Hispania, Early Summer 1785 I.C.
Lord Governor Langston Hughes rose from his chair behind his desk and adjusted his royal blue overtunic, the garment slashed in a symmetrical pattern down both sides of his chest to show his bright yellow shirt underneath. He then picked up the stack of papers that his scribe Mathias had just presented to him, and began reading the first one on top as he walked towards the southern end of his spacious office. When he reached the end of the room, he looked out the window momentarily, and took in the mornings view.
Dawn in the Karibbean happened a few hours ago, and the sun was shining off the small golden plated dome of the Temple of Mannan, along with some of the fixings of masts of the warships in the harbor, and even a few of the weather vanes on the tops of several warehouses down near the dockyard. The town itself had started as den of cutthroats and slavers but over the years since Langston Hughes, it had grown into a highly productive and protected location with export arms reaching across the globe, while its current Lord Governor liked to think his own tentacles reached to the various corners of the Karibbean.
Governor Hughes turned suddenly, just in time to see a slight look of impatience on Mathias’ face, and he immediately began his return walk back and to the front of his desk.
“Yes, yes Mathias, I haven’t forgotten you’re standing there. Now, let’s see here, you’ve got one for the Baron in Nordlund, and it looks fine. I suspect the one for the Lady is as we discussed, yes?”
“Yes, Lord Governor.”
“Ok, let me read some of the others,” and upon reaching his desk again, he sat back down, picking up his feather pen and signing the first, perused the second, just to know for sure, passed both over to Mathias for him to affix the official seal, and began reading the third, fourth, and fifth."
“And these next three, very interesting how you’ve written them.”
“Yes, Lord Governor.”
“Hmmm … do you think the first will be willing?”
“Perhaps, Lord Governor. Yet if not now, it’s likely eventually.”
“Yes, as long as all things go as planned, yet we both know that’s rarely, if ever, the case.”
“That’s why I’ve phrased the second as I have.”
Governor Hughes returned his eyes to reread the next one. And he reread the third, before speaking again. “It does all seem in line with the overall concept we’ve been speaking about, but hmmm, how about this for the last line?”, then Lord Governor put the last one down on his desk top, picked up his pen, drew a line through what he didn’t like, and began scrawling out something different.
Mathias rolled his eyes, knowing he’d now need to re-transcribe that one, and when the Lord Governor finished and handed it over to his scribe, Mathias read the bottom, before saying.
“I see how that might do the job, Lord Governor. I’ll redo it, and then you can sign all three.
“Excellent. Here’s the other two for now, and while you are away, until when I see you at lunch, could you also invite General Von Gruberheim and Admiral Von Hallenhof to have dinner with me this evening? And make sure they both know this will be to brief them on the news from the Old World, as well as to ascertain their ideas on how we need to proceed in the light of such.”
“Yes, Lord Governor, and I’ll see you at lunch.”From… Estalian Plantation Life in the Early Karibbean, by Eulalio de Tiago
...One of the wealthiest and most powerful Estalian plantation owners of the early Karibbean was Lady Ellsabeth de Coronado. Her main holdings were located on the southern side of Domingo. However, she held land on some of the other islands as well. Despite her attitude and military force, both prominent features of Domingan culture, only the attitude reached beyond her homelands since she never invested in ships preferring to leave such to those who were more knowledgeable in the area, and rarely transporting her military units beyond the shores of the main plantation area. She had married young, and when her older husband Ernesto de Coronado died of some sort of fever, she inherited everything. Her plantation’s major crop was, like so many others’, sugar. Although another preferred product was tobacco, and some of the smaller field locations grew cotton, oranges, and a mix of vegetables. The height of her influence was during 1780’s before various issues caused a decline in her plantations’ economic success.
As with all Karibbean plantations, so too on the Lady’s plantations, slaves were used as the primary source of labor, and most of these came from the Southlands, augmented with a good many Karibs. Although it has been written that the Lady didn’t participate in the discipline of slaves, it is known that when she didn’t get her way, her anger wasn’t something anyone, let alone a slave, wanted to be the cause for, and she would insist that such wrath as necessary would be provided by her employees. And the discipline was enacted, like everywhere else, publically, which was intended to decrease the likelihood other’s would follow the misbehavior’s lead. However, with the discipline sometimes resulting in eventual death, or inability to work anyway, this only added to reasons such as disease, malnutrition, and poor sanitary conditions that all contributed to the turnover of the slave population. And so as fast as the slaves would disappear, new ones would be brought to take their place, and lessons would still need to be taught again anyway.
