The Lady of Panama

Piracy /

… the beginning of this story is before. So here is the continuation.
Imperturbable logic is the key to all well-told stories

Morgan and what remained of his men were bogged down in Cruces – the men, without food, had run on rotting wine.
There were still about forty miles to go.
Forty kilometers of clay, swamps, potholes.
This road was called the gold trail.
There were perfectly white carcasses, perfectly cleaned by the vultures that hovered above the road.

Morgan managed the miracle of getting them to move again – Panama wasn’t so far away now. He made them take their weapons, yes, but also flags, and drums.
It would have been easy to massacre Morgan and his troop of starving, weaker-than-children scum.
No one came to meet them – at the end of the trail, well, the savannah. Finally they could hunt, eat, drink – regain all their strength and add tons of snarl and rage.

A day’s walk from Panama, the storm.
A thunderstorm like the ones that fall over there, with waterspouts to freeze your bones, to entangle your feet in the mud, to lose the powder.
Only one objective then: to preserve the powder – to hold on as long as it takes, but to keep the powder dry.

They also passed this test.

So when they finally saw Panama spread out all white and plump before their hungry eyes, they screamed and shouted and swore and danced – the taste of blood and fury made them drunk in advance.

But Panama was well guarded.
At the sight of the pirates, of these men who had become savage because they were so thin, because their eyes shone with fever, because their skins were stretched over their bones – the cannon thundered, oh yes – but not only that.

What would you have done in the place of the inhabitants of Panama, seeing this horde?

Surely you would have sent all your young men into battle – they were warriors – they were fresh, they were well armed, they had guns, horses, full bellies and a sure eye.

Governor Guzman did not do that.
Under the walls of Panama City, Morgan’s troop knew the answer.

All the bells of the city were ringing.
Blue and white smoke stank up the sky with their incense and myrrh.
And then the songs – the slow, low songs, chanted in 1000 voices, all together, all in chorus.

The whole city followed Governor Guzman.
The whole city prayed in procession and everyone begged God for protection.

And all the while, the priests and monks were loading the ships with all the treasures of Panama. I will refrain from commenting – but still, we can see who had their feet on the ground in this story.

When Guzman finally decided to attack Morgan and his troop, he did it with 1200 soldiers, 200 horsemen, armed slaves and above all his surprise: 1500 fighters unknown to Morgan.
1,500 almost savage oxen that the Spaniard planned to throw at Morgan.
Guzman had read the stories of Hannibal – he knew that these oxen, excited, frightened, would be uncontrollable.

He opened the gates – the battle was played out at that second.

Morgan had placed his men at the “point” – in a diamond pattern to be exact.
Guzman ordered an attack – to break through what? A point?
Morgan ordered those in the rear to start the drums – slowly – as slowly as possible, to give the effect of a huge army marching.

It was a disaster – the military didn’t know where to go, so they attacked in a scattered manner while Morgan maintained the “point” without faltering – Guzman launched his raging oxen.

And the oxen ran away from the fighting, without doing any damage.

In two hours, it was over. Morgan says that the end of the fight became a foot race – he and his people running after the others who were fleeing.

The harbor became a crazy theater, it was a general sauve qui peut – a place of death.

Some thought they could escape on the few boats that managed to set sail.
Among them, a single woman.
She was a young bride and her husband was in Peru.
She was a living statue because she was so beautiful. Her husband was very rich – she was perfect – hmmm… are you in doubt? her reality was attested by many testimonies.

Unfortunately for her, she could not embark on the few ships that could go to the high seas.

These boats carried the real treasure of Panama, the one that the priests took on board during the processions.
No woman – not even a pretty one – not even a beautiful statue.
A human instead of a chest of gold? but the choice is so quick.

Her boat, like that of almost all the refugees, could go no further than Taboga Island – within sight of Panama.

They saw the city in flames, monstrous flames – it was Guzman who had asked to blow up the powder supply – but how would they know?
When the smoke cleared, the refugees from Tobago thought they were saved: there were no more ships in Panama – almost all of them had sunk in the explosion of the storehouse.

So the pirates could not reach them – they were saved.

The beautiful young lady thanked God and Providence a lot. She knew that her beauty and youth made her a choice prey.
Now, she was saved.

Well, saved… it’s complicated

3rd part tomorrow.
This will allow me to say where it will be possible to replace the stage by
And even find an original trick or two.

In the meantime – the pirates without a boat were playing.
They were probably playing Skull. Do you know it?

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Featured Image : from Skull

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