“I’ve had time to think,” explained Santángel. “I’ve done a great deal of thinking.
Praying. Remembering.” He glanced at the slate-gray sea. “I spent hours, calling
up every detail.” He delicately ran his hand along the rim of her ear, down her
cheek, under her jaw. “From the first words I heard you pronounce…”
She removed his hand from her face, but held his forearm. “What were they?”
“Allah alone conquers. The inscription on those beakers you made for the
“Yes.” She nodded with a nostalgic smile. “Allah alone conquers. Even the
most powerful of us, we have little control over our destiny.”
“Then our only choice is to embrace that destiny.”
“Embrace it? Look around, Chancellor. Look around.”
Exiles all around them, some emaciated from long travels, many filthy, tried
to board ships, pleaded with sailors, appealed to authorities. As he observed all
this despair, Luis de Santángel felt more powerless than ever. His mind reviewed
his years in the royal court—the perfidy of some, the loyalty of others, the
sacrifices, the battles, the triumphs, the fears, the losses. For what good?
“No, Chancellor. Our only choice,” said Judith, “is not to embrace our
destiny in this world, but to hope for a better world.” Her eyes glided to the galleon behind him.
“Then I shall accompany you into that world.”