He was sure they would win this battle and overwhelm the town’s medieval defenses. Modern cannons trumped stone walls rather easily. Pitifully easy: pitiful for the residents of the city, most of whom probably didn’t care at all which king ruled over them as long as they could plant their fields when the frosts ended. They—and his soldiers—were surely as eager as he to end the winter’s campaigns and return home.
Jean-Louis heard the soldier standing guard confront a man. A courier, a tall adolescent with a floppy hat, came into the tent and bowed low. Jean-Louis nodded.
The courier’s voice squeaked in excitement. “There’s a lady coming to see you, Monsieur le Colonel.”
A lady? Jean-Louis scowled, which sent a flicker of fear across the boy’s face. Wars had hinged on kidnappings and ransoms before. He wondered if his family would pay his ransom if this was a trap. His father would. His late wife’s parents were as rich as Croesus, but they wouldn’t want him back. “What sort of lady?”
“Not the, ah…mistress type, I would say. Sort of clumsy, in an ugly dress. Someone’s servant? She didn’t sound like a servant. At least that’s what Jouvet said. He spoke with her and is riding next to her carriage with her outrider.” The boy shrugged, then froze, as if he had been warned about the insolence of shrugging when speaking to officers.
“And her name?” demanded Jean-Louis.
“She would not give it, mon colonel. Jouvet took pity on her and did not press for it. She said she is from your wife’s family.”
“What do they want with me?” Jean-Louis nearly laughed at the thought of anyone from his late wife’s family wishing to see him, especially at any risk to themselves. “Was it about my daughter?”
“That was the whole message, Monsieur le Colonel. Jouvet said she seems to be blind?” The courier didn’t appear to believe it.
Jean-Louis dismissed the boy with a flick of his hand and a scowl. From his wife’s family? He couldn’t make it out—barely had space for it in his thoughts—but figured he would see in a minute.