THE JOURNEY ACROSS THE MAP
"Wings of Tomorrow"
The morning lights filter through the Koa forest on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Where Kai'ike the Kahuna Pa'pa he'e nalu (Priest of Surfboards) and ten of his villagers are at the base of a Koa Tree. Kai'ike is making a ceremonial offering of a few red fishes, some coconuts, and kava roots. Before cutting the tree down, Kai'ike starts his chant to Kane and the other gods. "We humbly remove this Koa tree so it can ride the waves. To nourish the souls of those who stand upon it and to be free of those things on land while traveling across time and space. To return once again to shore, fulfilling the enchantment of being in balance with nature" Kai'ike said.
After the ritual, the men began cutting down the tree systematically with their Ko'i 'awilli adze. The sun was overhead and the sweat started to develop on the men's foreheads and arms. It would take a few hours before the loud cracking sound of the tree breaking from the base could be heard. The men hurried away in the opposite direction of the falling tree. With the tree on the ground, Kepoa who was overseeing the crew walked with Kai'ike as they discussed where the wedges would be placed to split the tree into pieces. "I think we can get four planks from this one," said Kai'ike. "Yes, where should we place the wedges at" asked Kepoa. "Start here," said Kai'ike pointing at the outer edge of the trunk. "Then here, then here and here," said Kai'ike chipping a line on the trunk with his adze.
Everyone would start cutting off the branches and placing them into a pile. Kepoa would use strings of twine as a guide to where the wedges would be aligned. Two men would hold each end of the twine and would eye the line with the scratches on the trunk. The others would place and pound the wedges into the wood along the line at an interval of a few feet, the entire length of the trunk. All would begin pounding until the piece split from the main truck. Kai'ike walked around the tree trunk to see if the split was going according to plan.
After the planks have been split from the tree. He would have one of his men drill a hole at each end of the piece using the Nao wili. Then place the twine rope through the holes and use it to pull the planks down the hill. It was mid-afternoon when they began taking the planks down the hill to a certain location. Then go back to do the same for the other pieces. Kai'ike steps away to finds a stump to sit on. He is visualizing an event that is happening in real-time of someone he knows. After sitting there for a while he returns and gives instructions of what he wants to be done "Tomorrow we will return and take the pieces to my surfboard hut near the beach. Place one of them on the stone stands in the middle of the hut and the other to the side."
Something was troubling Kai'ike and he tells his crew that he is going to the lookout point at Ho'ukahi (solitude) cliff. The location oversees the ocean and the village of Malu which is a mile away. After walking to the lookout point Kai'ike is gazing towards the east out onto the ocean as a White Tern flies by. Kai'ike closes his eyes and with his special gift of visualizing other places and people in the past, present, and future. His father had this special gift also and was able to pass it on to his son. Whenever Kai'ike was disturbed about something and need guidance a transparent vision of his father would appear. His presents would calm his thoughts of whatever was bothering him at the time. Pointing to the twin waterfalls nearby that flowed into the sea, his father says "I sense an event has made you sad."
Kai'ike takes a breath and exhale and says "I understand that the river of life returns to the sea" as he spoke to release the sorrow within him as he continued "Oh father, two people I know have left us and are coming to be with those who went before them. Even though they were here for a short while, they shared their moments with us and their memories will last a lifetime in the minds and heart of those who knew them" as his words became silent. "You will get over it and carry on," his father said as he disappeared. Kai'ike thought to himself of how it was when they met. It was 9 months ago when Kai'ike had met the haole on a visit to see the Ali'i of the village of Lokahi. The Ali'i was interested in Kai'ike surfboards and after bartering an outrigger canoe for four of his surfboards Kai'ike and the Ali'I touched their foreheads and sealed the deal. After the ceremony, Kai'ike left the Ali'I hale (house) and came across the haole who was writing something down in his diary book under a coconut palm tree.
Kai'ike was curious and looked at his writing. The haole sensed that Kai'ike had special powers and felt the aura of mental telepathy. The same mental telepathy that Alohi Hoku used when he and his crew had rescued him from the ocean. The haole looked at Kai'ike and spoke through the language of mental telepathy. He introduces himself by thinking Vincenzo and placed his hand on his chest then with the same hand pointed at Kai'ike who spoke without saying a word and replied Kai'ike. Vincenzo at this point was sharing his thoughts when he first boarded the ship that would have a date with a hurricane on his voyage from Manila to Acapulco.
Vincenzo was a busy man with many connections in Asia and Southeast Asia. But all that would come to an abrupt halt as a hurricane developed off the waters of Central Americas and was heading westward towards them. The storm hit at night and began the nightmarish chaos on the Spanish ship. With her masts broken and her sails torn and tattered the Captain was giving orders that were had to hear. The ship was taking on water and the crew was scrambling around. Vincenzo decided to have his luggage trunk near him if the ship should sink. Those trunks were specially made for him by a craftsman who made them air tight for all of his writing instruments, his contracts, his diaries, maps, and sheets to write with and to make maps. The luggage trunk was well thought out.
The other trunk was of the same construction and had clothing and a few other items including gold and silver coins. He went into his stateroom and dragged them to the main deck. A sailor with a knife was cutting a piece of rope to lash the helm when Vincenzo asked for a piece of rope to tie his luggage trunks together with. The sailor was in a hurry but knew Vincenzo who had done him a favor on this voyage so he obliged. The sailor cut a piece for Vincenzo and then cut a piece for himself and hurried back up to the helm to lash down the steering wheel.
Still, on the same wavelength Kai'ike nods his head up and down indicating that he understood what Vincenzo was conveying. Vincenzo continued, after tying the two chests together a big wave came crashing onto the deck, and Vincenzo and his luggage containers were swept overboard. Coming back up for air Vincenzo spotted his luggage trunks and swam toward them. After getting ahold of the rope that held the two luggage containers together Vincenzo started to drift away. Bobbing up and down in the stormy seas some distance from the ship, he notices that the ship was sinking and before long it had disappeared. By morning the storm had passed and the seas were returning to normal.
Being the only survivor he wondered of his fate as he drifted in the waters of the tropical latitudes clinging onto his luggage and drinking rainwater from a few squalls that would appear after the storm. A week would pass and his mental state of mind was weary and entering a sense of lost hope. His sunburned hands and face were starting to peel, his lower body felt shriveled for being in the water so long. He thinks that his vision is playing a trick on him when he sees a sail on the horizon. As it got closer the sail was part of a large double-hull canoe that is coming towards him. As it got closer he noticed they were dark-skinned men who spoke in a language that he did not understand. A line is tossed and Vincenzo grabs it. After being rescued and sitting on the deck, a man came up to him and through mental telepathy says he is Alohi Hoku the Navigator of Eheu O Apopo (Wings of Tomorrow) the boat that they are on. He would describe his dream from the night before of rescuing a man from the sea.
After floating around for a week in the ocean Vincenzo wasn't sure what was happening to him as Alohi Hoku said it was an omen, as Vincenzo listened in silence as the Navigator went on about how he would meet someone and that they would be together for the rest of their lives. And his thoughts would be given to a stranger many years from the time he and his loved one would leave the island. They sailed for three days and two nights and Alohi Hoku would look at the stars at night and tells the helmsman where to steer. They would reach landfall at the break of dawn and go to the beach near the village of Lokahi . The double hull canoe's bows settled on the beach and Vincenzo and his luggage was drop off onto the sand when the Navigator looking down on him from the deck of the boat said "I am going to another island over the horizon" with that being his final words he waved and said "Aloha". His crew pushed off from the beach and they sailed off towards the horizon.
Vincenzo was checking his trunk and it wasn't more than a few minutes before he turned to see where Eheu O Apopo was, but only to see that they had vanished. A woman who had been walking along the beach came towards him and greeted the stranger by placing her hand on her chest and said "Nani Pua". He stood there for a moment before returning the gesture by saying "Vincenzo" and looked into her eyes and felt as if time stood still and that this was the person Alohi Hoku had mentioned. Nani Pua smiled and pointed toward the village and gestured she would help him with his trunks by pointing to herself than to one end trunk and pointing to Vincenzo to go to the other end. He got the hint and followed her instructions and did what she wanted. She would take him to her hale that was on the outskirt of the village and made him feel at home.
That is how he arrived here and who he is with, Vincenzo indicated to Kai'ike. Kai'ike tells Vincenzo "Alohi Hoku the Navigator is a legendary figure who discovered these islands a long, long, long time ago and appears when the destiny calls." Vincenzo by this time knew that something mystical was happening to him and had accepted it, though he still wasn't quite sure why. But all the hustling around in his previous life didn't matter that much now in his new surroundings where the temperature wasn't really hot or cold. Doing things in leisure with someone special and who is confident and passionate in what she does, understanding who she is and has the grace and elegance in her own special way in which she conveyed it he explained to Kai'ike.
After listening to Vincenzo's description of his woman, Kai'ike is thinking welcome to the ahahui (club) and thought of his wife. Then explained to him that he made surfboards and went surfing whenever he could, stopping the conversation there for needing to be on his way. Kai'ike indicated that he was going home and pointed east to his village on the other side of the island. Describing that it was greener on that side because the two large mountains would capture the clouds and it rained there more. Down by the beach, his crew is watching him talking to the haole. They are patiently waiting for him to return and have his double-hull canoe ready to go. Kai'ike had brought a few extra men to bring back the outrigger canoe and they would follow him back to the village in it. Kai'ike raised his hand and said "Aloha" and started walking back to his boat. Vincenzo sensing he had just met a powerful person got up in a respectful posture and said "Aloha Kai ike, till we meet again."
Kai'ike would visualize Vincenzo stay since that time and see him and Nani Pua doing things a couple would do. Since he met Nani Pua, Vincenzo was a different person than before. They would learn from each other and she would become his translator and he the teacher. They would take daily excursions up to the mountainside and view the coastline. Vincenzo made her laugh with his expressions and joking around. During the late afternoon, they would take long walks along the beach to crystal clear lagoons for a swim and dive below the coral reefs. She would teach him surfing and he would catch on fast. They would go surf when there were waves and lie on the beach and pass the time away when there were no waves. With each day Nani Pua had the look of a woman in love and she never wanted it to end.
By this time Vincenzo was well like by the villager, the elders, and the Ali'i. He was able to talk to them and become accustomed to their culture. Vincenzo and Nani Pua were married six months later. He wanted to go see Kai'ike and visit his village. So the following week Vincenzo had the use of a fishing boat and it was ready for the trip to the other side of the island. They had enough provisions and water to get there plus they would be fishing and stopping in bays along the way. With a steady breeze, Vincenzo and Nani Pua left the village and headed south to Ka Lae (the Point).
It was near noon and they were rounding Ka Lae and heading east. Nani Pua mentioned there were a few bays that they could stop at later that day. She suggested throwing a line out with bait to catch a fish for dinner. So he placed the bait on a hook that was connected to a line coiled in a circle near the front of the canoe. He tossed the bait overboard and watched it float and start to drift away. It wasn't long before a 10 lbs. Aku took the bait and the line was uncoiling fast.
Rushing over to the line Vincenzo grab the line and began feeling a burning sensation on his hands. He let go and looked at his hands and they were bleeding. Thinking fast he grabs two pieces of Kapa cloth from a palm frond basket nearby and placed them on his hands. He then squeezes the line until the line stops going out, then began hauling in the fish. Nani Pua calls out to him and says "be careful around the line". Still excited and hauling in the fish he turns to Nani Pua and says "Yes I will my love".
All of a sudden a huge 2000 lbs. Black Marlin's head appeared out of the water. The line with the Aku goes limp. Then Vincenzo's eyes widen and his mouth opened in disbelief at the size of the fish as it came out of the water. It had the Aku in its mouth and was looking at the canoe when the huge fish rolled over onto its side. A big splash occurred as it reentered the water and sent a shock wave that would rock the canoe. Stunned and off-balance Vincenzo lets go of the line and looked down at his feet. The line was uncoiling fast and was wrapping around his leg and ankle. He grabs his knife, but it was too late. His foot was jerked up from under him and he was dragged overboard.
He took a big gasp of air as he entered the water, while Nani Pua seeing what had just happened grabs a knife and dives in after him. The water is clear and she can see him going deeper as the marlin takes a turn. She continues to swim after him, her mind is filled with memories of Vincenzo as she continues to swim deeper. Her love for him is captured by the rapture of the deep. The line that holds him has tangled on the reef some 70 feet below the surface and the marlin is free of him and the Aku. Vincenzo is helplessly at the end of his line. Nani Pua has caught up to him and both look at each other as she embraces him, with the last breath they kiss and close their eyes.
The canoe with the diaries drifted away with the current into the afternoon glare of the vast open ocean. The image of Vincenzo and Nani Pua fades from Kai'ike thoughts. Looking down at waves in the bay from the cliff Kai'ike is thinking about the meaning of the diaries and how it might change the destiny of surfing on the islands. Then suddenly he sees a shinning object flying across the sky for a moment and then it disappears. Thinking it was some kind of sign from Vincenzo. The onshore breeze is swaying the coconut palm fronds as Hokuao his wife knew where to find Kai'ike, appears from the vegetation and says "You have found peace in what was disturbing you". He turns and smiles and without saying a word he put his arm on her shoulders and starts walking back down the path.
Breaking his silence Kai'ike says "I had this vision of Vincenzo the haole whom I met on the other side of the island a while back, today he and Nani Pua his love has left us and they are together forever. Also, I saw something I never saw before, a shinning object flying in front of me, perhaps it was my imagination" turning to the ocean and pausing for a moment. Continuing his train of thought "I also had a vision after that of a father and a son crossing a bridge just before you came" said Kai'ike. "Yes I remember you telling me about Vincenzo, but who are these people crossing the bridge," she asked "They are from a land far away and a few years from now" replied Kai'ike and he continued "It has something to do with the diaries that Vincenzo had written".
It was a clear spring afternoon in the city of Florence, Italy. The Renaissance had made its mark during the mid-16th century. The City reflected the mood of the times, touching all parts of daily life from religion, politics, and business. The old ways were being changed and with it an interest in the world beyond the current maps of the day. A rock that was once part of a stone bridge penetrated the water, causing an explosion that sent a ragged circular sheet of water upwards which generated a rippling effect of waves radiating from the epicenter. The current of the Flume Arno flowed westward and stretched the waves until they were erased.
The rock was thrown by a young nineteen-year-old cartographer, Leonardo Vi. The talented young man had once apprenticed as a stonemason for his uncle. As a stonemason apprentice, he had worked on walls and bridges such as the one he and his father crossed this day. So throwing the stone was something he had done many times before. That stone had been broken off previously and was lying on the ground from its placement. Picking it up and looking at the rock Leonardo made a wish before throwing the rock. That wish was to see other lands talked about by the customers who would come into their Map Shop and share their experiences.
Alongside of him was his mentor and father Guido, a stout gentleman weighing close to two hundred pounds, but well-groomed and fashionably clothed. They were returning to the shop after visiting a supplier when the stone was thrown. Guido had stopped as well and looked out onto the Arno. After seeing the rock land upon the water he looked down at his reflection from the bridge. Guido thought back to when Leonardo was a young boy and how they would cross this same bridge. Leonardo would ask questions of "What is this?" and "What is that?" How precious those moments were not knowing it back then he thought as he watched a piece of wood drift by as he thought back.
Leonardo had an inquiring mind at an early age and it would continue to serve his imagination as he grew older. His keen sense of observation and wanting to convey what he saw by drawing it came naturally to him. Besides drawing, Guido would watch Leonardo build things such as miniature castles out of sticks and walls made of small stones. As Leonardo grew older Mario, Guido's brother mentioned to him that there was an apprentice position in his business and thought Leonardo might like to learn to be a stonemason. Guido wasn't sure but thought it might make Leonardo more appreciative of map-making after lifting stones of various sizes so he agreed to let Leonardo work for him. Under the watchful supervision of Mario, Leonardo learned the principles of footings to weight ratios, angles and heights, and the construction procedures. Safety was on the minds of the older worker especially having a young boy of 11 around them.
After three years Leonardo had learned much, but his thoughts were of art and his desire to further his knowledge on the subject matter was evident. So Guido enrolled Leonardo then fourteen years of age at the prestigious Raphael Academy of Arts. There Leonardo learned the skills of painting and sculpture and became interested in speaking Spanish and learning to read and write Latin. After spending four years at the Academy he was an accomplished young artist, but to repay his father Leonardo started working for him and quickly learned the map trade. This made Guido happy and furthered Leonardo's insatiable appetite for knowledge.
Still looking down at his reflection in the water Guido sighed then telling his son "Life is like this bridge we cross. So many memories will flow past you as you make your way across to the other side. Before you know it, you will be old and have regrets for not doing the things that you wanted to have done". Leonardo looked at his father and inquired, "What do you mean father?" Guido began walking and replied, "You will learn my son, you will learn". Guido had once aspired to be an artist himself. His family was not prosperous enough to afford the cost of professional lessons and not having a sponsor to support his endeavors he went to work in the map-making business. Where his talents excelled and eventually led to his own successful shop. The naming of his son Leonardo was after the great artist Leonardo da Vinci for whom Guido had admired.
"The more I observe the properties of water, the more it fascinates me. Like the ring of waves radiating from the disturbance on time and then if it reaches the shoreline as a wave it will start breaking. If the shoreline is deep the wave does not break. If it is shallow it breaks along the contour of the land underneath" said Leonardo looking at his father and then at the clouds in the sky. "What are you looking at my son?" Guido asked. "Just the clouds," Leonardo said. "That reminds me of a painting I saw years back. It was titled "The Madonna with the Saint Giovannino" and it had a flying object in the sky. It has baffled me ever since” Guido said. “Flying object, one day men will fly like birds” Leonardo said. “Yes they will,” Guido added.
The pungent smell from the butcher stands at both entrances of the bridge lingered in the breeze. The noise from the passersby blended into a muffle as they made their way from one end of the bridge to the other. Oh, I just remembered Leonardo! I have an appointment this afternoon. I think we have just enough time to get back to the shop to meet them on time. After reaching the shop, they put away their coats. No sooner after they had done so there was a knock at the door. A stately gentleman and his companion, a young lady entered the shop. He introduced himself as Captain Miguel Montoya a tall and fit man in his early 40's. His companion was his daughter Maria who had just turned 17. Her height of 5' 8" and her full-figured appearance made her more of a woman than a teenager. Her chestnut color hairs framing her eyes, her nose, and her smile reflected the gift that her mother had given her.
The Captain was visiting Florence on official business for the Royal Court of Spain and was anticipating their return voyage within a few days. A letter of introduction was delivered from officials in Florence to expedite the procurement of maps at the request of Spain's King Charles I. Guido's abilities were well known in Europe so the appointment was arranged and it wasn't long before the two met face to face. "Good Afternoon, I am Captain Miguel Montoya an appointment was made for me through the office of the Casa de Contratación in Seville to visit you, Mr. Vi". "Yes, Yes, come in Captain Montoya I am Guido Vi at your service". "Thank you, may I introduce my daughter Maria," said Captain Montoya. "A pleasure," said Guido as he half bowed with a smile and continued "Allow me to introduce my son and partner Leonardo to you" as he proudly turned to face his son.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance," said Leonardo as he extended his hand to shake Captain Montoya's then reaching and holding Maria's outstretched hand with a slight lowering of his head "Please come in and let me show you our shop," said Guido. "May I take your cape?" asked Leonardo to Maria. "Yes, you may Leonardo" Maria replied as she unbuttoned the cape near the neck and allowed him to remove the cape from her shoulders.
"We have been thoroughly enjoying your beautiful city" she added in fluent Italian. After Leonardo heard her remarks his face lit up in agreement and added in Spanish "beautiful thoughts from a beautiful lady". Maria smiled and Captain Montoya looked at Leonardo with reservations. Guido continued the introduction "Captain Montoya I was informed that you were primarily looking for the latest maps of the New World as well as the Pacific coast" Guido remarked.
"That is correct Mr. Vi" said Captain Montoya as he moved to the center of the room where there was a large table elaborately painted like a map. "What a beautiful piece of art!" commented Captain Montoya as he admired the detailed drawing of Italy's coastline. "I must be boastful and tell you that Leonardo did that for me as a gift for sending him through the art academy here in Florence. He is very skilled and I hope you find that evident in the maps he produces for your review and please call me Guido only the butcher calls me Mr. Vi, Guido added with a smile.
"If this table is any indication of your maps then I am sure I will be well pleased with your cartography". Left to themselves Maria and Leonardo were in a conversation, at first Leonardo chose his words to be polite. Maria on the other hand was charming and carried herself well for a young woman. She made Leonardo at ease with her humor and grace even though her beauty captivated him. Her father hearing the laughter looked over to where they were. With a casual glance, he produced a warm smile and redirected his attention back to the business at hand.
Maria looking over to her father and sensing not to get carried away with socializing rejoined him at the table as Leonardo followed. Captain Montoya and Guido began talking about the new and unexplored lands of the Americas. "I have copies of maps that Juan de la Cosa who was the navigator on the Columbus voyages and by the Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci. Their works along the coast of Terra do Brasil is quite good. Leonardo and I are in the process of utilizing details from both into a newer version" said Guido pausing for a moment and continued with his dialogue "Captain Montoya I have something very interesting to show you" said Guido as he excused himself and walked over to a shelf and brought back a protective leather carrying case filled with five books.
After placing it on the table Guido explained what was in the case "The case contains diaries of a person who was a shipwreck on an island in the Pacific Ocean. To my surprise, it was someone I knew who had bought a few maps from me years ago. His name is Vincenzo Genoa a brilliant man and a wonderful person to be around. I recently bought these books from a Portuguese sailor at a coastal tavern near Livorno" remarked Guido. "I was told about how and where the diaries were obtained by a sailor whose name is Chui. He could not read or write but knew the books may be of importance. I asked to look at it and he handed it to me to look at. As I looked through the pages it described who the author was and where he was from and why he had made the trip. Then it would describe his experience before, during, and after the storm in a general context and his stay on an island. It was cleverly done and an ordinary person would have read part of it and not understand the overall system of his writing.
There was way more information regarding the subject matter on the page that met the eye. He used Latin as his code to cross-reference information on another book to be more secretive. I too didn't know that until my son Leonardo solved the code" said Guido as he looked at Leonardo. Looking back at the books Guido continued "Chui was in a tavern in Macau when he met the sailor who had the books and wanted to sell them, the sailor's name was Jorge" said Guido pausing for a moment to gather his thoughts. "So Chui goes on to say that Jorge met an officer whose ship found the canoe drifting in the doldrums of the equator with the diaries in it. They then ship the officer was on were sailing from Acapulco to Manila Harbor.
The officer was in charge of the ship's stores and had the diaries. The other officers and captain read the books on their trip to Manila and thought nothing of it because none of them knew Latin. It was locked away in the ship's store and would be sent back to Spain on the next ship to Acapulco.
The officer in question needed money and thought he could sell it to someone in town. Stopping at one of the bar/brothel establishment by the docks he sat at a table with the 5 diaries in a bag. Jorge sitting nearby came over and bought the officer a drink. They got to talking and Jorge bought another round. After telling Jorge the story of the books found on a canoe the officer went upstairs to his room.
The next morning the officer was found dead and his clothes and possessions were missing. One month later in a tavern in Macau, Jorge is having a drink and trying to sell the books. Chui being curious came over and started a conversation with Jorge. They got to talking and they both had stories to tell and found out that each was sailors and were on liberties from their ships. Jorge invited Chui to take a seat and Chui obliged.
Before Chui had joined him, Jorge had made fun of a barmaid in the tavern an hour earlier. The barmaid told her boyfriend who had just got off work about how that sailor Jorge made fun of her in front of others in the tavern. The crusty bearded six-foot tall longshoreman walked over to Jorge and asked "did you make fun of my girlfriend". Jorge being half drunk and acting arrogant said "What if I did" as he went to grab his knife from his waist belt.
