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Power Transfer

Palos, SPAIN.

Edgardo Gagliardi plodded slowly towards the docks with his eldest son close at his side.  Hoping to rebuild his family’s fortunes in the New World, he should have been full of excitement at the start of this great new enterprise, but his heart was heavy.  After gathering his children and fleeing from his enemies in Italy, he’d used the remainder of his fortune to charter a ship and supplies for the journey, with plans on never returning to Europe.

He and his son Vittorio were headed to check on the status of her provisions before assembling the rest of the family for the voyage.  When they reached the docks, Vittorio gaped in awe at the galleon waiting at port for their inspection.  The seacraft was more beautiful than any other in the harbor.  Though flying the flag of Spain, she was of Italian design.


Galleon.jpg

    “Her name is the Floriana,” Edgardo told his son as they neared the vessel.

               “After mother?” Vito whispered, looking up at his father.

    “Yes...”  Edgardo murmured in response, not lifting his wistful gaze from the boat.  “Seems only fitting, don’t you think?”

Vito reflected for a moment in quiet contemplation.  Fitting, indeed.  His mother had sacrificed her life to help get her children out of Italy.  Edgardo moved towards the gangplank, with Vito following his father aboard.

On deck, the crew was busying itself preparing for launch, with a bombastic Captain loudly barking out orders.  The Captain was a plump, finely dressed Spaniard.  Spying what he took for a pair of interlopers, he began an angry tromp in their direction, until he recognized his patron, and immediately changed his countenance to a more convivial approach.


                     “Aah, Señor Gagliardi!” he called out heartily with outstretched palms as he neared the Italian duo, grabbing Edgardo by both arms and planting a kiss on each cheek as he reached them. 

                     “How are you, my good sir,” Captain Vicente De Leon Escarrá proffered, with a deep, formal bow to his visitors.  “...and who is this fine young gentleman with you?”

    “Capitano Escarrá, this is my eldest son, Vittorio,” Edgardo replied, holding his son about the shoulders, with a slight nod of his head to the Captain.  “He has come with me to review preparations.”

                     “I hope the two of you are satisfied with your purchase,” The Captain puffed out his chest as he gestured grandly across the deck.

                     “I am most pleased you have chosen me to lead this voyage,” he added, taking Vittorio’s elbow with intent to lead the way to the storage hold.  “This will be my second crossing of the great sea.”

    “Thank you Capitano,” Edgardo broke in, taking Vito by the other elbow and pulling him loose from the Captain’s grasp.  “My son and I will take it from here... I am sure you still have much to do with the crew and ship.”

The Captain smiled and bowed his head, then took leave with a flourish of his tam.


               “Why did you choose him, father?” Vito inquired as soon as the Captain was out of earshot.

    “Because of his inclusion, the Spanish court is covering half our expenses,” Edgardo answered flatly, passing Vittorio a logbook.

Their task complete, the Galgliardis headed back ashore to round up the rest of the family.  Edgardo took in the sight of his children before him with mixed emotion, wishing his wife were here with them.  His daughters looked much like Floriana.  Amarantha, who was seventeen, looked most like her, while Isabella was only six, but shared many of her mother’s features.  With his sons, there was a difference.  Vittorio, nineteen, was the spitting image of his father, while Ovidio, sixteen, looked like a male version of his mother.  The twins, Ferdinando and Frederico, eleven, shared features of both their mother and father.

With his children and a handful of remaining servants aboard, they set sail, traveling for a fortnight before a planned stop off at the Azores.  Edgardo and Captain Escarrá went ashore together to tend to ship business, leaving Vittorio and first mate Gervasio Da Costa in charge of the vessel.  Vito’s siblings, with exception of Ovidio, who had been acting as the cabin boy, had remained below decks with the servants for the first part of the journey, and according to their father’s wishes, were to remain there throughout the family’s migration.

               “What can you tell me about the new world?” Vittorio asked Gervasio, looking over the ship rail.

                     “It is a beautiful land, full of jungles and amazing peoples,” Gervasio proclaimed, beaming.  “On the mainland, far to the west, there is an empire lead by vampires, known as the Aztec.”