Unlike many Karibbean plantation owners, the Lady’s leadership positions, mostly made up of Estalians, were paid well (we know this from the meticulous financial records that she kept) with the exception of the servants. Employees learned to carry out her desires quickly or else they lost their jobs. The household servants were “free” slaves who traded their service for better living accommodations than the rest of the slaves, and also maintained their positions through meeting the Lady’s approval. If not, then it was back to the one room cabins they’d return, where the young were kept separate from the old, and the males and females were kept separate, too.
Slaves on the Lady’s plantations outnumbered everyone else by about 12 to 1, which was above the 8 to 1 average that was seen elsewhere in the Karibbean. This is probably attributable to the paying of her employees, and the cost carried with this, although even this doesn’t fully explain it, because her plantations held more slaves than any other recorded at that time. One might figure that this could increase the threat of revolt for the Lady’s properties, yet she never experienced a revolt during her entire widowhood, and it is surmised that the one revolt that was put down swiftly and brutally by the plantation’s military force while her husband was still alive, was something that might have kept it from happening again during the Lady’s tenure.Somewhere Near Trinidad, 1785 I.C.
“There is activity from a small Karib enclave located here. They have been refusing to attend services at the Mission here”, the priest’s fore finger pointed to both locations on the map laid out on the cabin table located in the Inquisitor Alonso Rodriquez Cabrillio’s quarters located below the forecastle of the Estalian warship El Justiciero
, captained by Julio Poncio.
“I see, Brother Miguel”, replied the Inquisitor.
“At the moment, I don’t know of another definitive location to carry out our responsibilities, your Eminence. However, if we attend to such heathen behavior there, then we may, as we often do, hear of others’ transgressions elsewhere, from those who live at the Mission as well.
“Yes, Brother Miguel, I am aware of the possible opportunities.”
The priest sat still, while Inquisitor continued reviewing the map.
“Your Eminence; there is also news from the homeland.”
The Inquisitor’s eyes lifted to meet the priest’s eyes, but he did not move his head, “And?”
“The rumor passed along to me is that Bretonnia has started another war with Estalia.”
“I see, and has this rumor been confirmed?”
“Not yet, your Eminence, but I do have Osvardo working on it.”
“Good, before we can move away from our safe zone here, it could be wise to know what we might face when setting sail as you’ve suggested. However, I don’t want to be waiting for too long, or else we might not arrive before the offending Karibs move from disobedience and obstinacy to boldness and rebellion.”
“How long do we have, your Eminence?”
“For as long as it takes you to buy the supplies the soldiers will need during our journey to here,” and the Inquisitor’s finger pointed to the same general area as the Priest had pointed to earlier.
“Yes, your Eminence, and so I’ll leave immediately to do as you desire, and I will also see if Osvardo has further confirmation.”
“Make sure it does not take you too long, for I want to leave as soon as tomorrow morning, and no later, is that understood? I shall want no delays.”
“Most definitely, your Eminence, most definitely.”Church of Mannan, Port Sigmar
The waves crashed darkly upon the rocky shore of Port Sigmar, the approaching storm rattling the terracotta roof and slamming a loose shudder against the stucco walls. Within the interior burned the comforting light of dozens of lanterns, some swinging in the breeze that forced its way in through cracks in the wall.
Before the altar knelt Father Mann, priest of Mannan, formerly of Nordland. His face was covered in soot, streaks of tears cleaning away parts of the face as he wept before his god. Clutching his holy symbol tightly, until it drew blood from his palms, he shuttered as if in a cold breeze, an open rotgut bottle on the carpet before him.
How could this have happened? How could I have let myself come to this? I did not mean to hurt the boy, an accident, yes! That is what it was, an accident. He could still see the boy as he rushed forth to see the massive stallion; Mann had not seen the boy until too late as the horses iron shod caved in his head. Drunk from a night of carousing, Mann had fallen from the horse into the mud, panicked and fled on foot into the dawn, leaving the child for dead, seeking only the refuge of his church. He had prayed all day and most of this night for redemption, for forgiveness for his sins.