Before pulling his knife out the other man had already pulled out his knife and seeing Jorge grabbing for his knife the boyfriend stabbed Jorge in the heart as he sat in his chair. A silence followed and Jorge was leaning back with his head tilted to one side and his arms lay limp to his sides. Chui lifted both hands in the air and said "I had nothing to do with this man insulating your girlfriend". The boyfriend of the barmaid realizing the consequences of his deed ran out the door with a bloodstain knife in hand. Everyone in the tavern began to talk and move around. The bartender came overreached into Jorge's pocket and took out 50 ducas for the previous drink and instructed another person to help him drag the dead body out of the tavern and into the alley. Where a person came out of the shadows and searched the dead man for whatever he could find. Another patron in the tavern went to get the authorities.
With the chaos around him, Chui calmly grab the bag of books and walked out the door. His ship was sailing out that afternoon and returning to Portugal. The ship would make a right hand turn around Singapore and then through the Malacca Straits into the open seas of the Indian Ocean then across to Africa. After that, they would round the Cape of Good Hope and back up to Portugal. Where Chui would crew on another ship to deliver cargo to Livorno, Italy where we would meet. I asked if he wanted to sell the books and Chui said he did. After negotiating a price, I returned to Florence and had Leonardo help me decipher the book" said Guido.
Captain Montoya looked at Guido as he continued to read one of the books. "Vincenzo Genoa was a scholar who had studied astronomy, cartography, medicine, alchemy, engineering, military warfare and was a shrewd businessman who could speak five different languages. He had traveled to many parts of Europe and the countries around the Mediterranean and the orient. He was also working for King Sebastion of Portugal on a secret mission. Leonardo is still deciphering that out currently, but the other things that I mentioned I learned from others and myself" said Guido. After hearing King Sebastian of Portugal mentioned Captain Montoya became very interested in the books and when Guido said there was a hidden map in one of the books Captain Montoya felt like he was served a few cherries for dessert.
After having read through one of the books and looked at the map that had been hidden within the book cover. He lifts his head and said "I will read more later" then looking at Guido asks "where do you think these islands are while pointing at the map". "Oh! Those islands have fascinated me also. Leonardo has a good idea where they are from the table," said Guido. "Table?" asked Captain Montoya. "Yes, Vincenzo kept a record of his voyage from the time he left Manila to the time he was at the village where he was staying at. The last entry in his diary describes them in the canoe and were fishing " said Guido.
"Leonardo can you tell me more of what you know regarding the diaries and the map," asked Captain Montoya. "Yes, as my father has mentioned Senior Vincenzo was very intelligent and he arranged his diaries in a very clever way. By indicating a Latin word to the area on another book that translated into a numeric value into a table in another book gave the coordinates for specific locations. It took me a while to figure that out" said Leonardo. Captain Montoya asked Leonardo "would you be interested in accompanying us to the Pacific Ocean. Leonardo was surprised at the question and wanted to talk to his father in private. "Excuse me Captain Montoya I would like to talk to my father in private," said Leonardo as he looked at his father and started walking towards the backroom of the shop. Guido said "Excuse me" and followed Leonardo.
Once in the room Leonardo turned and looked at his father and said "I would really like to go farther and experience what many have said about the world in which we live". "I would like you to stay, but I remember what I told you on the bridge about regrets and not to have done those things you really wanted to do. You have my blessing my son if you wish to go. Leonardo replied, "Yes, yes father I really do want to go, this is once in a lifetime opportunity". They looked at each and Guido was overcome with emotion and hugged Leonardo as his voice had a crackling stutter "I love you my son please be careful and take care of yourself". "I love you to father," said Leonardo blinking while holding back the tears.
After a few minutes they return into the room, Leonardo walks over to Captain Montoya and says "after talking it over with my father I would like to go and be of service to you Captain Montoya" said Leonardo. Maria smiled as Captain Montoya walked over to Leonardo to shake his hand and says "It will be with high esteem that we welcome you to our mission and that we find what we are looking for, Thank you, Leonardo." Leonardo smiled and looked at Maria. Captain Montoya took the necessary time he needed to review the paperwork that Guido made out for him to sign to consummate the purchase of the books and the maps of the Americas and the Pacific Ocean. Guido then placed them in a large leather binder with his signature trademark "V" on the clasp.
Leonardo we are staying at the Tuscany Inn, please join us for dinner tonight and we will go over the details of our departure. That evening Leonardo would find out more about Captain Montoya's life. After dinner, they would sit out in the garden of the inn and have a glass of wine and talk about the Captain's adventures. "I have sailed to all parts of the Mediterranean and to the New World a couple of times. Captain Montoya discussed his orders to sail aboard the Spanish treasure galleon, "La Rosa del Mar" from Barcelona to Porto Bello, Panama. where he, his daughter, and Leonardo would leave the ship and cross Panama on horseback for another vessel located on the Pacific side. The La Rosa del Mar would then make its way to Cartagena, Colombia, and would become part of the Tierra Firme Fleet and would return to Barcelona laden with gold and other precious commodities.
"This would be the first oceanic voyage for Maria," said Captain Montoya as he continued to share his story of how he met his wife and the sad ending to their relationship. "I met my wife in the fishing village of Portbou near the border of Spain with France, she was from the French city of Narbonne. Chanelle was visiting her uncle's residence at Portbou when I met her. My family owned a vast amount of land growing Citrus in the inland regions of Portbou. As it was her habit, Chanelle was walking along the beach in the late summer's afternoon when our lives intertwined.
I had just returned from a military voyage to Egypt and want to find some solitude and refresh my mind, I too was walking along the beach. Seeing her ahead of some distance away I started picking up my pace then slowed as I approached within speaking distance of her. She turned when I abruptly spoke these words "Good Afternoon Mademoiselle". She ascertaining if I was well-intentioned or not replied "Bon Jour, Admiral," she said being not quite up on her naval insignia and as to not insult me. I laughed out loud which took her by surprise and broke the ice of formality. "Thank you for the promotion!" I replied as I extended my hand to her. "Lieutenant Miguel Montoya of the Spanish Fleet and I am pleased to make your acquaintance."
"I am Chanelle D'arcy" she replied as she, in turn, extended her hand to mine and I sensed a magical flush come over me when we touched. "I am here visiting my uncle and enjoying the serenity of the sea...but then you obviously love the sea as well being in the Naval profession," said Chanelle. "Chanelle...such a beautiful name for such a beautiful lady" I boldly answered and was unwilling to let go of her delicate hand. "I sense we have much in common besides the sea," I said while releasing the words as if to open a door for her to step into my world.
"You are more than kind, Lieutenant," Chanelle replied to me as she turned to continue the walk with me by her side. That walk was the beginning of our relationship which we fell in love and would be married a year later. Maria was born the following year and brought unspeakable joy into our hearts. The years came and went with happiness and prosperity filling our lives. Then when Maria was 16, tragedy struck while she and Chanelle were visiting their family in Narbonne. I was away on one of his many assignments at sea when Chanelle suddenly fell ill then languishing for months with consumption before she passed away. Once we were reunited I comforted Maria who was grief-stricken.
A prestigious assignment to the New World was assigned to me and Maria implored me for her to go. I requested the King to allow her to accompany me and King Charles being a father and grandfather felt deep compassion for the loss of my wife and her mother granted me the request. I was more than relieved to let Maria fill the void left by Chanelle's loss. Maria was young, but strong in spirit and kept her composure like her mother. I knew she would be tested in every aspect on this trip, but still felt it better for her to go than leave her in the custody of her aging uncle. One year later we met you and your father here in Florence" said Captain Montoya.
"What do you think about the diaries Leonardo," asked Captain Montoya. "So far I think I have only scratched the surface of what those books contain. It seemed simple at first, but after finding a piece of the puzzle that unlocked only a fraction of what lay hidden between the lines. It is like finding a treasure map with a few dots and nothing else. That one piece was the word "IF" in Latin that I stumble across on my third time looking at it. Then the tables in another area of the book just didn't make sense at first, but now I'm approaching it with a different frame of mind, so that's where I am currently" said Leonardo.
"We will discuss this more as you continue to study those books Leonardo, but for now have your things ready for the trip by tomorrow night, we will be taking a coach to Livorno the day after. From there we will take a boat to Barcelona where the La Rosa del Mar is moored" said Captain Montoya as he took a sip of his wine while they sat in the garden of the Inn. The next morning Leonardo is packing his belongings and is saying farewells to his friends, family, and relatives that have stopped by. He had seen his father in the morning before he went to the shop but will be making a visit to the shop to get as much finish as possible before leaving. Guido is working on a project when Leonardo walks in. He walks over to his father and starts to discuss what is on his mind. "I'm getting prepared to leave, but there is something that is making me wonder," said Leonardo.
"What is it my son," said Guido. "I was reading a book by Marsilio Ficino earlier this week its title is "The Book of Life" and it had a list of things that hold influence over a man's destiny," said Leonardo. "I have heard he was a smart man, but oh never mind go on with what you were about to say before I interrupted you" Guido commented. "I get this feeling that some mystical force is looming over my destiny," Leonardo said with a confused look on his face. "You can change that thing that you control, adjust to those things that you do not control, and let it go at that, what will be, will be my son. I can tell you are adding building blocks of philosophy to your way of thinking. Which is good" said Guido with a smile. With a sigh and looking up in an expression of curiosity, Leonardo begins to move in a rush manner to finish up various projects before leaving. "I will heed your advice father," said Leonardo finishing one map and started work on another.
"I will have to get some supplies for the journey I will be back in an hour," said Leonardo as he rushes out the door. After returning he accomplishes the projects that he had planned to do and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with his father reminiscing and imagining what might be. The next morning he gives a hug to his aunt, then his mother, and walks over to his father and shakes his hand, and gives him a lasting hug before saying "I will miss you all and you will be in my heart always". "Best regards son and never stop learning," said Guido waving goodbye.
Looking back at the dust cloud Leonardo is sitting on top of the coach as he leaves Florence. The coachman says to Leonardo "I envy you young man, for the last forty years I have been riding this coach from Florence to Livorno and back. I wanted to see the world as many of my friends, but I have a family to care for so I never got to go". Leonardo looks at the coachman and replies "Angelo, your wife and family must be grateful for your devotion to their needs you are a good man and shouldn't be disheartened". "Perhaps you are right, I don't know anything else I could do to make a proper living to feed my family," said Angelo as he whips the reins to the horses as he continued "So where are going". "We are going to the Americas, I will be making maps there" mention Leonardo. "I hear there are many dangers therefrom wild animals, bandits, and government officials" as Angelo begins to laughs. With a curious smile, Leonardo said "Please excuse me there is something I must do" as he climbed down and enter the coach.
The ride to Livorno took most of the day and by evening they were settled in on the boat and ready to depart in the morning on the "Lady of Livorno. The sail to Barcelona went according to plan and as they entered Barcelona Harbor. After walking across the wharf from their previous boat, the Captain, Maria, and Leonardo were stowing their belonging aboard the La Rosa del Mar. Looking down on the docks Captain Montoya who was on deck was viewing the other passengers coming aboard up the gangplank. There was a priest and a sister whom Captain Montoya would walk up to and greet. "I am Captain Montoya," he said. "I am Monsignor Roman Munoz are you the Captain of the ship," asked the priest. "No I am a passenger like your selves, what brings you on board," asked Captain Montoya.
I am being transferred to the Cartegena Archdioces and this is Sister Teresa Quillet who will be accompanying me. The Monsignor and the Sister nodded and went to their cabins. Not knowing much else about the two Captain Montoya gazed out into the harbor. How the Monsignor and the sister can be on this trip can be traced back to a day at the Seville Cathedral to shed more light on their relationship. The Monsignor was going out as she was entering the Cathedral with the light behind her, he was blinded for just a moment before seeing her approaching him as if an angel from heaven had appeared he thought before introducing himself to the Sister. "Good Morning Sister, I am Monsignor Roman Munoz. I do not believe we have been introduced." "Good Morning to you as well, Monsignor I am Sister Teresa Quellet from the Order in Gotarrendura in the Province of Avila. I have been summoned to Seville by the Cardinal". "Please allow me to escort you to your destination. The Cathedral is poorly laid out. If one is not careful, one could easily become a Saint before their time if they ended up in the catacombs," kidded Roman with a wink, which took Juliet by surprise as she caught herself smiling.
"Then I am at your mercy, Monsignor for I am not fond of dark and dusty places," she said. Along with her natural beauty, her enthusiasm and affectionate outgoing personality made her unique. She was her own woman in a man's world. The Cardinal having heard of her through the Church in Avila had sent for her to Seville. The ensuing months would find the Sister and the Monsignor consulting and consoling each other with the trials and tribulations of being in service to God. Then the opportunity arose for them both to advance in new positions awaiting them in Cartagena. As providence would have it the voyage together would give the two friends many days to share their anticipation of what God had ordained for them to do in the New World.
As the Captain looked around the harbor from his viewpoint then back he sees two men with musical instruments walking up the gangplank. They must be Troubadours the Captain thought to himself. Behind them were a man and his wife and a few other passengers. The King had also dispatched a platoon of 20 soldiers of the Crown's special forces in charge of the group was Sargent Garcia. The ship's cook Pepe Lopez and his three assistants came aboard next then the ship's physician. "A motley crew," said Captain Montoya out loud with a laugh. Maria was unpacking her belongings in the cabin. The officers and crew of the La Rosa del Mar were preparing her stores. The munitions of cannonballs, gun powder barrels, and ignition materials were carefully loaded. One large cargo bay had also been loaded with additional cannons, arms, ammunition, and food and water. Other undisclosed items remained in a locker under lock and chain.
The new day arrived and the crews were finishing up on last-minute loadings. It was around noon and the breeze had picked up when the shorelines were untied. The ends of the furled sails were flapping in the winds as to say "farewell. Leonardo was on the starboard side of the ship waving goodbye to a few of the dock workers who had untied the lines. Lieutenant Gutierrez walking up to Leonardo says" is this your first time aboard a ship?" "yes sir" answered Leonardo, "My name is Lieutenant Martinez Gutierrez but you can call me Martin" as he extended his hand. Leonardo extended his hand and said "Leonardo Vi and you can call me Leo" as they shook hands.
"Well Leo we will be seeing a lot of each other during this voyage and if there is a question that you might have, feel free to ask" " I will do just that for there are many things about sailing I would like to learn" answered Leonardo. "What is that you do, I mean what kind of work do you do?" "I'm a Cartographer and have been studying some astronomy in my spare time," remarked Leonardo. "What a coincidence I too am into astronomy, "I can see this will be an enlightening voyage for the both of us" answered Martin. As the La Rosa del Mar with the outgoing tide and six longboats pulling her away from the docks, slowly moved the ship moved into the channel as part of her sails were unfurled. Once past the harbor, all the sails were unfurled as the sails filled in and the forward motion of the ship increased to a steady 5 knots.
After the departure, the guests were in discussion with Captain Juan Fernandez and his officers on the main deck, 1st Lieutenant Panfilo Segovia, Lieutenant Martinez Gutierrez, and the Master Chief, Jorge Madrid. The other officers were busy down below. Captain Fernandez greeted the passenger and said "The La Rosa del Mar" is no ordinary treasure galleon. Her length is 200 feet and made of the best marine timber by the finest wood craftsmen from Spain, France, and Italy. Her designers are well known for speed and hull integrity. Her mast configurations and sails make her one the fastest ever built.
Besides swiftness, her armaments were streamlined and placed at the most advantageous spot onboard the ship with the standard rolls of cannons alongside her hull. She also has four cannons in the front elevated focsule locker and a special row of cannon bays placed under the Officer's quarters at the stern of the boat and is non-conspicuous to the viewer from afar. Both placements of the cannons at the fore and aft positions are being tested for the first time. The Crew's Quarters are well designed as is every other compartment on the ship. So ladies and gentlemen this is "The Rose" we travel on!" he boasted with his arm held high and pointing towards the sky.
Halfway around the world Kai'ike is visualizing the ceremony and wondering about the young man who is studying the books that Vincenzo had written. He knows it just a matter of time before that young man will be sailing into the waters of his village. But for now, he is getting ready to work on a surfboard and afterward go surfing. By the morning of the next day, they were sailing through the straits of Gibraltar. The gusty morning breeze of the Atlantic suggested a North Sea gale was occurring in the higher latitudes. The pops of the canvas sails were heard as they quickly filled and the speed of the ship increased to 10 knots. Two helmsmen were holding the course as she pounded her way on a starboard tack. The crews on the mast yards hauled in the sheets for a better trim with increased winds. Captain Fernandez sensed an increase of speed to 12 knots. "Hold her steady! Hold her steady!" said Captain Fernandez. The order was given to veer away from the wind and the speed decreased to 8 knots. The Captain then ordered the furling of the first two masts of their sails and reduced the sail areas to storm sails configuration. "Just in case the storm passes by our course," he added. "Aye, Aye, Captain," confirmed the 1st Lieutenant.
"Just getting the feel of her rigging," the Captain mentioned to 1st Lieutenant Segovia. "She holds a trim well." replied the 1st Lieutenant as he turned to his Master Chief who said, "Yes she does,". Lieutenant Gonzales took over as the Officer on Deck as Captain Fernandez and Lieutenant Segovia retired to the Captain's quarter to discuss The Rose's sailing ability further. As the speed of the ship decreased Maria stepped out to the upper deck of the stern and sat on the seating boxes that were next to the guard rails. Her long auburn hair wafting around her face with the different gusts of winds as Lieutenant Segovia had just finished his conversation with the Captain and noticed Maria alone on the Stern. He moved up the stairs and sat next to her and pointed towards the sea birds that were following the ship. He commented that they were a long way out at sea. Maria turned and looked in that direction and politely agreed with his observation as their conversation continued and the wake of La Rosa del Mar disappeared into the choppy sea.
This was the second night out and the routine of lighting the lanterns as the night watchmen made their rounds. In the main salon, the passengers and the ship's officers had been invited to a "Welcome Onboard" ceremony that evening. The chairs had been relocated to the bulkheads and walls. Doing so made the main salon open for dancing within a space of 20 ft. x 20 ft. The main salon was below the Officer's Quarters, and it had a view of all sides looking aft. The reinforced window framing and materials made for a sturdy wall with the removable port holes covers to accept the 4 cannons from the storeroom. There was a small portable stage in the room. The two Troubadours were on the stage with Lieutenant Segovia. The Troubadours having played for royalty and commoners alike were prepared to play the night away. Federico Gamez was taller than Roberto Ricardo, but both were slender inbuilt, and charming to the crowd. Lieutenant Segovia who was privileged to have been trained with the guitar-like stringed instrument, the Vihuela, since his early childhood was ready to play with the two Troubadours as arranged, this would the first time they have played together.
The Troubadours were tuning up while Panfilo was playing a few warm-up chords which aroused the attention of Federico and Roberto. Roberto asked the Lieutenant, "Can you make her sing?" referring to the instrument. "As sure as the sky is blue!" boasted Panfilo, as they continued preparations. In the opposite corner of the room were Leonardo, Alfredo Sierra the poet, and his wife Consuela. They were enjoying the moment and conversation. Captains Fernandez, Captain Montoya, and Maria enter the salon. Maria, seeing Lt. Segovia on stage walks over to him. "Lieutenant Segovia I didn't know you played the vihuela!" said Maria. ""Yes I do, as far back as I can remember," he said. "Well," Maria replied as she continued "I have sung at several gatherings before and perhaps you would know a few of the songs that I know". She mentions a half dozen and the Lieutenant responded "I know most of those songs that you mentioned. Would you care to join us in a song or two" said Lieutenant Segovia? The Monsignor and Sister Teresa had arrived and were finding a place to sit along with the other guests. The Monsignor had been in his cabin or the guard rail most of the time. He had been seasick since leaving the dock and was just now developing his sea legs. Sister Teresa's fair better since she grew up in the fishing village of Cadiz where she often helped her family out on the water as well as selling the fish in the marketplace.
Lieutenant Segovia began the ceremony with a brief introduction of himself and his two accompanying musicians. Then with a one and a two started the first song, a slow ballad of the sea, putting the room to ease with the lyrics and tune. Then as the applause faded the Lieutenant made a comment that flowed into the next song. With an upbeat tempo, it had everyone tapping their feet and clapping their hands. After a few songs, everyone in the room knew they were in the company of a talented officer. Waving to Maria to come up on stage, she nodded and moved towards him. "Ladies and Gentlemen... Senorita Montoya will be performing a song for your entertainment." As the Lieutenant met Maria halfway from the stage after making the announcement he extended his hand for hers and walked her back to the stage. She whispered a song title to the Lieutenant and he said "Si". Not knowing what to expect the crowd lay silent as the performance unfolded. The Lieutenant began with a run of the frets and Maria followed with the melody of the song. Her voice was smooth like the velvet trim on her dress that she was wearing that night. Panfilo was awestruck as he continued playing. There was magic in the air and both felt it.
Song after song, the night flowed by with the audience enjoying every minute of the night. Loud applause echoed in the salon as the two bowed to accept the appreciation of those in attendance as the performance ended and both were overheated and needing fresh air. They excused themselves and stepped outside. Standing next to the deck rail overlooking the moonlit sky they began talking about their lives. The Troubadours took over the entertainment while the captains were in discussion. Leonardo was being enlightened with the verses Alfredo was reciting while Consuelo focused her attention on young Leonardo. The music continued to play as the lights from the salon shined in the wake of the ship as the milky reflection disappeared into the night. The morning's light followed the night as the ship entered a new day. On deck were Sister Teresa and Consuela talking about the night before and how entertaining it had been. Maria was below dressing after sleeping in past the morning meal and then headed outside to begin her third day out at sea. As Maria stepped out to the fresh morning air, Consuela called out to her "Thiers our little songbird now. Come join us, my dear". As the crew was busy doing their work and other passengers were moving about.
"Good morning, ladies," Maria said and added, "I'm afraid I slept in a bit". "Up late were you?" The Sister said knowing full well she and Panfilo had talked until the wee hours of the night, according to the night watchmen who had just come off duty before Maria got there. "Is it that obvious?" Maria unashamedly smiled back. "It's just obvious that there was more than music in the air last night" knowingly added Consuela. "You two make quite the handsome couple, not to mention the wonderful duets you sang last night." Maria sighed "It's times like this that I miss my mother the most. I want to share my feelings with her and ask her advice on matters of love and life. My father is so protective of me that I feel he wouldn't hear me and only seek to guard my heart". "I know I can speak for Consuela when I say that we would love to be your confidants and would be willing to talk to you on whatever you feel you need to share with us" graciously offered Sister Teresa. "Oh, that would be wonderful of you! my mind kept me up all night thinking of the future and what I want for my life to be like" said Maria. "Why don't we just plan on the three of us meeting every day for tea and talk of life," suggested Consuela.
"I would love that to get to know you both more over the course of the voyage" agreed Maria as she warmly touched both their hands. "Shall we say mid-afternoon today here on the foredeck?" "Absolutely my dear," said Sister Teresa as she rose from the chair and continued "If you will excuse me, I must go now to write in my journal and then continue with my scripture readings. I'll see you both here later". While Maria and Consuela continued the conversation well into the morning, the work around the ship went on around them. This daily ritual of meeting with two wise
and mature women gave Maria a sense of confidence to build on. The weeks went by and the temperature began to get warmer. The King's Special Forces were always performing drills to keep in readiness.
In his quarters Leonardo was reviewing the diaries, he had made copies of the books previously before going on this trip. Leonardo was going over the books as he has done since the start of the voyage. This time with a different outlook he came across something in one of the books. What if a shelf was a metaphor for a cave and the island was a cabinet in the hut. If that were the case Vincenzo would have left information of where and how to find it Leonardo thought. With that in the back of his mind, he placed the books back in his locker.