               “Vampires?”  Vittorio raised an eyebrow at the first mate.  “That must be a truly frightful place.”

                     “Vito,” Gervasio chuckled in response, turning to face the patron’s son.  “I am a servant of your father’s, and have been for quite some time.  I know all about your family.”  The first mate looked him dead in the eye.

               “You’re a vampire as well!” Vito gasped in shock.  There would be no mesmerizing this man.

                     “Indeed,” Gervasio’s hushed tone was intense and excited.  “...and I have vowed to bring your father’s family to the Aztec kingdom.  Once we get there, we will all be made nobles of the land!”

               “So, that is the plan...” Vittorio mused, as he turned back to watching the docks.  “I do not believe our Captain will go along with that.”

                     “Your brother Ovidio is taking care of the Capitán,” Gervasio disclosed conspiratorially.  “It will be up to you and I, Vittorio, to handle the rest of the crew.”

               “I see...” Vito muttered, leaning in closer to avoid being overheard.  “...are we to crew the ship ourselves, then, or run with a skeleton crew of those who do not mutiny against us?”

                     “Right now, even as we speak,” Gervasio beamed.  “Your father is purchasing another crew right under the Capitán’s nose.”

_______________

Edgardo and Captain Escarrá met with a hawk-nosed Italian merchant named Cipriano Falco, at a dock side bar, with adobe walls and wide open porticoes and windows on the second level facing the docks.  The ambience of subtropical breezes coming off the ocean and balmy weather had a relaxing effect on the demeanor of the meeting.  Falco bowed to both men, and led them to a table on the first floor, where they ordered a meager meal over which to discuss business.


               “The supplies you ordered arrived just before you did,” Cipriano informed Edgardo, eating a slice of apple between his thumb and the knife he cut it with.  “I can have the ship moved next to yours in the dock to make the loading easier.”

       “Capitano,” Edgardo asked of Escarrá, swishing his cup of red wine.  “...Would that be the best way, logistically, to have things done?”

Captain Escarrá stabbed a morsel of duck with his fork.


                     “Where is the ship currently docked?” he questioned the merchant.

               “At Santa Cruz Das Flores,” Cipriano informed, after a swig of wine.

                     “Then we shall move our ship there, as that is the most westward isle,” Capitan Escarrá declared with some authority, and then, standing up from the table, he added, “We should go now and make use of this favorable wind.”

The Italian men got up and left with him.  Together, they took the Floriana from the Southern tip of the island to the Northern port at Santa Cruz Das Flores, where they docked alongside a merchant vessel they had had been directed to by Falco.  Once there, three men boarded; an Arab, an African, and a large blond Norseman.


               “Capitano Escarrá, Señor Gagliardi,” Cipriano heralded, motioning to the new sailors he'd brought along.  “May I introduce you to my assistants.  This is Dhi’b Abdur-Rahman, of Tangiers, Alemayehu, from East Africa, and Andrés Leifsson, from Iceland.”

The assistants bowed to the captain and Edgardo.

After introductions, the crew loaded new supplies from the merchant vessel onto the Floriana.  Beyond the supplies, there came three coffles of slaves; one made up of Africans, another of Neanderthals, and the third of Europeans.  At this last embarking, Captain Escarrá balked.


                     Señor!,” the Captain harrumphed dramatically at the sight of the white faces in chains.  “I understand the need of slaves in the New World, but European stock, that is too much, sir!”

Edgardo brought himself to his full height, staring the Captain directly in the eyes with some intensity.  When he spoke, his voice was cool, and terse.


       “I would remind the good Capitano that this is my ship, and what I purchase is of no concern of his.”

Captain Escarrá demurred, and wandered off, mumbling to himself.  Some of the crew also seemed disturbed by the cargo being brought aboard.  This did not go unnoticed by Edgardo, who made a hand signal known to his sons and Gervasio.  The four of them made their way cautiously and unobserved to Edgardo’s cabin.  At his quarters, the voyage’s patron spoke carefully to his associates, tapping the hilt of his sword.


