June 17th, 1683
Aboard the near wreck of the Galleon Sol de los Mares:
Another day of both sadness and joy.
His name was Miguel Cervantes. He opened his eyes for the first time since his injury and spoke to me just before dawn. He asked me about his box in the cargo hold, and when I explained it was safe and dry, he said simply “We are all lost.” He then took his last breath on this Earth. Ferdinand was more deeply disturbed by his cryptic words than his death, and after discussing it we decided to look through his belongings for more information.
I wonder now if we made a very serious mistake.
Ferdinand discovered a chest that was marked with Miguel’s name in a closet within the former Captain’s quarters, and we opened it to find papers from all over the world. Miguel possessed a personal letter from the Pope! The letter was cordial, if confusing, speaking of many things pre-arranged and thus unknowable to anyone else reading it. It seems Miguel was an important man and has traveled widely. I feel badly for his family, for he will travel no more.
Sato refuses to enter the main cargo hold. When asked he simply jabbers in his unintelligible dialect until he becomes so agitated that he storms off. I will agree the stench within the hold is quite strong. It smells like a combination of death and rotten potatoes. Giuseppe confirms that there were at one time foodstuffs stored in the hold but he swears he recovered everything of any use. He knows nothing of anything dead in the hold, but then he is not the most observant person one could hope to know.
Ferdinand has decided against searching the hold for now. We have more pressing concerns honestly, and if we do reach a port we can more easily do the search tied to the pier.
At just after dawn this morning my prayers were answered and the winds found us. We furled the makeshift sails and rigging and with no small amount of cajoling from Sato, always in gibberish of course, we land walkers were able to harness the undeniable power of the wind and move our wounded ship.
Sato indicates we are making good time, and he smiles and points to an island on the map with glee. I have not been able to figure out if he is taking us to this place because it is the closest safe harbor, or if he has ulterior motives in mind. Slavers ply these waters, as well as pirates. It gives me pause to consider that we might have been far better off in the grasp of the storm than we are sailing blindly into an unfamiliar port.
Ferdinand seems unworried however, and has asked me my thoughts on keeping the ship and perhaps making repairs to it, as the previous owner has passed beyond this world. I had never considered this until he broached the subject, as I was far more interested in getting my feet back on solid ground, but the idea certainly has merit. It would be a source of income, even if neither myself nor Ferdinand ever set foot on her decks again. There are Captains aplenty willing to take on a ship of this size, and it could make us all wealthy men. I told him I would have to consider it and would give my answer if and when we reach a port of safety.
As I sit on the bow with the wind once again at our backs, I find a great weight of hopelessness has lifted, at least partially. We have not won our freedom from a watery grave just yet, but we are on the right path. For men such as us, that is enough for today.