To take his mind away from the diaries he would stop by the ship's carpenter shop and talk with the head carpenter. Learning the finer techniques of woodworking Leonardo would help out doing repairs on the ship and made a few items for the longboats stowed on deck. When Leonardo wasn't learning something from the crew, he could be seen in conversation and laughter with Consuela as Alfredo was below deck busy writing poetry inspired by being on the open sea. At times Leonardo felt as if Consuela was trying to seduce him, his respect for Alfredo and Consuela kept him at bay from going overboard. Alfredo often would go to the stearn of the ship at dawn and stare into the vastness of the dark blue rolling waves watching the first rays of amber turning into the light of day. One morning he came upon Leonardo "Leonardo what a pleasant surprise. What brings you here so early today?" asked Alfredo as he made his way towards the stern. "Good morning Alfredo I was charting a few stars before dawn," said Leonardo.
"You are so talented for such a young age. How did you come to learn so much, so early?" Leonardo turned to Alfredo and answered, "It seems I grew up being inquisitive. When I was a boy of eleven I worked for my uncle and learned the masonry business which led me to want to design my own structures. Then I went to Art school and study subjects like art, math, sciences, Latin, astronomy, and alchemy. It just grew from there and map-making was my latest study. Growing up in Florence afforded me many opportunities to learn from observing the masters and up and coming artists ". "I admire you, Leonardo. You are so wise and gifted and still, have your whole life ahead of you. I do believe great things are awaiting you" said Alfredo. "You are most generous with your praise Alfredo. But, I admire your abilities as well. The ability to create on paper words that express the inner feeling and questions of the soul, it is a gift from God. Beauty is not only found intangible objects but in the purity of truth well written."
"There you go being wise again, my young friend. Shall I read you my most recent poem written last evening?" said Alfredo. "I would be honored," said Leonardo. Alfredo turned and leaned against the bowsprit rail with his back to the sea, as Leonardo awaited with rapt attentiveness. "I named this one " Evening's Light," explained to the poet as he began his soliloquy.
The evening sails are full of wind,
The orange clouds above the white caps of the sea,
within a sunset horizon
From beneath the spray, the Dolphin swims,
While the wake flows to the stern's twilight
From nowhere they come, for however long,
As many as four on either side of the Bow,
They ride along, over and under each other,
they move to the flow
A pod of a hundred strong on either side,
they too follow along
As the day departs, so do the Dolphins
"How beautifully true I have often enjoyed watching the Dolphins at play. You captured their nature perfectly" expressed Leonardo. Alfredo put his hand on Leonardo's shoulder while admitting "I am so glad it resonated with you Leonardo. I often feel as if I'm only writing for myself. When someone else shares my words gladly, then it gives me more inspiration to continue". "Please, I want to hear ALL the works that you are willing to share with me. I might want to serenade a young lady some day and could use all the insight I can receive to soften her heart with poetry," said Leonardo after realizing that any hopes of winning the affections of Maria were gone since the second night out at sea when she sang with Panfilo.
By now Panfilo and Maria had developed a special relationship. Whenever they could be together, he would play and she would sing. Sunsets were a favorite time for them to practice, as well as the late evening's hours. When the last song was over Panfilo would move closer to her and pause for a moment before kissing her. Then put his arm around her shoulder the two would sit and talk of the future. As they looked upward into the heavens the stars slowly changed their position in the dark sky. Meanwhile, In the Officer's Quarters the Captains were in a conference late into the night discussing strategies of the approaching harbor, security at anchor, where the men would be stationed during the loading of the gold, taking the civilians to shore, then procuring and loading the provisions for the longboat to bring back. As the Rose neared the islands of the Caribbean the air turned humid and hot. Off in the distance, a ship was spotted by the watch in the crow's nest. "Do you recognize her colors?" Shouted Lieutenant Gutierrez.
"No!" Replied the watch Lieutenant Gutierrez ordered all hands to battle stations, as the horn to arms was blown. Captain Fernandez rushed to the helm and was briefed on the situation and the soldiers were ordered into battle stations. The watch yelled back "Still no colors! And her crew is busy loading their cannons on deck!" "Pirates, no doubt!" exclaimed Lieutenant Gutierrez to Captain Fernandez.. "Very well then, Lieutenant, we will show them what the Rose has!" Confirmed Captain Fernandez as The Rose prepared for battle. The cannons for the rear location were brought out. "She has veered off to our bow," said the watch. The Rose was facing the pirate's ship's bow at a 30-degree angle. "Prepare to fire the 4 cannons in the focsule locker," ordered the Captain. "Aye, Aye, Sir!." The command was forwarded to the crew chief, "Fire!" And the first of four cannons fired away. "Hard to port!" Was the command to the helm, while the two helms-men pulled hard to port. The crews in the rigging were trimming the sheets on the sails, as they made the move. The Rose turned into the pirate ship and was getting ready to fire the four guns on her bow. The Rose increased in speed with the winds coming from her starboard beam.
One of her four cannon shots hit their mast. The keel was cutting through the water at a steady speed. The side cannons started firing and made hits along her starboard side as the stern of The Rose came about and was pointing at her bow. The Rose revealed her rear guns and fired away with a direct hit on her bow. With her bowsprit dangling on her running rigging, the pirate ship's bow was taking in water and acting like a brake slowing the vessel down. With rear cannons pointing at the deck of the pirate ship, the order was given to fire away. Four more shots were fired, and all landed on the deck and the side of the pirate ship. There was timber flying every which way and sending splinters of wood an inch thick. Yelling was heard below deck as the water quickly poured into the hull. The command of "Cease Fire!" was heard through the stern cannon locker and the gun crew stopped their loading. Captain Fernandez victoriously viewed the pirate ship sinking and her crew falling overboard. The order was given to the watch in the crow's nest to continue pointing at the location of the sinking ship, as The Rose did a 270 degree turn into the wind. Her main sails furled and the hull speed slowly decreased until they were drifting by the site of the sinking ship in search of possible survivors.
"Stay a safe distance from her so as not to get caught in her rigging...have the longboats ready" the officer of the watch yelled to the crew while they were positioning the longboats. The watch in the crow's nest was still keeping an eye out for signs of life floating in the ocean. "There! On our port beam... some 100 yards away…a group holding on to a broken mast!" excitedly reported the watchman. "And over there...4 points off the starboard bow...some others are holding onto timbers from the hull." The crews in the longboats had fished the survivors from the sea and were heading back to the Rose. Captain Fernandez instructed Lieutenant Gutierrez to prepare to set sail after everyone is back on board. The survivors were taken to Captain Fernandez to be interrogated. The survivors were a mixed bunch of nationalities, two Portuguese, four French, one of which was a woman, and an Englishman and ten pirates.
Captain Montoya, who also spoke Portuguese and French, did the translating. All but the ten pirates had been prisoners of the English Captain "Brown Beard" and were held in the stern of the boat that sank. When the ship began to sink the stern was the last part to go down. The locked door had been blown away during the barrage of cannon fire and they quickly went above deck. Grabbing anything that floated, they held on while those who were fighting soon were sucked under by the sinking ship. As the Englishman, Jake described his captivity Captain Montoya couldn't help but look over to the French woman. She was staring down and her dress was torn along her neckline and at the hemline up to her waist along the side seam. He could see she had been abused by the pirates and her body language expressed the shame she felt. "Get blankets for this lady and the others" Captain Montoya ordered.
The group followed Master Chief Madrid as the French woman looked up at Captain Montoya. He looked into her eyes
and felt a strange feeling that he hadn't felt in a very long time. He continued to stare at her as she was walking away. She turned and looked at him with silence, but with a grateful smile before entering the main salon. A few days later it was Sunday morning just days out from Portobella, Panama. The crew was having Sunday Mass and Captain Montoya and the French woman whose name he found out to be Claudette de Lormecy. Having been acquainted over the last few days they were talking alongside the starboard rail. Captain Montoya had told Claudette of Chanelle and his life with Maria. Claudette responds with her past and insight into how she came to the New World. She was married to a French Mining Engineer who was a consultant to King Charles V and was to oversee a mining operation in the mountains behind Cartagena.
They had left Jamaica and were headed to Cartagena when Brown Beard and his band of men captured the ship they were on. Her husband defending her from the half-crazed men that had boarded the ship was killed and she was taken aboard the pirate ship. "After being taken aboard their ship, I was treated like an animal," she said with tears running down her cheek. Captain Montoya moved next to her and put his arms around her and said in a soft voice "It's alright now, those who have taken what was yours have paid the price for their crimes." He slowly moves away and gives her room to catch her breath. She turns and looks at the Captain and says my whole life has changed but I am grateful for being saved and given another chance to live my life "Yes" said Captain Montoya while nodding his head.
Will you be continuing to Cartagena from Portobella Captain? asked Claudette. No, my orders have me continuing to the Pacific side of Panama. A slight frown appears on Claudette's face but turns to a courtesy smile. "I see" continued Claudette. Captain Montoya senses she is uncertain with her words takes a hold of her left hand and says "after my mission, I would like to visit you if I may and get to know you better". "Yes I would like that very much," said Claudette. The Mass was over and everyone was returning to their duties or quarters. Captain Montoya and Claudette would see each other every day until reaching Portobella. On their last day together aboard the Rose, both had an empty feeling, she wanting him to stay with her and he felt the same. Claudette and the other French sailors, the two Portuguese, and Jake will also be getting off in Portobello. The two Portuguese would continue from Portobello and travel to Brasil.
Completing the ports of call procedures the Rose was on the wharf taking on supplies. Meanwhile, in Captain Montoya's cabin, Lieutenant Segovia was standing next to Maria who was telling her father that she was in love with the young Lieutenant and that they wanted to get married with his permission and blessing. The Captain fully understood the intensity of what they were feeling as he had felt the same so many years ago. Captain Montoya said yes to his daughter's wishes and gave them his blessings. Not being the ship's captain, he would ask his fellow traveler, Monsignor Munoz, to perform the ceremony onboard. A request was made to Lieutenant Gutierrez to be the best man and Mrs. Sierra would be the matron of honor for Maria.
The ceremony was held that evening on the deck with the entire crew and passengers as witnesses of a love born at sea. Captain Montoya took Lieutenant Segovia aside and gave him the ring that his wife had worn. Roberto and Federico played softly while the vows were exchanged as the lamplights shined on the two as the Monsignor finished by saying I pronounce you husband and wife. As the newlywed couple arose from their knees, The Monsignor said "May God bless you both with happiness. It had been a life-altering 46 days journey for all who were fortuitous to have set sail on The Rose del Mar. Maria now would have to say goodbye to her adoring father as he continued his quest while she embraces her new role as the wife of a military officer.
As the remaining passengers were leaving for shore Leonardo was saying his goodbyes to the Sierras. Captain Montoya drew his daughter aside and said "Maria, even though I am leaving you now to complete this assignment I want you to know that you will never be far from my heart. I will always love you no matter how much distance or time separates us" She held him long and tightly as the tears flowed freely. "Father" Maria responded through the tears, "I now have Panfilo to watch over me. Thank you for all you have done for me. I love you. Be at peace in your heart. May God grant you all that you seek." Then she turned and took her husband's outstretched hand as Captain Montoya remembered that fateful day Chanelle first touched his hand and life together as husband and wife. "Godspeed Father" were the parting words of his beloved daughter and he turned his face to hide a tear before regaining his composure with a farewell hug to his daughter and a handshake to his new son in law as he disembarked for shore.
"Beyond the Calendar"
After landing at the docks of Portobello Captain Montoya, Claudette and Leonardo reported to the Governor's office to debrief the local authorities and catch up on local news. They were told by the clerk "That your ship on the Pacific side is under repairs from an accident and won't be ready for a few months. It may be sooner, but most likely a few months." The Captain with the look of what to do next stood there and wondered. Then the clerk said to them "You should have a bite to eat at the local eatery across the street and try some of the food there, it is very tasty" while pointing in the direction of a small building. "Yes, we will decide what to do after we get something to eat," said the Captain and the others agreed.
While having their lunch the trio was discussing some of the options they might do before making their way to the Pacific side. Seated next to them were two explorers that worked for the Office of the Governor in Portobello. They have been assigned to a fact-finding mission in the Yucatan Peninsula. The two explorers were discussing the indigenous Indian tribes of the region and account told to them by other explorers. One of the explorers was mentioning "We must be careful there are certain tribes there that would go into other villages take the people for slaves and other reasons. The men would be used as targets practice while running across an open field as their captors would throw spears at them. Those who made their way across to the other end will find another group of warriors waiting in an ambush if they made it that far. While some of the women would be taken to a sacrificial altar and have their hearts cut out from their bodies".
"Yes, I have heard of that before," said the other explorer. As Claudette listen her face cringed when hearing about what had happened to the women. Then the two explorers talked about the civilization of the Maya. "They were a race that was advance in astronomy, mathematics, and agriculture, but for whatever reason, they abandon their temples and cities and blended into their surroundings," said the taller of the two. The two explorers talked about a large disk called the "Calendar" they were assigned to find out about. Intrigued by the conversation Captain Montoya got up and introduced himself and explained where they were headed but not their mission.
"Good afternoon, my name is Captain Montoya of his majesty's navy and this is my associate Leonardo Vi a cartographer and this is Claudette de Lormecy, my associate". As the two explorers got up to shake their hands they introduce themselves, "My name is Felipe Santiago and this is Ignacio Vega Morales pointing to an overweight man in his late forties. We are on assignment to verify that the calendar does exist and we shall be returning after a month and a fourth night. Anything regarding mathematics and astronomy would catch Leonardo's attention and to mention a calendar just added fuel to the flame. "What is this calendar you have mentioned" questioned Leonardo. "We were told it has to do with how they determined their luck days for such activities as sowing crops, building houses, and going to war," remarked Felipe.
"What does the Calendar look like," asked the Captain. "It a circular block of something like 12 feet in diameter says, Ignacio. "But others explorers have seen smaller ones and all could not understand the markings" continued Ignacio. "Besides a cartographer, Leonardo is also an artist" mentioned Captain Montoya. "I see," says Felipe not looking at the Captain, but off to the side and thinking of the possibilities, then he turns and looks at Captain Montoya and says "Captain would you, Leonardo and Claudette consider traveling with us to the location of the calendar and have Leonardo draw the calendar". Captain Montoya looked over to Leonardo and sees Leonardo shaking his head to say yes. "I must get permission from the Governor's office, but since our travels to the Pacific have been postponed for a few months, most likely we will be able to go.
I will get back with you by tomorrow, how should I reach you?" responded Captain Montoya. We are on board the "The Suerte" and she will set sails with the tide in a few days to Cancun" continued Felipe. "A few days! that doesn't leave us much time," said Leonardo. "Let's return to the Governor's office and make arrangements after we finish our lunch," said Captain Montoya in a hurried reaction. "Yes that would be fine," remarked Leonardo with a grin on his face. All four men looked towards Claudette while she smiled and is thinking to herself what I have gotten myself into.
The day came for them to get underway, they sailed north up the coast of Central America with favorable winds and currents and they reached the village of Cancun in a week. Arriving at the fishing village of Cancun the boat docked on the wharf. Felipe and Ignacio were busy getting their supplies ready for shore while Captain Montoya, Claudette, and Leonardo were on land and seeing the sights. Leonardo went to look around and would meet back at the boat in an hour, Miguel and Claudette took some time off to be alone. They strolled up the beach in conversation in the opposite direction of Leonardo.
Leonardo had stumble across some ruins at El Rey not far from where they were docked. Walking around and on some of the structures, Leonardo was fascinated with the stone buildings. He would get out his sketch pad and start drawing what he saw. Placing notes with the drawings to give him more detailed information on what he had observed at a later time. A few of the indigenous natives were walking by and Leonardo waved to them. One of them waved back while the other kept on walking. Returning to the boat he sees Felipe and Ignacio unloading their gear and luggage onto the dock. Their guide had rounded up a crew of natives and was getting ready by organizing the boxes onto the eight mules that they had brought for the trip.
From Cancun it took six days to get to Chichen Itza, the guide knew which tribes were friendly and which tribes were not. With this knowledge, the team made safe passage through the jungles and to the Pyramid. The exploration team of Captain Montoya, Claudette, Leonardo, Felipe, Ignacio, their Indian guide, and the ten men native crew arrived at the footsteps of the Kukulcán Pyramid. The Indian crew had been here before, but for the five foreigners, they were in awe. Leonardo had heard of the great Pyramids of Egypt but nothing in his wildest dreams could he have imagined such structures in the New World. "Those who built this structure were much more advanced than those villages that we have traveled through to get here," remarked Captain Montoya. As they made camp near the Pyramid an old man approaches the camp and is greeted by the Indian guide. The old man was a descendant of the Maya and his family tree went back six generations of Priests of the temple, he knew of the Pyramid's history and of his people.
"How are you old man," said the guide, and the old man replied, "older since the last time we met, but wiser thank you". Leonardo having noticed the guide talking to the old man walked over from his tent and has the guide translate his thoughts to the old man. "What was this place like back when your ancestors were alive?" asked the translator after hearing it from Leonardo. "It was a great civilization, before the white man and ages ago our people built great buildings and raised vast field of food. They studied mathematics, the stars, the seasons and continued to develop a calendar for such events" the old man said.
"The Calendar" as Leonardo spoke out loud. The guide knowing what Leonardo meant, express their reason for being there to the old man. Shaking his head up and down the points to a building nearby the Pyramid and continues telling the guide that the calendar is there. They continue to talk and learn more facts that were not known to the outside world regarding the calendar.
Captain Montoya, Felipe, and Ignacio were checking the supplies and Claudette was resting in her tent when Ignacio points to Leonardo, the guide, and the old man. Noticing they were being watched the guide points in the direction of Captain Montoya and the others as they were walking towards them. "Who may our guest be I wonder," said the Captain while looking at Leonardo. "Oh this old man is a native of the area and his ancient ancestors were once the Pyramid's priests," Leonardo said. "I see and what else did he tell you?" questioned Captain Montoya. "He said the Calendar's concept is over 32 centuries old and there is one at a building nearby the Pyramid and that one is over 500 years old," Leonardo said.
The Captain and Leonardo were amazed at the knowledge the old man had. Leonardo looked at the Captain and said "I'm going to the top of the Pyramid to see what's up there". "I will go with you," said the Captain. And they began their ascent up the steps. It took Leonardo and the Captain about fifteen minutes to climb the steps. "That was a good workout to get up to here," remarked Captain Montoya as he catches his breath. Leonardo who was talking out loud says " 91, 91 steps before reaching the top platform. There are one rows of step on each incline adding to four. 4 times 91 equals 364 plus the top deck makes it 365, there are 365 days in a year. Wow" said Leonardo as he sat on the top deck and looked out at the view of the surrounding.
Walking over to the structure on top of the pyramid Leonardo enters the chamber. "Leonardo where are you," said Captain Montoya. "I'm over here in the chamber" yells Leonardo. Captain Montoya reaches where Leonardo is and says the room is empty. "It looks like thieves over the years have been here before us," Leonardo said as Captain Montoya hears voices and steps out to see who it is, It's Felipe and Ignacio having reached the top plateau. "So where is the calendar" ask Ignacio. "Oh there you are Leonardo," remarks Felipe as he sees Leonardo coming out of the shadows behind the Captain. "The calendar is in the building over there as Leonardo pointed to a smaller structure. I am going back down there now" said Leonardo. It's a spectacular view from up here, but there is nothing in the chamber so we heading back down. Felipe and Ignacio wanted to see the inside anyway and went into the chamber to look around.
Back at camp Leonardo looked around for his drawing pad, some charcoal, and his feather pen and ink. It wasn't long before Leonardo was at the location where the calendar was and began drawing the symbols and markings. 3 days later Leonardo is finishing up on his last symbols having duplicated this work. He walks by the Temple of the serpent and notices the light going down the steps in a meandering manner. Why did it happen on this day he wondered, then it dawns on him it was March 21 the spring equinox. The Maya civilization was much more advanced than he first thought. Looking over the calendar sketch he had drawn, Leonardo's curiosity grew in how ancient people were able to put symbols and describe events. Then he thought of Vincenzo's books and that it had the same mystery to an outsider. The expedition had gotten what they had come for and was returning to Panama.
As the group prepares to leave the old man came to see them off. Leonard sees him and rushes over with the drawings while telling the guide to follow him. Leonardo explains to the guide to tell the old man that he has drawn the calendar and wanted to show him before he left. Leonardo gets the 36 drawings out and put them together. The old man concentrates his sights on the drawing and tells the guide to tell Leonardo that the calendar ends on a certain date. The guide does so and Leonardo wonders what he meant by the calendar ends. "Ask him what he sees," said Leonardo. The old man listens to the guide's question and says "The year the calendar ends is hundreds of years away, but after it does there will be uncertainty to follow and a change that will happen. A famine and pestilence for millions and millions of people will happen caused by the "Global Chaos" said the old man. "Asked him what does the "Global Chaos" in the future mean," said Leonardo to the guide.
The old man pointed to 7 characters on the calendar that Leonardo had drawn and said "six are controlled by one and that will cause it to happen" said the old man. Leonardo placed a small mark at each symbol and began to wonder why he was privileged to know such an event would happen more than 4 centuries away. The guide looks over to the old man knowing that what he had said in the past has come to be. Then he looks at Leonardo knowing he is the one who will carry this thought. Leonardo shakes his head up and down to confirm to the old man that he understood.
Thinking he has pieces of a puzzle Leonardo places the drawing back into his leather case. The old man knew it was time for him to leave and slowly walks away into the jungle. As he disappeared from their sight the old man transformed into an alien being that would meet again under a different guise in the future.
Meanwhile, Felipe and Ignacio had been exploring around the site and came across a burial chamber and found a mask and other items made of gold. Overwhelmed by the finding and knew that their time was limited. They agreed not to mention their findings and would return later to claim the treasure. Felipe and Igancio's demeanor had changed and the others could sense it. The expedition returns to back Cancun for their return trip back to Panama. Felipe and Ignacio made up an excuse to stay and would return in a month, but first, they needed to return to Chichen Itza. Captain Montoya, Claudette, and Leonardo waved goodbye to the two explorers and would never see them again. Having reached Portobello by the end of May Leonardo, Captain Montoya and Claudette found out before leaving for the Pacific side of Panama that Felipe and Ignacio had been killed by hostile natives on their return trip back to Chichen Itza.
After the second week back from their trip to Yucatan an officer of the King's court came by bringing Captain Montoya a message.
Lieutenant Jose Crisco is in the garden of the inn talking to Captain Montoya. Lieutenant Crisco hands Captain Montoya his orders and discusses the events that are occurring in Spain and mentions "Captain Montoya I have been sent here to notify you of your return to Spain and a new mission. I will be taking charge of the fact-finding mission originally planned." Captain Montoya pauses for a moment as he looks at Lt. Crisco and then out towards the ocean. "Yes, I will return on the next available ship back" replied Captain Montoya.
With that said the two officers enter the guest lounge where Claudette and Leonardo were discussing the trip to the Pacific side of Panama. "Excuse me, I have some news from Spain," said Captain Montoya looking somber at Claudette and Leonardo. "I have been called back to the court and Lt. Crisco will be taking charge of the mission we were on". Claudette was taken by surprise and nervously asks what is going to happen. "Leonardo and Lt. Crisco will continue with the mission and we (while looking at Claudette) are going back" explained Miguel to Claudette. With a sigh, she reaches out and holds Miguel's hand, and says "I will get ready for our return."
Leonardo was also surprised but kept a calm demeanor and commented "Welcome aboard Lieutenant, I can let you know of the plans for the trip across to the Pacific side and get you up to date on the arrangements made" replied Leonardo. "Good I shall return tomorrow and go over the details. By the way, there is a banquet at the Governor's estate this evening will you be attending?" remarked Lt. Crisco "why yes" replied Captain Montoya "We received the invitation recently and we are planning on going tonight." "Very well sir, I will see you all tonight," said Lt. Crisco as he turned and made his exit. Sensing Captain Montoya's concern, Leonardo excused himself knowing Miguel would need to talk with Claudette in private.