The wicks in the lanterns wavered as the temperature in the church felt suddenly chill. It sounded as if a light rain had started to fall, the drops of rain pattering on the sails of ships in the harbor, on the canopy outside on the horse’s lean-to. The winds continued to howl as Mann kissed the holy symbol, and found it strangely cold to his lip. Wiping his vestments across his dirt streaked face; he faced the altar with renewed faith.
A rustling on the carpet behind him caused the priest to turn. He at first saw nothing in the gathering gloom but then he saw a form shuffle from behind the pews to his right. Staring into the dark he could make out the form of a man, the overpowering stench of rotten seaweed overcoming his senses. As the creature moved into sight, the priest gasped and held forth his holy symbol. Before him was a creature of human size, covered in a mass of dripping seaweed, the dark skin of a Karib poking through the seaweed at varied intervals. Its limbs were long and subtle, jutting out at strange angles. Draped across the seaweed was a suit of armor made up of finger bones and fishhooks that jingled as it moved.
“Mannan protect me!” squeaked Mann as he thrust forth his holy symbol, eyes cletched tight and awaiting the creature to strike. But the creature was gone, leaving the priest trembling and feeling foolish. Releasing a sigh of relief, Father Mann turned back to the altar. Father Mann never had a chance to scream as an enormous hook made of polished bone sliced down through his throat…On board the Wandering Falcon, somewhere in the Karibbean, 1785 I.C.
The sea wasn’t quiet against the ship’s sides as the dawning sun came up over the ocean causing red colors in the sky, while other warnings in the weather seemed to deem bad days might be imminent in the Karibbean, too.
Captain Tavish McBride stood alongside his first mate while the latter turned the wheel. They cut a contrasting pair, the Captain wearing a floppy red hat and what might have been his best finery, a flowing flimsy white shirt, a dark blue vest, and buff, almost yellow trousers, all topped off by a long brown hunting cloak that had a belt untied, its purpose for helping to close the garment in bad weather. Meanwhile, the first mate had the working cloths of a seaman, well worn, and in good condition, yet clearly his earnings weren’t spent on fine clothing.
“Captain, may I speak freely?”
“As always, Matey.”
“Well ye crew, dey ain’t been paid in weeks, and their gettin’ a bit rambunctious, Captain.”
“As always, hence we’re at sea, so deys don’t get into no trouble in port, and we’re off to find a new employer.”
“Ah, I see, Captain, but you got me at the head of the ship, it’s been couple days now out of port, yet yer not tellin’ me where we goin’?”
“Nope, Matey, not yet, just keep sailing as you are, and we’ll see what happens.”
“Yep, Captain, ye always was one fer keepin’ things to yourself, yet a crew’s trust can be a fleeting thing, if dey ain’t happy.”
“Matey, I got your point ye first time. We’ll all be fine. I ain’t let ya down befer, and I ain’t lettin’ yer down now. Last word I heard, ders war afoot back in ye Old World, and when eva dare is, it tends to effect what goes on ova here. Dat means someone’s goin’ to want to hire us out fer some huntin’, and maybe more den one. With any luck, we get paid as usual, and can partake in some booty, too.”
“Well, Captain, one ding is fer shur, where ye go, dares always a bit of advencha, and me sailin’ dis here boat won’t be ye first time I didn’t know where we was goin’.”
“Take heeds, Matey. I’ll be taking over ye wheel afta ye cook serves the meal he’s fixin’. In ye meantime, I’m goin’ to take a break down below and polish up Old Tom fer some eventual shootin’. When ye get eatin’ with ya crew, I want ye to make shur dey know we’s headin’ fer a scrap, sound good?”
“Aye, aye Captain, as always.”
“Good, where dares a scrap, they’ll be ye treasure.”El Citadel, the lower dungeons...
The large black rat sat perched upon the water barrel, its feral eyes locked upon the crumb of bread it held in filthy paws, regarding the man sitting on the pile of damp straw at the edge of dim light. Scrawling upon a piece of rotted wood with a hunk of coal , the prisoner regarded the rat for a moment before returning to his writing.
“If this be me last days then I want to go to the gallows with a clear conscience, unfettered by thoughts of revenge and ready to go to Morr’s realm.”
“I came to be in this place due to my actions, I was young, dumb and trusting. I was once a good man, a man with a future. That was before I signed on with the vile Captain Tristan Tremonte. Humph! Gentleman Pirate indeed, Tremonte is a cad of the highest caliber. He left his wife and children, a profitable plantation and a bright future because he simply grew bored!”
