For months they journeyed across the great sea. Planning and re-planning their route, never satisfied with the direction they took.
They followed the sun and charted the stars. The ebb and flow of the ocean enchanted them by day. The black, liquid mirror haunted them at night. Soon they no longer cared about the bishop and his intrigues, for they knew that eventually those worthy of His grace would complete God’s work.
As for their immortality, they felt it would only be secured by more prodigious feats than they were prepared to accomplish, and not from a fountain that spewed some magical elixir.
None had been more certain of this than Asif al-Khidr. He studied the night sky with great interest during their voyage. As the different phases of the moon had passed, he took notes and made precise calculations of the lunar cycle. Immersing himself in his books had been the only way that Asif could distract himself from his pensiveness.
The bishop, patient and secure in Spain, had rid himself of them without much effort, and the reminder of that jarred them from their hopelessness. When, at long last, the three of them solved the conundrum of their endless travels, it was too late for they had been caught in a storm. Though they survived, much of the crew was lost and their ship sustained extensive damage. Colombo soon realized that they were stranded on an island he had visited before.
Assisted by a Spaniard and some natives, the three men found shelter before the Spaniard and the natives paddled a canoe to Hispaniola for assistance. When the governor, Nicolás de Ovando, learned of Colombo’s presence on the neighboring island, he obstructed every effort to rescue him, because he detested Cristoforo, and knew of his fall from grace in Spain.
With their financial resources exhausted, Cristoforo Colombo turned to Asif al-Khidr for assistance. “We need to convince them to provide us with provisions or we will die of thirst or starvation!”
When Asif asked how he could be of service, Amerigo suggested that the young Muslim draw upon his extensive knowledge of the sciences to impress the natives. At first, he could think of nothing, but then he remembered the moon and the stars and the secrets of Heaven.
After he explained to Cristoforo Colombo the phases of the moon, the explorer met with the leader of the tribe. Cristoforo told the Cacique that his God was not pleased with the natives for withholding food and water from Colombo and his friends. He warned the Cacique that the Christian God would cover the moon in blood as a sign of His wrath if they did not continue to provide them with food and water.
When the lunar eclipse appeared as foretold, the natives begged their forgiveness, and provided them with provisions until their departure from the island a few months later.
They continued their journey to the New World, in search of the mainland where the secret of Heaven remained hidden. With no more gold, and only enough food and water to reach the shore, the three men pursued destiny. They were followed by the shadow that had once stalked the Seducer of Souls.