All at once, the Sky above had soured and set up an enormous squall. Battered by the strong north winds and the blinding sheets of rain, Ponce and his men witnessed the most fantastic storm at sea they ever had. The caravels pitched on the wily waters, tossed about like leaves on a boiling surface. Blue Lightning struck the waves and raised goose skin on the men’s arms.
Ponce de Leon had seen many perils, including the grim visages of war, but never had he seen a storm so fierce. He feared for his life and prayed, and his men followed his example.
Prayer must have been the answer. A glassy sheen covered the sky as the incessant winds yielded and angry thunder bellowed. The men stared at the great wall of glass before them which stretched from the waves to the sky. Its beveled appearance gave the look of a great window. A barrier.
“Don’t just stand there gawping until you drown!” Ponce yelled to the priest onboard. “Go in the cabin and document this! Now!”
Ponce whirled around and slicked his hair back, holding his hat.
“What are you hiding?” he sneered at the glass. “You’re protecting something, I know it!”
One of his supply ships had tipped in the storm. All that was left was a ring of white froth and flotsam. Boxes and jugs and drowned bodies littered the waves.
Ponce and his men made the sign of the cross and prayed for the redemption of the lost souls.
The giant window towered over them, slick from the rain.
Unnerved by this stroke of bad luck, Ponce turned the wheel of the Santiago to lead his fleet around the window. The unexplained phenomenon had to have a door, somewhere. Ponce was bent on finding it. He had to know what it was hiding!
His men were petrified at the wall. As the Santiago veered to one side, the Storm itself seemed to decide it wanted to attack. Out of the sky came 5 bolts of metallic blue Lightning, which shot down and grasped control over the wheel of each ship. Men went flying everywhere from the sheer power in the jolts.
The Lightning shone like the sun, stinging their eyes. Ponce had fallen backwards as the ship pitched back and the Lightning struck. His heart thrummed in his chest like the wild war drums of Indians. He had to look away from the brightness.
A buzzing sound hummed in his ears.
This is it, he thought, the death of me has come at last.
But Forever had other plans for Ponce de Leon.
With a heave, Forever drew the 5 remaining ships into its World through the Shield that was normally invisible. For the first time, Forever accepted humans from the other world of Earth. It hoped it had not made a mistake.
At once, Forever set itself up to show Ponce and his Men who was in charge. It sent a Leviathan to take down the brigantine ship and another supply ship. The Men panicked, wailed, prayed and cried. Forever did not relish killing them off. But it could not accept all 200 of the Men. For its own protection and preservation, it had to whittle them down to a more manageable number.
Crippled by the loss, Ponce de Leon buckled. In a real fury, he ordered his Men to turn around and escape the strange Ocean they had entered. But before he could, Forever’s coral reefs claimed the remaining 3 ships.
A true mess followed. Forever wanted to see if the men were strong enough to make their way inLand. After their surprising ablution and another attack from the Leviathan, the few survivors came forward. Ponce was one of them. He came up spluttering and clutching a Spanish flag that had fallen off one of the ships. The battered Priest also clambered onto the shore.
Forever was pleased at Ponce’s brawn. He gathered as many survivors as he could at the coral reef and ordered them all to swim for their lives toward the thin strip of Land in the distance.
At dusk, the men crawled onto the shore of a Forest. With the meager energies they still possessed, they stood and watched Ponce locate a tall branch to which he affixed the Spanish flag. He staked the end of the branch into the soil. Still choking on the salt Water, he got out,
“Whereas I, Juan Ponce de Leon … have discovered this new Land … I hereby claim it and all its riches in the name of Christ Jesus … in the year of Our Lord 1513 … for Their Majesties, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain… Hithertofore, it shall be called … Mundo Dentro del Cristal.”
World Inside the Glass? Forever scoffed at the name Ponce had come up with, and it scoffed also at the authority that Ponce thought he had. Forever already had a name, and it intended to reveal it to Ponce in due time.