The Azores

…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…

“What will you do when you return to England,” Jose asked Emma conversationally. It was possibly the wrong question for the time, but it was the first thing that popped into his head. A sheepishness overcame him as the words left his mouth.

It did not deter Emma, who felt her previous sensitivity lifted from her soul and responded frankly, “I don’t know for sure. Find work of some sort I suspect.”

She didn’t press to continue the conversation, yet Jose felt emboldened by her short response and pressed on, “Did you come from London originally?”

“No, I’m from Scotland, so arriving in London is doing me no good. It is to be expected now though, things going different to how I pictured them.”

“That’s a sad way at looking at life, but I guess understandable.”

They paused. Was it ok to talk about trashed, they both wondered. Jose decided it wasn’t ok to talk about his. Emma thought otherwise and asked, “you don’t know about MacGregor, do you?”

“Only the bits and pieces that I’ve heard around the ship. No one seems too interested in talking much about him though. He’s the source of all your misery?”

“Indeed he is. The scoundrel took us all for what we were worth and even left many of us for dead. A con man and villain of the highest order. Seeing how our middle aged men think of it though, I suspect him to get off scot free.”

“No punishment at all?” Jose exclaimed, waving his hands.

“Well, there may be some seizure of assets or other some such slap on the wrists, if they can find him, but I doubt that very much.”

Jose felt in awe of this woman. It was unexpected given how meek she had seemed at first during her verbal combat with Thomas Clink. Now she had decided to act in a much different way.

“Isn’t that your wife?” Emma asked as Noemi cane up on deck and looked out to sea.

Jose was more focussed on Noemi’s demeanour rather than the question, so he didn’t respond quickly. Instead he pondered his sister’s state of mind. Was she thinking how beautiful and relatively calm the ocean was at this moment or debating whether to jump in? He then snapped back to the present question and the odd look on Emma’s face.

“No, no wife! That’s my twin sister!”

“Ah, that makes sense I guess.”

“Does it?”

“Well, yeah, I guess it does. No ring, you’ve barely spoken, no kids and you look very alike. I was just checking because even if something makes sense, it might not be true.”

Jose stood up and said, “let me introduce you.”

They walked over to where Noemi was standing and stood on either side of her. She looked at both of them and then back out at sea. Pointing in the distance she said, “what’s that?”

At the same time there was a shout from the crows nest of, “land!”

An excitement bubbled onto deck along with most of the passengers who could walk unaided. Everyone hoped it was England, but thought seemed somewhat fanciful. Whatever it was out there was very small and hard to see.

The Captain, a tall, slender man with a rough, serious face and jet black hair in a ponytail, pushed is way through the crowd of passengers to the quarterdeck. There he consulted with his charts, navigators and looked through his spy glass.

Below the quarter deck passengers variously tried to guess what the captain was doing and thinking and trying to get a proper glimpse of the supposed land. There was a lot of excitement rolled together with a decent chunk of confusion. Were they close to home or not?

The answer was vague and unsatisfying. The Captain told everyone that it was the Azores and that they had drifted off course. He added that it would take a bit longer still to reach London, to which the passengers groaned immensely.

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