Part 210

Part the Two Hundred Tenth: The Troublesome Account

“And you are?” the eldest gentleman asked Hope.

“My name is Hope Harvey,” she replied.  “It was for me that Samuel de Cadiz- I mean, there was a ransom for me, the money for the letter of marquee, I-”

The withering look from the bearded elder dried the words in Hope’s throat.  His eyes made her want to look away from him the way a searing fire drives away those that stand too close.

“Don Hernando,” Samuel interceded, addressing the gentleman, “she is part of the crew of the Raging Gale, the vessel commissioned to go after the Españoles odiados.  The treasure there was word of, we sponsored the letter of marque from the governor at Nevis to take it.”

“So tell me,” said Don Hernando, ignoring Hope entirely, “what of the Gale, that your money financed to go after?”

“I believe she can tell us,” Samuel motioned toward her.

“And you can’t find out for me, this bit of knowledge, no?”

Uno momento, por favor,” Samuel said with a slight bow before turning to Hope.

“Is he that stupi-” she started to say before Samuel raised a finger.

He replied in a low voice, “He’s one of the wealthier merchant princes of the Am H’Sefer in Port Royal, and holds some firm beliefs about… well, about how things should be.”

“Oh?” Hope replied, trying to hide her annoyance.

“Yes, there are things he believes that are chukim, but when you are that well set, then you can hold such beliefs.  And I’m sure after you tell me things went well, that he will more likely want to hear it from you yourself, especially if there’s a substantial return involved.”

“Went well?”

“Yes.  I mean, you’re here, which means…  Tell me that your being here means the venture went well,” Samuel pleaded with a steadily shakier voice.

“I can’t do that.  She’s gone.”

“Who is, Abigail?  Did something happen to her, and -”

“No!” Hope cut him off.  “It’s the Gale.  She’s gone, the whole ship.  Her crew, yes that means Abigail, and Charity, Osei, Goddard, everyone, all of them.  I was the only survivor.”

She watched the color bleed out of Samuel’s face.  “Dios mio…” he finally managed to reply when he started to breathe again.

Hope gave a slight glance over to Don Hernando.  Despite what he and Samuel had said, the elder merchant had listened to her story anyway, a disappointed line furrowing his forehead.

“So tell me,” he asked Samuel, “what news have you of the Gale?”

“Oh for the love of-” Hope started to say, before Samuel put his finger on her lips.

The annoyance at being shushed by him was tinged with the tingling from the touch of his finger on her lips.  When he removed the finger, part of her regretted it leaving…

She watched as Samuel explained the situation to Don Hernando, some of discussion in Spanish she could follow, and some in a language she was not well versed with.  What was clear at the end of the exchange, however, was Don Hernando’s displeasure at Samuel’s situation.

And when Don Hernando spoke to the castellan who opened the door, she felt things were about to get worse.

“I’m sorry, Hope,” Samuel confirmed her suspicions as the castellan showed her the door…

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