She kept the note clutched tight in the palm of her hand, curtsying at anyone she passed in the halls of the estate, not wanting to call attention to herself for fear of the contents that she held. With a soft knock on one of the doors, she slipped it through the gap on the bottom and crept away, eager to return to the presumed safety of the Citadel walls.
The nation of France has benefitted from a close alliance with Italy for many generations, beginning with the aid given to France against German forces wreaking havoc on their borders early in the 1500s. A marriage alliance was formed and Italian forces gave the nation of France enough power to finally push the German invaders back and subsequently reinforce their borders.
In the following generations, France was able to revitalize their own forces and improve their national wealth and standing among the powers of the continent, resulting in a comfortable and confident standing on their own outside the umbrella of Italy’s influence. While Germany continues to make regular attempts to land grab along their shared border, the issue is more of a nuisance than a truly credible threat.
Relations with the other nations are civil and without major issues, but the French are a careful and cautious people, willing to trust only after it has been earned and proven without a doubt. Rumors swirl about attempts to forge new alliances, but with the King of Italy currently married to a Frenchwoman and both of their young children already promised to wed French-born citizens of substantial rank when they come of age, the alliance between the two nations remains as sound as ever.
Despite their cautious appearance, the French are prone to hosting numerous events and social gatherings as well as charitable functions to benefit philanthropic pursuits. Devoutly practicing Roman Catholics, they are often seen among the who’s who in the affairs of the Church. The tastes, while slightly more reserved in nature than those of the Italians, still show a sophisticated appreciation of the finer things, particularly when it comes to fashion, cuisine and artistic pursuits. Music in particular is a fondness of the French, resulting in sponsorships and private salons to enjoy the musical talents of well-known singers and musicians. Behind the facade of wariness, they are a warm and welcoming people overall.
French Relations at a Glance
ENGLAND – Relations are civil and neutral for the most part, but England’s close ties with Germany make the French suspicious of the motives behind their actions and the forces that might be supporting skirmishes along the border with Germany.
GERMANY – Germany and France have had a contentious relationship for decades and those feelings show no signs of subsiding. Day to day, they are civil, but continual attempts to land grab by the Germans make the French cantankerous at times.
ITALY – Long standing allies on the continental arena, Italy and France continue to work together on matters of trade, foreign policy and relations. The Italian prince and princess are both promised to wed French citizens of substantial rank.
SCOTLAND – France considers Scotland to be a weak player on the international stage, for which reason their relations are very neutral. The two countries are neither allies nor enemies and have very little interaction when it comes to trade and political alliances.
SPAIN – With Spain’s rising influence and independent wealth and power, the French are intrigued and attempt to keep relations on very good terms should they find themselves in a position where they might have to take sides either for or against.
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH – The French are devout Catholics and strive to keep their appearances as such. They work diligently to prevent the spread of Protestant ideals, as well as show overt support for the Roman Catholic Church.
PROTESTANT CHURCH – The French have always been adamantly against the spread of Protestantism, working to spread the fingers of the Roman Catholic Church through philanthropic works to push back against the rising tide of the Protestant faiths.
MIDDLE CLASS – The French consider the middle class a necessary and perhaps unfortunate side effect of growing wealth and population size but they would never say so outright. To them, there is a time and place where their skills are appreciated.
LOWER CLASS – Sympathetic to their plight, the French aristocracy often sponsor philanthropic projects and routinely work with the Church to raise funds and give aid to the lower class, albeit from a distance.