The rat continued to gnaw the bread, turning it over and over in its paws.
“I signed on with Tremonte in the summer of 1781, with the promise of silver and a future I could build upon. It was apparent right away that Tremonte had no idea the difference between a mizzenmast and a musket ball. He was incompetent to the point of being a liability and the crew muttered of mutiny no less than three months after we set to sea. A Privateer he was, or so he claimed, yet never produced a Letter of Marque. For that matter, now that I think of it, no one ever asked to see!”
The rat had finished its meal and moved now across the straw covered floor, lingering beyond the bars of the cell, just out of reach.
“So it was that Jack challenged Tremonte to a duel for control of our vessel, the Minstrel. Tremonte was taken quite aback but realized he had little choice but to accept. We made for a sandbar off to port and several of us, myself included, rowed out in the long boat and left the two on the sands. Jack was quick and drew forth his cutlass while Tremonte simply held his rapier out in a ridiculous stance, the kind that arrogant nobles take because they see duels as games. He looked effete and pompous, his ridiculous powdered wig and fine garments. I imagine it came as quite a shock to Tremonte when a parry and cut later his hand was flopping on the sand like a fish out of water!”
The sound of heavy footfalls and a dancing wave of light streamed from beyond the door of the cell block, heralding the approach of the Estalian jailors.
“I must be quick, for my pardon comes and I will see my way out of this vile place and breathe the clean air once more. The duel, back to the duel. Tremonte started in shock at his hand for a moment while Jack waited for him to surrender. Instead, Tremonte drew forth his pistol and shot Jack straight through the chest! Bad form from a cad and a slight to our code! Tremonte fled into the shallows beyond, our pistols echoing in the air but finding no purchase in his traitorous hide! He soon fell from sight into the jungle beyond the sandbar and we set about rowing back to the Minstrel. The Estalians took us then, while we were thus engaged watching the coward flee and we get clamped in irons…”
The lock in the cellblock door jingled as a heavy key was inserted, the heavy portal thrown open with force enough to smash the rat flat before the grim Inquisitorial Guard entered. Grasping hands reach into the cell and dragged the sailor out into the filtered light...
“Your time be up Davey Jones. The Hangman is waiting…”Vera Cruz Mission...To His Most Regal Majesty, the Emperor Don Carlos, our Most Magnificent King:
May this most celebrated and promising time of year, as once again the Spring renews our hopes in this life and in this Life to Come, return great happiness and wealth to Your Gracious Majesty, by Divine Right ruler of Valencia, Bilballi and of our new-found and prosperous Trinidad.
Good fortune to you upon this, the first day of April in the Year of our Lord seventeen hundred and forty eight, the fourteenth year of the just and kindly rule of His Holiness Ramul III.
Seven months ago, You Majesty, inspired as I was by the hope that my humble services might bring the peoples of this new and unsettled country from the Darkness of Superstition and Disbelief into the sweet and assuring Light of Myrmidia Faith, it was my privilege to travel with Captain Gabriel Rivera to Vera Cruz, at the very borders of those lands Your Majesty rules with infinite Justice and Mercy.
As we drove forth in righteous conquest, we came upon one village after another, abandoned, stripped of gold and ornament, except for a small shrine in each village, all the same, all strangely untouched. As to the outlandish and cruel nature of these shrines, I tremble to offend Your Majesty’s Decency and Faith; it might interest you to know that these shrines seemed to be made of a strange black glass, dark and bloody and carved with vile runes, were it not for the fact that the glass would not crack or break easily beneath our righteous weapons. Carved on the side of each altar were strange images of disturbing nature that I cannot go into in detail.
I need not assure Your Majesty that we were quick to destroy these horrid monuments, though indeed we marveled at why the villagers had left them unharmed. That is we wondered until we pressed further into the rain forest, still intent on extending the Rule and Majesty of Your Highness. As we pressed further into the unknown territory, we were met by bands of Karibs, who now greeted us with eagerness, having heard of our destruction of these vile altars. So it came to pass that we were joined by the natives and a large temple deep in the rainforest was overtaken and cleansed, and I set about to bring the Karibs to the true Faith the very night following.