With a sketch pad in hand, Leonard walked out to the harbor where the ship was anchored and made his way down to the beach. Having walked a mile down the coast to a picturesque cove he had been to previously, he pauses for a moment and scans the area. He walks over to some boulder next to a grove of palm trees and sits on one of the rocks. Collecting his thoughts, Leonardo begins drawing the sea and the landscape, and soon his mind is at peace. Satisfied with his sketch Leonardo returned to the inn and to find Miguel and Claudette having a cup of wine.
"Oh Leonardo has a cup of wine with us," said Claudette with a smile. Leonardo notices an extra cup near the bottle and pours himself some wine. A toast mentioned Miguel "To all the good times that we had and may your journey bring you the knowledge and a safe passage back my friend" raising their silver cups and bringing them together. The moment marked the end of the mapquest for Captain Montoya. That evening at the banquet Captain Montoya, Claudette, and Leonardo were walking through the garden while other guests were mingling with each other. To their surprise, Federico Gamez and Roberto Ricardo were entertaining the guest in the garden with their music. Without missing a beat Roberto notices the trio approaching them. With a slight bump of his elbow to Federico, they watched as they came nearer.
Waiting in the wing for the song to finish Captain Montoya nodded to the beat while Claudette and Leonardo waved in saying hello. The song came to an end and the friends from the voyage got reacquainted. "Well hello, strangers" jokingly remarked Captain Montoya with a smile. "How have you been Miguel and Leonardo and I don't want to be rude but we were never introduced to your lady friend" responded Roberto. "Oh, this is Claudette my wife to be" gestured Miguel pointing to Claudette.
"Congratulations to the both of you" mentioned Federico as he and Roberto began strumming their next song. "Please excuse us, we will talk later" continued Roberto. "Yes, yes of course" Captain Montoya placing his hand on Claudette's back directing her towards the dinner tables. Leonardo gave Federico and Roberto a thumb's up gesture which brought a smile to both their faces. "Good to see you again Leonardo" responded Roberto, following the same by Federico. Later that evening after dinner Leonardo happened to notice a young lady by the fountain. He walks up to her and introduced himself, and she in turn does the same.
The noise from the party faded from Leonardo's mind as he concentrated on her voice. My name is Florencia Denise Ortega and I am the daughter of the Provincia Governor Juan de Gusto Ortega. "It is an honor to meet you" Leonardo conveyed with a smile. "You are new here" questioned Florencia. "Yes, I am. I'm on a mission to draw new maps and to learn from my experiences" answered Leonardo. With a slight hesitation, Leonard smiled and shook his head to say " yes I'm new here".
After which the two would share their thoughts as the water from the fountainhead would cascade into the main dish of the fountain. Florencia would glimpse at the falling water occasionally as she would share her experiences and travels as the flames of the torch in the garden moved back and forth in the night. "Where is the water source for this fountain? " Leonardo asked. "There is a small stream just to the west of the garden where it is diverted into a clay pipe. The water travels down to the fountain then leaves through another pipe and empties into a pond further downhill answered Florencia. "What an interesting concept," said Leonardo. Florencia thanked Leonardo for the compliment "It is something that I learned in school while studying architecture in Spain before my father was appointed governor here in Portobello. Their conversation continued into the night.
It was getting late and the guests were leaving. Leonardo sensing he may not have another chance to meet her again asked if she would like to go sailing. She paused for a few seconds with a surprised look on her face. Leonardo's mind was quietly racing around not knowing with anticipation. Then with a smile, she said "I would love to go sailing with you". With a half-open mouth and a slight stutter he responded with "We can meet in the afternoon at the front of the wharf, say 2 O'Clock". "2 O'Clock it will be" she replies.
Leonardo sees Miguel and Claudette approaching them from the house. "Well there you are," says Claudette while holding Miguel's hand. Leonardo introduces Miguel and Claudette to Florencia. Captain Montoya stands at attention and nods in respect and says "Captain Miguel Montoya of the Royal Court of Spain at your service". "Thank you Captain" answers Florencia while extending her right hand for the Captain to kiss. Having noticed his daughter with the newcomers the governor walks over and stands beside his daughter. Father I would like to introduce Leonardo, Captain Montoya, and Claudette. "I have met Captain Montoya and his fiancé earlier remarked the Governor but who is this young man I have the pleasure of meeting.
"This is Leonardo Vi father" as Florencia points towards Leonardo as he bows in respect and looking back up at the Governor. "What do you think of the New World," the governor asked. "There are many things here that are different from my home in Florence, the people, the landscape, the animals and insects, the climate and especially the number of precious metals". The governor nods and says "What a coincidence that my daughter's name is almost the same as your town, I find that serendipitous".
A smile came to Florencia. With a look of curiosity, Leonardo holds back questions not wanting to pursue the conversation. The governor turns his head towards the departing guest "You must excuse me for I have to attend to my other guest who is leaving" the governor remarked while departing to the entrance of the hacienda. "We must be going as well" replied Captain Montoya. Claudette says "Good Night Florencia" and Miguel remark the same. "See you tomorrow Leonardo" "See you tomorrow Florencia" Miguel looks at Claudette and she at him, both curious at what had occurred.
The carriage from the Governor's hacienda arrives at the wharf where Leonardo had been preparing a modified rowboat for the sail. Since the days on the La Rosa del Mar Leonardo became interested in sailing and when he returned from Cancun he found this boat to use. It belonged to an old fisherman whom Leonardo first met when they arrived. The old man told him if he would like to use it he could since the fisherman hasn't used it for years. So Leonardo added a mast, sail, and a few other items and went out sailing in his free time. Hearing the horses pull up Leonardo went to greet Florencia. "Good afternoon Florencia" greeted Leonardo. "Hola Leonardo" she replied. And so the dock lines were let go and off they went out onto a new relationship that would last way beyond the horizon.
A gust of wind pushes the boat faster and Leonardo has Florencia move over to the side of the boat where the wind is coming from. He too shifts his weight over to the same side while holding on to the tiller. Placing his hand onto the railing behind Florencia for safety reasons he starts a conversation. Florencia looks over to her right side and down at his hand and then at him. "I have sailed on larger boats, but this is way more fun" Florencia commented with a smile. The afternoon was spent sailing around the harbor area and the nearby coastal waters.
On returning to shore Leonardo swings wide of the wharf and into the wind, dropping the sail Leonardo steers her closes to the wharf as she slowly comes to a stop. With the line in hand, Leonardo steps onto the wharf and ties it to a piling pole within a minute. Turning to Florencia while wiping the sweat from his brow he reaches out for her hand. She stands and grabs his hand while taking a step and pushing off the rail of the boat. "We must do this again, I enjoyed being on the water and sailing with you" Florencia replied. "Yes and I too will look forward to our next outing" mentioned Leonardo while escorting her back to the awaiting carriage.
"I want you to stop by the hacienda tomorrow, will you come?" "Why certainly, what did you have in mind?" "For us to go horseback riding" she continued. "Ah ok, I'm not very good at horseback riding, but since I have you to show me the ropes that will be fine with me," said Leonardo as he opened the door to the carriage and helped her in. With a smile on her face and looking out through the window she said "I will have my carriage pick you up tomorrow". With that, the driver motioned the horses to go and started moving forward. Both waved to each other before a dust cloud separated their views.
Returning to the inn Leonardo sees Captain Montoya and Claudette with their luggage "Ah Leonardo, we were informed recently that we would be sailing on a different ship and that it would leaving with the tide in the morning". With a surprised look, Leonardo offered his assistance. "We have everything under control, thank you anyway" continued Captain Montoya. "How was the day sail with Florencia," asked Claudette. "It was very memorable and we both enjoyed it," Leonardo said with a smile.
"That's good to hear and glad everything went well," Claudette said while returning a smile. "Yes and we are horseback riding tomorrow at her, I mean his excellency's hacienda" Leonardo went on to say. With a chuckle from Captain Montoya, Claudette changed the subject and suggested they go out for dinner. Both men agreed and it wasn't long before they were seated at the cantina in a casual conversation. The evening was filled with laughter and recollections.
The morning would find Leonardo waving good-bye from shore as the rowboat took Miguel and Claudette away to their ship and back home. An empty feeling engulfed Leonardo for the moment as he watched his friends leave. Remembering his date with Florencia he races back to the inn and gets into the awaiting carriage. Florencia was out by the stable getting the horses ready when Leonardo arrived. After going over the basics and being reassured that the horse Leonardo was on had a good temperament, the two proceeded out on a 3-hour ride.
The trail they would be on is one that Florencia had ridden many a time to her favorite location which was a bluff overlooking the ocean. It was an hour away across a river, then through lush vegetation and trees. An opening appears and the small bay with the bluff was in view. Once there they dismounted and would walk the horses a hundred yards to Florencia's favorite place where she would contemplate whatever was on her mind. From their location, they could see the coastline in either direction with the bay behind them.
"This is a really beautiful location with the bay, the coastline, and the waves wrapping around the point into the bay" as the sea breeze pushed Leonardo's hair into a lifting hairstyle as he spoke. "I love this place, it's my favorite," Florencia said as they tied the horses to a branch from a stump that was once a Contador tree. "I can see why" Leonardo complimenting Florencia for her choice and continued "My father once told me that life is like the water flowing under a bridge, I didn't understand at first, but after my travels so far I think I know what he meant." Looking out at the ocean and then back at Leonardo, Florencia says "I brought some food for us to eat, shall we eat over there." pointing to a grass patch. "Yes that will be fine," remarked Leonardo.
After their meal, the conversation turned to gold and silver. Through his observations, Leonardo came to the concussion that the top individuals in government were the richest and the many indigenous people and some of the others were the poorest. So he asked "There is a vast amount of gold being shipped back to Spain, is some of it being used here to help the people? "Sad to say not enough, I give to the church in donations, in turn, the Padres of the mission help those in need," said Florencia. "I have attended the church of where you speak recently and I felt humbled to be there and those people who attended also were very nice to me," said Leonardo as he paused for a moment in recognition of those people. Florencia smiled as she stared at Leonardo with the look of having something deeply in common. "That is interesting," she remarked.
"So have you done any paintings or sketches during your stay here besides maps? Juanita continued. "Why yes, I have, a few seascapes and finished a portrait of a friend. She is back in Spain now but came over on the same ship we were on. I have them in my room at the inn". "I would like to see them one day," Florencia said. "Why yes, that would be my pleasure," said Leonardo while nodding his head. "We must head back now," Florencia remarked while getting up and walking over to the horses. Leonardo followed and got onto his horse and they began the ride back to the Hacienda. They rode in silence as a flock of pelicans flew by in a V formation along the bluff. Leonardo stopped and watched very intensely as they went by. He pulled out his sketch pad and drew a few wings and jotted down some notes. Florencia had also stopped and was watching Leonardo. Her attraction to him was growing as Leonardo was in a state of concentration.
"What are you drawing," Florencia asked. "I was sketching the wings of those birds. I find flight very interesting and having the opportunity to notice the glide in how it relates to the wing positions in the wind is what I was capturing" shared Leonardo as he put away his pad and said, "shall we go". Their conversation of the flight made the ride back fly by. Once back from the ride as they dismounted, Florencia commented "I have never met anyone like you before Leonardo, your talents amaze me. You imagine things beyond the ordinary and I find that to be unique". "Why thank you, Florencia, I couldn't imagine anyone else so perfect in my eyes as you." Florencia walked over to Leonardo and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"We need to clean up, Jose will show you to our guest quarters. My father is expecting us for dinner" continued Florencia. Leonardo was early to the dining room and was viewing the décor and a few paintings that were on display. "There you are," said the Governor as he enters the dining room and walked over to the bottle of wine place on the counter. "How was the ride today with Florencia" he continued while pouring two cups of wine from his vintage collection. With both in hand, he offers a cup to Leonardo. "Thank you, sir" returned Leonardo after accepting the wine and remarked, "We had a wonderful time today, sir." "Good, good to hear you two had a nice today," said the Governor as he sat at the head of the table. Leonardo walked over and sat down next to him. After a few sips, the conversation turned to business.
"Leonardo, I would like to offer you a position working for me and help around the land and assist my daughter in building her dream house. I can pay you one hundred pesos (gold) a month to start and raise your salary as the responsibility increases" Leonardo thought over the idea for a few seconds and answered "Sure!" and drank from his cup. Florencia enters the room just as Leonardo places the cup on the table. She views her surroundings and sits across from Leonardo. "You look very happy Leonardo," she said and he responded, "I will be helping your father and you, I mean The new house that you were talking about on the bluff" following the statement with a big smile. "I'm so happy also, that you will be staying here with us," said Florencia subtly expressing her growing desires. Leonardo's thoughts fell onto poetry and complimented her with a poetic verse.
She nodded as her father changed the subject and discussed things around the hacienda. Leonardo was thinking of a letter he must write back to Spain and explained his position there in Panama. The letter was neatly thought out and placed in memory until he got back to his room. With that out of the way, the dinner was enjoyable and Leonardo is floating on a cloud of good fortune. The following morning Leonardo is moving his belonging from the Inn to the hacienda and making a list of what he will need to do, this after being informed about the overall scope of his new position the night before. He and Florencia are to have lunch and go over a few things so Leonardo is rushing around labeling his boxes and loading them onto the wagon provided by the governor. After settling in Leonardo walks over from the guest house to the kitchen of the main house.
There to greet him was Florencia and she said "I had a wonderful time last night and my father is taken by you, I have never seen him so inspired about someone working for him." "The feeling is mutual, I didn't know what to expect when I first got here and now I have the opportunity to help you and your father" as he looked at Florencia and thought with an artistic eye what a beautiful woman she is and what a lucky guy he was to be there with her. She in return was looking at Leonardo with a calm demeanor but with a feeling like she has never felt before. The feeling was growing with each passing day since their first meeting.
Leonardo walks over to her and hugs her "I must be dreaming I have never felt this way before" as he looked into her eyes and was lost for words. The cook enters the room and interrupts the moment by saying "Lunch is served" and could be seen with a smile on his face as he leaves the room. The two sit down and discuss what needs to be done regarding Florencia's new house and the future developments around the main estate.
"The Road with Flo Begins"
There was a unique aura about the way Florencia and Leonardo's relationship was blossoming. The Governor sensed this and was pleased in having Leonardo working for him and having someone care for his daughter. Besides the regular duties of receiving and shipping out the gold, Florencia was designing her house on the bluff, while Leonardo did what he was told to do. In his spare time, he was designing a sailboat. There was much to do around the Governor's hacienda and other projects on the planning stage of development.
The town was growing and more workers were needed. Meanwhile, a road to Florencia's house and two bridges were being built. With all of the construction going on the flow of gold and silver was increasing by the day. The responsibility that Leonardo was entrusted with grew and that would increase his pay scale. With each increase, his boat that he was planning on got a little larger. Florencia was still in the planning stage of her house and was going through rough sketches of the building, the land on which it will be located, and the road leading into the estate.
After about three months of preliminary planning, she began transforming her ideas into a working drawing for her house. Leonardo helped with the foundation plan and supervised the installation.
Leonardo was busy on the route that the mule trains of gold and silver were coming from. The gold from Peru and the silver from Mexico were being shipped back to Spain from Panama. After six months the house was built and the interior in a certain section of the house was being furnished. Leonardo and Florencia are walking around the two-story house and viewing the warehouse workshop that was still under construction down by the bay. Leonardo had a wharf built inside the bay a few hundred meters from the house. This is where his new boat that is being built concurrently will be docked. Within the Master plan of the area, Florencia wanted a plantation growing agricultural products. Leonardo drew plans for the crop areas and the irrigation. The priest at the church in Portobello had brought books with him from Spain about the Roman aqueduct system. Leonardo spent his free time researching the information. His mind was like a sponge absorbing the details and thinking of new ways to utilize the concepts for a particular problem that needed to be done.
Every week there was a meeting of the progress and problems that may have developed during the previous week. The governor at one such meeting brings up the topic of the road to the gold depot, pirate problems, and Florencia's house. Leonardo explains what is happening "The road is near completion to the gold depot and the bridge was completed over the weekend to Florencia's house. Florencia's house is near completion, but the workshop and warehouse is still in progress."
"I see you are on the ball and things are working out well. Good work Leonardo" said the governor as he continued "There is a special assignment I need you to do in three months. It involves traveling to Peru and be my representative regarding the shipment of gold from Peru to Panama, I will go into detail about what will be happening before your departure." The governor sips his wine after finishing his explanation of what he wanted Leonardo to do. Leonardo looked at Florencia and she at him, he had a smirk of uncertainty, and she with a sad eye smile. Two weeks later as the projects were being finished, Leonardo and Florencia are out sailing in the afternoon breeze. The new boat is sailing well with its all-around ease of handling and speed. Leonardo drew up the plans and with the help of a local builder. Now on the water and at the helm of La Flecha his 40 ft. sailboat enjoying the moment with Florencia.
"What crops do think we should plant first Leonardo," asked Florencia. "With the available workforce that we have, vegetables and some fruit orchards," Leonardo said. Returning his thoughts to the helm Leonardo tells Florencia they are about to change directions. At a moment's notice, he steers into the wind, and the boom on the mast swings around and pops as the wind fills in the mainsail. Having calculated his course of travel and the amount of time that they would spend on the water Leonardo begins his return trip home to the "Hacienda by the Sea". With his first mate beside him, Leonard keeps an eye of which way the wind is blowing and the landmark to steer by. Entering the bay "la Flecha" swings wide and turns toward the wharf. Leonardo lowers the sail as Florencia has the helm. The boat slows and Leonardo has the line in hand and then throws the line to an awaiting worker who ties the line to the dock cleat.
"I will meet you at the house after I take care of a few minor adjustments, Flo" yelled Leonardo as Florencia was walking towards the complex of the warehouse and workshop. "Ok Leo, see you back at the house" she yelled back. After waving and nodding his head up and down to confirm he understood, Leonardo goes below and checks on the bilge area of the boat. Just a slight amount of water from some water spraying in from the forward hatch, Leonardo has one of the workers wipe the water before closing the bilge hatch. Walking back to the house Leonardo is thinking of the on-going projects and the new ones that are about to happen.
There was a change of plans regarding Leonardo's trip to Peru, it had been rescheduled for 6 months later and giving Leonardo more time around the facility. A half hectare of rainforest was cleared away and crops were being planted. Water is being brought in from a river a quarter-mile away by way of a canal designed by Leonardo. It feeds sub-channels that flow into separate furrow blocks that are flooded and turned off to let dry. As Leonardo was talking to one of his supervisors, a messenger arrives with a note from the governor. It mentions he would like to meet with Leonardo and Florencia. So Leonardo returns to the house and lets Florencia know and prepares for the meeting.
Arriving on a Friday they had planned on staying the weekend. The meeting began in the morning and would finish mid-afternoon. It involved shipments of quantities, dates, and estimated arrival periods of the precious metals. How the new storage depots and the paperwork has been updated to accommodate the increase in volume. During the meeting, the governor hands a letter to Leonardo from the Spanish Court and says "They still want you to go on the mapping assignment. But I have an idea, I know a person who is the grandson of Juan de la Cosa and he is in Cartagena. He has the skills of map-making and has worked for my brother Phillip, he speaks very highly of him and is well qualified for this project. I will get a letter off to Spain tomorrow."
"I will have to make a copy of the diaries. I haven't given it much thought lately" Leonardo said. "All right I will have to send that message and see if that will do to please the court," said Juan, and the meeting was adjourned. The days turned into months and the two were busy in harvest season at their hacienda and Leonardo was preparing for his trip to Peru. "Your father went over his plan with me regarding the agenda in Peru" Leonardo mentioned to Florencia and she looks at him and nodded her head while thinking of a few other things.
Traveling on horseback Leonardo made the trip over and arrived in Panama City. He would take the next week to sight-see and get to know the city after checking in at the hotel. One day at the beach looking out at the surf, he notices a kid playing in the surf, catching the white water with a piece of plank about the length of the youngster. As Leonardo watched the kid leap on the white water and was propelled forward toward shore. The ride wasn't long but what Leonardo noticed is that the kid was having fun and wanting to do it again. After going in the kid was dragging the plank back across the beach to its hide it in the bushes. Leonardo catches up to him and asked if he could try using his board and would pay for using it, the kid said "Si". Out into the water with his trouser on and his shirt off. Leonardo went out a little further where the white water was larger. After a few tries, Leonardo catches the white water and is moving to shore. Leonardo felt the stoke that the kid had expressed and thought to himself this is fun. After a few more white water waves Leonardo returned the plank to the young boy and sat back under the tree and began sketching a few ideas and some waves on a sheet of paper.
At his hotel room, Leonardo would study Vincenzo's books and see city life during certain times of the day. It was time to depart from Panama to Peru. After getting on board Leonardo was reviewing his drawing of the beach while on the port rail of the "Mensajero de Viento" (Messenger of the Wind) as it made its way along Ecuador's coastline. Looking at the wave drawings again brought back the memory of riding the waves. The captain of the "Mensajero" was Felix Hernandez and he had stopped by to talk with Leonardo as the sun was setting on the first day out from Panama.
"As mentioned we will be stopping in Trujillo for 2 days before sailing on to Callao," said Captain Hernandez. The Captain looking at Leonardo's sketch of the waves continued "There is a beach city Huanchaco where fishermen ride the waves on boats made of reeds." "Boats riding waves?" Leonardo questioned. "Yes, they have been doing it for a very long time. Way, before we set foot on these lands", explained Captain Hernandez. "I will visit that place and see for myself when we anchor," said Leonardo while thinking about his experience of riding the white water in Panama.
A week later Mensajero de Viento was anchored down the coast from Trujillo and Leonardo was on the beach at Huanchaco and watching the fishermen on their boats surfing in from their daily fishing. Waiting out in the lineup a group of fishermen took turns catching the waves in. Some came straight into shore while others angled and were riding the waves with the white water behind them. With the unbroken part of the wave in front of them, they would get a longer ride before straightening out and riding the white water in. Fascinated by what he was seeing, he walked over to a group of fishermen and asked if one of them could teach him to surf.
A person steps forward and says he can and then introduces himself as Sergio Barbosa and that he could teach him to surf and had a boat for him to use. It wasn't long before Leonardo was paddling out alongside Sergio. Leonardo would occasionally fall off to the side but would make it out. Once in the lineup, Sergio tells Leonardo what to look for when the swell gets closer to shore and where to be to catch the wave. As they sat there Sergio noticed a set coming told Leonardo to start paddling for the wave. Leonardo looked at him and then out to the horizon and sees a swell approaching him. So he starts paddling for it. The swell passes him and breaks about ten feet farther in. Sergio laughs and says you are too slow paddle harder. Watch me on the next wave and see how I do it.
So Leonardo did just that and noticed it was the timing of where to be when to begin paddling and to know when you have caught the wave. After a half, an hour Leonardo started to catch on and started to get his balance and control. Leonardo would spend the rest of the day surfing. "You are naturally gifted for surfing my friend," said Sergio as he watched. Leonardo improved with each wave that he rode.
Out in the lineup, Sergio is talking to Leonardo in between a set of waves and said "There is a city to the north and it's named is Chicama. I heard that the waves there are very long and a few people I know have ridden it. One day I will go there and ride the waves" Sergio remarked with a deep conviction to do so. After going in Sergio asked “What do you do for a living.” “I work for a governor in Panama and I enjoy sailing. Perhaps one day I will find land out in the middle of the ocean” said Leonardo pointing out at the ocean. It was time to leave and Leonardo thanked Sergio for teaching him and said he will always remember him before getting into his carriage and returning to Trujillo that evening.
