When Bishop Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca had met Sariel in a dream, the first light of dawn peered through the window.
“Lucifer walks among you.” The angel had warned.
The bishop’s gaze fell on the shores of a strange land. A sea of corpses lay scattered about, and the ocean’s swirling waters ran red with blood. The stench of death rose with the tropical heat, and a mysterious figure lingered among the dead.
“He gathers their souls.” Sariel whispered.
“What would you have me do?” The bishop asked, but he could not hear the sound of his own voice.
“God’s will.” Said the angel.
“What is the will of the Lord?” The bishop watched as the Seducer of Souls hovered from one corpse to the next.
“Send warriors in the service of the Lord, armed with sword and scripture, to eradicate the evil in the hearts of savages. It is the only way to save them from eternal damnation, and to locate the secret of Heaven.”
When the bishop woke, he walked over to the window of his bedchamber and gazed at the sky. Though he had organized a series of voyages to the New World, none had procured the location of the Chamber of Spirits.
With Cristoforo Colombo no longer opposing his efforts, however the bishop felt certain that their fortunes would change. After his meal, the palace sentries found him in the cathedral. They escorted a messenger to where the bishop knelt beneath a statue of the Christ above the altar.
After he concluded his prayer, he turned to the messenger and took hold of the scroll he had been sent to deliver. Bishop Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca dismissed him with a wave of his hand and read the missive with great interest. His voyagers had not managed to find the Chamber of Spirits, nor had they been able to secure the assistance of the natives to journey through the jungles.
Furthermore, they had confirmed the rumors that Cristoforo Colombo had returned to the New World in search of hidden treasure, and had befriended los Indios he had known from his previous expeditions. Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca’s eyes swirled with the poison of rage, and he stormed out of the cathedral with the fires of Hell ignited in his heart.
He needed unequivocal access to the land across the sea. It was the only way to prevent Lucifer from winning his war against God. The savages needed to be eliminated, and their evil religions needed to be eradicated from the histories of the world. Only one man possessed the fortitude to accomplish this mission.
The bishop summoned him to the palace to appear before Queen Isabella de Castile. They would promise the young man favor in the eyes of God, and an illustrious career in the service of the Crown.
“Send him in.” The queen commanded.
He entered the Golden Hall of the Catholic Monarchs. Despite being born to a family of lesser nobility, he carried himself with dignity. When he knelt before the queen, he confidently introduced himself in a loud and clear voice.
“Are you prepared to do God’s work in the service of the Crown?” Queen Isabella de Castile asked.
“Anything for the glory of the Lord.” The young man said.
After the queen dismissed him, the bishop begged the queen’s leave to speak with him in private. Isabella nodded. Her trust in Bishop Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca had been absolute.
Juan Rodriguez approached the young man and invited him to the Bishop’s Palace to discuss his mission in greater detail. The bishop warned him of the challenges he might face, including the presence of Cristoforo Colombo and his alliance with the savages.
The young man vowed to let nothing prevent him from accomplishing his mission. The bishop reminded him that there was more at stake than gold and personal ambitions.
“Indeed there is, but how likely is any man to succeed without some measure of personal incentive.”
“Fair enough.” Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca said. “Would you care to share your personal incentive?”
The young man turned to the bishop with a wicked a smile and said, “When history remembers my deeds, it will be because my name will echo through the ages.”
Bishop Juan Rodriguez de Fonseca studied him momentarily. Though he detested vanity and pride, he felt certain that he had selected the right man to find the secret of Heaven.
He offered a silent prayer, May God have mercy on your soul, Hernán Cortés.