It was the first anniversary of Queen Pirouette’s accession to the throne. Because this day fell so closely to Her Majesty’s birthday, all sorts of festivities were planned. Abigail Hoffenhoff, Pirouette’s First Lady of the Bedchamber, threw herself into the plannings at the sacrifice of both sleep and food. There was so much to do. Where to begin? First and foremost, locations had to be secured. There was the Great Cathedral, the public square, and even the Grand Ballroom of the palace had to be scrubbed clean and staffed with extra personnel. The Queen, whose time and energy were occupied with matters of state, didn’t bother to question any of Abigail’s decisions.
The first and most important event was the holy mass to be said at the beginning of the celebration. Of course, this would be held at the Great Cathedral, but who would be the celebrant? There were many candidates for the job, but the two most likely candidates were the Cardinal and the Queen’s Confessor. The two men, implacable enemies, tried every means in their disposal to convince Lady Abigail to choose them. Their methods diverged. While the Cardinal initiated a whispering campaign against Her Majesty’s Confessor, Pére Joachim, the Confessor himself chose to whisper in Her Majesty’s ear all of his qualifications for this important post.