The following day the Mensajero set sail and went out to sea and making its way to Callao. Once there Leonardo made all of his contacts and exchanged his letters from Governor Juan to the Viceroy of Peru Vidal Sestorio. Attending various parties and visiting Inca villages, Leonardo's had a good time. But time came and went and three weeks later Leonardo would be back in Panama City. There to greet him was a letter from Florencia. She says that they have been attacked by pirates and they have burned down the house, wharf, and boat and had damaged the current crops out in the fields. She and the servants were lucky to have escaped back to her father's estate. She will be waiting there when he returns. After reading the letter Leonardo rushes over to the governor of Panama City office and has a talk with the governor about what has occurred. The governor was aware of the incident and had prepared an escort unit for Leonardo's return trip back home.
Once back to Portobelo, he is at Governor Juan's estate and enters the main house where Florencia is sitting somewhat distraught. After seeing Leonardo she rushes over to him. Overwhelmed, Florencia started to cry and Leonardo comforts her with a securing embrace and says "You are all right and that is all that matters to me, everything else can be replaced". They looked at each other and he wiped the tear from her face and with a sigh, she said "You are right".
They embraced and she told Leonardo "You are my guiding light". Leonardo in return said "You are my inspiration." Happy to be together they discussed the rebuilding of their house. They were married in three months and had come back from their honeymoon when a letter from the Court of Spain came to his attention. It was regarding the request for substitution that was implemented. But due to the unforeseen tragedy of his substitute Hector and the crew of the ship that was lost during a storm.
So Leonardo was ordered to continue on his mission to find the island in the Pacifico Ocean. Florencia says to Leonardo "I will go with you; I can't bear to be without you". Leonardo stood in silence while looking at Florencia and remarked "All right, but what about your father?" "He will understand" Florencia said as she reached for and held Leonardo's hand. After discussing their intentions and somewhat against Florencia from going the governor gave in and agreed. The two made the trip over to Panama City and would depart in a week into the Pacifico Ocean.
After taking Florencia to those places he had visited on his first trip to Panama City, they ended the day at the beach where he watched the young boys surf the white water. The sunset was very colorful as the hues of yellow, red, violet, and orange stretched across the clouds framed by a powder blue sky that was being followed by the darkness of nightfall. They had dinner at a cantina near the ship "La Buscador" (The Seeker) of which they would be traveling on.
"La Buscador" is sailing to Acapulco first to unload weapons and documents to the government officials there before turning west into the vast Pacifico Ocean," said Leonardo while taking a bite from his meal. "I had a talk with Captain Rogelio Vargas the other day about my theory of where to start and how long it might take to get there".
"I feel this is the final leg of the journey to get to where the location is on the map. I have been studying the map on and off for quite a while. But it wasn't until the Padre shared those books back at the church in Portobelo that things became clearer in how to approach the location" said Leonardo to Florencia as he continued "There was a book by Claudius Ptolemaeus known as "Ptolemy" a Roman scholar who recognized a need for a grid system to measure one's location. Using north as the top of maps and south as the bottom and having lines spaced out in that direction. Then going east to west with lines spaced out in those directions evenly. Then using that concept and the general descriptions noted on the map of Vincenzo. I concluded that what we are looking for is due west of Acapulco. Having talked with some of the navigators here in Panama about their trip from the Philippines to Acapulco, I'm guessing around 40 days or so is where we will find land".
Leonardo lifted his wine cup and said "A toast to the finding the land and returning home to rebuild our house and our future" Leonardo touches the wine cup from Florencia's extended arm. "I have some wonderful ideas for our house, Leonardo," said Florencia. "I can hardly wait to get back and start," Leonardo said while smiling and places his cup down as Florencia does the same. "We will make it much better this time," said Leonardo as Florencia nodded her head to say yes. They left the cantina and returned to their quarters aboard the La Buscador. With the command of weighing anchor, La Buscador starts to drift before the sails fill in and slowly leaves the harbor for her trip to Acapulco. Leonardo and Florencia look back as the mountains start to disappear and the routine of being out at sea takes over. Leonardo and Florencia would have dinner with Captain Vargas. After the meal the table was cleared and the maps are brought out.
The Captain asks "Do you really think the land we seek is west of Acapulco, Leonardo." "It is a guess and I can't guarantee that it will be out there, but there is something out there. I know it is like finding a needle in a haystack, but the King wants us to find it and claim it for Spain. So Captain I have my orders like you and these maps that I have is all that we have to go by" Leonardo said. "We will sail for 40 days and if no land is sited we will turn around and return to Acapulco. The supplies we have onboard will last for 100 days. I have to think of everyone on board and their welfare" Captain Vargas replied. "Understood Captain" Leonardo replied. The next day came and went like each day that would follow, a blue sky and a breeze from the northeast. Arriving in Acapulco 10 days later, La Buscador loads up on supplies and water and is preparing to leave on their mission.
Going over the map Leonardo, the Captain and the navigator discuss the details of the course as the ship leaves the harbor and into the unknown. The first week went by and being out at sea turned into a routine. Each morning the officer on deck would ring the bell indicating 8 am. Leonardo would have a daily meeting with the captain and a walk around the deck with Florencia. They would discuss topics that either had in mind. A group of individuals would have a Sunday mass service held around 10 am with an opening and closing prayer. Each day would start and end the same as the previous day.
On the 35th day, a tern was spotted flying near the ship and the watch in the crow's nest calls out the bird off the starboard bow. Leonardo rushes to see and observes the bird with his spyglass flying away north by northwest. The captain walks over to Leonardo and says we shall make a slight adjustment in our direction and change our course north by northwest. After a few days, the watch in the crow's nest notices a log floating by some 200 yards away.
Then notices on the horizon two peaks and yell "land ho, four points off the port bow". Leonardo and Florencia were talking about home when the watch spotted land and both turned to their left and saw the two peaks. Not knowing the height of the peaks the Officer on deck guest it would be a few hours before landing, it took nearly a day before they could see the base of the large mountains.
It was morning when La Buscador was a few miles from land. The winds started to pick up and clouds became darker. Captain Vargas called out to Lieutenant Silva "Lieutenant changed our course back out to sea and lash down the sails for storm conditions. I do not wish to be next to a lee shore during a storm" Captain Vargas orders his officer on deck. In their quarter's Leonardo is telling Florencia of a dream that he had the night before "A man named Kai'ike warned me of this storm that is upon us and within an hour the sky will clear up and everyone would have forgotten everything that had to happen during the time of spotting land. You and I will be the only ones who will know of this."
"What else did he mentioned?" Florencia asked. "That we should not tell of land being here. Then the island will not be discovered for another 200 years. He felt it best not to change history" Leonardo said as the ship was bouncing around and the crew was at general quarters. The two stayed in their cabin until the storm went away. This storm has forced Captain Vargas to discontinue his mission and return to Acapulco for the sake of his men and ship."Coming out of their cabin, Leonardo and Florencia were greeted by sunny skies and everyone was doing their usual routine. Walking over to the helm where Captain Vargas was standing, Leo said "Captain Vargas how are things?"
"Well Leonardo, we are heading back to Acapulco, I feel it best to turn around with the supplies we have on hand," the Captain said. "Yes, I agree for the sake of all on board. It is hard to say of any island being out here" Leonardo said as he went over to the side of the boat to tell Florencia of the Captain's decision. "Do you think it is an omen for us to take heed" Florencia said. Yes, and when we return, I will let the King know that I tried and will give the diaries to someone else to search for the island." "Yes, I agree. We need to start building our own direction in the New World" Florencia said looking out at the horizon.
They returned to Acapulco and caught another ship to Panama and would rent a carriage for their trip back to Portobelo. A couple of hours out of Panama City Leonardo was going to say something with his mouth half open and had tilted his head slightly toward Florencia. But he kept quiet and looked into her eyes. He put his arm around her shoulder and she rested her head upon it. It had been a long journey and both were tired. The coach pulled into the Hacienda at nightfall, Leonardo gently nudged Florencia and said "We're home." Getting out of the coach they walked over to their room and had the servants take their luggage in and they would have a cup of wine before going to bed.
The next morning the governor was in the kitchen talking to Leonardo when Florencia came in and said "Good Morning father, Good Morning Leonardo". "Returning the greeting Juan and Leonardo said "good morning" at the same time. "What do you have a plan for today dear," said Juan to his daughter. "Leonardo and I are going to the bay and work out some details regarding our house," said Florencia. "That will be fine, but tomorrow we need to go over the other issues that have developed while you two were gone," said the Governor. "Alright father" as the two left the room and went to the stable.
Back at the Bay, the two walked along the beach from one Point to the middle of the bay with their horses in tow. Both walking barefooted in the sand, Leonardo looking out at both points and sees waves breaking. It brought memories of Panama City and Huanchaco. "I never paid much attention to the waves breaking around both points before. I don't know why, but Kai'ike comes to mind looking at the surfs." The waves on the north break were wrapping around to where the remains of the wharf used to be before disappearing into deeper waters.
They continued their walk noticing how the vegetation had grown. Stopping at the middle of the bay they put on their shoes and got on their horses. They and rode by the area where they were growing vegetables, but now an unkempt patch of weeds. "It is time we return," said Leonardo looking out at the ocean and then at Florencia. While riding back and thinking of what to do next Leonardo said out loud, but not meaning to "If something is changed in the past, the future will be altered and what we knew was true has been completely erased." "What did you say dear," asked Florencia. "I was thinking to myself about the events that happened to us," Leonardo said with a curious look. "We have a very special relationship and I love you," Florencia said out of the blue. Leonardo turned and look at her and said "Yes, no matter of the future or the past. I love you too."
Returning home to the Hacienda that evening at dinner a general discussion of the new house that Florencia was designing, the shipment schedules of the galleons, and pirates. Leonardo had the answers but kept quiet for most of the meeting. "You've been quiet most of this time Leonardo is there something on your mind," asked the Governor. "I can't explain it but I think my father is ill and I must return home to see if he is alright," said Leonardo. Florencia turns quickly to Leonardo after he said that and says "I will go with you". Somewhat surprised Juan says "if you really feel that way, go if you must, I know Florencia would do the same for me. I will arrange for the both of you to leave on the next available ship out". "We will begin to pack this evening," said Florencia` "I appreciate your insight as a father Sir and I will always remember your concern you have for me and my feeling towards my father," Leonardo said.
The next morning Leonardo was having coffee at the outside table of a local café near the harbor, after checking out the ships that were in port. "Hey Leonardo how you doing," said Pedro the retired fisherman who had lent him the use of his small boat to go sailing in when he first met Florencia. "Pedro you old son of a gun, you are a sight for sore eyes," said Leonardo getting up and shaking his hand. "What brings you to these neck of the woods," Pedro asked. "I was looking at the ships at anchor and was going down to the Port Office to find out who was returning to Spain. I think my father is ill and I wanted to go see him" said Leonardo. "Sorry to hear that Leonardo," said Pedro. As a waitress walks by Leonardo lifts his arm up and says "Excuse me, miss, can I have another cup of coffee for my friend here". "Why that quite kind of you Leonardo," Pedro said while thanking him for the cup of coffee.
"I don't know if you can afford it, but there is a boat at Ruben's Boatyard that is up for sale. She is 120 ft. in length and has a beam of 27 ft. she looks very seaworthy" said Pedro. "You know Pedro I might just do that," said Leonardo and the waitress came with Pedro's coffee. The two friends talked about the weather and what was happening with some of the fishermen that he knew. Leonardo seeing some of the people leaving who had sat down after he did say to Pedro "I'm going down to Ruben's and look at that boat you were mentioning. It was good seeing you again my old friend." "Good to see you too, Leonardo"
After walking to Ruben's boatyard Leonardo is walking around when he sees the boat Pedro was talking about tied up at the dock. Walking back and forth looking at the boat a man walks up to Leonardo and says "My name is Amelio, can I help you. Say you look familiar, do I know you. "Yes Amelio, I'm Leonardo the one who had la Flecha built here. That's right, now I remember. How are you sir" said Amelio. "I'm doing well, thank you," said Leonardo. "So, I see you are looking at this boat. The owner of this boat is a merchant who got into financial trouble when his shipment of goods from Portugal was hijacked at sea by English pirates.
To pay for his losses he has to sell this boat which you see here" said Amelio gesturing with his arm and open hand to go onboard and take a look. Leonardo grabs a hold of the stroud line that is connected to the mast and hops onto the railing of the boat then over the guardrail. Amelio walks over to the opening in the guardrail and comes aboard and says "She will accommodate 20 people comfortably and it has an aft stateroom that is roomy, well ventilated, and has adequate portholes for lighting. In the main cabin, there is a well-designed galley, with the lounge area well thought out and the forward compartment berths well organized.
The bow section has the sail compartments along with the running rigging. Forward of that is the anchor locker. Would you like to take her for a ride; that can be arranged?". "Why yes, what about this afternoon," said Leonardo. "Say two o'clock this afternoon," said Amelio. "That will be good. I will see you at two o'clock with my wife" confirmed Leonardo. Returning to the governor's hacienda Leonardo looks for Florencia and finds her in the study. "I have found a boat that we might purchase for the trip back to see my father," said Leonardo. "That was fast. Where is this boat you talk of" asked Florencia? "It is at Ruben's Boatyard," said Leonardo. "Isn't that where la Flecha was built" said, Florencia.
"Yup that's the one, I arranged a sail on her this afternoon," said Leonardo. "Ok, I just need to reschedule a few things," said Florencia as she stepped out of the room and told her maid to let everyone know who had made appointments to reschedule. It was two o'clock and Leonardo and Florencia were at the dock looking over the boat. Her first impression was that she liked it and wanted to know how she handled and sailed. Amelio had a crew of eight walking with him as they approached the dock.
"Good afternoon Leonardo, this must be your wife that you mentioned," said Amelio. "Yes, this is Florencia and we are ready for a sail," said Leonardo. Amelio had gone over to the boat two hours before and was ready. He had the four crew members release the dock lines and hop on board while the others were getting the sails ready and adjusted to the afternoon winds by the dock. The cushions made of blocks of wood covered with a heavy layer of sap from a rubber tree were bought on deck and stowed away. The breeze has been steady and two crew members are hoisting the small square headsail while the other four are preparing to hoist the large forward lateen sail.
The smaller stern Lateen sail will be hoisted after leaving the harbor. Amelio is at the helm and the other crew member is assisting Leonardo and Florencia with their needs before going forward and helping out. Amelio is easing the rudder toward the dock with the steering wheel as Lady Luck the name the owner gave the boat drift out with the wind helping. The forward square sail shape is filling as Amelio angles the boat through the channel towards the harbor entrance. "Take her up all the way and go back to the stern and raise that one up," says Amelio as the main lateen is lifted up all the way and the stern sail is being hoisted. Now she is moving and Amelio calls Leonardo over to take the helm.
With Amelio by his side suggesting what to do, Leonardo steers toward the harbor entrance. Passing a few anchored ships along the way he is in open waters and getting the feel of the boat. Florencia is nearby and walks over to Leonardo. He says "What do think Flo" and she replies "So far, so good". They are picking up speed and traveling at 12 knots. "What is her top speed," asked Leonardo to Amelio. "She had done 18 knots before, but I know she can do better," said Amelio. "Florencia, take over the helm and see how she feels to you," said Leonardo as he held on to the wheel until she took hold. With the wind flowing through her shoulder-length hair she says "It feels alright". Leonardo moves to the rear of the boat and looks over the side to the rudder. And tells Florencia to "steer a little to the left" pause" then to the right". Leonardo asks Amelio "Is the tiller rope adjustable or is it in place". "it is in place" said Amelio as Lucky Lady moved on. Going forward he asks the crew if hoisting was easy or difficult and they said "it's not bad, but could be better." Lucky Lady went out a few miles and turned around, and headed back.
Leonardo and Florencia went down into the main salon and looked around, then went into the crew berths. Taking down notes of what they saw and how they felt. Reappearing from the main cabin they walked over to the aft cabin and went in. They looked at the bed, the cabinets, storage compartment, and the chart table before going back to the helm. "Well, what do you think," said Amelio. "She nice," said Leonardo looking at Florencia who had a smile on her face.
Entering the harbor Amelio had the crew lower the mainsail and half of the forward sail and steer wide of the dock and turned hard on the wheel as the crew lowers the aft sail. Lucky lady glided her way towards the dock traveling a few miles an hour as four of the crew members jumped onto the docks with the dock lines and walked her along as the stern lines were cleated first, then the bow and mid-ship lines after. Amelio let out a slight sigh and looked at Leonardo and Florencia and said shall we go over to the office and close the deal. There are a few things that need to be done before that, but let's start the paperwork on it. The crew was cleaning up as Amelio, Leonardo and Florencia walked over to the office.
That evening Leonardo and Florencia let her father know of the purchase. "What did you name her" ask Juan. "Her name previously was "Lady Luck" but we change it to, "Espiritu de Libertad" (Spirt of Freedom) said, Florencia. Leonardo mentioned it will take a week to get her ready and they most likely be-gone a few months. Juan expressed his concern but gave them his good wishes for a safe return. The following day they began to put together a crew of 16 not including themselves, they were a cook, a navigator, and a twelve-man crew. Florencia and the cook Franco Herisemo calculated the provision for the trip and made the purchases.
Before departing, Leonardo introduced himself, Florencia, Carlos, and Franco to the deckhands. Who were Nicolas and Diego, two brothers in their twenties from Portobello, Martin, Lucas, Jose, and Andres from a merchant ship from Spain that was going to Brasil? Then there was Pablo, Alonso, Maximo, Hugo, Diego, and Eduardo all from Panama City and want to go to Europe to see what it is like and be paid for it and return home with the experience after having done so. There was a lot to be done by the boatyard with the steering and a few other items on the list. The crew was informed of what was expected from them, doing dry runs on sails, anchoring, and general maintenance around the boat.
Franco got familiar with the galley and cooked a few meals for the crew while they did the dry run of the sail procedures. Afterward, Leonardo and Carlos went over the charts and how Carlos did things. It was a busy week for Leonardo with the workload that he had with the Governor's office and Florencia's house planning. Within the week the general routine was familiarized and they were ready for the trip. Leonardo and Carlos had laid out the course that they would travel and the estimated time it would take to get to Livorno, Italy. After departing they would sail with the Gulf Stream current around Cuba past the panhandle of Florida, then sail on a northeast course across to a general area. where brisk winds from a storm out of the Northwest would be approaching. This he foresaw in another dream that he had.
From what he knew of being in front, he would use the calmer waters as a ramp and the steady winds from astern as the fuel to make a fast sail toward Europe. Twelve days later after departing they were at the location on the map where the steady winds began blowing from astern. The boat started to pick up speed and Leonardo yells to the helmsman "steady as she goes" while ordering the crew who were handling the sails to reef down on the forward lateen sail a couple of notches and get ready for a sudden speed increase. In front of the leading edge of the storm, Espiritu de Libertad cuts through the water as she was designed to do.
"Leonardo I do not know how you knew where and when to be, but this is perfect timing, we were very lucky or you possess special knowledge. I have never sailed like this in all my travels" said Carlos. Leonardo replied "my guess was very lucky to have gotten these winds" looking back and then at Carlos. Every morning and evening Florencia and Leonardo would be on deck and talking about whatever was on their minds. Leonardo would describe his childhood and the things that he did while growing up and she would do the same. In the afternoon she would design their house and he would meet with Carlos and plot their location by using the sextant and make an adjustment on the course.
They would calculate the miles that they made good from noon to noon. Franco was a good cook and kept the crew happy with the food that he prepared. The sailors would take turns on the watches. The watch rotation consisted of three men on three-hour shifts until noon. Then Leonardo and Carlos would go on watch from 12 to 2 in the afternoon every day to offset the timing where the crew would have different watch hours daily.
Espiritu de Libertad is doing 20 knots day and night and on the 4th day of sailing fast, the forward lateen sail begins to come apart at the seam. Still making 10 knots with the forward lateen sail down, the crew made the repairs within half a day and they are off and sailing again. Nearing the continent Espiritu de Libertad slows as she enters the Mediterranean. Traveling at 10 knots they pass Spain and France as they swing up by Sardinia and around Corsica. Two days later during at mid-day, a few sailing vessels pass by as they near the harbor at Livorno. After docking the men are given liberty with a different watch schedule in place. The rotation of those going ashore and those on watch were posted on a daily bulletin board. The person in charge of the boat, while Leonardo and Florencia were away, was Carlos.
On arrival to Livorno, a banking crisis was underway and the banks were having a holiday. Leonardo and Florencia had gold and silver coins with them and were prepared to deal with negotiating a transaction. The couple went to the coach house where Leonardo had been before with Captain Montoya and Maria. By chance Leonardo sees Angelo getting his team of horses ready to return to Florence. "Hey Angelo how are you," said Leonardo. Angelo looks over his shoulder and stares at Leonardo, then realizes the young man from a few years back.
A smile appears on Angelo's face and says "Fred, ah Frederico". "No, my friend it's Leonardo". "Now I remember, how you been. How was the New World," said Angelo. "It has been quite the adventure. Oh let me introduce you to my wife Florencia," said Leonardo. "How do you do Florencia," said Angelo. "Fine, thank you, Angelo," said Florencia. "We will need a ride to Florence," said Leonardo. "Yes go inside and see the clerk. You came at the right time. I'm going back without a guest" replied Angelo.
They were off to Florence and with a stop at Empoli. They were having a late lunch and stretching their feet. "Leonardo my feet feel wobbly still as if I'm still on the boat," said Florencia. "That is natural, I felt the same thing when I came ashore at Portobelo," said Leonardo taking a drink of the wine that was produced there in Empoli. "This wine is very good," said Florencia. "The Tuscany region is known for its wine," said Leonardo taking another sip.
They would arrive later that day and go to his family's house
from the coach station. With their two handheld baggage, they walk over to the apartment house. Arriving at the apartment house Leonardo sees his mother Margaret and the relatives in the living room. He gives a hug to his mother and is greeted by his uncle and aunts and he introduces his wife Florencia. "Everyone I would like to introduce my wife Florencia," said Leonardo. "She is very beautiful," one aunt says to Leonardo. "You are a lucky boy," says another.
Uncle Mario walks over to Leonardo and gives him a handshake and a hug. "It's good to see you again Leonardo," says Mario. "It has been a while Uncle and I treasure the moment," said Leonardo. "Your father fell ill six months ago and his health has been getting worse. How is it that you knew of his illness when we only wrote to you one month ago" said Mario? "I can't explain it but I had a strange feeling that something was not right," Leonardo said and continued "excuse me I'm going in to see father" while Florencia stayed and talked to the relatives. "What is it that you do Florencia," asked one of the aunts. "I help my father around his hacienda" replied Florencia.
"What does your father do" asked another aunt. He is the governor of Portobelo, Panama" Florencia answered. "Oh" was the response the aunt who asked the question said. Then there was a silence before everyone started asking question after question about their wealth. Florencia looked at everyone politely and said she did not want to talk about her family matters and she was here with Leonardo to see his father. So Margaret changed the subject and asked if she had been to Italy before.
Leonardo had quietly walked into his father's bedroom and pulled up a chair to sit beside him. Holding his hand, Guido opened his eyes. A smile came to him and said "I never thought I would see you again my son". With a tear in his eye, Leonardo responded with "It is good to see you again father". In a soft voice, Guido asks "did you find the islands on the map". "Yes I did father and I made a promise not to tell anyone. But the person whom I made the promise to will understand and this will be the only time I will reveal that I did," Leonardo said. "I'm proud of you my son. I knew you could do it" as Guido squeezed his hand gently conveying his pride "I knew you would be accomplished what you set out to do."