       “Ovidio, my boy, the time has come,” Edgardo held the face of his secondborn son in his hands.  “I want you to mesmerize the Capitano.  You can do this, my son, I have faith in you.

He then turned his attention to the other two.


       “Vittorio and Gervasio, keep the crew in line until we disembark.”

They all bowed to Edgardo and left his cabin.  Cipriano slid in after they left.


       “Have the weapon supplies been stocked near the new crew, as instructed?”  Edgardo asked his trusted aide.

               “Yes, your lordship, they have,” Falco nodded with a bow.  “Do you want me to have Andrés and Dhi’b uncuff them, and prepare to take the ship?” Cipriano hissed eagerly, rubbing his hands together.

       “Yes.  Have them prepare the men and send Alemayehu to protect my other children.  Then join him after my orders are carried out.”

That night Edgardo invited the Captain to join him in his personal cabin for dinner.

_______________

The next morning, Edgardo informed the original crew that Escarrá and many of their mates had either taken ill or deserted in the night, and that Gervasio would henceforth be Captain.  The remaining crew, now surrounded by pirates they had taken for slaves the day before, naturally capitulated without a fight.  Edgardo watched the indolent accedence from the prow, distractedly rubbing the locket of his beloved as it dangled around his neck, and found himself grateful for the malleable disposition of seafaring mercenaries.  A sly smile spread across the elder Gagliardi’s face.  This part of his plan had gone off without a hitch.  With a kiss of the locket, and an unspoken tender tribute to his lost Floriana, Edgardo hoped the rest of his family’s new adventure would fare as smoothly once reaching the Islands of the New World.

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Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
shadowwolf13
Mar. 21st, 2017 05:08 am (UTC)
Sounds like the start of a very new life.
mamas_minion
Mar. 21st, 2017 08:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, this is going to be a new adventure for their family.
rayaso
Mar. 21st, 2017 05:37 pm (UTC)
So this is how European vampires made it to the New World! Were the Aztecs actually led by vampires, or was this a rumor because of human sacrifices? This was very well written, with plenty of details to give it a genuine period feel.
mamas_minion
Mar. 21st, 2017 08:30 pm (UTC)
We will have to wait and see about the Aztecs. But this is how Vito and his family got to the new world.
halfshellvenus
Mar. 22nd, 2017 07:04 pm (UTC)
I feel bad for Captain Escarra, who seems to have done nothing wrong other than to unknowingly become a pawn in Vittorio's scheme. The rest of the crew too, it seemed.

You know, given the Aztecs and Mayans love of blood and human sacrifice, I'm not sure how they weren't vampires. ;)

mamas_minion
Mar. 22nd, 2017 07:08 pm (UTC)
Don't feel to bad for him remember what the Spanish actually did to the natives of South America. A little known fact was that allot of navy personal during those times were press ganged into service and that life as a pirate was preferable to that in the navy. so the crew may be better off.
eternal_ot
Mar. 23rd, 2017 01:36 pm (UTC)
Interesting start :) I enjoyed the details here & also the picture of Floriana
mamas_minion
Mar. 23rd, 2017 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you, It took me awhile to find a picture of an Italian Galleon.
bleodswean
Mar. 23rd, 2017 05:10 pm (UTC)
A pirate's life! Such a wonderfully done setup to what is going to be globe-encompassing adventure!
mamas_minion
Mar. 23rd, 2017 07:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you, when I got the topic it seemed like the perfect time to explain how Vito got to the Americas in the first place.
penpusher
Mar. 23rd, 2017 09:41 pm (UTC)
Awesome descriptions and action, as usual. Seems like we have a new intrigue awaiting the new continent!
mamas_minion
Mar. 23rd, 2017 09:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I was looking forward to getting into more of Vito's past.
alycewilson
Mar. 24th, 2017 01:11 am (UTC)
Excellent use of research! I found it interesting that we both wrote about people coming to America -- well, people in a sense, I suppose. ;)
mamas_minion
Mar. 24th, 2017 02:24 am (UTC)
Thank you, I am glad that my story is fiction and yours is true. the other way around would make life way more interesting than it need be.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )