Upon first entering Barcelona, the streets were quiet and abandoned. Rich homes and rich families resided here, and they were all in bed at this late hour. However, as she drew closer to the docks, she came across more and more people, none looking very reputable, many giving her looks that made her uneasy. There were still a few safe places near the docks though. The merchant’s quarter housed many rich men, friends of her parents, the Amadors, being only one of them. Senona missed the years when she had been friends with Caton Amador. Age changed things and people, and as a result, friendships slipped away.
Not really knowing where to start, only knowing what her destination was to be, Senona dismounted and led Naldo to the docks in hope that a Captain would be around from whom she could buy passage to Port Royale. There, in a British colony, she would be out of her parents’ reach. She could start a new life.
While the rest of Barcelona was very much asleep, the docks were alive with activity. Music and raucous voices came from the many taverns that lined the docks, all dangerous places that Senor Amador had warned her about many times when taking her on tours of his ships. This was no place for a lady at any time of day, much less in the middle of the night. But desperate times called for desperate measures, and she was certain there would be more than a few Captains in these taverns ready and willing to make some extra gold. Finding one who would willingly enter British waters would be a little harder. Pirates and privateers patrolled there, and it’d be even harder to find one who would allow a horse onboard. The few who would have allowed Naldo held to the old sailor’s superstition that having a woman aboard would bring bad luck. This made the task of finding passage more difficult than Senona had expected. Only one Captain, an Englishman, Old Richard, seemed to hold no qualms.
“Port Royale ye say?”
“Si, Senor, are you making port there at all?”
“Just so happens I is. It will cost ye though. It's bad luck for a woman to be onboard, and I ain’t too fond of livestock.”
“How much?” It was never a question of the money to Senona. It was her Padre’s, and its only purpose to her was to get her far away.
“Fifty pieces of eight.”
Senona nodded. “And when do you leave?”
“I’ll give you thirty doubloons to cast off within the next two hours.”
“Two hours, eh? I ain’t barely supplied.”
“Stop at the next port and get your supplies then. I can take my money elsewhere.” Senona spoke with authority and confidence that she did not feel. She had seen her Padre conduct business and knew that if she was to get her way, she had to appear in control. She carefully placed the bag of doubloons on the dirty wood table to illustrate she was able to provide what she promised. Old Richard’s eyes gleamed greedily.
“Aye, two hours and the Sea Vulture shall cast off.”
“I shall see you then, Captain.” She got up and reached for the bag but Old Richard grabbed her wrist. Her eyes narrowed, but she held herself in check. She was in a strange place right now, and it wasn’t a good idea to start any trouble.
“I'll be needing that pay in advance.”
Senona smiled, gently pulling her hand from his grip and counted out the promised coins. “Two hours, Captain. I cannot wait longer than that.”
Senona walked away, leaving the smoky, loud tavern behind a closed door and breathed in the fresh sea air. Naldo was tied to a hitching post only a few feet away, nickering softly in greeting. There was something about that man that made her uneasy, but she was left with little choice. Therefore, as unpleasant as this voyage was going to be, she would have to make the best of it.