Caglioano

 

Chapter 23

Cagliano

 

First on their list of what-to-do was to find a way to survive the next days, and then try to find a way to Brest. The salvage-sum for the wreck they had towed in with them only reached to buy them bed and board for one day and some new clothes in stead of the rags they were presently wearing. Jean Luc’s family had a shipping company (the renowned Bergerac & Badjo – or B&B for short) with an office in Cagliano, so he naturally went there to ask for help. Through them he reserved room on board the next company ship bound back to Brest – in a few weeks time – but while they would gladly help out Jean Luc with food and board, they had no intentions of helping his friends. They thus went to see Cees van Roeden – a Sachsish merchant and go-between, well known for his good contacts to high and low in Cagliano – and he directed them to where jobs could be found. Michael, Hawk, Ernest and Fiona got jobs on a small coaster for a couple of weeks. Apparently they did so well on board that the captain refused to take them back on for a second trip, since they all (with the exception of Michael, who suffered terribly from seasickness in the beginning) were better sailors than the captain himself. Dominique de la Trier tutored many of the young in Cagliano in various subjects. He was especially popular with the young girls he tutored, and on at least one occasion he found himself forced to duel against one of her relatives – I think I have mentioned before, that Dominique was an excellent marksman, so he had no trouble winning such duels. However his reputation suffered from it amongst the parents whom might have considered hiring him to tutor their daughters, it certainly came to no harm amongst the daughters… Jean Luc seemed to spent his time in Cagliano dawdling – he didn’t need to work to survive the stay in Cagliano, and didn’t seem to feel obliged to help the others in their survival. I sensed Fiona was a bit bitter about this, when she told of it. Certainly she felt it was disloyal of him to shunt his obligation to do his bit for the common good. I suppose he must have thought he had already done his bit in arranging the free transport to Brest.

 

At this point Fiona ran into an olde accomplice of her fathers; Jack O’Neill. He was now captaining the sloop Doreen and had gotten a tip that would turn out to be the coupe of the decade! You might already have heard of it – it was in all the papers at the time. But here it is anyway; the rumour had it that lord Greystoke – the self-acclaimed king – had given Codora an island in the colonies at the end of the war of 1626. Everybody knows what the common opinion on that was: he had provided thus Codora with a bridgehead to invade the Island Kingdom once more. Codorian nobles were already moving goods and weapons to the island, and O’Neill had discovered one of those caches. We all know what Codorian noble I’m referring too, and I will refrain from mentioning his name to avoid international lawsuit – he is famed for those too. You may already have heard various versions of the story, but let me tell it to you as it really happened (or as I was told by Fiona and various others): Fiona, Hawk, Michael, Jean Luc, Ernest and Dominique joined O’Neill and his crew of four men on the Doreen. The target was in a hidden cove with a small fort, a watchtower, an inn and a couple of warehouses – filled to the brim with weapons, clothes, crystal chandeliers, panels and everything a noble could want to build a proper home, install his family and prepare for war. O’Neill already had takers for a lot of the goods – primarily the weapons. And Fiona relied on Black Harry in Port Royal to take any other goods they might find.

 

Fiona acted captain on the Doreen, though it was O’Neill’s ship. She set 8 men ashore a bit down the coast of the layout, counting on that she and two mates could manage the Doreen. They needed as many on shore as possible to take out the lookouts in the fort and the tower, and what other guards may roam around the warehouses, before the Doreen could be put to shore, which would surely set of an alarm. The fighting didn’t go exactly as planned (it never does, I’m told), but no one was alerted that was not taken out. At a point guns were fired, and Fiona decided to sail Doreen into the harbour and maybe settle the matter with a canon shot or two. She hurried a bit too much, coming into the harbour way too fast. From what I’m told, she then performed the niftiest piece of manoeuvring ever seen west of Brest; inside the harbour she turned the Doreen on a hairpin and set her to rest right at the landing stage, as if it was all according to plan. It might have been, but honestly folks; I don’t think that even Fiona is that talented a captain! But lucky – that’s for damn sure!

 

In the meantime things were settled on land. The men in the fort were pacified and trapped. There turned out to be no one in the tower. Several men from the inn had been subdued and the guards guarding the warehouses were either dead or knocked out. A couple of dogs locked into the warehouses were bribed with a couple of handfuls of meat. Fiona and her men now faced the treasure-cove of a lifetime; They opened cache after cache, and found guns and muskets, fine Toledo-steel worked into sword blades, gold (stamped with the codorian state’s mark), jewels, silk, fancy china, noble wood, a crystal chandelier and clothes meant for the nameless codorian nobleman and his wife and daughters. The men all secured fine shirts and breeches, and Fiona secured the finest two dresses she was ever to own. They loaded on board the Doreen 34 boxes and 15 barrels of riches! Though I have never heard a precise amount of money of what they earned on that coup, it must have been vast! The ten companions thereafter each wore a golden codorian doubloon in remembrance of the feat – as if any would ever forget!

 

They sailed via the Solar Seas to an unknown destination on the Islands, where they handed off the weapons. There were speculations for a long time who exactly bought the weapons, but I am pretty certain by now it must have been the Duagalls – Fiona never told. The rest of the goods were true enough realized into gold and jewels via Black Harry in Port Royal. He was a bit down his luck those days, since it was at that time the Harrow Brothers were at their highest. They pressed all other entrepreneurs in the area, and had put out quite an award on Fiona’s head (because of the time she and her ship fellows had boarded a Harrow smuggling ship, confiscated the goods and left them adrift – all in good fun according to Fiona) - £200 I’m told. But because of the prize Fiona decided not to stay long in her home city. She met with Mamasita, used gold by the pound to buy clothes and personal supplies (pirates never did like to keep their gold) and went off to Port Fender on Black Harry’s advice to hire crew for the Ienne, soon to be ready to take out to sea. It was also rumoured that La Querida was in that end of the ocean, and Fiona was eager to meet up with Billy, N’Gote and her other friends from her time onboard Carlos’ ship. So the friends parted way for a while.