"I have a surprise for your father. Florencia could you come here" said Leonardo. She walks in and stands next to Leonardo. "Father this is my wife Florencia. We met in Panama" said Leonardo. A big smile came over Guido as he slowly reached out to her without letting go of Leonardo's hand. She extended her hand and all three held hands and Guido said "It is nice to have met Florencia. I will never forget that day on the bridge with you Leonardo" as Guido closed his eyes with a silent smile and let go of Leonardo and Florencia's hands. Leonardo rested his head on his shoulder and began to cry. Regaining his composure he walked out slowly with Florencia by his side, told everyone in the living room that "Father has gone to Heaven." Leonardo's mother and aunts all began to cry. Uncle Mario stood in silence with a blank look on his face while he held back his tears.
In a somber voice, Leonardo said he wanted to show Florencia the city to take their minds off of the passing of his father. They walked across the Ponte Alla Carraia bridge holding hands, Leonardo said to Florencia "This is the bridge my father was talking about when he passed away". She pulls his hand and Leo turns towards her and she moves closer and kisses him and says "Being with you is like a dream come true for me, now so than before." Blinking his eyes and being struck with emotion. He gives her a long hug and says "This feeling of love that I have for you, where words wait for me to return, is beyond anyplace that I have been before".
She stood there and looked at him and felt the moment was engraved into her heart. He placed his arm around her shoulder and began walking and mentioned "Shall we go see some of the statues around the city, marvelous works of art" said Leonardo. "That reminds me I would like to get a sculpture for our house Leo. Not too big and not too small. Any suggestion where we should go?" asked Florencia. "Let try the house of San Gallo first and then the house of Rovezzano for starters.
After services for his father, Leonardo and Florencia were returning to Espiritu de Libertad and prepared to depart with their sculpture that they will exhibit at the front entrance of their new house. Florencia wanted to go to Pisa and view the leaning Tower of Pisa before returning to Livorno. They stopped there and viewed the tower and went site seeing around before returning to Livorno. Another place on the list of places to go to was Genoa up the coast. The plan was to stay a week before leaving Italy and return home to Panama.
It was a weekend when they arrived in the seaport of Genoa and a few of the local day sailors were out in the harbor as they tied up to the dock. A single mast mainsail and fore jib caught the eye of Leonardo, asking around the docks he found out that it belong to a local merchant and was Dutch built. Near the harbor was a boat builder from the Netherlands whose yard had a few boats under construction. Leonardo got to talking with the owner Hans Christensen about the rigging and became very interested in converting Espiritu de Libertad into a sloop sailboat. Florencia was all for it and it wasn't long before arrangements were being made to have Espiritu de Libertad converted to a sloop rig configuration.
Hans mentioned that he had received a shipment of fine spruce from Russia for the mast and there was one, in particular, that would fit the Espiritu de Libertad length to height ratio just fine. Hans also said that since the mast height is taller than the length of the boat, he would make adjustments to the fore and aft rigging and the shrouds, by using wire stranded together and covered with a special resin from Austria. The work began on the following Monday and completed 40 days later.
During the construction, Florencia and Leonardo went to a sailmaker there in Genoa suggested by Hans. The sailmaker was telling Leonardo because of the size of the mainsail, linen was stronger but heavier. The mainsail that they had in mind would be heavy. Not impossible to handle but heavy. Then he went on to say that a Swiss inventor had coated cotton with a special mixture which made it stronger. Having a strong and lightweight material was the answer the Vi's were looking for.
The mainsail was a standard shape and the headsails were more custom. The sailmaker said to Leonardo and Florencia "If you don't mind I would like to call the headsails "Genoa" since they will be the first of its kind". They made duplicates of both the main and headsails and stow them away for safekeeping in the sail locker. The crew had been preparing for the day when they would sail a sloop rig by sailing on smaller sailboats with the single mast and jib setup. Weekly meetings on what to do and when to do were discussed. On her first day of trials, Espiritu de Libertad's sails took to the wind like it was made for her and sailed smoothly. The changing direction went well for the helmsman as the crew became accustomed to the tacking and jibing. "So much easier and less effort compared to having the guy go aloft to adjust the lateen rig," said Carlos.
Leonardo felt ready to depart and made plans with Carlos on the course they would take. The evening before departure Florencia and Leonardo would dine out at a small restaurant near the harbor. At the front of the restaurant was a plaque mentioning Christopher Columbus as a native son who discovered the Americas. The owner of the restaurant seated the two where a view of the harbor. Leonardo says to Florencia "Somewhere I came across in my visions about a Lief Ericson who traveled to the Northern Americas some four centuries earlier" Florencia nodded her head to say yes and took a drink from her cup of wine.
The conversation turned to the design of their house and details that Florencia had incorporated. "I can hardly wait on our return trip back and our new sail configuration. We will sail further south and pick up favorable winds at the halfway mark" said Leonardo and continued with the lifting of his cup "A toast to Christopher Columbus for opening the door" the two touched cups and sipped their wine. They left Genoa with the new sail arrangement and the crew was getting used to the simpler procedure of raising the mainsail with a block and tackle and the same with the head sail.
The first few hours were spent tacking the headsail from one direction, then to the other. They had done this on the smaller sailboat when they were waiting for the new mast to be placed. Now on a larger scale, the two lines that are attached to the head sail's clew, one for the port side and the other for the starboard side are being walked around the stay line that is holding up the front of the mast, in combination with the mainsail being moved to one side or the other of the helm. It wasn't long before they had the maneuver down and were sailing smoothly at 9 to 12 knots all the way to the Greater Antilles.
There was a speed increase when Espiritu de Libertad entered the Caribbean. They had made it home in a few weeks and arriving at the wharf at mid-day, there to greet them was the Governor. He was informed an hour earlier from the lookout post located on a hill nearby. As he hugged his daughter he said "The lookout wasn't sure of the boat because of the sails, but they knew of her hull. Welcome back my dear". Leonardo I heard of your father's passing from Florencia's letter she had sent when you were in Livorno, my condolences to you." "It is good to be back. We made some changes to Espiritu de Libertad and she sails great" said Leonardo.
"Come, let go back to the hacienda and discuss your trip there," said the Governor joyfully. Back at the hacienda, the discussion of the trip was talked about at dinner and as if they never left and the conversation resumed where they had left off before departing to Italy. Relaxing after dinner Leonardo and Florencia were talking about things on their minds. "I have been thinking about a surfboard in my dreams ever since we left the islands," Leonardo said. "What is a surfboard?" Florencia asked. "It's like the plank I rode in Panama City but larger," Leonardo said. "You know Leo, that person Kai'ike and surfboards and future things make me think it is all related" Florencia said.
"It probably is. What's on your mind?" Leonardo asked. "Let's go out the bay tomorrow and spend the day there" mentioned Florencia. "I would like that," said Leonardo as they started to walk to their quarters. The next day Leonardo is watching the waves break around the Point and picturing himself riding the waves. With that thought in mind, he closes his eyes and sees Kai'ike surfing at his Pointbreak and having a fun time. Halfway through his ride, he is looking like he sees Leonardo and starts to wave his hand.
A voice says "Leonardo" and Kai'ike's vision disappears. Leonardo looks over to the bluff and sees Florencia waving for him to come to her. After walking up the path he asks "what is it Flo" and she points out to the ocean and says "There do you see it" pointing to a ship near the horizon. From his side pouch, he pulled out his special spyglass with a magnification of 5 times the strength of a regular spyglass and takes a closer look. "It looks like a carrack class vessel with an upper and lowers gun ports. She's heading south towards Colombia" Leonardo remarked while putting away his spyglass. "I wonder what they are up to," said Leonardo as he grabs Florencia's hand and said, "Shall we go."
After returning to the hacienda they informed the governor of the sighting. "It's a British warship that was spotted two weeks ago off the Cayman Islands by a Dutch merchant ship on her way here. They are preparing to attack a stray galleon sailing out of Portobelo" Juan told Leonardo and Florencia. "From what I notice of her Sir, she moves well and is well equipped to dismantle a galleon's rigging with her guns in no time," said Leonardo. Juan started walking around the room in thought and then asks Leonardo about his opinion. "What would you do," he asked. "Set a trap for her. Load a galleon with stones to appear that the ship is loaded with gold.
Then have six warships, three on each flank following her while out of view. When the decoy spots the British ship, she will give off a smoke sign in the appearance of an accidental fire on board. Have the six warships move in and confront the British ship. The details of the battle will need to be worked with the six Captains of the trap" Leonardo explained while drawing on a piece of paper and charcoal giving a bird's eye view of the battle scene.
The British Man of War will capture the treasures from our ships before then and take the load to their offshore haven in the Cayman Islands to have the gold sent back to London in their cargo ships. That will give us time to get ready and set the trap when she returns to do it again" Leonardo said while drawing a circle around his sketch of the battle and placing a large X on it. The governor looked over the idea and said "I will give it some thought." Leonardo nodded his head and said "Florencia and I are going into town to look at some fabrics the Dutch merchant ship has brought in and we will be spending the day there tomorrow."Florencia had a smile on her face and was anxious to go.
The plan of trapping the British Man of War was implemented 35 days later, but the British had spies located in Portobelo and found out about the trap. In an undisclosed cove, 20 miles from away the spies would row out to the anchored Man of Warship in the cover of darkness and let Captain Nelson Hunter in charge of the ship know about the trap that had been planned. After being notified he made sure any galleon that he would attack did not let out a smoke signal. The minute he would see smoke the attack was called off and they would sail away from where they had come from. After the first attempts, the plan was abandoned after seeing the British ship turn around and leave the area. Word got back to Governor Juan that a new plan was needed.
Knocking on the door to the study room Juan says "Florencia" pausing for a response. "Yes, father" Florencia answered. "I was talking to Leonardo and he mentioned that you turned the study into a clothing studio. Which is fine with me" as Juan was looking at the different bolts of fabrics stored in the shelves. "Is that of your doing, looking at the dress that she designed, it is terrific and so are the other garments on the hangers. You are very talented like your mother, God rest her soul" stopping for a moment while looking at Florencia.
Regaining his train of thought he continued "You will need a much larger room". "I know father, the studio I have designed into our new house will be four times the size of this study," Florencia remarked. "By the way how are things developing, regarding the plans for the house by the Bay" Juan asked. "I have been doing a materials takeoff sheet and a labor cost estimate before we break ground. My guess it will be done in 6 months" answered Florencia. "I look forward to seeing your new house," Juan said proudly. "How do you like this design," she asked while placing the neckline of the dress under her chin and holding out the sleeves with her hands. "Marvelous, simply marvelous" replied Juan. "I must go now, but will see you two for dinner tonight," said Juan as he made his way out the door.
Two months have passed and the British Man of War ship ran into a hurricane with winds of over 200 miles an hour and got shredded off the coast of Puerto Rico. Back at the construction site by the Bay, Florencia is directing the building crews. She sees Leonardo pulling up in a wagon with more building supplies. They talked about a few things before heading back to her father's hacienda. With the reins in hand and Florencia sitting next to him and her horse tied to the back of the wagon. Leonardo does a chirping sound and whips the reins as the horses pulling the wagon begin to move.
"The Studio by the Bay"
STUDIO BY THE BAY
With the thought of workers with their hammers and saws a recent memory, Florencia and Leonardo are at the entrance to their new home. "Well the house is finished," said Florencia. "Yes, you designed a very interesting house for us to live in" complimented Leonardo. "The fountain with the sculpture is my "punto chiao focale" (focal greeting point) I had planned when we were in Florence" recalled Florencia. "You did mention that when we were looking at the sculptures," said Leonardo as they turned and went inside. Walking through the entranceway where the ceiling was at eight feet with closets situated just before the transition area where the stairs for the upper floors and the hallways branch off.
One hallway leads to the Ballroom, another leads to the garden, and the third leads to the main conference and research rooms. The ceiling in the transition room is open and the second hallway can be seen from the first floor. Walking through the hall to the Ball Room is a gallery of paintings that Florencia had collected with two of Leonardo's hanging in the middle. From the Ballroom, the hallway continues past the dining room next to the preparation room before ending at the kitchen. Branching off from the Ball Room is a set of French doors that open into the patio and the garden.
The second floor is where the Master bedroom is located and where Leonardo and Florencia are walking towards. They walk past the bed and onto the large balcony that connects to each of their design studios located on either side of the Master bedroom facing east toward the bay and ocean. There are five other bedrooms located upstairs with five servant quarters located downstairs. The house took over 8 months to build and instead of the original location on the bluff, it was relocated to the top of the knoll a few hundred meters in front of Sapphire Bay which was named by Florencia. The blue of the bay and shape reminded her of a 125 carat Sapphire necklace she had seen in Spain belonging to the Countess of Seville. From their balcony, they could see the four walk-ways from the garden to the beach area and the wharf where the new warehouse/workshops are located.
Leonardo's warehouse workshop was his pride and joy that he designed, measuring 75 ft. wide, 150 ft. long, and 30 ft. high. It was built near the new wharf consisting of four piers. Along one side of the warehouse are shops. The warehouse is where Leonardo would build his boats. It had two large sliding doors of 20 ft. on both ends of the warehouse. One end was aligned so a boat would be rolled straight out into the water and be next to the wharf. On the other side of the wharf was Espiritu de Libertad which has been remodified to carry six small cannons and a missile launcher. The crews of the ship are employed at the shops and live nearby. They are on notice whenever they need to sail Espiritu de Libertad out on commerce or defending the hacienda. To hone their skills against those who were unwelcomed, they would have monthly target practices with a different floating object outside of the Bay.
For keeping in shape Leonardo would jog, swim, and do calisthenics. Leonardo had been having dreams of making surfboards. He would do some research on the different types of woods he could use and the tools he would need. His interest in the possibility of flying was another area of interest. One section along the bluff about a half a mile away would be his testing grounds. The location is higher compared to the other locations along the bluff and has a sandy beach below the take-off point. Continuing to study the flight of pelicans, seagulls and other birds in the afternoon along the cliff was something Leonardo did in his research. With that information, he would develop miniature prototype gliders to test.
Some of them had narrow wings and while others had wider wings, he would toss them into the wind from the bluff and watched as some would crash and others would glide down onto the beach below. It wasn't long after that Leonardo transferred his theory into reality with a larger prototype. With his busy schedule, Leonardo would find time to test his ideas on weekends. One such weekend Florencia and three of his assistants are out on the bluff area getting ready for a trial run with one of his prototypes The afternoon onshore wind was steady at 15 miles an hour and a scale model of the glider was at hand ready to be tossed.
With a weight equaling that of an average man below the scaled mockup, the glider is tossed over the cliff into the wind. To control the glider he had two strings attached near the center of gravity under both wings where the weight is located, like a string to a kite. The strings were two hundred feet long and place in a box. "Here we go," said Leonardo tossing the glider into the breeze. It began to drop before an upwards draft lifted it. Leonardo is letting the string out at a fast pace before pulling on both strings to bring the front of the glider down, then easing one string and tightening on the other, the glider turns parallel to the cliff.
Holding it steady Leonardo begins walking with the glider as he lets out more string. "She is flying Leo," said Florencia. "Yes," said Leonardo to answer Florencia's comment and watching how the model is moving along the cliff. All of a sudden the glider begins to veer off towards the cliff; Leonardo panics and pulls on the outer string too hard, which causes it to nosedive and before he knew it, it was on the side of the cliff some 100 ft. below them. They tried four prototypes after the first and each landed on the side of the cliff.
"Back to the drawing board men. See you back at the ranch" said Leonardo as he and Florencia rode off on their horses while his assistants climb down the cliff to retrieve the gliders. Jorge says to Tomas as they lower the rope tied to Roberto's waist, "what do you think went wrong". "Not enough frijoles" replied Tomas as Jorge looks at him with a disgusting look and says "We are trying to do something that no one has done before". "I know, but it is something about the lift that needs to be controlled" answered Tomas. "Hey you guys, cut the crap and lower me some more," said Roberto.
Back at Florencia's studio Leonardo is lying on her couch and relaxing and says "Need to do some more research on how air flows above and below the wings and how to steer." She looks toward him and he has his eyes closed, not knowing if he has fallen asleep or just resting. She says "I have a few more outfits to design before my collection is complete" looking around for her charcoal and drawing pad. Stopping what she was doing and looked out her large window. She sees El Nina Point breaking, looking across the entrance she sees El Nino Point breaking as well. The waves were 3 ft. to 5 ft and wrapping around the points. "Leonardo, El Nina is breaking around the point into the bay and in good shape," she says in a soft voice. His eyes open as he sat up and walks over to the window.
"I need to make a surfboard so that we can ride those waves," Leonardo said. One of the servants knocked on the open door and said she received a note from the governor and handed it to Florencia. "It said father wants us to attend a meeting at his house tomorrow," Florencia said. "There is trouble brewing I can sense it in the message," said Leonardo. At the meeting "It's about the ex-viceroy of Peru and a couple of his generals have become outlaws and were hijacking the gold shipments" the governor said. "So far they have out-witted the forces that have been protecting the mule trains shipments. Something needs to be done and that is why this meeting was called".
At the conference table were the Governor, Leonardo, General Bolivar, and Colonel Gueterriz from the garrison in Panama City, General Lopez and Captain Trujillo from Cartagena and General Maximo, and Colonel Figueroa of Portabello.
The meeting was going into its second hour and Leonardo listens to everyone's suggestions. Then the Governor asked Leonardo what he thought. Leonardo got up and walked over to the front of the conference table and said "My sources have informed me that Vidal Sestorio the ex-Viceroy of Peru has a small army at his command. His main camp is near the Ecuadorian and Peruvian border and another near El Salvadorian and Honduras border. He and his generals know the routes taken and the procedures involved with the transportation of the gold and silver shipments., They most likely had this course of action planned months ahead of time "pausing for a moment then continued "Senior Sestorio has captured 7 thousand kilos of gold and silver from Peru and Acapulco. All shipments have been halted for now."
Looking around the table before resuming his presentation Leonardo explained his views regarding Vidal Sestorio. "I became aware of Senior Sestorio's intentions when I was summoned to his office over two years ago." "Since then I kept surveillance of his activities through my network of sources. From what I have gathered other countries are supplying him with arms and ammunitions and his forces are made up of mercenaries from various parts of the region." "Excuse me Leonardo, But what you say is true, why wasn't I informed of this much earlier?" said General Lopez. "Governor Juan express what was being done to be kept classified since Senior Sestorio has a connection at the Royal Court and we had to wait until his intentions became known," said Leonardo as he looked over at the governor.
The governor stood and addresses the group "Gentlemen, I felt it was a very sensitive matter and we kept quiet about this until now. "Very well" replied General Lopez as everyone returned their attention to Leonardo. "I will say this," said Leonardo. "A few plans are being implemented currently and we shall know in two weeks if they are successful." The meeting concluded and the participants returned to their homes. In a couple of weeks Senior Sestorio and his generals were captured at the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador and Colonel Sanchez in charge of the northern company of Senior Sestorio forces was killed and his men were captured at the secluded island of Isla Del Tigre in the Gulf of Fonseca. Leonardo's foresight put down the theft of the precious metals and the shipment of gold and silver started up again.
Back at Sapphire Bay Leonardo is in discussion with Florencia at the weapons development workshop. Leonardo had come across a book about missiles and how the Chinese had used them in war. He became fascinated with the possibilities of using it as a defense weapon. Using the information from his first two missiles testing, the third system was redesigned with the addition of fins on the rockets "I made some adjustments for the new missiles and I think it will work". Leonardo said as he moved out into the main area of the warehouse with Florencia. At the test site, Leonardo was ready to fire the third proto-type missiles. The first two prototypes was tested for distance, the third was being tested for accuracy.
"What do you think Sir," asked Pedro. "We know the amount of gunpowder will determine distance, along with the front of the projectile needed to be pointed to cut through the air more efficiently and now we added fins to stabilize its flight" explained Leonardo as he looked out at the flags that were placed from the previous tests. "What was the distance of those flags out there Pedro" Leonardo continued. "They are in the 1800 ft. range, Sir". "So, we know from our previous tests that the rocket pointed at a certain angle will go a certain distance. Now we are going to aim it straight at a target and get a better idea with the modification we have made to see if it works" Leonardo said while adjusting his missile launcher.
"The target is ready Sir," Pedro said as he sees the workers waving a flag indicating all is clear and they are to the side, away from the target area. Leonardo lights the fuse of the first of 5 missiles. It blasted off for the target which is a 15' X 15' frame with a white sheet tacked on and an 8 ft diameter solid black circle painted on it. The distance to the target was 1000 ft. The missile landed with an explosion, one of the worker's places at flag there and estimated to be 890 ft. Pedro loads another rocket and Leonardo adjusted the launcher to 4 degrees up and a slight twist at the base for the wind, before lighting the fuse. The workers are off to the side and hear the screaming sound of the missile passing by them and through the target before exploding. The workers give each other a high five with the target being hit.
Leonardo using his spyglass sees the hole in the sheet and tells Pedro "It's not a bull's eye, but it's within the target and that's fine with me.". They fired the remaining rockets and collected the information onto a notebook. "It looks like you made the right changes for the missiles Sir," said Pedro. "I'm going to make a special launcher for Espiritu de Libertad where it will fire rockets out at sea, this with the cannons on board will make her more advance against future threats" Leonardo mentioned as he wrote down more information of what he was thinking onto his notebook.
Back at the hacienda a knock on the workshop door and Leonardo turns to see Alberto one of the supervisors from the farming operation. "Que pasa Alberto" questions Leonardo. "We are ahead of schedule and wanted to know which new section needs to be plowed?" Alberto asked. "The open area near the foothills on the south side of the main road. Also, make the main furrow for the water at the top end of the slope to feed into the lateral furrows" was Leonardo's response. "Yes Sir, will get to it tomorrow morning" Alberto answered back. Returning to his task Leonardo is outlining a surfboard. After cutting the outline with his modified saw, he leaves a half-inch extra around the outline. He stops what he is doing and cleans up his mess after being told by a servant that he had visitors.
Returning to the main house his visitors from the King's Court were inside with Florencia. To his surprise, it was Captain Montoya and Claudette. Excited in seeing them, he walks over and gives Claudette a warm hug and a hearty welcome handshake to Miguel. "What a pleasant surprise, I wasn't expecting to see you two," said Leonardo. "Welcome to our Hacienda, it is good to see you two again," said Florencia "I can see you have done quite well since we last met," said Miguel. "We are so happy to see you two again also and we have a lot to catch up on," said Claudette. "Jose, Benjamin, and Felipe take their baggage to the guest room," Leonardo said to his servants as the old friends went inside to get reacquainted.
As they enter the entrance lobby, they went through the hallway that leads to the garden. Walking to the garden pond Claudette says "This is a beautiful garden Florencia" as Claudette looks around at the plants and how they were arranged to convey serenity and peace. Miguel adds to Claudette's comment "There is much thought that went into this garden and the balance of the plants along the walkway and leading to the pond is simply marvelous.". "Thank you for the compliment," said Florencia while holding Leonardo's hand "Leonardo helped in the development of this garden and his ideas were very helpful in the overall scope of the experience we both wanted this garden to represent." "You have done just that," said Claudette.
"Please have a seat" Leonardo said pointing to the chairs located near the pond. With the sound of water dropping from a brook alongside the pond, they began talking about current and past events. "How is Maria and Lieutenant Segovia, Miguel," asked Leonardo. "They are doing fine, they have one child of two years of age and another on the way" replied Captain Montoya. "How is your orchard of oranges" continued Leonardo. "The orchard is doing fine, I spend most of my time there now and occasionally I do things for the court when asked. They have sent me out here to see if you would be interested in continuing on the quest of finding the islands in the Pacific again" Miguel said.
"Miguel I appreciate your visit and the King's interest in having me go look for the islands again, but I have to decline the offer, my old friend. I have much at stake here and there are others just as qualified as I to do the job" answered Leonardo. "I thought you might say that and I respect your decision, Leonardo. It was a long shot but they asked me and I said I would try" Miguel politely finished his inquiry for the court. Both women were listening to their husband's conversation, Claudette was relieved with the outcome and so was Florencia. The two men continued talking about politics and events happening in Spain. Will you two excuse us ladies, we are going for a walk said Florencia as she and Claudette got up and started walking into the garden towards the greenhouse. Both Leonardo and Miguel got up to confirm their departure.
