10th day of Nonus, 1668 AV
The young woman’s usually proud and harsh demeanor is softened by anguish as she appears to struggle to fight back tears. She gestures for the Captain to step away from the others for more privacy before speaking quietly.
“Forgive me, Captain, for putting you all in danger like this. Senõr Marquez is correct that poor Remi’s death is my fault.” She chokes back more tears. “I was so eager to claim the helmet and prove I was right, that I put everyone in terrible danger.”
The young woman regains some of her composure and looks up into George’s eyes.
“Since Colombo’s expedition three years ago, there have been reports filtering back to Euros of the Hellenic and Numan ruins here. Some of the settlements have enjoyed good relations with the native peoples and have passed along many tales of temples, ruined cities and ancient heroes. Stories that in many ways parallel the ancient myths and legends.
“Although many of the so-called ‘academics’ (she casts a dark scowl in Francisco’s direction) scoffed at the notion, some of us believed that the ancient myths may be remnants of historical events here in the New World. Aunt Elena had enough faith in me to fund this expedition and allow me to prove my theories.
“Similarities in the ancient legends and the local tales led me to suspect an artifact may have rested here, but others have come to the same conclusions, as you have seen with Monsieur DuLac. Now there is something of a mad scramble underway to explore the ruins and claim much of these ancient treasures, funded quietly by various sources. DuLac is only one of many who have likely come to Colombo for this reason, and believe me when I say he is by far one of the most honourable of the lot.”
The Castillian woman leans forward and kisses the Captain lightly on the cheek, placing her slim hand lightly on the man’s powerful chest.
“And once again I am indebted to you for gallantly coming to our rescue. Without the timely arrival of you and your men, I am certain poor Remi would not have been the only casualty. Your wife is a very lucky woman.”