15th day of Tertius, 1669 AV
Elena straightens up from peering at the maps on the table and glances around at the assembled group. She gives a matronly smile and clasps her hands before her.
“Yes, I see the logic of your choice. The natural harbour, the river, and the proximity to resources make it an ideal location for a new settlement. I’m certain that my cousin will give his blessing to the matter. The only issue of concern is the proximity to New Providence, which might raise some objections from the Avalonian ambassador. However, by the time Queen Elaine hears about it and can raise an objection, the colony will be fait accompli, as the Montaigne might say.
“I’m certain with the King’s backing and your staunch support, this will be a more successful endeavor than Navidad. I plan to petition my cousin to name the new colony Santa Marina, in honour of his future wife, and to grant Commandant Mondalvo a promotion to Governor. It would be traditional that those of you involved in discovering the river have the honour of naming it.
“Captain Gomez has assured me that the passage to Colombo should be safe within another six weeks, and preparations are well underway to have the expedition fully stocked and ready to leave by late Quartus. I hope that all of you not otherwise engaged will continue to accept my hospitality and support in preparing for the voyage. If there is anything that you need, please do not hesitate to ask.”