The Final Journey of La Barca de Maximilla, Part 2
Several hours later, the captain awoke from his slumber. He tried to stand, but struggled to keep his balance. After a few stumbles and falls, he got on his feet and then looked around the room. Wet papers were strung across the floor and on the walls of the cabin. The legs of the tables and chairs were broken up and scattered over various spots around the room. A frying pan handle was stuck through the back wall of the cabin.
Castille opened the door behind him and made his way outside. It was now early morning. The sky still had a purple tint, but most of it was masked by murky grey clouds. From the quarterdeck, he saw several men on the deck. Several were laying down motionless, and several others were attending to those with injuries. The mainmast of the caravel had been split into two pieces; one was still upright and still attached to the vessel, while the other piece was laid, sprawled across on the main deck. Some of the crew members that weren’t attending to those wounded from the storm tried to raise the broken mast and reattach the second log. They had made little progress, however.
Castille made his way over to his secondhand men that were gathered on top of the forecastle of the ship. He approached them and breathed a heavy sigh of relief. The storm was over, but more importantly for him, he saw that all of his advisors were still alive.
“¡Castille, oh thank the Heavens, you’re alive! ¿Are you alright?” worried Julio, the only translator and linguist on the voyage.
“I’m fine, Julio. Just passed out for a bit,” Castille responded. He looked over to Anselmo, who was near the bottom of the bowsprit. Anselmo repeatedly kept looking down at his compass and at the sky which was about to set in, he seemed perplexed. “¿How is everyone?”
“Well, everyone is generally unharmed aside from a few bruises and scratches here and there. Although, our diplomat was struck by one of the wood splinters during the explosion; a splinter had made its way into his thigh. He was brought back into the lower quarters and the doctor attended to him. He’ll be alright for now,” Julio said.
“And how many of our men perished in the storm?” Castille asked aloud.
“Well, from what I can gather, we lost about eight deckhands and two merchants,” Julio said with a quiet tone.
“That’s… ¿Do we have any of their bodies?” Castille questioned, “Least we can do is give them a proper burial once we’re done with this trip.”
“We only have two of the bodies, and the rest were taken away by the storm,” Julio replied.
Castille stared out into the ocean, horrified at all the death that had occurred only a few hours ago. He pondered if he could have done more. He paused for a moment and then quietly asked Julio, “I see. Well, ¿where are the bodies located?”
“We were able to move them down inside the forecastle,” Julio said while pointing lazily underneath them.
“Alright, thank you, Julio,” Castille said. He walked past Julio and made his way over to Anselmo who still stood in visible confusion.
“Anything wrong?” Castille wondered to Anselmo.
Anselmo took a pause but he didn’t turn around to face him, “Eight of our men and two other merchants are dead, one Ornthasian and the other Calledonian, several more are injured. Our mainsails are now broken and water now lies at the bottom of our decks, with the water rising up to our waists. There are numerous things wrong at the moment, Castille.” Anselmo said calmly but still showed hints of anger.
“Alright friend. I can sense your frustrations, and believe me, I feel it too.” Castille said while placing his hand on Anselmo’s shoulders.
Anselmo reached over with his left hand, crossed his chest, and grabbed Castille’s hand. He lowered it slowly, “ You do not share my frustrations, friend. You have gotten us into this mess, this was your plan and the fault lies within you.”
Castille didn’t respond. He climbed down the stairs and went to inspect the ship.
Night had set in. Crew members had given up reinstating the mast, the damage was beyond repair. The ship was now using it’s back two masts and its bowsprit mast in order to catch the wind, though the ship still moved at a snail’s pace.
Castille sat over the bodies inside the forecastle. He looked at the boy that had died next to him on the quarterdeck. He cried over the boy, the tears from his cheek splat down on the sheets that covered his body.
“¿Why has God forsaken me?” Castille whispered to himself. He took a swig of his tenth tavern of ale and laid down in between the two bodies. He murmured inaudibly to himself before he fell into a deep slumber.
A fog descended on the ship over the course of the night. Soon the crew on deck could only see out to a foot in front of them. They called out to each other to locate each other’s position. The calls woke many of the crew who were sleeping below in the hull.
Anselmo himself was awoken from the calls. He got out of bed and began to make his way to the deck in order to see the commotion. The hallway slowly rocked from side to side as he walked. Anselmo passed by Julio’s room, and then he stopped. He knocked somewhat hard on Julio’s door in a rhythmic pattern, signaling for him to get up. Julio woke, surprised. He begrudgingly got out of his bed and opened the door.
“¿The hell you want?” Julio asked tiredly while rubbing his eyes.
“Get out, we need to investigate the mierda that’s happening upstairs,” Anselmo said.
“Just deal with the mierdas in the morning,” Julio said with annoyance.
“No, get out ‘ere,” Anselmo demanded. “Now.”
Julio paused and then replied, “Alright fine, at least let me get dressed.”
