santos ortega

@cheshire0824 @ninjacat1515 @capitanarmandosalazar @piratesangel

When La Maria Silenciosa departed from Almería at the end of the week, it was in the middle of the night as to attract less attention as they set sail. 

Marisol and Carlos had arrived early the day before, both deciding that traveling in their other forms would save time. They met Santos at an Inn they checked into near the docks. 

“Carlos, mi amigo!” Santos had embraced her brother and Carlos returned it. 

“Hola, Santos! Everyone is here and ready?” 

Santos had shrugged, “Almost everyone. We’re waiting for Moss and Fuego to finish rounding up the food for the voyage.” He noticed the woman standing next to his friend, “Oo, who’s the pretty chica?”

Carlos smiled, “This is my sister, Marisol.”

“Pleasure to meet you, senorita.”  Santos gave a bow and grinned. “You never told me she was this pretty.” 

Marisol laughed, “It’s a pleasure to meet you as well, Officer Santos.” Marisol looked at her brother with a teasing smirk. “What my brother has told as all been good things, I hope.” 

“Si, si. He never shut up about you when we were in the Triangle.” Santos pouted and began speaking with a dramatic flair, “’Oh, my poor sister. How she must be worried.’“ 

Carlos had playfully growled at him. “I was much more dignified than that!” 

Marisol smiled at the memory of her brother interacting with his fellow officer. Then her worries for her daughter became forefront, they hadn’t been apart since Marisol’s dormancy and Esperanza had cried so loudly at her departure that Marisol had heard her child a mile from the manor. Little Lancha would be well looked after with Teresa and Julian there, more likely than not Marisol would return to find her child spoiled rotten. 

She could hear the crew bustling about as the Maria headed out to sea. Orders were given and responses said. Marisol turned and browsed the books in her lodgings. They were Armando’s that he’d been kind enough to loan for the journey. 

One title caught her interest and Marisol began to read. She sat down and became engrossed in the book quickly. When there was a knock at the door, she barely remembered to answer. “Enter.” 

Armando came in, shutting the door behind him. He regarded her for a moment, reading and sitting. “I trust you find your lodgings appropriate.” 

“Si. Thank you for accommodating me, Capitan.” Marisol turned a page, “Now for the reason why you are here.” 

“Well, there are rules aboard my ship and I expect you to follow them.” 

“Si, si. You may run your vessel as you please, Armando. I will not pretend to know anything about sailing.” 

Armando sighed, “Why did I agree to let you come?”

“Because I’d have been in Castellón when you made port, anyway.” Marisol shrugged, turning a page in her book. Armando chuckled. He sat down opposite of her and watched her for a moment. 

“When we arrive, where do we begin the search?” He was asking for her opinion, he knew he didn’t have to, but she was just as invested as he was. 

Marisol closed the book and set it in her lap. “It would be best to start with the merchant families. They know everything and everyone who comes through Castellón; if anyone knows where Gaspard is, it’ll be them.” 

“And if they prove to be.. reluctant?” 

“Then I do hope you are gifted with persuasion or hypnosis.” 

They continued to speak for three hours, during which Armando learned the names of the merchant families, where they lived, which warehouses belonged to what family, and the politics of it all. 

“While they may make a show of being united, any way to gain an upper hand over the other families will be taken.” Marisol had set the book aside entirely, focusing entirely on educating him with what she knew. 

“Also, bear in mind, that while half of the families are vampires or have loyalties to us, the other half are human and support the slayers.” 

Armando growled, “So we must be cautious for silver weapons.” 

“Si, that’s correct.” 

He sighed, rubbing a hand over his face. Marisol leaned forward and patted his knee, “Take heart. You have a good crew and they’re strong fighters. I have faith in you all.” 

Great things come to those who wait: David Archuleta returns to Manila!

