meet the man and assess his quality, I may consider naming him Warden.
“As to other matters of leadership, my wife shall remain at our estates for the near future, at least until the wilderness has been conquered enough to allow for some semblance of civilization. My son, Narciso, (he gestures to the sullen and bored-looking young man beside him) shall accompany me so that he may learn of governance and prepare himself to take over once we have matters well established. Bishop Herrera (he indicates a slim man with a long nose) will see to the spiritual needs of the settlement. I have other hand-picked men joining us for the voyage to ensure this venture is as successful as possible.
Salazar turns to face Maria, seated directly across from him.
“I am hopeful that Lady Maria would consent to the position of Catedrático for the colony, given her experience with exploration and aptitude with the written word."
The young woman is clearly surprised and pleased with the offer, and for once seems lost for words. As she nods, the nobleman addresses Francisco, seated further along the table.
“I am given to understand that this young man has an education and academic reputation almost as impressive as Lady Maria’s. I would not wish to pass up such a resource, even amongst those of common blood, and would offer the position of Canciller."
The man barely waits for an answer before turning back to the Marquesa.
“Although I still have concerns about including guiri on this venture, I accept your endorsement of the others. If there are no other questions, I still have much to do before we are ready to sail."
The portly man steps away from the table and looks annoyed as he is forced to clear his throat loudly to attract his son’s attention before the boy follows him out the door. Lady Elena sighs to herself before turning back to the others, her fake smile of confidence fooling only the bishop and Fabiano (who seems distracted by a small lapdog he has recently purchased).