Once Julio had gotten ready, the two made their way to the stairs that lead up to the main deck. They heard the yells and orders of the men up top. Confused, they made their way up the stairs. The moment they opened the hatch, the thick fog from the deck had seeped down into the hull. Anselmo was shocked and nearly fell over the railing of the stairs as he recoiled, but Julio quickly grabbed his arm. The two men stepped onto the deck and were perplexed to see such a thick fog.
“Stay close, Julio. I’d prefer we not lose each other,” Anselmo whispered to Julio. Anselmo looked around but he couldn’t make out anything useful. He shouted at the other deckhands that were still stationed on top of the vessel, “¿HELLO, IS THERE ANYONE HERE THAT CAN HEAR ME?”
“¡WE CAN, SEÑOR!” a voice yelled from the stern of the ship.
“¡WE’RE ALSO HERE, SEÑOR!” another voice shouted from the portside.
“¡¿HOW MANY OF YOU ARE STILL WITH ME?!” Anselmo asked out loud.
“¡THERE’S STILL SIX OF US UP HERE, SEÑOR!” the same voice from the stern answered.
Anselmo then commanded, “¡ALRIGHT, JUST STAY WHERE YOU ARE CURRENTLY!”
Anselmo and Julio, still sticking close with each other, slowly made their way into the fog in order to meet up with any of the crew. As they walked, Julio bumped into the railing of the lower port side of the ship. As he bumped into the railing, he looked down onto the water below.
“Uhh… ¿Anselmo?” Julio called anxiously.
“¿Yes, Julio?” Anselmo replied.
“The water is… moving awfully fast. Either that, or we’re moving awfully fast,” Julio said while he peered at the water.
Anselmo made his way over to the railing and looked down at the water below, and he too noticed the fast motion of the water. He observed more closely: it was not the water that was traveling fast. The waves that the boat were sailing over were moving only at a moderate pace. It was the ship that was moving fast, faster than the tides and wind itself. Anselmo raised his hand in the air and tried to feel any breeze that would glaze his hand; all he felt was the fog’s moisture that breezed past his arm. There was no wind to be felt, nor was it there to push the ship.
Anselmo screamed at the crew, “¡RAISE THE SAILS, NOW!”
A voice that came from the starboard part of the ship questioned, “¿WHY, SEÑOR?
“¡I SAID TO RAISE THE SAILS NOW, MEN! WE’RE GOING OFF CO-” Anselmo was cut off as he was thrown onto the side of the railings.
Julio was thrown to the back and into the walls of the quarterdeck, he had hit several barrels that had broken some of his impacts. The screams of the crew echoed through the air as some of them were propelled overboard the boat. The crew below deck had been jostled and multiple people had been knocked out upon hitting the sides of the hull and dividers. A loud explosion of sound and debris erupted from the front of the ship. The sound of wood breaking and the vibration of the ship continued until the sound had stopped at the keel of the ship. The thick fog had recessed, and revealed just what the boat had hit: rocky beaches of land.
Julio struggled to stand up, and the boat wailed a terrible noise. He tried to make his way to Anselmo. He called out to him, but there was no response. He grabbed onto the railings and slowly walked towards Anselmo’s unconscious body. The boat had started to tilt downwards towards the land that it had crashed into. There was a breach in its prow, causing water to fill the hull quickly. Several crew members quickly escaped to the surface of the boat. Others went back to grab those that were still incapacitated from the crash.
In only a few minutes, the water had filled all the way up to the top of the cargo hold. Dozens of the crew and a slew of merchants were still trapped underneath the crushing tides of waters, and those that had the willpower to combat such waters couldn’t nor did they have a chance against the rushing tides of water that had filled the hull.
“¡Castille!” Julio thought, as he took off running to the captain’s cabin. He kicked open the door, but saw no sign of the captain. He ran out onto the deck and asked some of the panicked deckhands if they had seen the captain. Many just shook their heads, and continued to carry the injured and unconscious to the rowboat on the back of the captain’s cabin.
The water had surfaced to the main deck and Julio was still searching. “Surely he must’ve not been downstairs with the rest of the men”, he thought to himself. Then he remembered the room underneath the forecastle. Julio dashed over to the door, and bashed it in. He saw the captain’s body on top of a boy’s corpse. He ran inside the room and wrapped Castille’s shoulders over his. By the time Julio made his way out onto the main deck, the water had risen to his knees. With Castille still on his back, Julio climbed to the stern and onto the poop deck.
The rest of the remaining crew had already gotten on the rowboat. They were about to detach the rope, but Julio screamed in protest, “¡Wait! I have the captain!” Two crew members rushed out of the rowboat and hurriedly helped Julio carry the captain onto the boat. By the time they got the captain on the craft, the water had consumed the poop deck. The boat rode off and paddled its way to the rocky shores of this mysterious land that they had shipwrecked on.
As they rowed onwards, almost everyone looked back onto the sinking caravel. The last thing that ever flew from the ship was its middle lateen sail; on it, flew the flag of Calledonía.