Written by: Maria Eunice Santos

Edited by: Jamie Ortega

Who has not seen at least a single episode of American Idol? For the last decade and a half, the long-running talent competition has been fulfilling dreams and changing lives; paving way for the birth of other talent shows, and jumpstarting careers for hopefuls with a phenomenal range of talent. The iconic show gave rise to some of today’s biggest music acts, like Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, and Carrie Underwood. And of course, who could ever forget about the charming and dashing David Archuleta – the youngest aspirant during Season 7 who moved us with his valiant fight to overcome vocal paralysis and pursue his passion for music?

Most definitely not his army of Pinoy Archies!  Roughly six years since his last visit to the country, the news of David’s return to the Philippine shores had his fans rushing to the airport to welcome him. Throughout his buzzing week, his Archies had shown him an overwhelming amount of support wherever he went in Manila; from his press conference, to his guestings, and finally, down to his much-awaited comeback concert in the Kia Theatre last October 20, 2017.

Setting up an exciting mood as a front act for the big night was none other than Tippy Dos Santos. Even without the aid of heavy drumbeats or bopping backtracks to prop up her set, the Filipino-American singer/actress had the audience transfixed effortlessly with her pitch-perfect vocals that complemented her song choices for the evening, including ‘Torn’, ‘Torete’,  ‘Million Reasons’, and a one-woman version of the double platinum record ‘Dati’.

When the lights dimmed again in preparation for the main event, people started cheering for David long before he even emerged from backstage. The over exuberant crowd didn’t need further urging to get up from their seats when the first songs ‘Up All Night’, ‘Something About Love’, and ‘Numb’ rolled in, and the dynamic David Archuleta finally graced the stage with a huge smile on his face. Prepped with high notes and groovy dance moves, he had everyone in the house jumping and singing in a matter of seconds. He was one big ball of life in the limelight: darting to and fro the stage with much ease and expertise that it’d been hard to believe he even took a break as a music craftsman at all.

Despite already being an acclaimed star, it was heartwarming to see that David was still as humble and as down to earth as when he first started his career. He thanked his fans profusely every chance he could, generating a collection of ‘awws’ from the audience at one point when he opened up about his struggles in returning as an artist, following his voluntary missionary work in Santiago, Chile. “For a while I didn’t know I could. And to see all of you here tonight, it just really touches my heart,” he had said sincerely, voice quaking as he fought back his tears. “I’m so grateful for all of you. Thank you, Philippines. Mahal ko kayo!”

As a special treat, he dished out some of the newer songs from his latest album, ‘Postcards in the Sky’, which was coincidentally released on the same day.  Through fresh tracks like ‘Invincible’ and ‘Spotlight Down’, David exhibited a more mature aspect of himself as a lyricist, unveiling his stories through emotionally-evoking pop and ballad symphonies. Overwhelmed by the crowd’s energy that didn’t falter even during the slow songs, David proudly claimed, “The best singers I know are Filipinos!”, and got the chance prove this later on when he asked the crowd to sing portions of ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Forevermore’ on his stead, as well as when he invited Tippy out on stage once more to perform ‘You Are My Song’ as a duet.

For his encore, emotions ran high when David barely made it through ‘Nandito Ako’ without tearing up, but managed to wrap the song beautifully; pronouncing each word so naturally like Filipino had been his native tongue all along. To cap off the night, David went absolutely all out performing ‘Crush’, the 2008 classic that landed on countless music charts during its days, and may have very well been the soundtrack to most of the audience’s high school ‘kilig’ days. By the end of the nostalgic track, a breathless David took a few more moments to thank his Filipino fans again with a final modest bow.

Just like the last times he’d been here, David Archuleta left yet another spectacular concert experience in his track, proving himself to be an idol certainly worth waiting for.

Thank you to Ovation Productions for the coverage invite. Congratulations on another successful event!

@ninjacat1515 @requiemofamemory @cheshire0824 @capitanarmandosalazar @piratesangel

The room erupted after Rodrigo spoke. Carlos had stood up and his chair screeched, Lesaro was snarling his facade gone, and Armando slammed a fist on the table, pointing at the human in accusation. Marisol had gone wide-eyed and was staring at the human man in shock. 

