Española Island - November 26th, Year of Our Lord 1501

The ax blade whistled through the air, landing with a mighty THWOCK, and the rough-sawn log of Caribbean pine split along its axis. Francisco Roldán, clad only in tattered linen trousers and an equally battered woven grass hat, levered the split log into the pile to later be turned into planks.

It had been nearly a year since the end of his rebellion against the tyrannical explorer, Cristoforo Colombo. After receiving his pardon at the hands of the Crown Investigator, Francisco de Bobadilla, he settled here on the southern tip of the Island of Española, far from Colombo’s twisted court of parasites and sycophants. He lived on a little bit of land with two horses, his tools, and Juan, his Escudero, or as the English would say, his squire. The horses had been shipped across the Atlantic at ruinous cost. His tools, he admitted to himself, were stolen from the stockpile in La Isabela during the revolt. And let’s not forget his dubious Taino neighbors. Even after having freed them from the slavery imposed by that cabrón idiota, Columbo, they still distrusted him, simply because he was Spanish. Oh well. Que sera, sera.

“Señor, there is a single sail approaching from the east.”

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