"Let me show you my workshop and studio" Leonardo mentioned as he pointed to another walkway that went towards the Bay. Leaving the garden area and the trees that surrounded the house into the view of the Bay, Miguel says "Wow, I can see why you couldn't leave here. I thought your farming operation was big as we drove up here, but this is the icing on the cake; your own harbor and bay. What is that large building next to the wharf". "That's my workshop/warehouse," Leonardo said with a smile. Miguel stopped and looked at Leonardo and said "I could have never imagined all of this would be yours when we first met at your father's shop. By the way, how is your father?".
"He passed away over a year ago," said Leonardo as he looked up into the sky. "My condolences to you and Florencia" Miguel said as they continued down towards the warehouse and wharf. Walking into the warehouse workshop Miguel is once again amazed at the open area and the structural engineering. "Here are my workshops, one is for my surfboard building," Leonardo said. "What is a surfboard?" Miguel asked. With a smile on his face, Leonardo directs Miguel into his surfboard shop and explains the surfboard and surfing. "When I was in Panama City waiting to visit Peru, I went to a beach where a young boy was riding the whitewater of the waves. I tried it and enjoyed it very much. Then, while in Peru I visited a beach town where the fishermen rode boat-like rafts made of reeds in the waves after a day of fishing. They would sit and ride or they would stand and ride the wave" stopping for a moment to gather his thoughts he continued "then I put the two experiences together and began making a surfboard to surf on."
"Excuse me for just a moment" said Leonardo as he walked over to the tool counter "Here it is" as he picked up the drawknife and says "This is one of the tools I use to work on the surfboard with" showing Miguel the tool before placing it back on the counter. "is this a surfboard?" Miguel asked. Yes, but it is unfinished" Leonardo said. "Let me show you my glider workshop where I'm building a flying machine," Leonardo said as they left the surfboard shop into the glider shop. "You amaze me Leonardo, riding waves and now a flying machine," Miguel said as Leonardo was walking over to the prototype on the work table. Miguel had a looked of wonderment. "You mean you can fly this?" "We are at the beginning stages and there is still more research to be done" explained Leonardo as he lifted the prototype emulating the glider flying with the wind. Miguel shook his head sideways smiling in a gesture of what's next. Then Leonardo points to the shop next door.
"This is our weapons development shop where we are making missiles and other types of defensive weapons," said Leonardo. Suddenly Miguel got serious and paid attention to everything he saw. "A missile?" questioned Miguel. "Yes, more accurate than a cannonball and traveling faster and further to an object" explained Leonardo. "You know what this means Leonardo," said Miguel with a look of excitement. "Yes, others will duplicate them for their own purpose. I am doing it for the defense and protection of my Hacienda. We were attacked once before when I was not here and by the Grace of God, Florencia escaped with her life. I said to myself that it won't happen again and I will have the means to do so".
Miguel shook his head up and down and not mentioning what was on his mind. But Leonardo knew what he was thinking. They enter the warehouse and the two hull sailboat being worked on. "What is that?" asked Miguel. "It's my double hull sailboat," said Leonardo while looking at the bottom of the hulls. Leonardo suggested going outside to "Espiritu de Libertad" and gave a tour of his boat that was tied to the wharf. "That is an interesting sail you have on your boat," said Miguel. We did have a square sail rig/lateen setup when we went to visit my father before his passing. After he left us we sailed to Genoa to visit the city and came across a boat builder who was into these sail designs. I happen to watch others sailing with this configuration and how more efficient they were in changing course" recalled Leonardo. "That is an interesting story," said Miguel as they were leaving the wharf. In the distance they could see Florencia and Claudette walking down to them, so the two men started walking over to their wives. "
"Florencia is a wonderful hostess, we tour the garden and their big greenhouse then we came out here and saw you two," said Claudette. Miguel shared his experience with Claudette by saying "Leonardo showed me quite a lot around the warehouse and there is something I may have forgotten and not sure what it is that has slipped my mind,". Florencia looked over at Leonardo who looked at her and gave the expression of he didn't know what Miguel was talking about. "Shall we go back to the house" said Florencia.
Miguel and Claudette would stay for a few days before they would return to Spain to convey Leonardo's decision not to pursue finding the island in the Pacific. The foursome would go on picnics, sailing up and down the coast from Sapphire Bay, horseback ride into the rainforest to a special waterfall that only the locals knew of. During the evening hours, Leonardo would have some of the local musicians perform songs that they composed. And to highlight their trip, they were the guest of honor at the Governor's Ball that was being hosted by Leonardo and Florencia at their new house, which occurred the night before their departure. Guests arrived from all parts of the region and the party was very memorable to all who attended.
The following day after the departure of Miguel and Claudette, Leonardo is lying on Florencia's couch in her studio talking about the Ball. "What a night, I enjoyed every minute of it. Miguel and I may have had a little too much to drink and we sure did laugh most of the night, but it was fun and you never know if we will meet again" said Leonardo. "Yes you did I must say and I understand" commented Florencia. "Now we have to get back on schedule, there is so much work to do" commented Leonardo as he looked out at the bay. The following week Leonardo is out on Espiritu de Libertad doing target practice and becoming familiar with the missile launcher.
Having towed out two rowboats which had a floating target spaced a hundred feet between them Espiritu de Libertad from 1000 yards away prepared to fire her missiles. After a few practices of moving the missile launcher from one side to another after each tack Leonardo felt ready to fire at the target ."Get ready to light the fuse Pedro" ordered Leonardo. Calculating the angle of the deck and having adjusted the launcher, Leonardo gives the order to light the fuse. The fuse sparkled until it reached the end of the missile (10 seconds) and made a loud swoosh before taking off. Everyone watched the smoke trail heading for the target. Within a matter of seconds, a big splash occurred 50 meters past the target and to the left. "Lower the launcher by 3 degrees and 4 degrees to the right. Then fire the fuse Pedro" shouted out Leonardo. "Yes Sir," said Pedro as another missile is launched.
This time the target on the right side was hit and the sheet was flapping on one side. A loud cheer was heard across the boat and the command for another missile to be ready was called out. Once again with another adjustment, the order to fire was given. This time the center of the target was hit and the target sheet looks like a surrender flag on one mast. "Good work men," said Leonardo as he put away his spyglass. "Let's move closer in and use our cannons" yelled out Leonardo as the wind began to pick up. The helmsman steers by the target some 75 feet away. "Prepare to fire the cannons on the starboard side" was given by Leonardo. "Steady, steady, steady fire" he said. The blast from the cannons had a deafening affect. The target's rowboats between the two other rowboats exploded into pieces and the cheering from the crew cap the sinking of the target.
"All right let's head back to port," Leonardo told his helmsman. The crew began following the orders and the boat changed directions for a short ride in. Back at the wharf, Leonardo told the crew chief to have the crew clean up the boat and have the lead men meet him in front of the warehouse. Leonardo went over the procedure with questions and answers to see what areas needed to be improved on for future operations and thanked the lead men for a job well done. Walking back up the hill he hears "Leonardo wait for me" yelled Florencia. As he turned around he sees Florencia walking towards him and then she begins jogging before walking again when she got near. "I thought you were at the house," said Leonardo. "I was back in the supply room looking for some nails to hang a few paintings up within the hallway, so I came down here and was returning when I saw you" Florencia answered back.
Suddenly Florencia notices a messenger from the watchtower post at the entrance to the Bay running towards them. "Leonardo turns and sees him" as she pointed at the messenger who was approaching. Catching his breath he says "3 ships are approaching from the east and they are not showing any flags and are about 8 miles out. (With the enlarged telescope that Leonardo designed that can see 10 miles out) What shall we do sir, they will be here in over an hour". Leonardo yells to Pedro who was at the wharf talking to some of the crew. "Pedro get the men ready we have an unwanted guest."
The bells on "Espiritu de Libertad" start clanging and the crew rushes out from the area to the boat.
Leonardo says he is going to the watchtower and starts running up the path. Florencia mentions she will have the servants tell the other workers of the immediate danger and move to the guard station at the entrance to the Hacienda. Within 10 minutes Leonardo is at the watchtower viewing the ships and begins to plan a defense. He rushes back to the wharf and boards Espiritu de Libertad. Pedro has the crew load up the ship with missiles and cannonballs, and rifles. After which the lines are tossed and Espiritu de Libertad is sailing out of the bay.
As Espiritu de Libertad gathers speed, Leonardo surveys the 3 ships location once out of the bay. He decides to go upwind and approach the ships on a port tack. Looking through his spyglass he sees the crew of the first ship moving around and loading their cannons. When the lead ship is within range of 300 yards he has the missiles ready to fire. Calculating the wind and pitching motion of his boat he orders to fire missile one. The fuse is lit and the missile is off.
Within seconds the mast of the first ship is blown up. Leonardo orders adjustment to the launcher and missile two is on its way and within seconds, a direct hit to the hull of the ship. Leonardo is now focusing on the second ship and orders missile three to be ready. Taking in the conditions of the wind and sea, he calls out the angle and direction, he fires missile three. Missile three misses behind the second ship. He orders missile four to be ready and readjusts his calculations and gives the order to fire. A direct hit on the bow and the ship is taking on water.
The third ship is changing course and veering off back out to sea. "Let them go, we will look for survivors," said Leonardo as he orders the helmsman to steer in the direction of the first ship and the deck watch to keep an eye on the third ship for any change of direction. He tells Pedro to reef the mainsail and jib and hoist a lookout with a spyglass from the mast above the sails and yell back if he sees survivors. "I see the masts sinking into the water sir, and those in the water are being attacked by sharks" the lookout yelled back. "How far away and where" yelled Pedro. "5 points off the starboard stern about 400 yards sir" the lookout yelled back. Leonardo orders the helmsman to change directions toward the sinking ship and look for survivors.
After 10 minutes they are sailing around the area where the lookout mentioned. There was debris floating around from the ship and the dorsal fins of the shark swimming around. The local currents in the area were moving swiftly with the tides changing to low. "Any signs of anyone" yelled Leonardo. "No sir" yelled back the lookout. "Do you see the second ship's location where it went down?" yelled Leonardo. "That ship went down faster than the first and I lost sight of it before we reached this location sir" replied the lookout. "Very well, lower him down Pedro" ordered Leonardo.
"Wait yells back the lookout, there is an object about 300 yards bobbing up and down and it looks like two small, it's a boy and a dog" yells the lookout. "Where" yells Pedro. "3 points off the port bow" was the answer. Leonardo walks over to the port side and scans the area with his spyglass. "There" as he points in the direction where the boy and dog are. "Get a rowboat ready to pick them up" ordered Leonardo. After getting them back on board Leonardo greets them and has them wrapped with a blanket. The boy had signs of hypothermia and was sent to the main salon to warm up. "We will ask the boy how he and the dog were on board that ship when he is better," said Leonardo as he ordered the helmsman to take Espiritu de Libertad back to Sapphire Bay.
"A New Home for Homer"
Espiritu de Libertad is entering Sapphire Bay and lowering her sails as her crew is preparing to go to shore. Florencia is waiting on the dock with a wagon being pulled by a team of two horses in case wounded men are needing to be taken to the dispensary or the hospital in town. Shelia, one of her maids is there to help as the boat is approaching the pier. The crew is securing the lines when Leonardo appears from the salon cabin with a little boy and a dog, they walk over to the gangplank and walk down onto the pier. As they approach Florencia walks over to them and hugs Leonardo as she looks over at the little boy and then says to Leonardo. "We were watching your battle from the Watchtower and your idea with the missiles worked out very well. Who is this little boy." "He is Altair and his dog Homer" (a mixed breed that looked like a Jack Russell and a Scottish Terrier) they were on the second ship that went down and was being taken to Jamaica as prisoners from a previous raid. His parents were heading to Salvador in the Portuguese colony of Brasil where his father was to be the manager of a bank there. His previous position was as an assistant manager for a bank in Spain. Altair's mother was a school teacher and would be teaching there.
This I found out by reading a waterlogged letter that she wrote and Altair kept secret in a small pocket sewn on the hem of his pant leg. His parents were on the third ship that turned and sailed away. Altair was going to be auction off in Jamaica and his parents were going to be slaves for the pirates. Altair and Homer were at the stern of the ship with their guard, an old man who developed a liking for Altair and Homer. When the ship started to sink he grabbed the two and jumped into the water. He swam until he found a large plank to rest them on before he disappeared, knowing the plank could only float the boy and the dog. When asked, Altair said, "The old man helped us get on the piece of wood and waved goodbye before going under."
"How old are you Altair," asked Florencia. I'm 9 years old" answered Altair. Florencia had the look of wondering where his parents might have gone on the third ship. "You will stay with us Altair until we can find your parents," said Florencia as she went over to the young boy and hugged him. Still in shock after losing his parents, Altair looked at Florencia with a frown and looks down. Then he kneels to hug Homer and says "We will be alright Homer, these are nice people." Florencia looked at Altair and said, "Sheila take Altair and Homer to the guest room and give them something to eat." "Yes Madame," said Shelia as the wagon driver helps Sheila with the young boy and the dog into the wagon and went to the house as Florencia informed Leonardo about a message she received from her father.
"Leonardo I got a message from my father and he would like to talk to us about the future of his estate tomorrow. He mentioned his health has been slowly declining and wanted to let us know what is in store for us" said Florencia as they watched the wagon return to the house. "We will leave early tomorrow," said Leonardo. "Let's walk back to the house and talk some more about what we should do regarding your father's gold and estate. "The caves nearby the house have worked out well for placing the 100 tons of gold that were placed in boxes marked as copper and tin. Now the cave in the hill-side with its false wall at the entrance of the cave and the structure in front of it, is almost finished" said Florencia. "I'm glad It worked out well with the transfer of the gold using the wagon loads of lumber as a cover bringing it over here," said Leonardo. "It did take months, but we were able to do that without anyone being suspicious during the construction of our house," said Florencia.
Florencia and Leonardo returned home and would go see Altair and Homer. "Hi Altair," said Florencia as Homer barked, "Oh alright Homer you too" as she rubbed Homer's head. . Leonardo walks over to rub Homer's head but he kept barking. Leonardo was trying to figure out what Homer wanted and asked him "Homer would you like to go outside, outside."Homer moved to the door and waited as he moved in circles. Florencia laughed and said "Homer wants to go outside, he looks like he wants to pee" as Leonardo walked over to the door and opened it. Homer ran outside and a few moments later returned and was suggesting for Altair to go outside with him. "Yes, Homer said Florencia and started to laugh again. Then commented to Altair "Sheila's son Oscar will be outside waiting for you and will show you around".
Later that day Leonardo is in his garden when he has a vision appear in front of him. He knows who it is as the vision begins to communicate with him "This is Kai'ike and I've been in thought with you since you first visited the island that I am on. Altair's father was shot the day before and his mother that you will be searching for has passed away. She jumped overboard after seeing the ship in front of her had sunk and thought her son was on board. This was to let you know what had happened."
Leonardo was at a standstill not knowing what to say or how to communicate. Then Kai'ike came across and said, "All you have to do is think of your response and I will understand." "Thank you for letting me," thought Leonardo as Kai'ike's vision disappeared. Leonardo would tell Florencia what he had envisioned and discussed what they should do with Altair and Homer. "For now we will take care of them and if we find his nearest relative somehow we will go from there," Florencia said.
The following day Leonardo and Florencia are at her father's hacienda and talking to him about his Will. "Yes I will leave my hacienda and fortune to Florencia and Leonardo will have the surrounding lands that I own after I'm gone," said Juan. Leonardo shook his head up and down in agreement with his decision. "The gold transfer has been done, Sir," said Leonardo while looking at Florencia then at the Governor. "Very well everything is taken care of, shall we have a drink of the wine which was nearby. A toast to you Florencia, and to you Leonardo, Long may you enjoy my gifts" as Juan raised his cup as did Florencia and Leonardo. After their meeting, they went back to Sapphire Bay.
"I am going over to the area where your father said I will be inheriting and will be gone most of the day," said Leonardo to Florencia. "Where will that be, his landholding is huge," said Florencia. "The valley where the teak trees are growing, someone at the Land Office said it started about forty years ago when a Portuguese explorer came across seeds from a farmer in India. He went back to Portugal and gave the seed to someone he knew that was going to Brasil. That person stopped over here and decided to grow them here in that valley. He had passed away ten years ago and your father purchased the land from his family" Leonardo said while describing some history of the area. "There must be at least 5000 hectares of trees there in that valley, but the ten hectares of teak is all I know about. I will sell it to shipbuilders in Europe" explained Leonardo of his trip and the reason.
The next day Leonardo is preparing plans on how to harvest a few of the trees and document the germination process of a few seeds that he brought back. He is helping Florencia with the greenhouse repairs and Pedro is talking to him about a few things around the warehouse. They hear a bark and turn around its Altair and Homer. "We are going to play with Oscar and his friends, Ms. Florencia," said Altair. "That will be fine Altair but stay close by, I will be in the house and Leonardo will be here if you need anything," said Florencia. Altair and Homer started walking toward a few kids that were gathering near the garden walkway. Leonardo tells Pedro "Watch the boy and the dog." "Yes, Sir" replied Pedro as he went following Altair and Homer. Leonardo walked over to the shaping room and looks over his latest shape and is thinking about being a father figure for Altair.
Leo, I'm going to start spending more time with my father, There are some legal matters with the family lawyer regarding my father's will and I just want to be with him" Florencia said. The Governor's activities were reduced to a minimum and Florencia took on more responsibilities as his health deteriorated. With the responsibilities of the Governor's mansion and Sapphire Bay's Hacienda, Florencia was managing both locations with authority and grace. Leonardo knew she had these qualities that others didn't know or see in her. With his own plate full Leonardo was managing his house and the governor's hacienda
A few months later Florencia's father had passed away and was laid to rest on a hillside overlooking the Harbor and his Hacienda. The new governor was settling down in the Governor's Office and was in the process of purchasing the Hacienda that Florencia owned. Leonardo was in his shaping room when the vision of Kai'ike reappeared. "Aloha Leonardo looks like you are starting a new surfboard. Perhaps I can give you some hints in shaping" Kai'ike said. "That would be most welcome," Leonardo said as Kai'ike gave him some shaping knowledge and mentioned switching to balsa wood instead of the local wood that he had been using. After the demonstration on the wili-wili plank, Kai'ike said "Aloha" and faded from the scene.
Leonardo knew who was selling balsa wood in Panama City but asked around the boatyards locally to see if they had any to sell. One yard had a few pieces that Leonardo could buy from him and he would have one of his workers ride over there with a carriage to Panama City and pick some up. The batch that the local yard had been of different sizes and needed to be glued together to look more like the plank that Kai'ike had in his vision. After making a plank that could be shaped Leonardo whittled it down the thickness to the way he wanted it, then outlined and then cut it out. Doing the rail contours Leonardo was satisfied with it and put it to the side for the time being and went out to check on his workers.
Walking over to the glider workshop he sees Roberto was working on the wing of the full-scale model of the glider. "How are things Roberto?" asked Leonardo. "You want to hear something strange happened the other day," Roberto said. "What happened the other day?" Leonardo asked. "I saw a strange large flying dish some distance from me and it seemed it was watching me test the model glider," Roberto said. "Then what happens?" continued Leonardo. "It flew off and disappeared within a second. I thought I was seeing things, but Tomas and Jorge saw it too!" Roberto said. "I remember my father said he once saw it in a painting. I wonder if it something that no one knows about, but has been around different places on this place we call earth. Let me know if you see it again" Leonardo said. "Will do," Roberto said.
Leonardo's attention shifted from flying dishes to Florencia and decided to go see what she is up to. As he knocked and entered the room "Oh, I was just thinking of you Leonardo" Florencia said. "Roberto mentioned to me that he saw a flying dish in the sky while they were test flying the glider at the cliff the other day," Leonard said. "A flying dish. How strange, what happens after that?" she asked. "I told him that my father saw something like that in a painting. It could be something from out of this world!" Leonardo said. "Out of this world is hard to imagine. Like gods from Greek Mythology," Florencia said. Sitting back and thinking about ancient Greece, Leonardo wonders if they too ever saw these flying dishes. The scene changes to a time where Leonardo did not know of but will present itself by people from there within a matter of weeks.
Traveling back through time and the dawn of a new day began with the sun rays reflecting the yellow, red, and orange off the bottom of the clouds as it rises on the eastern horizon. The silhouette of Etobiius begins to be outlined from the darkness in the west. The morning watch takes over the helm as the weary night crew is relieved of their duties. On the deck of the merchant ship "Courier of the North" is Vectorius (who would later be known as Vector) the special envoy of Arctoprotos the King of Atlantis. He had been sent to Etobiius a satellite of Atlantis to inform Governor Leuquotus of what Arctoprotos was planning and what he wanted Leuquotus to do.
"Good morning Vectorius " commented Captain Nemasa as he stood near the bow of the boat, holding on to the side rail as the boat plowed through an ocean swell. "We should be arriving at Coral Harbor later this afternoon" mentioned the Captain. "I look forward to being on land again," remarked Vectorius. The Captain noticed a crewmember approaching him "The helmsman would like a word with Captain" said the crewman. "Very well, please excuse me Vectorius " said the Captain as he returned to the helm.
Vectorius looked toward Etobiius with the light of day behind him, recalling why he was on board this boat. It was a month ago that he was summoned to King Arctoprotos's palace. The King was on his balcony looking out over the city when Vectorius walked into his quarters led by the King's servant. The King turns and looks at Vectorius and says "I am sending you to Etobiius to see Governor Leuquotus. You will inform him of the changing water level and relocating the city to a different location" said Arctoprotos.
"I have sent a message to the Governor of your visit and that you will explain to him where he should move to and how to do it. With your help the Governor should do the move more efficiently" said Arctoprotos. "So, I will inform the Governor that the Star people has advised you that the ocean level will rise 300 feet within a generation and that the city of Etobiius should be relocated to a different island" replied Vectorius.
"Yes, and you will be in charge of drawing up the plans and coordinating the relocation procedures. Your assistants here will be implementing the plans you have set forth for Atlantis" said the King. "Yes, I will do as you say and monitor the updates that are being done at both locations," Vectorius said. "Let go over to the table where the map is located and I will show the general location I had in mind of where the new Atlantis will be. After our scouts have returned from the different locations we will begin the process. We will do the same for Etobiius" Vectorius said.
"Yes," said the King. "Very well, I take my leave, my King," said Vectorius clinching his right hand into a fist and placed it near his heart and continued "I will leave in a few days with the outgoing tide" as he turned to leave. Queen Netra entered the room as Vectorius bowed his head to the Queen before leaving the room. His memory faded from that moment and was back onboard pounding through the swells. Looking towards Etobiius, he braced himself for another swell as he thought of moving two cities and the procedures involved as a larger swell lifted the boat's bow up and surged it forward.
The crew's morning routine of adjusting the sail and seeing things were secure was in progress. The winds increased and the whitecaps became prevalent. By the time "Courier of the North" approached Coral Harbor it was mid-afternoon. With the raised land flanking both sides of the entrance into the bay, the harbor was a calm shelter from the winds. The Courier of the North made its way to pass the fishing boats that were anchored on the south side of the harbor. Approaching the dock where they will moor, the crew dropped the sail and brought out the long oars to row in the rest of the way. The captain noticed the damage to the piers and structures around the harbor from a previous storm that had passed before their arrival. They slowly approached the main dock where cargo and other items were being loaded and unloaded from the ships that were there.
As they got near to the leeward side of the dock and a line was thrown to the men waiting for the toss onboard. The oars were removed from the water and the boat was pulled in. There on the dock, a representative of Governor Leuquotus awaited Vectorius's arrival. "Vectorius" the man called out from the dock. "Yes, here" as he lifted his right hand and waved. The man walked over to the side of the boat and said "The governor has been waiting for your arrival. I am Cirrus and my helpers will take your bags" then pointing at the bags for his men to take. Please follow me to the carriage and we shall soon depart" said Cirrus.