“¡Silencio!“ The room quieted after Pilar roared. She took a breath and pointed at Rodrigo. 

“Do you have any idea what you have done?” 

“I had no choice, senora! He-” 

“Non, no, no. You had every choice. You had every reason to cease all business with Chastain from the very beginning. What did he offer you to begin with? A share of the profit?” 

At the guilty silence, Pilar clicked her tongue in disgust. “Your greed has brought your downfall upon you and your family, and I will do nothing to prevent it, Rodrigo.” Pilar stood and bid them goodnight. “Again, Dona, I will give you any assistance that you need to find this Frenchman.” She left the cottage and they heard the coach leave.

Armando frowned and shared a look with Marisol. She nodded and he said something so quiet and fast that the humans’ couldn’t hear him. “Where is the Frenchman?” Lesaro barked out an order.

“I don’t know where he is!” Moss and Santos came into the house and flanked Rodrigo. Moss was grinning and Santos had a gleam in his eye. Carlos walked over to the door and barred it. Lesaro got up and drew the curtains closed. 

“Nonsense,” Marisol said, standing from her seat. “You do business with him, you take a cut of the profit to line your own pockets, and you know that he is working with both pirates and slayers. Now, again, where is he?” 

“Do not lie, amigo.” Carlos chimed in, leaning back against the door with his arms crossed. 

Lesaro spoke up, “And do not remain silent.” 

Moss hissed, “Or do. It’ll make it fun for us.” Santos snickered. 

Rodrigo opened and closed his mouth, eyes wide as he frantically looked around the room for either escape or help. The vampires would give him neither. Silence held for several moments. 

“Cat got your tongue, hombre?” Santos laughed at his captain’s jest, clapping the human on the shoulder. He jumped. Marisol and Armando exchanged another look. She nodded again, lips set in a firm line.

“I take that as a ‘yes’.” At Armando’s nod, Moss set to work while Santos held the human down. 

Later in the night, while Lesaro and Carlos returned to the Maria and Moss and Santos disposed of the body, Armando stood in the small room given to him. He looked out at the hill and the sea that lay before it. The night was dark, and there was no moon. Salinas had talked in the end, but for his deception and his willing dealings with pirates and slayers, they had ended his existence. 

The Frenchman was further north on the coast. He wouldn’t tell how far inland the man was, and so scouting was in order. Armando would take over this part of the investigation, and Marisol would collect further leads on this group of slayers.

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” She said softly. Armando hadn’t even heard her knock or enter. She approached the window and gazed out the dark night and the sea. 

Armando snorted. “Shakespeare?” 

“I’m surprised you know it.” Marisol teased. Armando snorted again, only not out of humor this time. She frowned. And then she sighed. 

“What Salinas said about slayers being involved is bothering you.” It was not a question; she just knew. How she did, Armando did not know. Maybe it was a woman’s intuition or maybe it was simply just how she was. She placed her hand on his shoulder, giving a comforting squeeze that made him simply want to lean against her and seek shelter. 

Now he understood why Carlos wrote so furiously whenever the Maria was at sea; why he would send a bundle of six to ten letters meant solely for his hermana. His sister was an anchor, a safe harbor. Marisol was the calm eye of a storm; She understood and gave the safety net of support. 

Now she offered Armando that safety. Her hand squeezed his shoulder again and he felt her begin to step away. 

“Quédate conmigo.” 

Marisol stopped and turned towards him. She placed her hand on his shoulder again. Armando covered hers’ with one of his own. 

“Por favor, quédate.” 

El Matador Del Mar was a proud man. But, he was still a man. Marisol understood that; her first husband, Antonio her greatest friend, had married her simply because he had wanted companionship in his final years. The wars and time he had spent in the New World had taken its toll on him when he was young and had made life difficult as he approached the end.  

And with this threat of slayers working with the French man.. Marisol resolved herself to do what she could as she could as she was needed, as she was now.