Chapter One

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August 1718

The Redemption's position, as best as he could reckon it, needed to be noted in the log before the situation grew worse. The furious sea that tossed the ship fairly threw him through the cabin door. He had to climb his way to the cabinet to retrieve the log and his ink well. He could just barely make out the noise of the crew's efforts to secure cannon and cargo over the howl of the wind. The storm they had hoped to outrun had become a hurricane. They were half a day from safe harbor and wholly at the mercy of God Himself, for only the Hand of the Almighty would be able to save them.

Just as the captain managed to pin himself against the desk, the cabin door flew open again. He looked up to see his first mate fall through as he had moments before.

The man righted himself as best as he could and reported, "Cap'n, we've tied everything back down and dropped the anchor, but Providence alone knows whether it will hold, sir."

"Then we've done all we can, Quintor. Pray that its enough," Captain Lodge said gravely.

He opened the log and noted their position and added the First Mate's report.

With a sigh he scrawled, "We place the lives of the crew and the fate of the ship into the Hands of God, may He have mercy on our souls. But I fear I will never reach the port of my Mary Anne."


The winds that had been welcome to cool the house hours before had picked up and had begun to howl. Elena struggled to pull the shutters closed. She wished above all else not to wake the frail woman who had become like a sister to her. As soon as she succeeded in shutting out the wind, she could hear her friend muttering to herself. Elena crossed to the bed. Mary Anne's fever had spiked again, and she was looking for someone in her delirium. Elena knelt by the bedside and crossed herself. She prayed the Holy Father would heal Mary Anne and let her find the man she continually cried for in her time of need. Kissing Mary's wet and fevered brow, she left the room to continue securing the house against the oncoming storm. She turned to close the door and heard Mary Anne whisper, "Oh, Thomas, you've finally come."


August 2004

Torrents of rain beat against the exterior of the house. The wind picked up and howled fiercely. But while the more than typical summer storm raged outside, April happily helped her mother, Carol, cull though the dusty boxes in her Grandmother's attic. Her Grandmother had led an amazing life and there was truly no place April would rather be than surrounded by the trappings of that life.

She chuckled to herself a bit as the thought crossed her mind that her grandmother's collections were a study of modern day anthropology. From a very young age, April had been fascinated by the people around her and the things they created. As she got older she often joked that she had no life because she spent it studying the lives of others. Carol could never quite grasp April's passions, but so long as she got a college degree and a good stable job, she would not utter criticism about April's romantic nature.

At the moment, it was this very romanticism that was getting April through the chore of helping her mother clean out her grandmother's attic. Grandma Irene had been laid to rest almost a month ago. Carol had come to the house several times over the last couple of weeks with intentions of cleaning up and packing up, but always found herself wandering the house in a numbed daze. It wasn't until April offered to take some vacation time and come help her, that Carol finally found the resolve to start the job.

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