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A weeke after Charles’ tragic death the crew tooke a vote for a new captain. Fiona looked upon the Querida as her inheritance, but Alejandro (the first mate) did not see it so. A vote was taken, and as Fiona later tolde me: ‘He was better at cheating than I and thus he won the captaincy of my ship’. Cheating or no, Alejandro was made captain, and off course he woulde not accept Fiona as new first mate or in deed in any position on the ship at all. Only the two of them coulde not see the perfect match they were: Alejandro with his common sense, his calmness when the worlde around him seethed, and his cool and steady mind, and Fiona with her gift for battle, her keen sense of the Oceans every whim and her fierce determination. All those whom I have met who sailed with them bothe regretted that it was allways the choice of the one or the other. ‘If only they coulde have worked together’ Fancy Michael told me on one occasion ‘No one could have stood against us. We would’a ruled the seas. But without Carlos to smoothe things over ‘tween them… Well, it was oil and vinegar. Too bad that, too bad!’. But however gifted Alejandro was as a captain, the luck seemed to abandone the Querida when Fiona left.
Alejandro provided Fiona with a dinghy and set her and her priceless chest of belongings off by the Ryendor coast, not too far from Brest. As you may recalle she had a lover there – Vincènté. She woulde never telle me his last name. All I know is that he was probably noble, definitely quite rich (since he used to put her up in Moulin d’Olives – that fanciest hotel in Brest – whenever she was in towne) and most likely married to someone else. She arrived in Brest in rags. The journey up the coast and the loss of her father had cost her much. That chest of hers in no light weight baggage! She has never let me have the slightest peek into her private belongings, but I have known her to pull out the oddest things from its depth. But soon she was set up in Moulin d’Olives again, the rags discarded and a new set of clothes bought in its stead. I think that was the time he bought the dark blue brocade set for her. The vest that went with the set was her favorite for years. I think that she didn’t even discard it after the battle of Elizabethtown in 1631, where I know she was badly wounded in the chest.
After a week in Vincènté’s healing presence she was feeling more herself, and back to her olde schemes. She had not lost all, she decided. The Querida was no longer hers, but another ship could be bought. She would not accept Vincèntés offer of funds to buy one – ever the independent girl. Also, she has confided in me: ‘What woulde be the fun of a gift like that? A ship of my own was something to fight for, to worke hard for, to earn! Not to buy with my lover’s money. I’ve allways let him buy me little things, because he likes to do that, but I can take care of myself when it matters’.
She decided to return to the colonies, to Jamestown, to try to convince Theodor Blackwell to give her the information needed to find Williams bankbox for which she had the key. The Blackwell treasure woulde secure her future, and it would buy her a ship and a crew she could truste. Little did she know the extent of the adventure she had set out on then. She put forth an inquery at the harbourmasters office to alert her to the first ship bound for the colonies, and a little week after that the Fortuna ran into port.