Upon returning to our camp, we found Captain Rivera’s company had been tore to pieces during the night, the camp a charnel house, a scene that will haunt my dreams until that final rest. In flight we fled the jungle, losing our remaining guards and bearers to animals, quicksand and an ambush by reptilian monsters that stood upright! I attribute the final to the jungle fever that overtook me once I stumbled out of the jungle, Rivera accompanying me, though he did soon after of a strange wasting disease.
There are more things-darker things- I cannot entrust to a letter. Things for Your Majesty’s ear only. I plan to depart come winter for the Estalian homeland. Upon arrival, I most humbly request an Audience in Your Noble Presence.
Your Most Humble Servant
Padre Esteban Lopez de Ojeda S.P.Chocolate Hole, dusk…
Holder bent low and slipped aside the brown curtain blocking out the cool night air from the interior of the hut. Standing upright once he passed beneath the arch, Holder stopped and held his breath. The room beyond was filled with all manner of objects, from skulls to bottles to rattles to bead curtains and a host of other containers, all backlit by hundreds of fat burning candles, some set in holders, some held in place by their dripping wax, others set upon skulls, grim guardians that forced the Empire born Holden to clutch his wide brimmed hat closer to his chest. Before him, seated upon the floor in front of a small burning brazier, was a Karib man of modest age. Dirty locks of braided hair hung from his weathered skull, years of living in the warm climate had made the Karib’s skin leathery, stretch taunt across his bones. He wore a simple pair of striped pants, a vest of goatskin and no shoes. The Karib looked up from the fire to meet the gaze of Holder.
“Wot you want, babaloo? Dey say you looking fer King Willie, dey say you offerin him favors, eya?” The Karib motioned to Holder to take a seat before the fire.
Reluctantly sitting down, forced to sweep aside a crab from the sandy floor, Holder took his place across from the Karib, the flickering flames throwing shadows across both man’s faces. Dabbing at his sweating brow with a cloth, Holder addressed the man the natives assured him was King Willie, High Priest of Coquina.
“It’s my sister Jocelyn sir. She is very sick and our leeches know not the reasons for the malady. She is struck mute, unable to breathe or speak. Her eyes are wide with fear as if she is experiencing a waking nightmare, but she cannot awake from it. She is unable to take food and is wasting away before my eyes.”
Suddenly stretching to his feet, Willie turned his back to Holder, speaking to him over his shoulder as he moved to one of the shelves behind him.
“So why you come see Willie den? Wot make you think Willie gone help you, Willie can help you?”
“They say you have…powers…you can make big sicknesses into little sicknesses, little sicknesses go away. I have need of your help, for my sister’s sake if not my own!”
“Your sister, she be a fine woman then? Red hairs like the conch shells don Willies beaches? Da woman dat I done see in town, yellin at da younglings and playin da part of da fine upstanding lady? So those make you dem plantation man, Holden, eya? The one that sits on the hills, wherein der be lots of workers, maybe worked too hard”
“I am sir, as is she that you name my sister.”
Chuckling to himself, Willie turns back to Holden, his hair hanging across his face like dirty ropes onboard a ship, one eye glaring out to view Holden.
“Nothin here for you, plantation man. Willie don’t make no sicknesses go way, Willie just an old man waiting for da jumbies to come take him away.”
Gasping, Holden rises to his feet, placing his hat upon his head and glaring at the back of the Karib, who once more stood facing away from him.
“I was foolish to waste my time” he spat as he ducked under the doorway and stalked off into the night.
Chuckling once more to himself, Willie drew forth a small doll from his vest, a doll with two plain button eyes and a noose of red hair tied tightly around the throat. Willie still smiled at the ease in which he had acquired Jocelyn’s hair, her vanity at combing her lustrous locks each night made getting the follicles a simple matter. Clutching the doll tightly in his hand, he squeezed ever so slightly, coughing as he did; he could almost hear her screams from here…The Anchor and Whistle Tavern, Isabella Sound
“So then they bring in the Dancer, Tremonte and his crew in irons. The vessel hold is full of three tons of cocoa beans and 60,000 pieces of eight, the richest prize the Bretonnians have ever taken. Tremonte is a mystery, not a sailor, not much of a fighter but the man has a reputation you know having, escaped on more than one occasion from the noose. So the Estalians decide to keep them all onboard the ship instead of jailing them.”