An hour later they passed the Hall of Governance building and arrived at the Governor's estate. Cirrus sitting across from Vectorius opens the door to the carriage and says to him "Please follow me, the Governor is waiting". Stepping out of the carriage they are greeted with a marvelous view of the ocean and the coastline. The estate is located on a flat piece of land on the side of the mountain. The buildings of the General Assembly, the residence of the council, and the Dome of Knowledge near the City below could be seen. Thereby the entrance of his house was the governor.
"Vectorius how are you," asked the governor who greeted him accompanied by his wife Victoria. "I am well my friend" answered Vectorius as they entered the estate "Oh, Cirrus pour us some wine. I'm sure Vectorius would enjoy what our vineyard has produced," said the Governor as Cirrus poured 3 cups of wine and handed it to the Governor, his wife, and Vectorius . A toast to our friendship" said the Governor raising his cup as did Victoria and Vectorius.
"How is King Arctoprotos" asked Leuquotus. "He is doing well and there is information that he wanted me to share with you. Perhaps we can discuss this tomorrow" said Vectorius looking at the Governor. "Yes, we can talk about that tomorrow, but for now you must be tired from your trip, please clean up and join us for dinner later this evening. Cirrus will show you to your room and come for you when dinner is ready" said Leuquotus as he pointed the way for Vectorius to follow Cirrus.
ETOBIIUS TO PORTOBELO
"A Day Gone By"
Vectorius first night’s sleep on land after 35 days at sea felt rewarding and was up early. Walking around Leuquotus’s estate and taking in the view of the west-side with morning’s light pushing night into day. He can see from northend of the island to the south-end, with the main city of Eoso down below in the distance. Leuquotus see him and walks over to say “Vectorus we have a busy schedule today of letting the council know of King Arctoprotos plan.” “Let me go over it with you” Vectorius said as he gathered his thoughts. “The main focal point will be the new location, construction, relocating of the people and what to do with the existing location.” “Yes, I’m sure other issues will arise as well” Leuquotus said.
“The location has been determined by the scouts of the king. In the same measure as Etobiius, where the island is situated away from the large preying animals of Norica (North America) and Sorica (South America). Though their numbers are dwindling, the large tooth lion, the bears, wolfs, and the other man eating animals that are still out there beyond these shores” Vectorius said looking towards the Northwest. The time period in which the move from Etobiius to its new location is 7624 years before 376 BCE when Plato was around 40 years of age and 9024 years before Leoardo and Florencia in Portobelo, during the year of 1576.
“The island that the king’s scout had found had an elevation of 1500 feet above sea level!” Vectorus said. “Where abouts are you talking about?” Leuquotus asked being more specific. “The scouts have called it Sidimeo, it is surrounded by the major and lesser Aunitlles islands” Vectorus said. “Who are these scouts that you mentioned?” Leuquotus asked. “They are the star people who were not known to the general public, but known by the king. Their ability to fly in the air and travel underwater with their star-ships became widely known after a while. The king has learned much from them and their abilities. They were the ones who mentioned that sea level would be raising 300 ft. in the future” Vectorius said.
“Star people, what do they look like?” Leuquotus asked. “They look like us, but I was told by one of them that they can transform their looks to appear like us. So I’m not sure their true appearance” Vectorus said. “How do we know if they can be trusted and that they are not trying to take over our nation” Leuquotus said. “So far they have done what they said they would do. If they wanted to take over our nation they could have done it many years ago. They seem benevolent and have help out in other areas that we needed help in through the years” Vectorius said. “What do they ask in return for their services?” Leuquotus asked. “That I do not know, but the kings has made some kind of deal” Vectorus said.
Leuquotus stood in silence knowing what Vectorius meant.“Well, we have an ambassador who can communicate with the star people. I think he maybe one of them. Like you said he maybe one of them. His name is Outaforium, an interesting man who seemed to know quite a bit of what the star peoples knows. He will be at the meeting, I will introduce you to him” Leuquotus said. “That will be fine, getting back to the materials and construction. We will be importing the material from different sources and the craftsmen will come from here. I figured it will take two years to get the project half built. Will have make shift housing on a temporary basis for the workers. The harbor and the main building will be the first to be constructed” Vectorius said.
Walking up to them was Cirrus who had nuts and fruits for them to eat and a water vase and cups to drink from. “Lady Victoria suggested I bring these item for you and Vectorius” Cirrus said. “Thank you Cirrus, put them there on the bench and get the carriage ready” Leuquotus said. “As you say” Cirrus said as he place the tray on the bench and went to get the horses ready. “Where were we, Oh yes, It should take about 4 months to transfer most of the people to the new location. After that, those that are still here will maintain the city until such time and the go to the new Etobiius” Vectorus said as he reached for a apple and took a bite.
“Why don’t we take a trip around the island and let you see what is here and how you will approach the move” Leuquotus said. “Yes, lets check it out and go from there” Vectorius said. “I will be right back. I want to tell Victoria where I’m going” Leuquotus said as he went to the house. Vectorius resumed his sightseeing and thinking about what he was about to do and his thoughts of his family back home at Atlantis. Leuquotus returns and they walked over to the carriage and began the downhill ride into the town of Eoso. Along the way they see another coach pulled over to the side and the driver is waiting for his rider to return to the carriage.
“It Outaforium, I wonder what he up to. Cirrus pull over” Leuquotus said as the open carriage comes to a halt. Getting out, Leuquotus and Vectorus walk over to Outaforium. “Greetings Outaforium, what may I ask are you up to?” Leuquotus asked. “I happened to be going to your residence when I saw something that caught my eye out on the horizon” Outaforium said. “Outaforium this is Vectorius from Atlantis and he is going to inform us of what the king wants us to do” Leuquotus said pointing to Vectorius. “It is good to meet you Outaforium” said Vectorius as he extended his hand. Outaforium extends his hand and shook his in a gesture of respect. “Well, from what I heard through the grapevine. A major project is about to unfolded” Outaforium said.
“Yes, there are some changes going to happen and I will address that at the meeting this afternoon. Leuquotus mentioned you are an ambassador and know of star people. Would you happen to know Gemmy, one of the star people that works with King Archtoprotos?” Vectorius asked. “Yes I do, we met the other month at an island he called Imini. The star people I work for happened to visited that location also, where you intend to build” Outaforium said. “What else did he mention when you last talked to him?” Vectorius asked. “That his research indicated sea level would rise around 300 feet” Outaforium said. “Yes, that is the same he had told us” Vectorius said. “Now I have to make the move like everyone here to the new Etobiius. I’m looking forward to hearing your concept regarding the new location” Outaforium said.
“We have to be going now, but will see you later at the presentation” Leuquotus said as they got back into his carriage and wave to Outaforium, who waved back. Going into the town Vectorius surveyed the buildings of the town. “What is the population here?” Vectorius asked. “Near 11,000” Leuquotus answered. “What is imported and what is grown here?” Vectorius continued his questioning. “We grow most of what we eat, but a few items we bring in. Regarding building materials, almost all of the raw materials are brought in” Leuquotus said.
Riding over to the main harbor on the eastern side of the island, Leuquotus pointed out some of the features that went into it’s development. “How many ships can the harbor manage during peak moments?” Vectorius asked. “We can handle around 4 medium size ships at a time or one large ship and two medium size ships” Leuquotus said. Vectorius looked around at the entrance and where the dock was placed. With imaginary cutouts of the varies part of the harbor in his mind, he moved things around. With a few blinks of his eyes while looking down then up his vision was erased and the harbor was back to the way it was. After their review of the harbor, Leuquotus had the coachman go down the road towards the southern end of the island. Stopping at the end of the road a few hundred cubits (feet) from the cliff. They got out and walked over to the cliff. “If you follow the shoreline north on the eastern side there are some interesting beaches, the harbor and the terrain becoming cliffs again for about 5 milos (miles).
Leuquotus switched from business and talked about “I sometimes miss my family back home and wondered how it would have been if I didn’t take this position. How is your family.” “My family is doing well and they should be over in a couple of months. I heard that your sister and her husband are doing well. Though I haven’t heard much about your brother or parents in over 4 years” Vectorius said. “Why I asked about my parents is, I haven’t heard from my brother about them the last time he wrote, which was 5 mooneral (months) ago. I should write again, I have been busy and time flys when your mind is preoccupied on other things” Leuquotus said as he continued “It is getting late, we need to get back and go to the meeting.”
Pulling up to the Dome of Knowledge Leuquotus and Vectorius got out and walked over to the entrance with a few of the attendees in discussion about the move and how they would make the adjustment in their lives. Once inside they went over to the Hall of Governance where Leuquotus and Vectorius would take their seats at the front of room with the other department heads near the front.
Leuquotus looked at Vectorius and nodded his head as to say you are on. Vectorius nodded back and stood. He went to the podium that was a few feet from the front row. “Good afternoon members of the Etobiius’s community chamber of representatives. I am Vectorius Duracel the Chief Engineer of king and the reason that I am here, is that the king’s science advisors have forewarn of sea level raising in the years ahead. When exactly they were not sure. But they are sure it will happen. So I was order to develop a plan for a new city of Etobiius with a harbor that can adjust to the different water levels that will occur, and to over see the transition from here to the new city. Is there any questions you may have currently?” Vectorius asked looking at those seated around him.
A hand is raised into the air and Vectorius says “Yes” pointing at the person who raised it. “I am Staroverticus and my position here on Etobiius is the Astronomer. How is it that the ocean will raise the amount that you mentioned” Staroverticus asked. “It has come to our attention that the ice covering the northern part of Norica, the Ropean, and Asiareao land mass is starting to melt and will do so at an alarming rate cause by the reaction in the air and the heat from the sun” Vectorius said. “That is interesting to hear and that analyst is more advance than I know, so please go on” Staroverticus said as he sat down and Vectorius resumed where he left off “The new island location is to the Southwest of here, some 150 milos. It has been looked over and it is safe to say there are no large mammal eating creatures at that location, just like here on Etobiius.”
Another hand is raised and Vectorius points to the person “I am Medicusum in charge of the health of the community. Has the location been checked for dieases known to us to be harmful and if not should we do our do dilengence before we make the move?” Medicusum asked. “A general look around had been performed and water samples were taken and certain areas around lakes, rivers and streams had been netted for insect surveillance. Certain areas did produce those insect that could do harm to the population and have been identified and scheduled to be eradicated with plant material known to take care of certain insects” Vectorius answered and pointing at the next hand that was raised.
“I am General Cartuveral in charge of defensive measures here on the island. We have 500 men to protect our citizens here. What type of fort will be constructed and what new weapontry will we recieve. The need for more men seems apparent” the General said. “Yes the troops will be doubled and the fortification will increase in size. We have new weapontry that is being tested and will soon be available to our forces once they have been tested under varies conditions and are proven to be reliable. If all goes well you should be recieving it in 6 months time” Vectorius said when the person next to the general spoke out.
“I am Captain Neptatuno in charge of naval operations here. How will you handle the raising waters of the harbors, through the many years of the prediction?” the Captain asked. “A scale model of the contour of the location will be drawn and contructed. At each level of raise a few options will be in placed. Some dealing with floating docks, other options will deal with relocating to another location within the same harbor and another will be moving to another location all together and doing the same procedures as before” Vectorius said.
Leuquotus stood up and said “We will take a break here and resume the meeting in 15 minuos.” Everyone got up and stretched their legs and talked among themselves. Vectorius and Leuquotus walked out side to talk when Outaforium came over to mentioned “I appreciated your answers and look forward to assist you if I can in the move and other areas of endeavor.” “Well thank you for your offer. When that time should appear I won’t hesitate to get your feed back on such matters” Vectorius said. “Will you two excuse me for a moment I see someone I need to talk to about matters of importance” Leuquotus said as he hurried over to the treasurer of the island.
So you know Gemmy, “May I ask, are you and Gemmy of the same race?” Vectorius asked. “No he is from the planet of Quadilinor in the Pleiades constellation. I and my fellow star people are from the planet of Nebazor which is in the Andromeda constellation. Both of those location are far from here in terms of earth distance and time. Why do you ask?” Outaforium said. “I thought there might be a connection between you and Gemmy” Vectorius said. Leuquotus returns from his discussion with the treasurer. “Well, shall we return to the hearing and continue” Leuquotus said as Vectorius followed him back in. “I have to be going, but I would like to continue our discussion at a later time Vectorius” Outaforium said. “Yes, perhaps in a day or two. I will get in contact with you through Leuquotus” Vectorius said. Outaforium nodded and was on his way to a meeting with Zeuyu his commander.
The meeting went according to plan and everyone left with being informed of what was going to take place. Leuquotus and Vectorius left for the governor’s house to go over a few more details not mentioned in the meeting. “When is Artemesia and your children coming to Etobiius?” Leuquotus asked. “They will be arriving in approximately 50 days. I will need to get a house for us, would you know of a place that is available?” Vectorius asked. “Why yes, there is a house by the sea with a big yard and the neighbors are shattered in the area. We passed by it on our way to the southend of the island. I will take you there tomorrow around mid morning” Leuquotus said.
Stopping by was Staroverticus on his way to his house further up the road and seeing the two talking. “Good afternoon Leuquotus and Vectorius. I was on my way home when I remember something that I wanted to ask Vectorius, but forgot too earlier at the meeting. And that is, will I be able to situate my house like it is here on Etobiius. High up on a mountain so that I can observe the night sky, the stars and planets” Staroverticus said. “How do you observe those thing you mention” Vectorius asked knowing seeing something in the distance is hard to do. “I have made a thing I call a telescope by using convex glasses, I can make the object look larger in the eye piece I use” Staroverticus said.
“One of these days I would like to see it” Vectorius said. “Yes, lets plan on it. I live up the hill from here where the road ends” Staroverticus said. “What about one of these nights. Leuquotus is it possible for Cirrus to take me up there and bring me back in the dark?” Vectorius asked. “He will need to have the night latern setup for the carriage. I don’t see why not” Leuquotus said. “Then one of these nights I will go. Most likely next week” Vectorius said. “That will be fine” Staroverticus answered back.
Leuquotus took Vectorius to see the house he had mentioned the day before. They went through the house while Leuquotus explained it’s history of once being owned by a friend who went back to Atlantis for business reasons. As they talked, they looked down by the beach and saw 4 individuals riding hydrofoils out in the water and riding the waves. “What it that they are riding?” Vectorius asked. “They are riding hydrofoils, a new items some the upper grade students developed. It’s a short hollowed out wooden core object with a extended keel with wings attached to it’s bottom They press up and down on it with their bodies to give it momentum and leaning forward to give it’s glide” Leuquotus said watching them catch waves and flow back out. “Would you want this location?” Leuquotus asked. “Yes, I will take it” Vectorius said as they walked back to the carriage and rode away.
Away from the house, four friends have gotten out of the water after their workout session on their hydrofoils. The foursome had been on their hydrofoils for a couple of hours riding the winds swell further out and the small swell near shore. They had walked over to a shed near the beach and put away their hydrofoil into the storage locker. There was a small waterfall stream flowing over a small cliff near the locker. Each would take turns rinsing off. Two of the friends discussed what they were going to do afterwards. Myrotheus says to Zeumo “I have to stop by the harbor and see Dartolo, he needs some help with his a new fishing boat.” “I have some time before my next class, can I come along” asked Zeumo as they waited to use the shower. “Ok” said Myrotheus.
Abethena who is the female of the group had finished rinsing off and walked over to her towel. Darmax was next to rinse off followed by Myrotheus and Zeumo. Abethena was looking at Darmax who was thinking about the recent project of the propulsion system that he and a few others were working on. “What are you thinking about Darmax” asked Abethena. “A new project which I’m not at liberty to discuss Abethena” Darmax said. Myrotheus and Zeumo looked at Darmax and both were curious in what Darmax was working on. “Come on Darmax don’t be so technical, what is it” asked Zeumo.
Changing the subject Abethena mentioned “See everyone tomorrow” as she waved and went on her way. After the rinse Myrotheus, Zeumo and Darmax were walking up to the fork in the road. Darmax took the high road back to the campus and Myrotheus and Zeumo took the low road to the harbor. Along the way Myrotheus and Zeumo crossed paths with the Philosopher Faroftis who happened to be on a daily walk around the harbor and was heading home. “How are you Sir” asked Myrotheus. “Good, thank you” replied Faroftis who is wearing a wide brim straw hat and a white toga, he had a wooden walking cane to help in moments of need. “Faroftis what is the purpose of life” asked Zeumo seeking to enhance his knowledge.
“What is the purpose of life” he paraphrased the question before answering. “It is my belief that the purpose of life is the pursuit of Happiness, Love and Wisdom. To become a better person and to have faith in a spiritual power” answered Faroftis looking at the two young men. The two friends stood in silence contemplating the insight that Faroftis had just conveyed to them. “I can see you two will do well on this road that you travel on. Continue with your studies and learn” said Faroftis as he concluded the conversation by saying “Good day” and continued on his way.
Myrotheus and Zeumo resumed their conversation before stopping and looking back at Faroftis, then at each other. ”What do you think Zeumo” asked Myrotheus. “We have a long ways to go compared to Farofthis” replied Zeumo as they continued on their way. They arrived at the harbor and walked over to Dartolo’s boat where he and his deck hands were busy getting ready to move his boat to the Safe Harbor of the Westside of the island. He was told earlier of a coming storm and was getting ready to depart to the other side.
“Myrotheus there has been a change in plans. I was informed of a pending storm and I must hurry to the Safe Harbor in preparation of the storm. I thank you for coming and I do need your help lifting a few spars on the new boat, but for now I must leave” replied Dartolo as he pointed to one deckhand to pushed off with an oar off the docks as he waved at Myrotheus and Zeumo, while steering clear of the dock. “Well that’s that. Let go back to the campus and see if there is a lecture we can sit in on” said Myrotheus. Zeumo agreed and they began walking back to the fork in the road.
Abethena reached home and sees her neighbor Helena returning from class. “How was your class” asked Abethena. “It went well and I learned a lot in agriculture today, but a few of the boys were paying more attention to me than their studies” answered Helena. A smile came to Abethena after hearing Helena day’s experience about the boys in her class. Then they would continue theirs discussion about the class and the latest gossip of what the other girls were doing.
“You know Diana is very serious about Clementus and he her. Diana says they will marry, but haven’t told her parents yet” mentioned Abethena. “I knew that they liked each other, but how will they manage” questioned Helena. “Clementus and Diana will live at her parent’s house at first. Then Clementus will seek employment and go to school part time. He will apply for a loan through the governor’s office and build a house of their own” said Abethena.
Back at the academy Darmax was looking over the plans of the propulsion system. Demetres his fellow classmate asked “What do you make of this design.” As the other select few were looking at their copies of the diagram. “It is much more advanced than anything taught to us previously and it is going take some time to make it happen” said Darmax. “Please take your seats Admiral Neptatuno would like to go over this project with you all” said Captain Ysathora one of the officer / instructor involved in the project who was in the back of the room.
The Admiral stepped up to the front of class and began his speech. “Earlier this week our Commander General Cartuveral came to me with these plans and information on how to develop the materials for it. He wanted me to be in charge of this project and so I agreed. I’m getting ahead of myself, I first he became aware of it by Ambassador Outaforium, who from his previous experiences with the Star people was given these drawings earlier this week” pausing for a moment to express there was more to it than what he was saying.
“They told Ambassador Outaforium if we can build a vessel with this propulsion system, a whole new world was at our door step. They, meaning the Star people wanted to share an idea for him to convey to us. If we are successful they may share other ideas with us. He was all for it and they forwarded the plans to him. After which the ambassador would notify General Cartuveral of the idea” said Admiral Neptatuno. After the depositing the drawings of the propulsion system, the space ship soon disappeared” said the Admiral as he looked over to Captain Ysathora “ Captain Ysathora will introduce the other instructors for this project, Captain Ysathora.”
The captain step forward and introduce his instructors“Besides being instructors here at the academy, they are also officers of the military operations on this island. May I introduce Captain Marsutus in charge of the propulsion group, Captain Fluidious in charge of the of the vessel design, and Captain Accounto in charge of the weapons. Each group will have four students and they will work with the captains. We do not know the duration of this project so we will evaluate it every three months.”
The captains started calling out the students names that will be part of their group. Captain Marutus called out Darmax and Demetatres along with Pterathemum and Diangus. The other captains called out their students and the groups began organizing their agendas and schedules. Captain Marutus told his group that they will meet at the Safe Harbor class room to go over the plans in an hour. Leaving the meeting with his fellow members in the group, Darmax looked over to Demetatres who said “The main questions is what equipment and tools are we going to need, when one procedure ends and another begins, how to test it and why” said Demetatres, Darmax was visualizing in his mind the steps that Demetatres was talking about and commented “We have to think outside the box Demetatres” as they left the classroom.
At the central forum within the Dome a crowd had gathered and Myrotheus and Zeumo are listening to Astronomer Staroverticus who was talking about the sun and how the earth and the planets circled around it to cause the seasons. Alongside of him was Mathematician Protonumerus who interjected how many days it took to make one cycle and how it related to the calendar by the day, the week and the month.
“Look Zeumo, its Darmax on the other side of the stage. Let’s go see him” remarked Myrotheus as they started to walk over to him. ”Hey Darmax, what are you up too” asked Zeumo. “Taking a break from my project class, I felt overwhelmed going over some drawing. So I thought of asking my father some question in regards to that” said Darmax looking over to his father Protonumerus.“Ok, I feel like getting something to eat, can you meet us at the market place after you talk with your father. We can go over to the theater and watch a play this afternoon” remarked Zeumo. “Sorry guys about the play, but I can meet at the market place. I need to get some food before going back to the project.
Myrotheus and Zeumo was sitting on a bench by a tree when Darmax came up to them after talking with his father. “Have some bread and goat cheese, take what you want we have plenty” said Myrotheus as Darmax pulled a piece of bread and cut a piece of cheese. “That hit the spot, sure was hungry” said Darmax chewing on the bread. “Here have some water” said Zeumo handing Darmax a horned leather pouch with water in it. “So how is the project coming along Darmax” asked Zeumo. “There is a lot to understand and figure out. It is uncharted waters as far as I am concerned” said Darmax. “Go with the flow and you will get there” said Zeumo.
“I think your suggestion just open the door to the possibilities” remarked Darmax in an excited expression after a revelation came to him. “I did” said Zeumo. “Yes you did” said Darmax picking up an apple and taking a bite before rushing back to the classroom at Safe Harbor to review the drawings again. “I have to be going home Zeumo. I will see you later” said Myrotheus. “Yes I will be leaving soon myself” replied Zeumo picking up a cluster of grapes and began eating them one by one. Sitting there watching the crowd walk by. A voice that he knew says “What are you up to Zeumo” as he turned to see it was Abethena. “Care for some grapes” asked Zeumo grabbing a bunch and placing it in front of him. “Why yes. Thank you” she said as a smile came to Zeumo.
“What are you doing here” he asked. “I’m on an errand for my mother. She wanted some vegetables and meat for dinner tonight and sent me here” was her response. “Well, may I be of assistance” he asked. “Sure, let go check it out” she continued. Zeumo got up, put his supplies in the basket that he had purchased. “Hows your day been” she asked. “Well, I think I have been transformed somewhat from rough to smooth in my way of viewing peace of mind” he said looking into her eyes and trying to impress her with sophistication in the words that he has chosen.
“Well, well I can see that the day has given you enlightenment beyond what I expected you to say” Abethena said with a chuckle. “Come my lady and we shall go forth and procure your items” as he extended his elbow out and she wrap her left arm around it. “Shall we go my prince” she said with a smile as they blended in with the crowd of shoppers.