The events of the day were followed by a hellish night. The wind had risen and the swell followed in tandem lashing the boat. Our repairs on the cannon hole began to show signs of weakness and before long water poured into the hold. We were slowly sinking. As much cargo that could be found was stacked against the void however the water beneath it provided movement and soon it became too dangerous to fight the rising tide of water and clashing crates.
Lights were spotted just before dawn and the craft was brought about to face the hidden shore. As the sun placed a warm hand on our backs our stricken craft could barely cut through the water, it was only a matter of time before she went under. The captain opened the cargo hold and released the large items of cargo that could float. Grasping my belongings and the arm of a panic stricken black faced girl, we left the once safety of the deck and cast a drift into the blue sea. Before long the entire crew were spread in a long line caught in the deep currents and being separated by the minute. The darkness of the ocean soon surrounded us. By nightfall of the same day my feet touched something that resembled firm ground. My companion, in a similar state of exhaustion as myself had felt the ground also and started to laugh. Ten minutes later we were both sitting on a stony shore laughing like children.
After sometime, the motion of the moving seas left me and I drifted into a much needed sleep.
Having spent the night under a pile of broken ships beams I awoke to find myself on a short beach over looked by a large town, this I discovered was Marseilles, and I was none too pleased. My young female companion was gone, only a few small footprints marked her presence. Not only had the sun left it’s mark on my neck and hands, I was now back in France close to a town spilling over with the waifs and strays of Europe and hundreds of miles from Eleanor. My priority was to place as much distance between this place and find food and a horse, in that preference. I stuck to the beach and set a direction for the headland avoiding contact with all that passed me. The sand that had washed into my clothes now irritated my skin and salt had formed around my eyes, I needed to find to fresh water. Moving inland I saw a line of trees indicating a riverbed and sure enough, gaining high ground I saw the stream feeding in to the estuary. With my clothes hidden by an outcrop I sallied forth into the water and quickly washed the sea from my hair and body. I dragged my clothes in to the water and washed them through ensuring any remains of sand were gone. The sun was bright in the sky and laying both my clothes and I out to dry I lay naked dreaming of the future. The warmth of the sun caressed my body and I imagined it to be her hands moving slowly and firmly about me. I was disturbed sometime later by my noisy stomach and quickly dressed. Food and drinking water were now at the top of my list.
The Major just can’t catch a break.