Draining the tankard in a final satisfying gulp, the Dwarf wipes his gnarled hand across his beard, removing the last bit of foam. He motions to the barmaid to bring another round before returning his attention to the two merchants before him.
“The Lord Mayor then orders the carpenters to construct a gallows right there on the docks! More than a dozen of them are brought in, at such a late hour no less, and under the light of lanterns start a ruckus with all that hammerin and sawin. The good people of the Sound are kept up under this barrage of noise, and all the while Tremonte and his crew stand upon the deck of the Dancer, muskets trained on them by the Bretonnians. Ah!”
The buxom wench drops a new tray of pitchers upon the table with a thud, scowling at the Dwarf and rubbing the welt he just raised upon her buttocks. Laughing, the Dwarf picks up a pitcher and starts to take a deep draught.
“As I was sayin, they be prisoners on their own ship, waiting for that sharp drop come morning. So what does Tremonte do? The coward slits the throat of his guard and slips into the harbor. Using not but a pair of wine barrels, for he cant swim ye see, he paddles to shore and makes good his escape.”
“Now how did he mange that little feat? If I understand the stories, Tremonte lost his hand in a duel and has a hook where his left hand used to be.”
“Sorry mate, but who is tellin dis tale? Dats right, it be me! Now do you want to hear it or not?”
Silence followed the outburst from the Dwarf and so he continued.
“So den Tremonte meets up with some of his mates down the coast, gets himself another ship and crew and sails back to Trinidad. Under the guise of a trading vessel, he and his new crew sneak back into the harbor and steal the Dancer right from under the nose of Bretonnians finest Knights!”
Laughing at that, the Dwarf continues to drain the pitcher while the two merchants consider his tale.
“You spin a fine yarn master Dwarf, but there are many stretches in it. How did Tremonte get the barrels if the hold was full? How did he escape? How did he outfit this new vessel? Papers? It seems beyond the man.”
Smiling to himself, Stonekeg leans forward.
“He must have friends in high places, I be imagining…”Beaches of Karakas, near midnight...
The raging bonfire through red lights across the circle of gathered Karib and Estalian children sitting on the pearly white sands, eyes wide with terror. Before the children sits a grossly fat Karib woman, so obese as to look virtually incapable of movement. Her face, while weathered by southern breezes, was that of a sweet old lady, in her waning years. Her dark eyes twinkled in merriment as she regarded Maria.
“Mama, tell us another story!”
“Children, it be getting late, but” drawing forth a small hourglass from her robe “I think we have time for one more story before the witching hour, one more tale to help keep y’all warm on da way home.”
As the children leaned near, Mama Regina adjusted her robes and settled into a more comfortable position. She then began…
“When I was a little girl, not much younger then dear Maris here, I did travel dese islands wif my papa, he being a sailor and good one too. One night we be tacking offa Kiss Bottom when we comes across a schooner, be flying at half sail and all. Der be no sign of anyone on deck, so me papa doan moors us in dere fishing nets and climbs onboard. Der be no sign of anyone below decks, me papa doan a fine search and all. He comes back to da sloop and casts off without saying ting, like he doan seen a jumbie or something.”
Several of the children jumped as the distant foghorn sounded midnight in the harbor; Mama Regina only smiled and continued.
“My papa, he don’t say nothing till we get far away from the schooner, then he takes my chin in his hands and kisses my forehead. Regina, he say, don’t know what that schooner be about but there be no souls on board, but the dinner is still on da table and the food and coffee be hot and steaming. I found this on the table, twinkling with light.”
“My papa draws forth this shiny gold coin, all marked with symbols of power. He tells me that it be powerful magic and I needs keep it safe with me. And so I put it in my pocket and we no talk about it no more.”
“I comes to find out in the years that follow dat da coin be one of the Nine Pieces of Eight, a cursed orb from the shores of Lustria. Dey say it’s a warning against greed, some say that it draws forth monsters to it, monsters from the deep all dripping and slimy. Some say that it attracts these beasties, especially if there be a fire to point the way. Like the fire we have here before us!”
With that she draws forth a heavy gold coin with ancient etchings from her robes and holds it up in the fire light, its surface flashing golden radiance as the children screamed, some of them running from the night, others clutching at the Karib woman in fear. With reasurring words uttered while stroking their hair and patting them in comfort, Mama Regina gazed out across the water, waiting to see if the monsters would finally come…